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Category Archives: Science

Federal Government’s New Definition of “Recovery”

SAMHSA — the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — is a division of the federal government’s Health and Human Services department and the leading agency for the government’s approach to substance abuse treatment. It recently revamped the definition it uses for “recovery” in a way that makes it closely parallel the LifeRing approach.

The full definition can be found by clicking HERE. It deals with recovery from mental illness as well as substance abuse and is general in character, but the emphasis throughout is on “self-determination and self-direction” which it says are “the foundations for recovery as individuals define their own life goals and design their unique path(s) towards those goals.”

One section is about “peers and allies” and says “mutual support and mutual aid groups, including the sharing of experiential knowledge and skills, as well as social learning, play an invaluable role in recovery.”

The whole thing is worth a read. See it HERE

Driving stoned? It’s not safe

Image courtesy iStockphoto.

A new “meta-data” study of a number of previous studies about marijuana’s effect on driving says a pot smoker who has toked in the last few hours has nearly double the odds of an car accident as a totally sober person.

Now, this meta-study still isn’t at the point where law enforcement may be able to determine what is an unsafe level of THC for marijuana field sobriety testing. But, we’re probably getting nearer there.

More food for thought, especially in states with medical marijuana laws, as the linked story notes.

New Study Emphasizes Dangers of Drinking During Pregnancy

The dangers of drinking during pregnancy were underlined in the results of a new study reported on by the Wall Street Journal. The article talks about one result of the study: “For each drink consumed each day over the daily average [in the study of 1,000 women] in the second half of the first trimester, the women’s babies were 12% more likely to have a small head circumference, 16% more likely to have low birth weight and over 20% more likely to have a very thin upper lip or lack a vertical indentation between their noses and lips. While seemingly minor, those characteristics are typical of fetal alcohol syndrome, or FAS, and frequently presage cognitive and behavior problems later in life.”

It’s long been widely known that drinking during pregnancy carried danger, but this study shows clearly just how critical those dangers are. “”We found that there is no safe amount of alcohol to drink during pregnancy,” says lead author Haruna Sawada Feldman, a postdoctoral student at the University of California, San Diego.”

Read the full article by clicking HERE.

‘Healthy’ red wine data is bogus

An AP story has the details:

A University of Connecticut researcher known for his work on the benefits of red wine to heart health falsified his data in more than 100 instances, and nearly a dozen scientific journals are being warned of the potential problems after publishing his studies in recent years, officials said Wednesday.

UConn officials said their internal review found 145 instances over seven years in which Dr. Dipak Das fabricated and falsified data, and the U.S. Office of Research Integrity has launched an independent investigation of his work.

There’s no indication of the motive, but the university just turned down nearly $1 million in federal grants related to the fake research.

Are There Gender Differences in Alcoholism?

Could it be that alcohol affects women differently than men? If so, what implications does that have for treatment? That’s the issue discussed in a recent Scientific American article.

It starts out: “Alcohol abuse does its neurological damage more quickly in women than in men, new research suggests. The finding adds to a growing body of evidence that is prompting researchers to consider whether the time is ripe for single-gender treatment programs for alcohol-dependent women and men.

It goes on to state: “Over the past few decades scientists have observed a narrowing of the gender gap in alcohol dependence. In the 1980s the ratio of male to female alcohol dependence stood at roughly five males for every female, according to figures compiled by Shelly Greenfield, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. By 2002 the “dependence difference” had dropped to about 2.5 men for every woman. But although the gender gap in dependence may be closing, differences in the ways men and women respond to alcohol are emerging.

See the entire article HERE