Public Health Officials Urge Doctors to Consider Medications to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Public health officials are urging doctors to consider prescribing medications to treat alcohol addiction, NPR reports. The drugs can be used alongside or in place of peer-support programs.

“We want people to understand we think AA is wonderful, but there are other options,” said George Koob, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He says there are two drugs on the market for patients with alcohol cravings, naltrexone and acamprosate. “They’re very safe medications, and they’ve shown efficacy,” he said.

Full story of doctors to treat alcohol addiction at drugfree.org

Most Doctors Registered to Use Prescription Database Check it When They Suspect Abuse

A survey of doctors in Oregon who are registered to use their state prescription drug monitoring database finds 95 percent say they consult it when they suspect a patient is abusing or diverting medication. The survey found 54 percent of doctors registered to use the database report they have made mental health or substance abuse referrals after consulting it.

Thirty-six percent said they sometimes discharge patients from their practice because of information in the database. Fewer than half say they check it for every new patient or every time they prescribe a controlled drug. Almost all doctors who use the program say they discuss worrisome data with patients.

Registered users of the state’s database were more frequent prescribers of controlled substances than non-users, Newswise reports. The survey included 650 doctors who frequently used the database, 650 who used it infrequently and 2,000 who did not use it at all.

Full story of prescription database check for doctors at drugfree.org

Study: Effectiveness of Prescription Monitoring Databases Varies Greatly by State

The effectiveness of prescription drug monitoring programs, designed to reduce “doctor shopping” for opioids, has varied greatly by state, according to a new study by Columbia University researchers. They also found opioid prescribing rates, after surging in recent years, have stabilized.

The researchers used data from the Drug Enforcement Administration on prescriptions for the seven most commonly distributed opioid painkillers: fentanyl, hydrocodone, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone, morphine, and oxycodone.

Full story on the prescription monitoring at drugfree.org

Can brain scientists read your mind?

What are you thinking about? You wouldn’t always want the answer to that question available to others, but science may be heading in that direction.

For now, researchers are far from being able to tap into your thoughts. But a new study shows how, just by looking at brain activity, it may be possible to see whether or not you’re thinking about numbers.

“The patient doesn’t need to talk to you. They can think about numbers and you can see that red mark (corresponding with activity in a particular brain region) go up,” said Dr. Josef Parvizi, associate professor of neurology at the Stanford University Medical Center and senior author of the study. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.
Take note, this study was done on only three people with uncontrolled seizures – that’s a tiny sliver of humanity. But Parvizi said most studies on patients with intracranial electrodes only involve two to five participants, since recruitment is so difficult.

These patients had electrodes implanted in their brains to locate the source of their seizures. Surgeons perform this procedure to isolate or remove the area where seizures begin.

The researchers used these electrodes that had been implanted for locating seizures to investigate brain activity in relation to thinking about numbers, particularly in the parietal lobe. In previous studies, this brain area has been shown to be important to a person’s ability to do numerical calculations.

Full story of scientists reading the mind at CNN Health

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education