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Studies link alcohol to early death, memory loss
January 15th, 2014
05:43 PM ET

Studies link alcohol to early death, memory loss

Nearly 80,000 people die as a result of drinking alcohol each year in North and Latin America, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Journal Addiction.

Researchers looked at alcohol as the cause of death by examining death certificates, over a two-year period in 16 North and Latin American countries. Men accounted for 84% of alcohol-related deaths.

Maristela Monteiro, study author and a senior advisor on alcohol and substance abuse at the Pan American Health Organization, says people are drinking too much and "it's killing people before they should be dying."

"These deaths are all 100 percent preventable," she says.  FULL POST


Your designated driver might have been drinking
A field sobriety test. A new study shows some "designated drivers" may have blood alcohol levels over the new recommended level for drunk driving, a new study shows.
June 10th, 2013
02:55 PM ET

Your designated driver might have been drinking

Maybe you’re better off taking the bus.

A new study in the July issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that 35% of designated drivers - those responsible for driving friends who may have had too much to drink - also consume alcohol and 1 in 5 had blood-alcohol levels high enough to impair their driving.

Researchers interviewed and tested 1,100 people in the downtown area of an unnamed Southeastern college community.  Of the designated drivers who drank alcohol, half had blood alcohol levels higher than .05%, the new recommended limit for drunken driving (the current limit is .08%).

“If you look at how people choose their designated drivers, oftentimes they’re chosen by who is least drunk or who has successfully driven intoxicated in the past,” says Adam Barry, an assistant professor of health education and behavior at the University of Florida. “That’s disconcerting.”

FULL POST


Alcohol may improve breast cancer survival
April 9th, 2013
12:41 PM ET

Alcohol may improve breast cancer survival

Although drinking alcohol is known to be a risk factor for developing breast cancer, a new study suggests that alcohol may not have any effect on whether you survive the disease.  In fact, researchers found that being a moderate drinker may actually improve your chances of survival.

"The results of the study showed there was no adverse relationship between drinking patterns before diagnosis and breast cancer survival," said Polly Newcomb, director of the cancer prevention program at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and the lead author of the study.

"We actually found that relative to non-drinkers there were modestly improved survival rates for moderate alcohol intake."

FULL POST


Alcohol and diet soda may be a bad mix
February 5th, 2013
04:04 PM ET

Alcohol and diet soda may be a bad mix

Saving calories at the bar may not be a good thing.

Researchers gave college students vodka drinks with regular soda and with diet soda, and the diet soda group got more intoxicated, faster - about 20%  more intoxicated than those who mixed regular soda with liquor, according to research published Tuesday in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Sugar in your mixed drink actually slows down the effects of alcohol, researchers say. FULL POST


TV ads may be driving children to drink
January 29th, 2013
10:18 AM ET

TV ads may be driving children to drink

The halls of every middle school in America are filled with teenagers looking to find themselves, express themselves and fit in with the crowd. But it’s what happens at home, at night, that can lead to some of the problems those teens may put on display.

Seventh-graders who are exposed to alcohol ads on television –- and who say they like the ads - may experience more severe problems related to drinking alcohol later in their adolescence, according to a study published Monday in the medical journal Pediatrics.

FULL POST


Without screening, doctors may miss alcohol problems
January 15th, 2013
05:12 PM ET

Without screening, doctors may miss alcohol problems

Clinicians are missing alcohol problems in almost three out of four patients because they don't screen for the behavior and instead go with their gut feelings to catch the problem, according to a study published this week in the Annals of Family Medicine. Experts say asking patients a few questions about their drinking habits can lead to interventions that may help patients cut back on their risky behavior.

The study

Researchers wanted to find out how well doctors identified drinking problems in their patients. Almost 1,700 adults from 40 different primary care practices completed questionnaires at the end of an office visit. They were asked a variety of lifestyle questions and several addressed drinking habits, such as how often they drank alcohol, how many drinks they had on a typical day, and if their drinking ever put them in danger of getting hurt or causing an accident.

FULL POST


Marijuana use holds steady among U.S. teens
December 19th, 2012
05:17 PM ET

Marijuana use holds steady among U.S. teens

Marijuana use is holding steady among eighth, 10th- and 12th-graders in the United States and tobacco smoking rates remain low.

Those are some of the results published in the annual Monitoring the Future study, a survey of more than 45,000 8th, 10th, and 12th graders from 395 public and private schools.  It was released Wednesday.

Each year, the survey gathers information from teens about their use of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco, as well as asking them questions regarding their attitudes about the drugs. FULL POST


CDC: Teen drinking and driving rates cut in half
Drinking and driving among high-schoolers ages 16 to 19 dropped 54% between 1991 and 2011, the CDC says.
October 2nd, 2012
04:16 PM ET

CDC: Teen drinking and driving rates cut in half

The number of teenagers who are drinking and driving has dropped by 54% in the past two decades, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In 2011, when asked if they drink and drive, 90% of the high school students 16 and older surveyed by the CDC said they did not.

However, “motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death among teens in this country.  There are more than 2,000 teens aged 16-19 killed each year and many of those deaths are alcohol-related,” said CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden. “Almost a million high school teens aged 16 and over drove after drinking alcohol in 2011 and we calculate that high school teens were responsible for about 2.4 million episodes of drinking and driving a month.”

FULL POST


Weight-loss surgery may raise risk of alcohol abuse
A new study shows weight-loss surgery patients are at risk for alcoholism about two years after the procedure.
June 19th, 2012
09:22 AM ET

Weight-loss surgery may raise risk of alcohol abuse

Certain patients who undergo weight-loss surgery may have a heightened risk of developing a drinking problem, but the risk is only apparent two years after the procedure and only with one type of surgery.

A new study, published today on the website of the Journal of the American Medical Association, examined the drinking habits of almost 2,000 obese adults before and after bariatric surgery.

Before the surgery, 7.6% of the study participants met the criteria for an alcohol-use disorder. One year after the procedure that number had actually declined slightly, to 7.3%, but by the end of the second year it had risen to 9.6% - a 57% increase from the pre-surgery rate.
FULL POST

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Filed under: Addiction • Alcohol • Diet and Fitness • Health.com • Obesity • Weight loss

Lethal combo killed artist Thomas Kinkade
Kinkade, one of America's most popular artists, painted more than 1,000 works including cabins, nature scenes and seascapes.
May 8th, 2012
05:35 PM ET

Lethal combo killed artist Thomas Kinkade

The artist Thomas Kinkade, 54, died in April from a lethal combination of alcohol and Valium, according to an autopsy report from the Santa Clara County, California, medical examiner.

Alcohol and Valium, also known as diazepam, are both depressants that slow down the central nervous system. These depressants slow down the brain and also decrease the heart rate, lower the blood pressure and cause lethargy.

“Because your brain will control autonomic function like heart beat, breathing, when the concentration is so high that area of the brain is affected, it does not function,” said Douglas Rohde, supervisor of chemistry and toxicology at Lake County Crime Laboratory in Ohio.  Rohde is not involved in Kinkade’s case.

This could knock a person into a coma, and then breathing and heart beat could stop.

FULL POST


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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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