One-third of young adults in the United States have been in a vehicle with a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, a new study finds. Riding with a marijuana-impaired driver was more common than riding with an alcohol-impaired driver, researchers found. “We’ve put a lot of emphasis on drinking and driving, but less effort on driving under the influence of marijuana. Maybe we need more of the latter,” said study lead author Kaigang Li. “Parents should be a role model by not driving while impaired, and real friends should stop their friends from driving after using substances — if using substances cannot be stopped,” said Li, an assistant professor of health and exercise science at Colorado State University. For the study, the researchers analyzed 2013-2014 national survey data gathered from young adults who graduated high school within the past two years. Thirty-three percent reported riding with an impaired driver at least once in the previous year. Of those, 23 percent said they were with a pot-impaired driver, and 20 percent were with a booze-impaired driver. Six percent said they had ridden with a driver hampered by drugs other than marijuana, including ecstasy, amphetamines, opiates, cocaine/crack cocaine, glue or solvents, LSD or anabolic steroids. The findings were published in the March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. “Emerging adults are entering the… read on >
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Tiny pellets could treat arthritic knee pain, delaying the need for knee replacement surgery, a small study has found. Microparticles inserted into small blood vessels around the knee helped reduce the pain and improve function in eight arthritis sufferers, according to clinical trial results. The results were presented Monday at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s annual meeting, in Los Angeles. “Patients overall were able to improve their physical function in the knee after the procedure, and there were no adverse events related to this treatment,” said lead researcher Dr. Sandeep Bagla. Bagla is director of interventional radiology at the Vascular Institute of Virginia in Woodbridge. Boston Scientific, maker of the microparticles, funded the study. Much of the pain that comes from knee arthritis actually stems from inflammation in the lining of the knee joint, also called the synovium, Bagla said. In fact, small blood vessels created by degenerative arthritis feed this inflammation by increasing blood flow to the lining. To treat this, Bagla and his colleagues decided to try blocking those tiny blood vessels using microparticles — spheres about a tenth of a millimeter in size made from a synthetic gel-like material. The microparticles are inserted using a catheter run through a pinhole-sized incision, in a procedure that lasts between 45 and 90 minutes, Bagla said. “It’s an outpatient procedure, and no physical therapy is… read on >
If you’re planning a career change or wondering if a challenging job could have positive effects, research might provide some intriguing answers. In a 2014 study, scientists in Scotland used levels of job complexity based on the Dictionary of Occupational Titles for an analysis of more than 1,000 participants with an average age of 70. They found that two types of complex jobs lead to longer-lasting memory and thinking ability, years after retirement. One is working at a high level with data. The other is working at a high level with other people, on tasks like teaching, negotiating and mentoring. According to the lead author of the study, the theory is that more stimulating work environments may help people retain these mental skills. While the effect of occupation accounts for just a 1 to 2 percent variance between people with high- and low-complexity jobs, that differential is similar to some lifestyle factors that affect better thinking skills in later life, such as not smoking. The most complex jobs involving data include: Architect. Civil engineer. Graphic designer. Musician. The least complex jobs involving data include: Construction worker. Telephone operator. Food server. The most complex jobs involving other people include: Surgeon. Lawyer. Social worker. Probation officer. The least complex jobs involving other people include: Factory worker. Painter. Carpet layer. Bookbinder. Do complex jobs buffer the brain, or… read on >
(HealthDay News) — Eating one serving of green leafy vegetables per day is associated with slower age-related cognitive decline, recent research suggests. Reported in the journal Neurology — the study involved 960 adults with an average age of 81 and no sign of dementia. The difference between those who ate the greens and those who did not was equivalent to being 11 years younger cognitively. The vegetables eaten included kale, spinach and collards, which are rich sources of cognition-supporting folate, phylloquinone, nitrate, α-tocopherol, kaempferol and lutein, said the researchers at Chicago’s Rush University and Boston’s Tufts Human Nutrition Research Center.
Think you could taste the difference between recycled toilet water, bottled water or tap water? It’s unlikely, results of a blind taste test suggest. Years of drought in California have given momentum to household use of recycled wastewater. Six water agencies in the state already use wastewater that’s produced through a technology called indirect potable reuse (IDR), the University of California, Riverside, researchers noted. The IDR approach redirects treated wastewater into groundwater supplies, where it re-enters the drinking water system. Although research has shown that recycled wastewater is safe, people are often repulsed about things such as taste. “It seems that this term [wastewater], and the idea of recycled water in general, evokes disgust reactions,” said study author Daniel Harmon, a graduate student in psychology. “It is important to make recycled water less scary to people who are concerned about it, as it is an important source of water now and in the future,” Harmon said in a university news release He and his colleagues asked 143 people to compare the taste of IDR tap water, conventional groundwater tap water and bottled water. “The groundwater-based water was not as well liked as IDR or bottled water,” said study co-author Mary Gauvain, a professor of psychology. “We think that happened because IDR and bottled water go through remarkably similar treatment processes, so they have low levels… read on >
(HealthDay News) — While a smoothie can be a nutritious alternative to a regular meal, many smoothies are loaded with sugar and lack sufficient protein. The American Council on Exercise suggests how to make a smoothie that’s more nutritious: Start with a heaping portion of romaine, chard, kale, parsley, mint or any other green leafy vegetable. Add fruit to sweeten the smoothie instead of added sugar. But ensure that the mix of greens is twice as much as fruit to keep calories down. Add protein in the form of protein powder, non-fat milk, Greek yogurt, nuts, nut butter or hemp seeds. Add a liquid to make it easier to blend, such as coconut water, water or unsweetened nut milk.
Knee replacement patients can continue to enjoy sports — such as skiing, tennis and dancing — without worrying that high-impact activities might compromise their new joint, a small, new study finds. The researchers tracked patients for between five and 15 years after knee replacement surgery, known as total knee arthroplasty. They found that sports participation had no significant impact on the longevity of artificial knees. Historically, knee replacement patients are advised against high-impact activities to preserve the new joint. “Patients were coming back for their annual review . . . and were participating in a range of ‘prohibited’ activities. There were patients competing in downhill skiing and tennis, but there was no wear, no dislocations, no loosening and no revisions,” said study author Dr. Samuel Joseph. He’s an orthopedic surgeon at Linacre Private Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. “Yes, there are patients running marathons and participating in triathlons after knee replacement surgery,” he added. More than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The procedure replaces the natural joint with a prosthetic version made of metal and plastic. It’s typically done because of severe arthritis, trauma or other joint damage. Joseph and his colleagues identified 355 knee replacement patients who continued to participate in sports after surgery, more than 100 of whom… read on >
If you love exercise, one of the hardest parts of suffering an injury is being sidelined. But if you take the time to heal a sprain or strain correctly, you’ll get back in the game faster. First, understand your injury to treat it appropriately. A sprain affects ligaments, the bands of tissue that connect bones at a joint. A strain is damage to muscle and the fibers that attach it to bone. Both injuries are classified from first-degree (the mildest) to third-degree (the most severe). Resist minimizing your injury. If you’re in a lot of pain or can’t put weight on a limb, call your doctor. Getting the right treatment is essential for a full and healthy recovery. You might need a splint, protective pad or brace, or crutches. According to the American College of Sports Medicine, treatment starts with an approach called PRICE, a variation of RICE, to limit swelling and speed healing. “PRICE” steps include: Protect against any further injury. Restrict activity for 48 to 72 hours. Ice the injured area for 15 to 20 minutes every 60 to 90 minutes. Compress the area with an elastic bandage or other compression aid. Elevate the injured area to minimize swelling. The next stage usually includes gentle movement of the muscle or joint, mild resistance exercise, and a very gradual return to your favorite activity.… read on >
A trip to the barbershop could hold the key to not only looking good, but also feeling good. A new study finds that having pharmacists deliver blood pressure care in neighborhood barbershops resulted in lower blood pressure readings for many black men. The study included 319 black men with high blood pressure who frequented 52 barbershops in the Los Angeles area. Barbers encouraged some men to meet once a month with specially trained pharmacists in the barbershop. The pharmacists prescribed blood pressure medication, monitored blood tests and sent progress notes to each man’s primary care provider. Other men in the study did not see a barbershop pharmacist. Instead, barbers encouraged them to see their primary care provider for treatment and to make lifestyle changes, such as using less salt and exercising more. After six months, 64 percent of the men who saw a pharmacist achieved healthy blood pressure, compared with just under 12 percent of those who did not see a pharmacist, the investigators found. The study was published March 12 in the New England Journal of Medicine and presented at an American College of Cardiology meeting in Orlando, Fla. High blood pressure is a top cause of early disability and death among black American men. “When we provide convenient and rigorous medical care to African-American men by coming to them — in this case… read on >
A brutal flu season has had people reaching for relief in their medicine cabinet, but a new study warns that overdosing on acetaminophen (Tylenol) is more common when bugs and viruses are circulating. It turns out that the odds of taking more than the recommended 4 grams a day jumps 24 percent during these months, said lead researcher Saul Shiffman. He is senior scientific advisor at the research firm Pinney Associates in Pittsburgh. Why the jump? People battling the flu often take more than one medication for their symptoms — one remedy for headache, another for sniffles, another for backache — not realizing that all of them may contain acetaminophen, Shiffman explained. “If you don’t realize each contains acetaminophen, you might end up exceeding the daily limit inadvertently,” he said. Taking too much acetaminophen can cause liver damage, Shiffman said, although he noted that most people in this study who took too much did not hit the high levels that would overload the liver. “The daily limit is set pretty conservatively. There’s no indication that if you go a little over 4 grams, that puts you at risk. The idea is we want people to follow the label directions,” Shiffman added. On the other hand, people at risk for liver damage might be harmed by taking even lower amounts of acetaminophen, and should be particularly… read on >