Prescription Stimulant Use Varies Widely Across US

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS Department of Basic Sciences Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine Scranton, PA 18509

Dr. Piper

Brian J. Piper, PhD, MS
Assistant Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Basic Sciences,
Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine,
Scranton PA 18509 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The U.S. accounts for five percent of the world population but more than 92 percent of the world’s spending on pharmacotherapies for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to the 2011 National Survey of Children’s Health, ADHD increased to 11.0 percent of U.S. children, seven percent of girls and 15 percent of boys. Interestingly, ADHD rates were much lower among Hispanic children.

The 2013 revision to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders broadened the criteria such that it became easier to diagnose adult ADHD. Together, we hypothesized that use of amphetamine (Adderall), methylphenidate (Ritalin), and lisdexamfetamine (Vyvanse) would be increasing. We also predicted that there would be some regional differences in stimulant use.

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Amphetamine Use Even Higher than Opioids Among Rural Pregnant Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation  University of Michigan

Dr. Admon

Lindsay Admon, MD MSc
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

In our previous work (https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2017/12000/Disparities_in_Chronic_Conditions_Among_Women.19.aspx), we identified higher rates of deliveries complicated by substance use among rural women. We knew that some of this difference would be accounted for by opioids.What we didn’t expect was that when we took a closer look, amphetamine use disorder accounted for a significant portion of this disparity as well.

The main findings of this study are that, between 2008-09 and 2014-15, amphetamine and opioid use among delivering women increased disproportionately across rural compared to urban counties in three of four census regions. By 2014-15, amphetamine use disorder was identified among approximately 1% of all deliveries in the rural western United States, which was higher than the incidence of opioid use in most regions.

Compared to opioid-related deliveries, amphetamine-related deliveries were associated with higher incidence of the majority of adverse gestational outcomes that we examined including pre-eclampsia, preterm delivery, and severe maternal morbidity and mortality.   Continue reading

Which Patients Stick With Office Based Opioid Treatment with Buprenorphine?

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Zoe M. Weinstein MD Assistant Professor of Medicine, Boston University Director, Addiction Consult Service, Boston Medical Center 801 Massachusetts Ave. Crosstown 2 #2039 Boston MA 02118

Dr. Zoe Weinstein

Zoe M. Weinstein MD
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Boston University
Director, Addiction Consult Service
Boston Medical Center
Boston MA 02118

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Like other chronic, life-long medical conditions such as hypertension or diabetes, opioid use disorder (OUD) requires long-term engagement in therapy; however many individuals who participate in Office Based Addiction Treatment are not able to be retained in care long-term.

This observational study followed more than 1,200 patients over 12 years with the goal of identifying patient-specific factors associated with retention in the treatment program for longer than one year. While the study found that older age, female, and co-morbid psychiatric diagnosis were associated with greater odds of treatment retention beyond one year, patients who were black or Hispanic, unemployed, and had evidence of hepatitis C viral infection were associated with decreased odds of treatment retention beyond one year.

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Almost A Million Cases of Maternal Syphilis Globally Per year

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

N. Saman Wijesooriya Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

N. Saman Wijesooriya

N. Saman Wijesooriya
Public Health Advisor/Technical Advisor
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The article Global burden of maternal and congenital syphilis in 2008 and 2012: a health systems modeling study by Wijesooriya, et al published in the August 2016 issue of The Lancet Global Health (Open source – http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(16)30135-8) estimates the incidence and prevalence of maternal and congenital syphilis for both time periods and identifies gaps antenatal care access and syphilis testing and treatment services to assess progress in the global elimination of congenital syphilis, or mother-to-child transmission of syphilis, as a public health problem.

Untreated maternal syphilis is understood to be transmitted from mother-to-child in utero in 50% of cases resulting in tragic adverse pregnancy outcomes, or congenital syphilis infections, including early fetal death, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birthweight, neonatal death, and congenital infections in infants. Since most maternal syphilis infections are asymptomatic, it is recommended that screening for syphilis use a combination of serological tests for pregnant women and treatment of syphilis seropositive women with at least 2.4 million units of benzathine penicillin intramuscularly early in pregnancy to prevent most congenital syphilis infections.

In 2007, the World Health Organization responded to estimates indicating 2 million maternal and 1.5 congenital syphilis infections would occur annually without treatment and launched the global initiative for the Elimination of Congenital Syphilis (ECS). The strategy includes reducing the prevalence of syphilis in pregnant women and mother-to-child transmission of syphilis. The objective is for countries to achieve high performing antenatal care systems providing access to antenatal care to more than 95% of pregnant women, syphilis testing for more than 95% of pregnant women, and treatment for more than 95% of seropositive women to attain a congenital syphilis rate of 50 or fewer cases per 100,000 live births.

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Increased Drug Overdoses and Deaths Not Limited To High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeanine Buchanich, Ph.D. Deputy director of the Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology Research assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics University of Pittsburgh

Dr. Jeanine Buchanich

Jeanine Buchanich, Ph.D.
Deputy director of the Graduate School of Public Health’s Center for Occupational Biostatistics and Epidemiology
Research assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Department of Biostatistics
University of Pittsburgh

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Buchanich:  Using the Mortality and Population Data System, a unique repository and retrieval system for detailed death data from the National Center for Health Statistics, housed at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, my team examined overdose deaths in the U.S. from 1979 to 2014. We started with 1979 because changes in reporting cause of death make it impossible to make comparisons with previous years. 2014 is the most recent year for which data are available.

The counties with the largest increases in overdose death rates were clustered in southern Michigan; eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania; eastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and much of southeastern New York; and coastal New England. Counties in the Midwest, California and Texas have seen little to no increase in overdose death rates.

We cross-referenced the mortality data with counties in the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas program, which was created by Congress in 1988 to provide 31 high drug-trafficking areas of the U.S. with coordinated law enforcement resources dedicated to reducing trafficking and production. High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas with high overdose death rates were mostly concentrated in Appalachia and the Southwest U.S., whereas such areas with lower death rates were near the borders in California, Texas and southern Florida.

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Strong Home Life Can Counteract Prenatal Effects of Methamphetamine

More on Pediatrics on MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lynne M. Smith, MD FAAP
LA BioMed lead researcher
Vice Chair for Academic Affairs
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Department of Pediatrics Division of Neonatology
Medical Director, High Risk Infant Follow-up Program
Associate Program Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Training Program
Co-Director, Third Year Medical Student Clerkship
Founding co-Leader, Schwartz Rounds at Harbor-UCLA
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Torrance, CA

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Smith: It is the first study of its kind, and it holds hope for improving outcomes for children exposed to the methamphetamine in the womb. The study found that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure can lead to targeted behavioral issues, a supportive home environment significantly decreases the severity and risk of these issues.

The study is a follow-up to the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study, which is a prospective, multi-center, longitudinal study of children exposed to methamphetamine in the womb. It is designed to address some of the limitations of earlier studies.

The IDEAL study enrolled children from Los Angeles; Des Moines, IA; Tulsa, OK, and Honolulu, HI, who had been exposed to methamphetamine in utero. Previous reports from the IDEAL study documented the outcomes up to age 5 and found emotional issues and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in the children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure.

The new study surveyed 290 children enrolled in IDEAL up to age 7.5 years and found a strong relation between prenatal methamphetamine exposure and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. It also found a strong relation between adversities in the home and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. Among the adverse conditions considered were maternal substance abuse, extreme poverty, changes in the primary caregiver, sexual abuse of the caregiver and maternal depression.

The researchers concluded that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure is strongly related to behavioral and emotional control issues, early adversities may be a strong determinant of behavioral outcomes.

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Gene Linked To Methamphetamine Addiction Identified

Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Laboratory of Addiction Genetics Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics & Psychiatry Boston University School of Medicine Boston, MA 02118

Dr. Camron Bryant

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Camron D. Bryant, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Laboratory of Addiction Genetics
Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics & Psychiatry
Boston University School of Medicine
Boston, MA 02118 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Bryant: The addictions, including addiction to psychostimulants such as methamphetamine and cocaine, are heritable neuropsychiatric disorders. However, the genetic factors underlying these disorders are almost completely unknown. We used an unbiased, discovery-based genetic approach to fine map a novel candidate genetic factor influencing the acute stimulant response to methamphetamine in mice. We then directly validated the causal genetic factor using a gene editing approach. The gene – Hnrnph1 (heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein H1) – codes for an RNA binding protein that is involved in alternative splicing of hundreds of genes in the brain. Based on a genome-wide transcriptome analysis of differentially expressed genes within the striatum –  a crucial brain region involved in the stimulant properties of amphetamines – we predict that Hnrnph1 is essential for proper neural development of the dopamine circuitry in the brain. These findings could have implications for understanding not only the addictions but also other neuropsychiatric disordersthat involve perturbations in the dopaminergic circuitry. (e.g., ADHD and schizophrenia) as well as neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease.

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Meth Even More Toxic To Adolescent Than Adult Brain

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kyoon Lyoo, M.D., Ph.D
Ewha W. University
Seoul, South Korea

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Lyoo: Recent studies increasingly suggested that the developing brain shows unique characteristics of neuroplasticity to environmental stimuli. Still, it remains unclear whether the adolescent brain would undergo adaptive or dysfunctional changes when exposed to highly neurotoxic substances including methamphetamine. However, despite an increasing prevalence of methamphetamine use in this population, human studies have not yet found clear answers to these questions regarding the effects of methamphetamine exposure on the adolescent brain.

This study reports novel in vivo findings in adolescent methamphetamine users, and thus provides a new perspective regarding adolescent-specific brain correlates of methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity. Using cortical thickness and diffusion tensor image analyses, we found greater and more widespread gray and white matter alterations, particularly affecting the frontostriatal system, in adolescent methamphetamine users compared with adult users. Our findings highlight that the adolescent brain, which undergoes active myelination and maturation, is much more vulnerable to methamphetamine-induced neurotoxicity than the adult brain. This may help explain why adolescent-onset methamphetamine users show more severe and chronic clinical course than adult-onset users.
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Methamphetamine: Research Aims to Disrupt Drug-Associated Memories

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Ph.D., Neurobiology & Behavior and Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory (2005), University of California, Irvine, CaliforniaCourtney A. Miller, PhD
Assistant Professor
Department of Metabolism & Aging
Department of Neuroscience
The Scripps Research Institute
Jupiter, FL 33458


MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Miller: The relapse rate for drug abusers, smokers and alcoholics is high because abstinence is so difficult. A major factor is the craving that drug associations can trigger. These range from seeing the neighborhood where someone used to buy, in the case of illicit drugs, to social drinking for a smoker. We’ve found a way to disrupt these drug-associated memories without affecting other, more benign memories.
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