Michigan Senate Unanimous Against E-Cigarette Use By Minors

The state of Michigan is only one of seven U.S. states to allow sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but the state senate plans to change that.

e-cigaretteMichigan Sen. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge sponsored the proposed law to stop the sale of electronic cigarettes to underage buyers. “I don’t believe children should be able to buy this in gas stations and grocery stores,” Jones said in a news release. He fears that when the ban is not set into motion, Michigan will be in a unique bind. “We will soon be the only state that allows stores to sell electronic cigarettes to minors… This has got to stop. We don’t want kids to get addicted to nicotine,” Jones said.

State Gov. Rick Snyder issued a veto against the initial draft by legislators, saying that e-cigarettes must be regulated in the same manner as traditional tobacco products. “Electronic cigarettes are nicotine-delivery devices that resemble traditional tobacco cigarettes and share a common ingredient, which is the highly addictive chemical nicotine that is derived from tobacco,” the Michigan governor said the veto statement.

The 37-0 vote by the Senate pushes the legislation to the House for deliberation.

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Study: Brain Structure Can Predict Likelihood of Drug Addiction

A new study discovered how a person’s likelihood to be addicted to drugs may be predicted by analyzing the brain structure. Dr. Benjamin Becker led a team of researchers whose paper published in Brain: A Journal of Neurology looked into a connection between distinctions in brain regions and a possible addiction to amphetamines and MDMA.

drug addiction brain headAfter analyzing the brains of 66 individuals who occasionally used the identified amphetamine-type stimulant drugs, it was discovered that those who used amphetamines more frequently within two years from the start of the assessment had smaller front-striato-limbic regions. “These findings indicate that individual differences in fronto-stiato-limbic regions implicated in impulsivity and decision making could render individuals vulnerable for the transition from occasional to escalating stimulant use,” Becker said in a news release.

Becker emphasized the importance of their study and oter future researchers on the matter. “Prospective longitudinal studies in occasional users are of great importance to determine biological vulnerability markers, which can help to identify individuals at greatest risk of developing an addiction,” Becker added.

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Fun Educational Video Shows How Adderall Works

A light but highly informative video released by the American Chemical Society (ACS) discussed the famous study drug Adderall and how it works to treat narcolepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and loss of concentration.

Highlights of the video posted in the ACS YouTube channel “Reactions” are as follows:

  • More than 25 million people in the U.S. are using amphetamine, the active ingredient in Adderall.
  • The drug was first released in the market in 1933 under the name “benzedrine”.
  • Military troops across many countries have used amphetamine to boost morale and concentration of personnel. Hitler was even rumored to have taken daily shots of the drug!
  • Adderall is a study drug that stimulates the central nervous system by increasing the level of dopamine (or the reward hormone) in the body.
  • Amphetamine is the safer and much more useful cousin of methamphetamine, or meth for short.

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School Policies Against Competitive Food Choices Decrease Risk of Childhood Obesity

Vending machines and other competitive food and beverage products have been regulated by several school districts in the U.S. as part of the nationwide drive against childhood obesity. Now, a recent study confirms that the policies seem to be working.

school cafeteria lunch foodA research team led by Emma V. Sanchez-Vaznaugh of San Francisco State University assessed the impact of competitive food and beverage policies in schools across the state of California on the rate of obesity in students. More than 2.7 million students enrolled in close to 5,400 public elementary schools between 2001 and 2010 were evaluated as part of the research, according to a news item.

Results showed that student obesity rates before the implementation of the food policies were at a steady increase, from 43.5 percent in 2001 to 46.6 percent by 2005. However, after implementing competitive food policies in the schools starting in 2006, the numbers plateaued.

One peculiar finding was the significant difference in obesity rates for varying socio-economic situations. Low-income communities registered 52.8 percent obesity rate, which was higher that the 36.2 percent figure in high-income areas. “These findings suggest that [competitive food and beverage] policies may be crucial interventions to prevent child obesity, but the degree of their effectiveness is also likely to depend on influences of socioeconomic resources and other contextual factors within school neighborhoods,” said the authors.

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Double Increase in Neonatal Withdrawal Reveals Rising Trend of Prescription Drug Abuse

A new study published in the Journal of Perinatology discovered an alarming increase in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) from 2009 to 2012. Cases of infants born with NAS in the U.S. were roughly 3.4 of 1,000 births in 2009, but increased twofold to 5.8 for every thousand deliveries in 2012.

neonatal abstinence syndrome infant baby childStudy lead author Dr. Stephen Patrick, who works at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, said in a news report that the primary reason behind this trend is the increase in prescription drug abuse. “The rise in neonatal abstinence syndrome mirrors the rise we have seen in opioid pain reliever use across the nation. Our study finds that communities hardest hit by opioid use and their complications, like overdose death, have the highest rates of the NAS,” Patrick said. Meanwhile, senior study author Dr. William Cooper emphasized the impact of NAS in today’s society. “The findings of this study demonstrate that neonatal abstinence syndrome is a growing public health problem in the United States and places a tremendous burden on babies, their families, and the communities in which they live,” Cooper stated.

The country’s east south central section, composed of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, registered the highest rate of NAS at 16.2 births per thousand.

This study further confirms the importance of preventive intervention to address NAS, particularly by focusing on programs against opioid abuse. “Too often in our health system we react to problems instead of forging public health solutions. Imagine if we were able to use the dollars spent to treat NAS on improving public health systems aimed at preventing opioid misuse and improving access to drug treatment for mothers,” Patrick added.

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Another Study Proves That E-Cigarettes Won’t Help You Quit Smoking

If you think that switching to electronic cigarettes can help you quit smoking, think again.

electronic cigaretteA recent study conducted by researchers from the UC San Diego School of Medicine revealed that people who use e-cigarettes had a 49 percent less likelihood to minimize smoking of tobacco products compared to those who never used them. Meanwhile, the likelihood to quit smoking was 59 percent less in those who use electronic cigarettes than people who don’t.

Researchers were into the assumption that e-cigarettes could help kick the habit, but the study results proved otherwise. “Based on the idea that smokers use e-cigarettes to quit smoking, we hypothesized that smokers who used these products would be more successful in quitting… But the research revealed the contrary,” study co-author Wael Al-Delaimy said in a news report. One potential factor behind this occurrence is the presence of nicotine in electronic cigarettes. “One hypothesis is that smokers are receiving an increase in nicotine dose by using e-cigarettes,” Al-Delaimy added.

The study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health, involved monitoring 1,000 smokers in California in one year.

Proponents of the study are hoping that their discoveries can help the U.S. Food and Drug Administration come up with sound guidelines in regulating e-cigarettes, which to this date has not yet been implemented.

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