There are people who only see the bad in everything. A new study has now found that frequent negative thinking is not just due to a state of mind or a crisis, but can be linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Brooding, worrying, and starting a negative thought cycle – this happens to most people every now and then when they have a difficult time in life. But whoever thinks in negative patterns frequently and over long periods of time could be or get sick with Alzheimer’s . This has now been determined by researchers in a new study by University College London , which was published in the journal ” Alzheimer & Dementia “. A team of scientists led by psychiatrist Nathalie L. Marchant examined 292 older adults over 55 years of age who were physically and mentally healthy, but had either one parent or two siblings who suffered from Alzheimer’s. Mental examination and brain scans of the participants The subjects were repeatedly subjected to mental tests over a period of two years to see how they coped with negative situations. The focus of the study was the so-called RNT, “repetitive negative thinking”, a measurable cognitive process in which thoughts revolve around fears from the past and fears about the future. For years, fear and depression have been considered risk factors and also harbingers of Alzheimer’s disease. Brain scans (PET), an imaging technique, were also used to examine whether there are protein deposits typical of Alzheimer’s such as tau and amyloid in the brain. These are deposited there years before the onset of the disease and ensure that over time nerve cells and their connections die off and cognitive performance decreases more and more – i.e. speech and memory performance as well as attention and spatial orientation. Deposition of Alzheimer’s proteins in the brain detected in RNT Over the course of four years, it was found that those test participants who had frequent negative thinking, i.e. RNT, also developed cognitive disorders and amnesia. The harmful deposits that were detected in the brain were responsible for this. “We were able to find that a higher level of RNT is associated with a faster decline in cognitive abilities and leads to a deterioration in memory performance within 48 months,” said the study results. “RNT has been linked to the higher levels of tau and amyloid in the brain.” The study also showed that depression and anxiety can cause cognitive disorders – but without the typical deposits in the brain. In this study, these could only be linked to RNT, which turned out to be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Deposits from RNT or RNT from deposits? According to the researchers, however, it should be noted that all study participants already had an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, since the disease occurred in close family circles (either with parents or siblings). Therefore the results cannot necessarily be applied to the general population. While the study hypothesizes that RNT is associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it might as well be the other way around. In other words: The deposits of dew and amyloid could lead to the occurrence of RNT. In order to clearly clarify the cause, further and more comprehensive studies would have to be carried out, the researchers said. Therefore, it cannot be deduced precisely from the results whether a reduction in RNT can also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. To do this, one would have to investigate whether measures such as conversation therapy or mindfulness exercises that can reduce the occurrence of RNT also result in less harmful protein deposits in the brain. Forms of dementia Alzheimer’s is the most common, but only one form of dementia . Other common forms are Lewy body dementia , in which protein deposits inside the nerve cells are responsible for confusion, visual hallucinations and motor problems. Or vascular dementia , which triggers strokes unnoticed . The symptoms are similar to those of Alzheimer’s disease. Different forms of Alzheimer’s dementia Most common is the sporadic form of Alzheimer’s. In this disease, genetic and environmental influences determine the course. The greatest risk factor is age. But the ApoE4 gene, which is responsible for transporting fatty acids, also increases the risk of falling ill. The autosomal dominant form of Alzheimer’s dementia is much rarer . A characteristic of this form of Alzheimer’s is that the symptoms appear much earlier and intensify or accumulate more quickly. If several people in a family have Alzheimer’s disease, doctors speak of a familial form of Alzheimer’s disease. With this form, the blood relatives’ risk of developing Alzheimer’s is increased. While the lifetime risk is typically ten percent, it increases two and a half times (25 percent) for first-degree relatives. Risk factors for dementia In general, the following aspects are considered risk factors for dementia: Age : From the age of 60, the incidence of dementia doubles every five years Gender: Women are more at risk of dementia than men Genetic factors : A certain variant of the ApoE gene (important for the transport of cholesterol in the blood) influences the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of the disease appear particularly early in carriers of ApoE4. “About 30 percent of the Alzheimer’s risk can be explained by seven risk factors that we can influence more or less effectively,” says dementia researcher Miia Kivipelto from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm . There are: diabetes high blood pressure Obesity Sedentary lifestyle Smoke low education depression Signs of dementia The first phase of dementia diseases like Alzheimer’s is the mild dementia stage . The sick can no longer remember new things. In addition, abstract everyday tasks, such as a tax return , are particularly difficult. In this phase of Alzheimer’s disease, the first protein clumps ( beta-amyloid plaques ) have already formed in certain areas of the cerebral cortex ( neocortex ). When the stage of moderate dementia is reached, the clumped proteins have already attacked other areas of the brain. The sick can no longer correctly recognize and remember complex shapes and patterns. This makes it difficult for patients to use household appliances or to dress independently. Speech comprehension also suffers. The sick themselves usually do not see their own impairments ( anosognosia ). The symptoms increase over time. For the sick, this often brings with it additional psychological symptoms, such as fear, depressive moods, hallucinations or a disturbance of the sleep-wake cycle. The stage of severe dementia is characterized by increasing motor and vegetative disorders, such as incontinence. The sick become in need of care. Alzheimer’s disease is not the same for every patient. Recent studies have shown that the protein clumps responsible for symptoms come from different protein families. Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco concluded that this could be an explanation for the different course of the disease. Preventing dementia – is that possible? Depending on the type of dementia, you can prevent better or worse. According to the current state of science, we are simply powerless against some species. Even so, what harms your body can also affect the brain. You can at least counteract vascular dementia by paying attention to the following six things: 1. Eat a balanced diet According to the current state of research, a Mediterranean diet is particularly good for our heart and brain. Most recently, Australian researchers came to the conclusion that this diet can also reduce the risk of dementia. The menu mainly includes fruit, vegetables, whole grain and dairy products, olive oil, little red meat, instead fish and chicken. 2. Drink alcohol in moderation Proponents of the Mediterranean diet also recommend a glass of red wine every now and then. But it shouldn’t be more. Because heavy alcohol consumption can damage the brain. Scientists from Stockholm confirmed this connection . Test subjects who drank alcohol less than once a month suffered from memory disorders only half as often as test subjects who drank more frequently. The researchers did not differentiate between wine , beer and spirits. Particularly interesting: in subjects who never consumed alcohol, the risk of dementia was again slightly higher compared to the infrequent drinkers. 3. Get enough exercise Australian scientists recommend two and a half hours of exercise a week to reduce memory loss significantly. That works better than medication. 4. Take a break in stressful situations Stress can promote breakdown processes in the brain and thus lead to Alzheimer’s, researchers from Argentina report . They found: Of 107 Alzheimer’s patients examined, 78 were severely mentally stressed, for example due to the death of a relative, violence or accidents. 5. Don’t smoke Smokers are twice as likely to have dementia as non-smokers. This is the result of a long-term study with more than 21,000 US citizens. If you want to prevent dementia, you should therefore give up smoking. 6. Go to the sauna regularly A study, of course by Finnish researchers , suggests that sweating in the sauna can also help in the fight against dementia. The researchers examined more than 2,000 healthy men. Those who took a sauna four to seven times a week had a 66 percent lower risk of dementia compared to those who did not like the sauna.
Flat in the morning, a ball in the evening – no diet will help against the bloated stomach. Nevertheless, it can be kept nice and flat with the right diet. Which foods help and which other tricks let the air out of the balloon under the abdominal wall. Typical bloated stomach: it comes and goes in a daily rhythm. Food that is difficult to digest is to blame for the yo-yo tummy. Baby teas, exercise, and less sugar keep your stomach flat. Is that a baby tummy? So gossip magazines like to ask as soon as they discover the smallest bulge on a slim celebrity woman. Sometimes the assumption is correct, but mostly the woman just has a bloated stomach. Doctors speak of meteorism. A characteristic of this belly is that it does not consist of rolls of bacon, that it bulges during the day and usually disappears again overnight. The slimmer someone is, the more noticeable the on-off belly is. Those affected can then place a ruler on the hipbone while lying down in the morning without it touching the abdominal wall. In the evening, the ruler sits more like a seesaw swing under the navel. Too much gas in the intestines inflates the stomach The yo-yo belly is caused by swallowed air and gases that form in the intestine during digestion of many foods. There is an uncomfortable pressure. The abdominal wall bulges. This is almost always harmless, but at least embarrassing because of the often audible rumbling in the intestine. Thomas Frieling, gastroenterologist and director of internal medicine at the Helios Clinic in Krefeld, says: “The reasons range from swallowed air to intolerance to lactose, fructose or the sugar substitute sorbitol and a disturbed bacterial flora in the intestine to a sluggish stomach or a malalignment of the Diaphragm. ” Avoiding cabbage and legumes Food that is difficult to digest is often responsible for gas accumulation. Ironically, the healthiest of all foods are at the top of the list of foods that many people cannot digest well: cabbage and legumes, fruit, milk, and mineral water. It contains lactose, fructose, fiber and carbon dioxide, which cause discomfort in the stomach. Avoiding or reducing food that is very flatulent or individually poorly tolerated keeps the stomach flat. The list of food maps could serve as a guideline : foods that are good for or harmful to irritable bowel patients. Less sugar and carbon dioxide Sugar and sugar substitutes promote gas formation, as do carbonated drinks. This makes lemonades, cola or apple spritzer, as well as diet and light drinks, common causes of bulging tummies. It is advisable to drink a lot, but it is digestible. Eat slowly and don’t smoke Too much air in the stomach collects from hasty eating and smoking, because we swallow a lot of oxygen. Small meals, chewing thoroughly, and smoking less will provide relief. “Even people who are sensitive to stress take in more air than others. You just swallow a lot more often. The gas collects more and more in the intestines, ”says the expert, who is also a board member of the Gastro-Liga eV . Drink tea and keep moving Caraway and fennel seeds, ginger and chamomile tea – these home remedies help digestion and dissolve gas accumulations. A lot of movement prevents the bloated stomach and helps to dissolve the gas accumulation. What the pharmacy offers Special herbal preparations from the pharmacy help quickly if the stomach bulges again – and so-called defoamers. Thomas Frieling explains the effect: “In the intestine, water and gases mix to form bubble foam. Active ingredients such as Simeticon or Dimeticon cause the bubbles to burst and dissolve them. ”
Lisa Hofbauer struggled with her weight all her life. The Donna author was only able to develop healthy eating habits through hypnotherapy. In this way, she managed to lose ten pounds – without the yo-yo effect. Zero diet, food combining, low fat, dinner canceling, sauerkraut days … I know everything. The fight against the kilos has accompanied me since my childhood. When I was in school, I would cycle 50 kilometers a day to burn calories. Later I only ate breakfast for a while or didn’t eat anything but oatmeal for weeks. When I imagine this today, I was really merciless to my body. For him the pure state of war – never knowing: Will I get something again tomorrow? No wonder that after such actions I put on weight again in a very short time. And gained even more. Typical yo-yo effect. I no longer wanted to stop unsuccessful lightning diets My weight problems became more and more important. How often have I struggled with having those darn 10, 12, 15 kilos too much on my ribs? Quite apart from the worry of what it would look like after the menopause : another 5 kilos more? I wanted to lose weight sustainably – and decided on Metabolic Balance a good two years ago. This is an individual change in diet with clear rules: three meals a day, do not eat after 9 p.m. … At first it went quite well, I went from 80 kilos to 73 (at a height of 1.70 meters). Then came the hunger pangs But after a few months I suddenly got cravings for sweets – even I didn’t know anything like that with my diet history. It was like an addiction. During the day I still had everything under control, ate with moderation, according to plan. But in the evening on the sofa all dams broke: I ate chocolate, cake, biscuits until there were no more crumbs. It was better on vacation, but alas, I had a stressful day – which is more normal in my job – then it overwhelmed me. The next morning I hated myself for it. A vicious circle that I couldn’t find my way out of. I gained control through hypnosis At some point a friend told me how he had given up smoking through hypnosis . Maybe that could help me too? I immediately made an appointment for a two-hour “power session”. What I would expect, the therapist Lilian Oliveira asked me at first. I want my self-determination back, I said, that I can flip the switch again. Enjoy a piece of cake every now and then, leave it with a rib of chocolate – and that’s it. I made peace with my body The theoretical part before the trance was already a breakthrough for me. Because it was a lot about eating habits and the emotional side – about the difference between physical and emotional hunger, which you cannot satisfy with food. For me, an aha effect: I understood that I wanted to reward myself with the sweets, but from now on I had to satisfy this type of desire differently. The therapist explained that I should completely avoid sweets for a year in order to be able to make peace with my body again. That made sense to me – alcoholics also have to be abstinent in order to get away from their addiction. And yes, I felt like an addict. I felt like I was after a nap Hypnosis was on for the last 25 minutes of the session. I sat relaxed on a lounger with soft music playing in the background. I had made up my mind to see everything, but I can only remember the therapist mentally making me go down a flight of stairs. The rest is gone. I know that in the trance my subconscious was reprogrammed with suggestions, beliefs like “When you are full, you stop eating”. After that I felt as relaxed as after an afternoon nap. I left the practice and everything was crystal clear. This time I would do it. And really: it was so easy to do without! In twelve weeks I lost 10 pounds, all by itself. I could have the drawer full of chocolate – I just didn’t care. Cravings? Nothing! I enjoy changing clothes in size 38 Since then I’ve been holding my 64 kilos. Why had I tormented myself for 40 years? I’ve always liked exercise and sport, but now I had a new motivation, now there was a lot more ease. My passion for fashion also came back. What fun to change clothes in size 38! I’ve been living without sweets for two years now, at most a piece of sugar in an espresso. And I miss: nothing! I am liberated.
Muesli in the morning or do you prefer scrambled eggs? Five hour break between meals? Don’t eat anything after 5 p.m.? There are many opinions on how to lose weight by the watch. FOCUS Online clarifies the current status of nutritional science. For old-school nutritionists, there is only one diet rule: Consume more calories than absorb, and your fat pads will melt away. What time of day and how often the person who wants to lose weight eats does not matter. Many experts now see this in a more nuanced way. Because there is a connection between chronobiology, metabolism and nutrition: the biological rhythm is not only followed by our waking and sleeping times; the energy metabolism is also differently active during the day. We know, for example, that the burning of fat takes place more intensely at night, while the carbohydrates “stay”. A recommendation is therefore not to eat three hours before going to bed. Extra calories in the evening become hip gold Nutrition expert Monika Bischoff says that the importance of the times of day for energy expenditure is usually overestimated: “Primarily, energy intake and consumption determine our body weight. The time is therefore not decisive for weight gain or loss. ” The head nutritionist at the Center for Nutritional Medicine and Prevention (ZEP) in Munich sees time-dependent nutritional “sins” as the cause of failed diets. “In the evening there is often the risk of an additional high energy supply. Those who nibble quickly blow their calorie account. “ The midnight snack increases the risk of diabetes For example, a small study at the University of Pennsylvania found that eating between noon and 11 p.m. made you fatter than the same meals between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. Eating late also increases insulin levels and, in the long run, the risk of diabetes. Another US study on the influence of the time on diet success came out, for example, that you lose more weight when the calories decrease in the evening – and if possible not consist of carbohydrates. The carbohydrates are rather allowed in the morning, preferably as “slow carbs”, ie slowly usable fillers. The nutrition expert recommends muesli or whole grain bread. In the evening, protein and long breaks to eat promote weight loss This is how the “Low Carb” diet principle works: The method is based on filling up the empty energy stores with quickly usable carbohydrates (bread) in the morning and doing without them completely in the evening. So no pasta, potatoes, rice as a side dish. Instead, plenty of protein for the muscles, which need a lot of energy. Ultimately, this is how it affects the fat deposits on the collar. Regular eating times with always the same breaks in between are another aspect for Lose weight according to the clock. If there are always four to five hours between meals, the insulin level can drop enough that fat burning starts. Exercising during meal breaks increases this effect. Eating in the time window helps you lose weight The latest trend for effective weight loss with a time aspect is intermittent fasting: (three) meals are allowed for eight to 10 hours during the day. Then there is a long break of 14 to 16 hours. The idea is supported by a study that was carried out at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the USA – but with mice: 400 rodents were given the same amount of high-calorie food for three weeks. Some of the mice had access to it for 24 hours, others only for twelve hours. The results impressed the researchers: the mice that could only eat half the day were healthier and thinner than the 24-hour eater. If experimental animals only had nine hours for their daily ration, their figure was even better than that of the permanent eater. If they were allowed to eat for a period of fifteen hours, the successes were no longer quite as meaningful. The longer the rodents were allowed to feed during the day, the more they gained weight. The mice, which could initially eat whenever they wanted and then receive a nine-hour diet with the same number of calories, lost up to five percent within a few days. Three meals a day – without any time fixation Monika Bischoff, the expert for healthy weight loss and long-term dietary changes, remains skeptical of time constraints: “Everyone has their own biorhythm. For example, some people find it easy to take long breaks from eating, such as with intermittent fasting, while others find it totally stressful. ”The ecotrophologist also lacks clear scientific data for a final assessment of“ eating by the clock ”. “Three balanced, reduced-calorie meals spread over the day are still the best diet recommendation.”
Bad mood, constant hunger and ultimately surrender to strict rules. Most diets fail and make you fat rather than slim in the long run. But there are some that are actually successful – and even suitable for everyday use. Slimming diets can be a real mood killer, as a study by the Helmholtz Center in Munich showed. That being said, most diets are far from successful. Many people who had lost a lot of weight at the beginning put as much weight back on the scales after one year as they did before the start of the slimming diet, if not even more (yo-yo effect). The cause is stress hormones, which the body can produce in excess due to the diet . Counting calories creates stress and is the beginning of the end of many diets However, there are also slimming programs that usually do not have any of these side effects, are practicable and enable a long-term normal weight, as an analysis of several studies at Harvard University showed. The following five slimming programs are particularly recommended, all of which get by without the greatest stress factors – namely calorie counting and food cravings. 1. Mediterranean Diet – Mediterranean diet for gourmets This is a change in diet that is best made for life. The simple rules: Lots of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts. A glass of red wine is also allowed. Sausage, red meat and high-fat dairy products, on the other hand, should rarely be on the menu. Sweets also play a subordinate role in Mediterranean cuisine. Tiramisu, the most typical Italian dessert for many Germans , is only served on holidays in their home country – so it is rather the exception. In everyday life, an apple or a pear with a few nuts round off the meal and also satisfy the hunger for sweets. With the Mediterranean diet , you won’t lose two kilograms in the first week. Four to eleven kilograms within the first year are quite possible, as the meta-analysis shows. This weight loss is permanent if this diet is followed. 2. Low carb has been shown to make you slim No bread, no pasta, but more meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs. Low-carb is quite simple and successful, as the Harvard study also underscores. Four to ten kilograms can be lost in a few weeks. And if you then make sure to save carbohydrates in the future, you can keep your new dream weight. The explanation: digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates into simple sugars (such as glucose, fructose and galactose). The blood sugar level rises and the body produces insulin in order to lower it again. However, this slows down fat burning. In addition, insulin triggers the “hunger” signal in the brain. Those who eat a diet rich in carbohydrates often eat more than they actually need. This is one of the reasons why carbohydrates promote obesity. However, if carbohydrates are largely avoided, the body automatically burns more fat and thus also attacks fat deposits. With low-carb the body converts its metabolism to fat loss . With carbohydrate blockers, low carb is easy However, this only works if carbohydrates are actually largely cut. However, this is not that easy in everyday life. Because our typical side dishes are bread, rice and pasta. They provide large amounts of carbohydrates, as do alcohol and some fruits, such as bananas. However, the metabolism of carbohydrates can be prevented with natural active ingredients such as beans or grape marc. So-called carbohydrate blockers, calorie blockers or carb blockers contain these active ingredients. They reduce or inhibit the activity of the enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. In this way, these nutrients leave the body unused, so they do not provide any energy, cannot be stored as fat pads and the body has to attack fat reserves. 3. Intermittent fasting – hardly eat anything for a day The principle of intermittent fasting is regular, short-term avoidance of food, then feasting again as you please . Depending on whether the version 5: 2 or 8:16 is selected, you can eat normally on five days, fast on two days with only 500 (women) to 600 calories (men) – or eat normally for eight hours and then for 16 hours without solid food. 8:16 in particular now has many fans, because this variant allows an almost normal eating rhythm: early risers can have a hearty breakfast at eight o’clock and have their last meal of the day in the late afternoon. And if you can’t get out of bed in the morning anyway, you can start the day at eleven with an opulent breakfast and then have dinner at 7 p.m. With this method too, excess weight can be quickly lost and the body quickly gets used to the fasting breaks in between. An additional advantage of this simple diet: the blood pressure has been shown to decrease and with it the risks for secondary diseases such as arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. 4. Low Fat – it depends on the percentage of fat Not eating fat at all is not advisable. Because the body needs certain amounts for many functions, such as digestion, healthy cells, the formation of hormones, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins and much more. But too much fat makes you fat, that is undisputed. Because fat has the highest energy value of all nutrients: 9 kilocalories per gram, carbohydrates and protein on the other hand only 4 per gram. The low-fat diet therefore relies on sensible fat reduction in food. The Low Fat 30 method is particularly successful . It means that a maximum of 30 percent of the total calories of the day can come from fat. As a rule, this is around 60 grams of fat with a daily amount of around 2000 kilocalories. Of course, these should be healthy types of fat, i.e. unsaturated fatty acids, such as in olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, avocados and cold water fish. Saturated fatty acids such as in butter and cheese are unfavorable, especially trans fats. They arise when unsaturated fatty acids are strongly heated or hardened. Chips, fast food and sweets often contain trans fats and are therefore not useful for low fat. 5. DASH – a health program with a positive side effect This type of diet was actually developed to treat high blood pressure. The acronym DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . The initiators were scientists from Harvard University, among others. In practice it turned out that this diet not only lowered blood pressure , but also reduced excess weight gently and permanently. At DASH, the composition of the nutrients is as follows: A good 50 percent can be carbohydrates, just under 30 percent fat and 20 percent protein. The carbohydrates should come primarily from foods rich in fiber, i.e. whole grain products, vegetables and fruits. In addition, salt consumption should be reduced. Diets must have a feel-good factor So there are good diets after all – and they don’t have to be difficult to carry out. But regardless of whether you decide to reduce fat or go for low carb, supported by carbohydrate blockers: It is important that you feel comfortable and do not put yourself under pressure. So just try out which diet is easiest for you.
Positive or negative? A new HIV test should provide more certainty. Patients now only have to wait six weeks instead of the previous three months before they can be tested. However, not everyone can take the test. HIV positive or negative is a scary question. Previously, you had to wait three months to be tested. Now it’s much faster. Unprotected sex , a prick with a needle – and the fear of the AIDS pathogen is there. Now there should be certainty faster. Six weeks of fear instead of three months: An HIV test can now provide security much earlier in Germany. Corresponding guidelines now apply, as the Deutsche Aids-Hilfe announced on Friday. “So far, people have been told: you have to wait three months, otherwise it is not safe,” said Holger Wicht, spokesman for the German Aids Aid. The number of viruses and antibodies is only increasing gradually. But now the responsible medical societies have shortened the required deadline. More sensitive process “This is a relief for many people and can motivate them to take the test,” says Armin Schafberger, medical expert at Deutsche Aids-Hilfe. The reason for the shorter time window between a risk situation and a diagnosis is a more sensitive and combined procedure and multiple reviews of this test. This Ag-Ab combination test checks for antigens (Ag) and antibodies (Ab). It detects antibodies in the blood earlier and more reliably than older versions. It can also display an antigen: the p24 protein of the AIDS pathogen. It can only be found temporarily – but after about two to three weeks after infection. People can get tested earlier These tests are not new, however. According to German Aids Aid, they have been on the market since 1997 and almost all laboratories are now using them. What is new, however, is that people who want to be tested for the HI virus can now do so earlier. “The three-month deadline that used to apply was simply a safety factor,” says virologist Jörg Hofmann from the Charité University Hospital in Berlin. “Of course you want to be sure that the test does not reveal anyone who was infected as HIV-negative – just because you tested too early.” Enough research should have shown that the test works for the majority of people after just six weeks. In England you have to wait four weeks With their statement, the German Association for Combating Viral Diseases (DVV) and the Society for Virology (GfV) are following the European guidelines that were changed a year ago. In Great Britain, the diagnosis period for the combined test has even been reduced to four weeks. In Germany, however, something has changed after the DVV and GfV statements. If the combined test works, those affected can get confirmation faster than before. If the first test reveals an infection, it cannot be determined whether it reacted to antibodies or to the antigen that was present before the antibodies were formed. If it is the antigen, the previously specified confirmation procedure – the Western blot test – cannot recognize it. So people had to wait in uncertainty until antibodies could also be detected. Additional genetic evidence should bring certainty However, there is a method that can confirm a result even without antibodies: genetic evidence (via PCR). If the Western blot test remains negative, genetic evidence should now be made according to the new guidelines. This is already common practice: after a reactive addiction test, many doctors have initiated such a test immediately, according to the current AIDS report of the German AIDS Association. “But that has not yet applied to the registration form,” says Schafberger. “But you want to report the infection to the Robert Koch Institute straight away and give the patient a clean result right away.” Just a blood draw Uncertainty is a burden. “That is why it is psychologically good if you know earlier,” says Klaus Überla, head of the Virological Institute at the University Hospital Erlangen. He also points out another relief for patients: a sample should now be taken for both tests, the search test and the confirmation. “Then the person concerned does not have to be written to again, to give blood again.” Exceptions to the test For HIV rapid tests and older test versions, however, there remains a diagnostic window of twelve weeks. The DVV and the GfV also make two exceptions to the shorter period: It does not apply to people who are infected with a rare HIV variant, namely HIV-1 group 0 or HIV-2. And even those who already have immunosuppression or an immunodeficiency with antibody formation disorders cannot rely on the test after six weeks. According to an estimate by the Robert Koch Institute, around 80,000 people in Germany were living with HIV or AIDS in 2013 and around 14,000 had the virus without knowing about it. The first HIV test was patented in the USA in January 1985 and approved in Germany a few months later.