If you think that switching to electronic cigarettes can help you quit smoking, think again.
A 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.
A synthetic drug that has been existing in the streets of Florida and other U.S. states is now being touted as the next “dangerous drug”.
According to a recent Forbes article, Flakka is a crystalline designer drug that contains a powerful stimulant called alpha-PVP, which is classified as a Schedule 1 drug banned by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). The effects of this compound are similar to its cathinone cousin MDPV, commonly found in bath salts. Despite the ban on Schedule 1 drugs, alpha-PVP and Flakka are both relatively unknown substances up until the DEA noticed a surge in usage over the years.
According to a news article, there were no reported cases of Flakka usage in 2010, but the number shot up to 85 cases by 2012. In 2014, the DEA has recorded more than 670 cases of Flakka use.
The stimulant compound in Flakka causes users “temporary insanity and violent outbursts,” according to experts interviewed by CBS New York. Dr. Stephen Dewey, who specializes in drug addiction, said that the effects of Flakka to the human body are very dangerous. “It’s crazy because they become so aggressive. They become aggressive and when they think they’re superhuman they act on it,” Dr. Dewey said. “Your body temperature can go up to 105, 106, and that can be lethal. You can die from cardiac arrest, you can die from arrhythmias, you can die from kidney failure.”
Teenagers engaged in frequent binge drinking are highly likely to abuse alcohol when they reach adulthood, a study finds.
This was revealed by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine when they investigated the effects of teen binge drinking in the human body. According to a news release, the study involved administering alcohol to rats for two days without any other food except water. The schedule of administration was repeated over a course of 13 days, after which the animals were checked whether they preferred to drink alcohol or water.
Results revealed that the alcohol-receiving rodents exhibited anxiety and preferred alcohol over water. According to the researchers, this abnormal behavior in the test subjects was because of changes in the amygdala, a part of the brain that processes emotions and decision-making. Previous studies have confirmed that alcohol intoxication can cause damage in the said parts of the brain.
Although the study was conducted on lab rats, the same trend might be translated to humans, particularly on how histone proteins and DNA genes are affected by the malfunction of the amygdala. “Genes that lie within DNA that is tightly wrapped around the histones are less active than they are if the DNA is loosely wrapped… The looser the DNA is coiled, the more accessible are the genes to the cellular machinery that makes relevant proteins,” said study lead author Dr. Subhash C. Pandey, who also works as director of the university’s neuroscience alcoholism research center.
Study findings were published in the Neurobiology of Disease journal.
North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper addressed students at the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools’ Career Center to discuss prescription drug abuse and relaunch his awareness campaign on the issue. Roughly 35 students listened to the Attorney General during digital media and health science classes. Cooper visited the career center and Kennedy High School together with Judy Billings, who works with the Diversion and Environmental Crimes Unit of the State Bureau of Investigation.
Cooper’s Stop Rx Abuse video campaign was a huge success in the state, and that’s why on its fourth year of running the campaign, he is opening up the contest to interested applicants as early as 12 years old. The competition invites high school and middle school students to submit PSA videos 30 seconds long to fight prescription drug abuse. Video entries must be uploaded to YouTube before the April 15 cutoff. Contestants who are awarded the best videos will receive any of the following: Apple iPad, iPod Touch, or Amazon gift cards.
Cooper believes that teenagers need to be aware of the dangers of this lingering drug issue. ““For most teens, finding prescription drugs to abuse is as simple as opening up the medicine cabinet… When used incorrectly of mixed with alcohol or other drugs, just one pill can kill and it’s critical that young people help us get this message out to their friends and classmates,” Cooper said in a news release.
The California Department of Public Health recently released two ads that target electronic cigarettes as the industry’s new addictive and highly toxic commodity. Two videos posted on the TobaccoFreeCA YouTube page highlights big tobacco as the primary driving force behind the rise in fame of e-cigarettes. Both ads claim that “there’s a lot the e-cig industry isn’t telling us about vaping.”
The first video ad entitled “Kids Aren’t Alright” shows how kids are being lured towards the seemingly innocent and ultra-trendy reputation of the electronic cigarette. Set to the tune of “Lollipop”, the ad reveals the exploitation of big tobacco companies on kids who don’t know any better.
Meanwhile, the second ad called “What Could Go Wrong” sends a strong message that e-cigarettes are backed up by the big tobacco industry.
The hazards of e-cigarette use have not been completely identified, but the Department of Public Health says that the chemicals inhaled through vaping can cause lung cancer as well.
The hippocampus is the human brain’s storage for long-term memory, and was recently found by scientists to be one of the casualties of heavy cannabis use by teenagers.
This discovery was based on a study by researchers from the Northwestern Medicine who conducted memory tests on young adults who took marijuana for about three years starting at age 16 to 17. Results of the study showed that these individuals fared 18 percent worse in tests that assessed long-term memory, compared to those who did not engage in marijuana abuse.
Study senior author Dr. John Csernansky, who works at the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine as head of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, said that marijuana use may lead people to serious repercussions not only to memory but also to relationships. “The memory processes that appear to be affected by cannabis are ones that we use every day to solve common problems and to sustain our relationships with friends and family,” Csernansky said in a news statement.
The study discovered that part of the reason behind the disruption of memory storage is the abnormal shape of the hippocampus in people engaging in chronic marijuana use. This was confirmed by lead study author Matthew Smith, based on not only the current study but also an earlier one. “Both our recent studies link the chronic use of marijuana during adolescence to these differences in the shape of brain regions that are critical to memory and that appear to last for at least a few years after people stop using it,” Smith said. Although further studies are needed to prove a direct causality of marijuana to create brain changes, Smith added that the team’s study is already proof that “marijuana may be the cause.”