Computer calculates when reinforced concrete will rust

Dutch researchers have developed a computer model that calculates the rate at which salt and moisture penetrate reinforced concrete. The model can be used for both the design of new concrete structures as well as analysing the lifespan of existing ones. Sander Meijers from Delft University of Technology studied the relationship between moisture transport and salt penetration in concrete. Concrete structures such as bridges and dams are designed with as long a lifespan as possible. If these structures are built in the sea or are exposed a lot to gritting salt then the reinforcement rods in the concrete eventually rust over the course of time.

Combination therapy for obsessions more effective than drugs alone

People with obsessions and compulsions experience considerable benefit from a combined treatment of drugs and behavioural therapy. Treatment with drugs alone is less effective. This is revealed in doctoral research by psychologist Nienke Tenney from Utrecht University. About half of the patients with an obsessive-compulsive disorder do not benefit from treatment. Some refuse treatment or stop the treatment before it has been completed. Moreover, many patients who do respond to treatment continue to experience a considerable number of residual symptoms.

Memory tests predict dementia

If they have to remember words, elderly persons in an early stage of dementia do not benefit from the relationship in meaning between these words. This was revealed in doctoral research by the neuropsychologist Pauline Spaan from the University of Amsterdam. It is now possible to develop memory tests which can predict dementia. One of the things revealed in Spaan’s research was that elderly persons who were found to have dementia two years later, were scarcely better at remembering word pairs clearly linked in meaning (for example, pipe – cigar) than word pairs without such a link (for example nail – butter). However, elderly persons who did not have dementia two years later normally benefited from such a link in meaning when remembering word pairs.