FOLLOW THE WEEK ON FACEBOOK
August 7, 2014
Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Older individuals deficient in vitamin D may have double the risk of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published Wednesday. Researchers found that in individuals aged 65 and older, those with "low levels" of vitamin D had a 53 percent increased risk of developing dementia, while those with a "more significant deficiency had a 125 percent increased risk." Both groups were compared to individuals with normal vitamin D levels.

Additionally, the study found that otherwise healthy individuals with lower levels of vitamin D were nearly 70 percent more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, while those who had a severe vitamin D deficiency were over 120 percent more likely.

That the correlation was so significant came as a surprise to researchers, said Dr. Iain Lang, one of the authors of the study. "We're quite surprised that the results are so big," Lang told BBC Radio 4. "I don't think this is they key to dementia or anything like that, but it's a really important step in finding out what might be going on there."

Vitamin D typically comes from sun exposure or a diet involving oily fish and certain dairy products. Supplements are also available, although Lang said the research was unclear as to whether deliberately increased intake could be beneficial. "What we haven't looked at here is whether, for example, supplementation is something that can... either delay or prevent the onset of dementia," he told the BBC. "We're not at that stage yet, but this is indicative that it's probably time to do that research."

Read the rest of the study at the journal Neurology. Kimberly Alters

12:26 p.m. ET

With a decisive primary looming in Indiana, Ted Cruz didn't mince words when going after Trump on Tuesday, slamming the Republican frontrunner as being a "serial philanderer."

"[He] describes his battles with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam," Cruz said. "That's a quote, by the way, on The Howard Stern Show."

While Cruz's attack might be too little too late, it's still hilarious (or depressing?) that we've reached this point in the race. Watch the whole uncomfortable rant, below. Jeva Lange

11:17 a.m. ET
Jim Dyson/Getty Images

English rock group Radiohead has been acting cryptically all week, blanking out their social media accounts and posting weird claymation videos. It turns out it was all a lead up to their new single, presumably off their forthcoming ninth album.

The track, "Burn the Witch," is a definite departure from Radiohead's last album, 2011's King of Limbs, but certainly only promises more good things to come (and, this being Radiohead, that means they could come at any time). Listen below. Jeva Lange

10:34 a.m. ET
FRANCOIS XAVIER MARIT/AFP/Getty Images

India is testing out a new tactic to reduce its carbon emissions: making farm animals less flatulent. Scientists at the Cow Research Institute in Mathura, located about 100 miles south of New Delhi, are experimenting with cattle feed that will make cows less gassy; fewer bovine blasts would cut back on the amount of the heat-trapping gas methane released into the atmosphere. Meanwhile, scientists in the southern state of Kerala are working on a more long-term solution, as researchers there have been experimenting with a strain of miniature cattle that would produce just one-tenth the amount of methane produced by the standard Indian cow.

Silly as it may sound, The New York Times reports that they might just be onto something:

Consider the numbers: India is home to more than 280 million cows, and 200 million more ruminant animals like sheep, goats, yaks, and buffalo. According to an analysis of satellite data from the country’s space program, all those digestive tracts send 13 tons of methane into the atmosphere every year — and pound for pound, methane traps 25 times as much heat as carbon dioxide does.

So reducing animal flatulence might actually do some good — especially in India, where there is little chance of cutting back the use of fossil fuels anytime soon. (In fact, the country expects to double its coal production by 2019.) [The New York Times]

Read the full story on cow flatulence over at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET
GUILLERMO LEGARIA/AFP/Getty Images

Same-sex adoption became legal in all 50 states Tuesday after the final holdout, Mississippi, failed to appeal a recent federal ruling that deemed its ban on same-sex adoption unconstitutional. Mississippi had until 11:59 p.m. Monday night to appeal the ruling and failed to do so, effectively letting the ban die. "Mississippi was the last state in the nation that prohibited adoption by gay couples, so in all 50 states, gay couples are allowed to adopt kids, as it should be," Roberta Kaplan, one of the case's lead lawyers, told BuzzFeed News. "As far as the state is concerned, gay couples and their kids can't be treated differently than anyone else."

The law, which had been in place since 2000, was initially challenged in 2015 by four same-sex couples who wanted to adopt together or who were already raising children together. The federal court ruled in March that the ban violated the Constitution's equal protection clause. "I've been waiting 16 years to be able to adopt my son," one of the plaintiffs told Buzzfeed News, "so I'm overjoyed." Becca Stanek

9:51 a.m. ET
RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State terrorists in the seaside city of Sirte, Libya, have reportedly taken to selling chickens and eggs by the roadside in an effort to raise money — while still wearing their full military regalia. It's sort of like a kid's lemonade stand, except horrifying.

"When [ISIS] took over Sirte, they seized many properties, including farms, and some of these are very large chicken farms," a former Sirte resident said. "Relatives tell me [ISIS] people can now be seen standing in the streets in their black outfits with their faces covered, selling both the eggs and the chickens. And they are selling the chickens for a very cheap price of just one or two dinars."

The terrorist organization is also demanding rent payments on shops and luxury apartments, including those owned by their occupants, as well as street cleaning and trash collection fees. Bonnie Kristian

9:33 a.m. ET
Gerardo Mora/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate last week in a final gambit to edge out Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. Unfortunately for the Cruz-Fiorina campaign, poll results released Tuesday indicate it didn't help.

Six in 10 voters said the addition of Fiorina to Cruz's ticket had "no impact" on their decision to support or oppose his candidacy, a Morning Consult survey revealed, while 22 percent said the veep pick made them less likely to vote Cruz. Only 18 percent report they are now more likely to be Cruz voters, suggesting the announcement may have slightly decreased Cruz's election success.

The same poll discovered Fiorina still has fairly low name recognition — more than a third of respondents did not know who she is — and among those who are aware of her, most hold an unfavorable opinion. Bonnie Kristian

9:28 a.m. ET
Screenshot/Twitter.com/TyCSports

The United States is hosting the Copa América soccer tournament for the first time in June, and an Argentine television station decided to have a little fun with that fact.

The station's advertisement for coverage of the event is set to one of Donald Trump's "I'm going to build a wall" speeches in which he blasts "dangerous" South Americans for coming over the border. "These are total killers," Trump rants. "These are not the nice, sweet little people that you think, okay?"

Of course, when set to dramatic music with footage of Argentina's greatest soccer stars, Trump's message takes on an entirely different meaning. Watch the brilliant ad, below. Jeva Lange

See More Speed Reads