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News & Views: How the prescription painkiller fentanyl became a street drug
Posted on August 27, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Joe Amon/Denver Post/Getty Images

The synthetic opioid fentanyl is used for surgery and to treat severe pain. Abuse has always been a problem. Now that it’s being used to cut heroin, the risk of overdose or death has soared.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: When rehab might help an addict – but insurance won’t cover it
Posted on August 17, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson5-6, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Ben Allen/WITF. Cris and Valerie Fiore hold one of their favorite pictures of their sons Anthony (with the dark hair) and Nick. Anthony died from a heroin overdose in May 2014 at the age of 24.

Federal law requires insurance firms to cover treatment for addiction as they do treatment for other diseases. But because addiction treatment is so different from treatment for other medical issues, it’s hard to figure out exactly what equal treatment looks like, and some families say that drug users aren’t getting the care they need.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Testing video games as treatments for mental illness
Posted on August 10, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Lorenzo Gritti for NPR

Dozens of games and apps claim to improve your memory or make you smarter or reduce stress. But do they really? In October 2014, 75 scientists signed a letter to the brain training industry, criticizing companies for exaggerating claims and preying on the anxieties of customers. Now game developers say the next step is clinically valid poof of cognitive gains, and one developer (also a neuroscientist) is looking for the best proof he can get — FDA approval — and he’ll start with his game NeuroRacer which already has results published in the journal Nature.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Disgust Diet: Can you train your brain to recoil at high-calorie foods?
Posted on August 7, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Lesson3-3, MD Lesson3-4, MD Unit3, ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Flickr

In a new study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, a psychologist says there could be a simple way to make calorie-packed foods like French fries or ice cream seem unappealing, even a bit disgusting. Others are less sure.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: How walking in nature changes the brain
Posted on July 24, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Getty Images

A walk in the park may soothe the mind and, in the process, change the workings of our brains in ways that may improve our mental health, according to an interesting new study of the physical effects on the brain of visiting nature.

Read more at NYTimes.com.

News & Views: Could boredom cause addiction?
Posted on July 23, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Lesson5-1, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Emily Strange

Mice given even brief opportunities to solve puzzles are less likely to become addicted to cocaine, a study has found. The research adds to an increasing body of work suggesting that addiction is in large part a reaction to living in an intellectually and emotionally unsatisfying environment, and indicates that intellectual stimulation could be more lasting than has been realized.

Read more at iflscience.com.

News & Views: Prozac in the yogurt aisle: Can ‘good’ bacteria chill us out?
Posted on July 22, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

In recent years, a body of research has shown that beneficial microbes play a critical role in how our bodies work. And it turns out there’s a lot of communication between our gut and our brain.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Living in a former meth house can cause health problems
Posted on July 1, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Barbara Brosher/WFIU

The residue from meth labs can cause health problems, but people aren’t always told that the house they’re buying is contaminated. An Indiana law requires disclosure but not mandatory testing.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: A lifesaving medicine that my patient didn’t get in time
Posted on June 22, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Mel Evans/AP

Drug overdoses — many from opioid painkillers — cause more deaths in the U.S. than car crashes, shootings or alcohol. But stigma keeps many addicts from an antidote that could quickly save them.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: When it comes to depression, serotonin isn’t the whole story
Posted on June 15, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Final Project, ND Unit1, ND Unit3, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Paul S. Howell/Getty Images

The antidepressant Prozac selectively targets the chemical serotonin. When the drug was introduced in the 1980s, it helped solidify the idea in many minds that depression was the result of a chemical imbalance. But the real story is far more complicated.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Drinking too much? One-third of Americans say yes
Posted on June 8, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

iStockphoto

Lots of people say they’re having trouble with alcohol. Native Americans and young, college-educated white men are most apt to be at risk. And most people don’t get any help cutting back.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Why not start addiction treatment in the ER?
Posted on May 14, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-5, ND Lesson5-6, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Doctor at patient bedside.iStockphoto

Like asthma or diabetes, opioid addiction is a chronic condition. Could treatment that begins when people show up in the ER get them on the right road faster? New studies suggest it could.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Use of e-cigarettes triples among U.S. teens
Posted on April 21, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Nicotine exposure at a young age  iStockphoto

Even as the use of traditional cigarettes and most other tobacco products dipped or stayed the same from 2013 to 2014, the use of e-cigarettes climbed among students in high school and middle school. This concerns Dr. Tom Frieden, chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, because nicotine exposure at a young age “may cause lasting harm to brain development.”

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Setting the record straight on the phrase ‘Gateway drug’
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

cigarette.Source

Denise Kandel coined the term, often associated with marijuana, in a research paper 40 years ago. But her work suggested nicotine, not pot, was most likely to lead to the use of harder drugs.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Critic faults Alcoholics Anonymous for lack of evidence
Posted on April 2, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-6, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Bettmann/Corbis

Gabrielle Glaser challenges the usefulness of Alcoholics Anonymous in April’s issue of The Atlantic. She claims that the program’s tenets aren’t based science and that other options may work better.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Can we predict which teens are likely to binge drink? Maybe.
Posted on March 23, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-5, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

beer pongColin/Flickr

We know some people are more at risk for abusing alcohol than others. Now scientists say they’re getting closer to predicting which teenagers are most at risk.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Rethinking alcohol: Can heavy drinkers learn to cut back?
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-5, ND Lesson5-7, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

walking along the top of martini glassesMaria Fabrizio for NPR

The limit for healthy drinking may be less than you think: one drink a day for women and two for men, according to the CDC. New strategies aim to help heavy drinkers reduce their intake.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Drinking habits may be influenced by how much you make
Posted on March 18, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-4, ND Lesson5-5, ND Lesson5-6, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

empty beer and wine glassesCultura/Liam Norris/Getty Images

To keep people from getting into trouble with alcohol, it would be helpful to know why they’re at risk. Genes make some people more susceptible to dependence or addiction, while the surroundings exert a stronger pull on others. A new study published in the journal of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Review suggests that a person’s income level influences the push and pull of genes and the environment.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Science explains how marijuana causes the munchies
Posted on February 18, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Lesson3-3, MD Unit3, Metabolic Disease, ND Unit4, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

marijuana

Where there’s pot, there’s often an insatiable hunger. A new study gives a clue why: Cannabinoids, the drug in marijuana, appear to flip a neural circuit that normally tells us we’re full into thinking we’re hungry.

Read more at NPR.org.

News & Views: Cake laced with synthetic drugs makes dozens of people hallucinate
Posted on January 20, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Synthetic drugs, gathered in evidence bags

After eating sweet bread from a Santa Ana bakery, thirty people got ill, complaining of heart palpitations and hallucinations. The deputy health counselor for the Orange County Health Agency said that people developed symptoms somewhere between 20 minutes and two hours after they consumed the rosca de reyes — Mexican sweet bread, traditionally eaten on Jan. 6 for Dia de los Reyes (The Three Wise Men Day). Preliminary lab results indicate the presence of a synthetic drug in the bread. A criminal investigation has been launched.

Around the same time as the incident, senators from California and Ohio introduced legislation that takes aim at producers and importers of synthetic drugs. The bill is called the Protecting Our Kids from Dangerous Synthetic Drugs Act.

Read more about the evolving problem of synthetic drug use at NPR.org.

News & Views: New device curbs hunger by zapping a nerve
Posted on by Katherine Malanson | Categories: MD Unit3, Metabolic Disease, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

Enteromedics new pacemaker-like device

Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a new device that aims to curb hunger by zapping a nerve. The device stimulates the vagus nerve and may curb hunger by blocking communication between the stomach and the brain, but researchers still aren’t sure why it makes people feel less hungry.

Read more about the new device at NPR.org.

News & Views: What can heroin addiction teach us about changing our bad habits?
Posted on January 6, 2015 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Lesson5-5, ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders | | Add comment |

U.S. soldiers line up to give urine samples before leaving South Vietnam

How many times have you said you’re going to exercise more or eat better? Maybe the reason it is so hard to keep resolutions is because your environment is sabotaging you — or at least that’s what some psychologists are saying based on a study of U.S. soldiers’ heroin addiction during the Vietnam War.

Read the full story at NPR.org.

News & Views: Colorado’s message to teens “Don’t be a lab rat”
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders, Uncategorized | | Add comment |

human-sized rat cage(1)

Public health officials in Colorado are facing an unprecedented challenging: explaining to teens why they shouldn’t smoke marijuana after the state legalized it. Campaigns against teen drug use usually rely on the scientifically proven health risks, but the studies on the risks of marijuana, especially to the developing teen brain, are still in their preliminary stages. Colorado’s public health campaign hinges on that exact idea and tells teens “Don’t be a lab rat”, complete with human-sized lab rat cages.

Read more about Colorado’s public health campaign at NRP.org.

News & Views: Teens Beware: Using Marijuana Could Make You Dumber
Posted on March 3, 2014 by Katherine Malanson | Categories: ND Unit5, Neurological Disorders, Uncategorized | | Add comment |

marijuana smoking

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, and more teenagers and young adults are using the drug in states that have made it available for medical use. Yet, several studies suggest that marijuana use during the teenage years can dampen the development of brain regions critical for memory and problem solving. In one study, researchers analyzed the effect of marijuana use on IQ. The researchers found that people who began using marijuana in their teenage years and continued to use marijuana for several years lost about 8 IQ points from childhood to adulthood. Read more at NPR’s coverage: Marijuana’s effect on Teenage Brain