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FDA Asks How Safe Is That Hand Sanitizer?

Posted 29 Jun 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, June 29, 2016 – Millions of Americans use hand sanitizers every day, believing they safely kill bacteria. Now, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration wants to find out if that's really true. The agency Wednesday requested makers of antibacterial hand sanitizers and related products to provide data showing the products' active ingredients actually reduce bacteria and are harmless over time. Of particular concern are the long-term effects of these sanitizers on pregnant women and children, the agency said. "These products provide a convenient alternative when hand washing with plain soap and water is unavailable, but it's our responsibility to determine whether these products are safe and effective so that consumers can be confident when using them on themselves and their families multiple times a day," Dr. Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and ... Read more

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Substance Abuse, Suicide Killing More White, Middle-Aged Americans: Report

Posted 2 Nov 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 2, 2015 – A largely unnoticed "epidemic" is killing white, middle-aged Americans in growing numbers, a new analysis reveals. Princeton University researchers report that the overall death rate of white adults in midlife has risen sharply over the past 15 years, largely because of drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. The tally is on par with the nation's AIDS deaths, they added. "We sort of fell off our chairs when we saw that in the data, because that's just not what's happening elsewhere," said study author Anne Case, a professor of economics and public affairs. No other industrialized nation has experienced a similar deterioration in health during the timeframe studied – 1999 to 2013, the researchers said in background notes. Meanwhile, death rates of U.S. Hispanics and blacks continue to plummet. Results of the ... Read more

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Alcohol, Pot Combo Impairs Driving More Than Either Alone

Posted 10 Jul 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 10, 2015 – Drinking alcohol and smoking pot at the same time hampers driving skills more than consuming one alone does, a new study shows. However, while the combined impact leads to greater behind-the-wheel impairment, it didn't double the effect. The findings stem from a new investigation that looked at driver performance along a virtual roadway after drinking alcohol, smoking pot or both. "What we saw was an additive effect, not a synergistic effect, when we put them together," study author Tim Brown, an associate research scientist who works with the University of Iowa's National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS), said in a news release. "You get what you expect if you take alcohol and cannabis and merge them together." Brown and his colleagues reported their findings recently in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Their work was sponsored by the U.S. National ... Read more

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Higher Alcohol Taxes May Lead to Fewer Drunk-Driving Deaths: Study

Posted 6 Apr 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, April 6, 2015 – Higher alcohol taxes in Illinois are associated with a decrease in alcohol-related car crash deaths, a new study finds. "Similar alcohol tax increases implemented across the country could prevent thousands of deaths from car crashes each year," Alexander Wagenaar, a professor in the department of health outcomes and policy at the University of Florida in Gainesville, said in a university news release. "If policymakers are looking to address dangerous drivers on our roads and reduce the number of fatalities, they should reverse the trend of allowing inflation to erode alcohol taxes," he added. In Illinois, alcohol-related traffic deaths fell 26 percent after the state boosted alcohol taxes in 2009. The decrease was highest among young people, at 37 percent, the study found. Fatal crashes involving alcohol-impaired and extremely drunk drivers fell 22 percent and ... Read more

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Too Much Alcohol at Midlife Raises Stroke Risk, Study Finds

Posted 29 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Jan. 29, 2015 – Too much alcohol in middle age can increase your stroke risk as much as high blood pressure or diabetes, a new study suggests. People who average more than two drinks a day have a 34 percent higher risk of stroke compared to those whose daily average amounts to less than half a drink, according to findings published Jan. 29 in the journal Stroke. Researchers also found that people who drink heavily in their 50s and 60s tend to suffer strokes earlier in life than light drinkers or non-imbibers. "Our study showed that drinking more than two drinks per day can shorten time to stroke by about five years," said lead author Pavla Kadlecova, a statistician at St. Anne's University Hospital International Clinical Research Center in the Czech Republic. The enhanced stroke risk created by heavy drinking rivals the risk posed by high blood pressure or diabetes, the ... Read more

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Could a Drink a Day Lower Your Risk for Heart Failure?

Posted 19 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 – Having a drink each day might help lower a middle-aged person's odds for heart failure, a new study reveals. The investigation suggests that men in their 40s, 50s and 60s who drink as much as seven comparably sized glasses of wine, beer and/or spirits per week will see their risk for heart failure drop by 20 percent. For women the associated drop in risk amounted to roughly 16 percent, according to the study published online Jan. 20 in the European Heart Journal. "These findings suggest that drinking alcohol in moderation does not contribute to an increased risk of heart failure and may even be protective," Dr. Scott Solomon, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, said in a journal news release. While the study found an association between moderate drinking and a lower risk of heart failure, it wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect. And ... Read more

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TV Alcohol Ads Tied to Problem Drinking for Teens, Study Finds

Posted 19 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Jan. 19, 2015 – A new study finds a link between the number of TV ads for alcohol a teen views, and their odds for problem drinking. Higher "familiarity" with booze ads "was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking across a range of outcomes of varying severity among adolescents and young adults," wrote a team led by Dr. Susanne Tanski of Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. Their work involved nearly 1,600 participants, aged 15 to 23, who were surveyed in 2011 and again in 2013. Alcohol ads on TV were seen by about 23 percent of those aged 15 to 17, nearly 23 percent of those aged 18 to 20, and nearly 26 percent of those aged 21 to 23, the study found. The study wasn't designed to prove cause-and-effect. However, the more receptive the teens were to alcohol ads on TV, the more likely they were to start drinking, or to progress from drinking ... Read more

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Poor Sleep Tied to More Drinking, Drug Use by Teens

Posted 16 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2015 – Lack of sleep raises teens' risk of alcohol and drug problems, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data from more than 6,500 American teens that was collected in three separate waves: 1994-95, 1996 and 2001-02. The findings appear in the February online issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. "Sleep difficulties at the first wave significantly predicted alcohol-related interpersonal problems, binge drinking, [getting] drunk or very high on alcohol, driving under the influence of alcohol, getting into a sexual situation one later regretted due to drinking," while drug and drug-related problems were predicted at the second wave, study corresponding author Maria Wong said in a journal news release. She is the director of experimental training in the department of psychology at Idaho State University. Wong added that alcohol and ... Read more

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Many Americans Who Drink Also Take Prescription Medications: Study

Posted 16 Jan 2015 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 16, 2015 – A substantial number of Americans who drink also take medications that should not be mixed with alcohol, new government research suggests. The study, of nearly 27,000 U.S. adults, found that among current drinkers, about 43 percent were on prescription medications that interact with alcohol. Depending on the medication, that mix can cause side effects ranging from drowsiness and dehydration to depressed breathing and lowered heart rate. It's not clear how many people were drinking and taking their medications around the same time – or even on the same day, the researchers stressed. "But this does tell us how big the problem could potentially be," said study co-author Aaron White, a neuroscientist at the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). He and his colleagues report the findings in the February online edition of the journal ... Read more

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Moderate Drinking May Increase Risk of Heart Rhythm Disorder: Study

Posted 1 Oct 2012 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Oct. 1 – For older people with heart disease or advanced diabetes, moderate drinking may increase their risk of a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, according to a new study. Atrial fibrillation is a quivering or irregular heartbeat that affects about 2.7 million people in the United States, and is a risk factor for stroke. Researchers analyzed data from more than 30,000 people, aged 55 and older, in 40 countries who had a history of cardiovascular disease or advanced diabetes with organ damage. Moderate to high alcohol intake was associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation. And for moderate drinkers, the effect of binge drinking was similar to that of habitual heavy drinking, according to the study, which was published Oct. 1 in CMAJ, the journal of the Canadian Medical Association Moderate drinking was defined as up to two drinks per day or one to ... Read more

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New Clues to How Alcohol May Boost Cancer Risk

Posted 23 Aug 2012 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22 – A new study provides insight on how alcohol may increase cancer risk. When the body metabolizes – or breaks down – alcohol, a substance called acetaldehyde is formed, which can cause DNA damage, researchers say. Acetaldehyde's chemical makeup is similar to the known carcinogen formaldehyde, according to the researchers. "We now have the first evidence from living human volunteers that acetaldehyde formed after alcohol consumption damages DNA dramatically," study leader Silvia Balbo, a research associate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, said in an American Chemical Society news release. Acetaldehyde attaches to DNA, interfering "with DNA activity in a way [that is] linked to an increased risk of cancer," Balbo explained. The bits of DNA attached to cancer-causing chemicals are known as adducts. For the study, the researchers gave 10 volunteers ... Read more

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The Health Benefits, and Risks, of Alcohol

Posted 20 Jul 2012 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, July 20 – Mirroring so much of life, alcohol consumption comes with plusses and minuses. A lot of recent research has highlighted the potentially beneficial effects on the heart and other parts of the body of drinking wine and other alcoholic beverages. But risks to health exist, too, as well as the more well-known and potentially life-threatening effects of alcohol, including drunken driving and addiction. The Good Alcohol consumption in moderation has been linked to a host of good outcomes. Studies have suggested that drinking alcohol, wine in particular, may reduce your risk for heart disease, stroke, gallstone formation, type 2 diabetes and dementia. It may also give your metabolism a slight boost. "Alcohol, especially red wine, has resveratrol and antioxidants and bioflavonoids and polyphenols, and all of these wonderful things that dilate the arteries and reduce ... Read more

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For Women, Moderate Midlife Drinking Linked to Healthier Old Age

Posted 8 Sep 2011 by Drugs.com

THURSDAY, Sept. 8 – Women who consume moderate amounts of alcohol in middle age are somewhat more likely than teetotalers to be in good physical and mental health in old age, new research finds. The study doesn't prove that moderate drinking will lead to better health compared to not drinking, since it's possible that other factors could account for the difference. Also, the research doesn't examine the long-term cost of drinking, say, wine instead of milk with dinner. And study author Dr. Qi Sun doesn't recommend that middle-aged women start drinking if they don't already. Still, "if you are an otherwise healthy person, and you're a long-term light-to-moderate drinker, this may have some benefits," said Sun, an instructor in medicine at Harvard School of Public Health. Scientists have found evidence that moderate drinking can benefit health, particularly in terms of heart disease, ... Read more

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More Evidence That Alcohol Hinders Good Sleep

Posted 15 Aug 2011 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Aug. 15 – You might want to take a pass on that nightcap, a new study suggests. Japanese researchers report that alcohol hinders the restorative functions of sleep. The findings, from a study of 10 male university students, appear online and in the November print issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Booze's effect on sleep appears linked to a disruption in nervous system function. Normally, as people sleep through the night, "the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for 'rest-and-digest' activities, is dominant over the sympathetic nervous system, responsible for stimulating activities," Yohei Sagawa, a physician in the department of neuropsychiatry at the Akita University School of Medicine, explained in a journal news release. "We wanted to investigate how alcohol may change this complementary relationship." To do so, Sagawa and his ... Read more

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Even One Glass of Beer, Wine Boosts Car Crash Risk: Study

Posted 25 Jun 2011 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, June 24 – Drinking even a single glass of beer or wine can raise blood-alcohol concentrations enough to increase the chances of being seriously injured or dying in a crash for those who choose to get behind the wheel, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego found that having a blood-alcohol concentration of just 0.01 percent – much lower than the legal limit in the United States of 0.08 percent – increased the chances of being in a serious crash. In the study, published online June 20 in the journal Addiction, researchers analyzed national data on fatal car accidents in the United States between 1994 and 2008. No amount of alcohol seemed to be safe for driving, according to the study. Even with barely detectable amounts of alcohol in a driver's blood, there were 4.33 serious injuries for every non-serious injury versus 3.17 serious ... Read more

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