Kids eating pot-laced food spikes in Colorado
Since 2009, when Colorado’s marijuana laws were relaxed, the number of children requiring medical attention after ingesting the drug has spiked, according to researchers from the University of Colorado School of Medicine. The cases generally involve a child unintentionally eating a brownie, cookie or candy bar that’s been laced with pot.
For this study, the researchers compared data from the time before drug laws were modified to the period immediately after they were changed. In 2009, 1,378 patients under 12 years old were evaluated in ERs for unintentional consumption of something. Before October 1, 2009, when the new laws went into effect, no children were treated for marijuana exposure. However, of the children treated in ERs after the law changed, 14 were cases of marijuana exposure, including eight in which they consumed the drug in another food.
The researchers warned that marijuana can be very potent, and that some marijuana contains higher concentrations of THC, the active ingredient in the drug. This could lead to more serious problems encountered by those eating the product – especially if the victim is a child. The researchers recommend that education and child-resistant packaging be introduced in an effort to limit the dangers presented to children.
Psychological disorders linked to menstrual cycle
What does a woman’s cycle have to do with her mental health? According to new research from University College London, the psychological effects of stressful experiences can have a greater impact on a woman’s mental health during specific times of her menstrual cycle. The researchers say this is the first study to demonstrate a possible association between psychological vulnerability and a specific moment during the menstrual cycle - which in this case was ovulation.
Suspecting this connection between psychological disorders and a woman’s cycle, the researchers set up a study of 41 females aged 18 to 25, none of whom were on contraceptive pills. Each participant watched a “stressful” 14-minute movie which depicted death or injury. Saliva samples were drawn immediately following the movies in order to assess hormone levels. Participants also wrote down whether they had unwanted thoughts about the video during the next few days, when they had them, and how often.
They found that women in the “early luteal” phase of their cycles—which falls roughly 16 to 20 days after the start of their period—had three times as many intrusive thoughts as those who watched the video while in other phases of their menstrual cycles. The scientists suggested that common mental health problems might be prevented if specific dates during the menstrual cycle are targeted for potentially stressful events.
Hormonal changes associated with menstruation have also been linked to changes in asthma symptoms, an increased susceptibility to knee injuries and a higher likelihood of impulsive spending.
People underestimate fast food calories
Do you know how many calories are in a Big Mac? As it turns out, quite a few people don’t have any idea – and many significantly underestimate the caloric damage.
According to research from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, people – especially teens – are consuming far more calories than they think they are when they eat fast food. One-third of teens underestimated calorie counts, compared to one-fourth of parents with school-aged children and one-fifth of other adults.
In 2011 and 2012, the researchers surveyed 3,400 people at 89 different fast food restaurants in the New England area. On average, adults ordered meals that tallied 836 calories – but most underestimated by about 175 calories. Teens ordered meals averaging 756-calories, but were off on calorie guesses by 259, the biggest discrepancy among any group evaluated. And one-fourth of the survey participants thought that their meals had 500 fewer calories than they actually had. Subway customers were the most likely to underestimate the calorie counts in their food.
American adults now get an estimated 11 percent of their daily calories from fast food. Researchers believe that helping people better understand how many calories they’re actually consuming could be a key to curbing the country’s obesity epidemic.