Health Advice



Thinking About Vitamins

Scott LaFee on

Lots of dietary supplements have been touted as helping prevent cognitive decline in older adults, though almost none have any compelling empirical evidence to back up their claims (which tend to be carefully couched to avoid regulatory scrutiny).

A new study provides a bit more scientific rigor, albeit mixed results. Researchers conducted a study with more than 2,200 participants, all over the age of 65. Some were given a cocoa extract supplement containing flavanols, compounds promoted for their restorative powers; some received a multivitamin; and some got a placebo. They completed cognitive testing before and after the one-year study.

The researchers found no difference in global cognition between those who took the cocoa extract and those who did not, but participants who took the multivitamin had higher cognition scores than those who didn't. Significant improvements were also seen in memory and executive function. Cocoa extract had no effect on either.

The researchers said more work remains before they can recommend daily multivitamin supplementation to prevent cognitive decline, but it's food for thought. Of course, a balanced and nutritious diet is also good for thought, no vitamin necessary.

Mulch Ado About You

In 2027, a new law in California will allow dead people to be buried, cremated or composted, which officially is called "natural organic reduction." The approach, already approved in four other states, is intended to be environmentally friendly: Cremation creates a big carbon footprint; burial can lead to toxic embalming chemicals leaching into the soil.


The process involves placing a body inside a metal or wooden vessel surrounded by organic matter, such as wood chips or alfalfa. Over six weeks to six months, the corpse is reduced to soil, which can be returned to the earth.

Human composting costs between $3,000 and $8,000, compared to an average funeral cost of just under $7,000 for cremation or $9,400 for traditional burial.

Get Me That, Stat!

A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that high school students who experience violence, suicidal thoughts or actions and substance abuse are more likely to also carry a gun. Overall, the pre-pandemic Youth Risk Behavior Survey reported that 1 in 15 males and 1 in 50 females said they'd carried a gun in the past 12 months for other than recreational purposes, such as hunting or target shooting.


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