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Friday, February 28, 2014

Teenage Indoor Tanning Tied to Drug and Alcohol Use

English: Woman uses a tanning bed.
Indoor tanning, popular amongst teens and young adults, has long been associated with skin cancer. A new study conducted by the CDC has found that there may be a tie between indoor tanning and other harmful behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, according to HealthDay.

"We saw that indoor tanning is associated with a number of other risky behaviors, such as illegal drug use, binge drinking and smoking," said health economist and study lead author Gery Guy Jr.

The responses of nearly 26,000 students between 2009 and 2011, teenagers as young as 14, were used in the study. Researchers found that more than 13 percent of the high school students tanned indoors in 2011; more than half of those said they did so 10 or more times over the previous year.

Typically, teenagers and young adults have concerns about their image, a trait that can lead to unhealthy activities like eating disorders.

"We also found that teens who tan indoors are likely to be very concerned about their appearance," Guy added. "That sometimes leads to positive behaviors, like engaging in sports and eating healthy foods. But it also leads to unhealthy behaviors, such as steroid use or extreme weight control."

It is impossible to make teenagers throw aside their body image concerns; the media keeps them constantly fixated on how they look. However, parents can help their kids with their self-esteem and discourage them from engaging in unhealthy activities for the sake of appearances.

The study findings appear online in JAMA Dermatology.
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Friday, February 21, 2014

Seniors Shop Multiple Doctors for Pain Medicatrion

Prescription painkillers continue to plague the American people at an unprecedented rate. Despite our country's efforts (albeit not our best) to curb the ever growing problem, more and more people continue to exploit our broken healthcare system and the rate of overdoses continue to rise - even amongst the elderly.

In fact, data from 1.8 million seniors covered by Medicare’s prescription benefit (Part D), who filled at least one prescription for an opiate in 2010, was analyzed by researchers as part of a new study. The data suggests that 30 percent of those patients were prescribed narcotic painkillers by more than one doctor, according to HealthDay.

The act of going to multiple doctors to receive narcotic prescriptions is known as doctor shopping

An assistant professor of health care policy at Harvard Medical School and study author Dr. Anupam Jena, along with his colleagues, found that seniors who see more than one doctor to acquire prescription opioids like oxycodone can be dangerous. Such behavior heightened the risk of being hospitalized for breathing problems associated with the drugs, as well as drowsiness leading to falls causing injury.

Study co-author Pinar Karaca-Mandic, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, said that the more prescribers a patient had, the higher the risk of hospitalization. “Patients with four or more prescribers were twice as likely to be hospitalized for narcotics-related complications than patients receiving the same number of prescriptions from a single caregiver.”

Doctor shopping is a problem that can lead to severe medical problems and even death. Sadly, the issue could have been resolved in a simple manner long ago, but it hasn’t been; all that's needed is a federal mandate for a national drug database that all doctors could access, thereby determining if a patient is already taking a drug prescribed by another doctor, even if it’s prescribed in a different state. Many doctor shoppers will cross state lines to exploit this deadly lack of oversight.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Changes In Religious Belief Can Lead to Substance Abuse

New research indicates that people who have a spiritual connection with God throughout their lives are less likely to go down the road of substance abuse. Data shows that people who change their religious beliefs, over a given period of time, are at a greater risk of using drugs or alcohol, according to researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University.

More than 6,000 people’s religious practices were observed by researchers in the study. The researchers found that people who have consistent religious beliefs during their lifetime are at a lower risk of substance use and/or misuse.

People who had a religious upbringing, and then drift away from religion as they grow older, are at increased risk of substance use. Interestingly, people with a weak religious background but become devout later in life, are also more likely to be at risk for substance use, Health Canal reports.

“Consistently high levels of religiosity protects against substance misuse, but substantial changes, whether losses or gains, in religiosity over the life course are associated with increased odds of substance use problems,” lead researcher Arden Moscati said in a news release.

All 12-step programs rely heavily on a spiritual connection with a higher power of one kind or another. Many alcoholics and addicts will turn back to their faith with renewed fervor when they get sober, and many would argue that their connection with faith is what keeps them sober.

The study appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gender Specific Study: Alcohol And Marijuana Use Impacts College Violence

Studies of intoxication have shown that people under the influence are more likely to be involved in domestic violence. As marijuana use becomes more prevalent and socially acceptable in society, more research is being conducted on the effects of inhibition reduction. In fact, new research suggests that the use of alcohol is more likely than marijuana to lead to violence in relationships between college students.

At the University of Tennessee, researchers conducted gender specific studies on male and female college students, focusing on the timing of alcohol and marijuana use and intimate partner violence. Participants completed an online diary once a day for three months.

Researchers looked at students who had been in a relationship for at least a month, involving two days a week of face-to-face contact. Data showed that when alcohol was consumed, men had a greater chance of psychological, physical and sexual violence. On the days that men drank, with each drink consumed, the chances of physical and sexual abuse was greater. When males had five or more drinks, the odds of psychological abuse increased. Women who drank were more likely to be physically and psychologically aggressive as well.

However, men’s use of marijuana showed no relation to violence between intimate partners; on the other hand, women who used marijuana were more likely to be psychologically aggressive, reports News-Medical.net.

“Our findings suggest that dating violence prevention and intervention programs should target reduction in alcohol use, but surprisingly, most of these programs largely ignore alcohol use,” lead researcher Ryan Shorey said in a news release.

The study of men appears in Addictive Behaviors. 
The women’s study appears in Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.
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