Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

Fewer Australian teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Aussie students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

More than 2800 Australian students aged 12-17 took part in a survey of drinking behaviour, conducted by researchers from the University of Adelaide’s School of Psychology and the Population Health group at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI).

The results of the study, now published in the journal BMC Public Health, provide a snapshot of the prevalence of alcohol consumption among students, and the factors that most influence their drinking behaviour. This research has been supported by Cancer Council SA and SA Government.

Full story at Science Daily

Why pot-smoking declines, but doesn’t end, with parenthood

Adults who smoke marijuana often cut back after becoming parents — but they don’t necessarily quit.

The influence of a significant other and positive attitudes toward the drug overall, in addition to the onset of parenthood, also are factors in whether someone uses marijuana.

It’s a changing landscape for marijuana use, as laws ease and cultural acceptance grows — in Washington state and elsewhere around the country. Against that backdrop, the study by the University of Washington’s Social Development Research Group (SDRG) aims to present information about marijuana use among parents and nonparents alike.

Full story of parenting and marijuana at Science Daily

Sons of cocaine-using fathers have profound memory impairments

Fathers who use cocaine at the time of conceiving a child may be putting their sons at risk of learning disabilities and memory loss. The findings of the animal study were published online in Molecular Psychiatry by a team of researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The researchers say the findings reveal that drug abuse by fathers — separate from the well-established effects of cocaine use in mothers — may negatively impact cognitive development in their male offspring.

The study, which was led by Mathieu Wimmer, PhD, a post-doctoral researcher in the laboratory of R. Christopher Pierce, PhD, a professor of Neuroscience in Psychiatry in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, found evidence that the sons of fathers that ingested cocaine prior to conception struggle to make new memories. Their findings demonstrated that the sons — but not the daughters — of male rats that consumed cocaine for an extended period of time could not remember the location of items in their surroundings and had impaired synaptic plasticity in hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and spatial navigation in humans and rodents.

Full story of fathers using cocaine and sons impairments at Science Daily

Do children inherit drug protection from parents exposed to nicotine or drugs?

A father’s nicotine use may have a significant impact on children’s risk of some diseases. In a study published in the online biomedical sciences journal eLife, Oliver J. Rando, MD, PhD, and colleagues at UMass Medical School, demonstrate that mice born of fathers who are habitually exposed to nicotine inherit enhanced chemical tolerance and drug clearance abilities. These findings offer a powerful framework for exploring how information about a father’s environmental exposure history is passed down to offspring.

“Children born of fathers who have been exposed to nicotine are programmed to be not only more resistant to nicotine toxicity, but to other chemicals as well,” said Dr. Rando, professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology. “If a similar phenomenon occurs in humans, this raises many important questions. For example, if your father smoked does that mean chemotherapy might be less effective for you? Are you more or less likely to smoke? It’s important to understand what information is specifically being passed down from father to offspring and how that impacts us.”

Full story on children inheriting drug protection from parents at Science Daily

Study: Opioids Appear to Blunt Natural Parenting Instincts

A new study suggests opioids may blunt natural parenting instincts. The findings may help explain why some parents who are addicted to opioids put their children at risk, The New York Times reports.

The researchers scanned the brains of 47 adults before and after they underwent treatment for opioid dependence. While their brains were being scanned, participants looked at pictures of babies. Their brain scans were compared with those of 25 healthy people who looked at baby photos.

Full story of opioids blocking natural parenting instincts at drugfree.org