Can you drink alcohol if you have COPD?

Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, are risk factors for developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Alcohol may be a contributing factor because of its relationship with tobacco, but researchers have found it difficult to identify an independent link between alcohol and the disease.

People who drink often smoke, which can make it challenging to distinguish a relationship between drinking alcohol and developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

However, the currently established links between COPD and alcohol use are significant enough that they may discourage people at risk of COPD from drinking.

No research has proved that drinking alcohol causes COPD, but some evidence suggests that drinking has specific adverse effects on people with the condition.

Full story at Medical News Today

More young people are choosing not to drink alcohol

Young people in England aren’t just drinking less alcohol — a new study published in BMC Public Health shows that more of them are never taking up alcohol at all, and that the increase is widespread among young people.

Researchers at University College London analysed data from the annual Health Survey for England and found that the proportion of 16-24 year olds who don’t drink alcohol has increased from 18% in 2005 to 29% in 2015.

The authors found this trend to be largely due to an increasing number of people who had never been drinkers, from 9% in 2005 to 17% in 2015. There were also significant decreases in the number of young people who drank above recommended limits (from 43% to 28%) or who binge drank (27% to 18%). More young people were also engaging in weekly abstinence (from 35% to 50%)

Full story at Science Daily

Teen cannabis use is not without risk to cognitive development

Although studies have shown that alcohol and cannabis misuse are related to impaired cognition in youth, previous studies were not designed to understand this relationship and differentiate whether cannabis use was causal or consequential to cognitive impairment. A new study by researchers at CHU Sainte-Justine and Université de Montréal, published in the American Journal of Psychiatry, shows that beyond the role of cognition in vulnerability to substance use, the concurrent and lasting effects of adolescent cannabis use can be observed on important cognitive functions and appear to be more pronounced than those observed for alcohol.

Beyond acute intoxicating effects, alcohol and cannabis misuse has been associated with impairments in learning, memory, attention and decision-making, as well as with lower academic performance. “While many studies have reported group differences in cognitive performance between young users and non-users, what had yet to be established was the causal and lasting effects of teen substance use on cognitive development,” said co-author and PhD student at Université de Montréal, Jean-François G. Morin. Senior author and investigator Dr. Patricia Conrod, from the Department of Psychiatry at Université de Montréal, added that “very few studies are designed to look at this question from a developmental perspective. Our study is unique in that it followed a large sample of high school students from 7th to 10th grade using cognitive and substance-use measures. Using this big-data approach, we were able to model the complex nature of the relationship between these sets of variables.”

Full story at Science Daily

Binge drinking affects male and female brains differently

Gene expression in an area of the brain linked to addiction is affected differently by repeated binge drinking in males and females, finds a new study published today in Frontiers in Genetics. It reveals for the first time that genes associated with hormone signaling and immune function are affected by repeated binge drinking in female mice, whereas genes associated with nerve signaling are affected in males. These findings have significant implications for the treatment of alcohol use disorder as they emphasize the importance of tailoring effective therapies towards male and female patients.

“We show that repeated binge drinking significantly alters molecular pathways in the nucleus accumbens, a region of the brain linked to addiction. A comparison of activated pathways reveals different responses in each sex, similar to that reported in recent research on male and female mice tested during the withdrawal phase following chronic alcohol intoxication,” says Deborah Finn, a Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University and a Research Pharmacologist at the VA Portland Health Care System, USA.

She continues, “These findings are important as they increase our understanding of male and female differences in molecular pathways and networks that can be influenced by repeated binge drinking. This knowledge can help us identify and develop new targeted treatments for alcohol use disorder in males and female patients.”

Full story at Science Daily

Is it safe to mix acetaminophen and alcohol?

Mixing acetaminophen and alcohol is not always safe. But what are the risks, and when is it dangerous?

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol or Tylenol, is a drug that people use to treat mild-to-moderate pain and fever.

In combination with alcohol, acetaminophen can cause side effects or severely damage the liver. This can also be the case when people who drink alcohol regularly take too much of this medication.

Full story at Medical News Today