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.
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.
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.
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.
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