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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Bigger, Faster, and Stronger

Bigger, Faster, and Stronger, that's most men's dream, but at what cost and how far some people are willing to go to achieve this can be dangerous. Anabolic steroids and Human Growth Hormones (HGH) have the power to give people the extra edge needed to achieve their goal. Illicit use of HGH (human growth hormone) has become common among young American male weightlifters according to a new study published in The American Journal on Addictions. People using illicit HGH are more likely to use other illegal drugs in conjunction, causing serious and potentially fatal damage. HGH is a drug just like any other illegal drug, it use to be too expensive for the general public but the price has since dropped making it a lot easier to find on the street.

Researcher Brian P. Brennan, MD, MSc, of McLean Hospital and Harvard Medical School, headed up the study and evaluated 231 male weightlifters in the U.S. aged 18-40 and their reports of drug use:
  • 27 (12 percent) reported illicit use of HGH and/or its close relative, insulin-like growth factor-I
  • All 27 men had also used anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS)
  • 15 (56 percent) reported current or past dependence on opiates, cocaine, and/or ecstasy
It is clear from the above results that people using HGH and AAS's are usually using a number of illegal drugs in conjunction. The human body can only process so much at one time, overloading one's brain with hormones and drugs like cocaine, ecstasy, and opiates is extremely dangerous.

"The long-term risks of high-dose HGH use are little studied, but available evidence suggests that long-term high-dose HGH may have serious medical consequences, including cardiac, endocrine, and respiratory effects, as well as increased risk for certain cancers," Brennan notes. "Our findings suggest that mounting illicit HGH abuse may represent a dangerous new form of drug abuse with potentially severe public health consequences."

Medical News Today

Friday, January 21, 2011

Anti-Nausea Medication and Addiction

A drug that has been used for helping fight nausea with chemotherapy patients may also help alcoholics curb their drinking. In the near future we may see the medication ondansetron (Zofran), being used by therapists and counselors to help some alcoholics become abstinent. A study led by Bankole A. Johnson, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, deals with research on a gene known as 5-HTT, this gene plays an important role in the serotonin system of the brain. Variations 5-HTT can increase one's risk of a number of psychiatric disorders:
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • addiction
How can an anti-nausea medication help alcoholics cut back on drinking? Ondansetron is in a class of medications that work by blocking serotonin, researchers believe that in certain variations of 5-HTT this drug may block this neurotransmitter and reduce the amount of one's drinking. This drug would only help patients who have a very specific variation of 5-HTT, and this would in no way be a cure for alcoholism, but, it may aid in one's ability to detox. "Among the patients who received ondansetron, those with the LL genotype or another variant called LL/TT cut back on their drinking enough to move out of the "high-risk" category of drinkers. But the drug did not seem to help patients who had other forms of the 5-HTT genotype".

Science is changing how addiction may be treated in the future, understanding one's genetic makeup may be crucial to how people receive treatment on an individual level. "Genotyping is becoming more common place and inexpensive," Johnson said, opening the door to tailoring addiction treatment based on an individual's genes. Obviously, these are uncharted waters and will probably be a long time before any of this is put into practice, but, this is all part of the evolution of addiction treatment.

LA Times

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dangerous Mental Health Budget Cuts

America is in the middle of an economic downturn which has forced state governments to cut funding to numerous programs. Programs that were the hardest hit are, more often than not, health related; budget cuts like the $65 million budget cut in the last three years in Arizona are extremely dangerous. If someone needs help, people are generally right there to provide assistance; however, if someone seems mentally disturbed, people generally turn their back on them because of deeply seeded social stigmas. Sadly, people who need help with mental disorders often do not receive any because of lack of funding, in turn, this leads to terrible tragedies like the one that took place in Arizona this past week. If we ignore the problems that are right in front of us, we all end up reaping what we sow; everyone in this country has a family member who is suffering from a mental disease and it is everyone's civic duty to help if at all possible and it is our government's responsibility to protect those people from themselves and the harm that may come to others if an individual is not treated.

Please watch the short video below where Representative Patrick Kennedy, former congressman and soldier in the mental health movement, discusses the subject matter:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Friday, January 7, 2011

Reinstate Hank

A number of notable figures have had their lives cut short by drugs and alcohol and this week we celebrate the 58th anniversary of the death of one of music's greatest country performers. 58 years ago Hank Williams Sr. died from a combination of alcohol and morphine at the young age of 29 at the peak of his career. Country music fans across the country mourned his death like no other before him; even people who did not care for country knew that Hank's death was a tragedy. Williams' music spoke to people in a way that anyone who had known sorrow or heartbreak could relate to.

In 1949, he made his Grand Ole Opry debut, performing “Lovesick Blues.” No one could have ever imagined that Williams would receive an unprecedented six encores. In between Hank's commercial successes, he began recording a series of recitations with spiritual and philosophical content under the name “Luke the Drifter.” Those included “Men with Broken Hearts” and “Be Careful of Stones That You Throw.” Despite being intoxicated all the time Williams was able to produce some of the greatest hits country music would ever see.

Alcoholism cost Williams his first marriage, after the divorce it was said that he never blew a sober breath again. A bogus doctor was keeping Williams high with morphine mixed with vitamin B12 injections, the combination of that with binge drinking was too much for Hank to handle and he stopped breathing and died in the back seat of a car. Sadly, before Hank died the Grand Ole Opry told Williams to clean up his act or he would not be able to play there again; Hank died before he had a chance to do that.

Alcoholism and drug addiction have the power to ruin lives and cut them short without anyone seeing it coming. It is hard to imagine how deep Williams' catalog would be if he had not passed away 58 years ago. Fortunately, Hank left us with over 40 amazing hits that will never be over played. Hank Williams has still not been reinstated to the Grand Ole Opry.

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