Methamphetamine use linked to heightened stroke risk in the young

The stimulant methamphetamine, also popularly known as ‘speed,’ ‘ice’ and ‘meth,’ is linked to a heightened risk of stroke among young people, reveals a review of the available evidence, published online in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

A stroke caused by a bleed into the brain (haemorrhagic) rather than a clot (ischaemic) is the most common type associated with taking this drug, with men twice as likely to succumb as women, the findings show.

Given the often disabling or fatal consequences of a stroke, and the increasing use of methamphetamine among young people, particularly in countries around the Pacific rim (North America, East and Southeast Asia, and Oceania), the findings are a cause for concern, warn the researchers.

Full story at Science Daily

Strokes may cause increased preference for alcohol, research suggests

Brain changes after stroke may lead to increase in alcohol-seeking behavior, at least in animal models, according to research published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Although it is known that excessive alcohol intake (more than two drinks per day) is a risk factor for stroke, there hasn’t been much scientific study about how alcohol-related behavior might change after a stroke has occurred. When researchers at the Texas A&M College of Medicine looked into the issue, they found that strokes in a certain part of the brain increase alcohol-seeking behavior and preference for alcohol.

“It’s important because although stroke is a severe disease, more and more people are surviving and recovering after their first stroke,” said Jun Wang, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the College of Medicine and co-principal investigator of this project. “Therefore, it is important to study behavior change after stroke, and how that behavior can affect the chances of having another one, which is often fatal.”

Full story of preferences in alcohol and strokes at Science Daily

Moderate Drinking Confers Little to No Health Benefit for Most People: Study

Moderate consumption of alcohol confers little to no health benefit for most people, a new analysis of almost 53,000 adults finds. The researchers said previous studies that found light alcohol consumption could benefit health were flawed.

Earlier research found light drinking may help protect against early illness and death. Studies found people who have fewer than two drinks daily live longer than those who drink more, or those who don’t drink at all.

The author of the new study, Craig Knott of University College London, said the earlier research put former drinkers together with people who never drank, and called them all non-drinkers. That group was compared with light drinkers.

Full story of moderate drinking and health benefits at drugfree.org

Study Finds Increased Death Risk from Binge Drinking Among Older Moderate Drinkers

A study of moderate drinkers ages 55 to 65 found those who drink large amounts less often have higher death rates, compared with those who drink small amounts more regularly. The researchers say most studies that examine the potential effects of moderate drinking generally focus on average levels of drinking, instead of overall drinking patterns.

The study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin looked at drinking patterns of moderate drinkers, comparing whether they spread out their alcohol consumption evenly, or drank less frequently but in larger amounts.

Full story of drinking death risk at drugfree.org

High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy Could Elevate Risk of Future Stroke

High blood pressure during pregnancy could dramatically raise a woman’s lifetime risk of stroke, according to a study presented today at the Canadian Stroke Congress.

“We’ve found that women who had high blood pressure during pregnancy could be at higher risk of stroke, particularly if they had pre-eclampsia, which is a more severe form of high blood pressure,” says Dr. Aravind Ganesh, a neurology resident at the University of Calgary. “The elevated risk of stroke could be as high as 40 per cent.”

Dr. Ganesh, along with Neha Sarna (medical student), Dr. Rahul Mehta (internal medicine resident) and senior author Dr. Eric Smith (stroke neurologist), conducted a systematic review — basically, a study of studies.

Nine studies specifically looked at hypertension (high blood pressure) during pregnancy and its relationship to future risk of stroke.

The studies followed women for anywhere from one to 32 years after a pregnancy, and found consistent evidence that those with a history of hypertension in pregnancy are more likely to experience stroke in later life.

Full story of high blood pressure during pregnancy at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education