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Hard of hearing? It's not your ears, it's your brain

"Could you repeat that?" The reason you may have to say something twice when talking to older family members not be because of their hearing. Researchers have determined that something is going on in the brains of typical older adults that causes them to struggle to follow speech amidst background noise, even when their hearing would be considered normal on a clinical assessment.

In an interdisciplinary study, researchers Samira Anderson, Jonathan Z. Simon, and Alessandro Presacco found that adults aged 61-73 with normal hearing scored significantly worse on speech understanding in noisy environments than adults aged 18-30 with normal hearing.

The researchers are all associated with the UMD's Brain and Behavior Initiative.

The study subjects underwent two different kinds of scans to measure their brains' electrical activity while they listened to people talk.

The researchers were able to see what the subjects' brains were up to when asked what someone was saying, both in a quiet environment and amidst a level of noise.

Can vitamin B supplements help stave off stroke?

New evidence suggests that taking vitamin B supplements may help reduce the risk of stroke.

"Previous studies have conflicting findings regarding the use of vitamin B supplements and stroke or heart attack," said author Xu Yuming. "Some studies have even suggested that the supplements may increase the risk of these events."

For the research, scientists analyzed 14 randomized clinical trials with a total of 54,913 participants. All of the studies compared B vitamin use with a placebo or a very low-dose B vitamin.

'Dementia link to sudden low blood pressure and dizziness'

People who experience frequent drops in blood pressure or dizziness when suddenly standing up are at increased risk of dementia, scientists say.

Writing in Plos Medicine they suggest that less blood reaches the brain during these moments, leading to brain cell damage over time, according to BBC.

Dementia experts say this is a "robust study" and "plausible explanation" that needs further investigation.

Charities point out that factors such as smoking carry higher risks.

But they say the work adds to growing evidence that changes in blood pressure have an impact on the brain.

'Light-headedness'

Dark chocolate could prevent heart problems in high-risk people

Daily consumption of dark chocolate can reduce cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in people with metabolic syndrome (a cluster of factors that increases the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes), finds a study.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Dark chocolate (containing at least 60% cocoa solids) is rich in flavonoids -- known to have heart protecting effects -- but this has only been examined in short term studies.

So a team of researchers used a mathematical model to predict the long-term health effects and cost effectiveness of daily dark chocolate consumption in 2,013 people already at high risk of heart disease.

Calcium score predicts future heart disease among adults with little or no risk factors

With growing evidence that a measurement of the buildup of calcium in coronary arteries can predict heart disease risk, found that the process of "calcium scoring" was also accurate in predicting the chances of dying of heart disease among adults with little or no known risk of heart disease.

Previous studies had found that calcium scores were effective in predicting heart disease among adults with known heart disease risk factors, such as hypertension, diabetes, dyslipidemia, current smoking or a family history of heart disease. The study examined 5,593 adults with no known heart disease risk or with minimal risk of heart disease, who had undergone coronary artery calcium screening by non-contrast cardiac computed tomography from 1991-2011.