Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, HIV, Opiods, PLoS / 31.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Cora Bernard, MS, PhD candidate Pre-doctoral Student in Management Science and Enginnering Affiliate, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research Stanford Health Policy MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The US opioid epidemic is leading to an increase in the US drug-injecting population, which also increases the risks of HIV transmission. It is critical to public health that the US invests in a coherent and cost-effective suite of HIV prevention programs. In our model-based analysis, we considered programs that have the potential both to prevent HIV and to improve long-term health outcomes for people who inject drugs. Specifically, we evaluated opioid agonist therapy, which reduces the frequency of injection; needle and syringe exchange programs, which reduce the frequency of injecting equipment sharing; enhanced HIV screening and antiretroviral therapy programs, which virally suppress individuals and decrease downstream transmission; and oral HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), which is taken by an uninfected individual and lowers the risk of infection. (more…)
Alcohol, Author Interviews, Heart Disease / 26.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Jinhui Zhao PhD Scientist, Centre for Addictions Research of BC University of Victoria MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  There are now many studies questioning the validity of the theory that moderate alcohol consumption protects against heart disease. We provided an up to date and comprehensive review of the evidence from ‘cohort’ studies i.e. those that assess health risk behaviours of people then follow them up for a number of years to see what characteristics predict death from a particular condition. We wished to test the theory that the appearance of health benefits in relation to heart disease is due to biases that accumulate and become more severe when cohorts are recruited at older ages (e.g. over 55 years). We found evidence to support this hypothesis. Moderate drinkers recruited before 55 years of age did not show any evidence of reduced risk of heart disease even when followed up into old age. Moderate drinkers from the older cohorts, however, did appear to have significant benefits – a finding we attribute to selection biases that accumulate across the life-course. Several published meta-analyses showed inconsistent findings about how alcohol consumption affects the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Most systematic reviews find associations between low-volume alcohol consumption and reduced CHD risk, while some also find increased CHD risk for higher levels of consumption (Maclure 1993, Corrao, Rubbiati et al. 2000, Corrao, Bagnardi et al. 2004, Ronksley, Brien et al. 2011, Roerecke and Rehm 2012). More recent evidence has accumulated to suggest that the case for cardio-protection may be less straightforward. The association of alcohol consumption with CHD may be confounded or modified by other factors such as age and sex and / or biased by those factors which have not been investigated or controlled for in these previously published studies. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Columbia, Dental Research / 26.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jaffer A Shariff DDS MPH cert.DPH Periodontal Resident | Research Scientist Division of Periodontics, Columbia University College of Dental Medicine New York MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Marijuana use for both medical and recreational purposes has become increasingly common in recent years; it is the most commonly used recreational drug in the United States. Subsequent increase in its legalization among countries including the United States for recreational purposes, poses an emergent oral and periodontal health concerns. Our study revealed that frequent recreational marijuana users exhibited deeper periodontal probing depths, clinical attachment loss and higher odds of having severe periodontal disease than the non-frequent users, even after controlling for other risk factors linked to gum disease, such as cigarette smoking. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cocaine, McGill / 24.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Marco Leyton, Ph.D. Professor, Department of Psychiatry McGill University MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Drug-related cues are potent triggers for eliciting conscious and unconscious desire for the drug. In people with severe substance use disorders, these cues also activate dopamine release in the dorsal striatum, a brain region thought to be involved in hard-to-break habits and compulsions. In the present study we found evidence that drug cues also activate this same dopamine response in non-dependent ‘recreational’ cocaine users. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Pain Research, Surgical Research / 03.05.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chad M. Brummett, M.D. Associate Professor Director, Clinical Anesthesia Research Director, Pain Research Department of Anesthesiology Division of Pain Medicine University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI  48109  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The opioid epidemic has received tremendous attention in recent years, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain, opioid abuse and overdose. Far less attention has been paid to the importance of acute care prescribing (e.g. surgical pain) in patients that are not chronic opioid users. We found that 5-6% of patients not using opioids prior to surgery continued to fill prescriptions for opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Moreover, the rates of new chronic use did not differ between patients having major and minor surgeries, suggesting that patients continue to use these pain medications for something other than simply pain from surgery. Building on other work by our group, and the few additional studies done on the topic to date, these data suggest that pain medications written for surgery are a major cause of new chronic opioid use for millions of Americans each year. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, JAMA / 27.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Deborah S. Hasin, Ph.D. Professor of Epidemiology Columbia University New York, New York 10032 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Among adults, the prevalence of cannabis use and cannabis use disorders has increased in recent years. Concerns have been raised that for various reasons, medical marijuana laws would promote use of cannabis and consequently, cannabis-related consequences. Many studies show that this didn't happen among adolescents, but very little was known about the relationship between medical marijuana laws and adults. Using data from three surveys spanning the years 1991-2013, the study findings suggested that medical marijuana laws did play a role in increasing rates of cannabis use and cannabis use disorders. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Ian Hamilton Department of Health Sciences University of York York, UK  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This review looked back over 40 years of research on the links between cannabis and psychosis to examine how knowledge has developed on this issue. The review found that there is sufficient evidence to suggest a dose response relationship exists in the risk for developing a psychosis that would not have happened if the individual had not been exposed to cannabis. Also for people with schizophrenia cannabis exacerbates their symptoms and prolongs recovery. (more…)
Addiction, Genetic Research, Opiods / 24.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Maneesh Sharma, M.D Director of Pain Medicine MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Director of the Interventional Pain Institute Baltimore, Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Opioid abuse in chronic pain patients is a major public health issue, with rapidly increasing addiction rates and deaths from unintentional overdose more than quadrupling since 1999. Just in the last year alone according to the CDC, synthetic opioid deaths have increased 72%. As a practicing interventional pain specialist, I am confronted with the challenge of assessing patient risk for opioids as I evaluate multi-modal approaches to effective pain management. Existing tools are inadequate, as they either rely on a urine toxicology test to evaluate a patient’s current potential substance abuse as a predictor of future abuse, or on a patient’s honesty to fill out a questionnaire. We know that many patients who are not currently abusing illicit drugs or misusing prescription medications can develop prescription opioid tolerance, dependence, or abuse—especially with prolonged opioid therapy. Furthermore, we know that patients who are looking to abuse medications or divert those prescriptions will obviously lie on questionnaires. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Infections, JAMA, Ophthalmology / 22.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aubrey Tirpack, PGY3 New England Eye Center Tufts Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Intravenous drug abuse is a known risk factor for the development of endogenous fungal endophthalmitis (EFE), a severe intraocular infection cause by the seeding of mycotic organisms to the eye. Our institution noted a marked increase in cases of EFE beginning in May 2014, which correlates to increasing rates of opioid abuse throughout the New England region. Ten patients were found to have intravenous drug abuse related EFE over the two year time period studied. The most common presenting symptoms were floaters, decreased vision, and pain. All patients were treated with systemic antifungals and nine patients underwent intravitreal antifungal injection. All patients were ambulatory at presentation and the majority were without systemic signs of infection. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Dermatology / 21.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jessica S. Mounessa, BS University of Colorado School of Medicine Aurora, Colorado and Robert Dellavalle, MD, PhD, MSPH Professor of Dermatology and Public Health University of Colorado School of Medicine Colorado School of Public Health Chief, Dermatology Service US Department of Veterans Affairs Eastern Colorado Health Care System Denver, CO 80220  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One in 10 adult cannabis users in the U.S. use it for medicinal purposes. Medicinal cannabis is well studied for its uses in chronic pain, anorexia, and nausea. Numerous recent studies have highlighted other medicinal uses for cannabinoids and related compounds. We conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on the potential role of cannabinoids in conditions affecting the skin. Our study reveals the potential benefit of topically prepared cannabinoid compounds, especially for pruritus and eczema.  For example, creams containing Palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), which enhances cannabinoid-receptor binding, have been successful in relieving itch both in the literature, and anecdotally in our clinics. Though not strictly considered an endocannabinoid, as it does not directly bind to CB1 and CB2 receptors, PEA works by enhancing endocannabinoid binding to these receptors.** Furthermore, the majority of the cannabinoid compounds we studied did not contain psychoactive effects. (more…)
Author Interviews, JAMA, Opiods, Surgical Research, University of Michigan / 18.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chad M. Brummett, MD Division of Pain Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology University of Michigan Medical School Ann Arbor, MI 48109  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The opioid epidemic has received considerable attention, but most of the focus has been on chronic pain and primary care. However, surgeons prescribe ~40% of the opioids in the US, and little attention has been given to the importance of prescribing after surgery. In this study, we found that among patients not using opioids in the year prior to surgery, ~6% of patients continued to use opioids long after what would be considered normal surgical recovery. Furthermore, there was no difference between patients undergoing minor and major surgeries, thereby suggesting that some patients continue to use opioids for reasons other than pain related to surgery. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, BMJ, Ophthalmology / 17.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rebecca Rewbury Sussex Eye Hospital Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust Brighton, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: ‘Poppers’ are recreational drugs which are illegal to sell for human ingestion, but are sold under the guise of household cleaning products. Inhalation leads to a brief sense of euphoria, enhanced sexual arousal and smooth muscle relaxation. The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 was due to outlaw poppers, but they were excluded on the basis that they do not act directly on the central nervous system. The main constituent of poppers, isopropyl nitrite, replaced isobutyl nitrite when the latter was classified as a carcinogen in 2006. Since then, there have been several case reports of ‘poppers maculopathy.’ We noted an increase in patients presenting with central visual disturbances after using poppers and describe 12 such cases. They all demonstrated similar disruption of the photoreceptor layer on retinal imaging. Onset of symptoms was frequently linked to specific brands of poppers, with 3 people having used poppers for many years and only developing side effects on changing brand. Chemical analysis showed that these products contained isopropyl nitrite. One brand of poppers, used without side effects by one patient, contained amyl nitrite, 2-methyl butyl nitrite and isobutyl alcohol, but no isopropyl nitrite. The outcome of poppers maculopathy varied, but following abstention, visual disturbances and retinal damage tended to improve over months, if not fully resolve. Although in some cases, symptoms and/or imaging findings were prolonged. Ongoing use of implicated brands led to persistent, but not worsening maculopathy, whereas one patient that switched back to another brand showed full recovery. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pharmacology, University Texas / 11.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Christina R. Merritt and Kathryn A. Cunningham Center for Addiction Research University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston, TX 77555 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Opioid use disorder (OUD) is one of the top public health problems in the United States. Overdoses on prescription opioids, heroin and fentanyl accounted for 33,091 deaths in the U.S. in 2015 (https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm655051e1.htm); each day, 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose (https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/). The first-ever Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs and Health (https://addiction.surgeongeneral.gov/ ) observed that more people used prescription opioids than tobacco in 2015. Furthermore, individuals with OUD, the most problematic pattern of opioid abuse, often relapse, particularly in environments associated with past drug use, and new means to help maintain abstinence are needed. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine; 5-HT) function in the brain, particularly through its cognate 5-HT2C receptor, is an important regulator of the abuse liability of cocaine and other psychostimulants. Previous studies suggested that the weight loss medication and selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist lorcaserin (Belviq®) can curb cocaine- and nicotine-seeking in preclinical models, even when tested in tempting environments. We administered lorcaserin to rats who were trained to take the powerful painkiller oxycodone (OxyContin®), a prescription opioid currently approved for treatment of acute and chronic pain with characteristically high abuse potential. Lorcaserin suppressed oxycodone intake as well as the drug-seeking behaviors observed when rats were exposed to cues such as the lights and sounds previously associated with drug intake. Taken together, these findings highlights the therapeutic potential for lorcaserin to extend abstinence and enhance recovery from OUD. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Lifestyle & Health, Occupational Health / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jaana Halonen, Docent and Senior Researcher Finnish Institute of Occupational Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Retirement is a significant life transition when substantial changes in daily life are experienced as retirees adapt to life without work. After retirement people have more leisure time and more opportunities for different activities, and less stress. These changes are positive, but retirement can also lead to reduced social control and loss of social contacts and therefore be perceived as a stressful life transition. Both the positive and negative aspects related to changes in leisure time, stress, and social networks around retirement may affect drinking behaviours. However, little is known about how risky alcohol consumption changes around the retirement transition. Thus, in our study we wanted to examine how and for whom risky drinking changes around the time of retirement. To do that we followed up public sector workers with questionnaires before and after their old-age retirement. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research, Pediatrics / 04.04.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: James McIntosh PhD Economics Department Concordia University Montreal, Quebec, Canada. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study Response: Marijuana is about to become legal in Canada. Consequently, an analysis of its effects on users is a high priority. This issue has been explored by Canadian researchers to some extent but there are gaps in what is known about the effects of using marijuana. Most of the Canadian studies focus on youth or adolescent use. This is clearly important but adult use is as well. Establishing the link between early usage and the effects of use over an individual’s lifetime was a major objective of the study. (more…)
Author Interviews, Opiods, Pain Research / 19.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sommer Hammoud MD ABOS Board Certified Assistant Professor of Orthopedic Surgery Thomas Jefferson University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for this exhibit stemmed from the growing problem of prescription opioid abuse in the United States.  As we saw this issue developing, we aimed to investigate the history behind this epidemic, what information we have now to fight it, and what information we need in the future to improve care our patients. Our main findings for each of those aims are the following: 1) It would appear that a large push at the end of the last century led to a lower threshold to prescribe opiates in the effort to control pain, leading to the current opioid epidemic 2) Mulitmodal methods of pain control and the expanding skill of regional anesthesia can be used to help decrease narcotic use and thus limit exposure to narcotics, and 3) Future research needs to focus on the psychologic aspect of patients' ability to manage pain and we should strive to be able to categorize patients in order to create an individualized pain management protocol which will most effectively manage pain. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Heart Disease, Stroke / 19.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Aditi Kalla, MD Cardiology Research Fellow Einstein Medical Center Philadelphia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As of the recent 2016 election, decriminalization of cannabis passed in several states bringing the total count up to 28 states and D.C. where cannabis is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. From a physician’s perspective, it is rare that a drug has “hit the market” so to speak without undergoing clinical trials to determine safety and efficacy. Hence, we sought out to study if cannabis had any effects (positive or negative) on the cardiovascular system. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Opiods, Pain Research / 19.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anuj Shah (B.Pharm) Doctoral Student Division of Pharmaceutical Evaluation and Policy University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The CDC guideline on opioid prescribing, published in March 2016, included recommendations for initiation of opioid therapy. The guideline noted that there is a lack of data describing how acute opioid use transitions to long-term opioid use. This report seeks to address this gap by determining characteristics of initial opioid prescribing prognostic of long-term use, among opioid naïve cancer-free adults. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 17.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Hefei Wen, PhD Assistant Professor, Department of Health Management & Policy University of Kentucky College of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Buprenorphine has been proven effective in treating opioid use disorder. However, the high cost of buprenorphine and the limited prescribing capacity may restrict access to this effective medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder. We found a 70% increase in Medicaid-covered buprenorphine prescriptions and a 50% increase in buprenorphine spending associated with the implementation of Medicaid expansions in 26 states during 2014. Physician prescribing capacity was also associated with increased buprenorphine prescriptions and spending. (more…)
Anesthesiology, Author Interviews, BMJ, Opiods, Stanford / 15.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eric C Sun MD PhD, assistant professor Department of Anesthesiology Perioperative and Pain Medicine Stanford University School of Medicine Stanford, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There have been large increases in opioid-related adverse events over the past decade. The goal of our study was to examine the extent to which these increases may have been driven by combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines, a combination that is known to be potentially risky. Overall, we found that the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines nearly doubled (80% increase) between 2001 and 2013, and that opioid users who also used benzodiazepines were at a higher risk of an opioid-related adverse event. Indeed, our results suggest eliminating the combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines could have reduced the population risk of an opioid-related adverse event by 15%. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Mental Health Research / 10.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Carl Stevenson, PhD Assistant Professor of Neuroscience BSc Animal Science Admissions Tutor Local Group Rep, British Neuroscience Association School of Biosciences University of Nottingham Loughborough, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Anxiety-related and substance abuse disorders can be serious forms of mental illness that are not always treated effectively by psychological therapies or medications. One strategy to enhance their treatment is to boost the effects of psychological therapy by combining it with medication. This study reviewed the literature on the effects of cannabidiol, a chemical found in the cannabis plant, in preclinical models of these disorders. Cannabidiol is safe to use in humans and doesn’t cause the ‘high’ associated with cannabis. This means that cannabidiol might be useful for treating certain symptoms without the unwanted side effects linked to medical cannabis. Our review confirmed that cannabidiol reduces fear and anxiety in various preclinical models, when given on its own or in conjunction with behavioural interventions that model psychological treatment for anxiety-related disorders. This could show that exploring the option of cbd for anxiety could be a step forward in treating the condition. Our review suggested that it can also reduce relapse in some preclinical models of addiction, although research looking at the effects of cannabidiol in substance abuse disorders is still in its infancy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Electronic Records, Opiods, Pain Research / 07.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michelle S. Keller, MPH, PhD Candidate Health Policy and Management Cedars-Sinai Los Angeles CA 90048 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this new funding award? Response: Research shows that treating and managing chronic pain is tough, and it can be hard for patients and their physicians to be on the same page. Chronic pain touches so many facets of people’s lives—relationships, mental health, sleep, work—that treating it in a 15-minute visit can lead to a lot of frustration and disappointment. Our hope is that by arming patients and clinicians with evidence-based tools, we can help foster a better dialogue about what is ultimately important to patients, how to achieve fully functional lives while managing chronic pain. We’re testing two different types of communication tools: electronic health record alerts pointing physicians to guidelines when they write opioid prescriptions and patient portal-based tools that can help patients prepare for visits and become active, engaged partners in their care. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Mental Health Research / 03.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Emil F. Coccaro, M.D. Ellen C. Manning Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience The University of Chicago Chicago, Illinois 60637 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Aggressive behavior and drug use have been related for years but this study shows people with problematic aggression (Intermittent Explosive Disorder: IED) are in fact at risk for developing alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use disorders and that the onset of problematic aggression (IED) begins before the onset of the drug use. The increased risk for alcohol use disorder was nearly six-fold higher, the increased risk for cannabis use disorder was seven-fold higher, and the increased risk for tobacco use disorder  was four-fold higher. In addition, the presence of IED increased the severity of the substance use disorder. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Emergency Care, Opiods / 02.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Alexander Diaz Bode M.D. Candidate University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine Miami, FL MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our country is in the midst of an opiate epidemic. This is particularly evident in the emergency department (ED), which continues to see an alarmingly large number heroin overdose. With the shutdown of “pill-mills”, where opioid prescriptions would be prescribed indiscriminately, Florida has seen particularly large increases in opiate use and overdose. In Miami, we noticed that during the summer of 2016, there was a disproportionate increase in heroin overdose being treated at our hospital relative to previous years. Our recently published study showed that fentanyl or fentanyl analog laced heroin likely contributed to this massive spike in heroin overdose observed during the summer of 2016. Fentanyl and its synthetic analogs are opioid receptor agonists that bind with hundreds of times higher affinity than diamorphine, aka heroin. Naloxone, better known by the brand name Narcan®, is used to reverse heroin overdose in the ED. This drug works by competitively inhibiting the opioid receptor, effectively “knocking off” the bound heroin. Using naloxone dosing as a surrogate marker of heroin purity, our study found that during the investigated spike there was a disproportionate increase in the amount of naloxone used in our ED to reverse overdose relative to the increase in opiate overdose. This indicated that a stronger opioid receptor agonist, such as fentanyl or fentanyl analogs, likely was involved in the massive spike in overdose observed during the summer of 2016. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cannabis, Opiods / 01.03.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philippe Lucas VP, Patient Research & Access, Tilray Graduate Researcher, Centre for Addictions Research of BC MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2001 Canada become one of the first nations to develop a federally regulated program to allow access to cannabis for medical purposes with the launch of the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR). The program has undergone numerous convolutions, culminating in the establishment by Health Canada of the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR) in 2014, which was replaced by the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes (ACMPR) in 2016. One of the primary changes in the new program(s) has been to move from a single Licensed Producer (LP) of cannabis to multiple large-scale Licensed Producers. This is the first comprehensive survey of patients enrolled in the MMPR/ACMPR, and with 271 complete responses, it’s the largest survey of federally-authorized medical cannabis patients to date. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Education, Pediatrics, Smoking / 23.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. James Williams UCL Medical School UCL, London, UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Despite a downward trend over the last decade in the usage of particular substances amongst adolescents in the UK, smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis remain prevalent behaviours in this demographic. These risky health behaviours present a large problem in terms of public health due to the immediate and long-term health problems they cause, as well as negative non-health outcomes such as poor educational attainment and reduced employment. The role of academic ability in determining patterns of substance use is not clear and no study has evaluated academic ability at age 11 in relation to the onset and persistence of all three substances from early to late adolescence and into young adulthood. Our study sought to determine the association between academic ability and the onset and persistence of substance use in adolescence in a representative sample of English school pupils. This would answer for the first time whether ability was associated with ‘experimentation’ in early adolescence or if the association persists into late adolescence. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Exercise - Fitness / 17.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laurie de Grace Master's graduate from the Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation University of Alberta MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Little is known about the development of substance addiction in the context of sport. There is substantial evidence showing a positive association between sport participation and alcohol use, particularly the binge drinking that is more commonly associated with athletes than non-athletes. However, the connection between sport participation and the use of other substances is not clear. We undertook this study to learn from the perspective of those in recovery from substance addiction, how sport may or may not have played a role in their substance use and subsequent addiction. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Nature / 14.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Andrea K. Globa, Ph.D. Candidate Graduate Program in Neuroscience Life Sciences Institute University of British Columbia Vancouver, BC, Canada MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Addiction is a complex disease, characterized by continued substance use despite serious negative consequences, increased drug tolerance, and withdrawal. In fact, the statistics show that over 40 million Americans abuse or are addicted to nicotine, alcohol or other drugs. This is a huge public health issue, so naturally, scientists are interested in figuring out why people get addicted, and in particular why certain people are more prone to addiction than others. Studies examining genetic differences in addicted populations have shown that there are many mutations in genes that are important for brain function. One group of genes affected encode proteins that act as 'glue' to hold cells together. These proteins are called cadherins. In the brain, cadherins are important for holding brain cells together at spots where they communicate with one another – and these points where brain cells talk to one another are called synapses. Many neuroscientists believe that addiction is actually a type of "pathological" learning, where there are changes at synapses in a brain circuit involved in reward and motivation. So we decided to examine the molecular mechanisms that are important for the strengthening of synapses in this brain circuit. To put it very simply, to learn something you have to make your synapses stronger, and this involves adding more cadherin or 'glue' to the synapse. We wanted to see if these same rules held true in addiction. (more…)
Accidents & Violence, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 14.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott E. Hadland, MD, MPH, MS Assistant Professor of Pediatrics Boston University School of Medicine Urban Health & Advocacy Track Director | Boston Combined Residency Program Boston, MA 02118 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Studies to date have shown that states’ alcohol laws can help prevent young people from dying in car crashes. However, studies to date have usually only looked at a single policy at once. We wanted to build on these previous studies by looking at the overall effect of multiple alcohol laws acting at once. We also wanted to look at laws not necessarily only targeting drinking and driving among young people, but also policies aimed primarily at adults over 21. We studied deaths of young people under 21 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes across the United States between 2000 and 2013. We found that one-quarter of all young people died in a crash involving a driver who alcohol level was over the legal limit. One-half died in a crash in which the driver had any level of alcohol in their bloodstream above zero. We also found that most young people died on evenings and weekends, which is when people are most likely to have been drinking. Importantly, almost half of all young people died in a crash in which they were the passenger, not the driver. In 80% of cases in which they were the passenger, it was actually an adult >21, not a young person, who was driving the vehicle. We then looked at states’ alcohol laws, and found that the stronger the set of alcohol policies in a state, the lower the likelihood of young people dying in a crash that was alcohol-related. Policies included laws relating to alcohol taxes, alcohol availability and hours of sales, and graduated driver’s licensing for young people, among many others. (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Pediatrics / 08.02.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Kristi Roberts, M.S., M.P.H. Research Project Coordinator Center for Injury Research and Policy Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus, Ohio  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • We know that 74.1 million US households own at least one pet and one-half of households have a child age 19 years or younger living in the home so there is a potential for unintentional pediatric exposure to pet medication.
  • We realize that pets are common and an important part of families, especially those with young children. However, pets often require medications to keep them healthy and these medications could be dangerous to a child if the child is exposed (gets a hold of or swallows the medicine).
  • We looked at 15 years’ worth of data and found that over 1,400 children were exposed to a veterinary pharmaceutical product. That is about 95 each year or 2 children every week that are being exposure to medications intended for pets.
  • Children under 5 years old are the age group most frequently exposed to medications intended for pets. These young children typically ate or swallowed the medication after they found it when climbing on the counter or while the parent was trying to give the medication to a pet. Most of the calls were for medications intended for dogs.
  • Teenagers were also exposed to medications intended for pets but for different reasons. Many teens mistakenly took pet medication instead of human medication.
  • The majority of exposures occurred at home (96%) and were not expected to result in long-term or long-lasting health effects (97%).
  • While many people don’t think of their pet’s medication as harmful some medications, both human and veterinary, could be highly dangerous even at low dosages, especially for small children.
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