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Will Lockett

Will Lockett

1 year ago

The Unlocking Of The Ultimate Clean Energy

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Michael Hunter, MD

Michael Hunter, MD

1 year ago

5 Drugs That May Increase Your Risk of Dementia

Photo by danilo.alvesd on Unsplash

While our genes can't be changed easily, you can avoid some dementia risk factors. Today we discuss dementia and five drugs that may increase risk.

Memory loss appears to come with age, but we're not talking about forgetfulness. Sometimes losing your car keys isn't an indication of dementia. Dementia impairs the capacity to think, remember, or make judgments. Dementia hinders daily tasks.

Alzheimers is the most common dementia. Dementia is not normal aging, unlike forgetfulness. Aging increases the risk of Alzheimer's and other dementias. A family history of the illness increases your risk, according to the Mayo Clinic (USA).

Given that our genes are difficult to change (I won't get into epigenetics), what are some avoidable dementia risk factors? Certain drugs may cause cognitive deterioration.

Today we look at four drugs that may cause cognitive decline.

Dementia and benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine sedatives increase brain GABA levels. Example benzodiazepines:

  • Diazepam (Valium) (Valium)

  • Alprazolam (Xanax) (Xanax)

  • Clonazepam (Klonopin) (Klonopin)

Addiction and overdose are benzodiazepine risks. Yes! These medications don't raise dementia risk.

USC study: Benzodiazepines don't increase dementia risk in older adults.

Benzodiazepines can produce short- and long-term amnesia. This memory loss hinders memory formation. Extreme cases can permanently impair learning and memory. Anterograde amnesia is uncommon.

2. Statins and dementia

Statins reduce cholesterol. They prevent a cholesterol-making chemical. Examples:

  • Atorvastatin (Lipitor) (Lipitor)

  • Fluvastatin (Lescol XL) (Lescol XL)

  • Lovastatin (Altoprev) (Altoprev)

  • Pitavastatin (Livalo, Zypitamag) (Livalo, Zypitamag)

  • Pravastatin (Pravachol) (Pravachol)

  • Rosuvastatin (Crestor, Ezallor) (Crestor, Ezallor)

  • Simvastatin (Zocor) (Zocor)

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

This finding is contentious. Harvard's Brigham and Womens Hospital's Dr. Joann Manson says:

“I think that the relationship between statins and cognitive function remains controversial. There’s still not a clear conclusion whether they help to prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, have neutral effects, or increase risk.”

This one's off the dementia list.

3. Dementia and anticholinergic drugs

Anticholinergic drugs treat many conditions, including urine incontinence. Drugs inhibit acetylcholine (a brain chemical that helps send messages between cells). Acetylcholine blockers cause drowsiness, disorientation, and memory loss.

First-generation antihistamines, tricyclic antidepressants, and overactive bladder antimuscarinics are common anticholinergics among the elderly.

Anticholinergic drugs may cause dementia. One study found that taking anticholinergics for three years or more increased the risk of dementia by 1.54 times compared to three months or less. After stopping the medicine, the danger may continue.

4. Drugs for Parkinson's disease and dementia

Cleveland Clinic (USA) on Parkinson's:

Parkinson's disease causes age-related brain degeneration. It causes delayed movements, tremors, and balance issues. Some are inherited, but most are unknown. There are various treatment options, but no cure.

Parkinson's medications can cause memory loss, confusion, delusions, and obsessive behaviors. The drug's effects on dopamine cause these issues.

A 2019 JAMA Internal Medicine study found powerful anticholinergic medications enhance dementia risk.

Those who took anticholinergics had a 1.5 times higher chance of dementia. Individuals taking antidepressants, antipsychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson’s drugs, overactive bladder drugs, and anti-epileptic drugs had the greatest risk of dementia.

Anticholinergic medicines can lessen Parkinson's-related tremors, but they slow cognitive ability. Anticholinergics can cause disorientation and hallucinations in those over 70.

Photo by Wengang Zhai on Unsplash

5. Antiepileptic drugs and dementia

The risk of dementia from anti-seizure drugs varies with drugs. Levetiracetam (Keppra) improves Alzheimer's cognition.

One study linked different anti-seizure medications to dementia. Anti-epileptic medicines increased the risk of Alzheimer's disease by 1.15 times in the Finnish sample and 1.3 times in the German population. Depakote, Topamax are drugs.

Nojus Tumenas

Nojus Tumenas

1 year ago

NASA: Strange Betelgeuse Explosion Just Took Place

Orion's red supergiant Betelgeuse erupted. This is astronomers' most magnificent occurrence.

Betelgeuse, a supergiant star in Orion, garnered attention in 2019 for its peculiar appearance. It continued to dim in 2020.

The star was previously thought to explode as a supernova. Studying the event has revealed what happened to Betelgeuse since it happened.

Astronomers saw that the star released a large amount of material, causing it to lose a section of its surface.

They have never seen anything like this and are unsure what caused the star to release so much material.

According to Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astrophysicist Andrea Dupre, astronomers' data reveals an unexplained mystery.

They say it's a new technique to examine star evolution. The James Webb telescope revealed the star's surface features.

Corona flares are stellar mass ejections. These eruptions change the Sun's outer atmosphere.

This could affect power grids and satellite communications if it hits Earth.

Betelgeuse's flare ejected four times more material than the Sun's corona flare.

Astronomers have monitored star rhythms for 50 years. They've seen its dimming and brightening cycle start, stop, and repeat.

Monitoring Betelgeuse's pulse revealed the eruption's power.

Dupre believes the star's convection cells are still amplifying the blast's effects, comparing it to an imbalanced washing machine tub.

The star's outer layer has returned to normal, Hubble data shows. The photosphere slowly rebuilds its springy surface.

Dupre noted the star's unusual behavior. For instance, it’s causing its interior to bounce.

This suggests that the mass ejections that caused the star's surface to lose mass were two separate processes.

Researchers hope to better understand star mass ejection with the James Webb Space Telescope.

Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

1 year ago

Xenobots, tiny living machines, can duplicate themselves.

Strange and complex behavior of frog cell blobs


A xenobot “parent,” shaped like a hungry Pac-Man (shown in red false color), created an “offspring” xenobot (green sphere) by gathering loose frog cells in its opening.

Tiny “living machines” made of frog cells can make copies of themselves. This newly discovered renewal mechanism may help create self-renewing biological machines.

According to Kirstin Petersen, an electrical and computer engineer at Cornell University who studies groups of robots, “this is an extremely exciting breakthrough.” She says self-replicating robots are a big step toward human-free systems.

Researchers described the behavior of xenobots earlier this year (SN: 3/31/21). Small clumps of skin stem cells from frog embryos knitted themselves into small spheres and started moving. Cilia, or cellular extensions, powered the xenobots around their lab dishes.

The findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 7. The xenobots can gather loose frog cells into spheres, which then form xenobots.
The researchers call this type of movement-induced reproduction kinematic self-replication. The study's coauthor, Douglas Blackiston of Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, and Harvard University, says this is typical. For example, sexual reproduction requires parental sperm and egg cells. Sometimes cells split or budded off from a parent.

“This is unique,” Blackiston says. These xenobots “find loose parts in the environment and cobble them together.” This second generation of xenobots can move like their parents, Blackiston says.
The researchers discovered that spheroid xenobots could only produce one more generation before dying out. The original xenobots' shape was predicted by an artificial intelligence program, allowing for four generations of replication.

A C shape, like an openmouthed Pac-Man, was predicted to be a more efficient progenitor. When improved xenobots were let loose in a dish, they began scooping up loose cells into their gaping “mouths,” forming more sphere-shaped bots (see image below). As many as 50 cells clumped together in the opening of a parent to form a mobile offspring. A xenobot is made up of 4,000–6,000 frog cells.

Petersen likes the Xenobots' small size. “The fact that they were able to do this at such a small scale just makes it even better,” she says. Miniature xenobots could sculpt tissues for implantation or deliver therapeutics inside the body.

Beyond the xenobots' potential jobs, the research advances an important science, says study coauthor and Tufts developmental biologist Michael Levin. The science of anticipating and controlling the outcomes of complex systems, he says.

“No one could have predicted this,” Levin says. “They regularly surprise us.” Researchers can use xenobots to test the unexpected. “This is about advancing the science of being less surprised,” Levin says.

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Mike Tarullo

Mike Tarullo

1 year ago

Even In a Crazy Market, Hire the Best People: The "First Ten" Rules

The Pareto Principle is a way of life for First Ten people.

Hiring is difficult, but you shouldn't compromise on team members. Or it may suggest you need to look beyond years in a similar role/function.

Every hire should be someone we'd want as one of our first ten employees.

If you hire such people, your team will adapt, initiate, and problem-solve, and your company will grow. You'll stay nimble even as you scale, and you'll learn from your colleagues.

If you only hire for a specific role or someone who can execute the job, you'll become a cluster of optimizers, and talent will depart for a more fascinating company. A startup is continually changing, therefore you want individuals that embrace it.

As a leader, establishing ideal conditions for talent and having a real ideology should be high on your agenda. You can't eliminate attrition, nor would you want to, but you can hire people who will become your company's leaders.

In my last four jobs I was employee 2, 5, 3, and 5. So while this is all a bit self serving, you’re the one reading my writing — and I have some experience with who works out in the first ten!

First, we'll examine what they do well (and why they're beneficial for startups), then what they don't, and how to hire them.

First 10 are:

  • Business partners: Because it's their company, they take care of whatever has to be done and have ideas about how to do it. You can rely on them to always put the success of the firm first because it is their top priority (company success is strongly connected with success for early workers). This approach will eventually take someone to leadership positions.

  • High Speed Learners: They process knowledge quickly and can reach 80%+ competency in a new subject matter rather quickly. A growing business that is successful tries new things frequently. We have all lost a lot of money and time on employees who follow the wrong playbook or who wait for someone else within the company to take care of them.

  • Autodidacts learn by trial and error, osmosis, networking with others, applying first principles, and reading voraciously (articles, newsletters, books, and even social media). Although teaching is wonderful, you won't have time.

  • Self-scaling: They figure out a means to deal with issues and avoid doing the grunt labor over the long haul, increasing their leverage. Great people don't keep doing the same thing forever; as they expand, they use automation and delegation to fill in their lower branches. This is a crucial one; even though you'll still adore them, you'll have to manage their scope or help them learn how to scale on their own.

  • Free Range: You can direct them toward objectives rather than specific chores. Check-ins can be used to keep them generally on course without stifling invention instead of giving them precise instructions because doing so will obscure their light.

  • When people are inspired, they bring their own ideas about what a firm can be and become animated during discussions about how to get there.

  • Novelty Seeking: They look for business and personal growth chances. Give them fresh assignments and new directions to follow around once every three months.


Here’s what the First Ten types may not be:

  • Domain specialists. When you look at their resumes, you'll almost certainly think they're unqualified. Fortunately, a few strategically positioned experts may empower a number of First Ten types by serving on a leadership team or in advising capacities.

  • Balanced. These people become very invested, and they may be vulnerable to many types of stress. You may need to assist them in managing their own stress and coaching them through obstacles. If you are reading this and work at Banza, I apologize for not doing a better job of supporting this. I need to be better at it.

  • Able to handle micromanagement with ease. People who like to be in charge will suppress these people. Good decision-making should be delegated to competent individuals. Generally speaking, if you wish to scale.

Great startup team members have versatility, learning, innovation, and energy. When we hire for the function, not the person, we become dull and staid. Could this person go to another department if needed? Could they expand two levels in a few years?

First Ten qualities and experience level may have a weak inverse association. People with 20+ years of experience who had worked at larger organizations wanted to try something new and had a growth mentality. College graduates may want to be told what to do and how to accomplish it so they can stay in their lane and do what their management asks.

Does the First Ten archetype sound right for your org? Cool, let’s go hiring. How will you know when you’ve found one?

  • They exhibit adaptive excellence, excelling at a variety of unrelated tasks. It could be hobbies or professional talents. This suggests that they will succeed in the next several endeavors they pursue.

  • Successful risk-taking is doing something that wasn't certain to succeed, sometimes more than once, and making it do so. It's an attitude.

  • Rapid Rise: They regularly change roles and get promoted. However, they don't leave companies when the going gets tough. Look for promotions at every stop and at least one position with three or more years of experience.

You can ask them:

  • Tell me about a time when you started from scratch or achieved success. What occurred en route? You might request a variety of tales from various occupations or even aspects of life. They ought to be energized by this.

  • What new skills have you just acquired? It is not required to be work-related. They must be able to describe it and unintentionally become enthusiastic about it.

  • Tell me about a moment when you encountered a challenge and had to alter your strategy. The core of a startup is reinventing itself when faced with obstacles.

  • Tell me about a moment when you eliminated yourself from a position at work. They've demonstrated they can permanently solve one issue and develop into a new one, as stated above.

  • Why do you want to leave X position or Y duty? These people ought to be moving forward, not backward, all the time. Instead, they will discuss what they are looking forward to visiting your location.

  • Any questions? Due to their inherent curiosity and desire to learn new things, they should practically never run out of questions. You can really tell if they are sufficiently curious at this point.

People who see their success as being the same as the success of the organization are the best-case team members, in any market. They’ll grow and change with the company, and always try to prioritize what matters. You’ll find yourself more energized by your work because you’re surrounded by others who are as well. Happy teambuilding!

Keagan Stokoe

Keagan Stokoe

1 year ago

Generalists Create Startups; Specialists Scale Them

There’s a funny part of ‘Steve Jobs’ by Walter Isaacson where Jobs says that Bill Gates was more a copier than an innovator:

“Bill is basically unimaginative and has never invented anything, which is why I think he’s more comfortable now in philanthropy than technology. He just shamelessly ripped off other people’s ideas….He’d be a broader guy if he had dropped acid once or gone off to an ashram when he was younger.”

Gates lacked flavor. Nobody ever got excited about a Microsoft launch, despite their good products. Jobs had the world's best product taste. Apple vs. Microsoft.

A CEO's core job functions are all driven by taste: recruiting, vision, and company culture all require good taste. Depending on the type of company you want to build, know where you stand between Microsoft and Apple.

How can you improve your product judgment? How to acquire taste?

Test and refine

Product development follows two parallel paths: the ‘customer obsession’ path and the ‘taste and iterate’ path.

The customer obsession path involves solving customer problems. Lean Startup frameworks show you what to build at each step.

Taste-and-iterate doesn't involve the customer. You iterate internally and rely on product leaders' taste and judgment.

Creative Selection by Ken Kocienda explains this method. In Creative Selection, demos are iterated and presented to product leaders. Your boss presents to their boss, and so on up to Steve Jobs. If you have good product taste, you can be a panelist.

The iPhone follows this path. Before seeing an iPhone, consumers couldn't want one. Customer obsession wouldn't have gotten you far because iPhone buyers didn't know they wanted one.

In The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz writes:

“It turns out that is exactly what product strategy is all about — figuring out the right product is the innovator’s job, not the customer’s job. The customer only knows what she thinks she wants based on her experience with the current product. The innovator can take into account everything that’s possible, but often must go against what she knows to be true. As a result, innovation requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and courage.“

One path solves a problem the customer knows they have, and the other doesn't. Instead of asking a person what they want, observe them and give them something they didn't know they needed.

It's much harder. Apple is the world's most valuable company because it's more valuable. It changes industries permanently.

If you want to build superior products, use the iPhone of your industry.

How to Improve Your Taste

I. Work for a company that has taste.

People with the best taste in products, markets, and people are rewarded for building great companies. Tasteful people know quality even when they can't describe it. Taste isn't writable. It's feel-based.

Moving into a community that's already doing what you want to do may be the best way to develop entrepreneurial taste. Most company-building knowledge is tacit.

Joining a company you want to emulate allows you to learn its inner workings. It reveals internal patterns intuitively. Many successful founders come from successful companies.

Consumption determines taste. Excellence will refine you. This is why restauranteurs visit the world's best restaurants and serious painters visit Paris or New York. Joining a company with good taste is beneficial.

2. Possess a wide range of interests

“Edwin Land of Polaroid talked about the intersection of the humanities and science. I like that intersection. There’s something magical about that place… The reason Apple resonates with people is that there’s a deep current of humanity in our innovation. I think great artists and great engineers are similar, in that they both have a desire to express themselves.” — Steve Jobs

I recently discovered Edwin Land. Jobs modeled much of his career after Land's. It makes sense that Apple was inspired by Land.

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War notes:

“Land was introverted in person, but supremely confident when he came to his ideas… Alongside his scientific passions, lay knowledge of art, music, and literature. He was a cultured person growing even more so as he got older, and his interests filtered into the ethos of Polaroid.”

Founders' philosophies shape companies. Jobs and Land were invested. It showed in the products their companies made. Different. His obsession was spreading Microsoft software worldwide. Microsoft's success is why their products are bland and boring.

Experience is important. It's probably why startups are built by generalists and scaled by specialists.

Jobs combined design, typography, storytelling, and product taste at Apple. Some of the best original Mac developers were poets and musicians. Edwin Land liked broad-minded people, according to his biography. Physicist-musicians or physicist-photographers.

Da Vinci was a master of art, engineering, architecture, anatomy, and more. He wrote and drew at the same desk. His genius is remembered centuries after his death. Da Vinci's statue would stand at the intersection of humanities and science.

We find incredibly creative people here. Superhumans. Designers, creators, and world-improvers. These are the people we need to navigate technology and lead world-changing companies. Generalists lead.

Aaron Dinin, PhD

Aaron Dinin, PhD

1 year ago

There Are Two Types of Entrepreneurs in the World Make sure you are aware of your type!

Know why it's important.

Photo by Brendan Church on Unsplash

The entrepreneur I was meeting with said, "I should be doing crypto, or maybe AI? Aren't those the hot spots? I should look there for a startup idea.”

I shook my head. Yes, they're exciting, but that doesn't mean they're best for you and your business.

“There are different types of entrepreneurs?” he asked.

I said "obviously." Two types, actually. Knowing what type of entrepreneur you are helps you build the right startup.

The two types of businesspeople

The best way for me to describe the two types of entrepreneurs is to start by telling you exactly the kinds of entrepreneurial opportunities I never get excited about: future opportunities.

In the early 1990s, my older brother showed me the World Wide Web and urged me to use it. Unimpressed, I returned to my Super Nintendo.

My roommate tried to get me to join Facebook as a senior in college. I remember thinking, This is dumb. Who'll use it?

In 2011, my best friend tried to convince me to buy bitcoin and I laughed.

Heck, a couple of years ago I had to buy a new car, and I never even considered buying something that didn’t require fossilized dinosaur bones.

I'm no visionary. I don't anticipate the future. I focus on the present.

This tendency makes me a problem-solving entrepreneur. I identify entrepreneurial opportunities by spotting flaws and/or inefficiencies in the world and devising solutions.

There are other ways to find business opportunities. Visionary entrepreneurs also exist. I don't mean visionary in the hyperbolic sense that implies world-changing impact. I mean visionary as an entrepreneur who identifies future technological shifts that will change how people work and live and create new markets.

Problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurs are equally good. But the two approaches to building companies are very different. Knowing the type of entrepreneur you are will help you build a startup that fits your worldview.

What is the distinction?

Let's use some simple hypotheticals to compare problem-solving and visionary entrepreneurship.

Imagine a city office building without nearby restaurants. Those office workers love to eat. Sometimes they'd rather eat out than pack a lunch. As an entrepreneur, you can solve the lack of nearby restaurants. You'd open a restaurant near that office, say a pizza parlor, and get customers because you solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Problem-solving entrepreneurship.

Imagine a new office building in a developing area with no residents or workers. In this scenario, a large office building is coming. The workers will need to eat then. As a visionary entrepreneur, you're excited about the new market and decide to open a pizzeria near the construction to meet demand.

Both possibilities involve the same product. You opened a pizzeria. How you launched that pizza restaurant and what will affect its success are different.

Why is the distinction important?

Let's say you opened a pizzeria near an office. You'll probably get customers. Because people are nearby and demand isn't being met, someone from a nearby building will stop in within the first few days of your pizzeria's grand opening. This makes solving the problem relatively risk-free. You'll get customers unless you're a fool.

The market you're targeting existed before you entered it, so you're not guaranteed success. This means people in that market solved the lack of nearby restaurants. Those office workers are used to bringing their own lunches. Why should your restaurant change their habits? Even when they eat out, they're used to traveling far. They've likely developed pizza preferences.

To be successful with your problem-solving startup, you must convince consumers to change their behavior, which is difficult.

Unlike opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site. Once the building opens, workers won't have many preferences or standardized food-getting practices. Your pizza restaurant can become the incumbent quickly. You'll be the first restaurant in the area, so you'll gain a devoted following that makes your food a routine.

Great, right? It's easier than changing people's behavior. The benefit comes with a risk. Opening a pizza restaurant near a construction site increases future risk. What if builders run out of money? No one moves in? What if the building's occupants are the National Association of Pizza Haters? Then you've opened a pizza restaurant next to pizza haters.

Which kind of businessperson are you?

This isn't to say one type of entrepreneur is better than another. Each type of entrepreneurship requires different skills.

As my simple examples show, a problem-solving entrepreneur must operate in markets with established behaviors and habits. To be successful, you must be able to teach a market a new way of doing things.

Conversely, the challenge of being a visionary entrepreneur is that you have to be good at predicting the future and getting in front of that future before other people.

Both are difficult in different ways. So, smart entrepreneurs don't just chase opportunities. Smart entrepreneurs pursue opportunities that match their skill sets.