In yet another sign of the power of cat videos, an ad warning young smokers about the health dangers of secondhand smoke for their cats and featuring some of the biggest Internet cat video stars is creating quite a buzz.
The 30-second ad aired on television during the Grammy Awards and became an instant hit. Soon the alarmist hashtag #CATmageddon was trending on Twitter.
An anti-tobacco group, Truth Initiative, is behind the edgy ad campaign, which uses images of famous cats such as Shark Cat (a cat in a shark costume riding a roomba) and Pirate Cat (a cat in, you guessed it, a pirate costume). A siren blares in the background as these words pop up on the screen: "Cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owner smokes." The ad also warns: "Smoking = no cats = no cat videos."
If that doesn't cause your back to arch up, what will?
Those who work with people trying to quit smoking applauded the ad's unusual approach to reaching teens.
"Part of it is if you want to break through and get your message heard, you need to be a little different and edgy. This campaign certainly does that," said Mike Sheldon, senior communications manager for Clearway Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that provides support for people who want to stop smoking. "Obviously, cats are a big YouTube star. [The ad] does a good job of being relevant to teens. Whatever is motivating to you to help you quit, we're all for it."
To see the video, go to youtube.com/watch?v=tLtschJxRy8
U.S. dementia rates falling
Despite fears that the coming silver tsunami will trigger a dementia epidemic, a surprising new study suggests that it may be possible to delay — or even prevent — some kinds of dementia.
Dementia rates in the United States dropped by 44 percent from the late 1970s to 2010, according to a Boston University study. And the average age when people showed symptoms rose from 80 to 85.
The report, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, analyzed data from a long-running study of thousands of people in a small Massachusetts town.
While scientists don't know the exact reason for the decrease in dementia cases, they highlight two contributing factors: education level and heart health. People who earned at least a high school diploma had a much lower dementia risk than those with less education.
The largest decrease was reported in dementia cases caused by stroke and other vascular diseases. People in the study who improved their heart health saw a reduction in their dementia risk.
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