Archive for June, 2011

Side Effects of Common Drugs Increase Elderly Deaths

A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society has found out that some side effects of commonly used drugs like antihistamines and antidepressants could increase the risk of early death among elderly people.

prescription drugs in elderlyThe original team from Britain’s University of East Anglia who made the study stated that drug side effects can even reduce brain functions and there is a need for doctors to regularly check on the medications of their elderly patients. This will at least ensure that the said dangerous side effects will not outweigh the benefits that the drugs make on consumers.

The study is the first to investigate on the long-term impact of anticholinergic activity which is a common side effect of most over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Examples of drugs that possess this unwanted after effect are those antihistamines and antidepressants under Piriton, Elavil, Anafranil, Tryptizol and Laroxyl brands. These drugs are usually prescribed to the elderly and their side effect can easily block the brain’s key neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine.

Carol Bayne from the University of Cambridge who also worked on the study says, “It’s important to scrutinize medications given to older people very carefully to try to minimize harm as well as gain the desired benefit.” Doctors do not need to prescribe multiple medications especially those with anticholinergic side effects to minimize the impact of these drugs in the brain.

Other drugs with the same AntiCholinergic Burden include painkillers such as codeine, common asthma treatment drug beclometasone, tranquilizers such as triflouperazine, epilepsy drug Carbamazepine, and the heart drug nifedipine.

The findings in this study should be taken seriously especially its relationship to Alzheimer’s disease, says Susanne Sorensen who heads the research at the Alzheimer’s Society. The loss of cognitive function can lead to the said still untreatable disease and other forms of dementia.

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Court to Lindsay: Stop Partying at Home

Lindsay Lohan may be under house arrest, but that did not stop the 24-year old starlet to have some fun.

Lindsay LohanWell, it looks like Lohan might have to behave and keep it low at her Venice home or face the wrath of Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner. According to a feature on, Lindsay was summoned back to the courts when she failed her alcohol test and ignited the possibility of her violating the conditions of her probation for the 2007 misdemeanor DUI case.

Fortunately, Judge Sautner did not find any violation in her probation when Lohan tested positive for alcohol as her requirement to undergo testing has expired since February 25. The “Mean Girls” star definitely had luck on her side as she faced the possibility of being sent to jail if she indeed had violations.

The courts criticized Lindsay instead for having “extremely poor judgment” when she was photographed partying on the roof of her house with friends. “Don’t do stupid things that fly in the face of the spirit of the court’s order,” the judge said. “Having parties on your roof … how dumb is that?”

Judge Sautner then ordered Lohan to stop having parties while she is on house arrest. Due to overcrowding in prison, Lindsay was allowed to be under the said condition and she is expected to fulfill the requirement for at least 30 days. She will also have to complete 480 hours of community service too as part of her probation.

Lohan’s attorney, Shawn Holley, was quick to defend her client saying that the “Freaky Friday” star is not under any restrictions for alcohol. “Alcohol is a legal substance,” she said. “So to the extent that she tested positive for alcohol, if she did, it’s not a violation of her probation.”

Lohan’s lawyer added that her client is doing nothing wrong, and that she should be given credit for it.

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Anti-Drug Advocates Stress Importance of Parent – Teen Communication

Representatives from the National Substance Abuse Awareness have once again emphasized the importance of opening communication lines between parents and teens to help fight drug and alcohol abuse.

Deputy Director Steven Cline had the opportunity to talk with school counselors and police officers on drug abuse issues mostly focusing on the recent prescription drug abuse scare. Though marijuana and alcohol are still the top substances abused by teens, prescription medications are making their way into the top of the list.

teen drug abuseIn a feature on The Daily Item, Cline and fellow advocate Amy Bloustine stressed that parents play the biggest role in disciplining children and keeping them out of harm’s reach. They said that discussions on substance abuse should start at home, with parents and children having good communication in such a way that they could interact when talking about these problems.

With prescription drug abuse becoming a trend in circles where teens often belong, parents would have to equip themselves about the subject and know the possible steps they could take whenever they encounter a situation as such. Parents should include other dangerous drugs like heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana if they intend to educate their kids about drug abuse.

At present, the Lynn Police Department is doing their best to help reduce prescription drug abuse in their area. Citizens are encouraged to surrender any unused medications they have at home and make sure that their medicine cabinets at home are properly locked and strategically put in places where kids and even some visiting friends could not have easy access to.

In a report from the Daily Item, Federal Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent Anthony Pettigrew says that in the 26 years that he has been in service, he has seen a substantial increase in the amount of prescribed medications being abused. He says that prescription drugs are sold illegally from $0.50 to $1 a milligram.

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Ex-Dior Designer John Galliano Says He Has Triple Addiction

For the first time in months, former Dior designer John Galliano has come out in the public to take the stand for his trial on accusations that he used anti-Semitic slurs at a Paris café. The designer was charged with “public insult based on origin, religious affiliation, race or ethnicity” when he got himself involved in an incident captured on video that immediately spread like wild fire on the Internet.

John GallianoDressed in black with a polka dot neckerchief, the one-day trial was witnessed by fashion writers and some television networks. The 50-year-old designer says that what he did was not something he believed in and blamed his “triple addictions” for his unacceptable behavior.

Galliano admitted he could not remember anything about the incident and blamed his addictions to alcohol, sleeping pills and barbiturates which made him unaware of what he was doing that time. “I have a triple addiction. I’m a recovering alcoholic and a recovering addict.”  He says his problems began way back in 2007 when he began drinking and eventually became hooked with sleeping pills and barbiturates.

“After every creative high, I would crash and the alcohol helped me,” he said, and his creativity was one of the things why Dior became a multi-million dollar fashion house. Unfortunately, Dior fired him because of this case, after 14 years of service with the institution.

In an AP report, prosecutor Anne de Fontette asked the courts for Galliano to be fined EURO 10,000 instead of sending him to jail. Though judges of the case are not required to follow the prosecutor’s request, maximum penalties are seldom given to first-time offenders.

Galliano’s act was put in the spotlight last February in the eve of the Paris Fashion Week. The designer has denied any knowledge of what transpired that day. “These are not views that I hold or believe in,” he said. “In the video, I see someone who needs help, who’s vulnerable. It’s the shell of John Galliano. I see someone who’s been pushed to the edge.”

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Smoking While Pregnant Increases Risk of Heart Disease in Children

In a recent study in Australia, researchers found a disturbing relationship between smoking and heart disease. This may be a common fact with thousands of documents in support, but what makes the new study alarming is that smoking is now linked to why children develop serious heart problems even before they reach ten years old.

smoking during pregnancyIt was found that smoking decreases the amount of “good cholesterol” in the body making babies born to smoking mothers vulnerable to heart attack or stroke.

Although it isn’t clear how smoking lowers high-density lipoprotein or HDL in the body during pregnancy, data gathered showed that children whose mothers smoked while pregnant had lower levels of HDL compared to those who were not exposed to cigarette smoking by their mothers.

The study, which was published in the June 21 online issue of the European Heart Journal, clearly suggests that exposure to tobacco products while pregnant could result to consequences not only for the mother but to the unborn child as well. Professor of Cardiology at the University of Sydney Dr. David Celermajer says that “maternal smoking ‘imprints’ an unhealthy set of characteristics on children while they are developing in the womb, which may well predispose them to later heart attack and stroke. This imprinting seems to last for at least eight years and probably a lot longer.”

This is why there is a need for children born to smoking mothers to be monitored and regularly checked as they can easily be susceptible to coronary risk factors, like high blood pressure and increased levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is not good for the body.

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2012 London Olympics Will Have The Most Drug Tests

The World-Anti Doping Agency (WADA) has warned ‘doping cheats’ who are planning to be part of the 2012 London Olympics to not waste their time and efort in attending the Games.

London Olympics 2012Drug Control Centre Professor David Cowan at King’s College in London has confirmed that the 2012 Olympics in their country will be the most tested games ever in the history of the Olympics. Cowan says their thrust for 2012 is in line with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) aim to test more athletes and make the event as drug-free as possible.

Cowan says that their laboratory has been accredited by WADA and they are expecting more than 5,000 tests during the games. This number will make one in every two athletes to be tested randomly for doping. “If you want to take drugs, then don’t come to London,” said Cowan during the two-day gathering of scientists on doping practices and testing measures.

In a report from Yahoo! Sports, Britain’s Sports and Olympics minister Hugh Robertson has identified doping as the most serious problem when it comes to the Olympic Games. The IOC’s motto ‘Citius, Altius, Fortius’, which means ‘faster, higher, and stronger’, will be applied on testing procedures of athletes as there will be faster analysis, higher sensitivity, and stronger proof for the drug tests.

“Since WADA came on the scene, the scientific research is better, the testing is better and we are now discussing how they might cheat,” Cowan said. “We have been keeping up with latest practices and very often we are ahead.”

The athletes’ biological passport will be of great importance in the event. Cowan says the passport creates a biological profile on an athlete’s blood and will signal any abrupt changes in his system which is a powerful tool that Cowan’s group will take advantage of. The process has been practiced previously in other Games and the London event will not be an exception.

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