Doctors more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day

A vast array of known factors play a role in the current opioid crisis, and a recent study may have identified yet another. The authors conclude that doctors are more likely to prescribe opioids later in the day and when appointments are running late.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid-related drug deaths increased by 88% each year from 2013 to 2016.

Each day, more than 130 people in the United States died from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2017–2018.

Full story at Medical News Today

Chronic cocaine use modifies gene expression

Chronic cocaine use changes gene expression in the hippocampus, according to research in mice recently published in JNeurosci.

Chronic drug users learn to associate the drug-taking environment with the drug itself, reinforcing memories that contribute to addiction. These memories are thought to be created by changes in gene expression in the hippocampus and potentially involve the gene FosB, but the exact mechanism is unknown.

A.J. Robinson and colleagues at Michigan State University examined how cocaine exposure affected expression of the FosB gene in the hippocampus. Mice that were administered cocaine daily showed increased expression of FosB compared to mice that received saline. Chronic cocaine use caused epigenetic modification of the gene, leading it to becoming more active. Additionally, when the scientists blocked the changes made to FosB, the mice were unable to form associations between cocaine and the environment where they received it, implicating epigenetic regulation of the gene in drug memory formation.

Full story at Science Daily

What to know about post-concussion syndrome

Post-concussion syndrome (PCS) is a condition in which the symptoms of concussion or a head injury last long after the initial injury.

PCS can last for months or years, but the symptoms improve over time, and, in most cases, people make a full recovery.

In this article, we look at the symptoms of PCS and how long they last. We also cover causes and risk factors, diagnosis, treatment options, and possible complications.

What is post-concussion syndrome?

In PCS, the symptoms of a concussion last for a long time after the initial injury.

Full story at Medical News Today

 

Social media stress can lead to social media addiction

Social network users risk becoming more and more addicted to social media platforms even as they experience stress from their use.

Social networking sites (SNS) such as Facebook and Instagram are known to cause stress in users, known as technostress from social media. However, when faced with such stress, instead of switching off or using them less, people are moving from one aspect of the social media platforms to another — escaping the causes of their stress without leaving the medium on which it originated.

Research into the habits of 444 Facebook users revealed they would switch between activities such as chatting to friends, scanning news feeds and posting updates as each began to cause stress. This leads to an increased likelihood of technology addiction, as they use the various elements of the platform over a greater timespan.

Full story at Science Daily

Prescription size predicts persistent opioid use after cardiothoracic surgery

Prescription size is associated with increased new persistent opioid use among patients after cardiothoracic surgery, according to a study published online Aug. 22 in the Annals of Thoracic Surgery.

Alexander A. Brescia, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues identified opioid-naive Medicare patients undergoing cardiothoracic surgery between 2009 and 2015. They selected 24,549 patients who filled an opioid prescription between 30 days before surgery and 14 days after discharge and with continuous Medicare enrollment. The correlation for prescription size with new persistent opioid use was examined.

The researchers found that new persistent use was 12.8 percent overall and decreased annually, from 17 to 7.1 percent from 2009 to 2015. Associations with new persistent use were seen for prescription size, preoperative prescription fills, black race, gastrointestinal complications, disability status, open lung resection, dual eligibility (Medicare and Medicaid), drug and substance abuse, female sex, tobacco use, high comorbidity, pain disorders, longer hospital stay, and younger age. Among patients prescribed more than 450 oral morphine equivalents, adjusted new persistent use was 19.6 percent compared with 10.4 percent among those prescribed 200 oral morphine equivalents or less.

Full story at Medical Xpress