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Marijuana Use Among College Students Rising Fast

FRIDAY, Sept. 6, 2019 — Marijuana use by U.S. college students in 2018 was the highest in 35 years, researchers report.

Their survey of about 1,400 respondents, ages 19 to 22, found that about 43% of full-time college students said they used some form of marijuana at least once in the past year, up from 38% in 2017, and previous month use rose to 25% from 21%, the Associated Press reported Thursday.

The 2018 rates are the highest found in the annual University of Michigan survey since 1983.

About 6% of college students said they used marijuana 20 or more times in the past month, compared with 11% of respondents the same age who weren’t in college, the AP reported.

“It’s the frequent use we’re most worried about” because it’s associated with poor school performance and can harm mental health, researcher John Schulenberg said.

In the United States, marijuana use is greater among college-age adults than any other age group, the AP reported.

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It’s Not Just College Kids: Many Seniors Are Binge Drinking, Too

WEDNESDAY, July 31, 2019 — Binge drinking is often associated with young adults, but according to a new study, more than 10% of people over 65 do it, too.

Among seniors, binges are most common in men and those who use cannabis, researchers found. Experts said the trend is troubling, because older people should actually be cutting back on alcohol.

“Many organizations, such as the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism [NIAAA], recommend lower drinking levels as people get older or have more chronic diseases,” said lead researcher Dr. Benjamin Han, an assistant professor of geriatric medicine at NYU Langone Health in New York City.

Other studies have documented increasing alcohol consumption in the United States and worldwide, he said.

Binge drinking is generally defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks at a time. NIAAA suggests seniors cap their alcohol intake at three drinks a day.

Because the new study used the higher cutoff, it may actually underestimate how common binge drinking is among U.S. seniors.

Han isn’t sure why binge drinking is on the rise among older people, but he has a theory.

“It is possible,” he said, “that the increase in binge drinking is partly driven by increases by older women.”

Although their male counterparts are more likely to binge, older women are catching up. Binge drinking among older men remained relatively stable between 2005 to 2014.

Han says doctors should screen older adults for “unhealthy alcohol use, including binge drinking, even if it is not frequent.”

For the study, his team collected data on nearly 11,000 U.S. adults 65 and older who took part in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2015 and 2017.

Of those, 10.6% had binged in the past month, the study found. That was up from previous studies. Between 2005 and 2014, between 7.7% and 9% of older Americans were binge drinkers.

Blacks and people with less than a high school education were more likely to do so, the researchers found.

They found no link between binge drinking and mental disorders or a higher incidence of chronic diseases. Among senior binge drinkers, the most common chronic diseases were high blood pressure (41%), heart disease (23%) and diabetes (18%).

Still, researchers warned that excessive drinking can make chronic diseases worse and lead to accidents.

That binge drinking is increasing is worrisome, said Dr. James Garbutt, medical director of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“By definition, binge drinking means drinking to the point of intoxication,” said Garbutt, who wasn’t involved with the study. “In older adults, that increases risks of falls, other accidents, blackouts, cognitive impairment, depression and suicide.”

Plus, alcohol makes high blood pressure worse and is a significant factor for dementia, he said.

“It seems we need to educate older adults about these risks and encourage them that if they are going to drink alcohol, to limit intake to one to two standard drinks and try not to drink daily,” Garbutt said.

If people find they can’t drink without a binge, they should talk with their doctor or a counselor and consider a period of abstinence to see how they feel, he said.

“Reducing or stopping drinking could be one of the best things they do for their health, and many are surprised at how good they feel,” Garbutt said.

The report was published July 31 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

More information

For more on binge drinking, head to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Posted: July 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

College fanatics living it up on San Jose billboard

(Reuters) – Diehard sports fans often go to great lengths to show their allegiance but some college football supporters took their loyalty to new heights when they agreed to live on a San Jose billboard ahead of Monday’s national championship game.

Clemson Tigers fan Nancy Volland and Alabama Crimson Tide supporter Llyas Ross Sr., who have been living on ESPN Billboard ahead of Monday’s national championship game as part of an ESPN contest since December 26, 2018, are seen in this photo taken downtown San Jose, California, U.S., on January 3, 2019. Picture taken January 3, 2019. Courtesy ESPN/Handout via REUTERS

As part of an ESPN contest, four fans representing the semi-final teams took up residence on a 45-foot (13.72 m) high billboard late on Dec. 26 near the site of the championship game for as long as their respective team remained in the playoffs.

The quartet, who were each provided with a tent and sleeping bag, has been since been reduced to Clemson Tigers fan Nancy Volland of Mount Dora, Florida and Alabama Crimson Tide supporter Llyas Ross Sr from Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Volland, a 59-year-old married mother of two daughters, said her time on the 40-foot wide by 8-foot deep platform had flown by but admitted it came with its share of challenges.

“It’s not like camping in the woods,” Volland told Reuters in a telephone interview from the platform.

“You have to go down 72 stairs to go to the bathroom. I’ve had to go a couple times in the middle of the night so getting out of a nice warm sleeping bag when it’s in the 30s (Fahrenheit) and going down those 72 stairs and back up is the hardest part.”

Volland, who attended Clemson in 1977, is such a diehard fan that she told her now-husband that her only requirement before agreeing to marry him and move to Florida from Charleston was that she got to attend three Tigers home games a year.

GIANT LOGOS

Ross and Volland were among four people selected from a pool of nearly 700 fans who submitted video testimonials explaining why they should be selected to spend 12 days living in the air.

While on the billboard, adorned with a TV and giant logos of their respective teams, the fans pass the time by participating in challenges in which they can win cash and prizes.

For Ross, a 39-year-old U.S. Army veteran who served three terms in Iraq, living on a platform for the better part of two weeks is just the latest example of his devotion to Alabama.

While deployed, he once woke up in the middle of the night to don Alabama gear and cheer on his team back home even though he had to depart on a mission hours later.

Ross, who rang in the new year counting down the seconds until 2019 on a video call with his wife and four children, said living on the billboard had not been that challenging but he was glad his stint was nearing an end.

“I am so ready to get off this billboard,” Ross told Reuters. “Not only to see my family but before I see my family to see the national championship game because this will be the very first one I am having the opportunity to attend.”

For top-ranked reigning champion Alabama and No. 2 Clemson, Monday’s game will mark the third time in four years that they have met in college football’s championship with the two having split their previous showdowns.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Deadly Meningitis B Targets College Students

By Alan Mozes

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 2, 2019 (HealthDay News) — College students face a much higher risk for the deadly bacterial infection meningitis B, a new analysis shows.

Investigators from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that students who were aged 18 to 24 were 3.5 times more likely to contract meningitis B than their peers who were not in school.

The research team, led by Dr. Sarah Mbaeyi from the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said the finding highlights the urgent need to ensure that all students get vaccinated against the disease before they head off to a university.

“Meningitis B is an uncommon but potentially deadly bacterial infection that leads to inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord,” explained Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency physician with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

A meningitis B infection may “also may lead to meningococcal sepsis, or bacteria invading the bloodstream,” added Glatter, who was not part of the study. “The combination of these factors can make it lethal in less than 24 hours.”

The latest findings essentially confirm long-standing fears about college-related vulnerabilities, given that “the bacteria that leads to meningitis B lives in the nose and throat and can be spread by close contact from coughing, sneezing or kissing,” Glatter noted.

“The truth is that health care professionals have always been concerned about the heightened risk of meningitis among college students living in close quarters together and sharing drinks and utensils,” he explained.

That thought was seconded by Dr. Lucila Marquez, an assistant professor of pediatrics in the section of pediatric infectious diseases at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, in Houston. She said that “college freshmen living in residence halls were previously known to have an increased risk for other forms of meningococcal disease.”

When the meningitis B vaccine first became available in 2015, college students were not recognized as a high-risk group and not recommended for routine vaccination.

But “it’s important for college attendees to be vaccinated, because vaccination is the only reliable means of preventing devastating meningococcal disease,” said Marquez, who co-authored an editorial that accompanied the study.

Continued

Vaccination could help protect both the 10 percent to 15 percent of meningitis B patients who ultimately die from their infection, and those who survive the disease only to endure serious long-term health consequences.

Given that over one-third of meningitis infections occur among young Americans aged 16 to 23, Marquez stressed that parents “should feel confident that MenB vaccines are safe.”

During their investigation, Mbaeyi and her team identified 166 cases of some form of meningococcal disease (including B, C and Y infections) between 2014 and 2016 among Americans aged 18 to 24. Of those, 83 were college students.

Among the student group, more than three-quarters of the infections were meningitis B, the investigators found. This compared with less than 40 percent of the meningitis cases cited among non-college patients.

The findings were published in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Still, Glatter observed that the overall risk for contracting meningitis B remains “low,” even among college students. The CDC concurs, noting that in 2016 there was a total of about 370 cases of all forms of meningococcal disease across all age groups in the United States.

However, “the reality is that we need to better inform parents and health care providers about the importance of vaccinating college students against this potentially deadly illness,” said Glatter. “It’s simply not worth taking the risk, even in light of the low prevalence of this disease.”

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Sources

SOURCES: Lucila Marquez, M.D., MPH, assistant professor, pediatrics, section of pediatric infectious diseases, Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston, and associate medical director, infection control and prevention, Texas Children’s Hospital, Houston; Robert Glatter, M.D., emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; January 2019,Pediatrics

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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