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Friday, November 25, 2011

Emergency Rooms and Energy Drinks

While energy drinks may give people a second wind in their day, it is hardly a secret that they can be extremely unhealthy, especially when mixed with drugs or alcohol. Over the last decade we have seen more and more beverage companies releasing their own formula of liquid energy, as a result more people than ever are mixing drinks like Redbull and Rockstar with their alcohol which has lead to a rise in people going to the emergency room as a result of mixing the two.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that hospitalizations in the United States related to energy drinks have raised tenfold to 13,114 in 2009 from 1,128 visits in 2005. This is an unbelievable figure if you actually consider how big of a jump that really is. 44 percent of the visits involved people who had combined energy drinks with alcohol, pharmaceuticals or illicit drugs.

“Combining energy drinks with substances of abuse raises the risk of serious, even life-threatening injury, as well as the likelihood of engaging in risky behaviors such as driving under the influence," according to researchers.

Mixing the stimulants found in energy drinks with other mind altering substances can be fatal and people who partake in such behavior should use caution. Fortunately, real progress has been made in banning alcohol infused energy drinks due to how dangerous they were shown to be after a number of people went to the hospital after drinking Four Loko.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Four Loko Back In the News

Over the last year the alcohol infused energy drink Four Loko has made the news on numerous occasions. The best way to describe the drink is volatile and dangerous due to the fact that it has sent many people to the emergency room. One can of Four Loko is equivalent to about a six-pack of regular beer. Which is why, Attorneys General in 35 states and the San Francisco City Attorney have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to limit the amount of alcohol sold in a single-serving can.

The move is aimed at reducing the amount of alcohol in Four Loko, the Des Moines Register reports. Four Loko is sold in 23.5-ounce cans, and contains about the same amount of alcohol as five beers, according to Tom Miller, Attorney General of Iowa.

The FTC had charged Phusion Project, which makes Four Loko, with violating federal law by making false or misleading claims that a can of the beverage can be safely consumed on a single occasion, and by not disclosing the number of alcohol servings per can.

In October, Phusion agreed to change the labels of the cans so that they state the drinks contain as much alcohol as four to five cans of beer. The company has not admitted to any wrongdoing, but says it will re-label the drinks to better inform its customers. Which may not be enough as far as the Attorneys General are concerned, who would like to see the number of servings per can reduced to two.

Four Loko used to contain high concentrations of caffeine and alcohol, and was known as “blackout in a can,” the article notes. Under pressure from state and federal authorities, Phusion removed caffeine from the drink and stopped marketing it as an energy drink.

Friday, November 11, 2011

People Who Want to Quit Cigarettes Rarely Succeed

Tobacco is considered one of the hardest substances to quit, despite the advent of patches, gums, and prescription drugs to help with cravings. Most smokers would like to quit but the habit is often so ingrained that quitting hardly seems to be a reality. A new government study finds almost 70 percent of American smokers want to quit, more than half attempted to quit last year, but only 6 percent actually accomplished the goal.

Most people who tried to quit smoking didn’t use any form of therapy or prescription drugs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to a report by the CDC, medications and counseling can double or triple success rates. Most people who desired to quit smoking did not even talk to a doctor about useful techniques.

Almost 76 percent of African-American smokers wanted to quit in 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal. While 59 percent tried, only 3 percent were successful, the lowest rate among different groups of people measured by the CDC.

Smokers who had a college degree had an 11 percent success rate, compared with just 3 percent with smokers with fewer than 12 years of education.

Despite the fact that smoking has been banned in public places in most states, which reduces exposure as well as temptation, people are still exposed to tobacco all the time which makes quitting a lot harder. Tobacco addiction is similar to alcohol in the fact that it is legal and can be purchased almost on every street corner. Quitting requires extra vigilance if success is ever going to be achieved.

If you or someone you know is looking to kick the habit it is highly advised that they seek counseling from a doctor or therapist, it could greatly increase one's chances.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Alcohol and Breast Cancer

Alcohol has been proven to have serious side effects that can be detrimental to one’s health, as science becomes more advanced researchers are finding out what else alcohol consumption may lead to. New research has shown that women who have three to six alcoholic drinks a week are at slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with women who don’t drink at all.

More than 100,000 nurses were observed for almost 30 years, according to USA Today. Most previous studies on alcohol and breast cancer have found no increased risk for the disease among women who are light drinkers, according to the article.

Women who had three to six drinks a week had a 15 percent increased risk of developing breast cancer compared with nondrinkers, equating to about four additional cases of breast cancer per 1,000 women. A woman’s risk of the disease increased the more she drank, regardless of whether she drank:
  • wine
  • beer
  • liquor

In a news release, the study authors said that while the exact way in which alcohol may lead to breast cancer is not known, one probable explanation may involve alcohol’s effect on circulating estrogen levels. Either way, women should be aware of the potential for cancer due to heavy drinking, everybody is different and there is no telling how it may affect you.

The study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
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