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Nightmares and Dementia; New Alcohol Abuse Drug? and Vaccine PR

Nightmares May Predict Dementia

Healthy middle-aged adults who have nightmares once a week or more were four times more likely to develop dementia within a decade, new research suggests. The results were reported in a study published in The Lancet journal eClinicalMedicine.

The large cohort study also showed that older adults were twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia compared with peers who never had bad dreams.

Bad dreams increase: Other research showed that bad dreams remain relatively stable through early adulthood but increase from middle age to older adulthood.

Nightmares and other illness: Nightmares were previously associated with faster cognitive decline and increased dementia risk in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Can a Heart Drug Treat Alcohol Abuse?

A heart drug may help treat alcohol use disorder, new research suggests. A study published in Molecular Psychiatry looked at spironolactone, a diuretic used to treat heart failure and hypertension.

The drug reduced binge drinking in mice and self-administration of alcohol in rats, according to the researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and Yale University School of Medicine.

The drug was also linked to a reduction in self-reported alcohol consumption among patients in the US Veteran Affairs health care system, the study found.

How it works: Spironolactone is a nonselective mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist that affects the amygdala, which is associated with alcohol use disorder and addiction in general.

More research needed: It’s premature to think about prescribing spironolactone to treat alcohol use disorder, researchers said.

COVID-19 Vaccines’ PR Problem

Convincing Americans to take new COVID-19 booster shots has become more difficult with each new vaccine.

Only about 1.5% of those eligible to receive a new Omicron-targeted booster have chosen to receive it as of September 21, according to the government. And only one third had received a booster shot beyond the initial two doses of the original coronavirus vaccines.

Meanwhile, about 68% of the US population have received two doses of either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines or one dose of Johnson & Johnson.

Still getting infected: Almost half of vaccinated adults said they didn’t think boosters were effective because some vaccinated people are still getting infected, according to a July survey conducted by Kaiser Family Foundation.

Messaging failure: Labeling mild cases or asymptomatic infections as “breakthroughs” was an avoidable error, said Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a member of the US Food and Drug Administration advisory committee. Messaging should instead have focused on how vaccines worked as promised to prevent serious illness or hospitalization.

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