In the news

Neck manipulation may be associated with stroke

Manipulating the neck has been associated with cervical dissection, a type of arterial tear that can lead to stroke. Although a direct cause-and-effect link has not been established between neck manipulation and the risk of stroke, healthcare providers should inform patients of the association before they undergo neck manipulation. Treatments involving neck manipulation may be associated with stroke, though it cannot be said with certainty that neck manipulation causes strokes, according to a new scientific…

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Monoamine oxidase A: Biomarker for postpartum depression

Many women suffer from baby blues after giving birth. Some even develop full-blown postpartum depression in the weeks that follow. Monoamine oxidase A, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin, plays an important role in this condition. In comparison to healthy women, women who experience postpartum depression present strongly elevated levels of the enzyme in their brains. This was discovered by a Canadian-German research team including Julia Sacher from the…

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Harmful drinkers would be affected 200 times more than low risk drinkers if a Minimum Unit Price was introduced

Published today in Clinical Medicine, the peer review journal for the Royal College of Physicians, the researchers studied the amount and type of alcohol drunk by 404 liver patients, and also asked patients how much they paid for alcohol. They found that patients with alcohol related cirrhosis were drinking on average the equivalent of four bottles of vodka each week, and were buying the cheapest booze they could find, paying around 33p per unit, irrespective of…

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Regular marijuana users may have impaired brain reward centers

New research shows that regular marijuana users show impairments in the brain’s ability to respond to dopamine – a brain chemical that is involved in reward, among other functions. Although this research can’t determine if regular marijuana use causes deficits in brain reward centers – or if users take marijuana to compensate for less reactive dopamine systems – these results could help explain why regular marijuana users are more prone towards depression, anxiety, irritability, and…

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Data from the National Drug Early Warning System will promote rapid and effective public health responses

An innovative National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) is being developed to monitor emerging trends that will help health experts respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased use of designer synthetic compounds. The system will scan social media and Web platforms to identify new trends as well as use conventional national- and local-level data resources.The University of Maryland’s Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) will receive five…

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Passive e-cigarette exposure may urge young adults to smoke

A new NIDA-funded study shows that being around someone who is using (vaping) an e-cigarette can trigger a desire for tobacco cigarettes in young adults who regularly smoke. This passive exposure to e-cigarette use also increased desire for an e-cigarette. These results highlight the need for more research into the effects of exposure to e-cigarettes in order to help prevent smoking in young adults. Full story of e-cigarette exposure to young adults at NIDA

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Social media can influence teens with pro-drug messages

A new NIDA-funded study analyzed the content and demographic reach of a popular pro-marijuana Twitter handle in 2013 and found that only ten percent of the messages mentioned any risky behaviors associated with marijuana use. Given that over 70 percent of followers were 19 years of age or younger – an age group that is using social media at increased rates – these findings underscore the importance of monitoring social media sites that focus on…

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Health most common major stressful event in Americans’ lives last year, poll finds

A new NPR/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) poll released today that examines the role of stress in Americans’ lives finds that about half of the public (49%) reported that they had a major stressful event or experience in the past year. Nearly half (43%) reported that the most stressful experiences related to health. More than half of those who experienced a great deal of stress in the past month say too…

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Adults with mental illness twice as likely to use tobacco

Kansas adults with mental illness are twice as likely to use tobacco as adults without mental illness, according to a new report by RTI International and funded by the Kansas Health Foundation. The report found 37.8 percent of Kansas adults with mental illness smoke, compared to 17.3 percent of adults without mental illness. Nearly one-half of Kansas adults who experience mental illness reported smoking in the last 30 days. Smoking rates are highest among those…

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How Might New Neurons Buffer Against Stress?

Over the past decade or so, evidence has emerged suggesting that the birth of new neurons in the adult brain’s memory hub, or hippocampus, may play a key role the action of antidepressants, resilience to stress, the benefits of exercise and enriched environments and preventing memory loss. But understanding how it might work has remained elusive. Heather Cameron,Ph.D., chief of the NIMH intramural Unit on Neuroplasticity, discussed findings of ongoing studies on the function of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus at a…

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