New Drug Promises to Reverse Opioid Overdoses (and Other News)

syringeNearly 75% of drug overdoses are caused by prescription opioid medications; these drugs led to 14,800 fatal overdoses in 2008. The powerfully addictive nature of opioids can make quitting seem impossible, and addiction often causes drug users to steadily increase their drug dosage.

But a new drug offers hope to opioid abusers and the people who love them. Evzio comes in a hand-held injector and delivers a rapid dose of naloxone hydrochloride that can reverse the potentially fatal effects of an overdose.

Family or friends should administer the drug as soon as an addicted person shows signs of an overdose, such as slow breathing, decreased heart rate, or loss of consciousness. When activated, the device offers step-by-step instructions on proper use.

In other mental health-related news this week:

Stressful Environments Genetically Affect African-American Boys

Numerous studies have shown that chronic stress can alter a child’s genes, but these studies have been conducted on white, middle-class children. A new study found that African-American boys experience similar effects, with stress altering the genes of children as young as 9 years of age. African-American children are more likely to be exposed to social inequality and economic stress, making them even more likely to experience stress-induced genetic changes than white children.

Regular Aerobic Exercise Boosts Memory Area of Brain in Older Women

With each new study, aerobic exercise looks more and more like a magic pill. Previous research has shown that exercise can reduce the risk of depression, increase life expectancy, prevent cancer, and reduce the risk of diabetes. The latest study examined the effects of exercise on 86 women between the ages of 70 and 80. Each of the women complained of memory problems. But twice-weekly hour-long aerobic exercise sessions spurred memory improvement. MRI scans showed that women who exercised experienced an increase in hippocampal volume.

Head Injuries Can Make Children Loners

About a million children sustain a head injury every year, and many go on to appear happy and healthy. However, head injuries can fundamentally alter a child’s personality. Three years after an injury to the frontal lobe of the brain, children still had damage to the brain. Among children who had suffered this sort of head injury, trouble with friends was common, and the children were more likely to be described as loners.

Study: Medical Schools Can Do More for Depression in Future Doctors

The grueling workload of medical school coupled with constant exposure to tragedy exacts a hefty toll on future doctors. Between 20% and 30% of medical students experience depression. When Saint Louis University altered its medical school curriculum to include information about stress, anxiety, and depression, depression rates at the school plummeted from 27% to 11%.

Author: 25% of Those Seeking Help for Mental Illness Go to Their Church First

Amy Simpson, author of Troubled Minds and the Church’s Mission, argues that 25% of people who need mental health care turn to their church first. Simpson also emphasizes that 98% of church leaders say they’ve seen mental health issues in their congregation, but only 12.5% of churches  offer an atmosphere in which churchgoers feel comfortable discussing them.

References:

  1. Brain injury statistics. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.headinjuryctr-stl.org/statistics.html
  2. FDA approves new hand-held auto-injector to reverse opioid overdose. (2014, April 3). Retrieved from http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm391465.htm
  3. Physical activity and health. (2011, February 16). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/health/
  4. Policy impact: Prescription painkiller overdoses. (2013, July 02). Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/rxbrief/
  5. Regular aerobic exercise boosts memory area of brain in older women. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140408213545.htm
  6. Stressful environments genetically affect African-American boys. (2014, April 9). Retrieved from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140409103331.htm
  7. Study: Medical schools can do more for depression in future doctors. (2014, April 1). Retrieved from http://www.kansascity.com/2014/04/01/4929056/study-medical-schools-can-do-more.html
  8. Williams, J. (2014, March 31). Author: 25 percent of those seeking help for mental illness go to their church first. Retrieved from http://newsok.com/author-25-percent-of-those-seeking-help-for-mental-illness-go-to-their-church-first/article/3948817

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  • Marilynne

    Marilynne

    April 11th, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    About this handheld device that can help preevent overdoses-
    That is great and all, but how are people just supposed to have this kind of thing at their disposal? And how, if they have taken so many meds that they can’t breathe or even think straight, are they supposed to walk themselves through administering this thing?
    I guess if you have someone there with me who is sober it could help if it works, but just you and the drugs and this device might not make a great team when you have already had a little too much of a substance.

  • Linda keen

    Linda keen

    April 11th, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    It scares me to death to think about a child receiving such a serious injury and this going on to affect them later on. Parents and coaches, teachers and friends alike have to be diligent to be so careful in situations where there is a potential for great harm to these kids. This is our future, and injuries like this at a young age could have a greater impact on them than maybe we previously realized.

  • Gentry

    Gentry

    April 12th, 2014 at 7:56 AM

    I am so thankful to say that I actually do go to a church that is very open minded about any conversation that I would need to have and I think that I have ministers who care enough about the well being of any member of our congregation to try to help us find help if they thought that we needed more than what the church had to give.

    We are just this open point for debate and converstion, and as a member that makes me feel so good to be a part of a loving and caring church community.

  • sabrina j

    sabrina j

    April 12th, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    could anyone explain how something like stress, an external factore, could have genetic ramifications? i am not sure i get that, no matter which culture we are talking about

  • treena

    treena

    April 14th, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    I love the fact that there is finally a med school getting their head out of the sand and recognizing that all of these first and second year med students need help with a lot of the stress that they are under with school and work.
    They are taking it upon themselves to work with them on some of the most critcal issues facing those students and apparently it is having some major success.

  • Claude

    Claude

    April 15th, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Even with as much research that is out there touting the benefits of regular aerobic exercise, how is it possible that there are still so many who completely ignore the advice? Most seem like they would rather take a magic pill than work up any kind of sweat, and I don’t get it. I think that if more people would commit to making this a habit they would be stunned at not only how much better they feel physically but also how much mentally sharper they are. It takes some time to get used to, I am aware of that, but I also know that with just a littel bit of a commitment to seeing it through then they could witness the benefits first hand.

  • Jo

    Jo

    April 17th, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    The article on memory improvement? That’s awesome!

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