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28th May 2017

Sugar’s effect on the brain... An addiction similar to drugs

Food is considered one of the most natural rewards that gives human beings a feeling of pleasure and comfort. In general, food stimulates the dopamine hormone responsible for fun in the brain.

The reward circuit involves chemical and electrical crossings in many different areas of the brain where the dopamine chemicals known by neurotransmitters interact to simulate several types of feelings and behaviors.

Food’s effect on body's hormones vary depending on the food type, especially for sugar-rich foods that have a great impact and often result in addiction.

A study on animals revealed four main symptoms of addiction: overweight feeling, withdrawal symptoms, irrepressible urge to eat and addiction to certain substances that can make the user addicted to other food having similar chemical compositions.

Sweetened foods, like drugs, stimulate the dopaminergic neuron level of the mesencephalon in the brain. A group of laboratory mice, which was deprived of food except sweet foods for 12 hours a day for a whole month, showed behaviors similar to drug addiction. Mice were dominated by the urge to eat sweet food over any other types of food, and suffered from stress and depression symptoms during the food deprivation phase. The second part of the study revealed that mice suffering from sugar addiction, are more prone to rapid drug addiction compared to the other mice.

In the long term, repetitive sugar consumption changes the genetic composition and increases the presence of dopamine receptors in the midbrain (a section of the central nervous system that is associated with vision, hearing, circulation, sleep, vigilance and body temperature regulation) and the frontal lobe (part of the human brain located at the front of the parietal and temporal lobes because it is positioned in the front part of the lateral lobe and delimits the temporal lobe of the upper front).

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27th May 2017

Caffeine Overdose Killed South Carolina Teen, Coroner Rules

A 16-year-old boy died from a caffeine overdose after drinking caffeine-laden soft drinks, coffee and an energy drink, a South Carolina coroner said Monday.

Davis Allen Cripe collapsed and died last month, Richland County coroner Gary Watts told a news conference.

"On this particular day within the two hours prior to his death, we know had consumed a large diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte from McDonalds and also some type of energy drink," Watts said.

"It was so much caffeine at the time of his death that it caused his arrhythmia."

Last month researchers reported that energy drinks can cause dangerous changes in heart function and blood pressure above and beyond caffeine alone. Another team found similar dangers in 2015.

"These drinks can be very dangerous," Watts said. "I'm telling my friends and family don't drink them."

Watts said he did not know what type of energy drink Cripe drank.

"The autopsy was performed and there was nothing there to indicate any type of ... undiagnosed heart condition," he said.

He said a medical examiner and a forensic toxicologist both examined Cripe. "Based on his weight, the intake of caffeine that he had exceeded what is considered a safe level," Watts told NBC News.

"I realize this is a controversial scenario," Watts added. "There are obviously people that don't think this can happen -- that you can have this arrhythmia caused by caffeine."

Watts said he hoped the case would get the word out and help prevent more such deaths.

"The purpose here today is not to slam Mountain Dew, not to slam cafe lattes, or energy drinks. But what we want to do is to make people understand that these drinks — this amount of caffeine, how it's ingested, can have dire consequences. And that's what happened in this case," Watts said.

It wasn't a car crash that took his life. Instead, it was an energy drink," the boy's father, Sean Cripe, said at the news conference.

"Parents, please talk to your kids about these energy drinks."

The Food and Drug Administration had said that caffeine in doses up to 400 mg (about five cups of coffee) is generally safe.

Caffeine prompts the release of natural compounds called catecholamines, including norepinephrine, a stress hormone that can speed the heart rate. People who have died from documented caffeine overdoses had irregular and rapid heart rates, seizures and sometimes choked on their own vomit.

A 12-ounce Mountain Dew contains 54 mg of caffeine. McDonald's does not report the amount of caffeine in its coffee.

Watts said conversations with Cripe's friends and classmates helped them figure out what he had to eat and drink in the hours before he died.

"Davis, like so many other kids and so many other people out there today, were doing something that they thought was totally harmless, and that was ingesting lots of caffeine," Watts said.

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25th May 2017

Studies and research: alcoholism is transmitted from parents to children

A German study has reported that parents are a model for their children's alcoholism. This is true, especially in regard to bad habits.

Approximately one-third of parents (32%) included in the survey conducted by the German Disease Insurance Commission showed an excessive tendency to consume alcohol. One-quarter of parents in the survey sample abuse alcoholic beverages at least once a month.

According to the data, these bad habits reinforce the risk of the child's adherence to a similar pattern of alcohol consumption, which means that the increase in alcohol consumption among parents also raises the probability of developing a similar behavior in children. 20% of boys and girls between the ages of 12 and 17 questioned in the survey have already drunk alcoholic beverages. Rainer Hanfinkel, a health researcher, said that 12-year-old children whose parents regularly drink alcohol are three times more likely to become alcoholics than children whose families do not drink alcohol .

Adolescents and drugs

A previous American study found that adolescents whose parents are alcoholics or who drink alcohol regularly are more likely than others to use alcohol or drugs.

The study by the American Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration also noted that one in five adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 whose parents did not consume alcohol in the past year have been drinking alcohol during the same period.

The study found that this percentage is one-third among teens whose parents regularly used alcohol and about 40% of those whose parents are addicted to alcohol. It also indicated that there is a tendency among teens to drink until they get drunk or drink alcohol regularly when the father is an alcoholic. As for the use of drugs by adolescents, the rate also increases with the degree of addiction of the father on alcohol.

Results of the study also found that 14% of adolescents whose parents did not consume alcohol used drugs in the previous year, compared with 18.4% for those whose parents regularly drink alcohol, and 24.2% for those whose parents are addicted to alcohol.

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24th May 2017

Canada passes a law to facilitate the opening of opium injection sites

In an attempt to address the problem of opium use, which has cost thousands of lives in recent years, Canada has passed a legislation that facilitates the opening of drug injecting sites under the supervision of the government.

According to the British newspaper "The Guardian", the new law adopted this week specifies dozens of conditions necessary to launch such a project, which offers injection drug users a secure space under medical supervision using sterilized equipment.

Jane Philpott, Canada's Minister of Health, told the parliament a few days ago: "There is strong evidence that government-watched consumer sites save people's lives because they use drugs without increasing the doses. On the other hand, these sites prevent crime in the neighborhoods."

The new legislation builds on Canada's success in this regard, where health authorities in "Vancouver" launched the "Insite" site in 2003, which was the first controlled injection facility Government in North America to cope with the spread of HIV, "AIDS" virus and the "hepatitis C" disease.

"The Guardian" explained in its report that the "Insite" site received nearly 3 million people using drugs and safely treated about 5 thousand cases of overdose without registering any case of death, during the year 2015. But the program faced challenges when it was confronted with the approach of the federal Conservative government at the time in regards to fighting against crime.

The Government of Canada is focusing on the construction of injection sites amid criticism of the lack of action to counter the effects of the devastating drug "Fentanyl", a drug 50 times more potent than heroin and other drugs in the country.

Philpott said, "We know that at least 2300 Canadians have died from an overdose of opium over the past year," the Liberal government of "Trudeau" wants to legalize marijuana by mid-2018. Canada will thus be the first country to take this step among the Group of G7 countries, namely: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Great Britain, the United States and Italy. However, the legislation has been criticized for failing to include previously convicted persons on "marijuana" charges in the new amnesty, although the government is aware that people with criminal records generally can not find an employment or accommodation or travel outside the country.

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23rd May 2017

"Estrox": the drug of the "wealthy", a gram is sold at 300 Egyptian pounds

A new type of narcotics has recently entered the market of drug trade. This is a special type of drug for "children of the wealthy" due to its high price. It is called "Voodoo or Estrox" and is known as the Voodoo or the blue elephant drug. It consists of green herbs mixed with a set of chemical and analgesic substances which include more than 130 types. The price of one gram is more than 300 Egyptian pounds. The new narcotic contains cannabis, Hyoscine, Hyoscyamine and Atropine. These substances relax muscles and nerves, and lead to a state of mental disorder and coma. Indeed, this analgesic has been especially designed to cause the relaxation of the nervous system of bulls and lions in order to control them in international competitions or circus.

Moreover, another type of drug has also spread. It is known as "Pills of Happiness" and was very popular in Europe and America, prior to sneaking into the Egyptian market. These pills are made up of certain substances such as Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) and are consumed as pills or by injection.

Drug Addiction Rates

The Addiction Treatment and Drug Control Fund revealed in its 2016 report that the percentage of drug use in Egypt reached 10%, which is twice the 5% world percentage. Indeed, addiction rate reached 10.2%, where the rate of use varies according to individuals. Some consume drugs on a daily basis while others consume them at different times. On the other hand, 80% of various unjustified crimes are committed under the influence of drugs, such as rape, violence against children and despicable assassinations.

The report explained that the rate of abuse in Egypt is double the global averages, pointing out that addiction  is spreading among the age group between 15 and 40 years, and rises to 24 % among drivers and to 20% among artisans.

In addition, reports on percentages and addiction rates in Egypt indicated that the size of the drug trade exceeds 400 billion pounds per year. The Cairo governorate ranks first in the list of provinces with 33% percentage of drug addicts, followed by the governorates of Upper Egypt.

Substance Abuse and Crime                                              

Dr. Jamal Froez, a psychiatric specialist, linked drug addiction to crime. He explained that the mental state of drug user changes due to the cognitive dysfunction he experiences, which leads him to the inability to control himself. As a result, the addict follows his unchained desires and commits crimes without feeling any remorse. Dr. Froez attributed the spread of drug addiction among young people to mass culture and the state of emptiness they are going through, due to difficult living conditions and the problems they face, which leave them without goals or ambitions that can improve their lives. Therefore, they resort to a compensation process, especially as the addict does not have a lucid and conscious mind that guides him towards decent acts. The doctor also explained that bad company is the main reason that leads to drug addiction.

On the other hand, Froez attributed the excessive spread of drugs to the availability of narcotic substances of all types, calling on the governement to provide more efforts in the field of drugs control. He noted that family factors could lead children to drug use, such as problems between father and mother, father's addiction on drugs, emphasizing the role of the family in shaping childrens’ personalities.

Finally Froez said that the government must put a plan to provide young people with the opportunity and the chance to find a job, taking into account the role of families in protecting their children, in order to preserve them from these scourges that are spreading in society.

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22nd May 2017

US : Soon in universities, Narcan nasal spray to fight drug addiction

Amid an increased focus on opioid abuse prevention, college campuses will soon be supplied with the FDA-approved Narcan in hopes of curbing overdoses and addiction.

According to the site of the American channel "Fox News", Narcan is considered an extension of the already existing program in high schools.

The Clinton Foundation and Adapt Pharma have partnered to give 40,000 doses of Narcan, an anti-overdose nasal spray, to colleges nationwide. The program is an expansion of an existing one in place for high schools

The success of the Free NARCAN Nasal Spray for High Schools Program demonstrates the important role academic institutions can play in educating students about opioid misuse and keeping them safe in the face of the current opioid epidemic," Seamus Mulligan, chairman and CEO of Adapt Phrama, said. “Expanding this program to U.S. colleges and universities will continue this education as well as expand access to this potentially life-saving tool

Narcan is the brand name for naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids. It has been responsible for saving many lives as it blocks the brain’s receptors of opioids and restores normal breathing, giving a person time to seek emergency medical care.

In the year 2015, nearly 33,000 people died in the United States following an overdose of drugs, and despite the drop in this figure in 2016, the number of drug addicts is rising remarkably.

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États-Unis: Bientôt dans les universités, le spray nasal Narcan pour lutter contre la dépendance aux #drogues…

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#Canada adopte une loi qui facilite l’ouverture des sites d’injection #d’opium

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