Painkiller use during marathons could be a serious health risk

You’re on the starting line raring to go, the starter gun sounds and you’re off, eager and determined to give it your best. There’s a bounce in your step and a smile on your face. Twenty-six and a smidge miles later and everything won’t seem nearly so bright! The marathon will have wreaked havoc on [read the full story…]

Schools can help to prevent kids starting smoking

“See you round the back of the bike shed at lunchtime?”  That was a familiar whisper from a rebellious bunch of elf maidens when I was at school.  To be followed by a lot of giggling and a smoke cloud rising up from the aforementioned bike shed just after the bell rang.  In those days [read the full story…]

How effective is a personality-targeted prevention program for adolescent alcohol misuse?

Prevention is better than cure, or so the old saying goes. So, following on with the alcohol theme this week I decided to turn our attention to alcohol abuse in young people. More specifically the idea that effective preventative intervention can involve more than just increasing adolescent knowledge about the harms of alcohol misuse. Research has [read the full story…]

Can screening and brief intervention in our GP surgeries reduce problem drinking?

Looking back on the hot health topics of 2012, I think the one that struck me most was the rise of liver disease and the scale of problem alcohol use in the UK, compared to our European neighbours. In England, about 1 in 4 adults between 16 and 65 drinks harmful quantities of alcohol and the [read the full story…]

The ugly truth about England’s health: the Chief Medical Officer reports

We’ve got something a bit different for you this week, as we stand back and take a look at how we’re doing as a nation in terms of our health and wellbeing and also, individually, at different stages of our lives. I’m kicking this off today by flagging up volume one of the first annual report from [read the full story…]

Do talking treatments help problem drinkers who also use illicit drugs? We’re still guessing

Alcohol Awareness Week starts today, with the theme ‘It’s time to talk about drinking’, so I thought we’d kick-start the week in this bit of the woodland by doing just that. Alcohol Concern’s Hair of the Dog campaign poster displays facts which may well achieve their aim of prompting conversation on this subject, including the [read the full story…]

New ‘traffic light’ blood test gives warning signal to unsafe drinkers

If your doctor told you that your blood test showed that your alcohol consumption was damaging your liver and that there was a significant risk that this would kill you in the next five years, I’m guessing that you might feel pretty motivated to drink less. I know I would. Deaths from liver damage have doubled [read the full story…]

England sees a drop in unhealthy lifestyle behaviours but a widening gap between different groups

Fewer people are engaging in multiple unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, according to a new report from The King’s Fund, which looked at data from the Health Survey for England from 2003 to 2008. This is the first study of its kind in the English population. They examined the clustering of four key behaviours: smoking, excessive drinking, [read the full story…]

Alcohol misuse prevention programmes: reviews show some may work, but we need better trials

Here in the European Union, we drink more alcohol than anywhere else in the world (11 litres of pure alcohol per adult each year) and this makes for huge problems in terms of health and wellbeing. It’s staggering to learn that more than one in four deaths amongst men aged 15-29 and one death in [read the full story…]

Giving teens life skills plus information looks a promising combination in preventing substance misuse

When it comes to encouraging youngsters to make healthy lifestyle choices and to resist the temptations of addictive and harmful substances such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol, schools can play a vital role. But how can they best do that? An appraisal of a systematic review on school-based marijuana and alcohol prevention programmes targeting ten to [read the full story…]