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EL ESPECTADOR

In "Cursed" Colombia Region, Clues To Alzheimer's Cause

Tests in a region in Colombia with widespread, recurring and inherited Alzheimer's may help researchers understand why the disease occurs and has thwarted treatments for so long.

Yaned's mother has Alzheimer's and can no longer walk on her own.
Yaned's mother has Alzheimer's and can no longer walk on her own.
Jesus Mendez

ANTIOQUIA — If Macondo, the fictitious district in Gabriel García Márquez'sOne Hundred Years of Solitude, existed, it would have to be in this northeastern corner of Colombia. The unusual prevalence of Alzheimer's Disease striking this area is reminiscent of the "plague of sleeplessness" or "disease of forgetfulness" cited by the Indian woman in the late Colombian novelist's masterpiece. She describes an endemic sleeplessness that in time morphs into acute forgetfulness. There is no exhaustion or sleep for the sufferer, but a gradual loss of memory through one sleepless night after another, of childhood, of names and then of the very notion of all things.

You sink into a state of idiocy without past or origin, though in the novel, García Márquez is not describing Alzheimer's, which he coincidentally suffered from before dying.

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Economy

How Much Longer Can The Russian Economy Survive Sanctions?

The head of the Kremlin boasted at the recent forum in St. Petersburg International Economic Forum about Russia’s economic resilience against Western sanctions. But behind the scenes, Russian business leaders tell a different story.

At a Veshki distribution center for the food retailer VkusVill, a chain of online Russian grocery stores.

Benjamin Quénelle

-Analysis-

MOSCOW — "The most effective sanction to weaken the Kremlin? Not to target us and punish us, but to give us visas instead ... to abandon the sinking the ship!" This businessman's iconoclastic perspective embodies the anxiety one could detect percolating just below the surface at the "Russian Davos" Forum in St. Petersburg last week.

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Officially called the "International" Economic Forum, the annual event organized by Vladimir Putin is meant to attract foreign investors — but this year, the elite of the national business community were cut off from the rest of the world. "Just among Russians... And forced to line up behind the regime and its economic strategies that lead us to a dead end," says the same source, a Russian manager in one of the main state-owned companies.

Like so many others, this man in his 40s, a typical representative of the new upper middle class, with a foreign passport in hand, educated in the West, liberal and multilingual, discovered his name on the lists of Western sanctions. Directly or indirectly, a large part of the Russian business world has been caught up in the European and U.S. sanctions against Moscow.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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