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Alzheimer's Snake Oil

An NIH-sponsored review of scientific literature on Alzheimer's disease has concluded that nothing currently works to prevent the disease, writes the Genomics, Evolution and Pseudoscience blog's Steven Salzberg. In its report, NIH wrote that "there is currently no evidence of even moderate scientific quality supporting the association of any modifiable factor ... with reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. The evidence surrounding risk reduction for cognitive decline is similarly limited." But that isn't preventing people from spending money needlessly on supplements, prescription and non-prescription drugs, and other remedies readily sold on the internet. Salzberg seems especially annoyed when it comes to Joseph Mercola, an osteopath who sells remedies on his Web site, including remedies for Alzheimer's. While some of Mercola's tips aren't harmful (he advises to exercise both the body and mind), others are "little more than pseudoscience," Salzberg says, particularly Mercola's advice to remove dental amalgam fillings and to avoid thimerosal-containing vaccines. Other tip function to steer people to buy Mercola's krill oil and non-aluminum cookware.

Salzberg concludes that the main risk factors for Alzheimer's are things we can't control, such as age and genetics. "If people would donate their money to Alzheimer's research rather than wasting it on ineffective treatments, maybe we'd find a cure just a little bit sooner," Salzberg says.

The Scan

US Booster Eligibility Decision

The US CDC director recommends that people at high risk of developing COVID-19 due to their jobs also be eligible for COVID-19 boosters, in addition to those 65 years old and older or with underlying medical conditions.

Arizona Bill Before Judge

The Arizona Daily Star reports that a judge is weighing whether a new Arizona law restricting abortion due to genetic conditions is a ban or a restriction.

Additional Genes

Wales is rolling out new genetic testing service for cancer patients, according to BBC News.

Science Papers Examine State of Human Genomic Research, Single-Cell Protein Quantification

In Science this week: a number of editorials and policy reports discuss advances in human genomic research, and more.