Cannabis and some conditions hasten brain aging

By studying a large number of imaging scans, researchers have identified conditions and behaviors that could make the brain age prematurely, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, alcohol use, and the use of cannabis.

For what is thought to be the largest study of its kind, the researchers analyzed brain scans of 31,227 people aged 9 months–105 years.

In a paper that now features in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, they describe how they identified “patterns of aging” from the brain scans.

These were done using single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and came from people with psychiatric conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. They were all attending a psychiatric clinic that was based at several locations.

Full story at Medical News Today

How are Dexedrine and Adderall different?

Dexedrine and Adderall are brand names for two of the most widely prescribed stimulant medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, commonly known as ADHD.

The medications share a similar set of possible side effects, risks, and warnings. But there are some small differences between Adderall and Dexedrine that may make one more suitable for some people than others.

Similarities and differences

Dexedrine and Adderall both contain forms of the synthetic compound amphetamine, which is a central nervous stimulant.

Full story at Medical News Today

ADHD drugs increase brain glutamate, predict positive emotion in healthy people

A new study shows that healthy people who take attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drugs experience a surge in the neurotransmitter glutamate in key parts of the brain. And that increase in glutamate is associated with subsequent changes in positive emotion.

The findings, published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, not only provide clues about how these drugs affect healthy brains, they also hint at a previously undiscovered link between glutamate and mood.

“This is the first time that an increase in brain glutamate in response to psychostimulant drugs has been demonstrated in humans,” said Tara White, an assistant professor in the Brown University School of Public Health and lead author of the new study. “That’s important since glutamate is the major neurotransmitter responsible for excitation in the brain, and affects learning and memory.”

Full story at Science Daily

Survey Finds 29% of College Students Think ADHD Drugs Help School Performance

A survey of college students finds 29 percent mistakenly think drugs used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) increase school performance.

An additional 38 percent are unsure of the drugs’ effects on school performance, HealthDay reports.

There is no evidence that stimulant medications such as Ritalin and Adderall are effective study aids, the article notes. The survey included almost 7,300 students, none of whom had been diagnosed with ADHD.

Full story at drugfree.org

Childhood psychiatric disorders increase risk for later adult addiction

Children’s health and well-being while growing up can be indicators of the potential health issues they may encounter years later. A study published in the July 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry(JAACAP) suggests that a childhood psychiatric disorder increases the risk of developing addiction later in life. Based on a large amount of data from previous studies on these participants, the researchers identified a correlation between various psychiatric disorders among children and later risk of developing addictions.

The team, led by researchers from the Child Study group at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam and Accare, the Center for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University Medical Center Groningen, the Netherlands, found that individuals diagnosed in childhood with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)/conduct disorder (CD), and depression had an increased risk of developing addictions. Interestingly, results concerning anxiety were less clear. The risk may depend on the specific type of anxiety disorder, but to date, no studies have focused on this topic.

Full story of childhood psychiatric disorders and adult addiction at Science Daily