Archive for January, 2016
If you want your kids to do better in school and keep their weights in check, you should quit smoking.
This was the theme of the study by researchers from the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, after looking into the cases of 220 children between the ages of 7 and 11 diagnosed as overweight or obese. The study proponents asked parents about their children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, and tested the kids for presence of the nicotine metabolite cotinine in their bloodstream. Data on levels of physical fitness of the children were also collated.
The results of the study were clear as day: Children exposed to secondhand smoke were more likely to be overweight or obese, and develop poorer cognitive functioning. “All the bad things fat does to us, passive smoking makes worse,” according to study co-author Martha S. Tingen in a news item. “Children who were exposed to second-hand smoke scored poorer on all cognitive tests.” Tingen works at the Cancer Center at Augusta University as Tobacco Control Program director.
Exposure to cigarette smoke leads children away from their potential to live better lives. “We are talking about a recipe for an unhealthy child who becomes an unhealthy adult who cannot reach their full potential,” Tingen mentioned. She also stated the long-standing belief that secondhand smoke is as harmful as firsthand use of the tobacco product. “If you are breathing in second-hand smoke, it’s almost as bad as if you were smoking the cigarette yourself,” Tingen added.
Having a tan may not be as harmful as it sounds, but a new study discovered a potential link between indoor tanning and substance abuse.
The study, the findings of which were recently published in the JAMA Dermatology, based its findings on a survey of more than 12,000 high school students in the state of Colorado. The survey questionnaire asked the students if they underwent an indoor tan at least once last year and if they used drugs and alcohol over the same period.
According to a news report, results showed that about 7 percent had indoor tanning during the past year, with female teens using tanning salons roughly twice more than males. Out of the group who underwent indoor tanning, roughly two-thirds admitted to have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime. In comparison, only 35 percent of students who never had a tan within the past year used marijuana.
In other substances, steroid use in students was pegged at 21 percent of indoor tanners compared to only 2 percent in the other students. Daily cigarette use was admitted by 10 percent of the indoor tanning group, which is significantly higher than the 2 percent of the non-tanning group. In terms of gender, female students were drawn more to ecstasy and prescription drugs, while the men prefer heroin and steroids.
An existing medication for seizures and migraine has been discovered by a team of researchers to have beneficial effects on curbing teen marijuana use.
This was reported via a news release, which said that the drug topiramate — together with counseling — can significantly reduce the likelihood of a teenager to engage in marijuana smoking, better than purely psychological counseling. “The positive news is it did seem to have some effect and that effect seemed to really be focused on helping people reduce how much they smoke when they smoke,” said study lead author Robert Miranda Jr., who works at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island.
The researchers investigated the potential effect of the drug — marketed as the epilepsy drug Topamax — on teenagers who undergo motivational enhancement therapy (MET). This kind of counseling is widely accepted as a drug abuse treatment procedure, but the research team claims that its impact isn’t too significant.
The study involved the participation of 66 young individuals aged 15 to 24 years old who admitted to smoking cannabis not less than twice a week. These volunteers agreed to undergo psychological counseling to help them reduce the use of marijuana. Forty of them received topiramate in gradually increasing dosages in a five-week span.
Results showed that although the frequency of cannabis smoking wasn’t significantly reduced, the positive outcome was observed in the amount of marijuana used.
Despite the seemingly good news, participants reported that they experienced excruciating side effects because of the drug. Some of them experienced depression, anxiety, loss of weight, and dexterity issues. “It’s promising in the sense that it suggests that medications can help, but it asks questions about for whom it might be most effective because many people can’t tolerate the medication,” Miranda added.
Drug abuse has always been a lingering issue in the global scene, and especially in children and teenagers. It’s important for parents and guardians to always be on the lookout for the potential of their kids to engage in drug use.
If you suspect your teen children to be using (or abusing) drugs, here are five steps to help you address the issue:
1. Check signs of drug use
You may not be a licensed psychologist or drug abuse expert, but you may have observed some tell-tale signs that your child may be using drugs. Some of these include missing prescription drugs in the home cabinet, frequent and excessive use of perfume (to remove smoke odor), decline in academic standing, or less frequent socialization.
2. Search their things
Although it may appear as an invasion of privacy, searching your child’s things could give you hints on their potential drug abuse. Try to do a search discretely over your kids’ room, particularly in desks and drawers, under the bed, behind the closet, or any possible space that’s good for hiding stuff.
3. Intervene immediately
A prompt intervention is a good way to start handling a drug problem, but try to make it less painful and direct. Create an atmosphere of a welcoming discussion for your children. If you feel like your emotions will get the best of you, postpone the discussion to another time. Eventually, if you feel like your child is using illegal drugs, consult a professional who can handle the situation better.
4. Implement preventive actions proactively
Restrict access to things that can potentially induce substance abuse at home. Examples include locking the liquor cabinet, making a regular inventory of the medicine cabinet contents, or verifying his performance in school.
5. Be understanding
Drug abuse may be a sensitive and alarming problem, but don’t let your child think that you’re going to police and punish them for what they did. Instead, be a parent by caring for your kid’s welfare and eventual healing. Be as understanding as possible while being firm on saying no to illegal drug use.
Your teenage child may refuse to smoke cigarettes, but it doesn’t mean that they’re free from the health hazards associated with smoking.
In a startling discovery by a research team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), close to half of teenagers in middle school and high school who don’t smoke are exposed to secondhand smoke. The findings were based on inquiries on more than 17,000 kids back in 2013.
Much like smoking tobacco, secondhand smoke is considered by the CDC to be an equally dangerous substance. “These findings are concerning because the U.S. Surgeon General has concluded that there is no safe level of secondhand smoke exposure,” said study lead author Israel Agaku via a news report.
What’s more surprising is that roughly 25 percent of the kids exposed to secondhand smoke said that they get exposed on a daily basis. However, the study wasn’t able to determine the exact duration of exposure of these children to secondhand cigarette smoke.
In addition, the rate of secondhand smoke exposure was higher in teenagers who engaged in smoking, the study team added.
Results and details of the CDC study were published in the journal Pediatrics.
As the world becomes increasingly aware of the hazards of electronic cigarettes, more studies and investigations are continuing to deal with this worsening issue. This recent statement from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) seems to support the campaign against e-cigarettes.
The agency recently released survey results saying that children in the U.S. are exposed to e-cigarette advertisements on TV. Results revealed that roughly 70 percent of kids admitted to have seen an e-cigarette ad on television. The survey was conducted with about 22,000 students in high school and middle school, who were asked if they saw an ad on e-cigarettes in TV, movies, magazines, retail stores, or online.
The agency fears that this trend may lead more teenagers to engage in e-cigarette smoking, which may also translate to tobacco use. “Unfettered marketing of e-cigarettes has the potential to compromise decades of progress,” said CDC representative Brian King in a news item.
CDC’s statement, however, wasn’t met with unanimous acceptance. For instance, the Smoke-Free Alternatives Trade Association said that the agency’s statement shouldn’t be taken as it is. “The CDC continues to mislead the public about the benefits of vapor products as far less harmful alternatives to smoking… The CDC also fails to mention that teens are exposed to many other adult issues on the Internet, TV and movies, such as violence, sex, and alcohol,” said group executive director Cynthia Cabrera.