A Columbia University study found that consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, plentiful in fish and nuts, is associated with lower blood levels of beta-amyloid protein, a possible indication of increased risk for Alzheimer's disease. Amyloid plaques and tangles in the brain are known to increase the risk for mental decline, and blood levels of the protein may reflect levels of its deposits in the brain. Researchers studied 1,219 mentally healthy people older than 65, recording their diet over 1 1/2 years and testing their blood for beta-amyloid and for vitamins and other nutrients. The study appeared online in Neurology. None of the nutrients was associated with reduced beta-amyloid levels except for omega-3 fatty acid, which were associated with significantly lower beta-amyloid blood levels.


Like something out of a horror movie, the zombie-ant fungus attacks and invades the brains of carpenter ants. Possessed ants march to their death, and the fungus lives inside the exoskeleton. Now, a study in journal PLoS One reports that the zombie-ant fungus itself faces attack -- by a fungus. David Hughes, a disease biologist at Penn State, said it prevents the spores of the zombie-ant fungus from infecting other ants in the colony.


So many baby boomers are infected with hepatitis C -- and so few of them know it -- that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may recommend everyone born between 1945 and 1965 be screened. About 3.2 million Americans have chronic hepatitis C. Three out of four were born between 1945 and 1965, so directing testing of that group would be the most effective way to get people into treatment, said Dr. John Ward of the CDC. The CDC will solicit public comments before making a final decision.