Was Prince Addicted to Painkillers? And Other News

Close-up of hand holding painkillersAs fans across the world mourn Prince, attention has turned to potential causes of the superstar’s death. Many of his friends have said Prince did not drink or do drugs. Prince became a Jehovah’s Witnessa faith that calls excessive drug or alcohol use sinful—in 2001. But his sudden and apparently premature death has led some to speculate that he might have fallen victim to the nation’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

According to an NBC News report, law enforcement sources say Prince had prescription painkillers in his possession when he died, though it is unknown whether those painkillers played any role in his death. Other reports suggest Prince had plans to meet with doctors at an addiction treatment clinic at the time of his death.

If true, the news highlights the continuing perils of prescription drug overuse. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid overdoses claimed more than 28,000 lives in 2014.

Medical Errors Are Third-Leading Cause of Death in United States: Study

Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 251,454 deaths in 2013. Heart disease and cancer are the only conditions that kill more people. The study is based on reports dating back to 1999, and the report’s authors suggest their data might actually underestimate the number of people who die when doctors make errors. Agencies such as the CDC, as well as most coroner death reports, do not list medical error as a potential cause of death. This may obscure the role of such errors in thousands of potentially preventable fatalities.

Government Report: Crime Dropped Overall in Nation’s Schools

Crime in the nation’s schools dropped in 2014, with about 3% of students reporting victimization at school, according to a National Center for Education Statistics report. About 1.3 million students were suspended for crimes such as weapons possession or alcohol violation. Although crime and bullying in middle and high schools declined, sexual violence on college campuses more than doubled between 2001 and 2013. The report’s authors are unsure whether this is due to an actual increase in attacks or an increased reporting rate.

To Keep Obesity at Bay, Exercise May Trump Diet

A new study of rats suggests exercise may more effectively prevent obesity than diet. Rats genetically prone to obesity were less likely to become obese if they ran during adolescence. They had better metabolic health and a different gut microbiome compared to rats who cut back on calories but did not run.

Retiring After 65 May Help People Live Longer

People who retire after age 65 tend to live longer than those who retire early, according to a study that looked at nearly 3,000 retirees. Even when retirees left work for health reasons, continuing to work past age 65 offered health benefits.

Study Recommends Therapy, Not Sleeping Pills to Treat Insomnia

New guidelines from the American College of Physicians suggest therapy, not sleeping medication, should be the first line of treatment for insomnia. The guidelines say cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help steadily retrain the brain to fall asleep. Most people experience results within four to six sessions.

This Video Game Could Help Doctors Diagnose Dementia

People with dementia often experience difficulties with spatial reasoning and navigation. A new video game called Sea Hero Quest requires players to seek out hidden treasures while on a sailing voyage. The data the game collects provides important information on game players’ spatial reasoning skills. Small deficits in spatial reasoning could signal the earliest symptoms of dementia, allowing doctors to diagnose the condition earlier.

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  • Ron


    May 7th, 2016 at 10:27 AM

    I don’t know why but I wanted it to be anything other than addiction to drugs that killed Prince. It was so sad for me to think that yet another one of our very brightest stars was taken from us much too soon by the abusive horrors of prescription pain killers and yet here we are once again it seems. I don’t really know how many of these cases start but it seems that with so much of this in the headlines that prescribers would begin to be a little more cautious when it comes to the kinds of drugs that they prescribe and how much of them they do.

  • rita


    May 9th, 2016 at 4:25 PM

    This makes me all the more hesitant about having any kind of surgery when I know that an error on the part of a doctor is a leading cause of so many deaths. It sort of makes me nervous about having any kind of procedure done.

  • Carlos


    May 10th, 2016 at 1:59 PM

    Goodness every day I see something different about the benefits of diet versus exercise when it comes to losing weight. One study will say that it is all about what you eat and now I see this one here says it is all about the exercise. How about we just get back to the fact that it is a little bit of both, you need to exercise and eat healthy in order to both lose weight and to maintain any weight loss that you have been able to achieve.

  • Dale


    May 10th, 2016 at 3:43 PM

    I retired early, got so bored I couldn’t stand it. Went back to work and am happier than I have ever been. It’s just part time but I love it, plan to work now as long as they will continue to have me. Sitting aorund at home is not for me.

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