#Science works! The study that predicted Ebola in the USA in late September!!!

Almost a month ago, CauseScience posted: Will Ebola spread to the USA in September? A new study suggests there is a small probability it could.

The recent confirmation of the first Ebola case in Texas confirms the studies predictions… to the day. The calculated risk of an Ebola case in the USA by the end of september was 18%.

To jog your memory of that post:

A study published in PLOS Currents: Outbreaks calculated the likelihood of Ebola cases coming to the United States and other countries based on virtual airline traffic. The study concluded that within 3-6 weeks the ‘probability of international spread outside the African region is small, but not negligible.’

… the authors of a new analysis say many countries — including the U.S. — should gear up to recognize, isolate and treat imported cases of Ebola.

The probability of seeing at least one imported case of Ebola in the U.S. is as high as 18 percent by late September…

These predictions are based on the flow of airline passengers from West Africa and the difficulty of preventing an infected passenger from boarding a flight.

Good news for Neurological disorders: new studies show decrease in Alzheimer’s Disease and stroke

Some great new for neurological diseases and improving health in western countries. First, a new study published in JAMA shows that stroke incidence and mortality are declining in the United States.


In a multicenter cohort of black and white adults in US communities, stroke incidence and mortality rates decreased from 1987 to 2011. The decreases varied across age groups, but were similar across sex and race, showing that improvements in stroke incidence and outcome continued to 2011.

Second, preliminary results from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference show that in multiple western countries, the rates of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are decreasing.alz

In one U.S. study, researchers found that compared with the late 1970s, the rate of dementia diagnosis was 44 percent lower in recent years. The sharpest decline was seen among people in their 60s.

A second study, which reviewed research from England, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United States, found a similar pattern. The third study, meanwhile, found signs of progress in the space of only a few years: In 2004, older German adults were about one-quarter more likely to be diagnosed with dementia than in 2007. – news release from Philly.com

One very interesting thing to note is that authors of the studies for both diseases speculate that the observed decreases may be due to similar recent improvements in western health. Specifically, trends in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, rates of heart disease, and smoking. Overall, improved cardiovascular health, likely due in some part to cholesterol lowering statin drugs (see previous post about statins here), is likely to contribute to the findings for both disease conditions. In addition, authors of the studies looking at dementia and Alzheimer’s disease speculate better education might also contribute, as previous studies have shown higher education = lower Alzheimer’s risk.

Great news all around! Looks like it might be true that a healthy heart is part of a healthy brain!