Health Headlines (July 20th)

Many of the world's top Alzheimer's researchers are gathered in Washington, D.C. to present the latest findings on the cause, treatment and prevention of the disease.

Several studies focused on early diagnosis of Alzheimer's before symptoms even begin. 

Johns Hopkins scientists established six measures that best predict cognitive impairment, including specific memory tests, brain scans and protein levels in cerebrospinal fluid.

A smaller Canadian study found that measuring several proteins in saliva was also accurate in identifying people at risk for Alzheimer's disease.

While this could be a quick and inexpensive diagnosing tool, experts say much more research is needed.

The use of antibiotics for children has dropped over the past 20 years, but there are still misconceptions about the proper use of these medications.

A new study found parents of children under six, especially those covered by Medicaid, are less likely to understand the dangers of over-prescribing antibiotics.

Experts said it's important for all parents to be educated on the overuse of antibiotics so they don't ask pediatricians to prescribe them unnecessarily.

Other new research identifies the five areas of overuse when it comes to treating newborn babies.

The Harvard study found anti-reflux medications, antibiotics beyond 48 hours, breathing tests, chest radiographs and brain MRIs are often unnecessary.

The study authors said reflux and antibiotic medications may even cause harm in some cases.

Statistics show overuse and waste account for about one-third of all health care spending.

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