By Lauren Dezenski, Staff Writer
I’m proud to say this is my second blog post filed while in transit. This time, I’m somewhere below the English Channel, en route to Brussels on a class trip for my political science class. I really wish the Chunnel (the Channel Tunnel) had little windows to see the water. It’s kinda eerie gliding through this tunnel knowing I’m under water but not really knowing much else.
Today also marks my fourth week since landing in London, though it feels like much, much longer. This week, I’ve had the chance to explore both my neighborhood and other parts off city (not to mention the foreign city I’m headed toward now).
I finally got to get my journalism on with Wednesday’s assignment to go to Canary Wharf, find and write a 1,000-word feature story. Canary Wharf is arguably London’s most transformed borough thanks to the jolt of capitalism administered by Margaret Thatcher back in the ’80s. The result: a gleaming, silver archipelago of power and wealth built on London’s formerly dilapidated docklands. Now, the former isle of dogs is inhabited by a major European financial center, chock full of successful-looking men and women in expensive suits. I felt like a pauper walking among the Credit Suisse and Barclays bigwigs, but you gotta fake it ’till you make it, right? One of my favorite sights was a sand sculpture of William, Kate, and the royal baby on the West India docks. It’s now a life goal of mine to be immortalized in a sand sculpture.
Back in South Ken, I found myself in Hyde Park nearly every day this week until I was felled by a nasty cough. It has been absolutely beautiful and rain-free in the capital for the last couple days and there really is no better way to enjoy the weather than with strolls around the Serpentine or jogs to the Marble Arch. See, Mom, I’m actually using my sneakers! Friday night, a couple friends and I packed a dinner and some ciders and picnicked on a hill next to Kensington Palace as the sun set. It certainly wasn’t as active as a run, but it was a heck of a lot more fun.
Since then, I’ve been nursing a persistent cough that the British hilariously call a “chesty cough.” Even getting sick here is a cultural experience. In the process of buying out the cold and cough sections of Boots in the hopes of feeling better before the trip to Brussels, I can’t help but feel a little proud I’m not feeling well. Clearly I’m doing something right, because you only get sick when you’re exposed to other people. It’s like my chesty cough is proof that I’ve been out and about, getting to know this city and its inhabitants. I could be totally insane trying to justify this, but you know there’s a grain of truth in what I’m saying.
Now, I’ve got an arsenal of cough medicine, lozenges and nasal spray to keep me powering through Brussels’ delicacies and sites. Here’s to hoping they do their job.
By Christina Janansky, Staff Writer
Today, more than 5.4 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a 2012 Alzheimer’s Disease Research. And, unless some method of controlling or curing Alzheimer’s is discovered soon, a predicted 15 million Americans could live with the debilitating disease by 2050.
However, a recent MSN article suggests a new method of preventing the growing Alzheimer’s epidemic might lie in the near future.
Scientists are experimenting with a new Alzheimer’s treatment called deep brain stimulation, or DBS. Researchers hope the new approach—also known as a “brain pacemaker”—will slow the damaging effects of Alzheimer’s and replace current drugs and implants, according to the MSN article.
The 5-hour operational process, however, is anything but simple, as described in the article; small electrical wires are implanted in areas of the brain after several holes are drilled in the patient’s skull. While this new experimental method will not target the onset of Alzheimer’s, scientists hope it will slow the progression of memory loss and damage in patients.
Researchers do not know how long the new treatment’s effects will last. In fact, they are not sure the treatment will be successful at all. One patient of the treatment, a Canadian man who has had the implants for four years, shows promising results—his condition since the implants has not deteriorated. However, scientists cannot certainly attribute his success to DBS without further study.
In the meantime, several dozen people with early-staged Alzheimer’s will be implanted with the pacemakers in the upcoming months. These patients will be closely monitored and studied for the next several years.
In the MSN article, researchers at Ohio State University explained how constant electrical stimulation of memory-linked brain circuits might keep neural networks active for longer. This, they hope, will hinder the damaging effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
DBS has been used previously and in a variety of patients, including those suffering from Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. However, this is the first time it is being used with Alzheimer’s patients.
Scientists are not only testing DBS in major diseases and illnesses such as these, but are also exploring its effects in parts of the brain that are linked with depression and appetite.
Although it’s still too soon to say, DBS may be the answer not only to treating Alzheimer’s, but also to curing and preventing it.
Who knows? It might be a cure-it-all in regards to other mental illnesses, imbalances and functions. Only time will tell.