Doctors are working on a test to determine if a person with Alzheimer's disease can safely get behind the wheel. As the population ages, the number of dementia and Alzheimer's patients continues to rise, which puts more memory impaired drivers on the roads. Researchers at the University of Iowa have created a combination of off-road cognitive and actual driving tests that they say can assess a person's ability to drive. The tests proved that drivers with Alzheimer's committed 27% more safety errors than those without the disease. The patients who did better on the off-road tests made fewer driving mistakes.
Researchers believe these tests could help prevent accidents while still allowing elderly drivers to keep their freedom for as long as possible. The study was published in the journal Neurology.
Ft. Hood Increases Counseling
The emotional impact of war is taking its toll on soldiers and right now, there are 500 soldiers at Ft. Hood diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury or posttraumatic stress disorder. To meet the increased demand, Ft. Hood officials are trying to recruit more than 40 psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers. Command leadership says it's time for the troops to ask for help and that they are encouraging soldiers who think they might have a problem to ask for counseling.
Scientists are optimistic about a gel designed to prevent HIV infection in women. The microbicide gel, called "Pro-2000", is part of a large clinical trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health. Researchers say it was found to be safe overall and effective in 30% of women studied. Experts say that while this study is not conclusive, it does provide some hope for women at risk for HIV. Pro-2000 works by blocking HIV from entering cells and researchers say more studies on the gel are necessary.
Indevus Pharmaceuticals in Lexington, Massachusetts make the gel and the National Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, funds the study.