Soldiers’ Suicide Risk Greatest in Year After Leaving Inpatient Psychiatric Treatment

November 21, 2014 Posted by

U.S. soldiers who have undergone inpatient psychiatric treatment have a greatly increased risk of suicide in the year after they are discharged from the hospital, suggests a new study.

The suicide rate in the U.S. Army is higher than the civilian rate, HealthDay reports.

The study included more than 40,000 active-duty soldiers who received inpatient psychiatric treatment between 2004 and 2009. Within a year of being discharged, 68 of the soldiers committed suicide—12 percent of all U.S. Army suicides during this period.

The researchers identified the 5 percent of soldiers with the highest predicted risk of suicide in the year after hospital discharge. This group of soldiers accounted for 52.9 percent of suicides after hospitalization. Among the soldiers with the highest risk of suicide, risk factors included being male, enlisting at a later age, criminal offenses, weapons possession, previous suicide attempts, and a greater number of antidepressant prescriptions filled in the past year.

Full story of soldier suicide risk after inpatient psychiatric treatment at

Commentary: Combating Tobacco Use Among Lower-Income Families

November 20, 2014 Posted by

Tobacco doesn’t just affect smokers. In fact, 88 million non-smoking adults and children were exposed to secondhand smoke in the U.S. in 2007-08. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at high risk for serious health consequences, such as low birth weight, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, middle-ear infection and other diseases, affecting not only their health, but also school readiness.

The federal Head Start program was launched in the summer of 1965 as part of the “War on Poverty.” Head Start and Early Head Start (HS/EHS) have since served as models for high quality comprehensive service designed to nurture children and families of lower income levels intellectually, socially, emotionally and physically so that children are prepared to start school and reach their fullest potential.  Recognizing the benefit of partnering with Head Start to address the disparities in reaching individuals with low socioeconomic status (SES), Legacy, in partnership with Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, led and funded the Head Start Tobacco Cessation Initiative. The initiative was designed to work off of the overall mission of HS/EHS by enabling participating sites to incorporate cessation identification and referral protocols into their existing child development. The initiative seeks to increase awareness of the health consequences of tobacco use, reduce children’s exposure to secondhand smoke, and increase the capacity of Head Start programs to address tobacco cessation and secondhand smoke.

Full story of tobacco use among low income families at

Scientists’ Goal: Developing Non-Addictive Opioid Painkillers

November 19, 2014 Posted by

Scientists are working to develop opioid painkillers with a low potential for abuse. About a dozen such drugs are currently in development, according to The Courier Journal.

“Is (a non-addictive opioid) a possibility? Absolutely. And there are a lot of people devoting a lot of time and effort to it,” Dr. Gavril Pasternak, an opioid researcher at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told the newspaper. “It could be ready relatively soon. … In the short-term, it may be a major help.”

One such drug in development is called CR845. Cara Therapeutics, the company that makes the drug, recently released research that suggests it is much less likely to cause patients to feel high compared with pentazocine, another opioid analgesic.

Full story of non addictive opioid painkillers at

ACLU Turns From Legalization to Decriminalizing Drug Possession

November 18, 2014 Posted by

Now that four states have legalized recreational marijuana, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLUS) plans to turn its focus from legalization to decriminalizing drug possession, according to U.S. News and World Report.

“What the marijuana legalization votes tell us is the door is open to reconsidering all of our drug laws,” said Alison Holcomb, National Director of the ACLU’s new nationwide campaign against “mass incarceration.” The effort will be funded by a $50 million grant from billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

The ACLU hopes to replicate the success of California’s Proposition 47. The measure, approved by 58 percent of state voters last week, lowers penalties for drug possession and other nonviolent crimes. It also allows felony convictions to be retroactively reclassified as misdemeanors, and calls for sentencing reductions for current inmates. “Hopefully we will be able to find states where we can go further and say, ‘Let’s decriminalize the possession of drugs and let’s talk about what we can do to address drug use and abuse,’” Holcomb said.

Full story of ACLU turning to decriminalizing drug possession at

Smokers with Bladder Cancer Acknowledge Tobacco Increased Their Risk of Disease

November 17, 2014 Posted by

Most smokers with bladder cancer are aware that using tobacco increased their risk of disease, a new study finds. More than half of bladder cancers in the United States are caused by smoking.

“Bladder cancer is actually the second most common smoking-related cancer, second only to lung,” lead author Dr. Jeffrey C. Bassett of Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Anaheim told Reuters.

Previous studies suggested most bladder cancer patients did not understand the connection between their disease and tobacco, he noted. “Bladder cancer patients smoking at diagnosis appear to accept that their own smoking caused their cancer, positioning them for a more motivated (and more likely successful) attempt at quitting,” Bassett said.

Full story of bladder cancer and smokers risk at