Nightmares in middle-age sign of Alzheimer's? + Will evolution get rid of patriarchy?

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Nightmares in middle-age could be early sign of Alzheimer’s

INTRO: Nightmares may be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s, according to new research.

Middle-aged people who have frequent bad dreams are much more likely to be diagnosed with the progressive disease later in life according to scientists at Birmingham University's Centre for Human Brain Health.

Their research shows that middle-aged people (35-64-year-olds) who experience nightmares on a weekly basis are four times more like to suffer cognitive decline over the following decade, while older people were twice as likely to be diagnosed with dementia.

The study, published in The Lancet journal, eClinicalMedicine, also found that older men who experience nightmares on a weekly basis were five times more likely to develop dementia than older men who reported none.

In women, however, the increase in risk was only 41pc... (MORE - details)

How did the patriarchy start – and will evolution get rid of it?

READER QUESTION: Many people assume the patriarchy has always been there, but surely this isn’t the case? How did it really originate? Matt, 48, London.

INTRO: The patriarchy, having been somewhat in retreat in parts of the world, is back in our faces . In Afghanistan, the Taliban once again prowl the streets more concerned with keeping women at home and in strict dress code than with the impending collapse of the country into famine.

And on another continent, parts of the US are legislating to ensure that women can no longer have a legal abortion. In both cases, lurking patriarchal beliefs were allowed to reemerge when political leadership failed. We have an eerie feeling of travelling back through time. But how long has patriarchy dominated our societies? (MORE - details)

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OPINE: The human-oriented sciences are not neutral or passive recipients of knowledge, that simply record facts. They're prescriptive with respect to how they want the social world to be -- they come with an a priori agenda for both interpreting data and steering the conceptions resulting from that. They deal in manufacturing "oughts" just like part of the humanities, not simply discovering "is".

This has little to do with whether or not we agree with the direction the human-oriented sciences want to take us. Many people may very much agree with the future that they incrementally prod our decision-makers toward.

The point is, don't get lured into accepting the superficial veneer of academic pretentiousness that they are passive and non-prescriptive. If that silliness does occasionally infect your head, simply read something like the above to expel such reality impairment. It's as much an underlying sermon as it is answering a question. Again, even if you agree with the moralizing and ministry in between the lines. 

Evolutionary processes don't give a flip about our ever changing and developing ethical standards. If the species survives any set of them during a span of history -- regardless of making us individuals unhappy or happy, they're thereby a figurative "success". (Though some are surely better than others, from the personal standpoint.)

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