Pharmacology

Smoking high potency 'skunk-like' cannabis can damage a crucial part of the brain responsible for communication between the two brain hemispheres, according to a new study.

Researchers have known for some time that long-term cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis and recent evidence suggests that alterations in brain function and structure may be responsible for this greater vulnerability. 


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed childhood disorders and can continue through adolescence into adulthood. Diagnoses exploded in the 1990s and now it is found in about 5% of children, but such diagnosis is based on clinical judgment rather than objective diagnostic markers. Symptoms include difficulty focusing attention and remaining "on task", impulsive behavior and extreme hyperactivity but some diagnoses have been made even when those behaviors were mild, so chemical interventions should be cautiously - but they are not.


Kids and teens who take medications like Ritalin to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder are also twice as likely to be physically or emotionally bullied by peers. At even higher risk were middle and high school students who sold or shared their medications--those kids were four-and-a-half times likelier to be victimized by peers.

The main findings are the same for both sexes, said the study's first author, Quyen Epstein-Ngo, research assistant professor in gender studies at the University of Michigan. 


A paper in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology warns that the use of unvalidated natural "medicine" may lead to severe poisoning.

A 45-year-old Chinese woman was diagnosed with a severe heart-rhythm disorder, bidirectional ventricular tachycardia (BVT), associated with aconitine poisoning. BVT is a rare form of tachycardia (characterized by a resting heart rate over 100 beats per minute) and a distinct pattern of ECG waves on presentation.


Smokeless tobacco is used far less than cigarettes, primarily among men and young people, but it has become a cause for concern due to links with adverse health effects and identification as a cause of cancer.

Survey results and biomarkers published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers&Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, find that U.S. adults who used only smokeless tobacco products had higher levels of biomarkers of exposure to nicotine and a cancer-causing toxicant -- the tobacco-specific nitrosamine NNK -- compared with those who only used cigarettes.

 Brian Rostron, PhD, an epidemiologist in the Center for Tobacco Products at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)


Drug Driving

Drug Driving

Nov 17 2015 | 0 comment(s)

Warning labels on medications about the dangers of driving don't stop people from getting behind the wheel, according to Dr Tanya Smyth, from the Queensland University of Technology   Centre for Accident Research&Road Safety.

Driving while affected by prescription and over-the-counter medications had the potential to be as dangerous as driving under the influence of illegal drugs. Medication warning labels and accompanying pharmacist advice were the primary method to control drug driving but required the user to self-assess their impairment.


Good news for space travelers on medication - expiration dates aren't different in the low orbit of the International Space Station (ISS). 

While the ISS is regularly resupplied with medicines to replace those which have passed their expiry date, this may not be possible on exploration missions that travel to more distant points. On Earth, medicines degrade over time, particularly when exposed to light, oxygen, or humidity. Although temperature and humidity conditions on board the ISS are generally within ideal ranges for medicine storage on Earth, until now, there has been little evidence of how medicines might react to factors unique to spaceflight, such as microgravity and constant exposure to elevated radiation levels.


The opioid addiction for more than half of female methadone clinic patients began with painkillers prescribed by doctors, according to a paper in Biology of Sex Differences.

More than half (52%) of women and a third (38%) of men reported doctor-prescribed painkillers as their first contact with opioid drugs, a family of drugs which include prescription medicines such OxyContin and codeine, as well as illicit drugs such as heroin.


One organization and one law, the federal government's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (formerly the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) and the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), are why a govenment that won't let you get a haircut without a certification and hygiene standards won't do anything about supplements until dead bodies show up.


Thiazide is a popular diuretic for lowering high blood pressure but may not excrete salt as expected in patients with congestive heart failure and or dehydration and should be taken with caution, according to a study in mouse models presented at a meeting of the American Society of Nephrology's Kidney Week activities in San Diego.