Archive for December, 2013

Psychiatric Patients Have Higher Rates Of Alcoholism, Smoking And Drug Use

A recent study has linked psychological disorders to a higher risk of engaging in vices.

brains scansResearchers from the University of Southern California and St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine jointly looked into the susceptibility of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders to a number of addictive activities such as drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.

Study co-author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz of Washington University said that contrary to popular belief, people suffering from severe mental disorders do not die because of suicide or drug overdose. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use,” said Dr. Hartz in a news interview.

The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, monitored more than 9,000 patients with psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The cases were then compared with people without diagnosed brain disorders, and performed an assessment as to the degree of use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine.

Results showed the following findings:

  • Thirty percent of people with mental disorders were engaging in binge drinking, as compared to only 8 percent for normal-minded patients.
  • In terms of smoking, 33 percent of the people without psychotic issues were identified as smokers. In stark contrast, the figure for mental patients shot up to above 75 percent.
  • Marijuana use was also higher in psychiatric patients, registering 50% of the study population. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the people without mental disorders used marijuana.


To top it off, Dr. Hartz added that “these patients tend to pass away much younger, with estimates ranging from 12 to 25 years earlier than individuals in the general population.”

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FDA: Steroids Found In ‘Mass Destruction’ Food Supplement

You better think twice about taking that food supplement, because it might harm you more than protect you.

mass destructionEarlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement warning the public about a dietary supplement labeled as “Mass Destruction”, which was recently found by the agency to have a “synthetic anabolic steroid“. Overuse of steroids have been discovered as one of the reasons behind liver failure.

In fact, this decision by the FDA stemmed from a recent fatality due to liver malfunction reportedly caused by the identified food supplement. The Department of Health and Human Services in North Carolina reported via a news release that the victim, 28 years of age, needed a liver transplant after weeks of taking Mass Destruction.

The agency said that Mass Destruction should not be ingested further, especially those who are already taking the product on a regular basis. Consumers of the supplement should consult their doctor if they experience any of the following: pain in the abdomen or back, fatigue, or urine discoloration.

In addition, the FDA’s Office of Compliance issued this statement regarding dietary supplements: “Products marketed as supplements that contain anabolic steroids pose a real danger to consumers… The FDA is committed to ensuring that products marketed as dietary supplements and vitamins do not pose harm to consumers.”

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Study: Secondhand Smoke From Electronic Cigarettes Contains Nicotine

Contrary to the popular notion that electronic cigarettes are better and healthier alternatives to conventional sticks, a recent study revealed that secondhand smoke from e-cigarettes are also harmful to non-smokers.

electronic cigaretteThe study, published in the Nicotine and Tobacco Research journal, involved an investigation on the contents of e-cigarette smoke and vapors, as well as a look into the potential of exposing people to secondhand smoke when the electronic cigs are puffed indoors. Dr. Maciej Goniewicz of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RCPI) led the research team who spearheaded the project.

Dr. Goniewicz, who works under the Department of Health Behavior at RCPI, shared the group’s revelation from the breakthrough study. “This is one of the first studies to measure the air concentrations of nicotine and volatile organic compounds and compare the emissions from electronic and conventional tobacco cigarettes,” shared Dr. Goniewicz.

According to the study results, nicotine is present in the secondhand smoke produced by electronic cigars, although the amount is 10 times less than conventional tobacco cigarettes. However, the researchers recommended further studies especially on the effects of the secondhand vapors from e-cigs on the health of sensitive demographics (pregnant women, children, and cardiovascular patients).

In addition, the study includes recommendations on more research to focus on other potentially harmful components of e-cigarettes such as acrolein and acetaldehyde.

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U.S. Doctors Release New Policy Against Prescription Drug Abuse

Members of the American College of Physicians (ACP) jointly released a new policy that aims to control and fight against the issue on prescription drug abuse.

acp logoThe use of painkillers beyond the prescribed purpose has become a national trend that threatens to endanger the lives of U.S. citizens. As one of the leading medical professional groups in the country, ACP hopes that the new policy statement encourages all physicians to take action against this dangerous habit.

The statement was released last December 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal. “The goal of this paper is to provide physicians and policymakers with a set of recommendations to address the significant human and financial costs related to prescription drug abuse,” according to the statement as reported in CBS News.

The policy statement delineates several clauses aimed to curb painkiller abuse. These include a recommendation to establish a monitoring program for prescription drug users all around the country, improvement in public awareness and education about the killer habit, and clear-cut instructions for patients on using the pain medication.

ACP president Dr. Molly Cooke clarified the public notion that painkillers remove 100% of the pain the a patient feels. “If that’s what the patient’s mindset is he’s likely going to come back and say, I wasn’t getting enough relief and I doubled the prescription,” Cooke added.

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