Extremely Obese People Face Great Odds in Achieving Normal Weight

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Apart from experiencing the vicious cycle of improper eating habits, people who are extremely obese have a very slim chance of returning to a normal weight.

This is according to a research team from King’s College London, whose recent study looked into health data of close to 280,000 people in the U.K. diagnosed with obesity. Results of the study, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health and reported in a news release, revealed that people who have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above have difficulty getting their target weights — that is, only one in every 1,290 males and 1 in 477 females can achieve this monumental feat.

Study first author Dr. Alison Fildes emphasized how important it is for people to lose weight. “Losing 5-10% of your body weight has been shown to have meaningful health benefits and is often recommended as a weight loss target,” Fildes said. However, the study confirmed the challenge that extremely obese people have to go through. “These findings highlight how difficult it is for people with obesity to achieve and maintain even small amounts of weight loss… Once an adult becomes obese, it is very unlikely that they will return to a healthy body weight,” Fildes added.

However, she believes that their study should pave the way for improvements in addressing obesity by preventing further weight gain in diagnosed patients. “Obesity treatments should focus on preventing overweight and obese patients gaining further weight, while also helping those that do lose weight to keep it off. More importantly, priority needs to be placed on preventing weight gain in the first place,” Fildes further stated.


Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Use For PTSD Patients Not Allowed in Colorado

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Despite the shouts of jubilation in the state of Colorado over the approval of medical marijuana in 2001, not all patients will have access to the controversial wonder drug.

According to a Reuters article, Colorado did not approve the use of medical marijuana by individuals who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Colorado Board of Health spokesperson Mark Salley confirmed the majority vote against considering PTSD as a debilitating problem, which could have granted it an inclusion in the list of health conditions permissible for treatment using cannabis.

This recent development sparked outrage from supporters of medical marijuana, particularly from those who could have benefited from the alternative treatment. “In my opinion, the board sent a message to [PTSD] patients that they just don’t matter,” according to Cannabis Patients Alliance director Teri Robnett. Meanwhile, Veterans For Freedoms spokesperson John Evans expressed his sentiments on the negative vote. “The irony is that the members that voted against us stated a lack of scientific research and data, and just voted against collecting such data,” Evans said.

Medical cannabis continues to be allowed for use by patients diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, glaucoma and cancer.


Health & Wellness

Weight Gain in Kids Most Influenced by Poor Eating Habits

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In light of the increasing number of obesity cases in children, a study by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology revealed that the occurrence may have something to do with how kids eat.

Professor Lars Wichstrøm and Assistant Professor Silje Steinsbekk investigated the matter through a survey looking into three possible factors for weight gain in children: eating practices, TV watching, and lack of physical movement. “Our study shows that BMI increases more in children where food especially triggers their eating behaviour. Their food intake is controlled more by the sight and smell of food, and less by an inner experience of hunger,” said the researchers via a news item.

In addition, the situation of poor eating habits being a trigger of weight gain is actually a cyclical process. “Our results show that in relative terms, the BMI of children who are particularly triggered by food increases more when compared with others. But we also found the opposite effect: a high BMI leads to children becoming even more triggered by food over time (at around 6 to 8 years old). As they get older, they are even less able to stop eating when they’re full,” Steinsbekk added.

The study is part of a bigger research that investigates how kids develop their psychological and social makeup over a long period of time. Results of this part of the study were published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology.


Health & Wellness

Prolonged Sitting May Lead to Higher Risk of Breast and Ovarian Cancer

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A study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention said that a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer may be caused by sitting for long periods of time.

Close to 150,000 individuals — 47 percent men and 53 percent women — were picked out from the list of entries in the nutrition cohort study of the American Cancer Society. Behaviors of the respondents were investigated and cross-referenced with their health conditions. It was through the study that the research team discovered a link between sitting time and likelihood of developing cancers.

“Longer leisure-time spent sitting was associated with a higher risk of total cancer risk in women, and specifically with multiple myeloma, breast and ovarian cancers, but sitting time was not associated with cancer risk in men. Further research is warranted to better understand the differences in associations between men and women,” the researchers said in a news report.

Results of the study support long-standing findings that relate sedentary living to poor health. Although the American Cancer Society cannot pinpoint the exact reason behind lack of exercise and movement as a cancer risk, this latest study confirms that it is a very serious health issue. That’s why the group recommends regular movement in adults — that is, a weekly dose of at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity exercise and roughly 75 minutes of more intensive activity.


Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Patients with Severe Back Pain who Also Suffer from Mental Health Issues More Likely to Abuse Opioids: Study

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Patients who experience severe back pain, and who also suffer from psychiatric problems like depression are more likely to abuse opioid pain medication, a new study has found.

In the study, published in Anesthesiology, the official medical journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), researchers examined 55 chronic lower back patients who experienced low-to-high levels of depression or anxiety symptoms. Patients were given morphine, oxycodone or a placebo to take orally for the pain as needed over a 6-month period and recorded their pain levels and the doses taken daily.

Scientists found that patients suffering from high levels of depression or anxiety experienced increased side effects, 50% less improvement for back pain and 75% more opioid abuse when compared with patients with low levels who reported low levels of depression or anxiety.

“This is particularly important for controlled substances such as opioids, where if not prescribed judiciously, patients are exposed to unnecessary risks and a real chance of harm, including addiction or serious side effects,” said Prof. Ajay Wasan, with the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, PA.

testcountry banner[Photo courtesy of Tony Hall on Flickr]


Real Drug Stories

Drug Dealers Coating Candy with Drugs Now

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Drug dealers have apparently started coating candy with drugs.

Police in Miami-Dade County in Florida have issued a warning to the public after they discovered candy coated with a substance containing ethylone, a derivative of the synthetic drug Flakka.

Police say a drug bust in June turned up the candy, which looks just like popular candy Sour Patch Kids. However, whereas Sour Patch Kids are coated with sugar, the candy from the drug bust was coated with ethylone, which is similar to Flakka.

“For the first time, we saw a case that was submitted in the form of candy where the drug was actually substituting for the sugar coating on the candy,” said Stephen Snipes, who works in Miami-Dade police’s crime lab. “We wanted the community to be aware that this is a new way to market or distribute this dangerous substance, and it is the first time we saw it. And we want the community to know it is a danger.”

testcountry banner[Photo courtesy of Rick Cano on Flickr]


Substance Abuse

Use of Illicit Drugs Makes Women’s Brain Smaller, Says Study

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If you don’t want your brain to shrink, don’t engage in abuse of stimulant drugs.

That’s the latest finding in a study by a team of researchers led by senior author University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine research head Jody Tanabe, M.D. However, what’s fascinating is that the brain size reduction is linked to women only. “We found that after an average of 13.5 months of abstinence, women who were previously dependent on stimulants had significantly less gray matter volume in several brain areas compared to healthy women,” Tanabe said. “While the women previously dependent on stimulants demonstrated widespread brain differences when compared to their healthy control counterparts, the men demonstrated no significant brain differences.”

The researchers believe that the difference in results for men and women may have something to do with their respective behaviors. “Compared to men, women tend to begin cocaine or amphetamine use at an earlier age, show accelerated escalation of drug use, report more difficulty quitting and, upon seeking treatment, report using larger quantities of these drugs,” Tanabe said.

A crop of 127 people were subjected to structural brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with close to half of the respondents identified to have a history of usage of “cocaine, amphetamines, and/or methamphetamine,” according to a news report. After more than a year of abstaining from illicit drugs, women with drug use history were found to have smaller brain gray matter volume.

Researchers are hopeful that the results of their study can help improve the current treatments for drug addiction. “We hope that our findings will lead to further investigation into gender differences in substance dependence and, thus, more effective treatments,” Tanabe added.


Substance Abuse

Prescription Drug Abuse Linked To History of Illicit Drug Use

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A team of researchers from the University of Georgia investigated various factors that lead people to prescription drug abuse, and one thing is certain: Those who have a history of using illicit substances are prone to abuse painkillers as well.

Regardless of social status or racial profile, results of the nationwide survey point to the same finding. “Male or female, black or white, rich or poor, the singular thing we found was that if they were an illicit drug user, they also had many, many times higher odds of misusing prescription pain relievers,” study lead author Orion Mowbray said in a news item. People at least 50 years old were found to get their pain medication from multiple doctors, while younger adults obtained their prescription drugs from peers or even drug dealers.

Results of the study were based on analysis by the university’s School of Social Work on more than 13,000 respondents of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The research was also in agreement with a recent report of the Centers for Disease Control, regarding the higher likelihood of heroin users to abuse opioid medication as well.

The research team said that their study, recently published in the Addictive Behaviors journal, could pave the way for better ways to prevent drug abuse. “This study gives us the knowledge we need to substantially reduce the opportunities for misuse,” Mowbray added.


Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Marijuana Could be a Replacement for Alcohol for Teens, Study Finds

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Young people could be smoking marijuana because it’s easier to access than alcohol for those under 21, a new study suggests.

Using five years’ worth of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, University of Illinois economist Ben Crost and colleague Santiago Guerrero determined that there was a stark difference between marijuana usage in people who hadn’t yet turned 21-year-old those who had just turned 21.

“Alcohol appears to be a substitute for marijuana,” Crost said. “This sudden decrease in the use of marijuana is because they suddenly have easy access to alcohol.”

Crost and Guerrero also studied men and women separately, to see which gender was more affected by the sudden change in their ability to legally purchase alcohol. They found the change was greater in women than men. Women’s frequency in marijuana use dropped 15 percent after turning 21, while men’s frequency dropped seven percent.

“Whenever there is a discontinuous threshold where something changes, it provides a way to identify a causal effect,” Crost said. “You can compare people right above and right below the threshold. They should be very similar in all other respects, except for that one difference.”

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Medical Marijuana Substance Abuse

Marijuana-Smoking Church Sues Indiana For Religious Persecution

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Advocacy for marijuana is taken to a whole new level, as a religious community filed a lawsuit over marijuana legislation.

The First Church of Cannabis, a community of believers who consider marijuana as a way to know oneself, sued the city of Indianapolis for violating the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). The lawsuit was filed in Marion Circuit Court, and lists the city’s top government and law enforcement officials, including Gov. Mike Pence. Church founder (and Grand Poobah) Bill Levin enforced their right to enjoy religious freedom. “Today we invite the state of Indiana and all its leaders to joyfully meet us in a court of law for clarifications on our core religious values. We look forward to engaging them on the high plane of dignity and discipline, with love and compassion in our hearts, to find a swift and sensible answer for our questions of religious equality,” Pence said in a news statement.

Marijuana is still considered an illegal substance in the state of Indiana, but the church stands firm in its belief that the RFRA is enough to allow them to use cannabis during services. In fact, the church considers that marijuana is “our fountain of health, our love, curing us from illness and depression.” The church’s first service on July 1 saw at least a hundred attendees — and dozens of police officers who were given authority to arrest anyone found smoking cannabis.

The church was founded on March 26, 2015, on the same day that the state’s religious objections measure took effect.