Heroin overdose deaths nearly quadruple
A new report from the Centers from Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that deaths from heroin overdose in the US have increased more dramatically in the last few years they did over the entire previous decade. The steepest rise occurred between 2010 and 2013, when the rate of death from heroin overdose increased 37 percent, compared with just a 6 percent increase over the decade before.
The researchers also saw a change in the demographics of overdose victims. In 2000, the group with the highest rate of heroin overdose deaths was black adults ages 45 to 64, with a rate of 2 deaths per 100,000 yearly. In contrast, in 2013, the group with the highest death rate was white adults ages 18 to 44, with a rate of 7 deaths per 100,000. Regionally, the biggest rise was seen in the Midwest where the heroin death rate rose 11-fold between 2000 and 2013.
Doctors believe that the increase in prescription pain medication use and abuse has been a contributing factor. Many people who become addicted to prescription pain medications transition to heroin because it’s cheaper and gives people a faster high. Researchers also believe that the stigma around injecting heroin has changed as its use had become more common.
The researchers recommended an increase in the number of people trained to administer naloxone (brand name Narcan), which is a drug that can treat people who have overdosed on heroin, and to increase funding for mental and substance abuse clinics.
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Sourced from: Live Science, Heroin Overdose Deaths Nearly Quadruple in 13 Years
Published On: Mar 6th 2015
Oxytocin nasal spray helps men eat fewer calories
Researchers from Harvard University tested the effects of an oxytocin nasal spray, and found that it was able to reduce caloric intake in men after just one use. They found the spray also helped improve insulin regulation, and that the positive effects occurred in both normal weight and overweight men.
After a fasting period, 25 healthy men, with an average age of 27, were given either the oxytocin nasal spray or a placebo nasal spray. Thirteen of the men were normal weight and 12 were overweight or obese. An hour later, the men were asked to choose from a breakfast menu, and were given double portions of their selection. The test was repeated on a separate visit, but the men were then given the opposite treatment from the first.
The researchers found those who used the oxytocin spray ate 122 fewer calories and nine fewer grams of fat. All men ate similar amounts of food in the days leading up to each experiment, and saw no difference in side effects from either treatment. The team also found that the oxytocin spray increased the body’s use of stored fat as fuel.
The researchers are unsure as to how the hormone works, since they couldn’t find any changes in appetite-regulating hormones with the study. They also note that metabolism is sex specific, so a separate study needs to be done on women. Long-term studies are also being planned.
The oxytocin hormone is commonly used in the U.S. to induce labor in women, and although the nasal spray is approved for use in the U.K. it is currently banned in the U.S.
The results of the study will be presented to the Endocrine Society Meeting in San Diego this weekend.
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Sourced from: Science Daily, Oxytocin nasal spray causes men to eat fewer calories
Published On: Mar 6th 2015
High-fiber diet could help prevent allergies
Scientists have long been searching for exactly what causes food allergies, but now recent studies point to the lack of fiber in the typical Western diet as a factor.
Researchers have found that fiber promotes the growth of a helpful gut bacteria called Clostridia. When this bacteria breaks down fiber in the gut, it produces fatty acid byproducts that help seal the gut linings, and that prevents food from leaking into the bloodstream. This is known as “leaky gut.” One study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that Clostridia implanted in the gut of peanut-allergen sensitive mice, could prevent the allergy. But Western diets, high in sugar, fat, and refined carbs, may help foster “leaky gut.”
Between 1997 and 2011, food allergies reportedly increased by 50 percent among Americans. Up to 90 percent of the now 15 million Americans with allergies are affected by at least one of these eight foods: peanuts, tree nuts, wheat soy, eggs, milk, fish and shellfish. The reaction, researchers say, is caused when whole undigested parts of food leak into the gut and are released into the bloodstream. This prompts the body to send antibodies to attack the food, as an autoimmune defense.
Researchers acknowledge that lack of fiber isn’t the sole reason for the dramatic rise in food allergies. But they suggest that a high-fiber diet may be an effective way to combat allergies caused by diet and environmental factors, such as antibiotics.
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Sourced from: Live Science, High Fiber Diet May Help Prevent Allergies
Published On: Mar 6th 2015