Gallery

Health Updates 2 November 2011

  • Deaths from overdoses triple over a decade: “Prescription painkillers such as OxyContin, Vicodin and methadone led to the deaths of almost 15,000 people in 2008, including actor Heath Ledger.  That’s more than three times the 4,000 deaths from narcotics in 1999.  The report shows nearly 5 percent of Americans ages 12 and older said they’ve abused painkillers in the past year – using them without a prescription or just for the high.  The overdose deaths reflect the spike in the number of narcotic painkillers prescribed every year –  enough to give every American a one-month supply, Frieden said.”   (Associated Press)
  • Really?  The claim:  for a more restful nap, avoid caffeine.  “Late November is the start of the busiest travel season of the year, when millions of drivers hit the road for long-distance treks.  Many will be sleep-deprived and looking to pull over for a nap or a dose of caffeine.  But the best idea may be to combine the two, and not in the order one might think.  Ordinarily, sleep experts advise steering clear of coffee and other stimulants before resting, since caffeine disrupts sleep….In a series of studies, however, sleep researchers in England found that drinking a cup of coffee and then immediately taking a 15-minute nap was even more effective.”  This method worked better than any others and “is believed to work because the short power nap helps clear the brain of the sleep-inducing compound adenosine.  Caffeine, meanwhile, takes about 20 minutes to have its physiological effect – kicking in just as the napper is awakening.  The bottom line: A cup of coffee followed by a 15-minute nap may be more restorative than either one alone.” (Anahad O’Connor, NY Times)
  • Vodka, malt liquor most likely to buy trip to emergency department: “Vodka and malt beverages were the forms of alcohol most likely to have been consumed by patients who wound up at the emergency department seeking treatment for an injury, according to a small study.  In addition, more men than women presented to the ED with injuries after drinking (69% versus 31%), according to the study….Men were also more likely than women to report drinking beer….Nearly a third of injury-related visits to emergency departments were  alcohol related…”. (Emily P. Walker, MedPage Today)
  • Freshman 15‘ is more like a ‘Freshman 3’: “Zagorsky and Smith found that students typically gain weight throughout their college careers — about 7 to 9 pounds for women and 12 to 13 for men.  After college, the average graduate gained 1.5 pounds a year.  ‘People slowly and steadily gain weight,’ Zagorsky said.  ‘If you gain 1.5 pounds per year, in 20 to 30 years you’re going to be obese, no matter where you start.” (Columbus Dispatch)
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