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The Takeaway: Workers Upping 401(k) Savings; Anti-Alzheimer's Drug Shows Promise

Savings Up, Market Down: Workers are putting more money into 401(k) retirement savings accounts, the stagnant economy notwithstanding. A recent survey from Mercer Workplace found 41 percent of 401(k) holders had increased contributions to their plans in the previous year (up from 31 percent in 2010). Participants also took a more active role in managing their plans' stock portfolios, with 40 percent having reallocated their existing portfolios that year. And a greater number said they plan to contribute the maximum allowable amount.

What gives? Maybe workers who lost significant retirement savings during the recession are now trying to play catch-up. Maybe employers returning to matching contributions (after many stopped during the height of the recession) has motivated employees to contribute more. But whatever the reasons, this increased urge to save comes at a time when the stock market is once again plummeting. The Dow Jones ended last quarter down more than 12 percent, and Standard & Poor's-"the benchmark for most 401(k) retirement savings accounts"-down 14.3 percent, the highest decline since market tumult of 2008. Remind me again why we shouldn't just keep our money under our mattresses? 

Rx For Fighting Brain Plaques: In a small, early-stage study, an experimental drug being developed by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding was able to remove amyloid plaques from the brains of  Alzheimer's patients. The build-up of amyloid plaques in the brain is thought by many scientists to be the cause of Alzheimer's disease (though the theory has yet to be definitively proven).

These results and especially the rapidity of the effects observed on amyloid removal are very encouraging and pave the way for the development of a novel treatment for Alzheimer's disease," Luca Santarelli, head of Roche's global neuroscience disease division, said in a statement.

But the Roche study only involved 16 patients, some of whom received a placebo; much larger studies are needed for call the drug a success, the researchers say.

Tuesday Quick Hits: 

  • Increased chocolate consumption is associated with decreased stroke risk in women. "Chocolate does have antioxidants, and antioxidants are beneficial for your health," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, a cardiologist and medical director of the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women's Health. "They can help make your arteries more flexible and they can help you resist the oxidation of cholesterol. But, what if they had tried this study with apple skins or grapes?"
  •  A time capsule from 1897 has been discovered beneath Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan-and it's got 100-year-old germs inside, preserved for future generations by one of the cities early bacteriologists.

See "In the News" for more on current events, entertainment and how it all relates to you. 

(Photo: Blend Images/Getty Images)

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