Antipsychotics linked to diabetes in kids

Antipsychotics have already been linked to type II diabetes in adults. Now a new study shows a connection between these medications and the chronic medical condition in kids as well.

Researchers report in the journal JAMA Psychiatry that children taking antipsychotics have three times the risk of developing type II diabetes, compared to children taking other psychotropic medications (drugs prescribed to treat mental disorders).

The study authors were surprised by the magnitude of the results. But the findings make sense, given that the side effects of antipsychotics include weight gain and insulin resistance, said Wayne A. Ray, study co-author and researcher in the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. However, the study shows an association, not a cause-effect relationship.

It’s not uncommon for an adult taking antipsychotic medications to gain 20 to 40 pounds in a relatively short period of time, Ray said. Similar weight gain effects have been observed in children, proportionate to their body sizes.

Full story of antipsychotics and diabetes at CNN

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

A New Wrinkle in Parkinson’s Disease Research: Skin Cream Ingredient May Stop Effects of Parkinson’s On Brain Cells

The active ingredient in an over-the-counter skin cream might do more than prevent wrinkles. Scientists have discovered that the drug, called kinetin, also slows or stops the effects of Parkinson’s disease on brain cells.

Scientists identified the link through biochemical and cellular studies, but the research team is now testing the drug in animal models of Parkinson’s. The research is published in the August 15, 2013 issue of the journal Cell.

“Kinetin is a great molecule to pursue because it’s already sold in drugstores as a topical anti-wrinkle cream,” says HHMI investigator Kevan Shokat of the University of California, San Francisco. “So it’s a drug we know has been in people and is safe.”

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disease that causes the death of neurons in the brain. Initially, the disease affects one’s movement and causes tremors, difficulty walking, and slurred speech. Later stages of the disease can cause dementia and broader health problems. In 2004, researchers studying an Italian family with a high prevalence of early-onset Parkinson’s disease discovered mutations in a protein called PINK1 associated with the inherited form of the disease.

Full story of wrinkle cream for Parkinson’s at Science Daily

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

CNN’s Sanjay Gupta’s Support of Medical Marijuana Sparks Debate

CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Sanjay Gupta’s announcement last week that he now supports medical marijuana has sparked a debate among drug policy experts. He wrote an online piece, “Why I Changed My Mind on Weed,” which promoted his documentary, “Weed,” that ran on CNN Sunday night.

Marijuana “doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works,” he wrote.

Formerly, Gupta was a vocal opponent of legalizing marijuana. In 2009, he wrote a piece in Time entitled, “Why I Would Vote No on Pot.”

Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told USA Today the debate around marijuana should not focus on whether it is less harmful than alcohol or nicotine, but what harm would be caused by legalizing another drug. “If you look at the data … the costs associated with drugs in our country, which are gigantic, are driven mostly by legal drugs because they’re so accessible. (The legalization of marijuana) will immediately increase the adverse affects,” she said.

Full story of medical marijuana debate at DrugFree.org

Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education