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…]

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…]

Can antibiotics be effective in preventing travellers’ diarrhoea?

There’s nothing more exciting than packing your bags and jetting off to some far flung destination for a bit of adventure. I’m even thinking of taking my-elf off to the Woodland beyond the cornfield next year – it’s Woodland but not as we know it. A little part of me is a bit concerned about [read the full story…]

Do antihypertensive drugs do more harm than good in patients with mild hypertension?

I know that I can be prone to bouts of high blood pressure (hypertension) particularly when I see those pesky goblins careering round the woodland causing havoc – they certainly make my blood boil!  There are plenty of people out there though who have no idea they suffer from this condition and that ultimately their [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…]

Early interventions for substance-using adolescents show promise

Earlier this week I highlighted a systematic review of interventions to prevent children of substance-affected parents from becoming users themselves. But how about teens who are in the early stages of using drugs, alcohol or other substances, but don’t yet meet diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence and so may not need specialist drug [read the full story…]

Preventing children of substance-affected parents from becoming users

Prevention is better than cure, right? When it comes to preventing drug- and alcohol-misuse, children of substance-abusing parents are a really important group to work with, as they are at higher risk of developing their own subtance-related problems, or other mental health problems, than their peers from non-substance-using families. A new systematic review from Germany has brought [read the full story…]

Report warns of dangers of cannabis and general ignorance

Ignorance about the dangers of cannabis has been revealed this week in a new report from the British Lung Foundation, ‘The Impact of Cannabis on your Lungs’ (PDF). Perceived as less dangerous than tobacco by most users and as harmless by one in three, cannabis smoking carries a twenty-times greater risk of lung cancer than [read the full story…]

Lifestyle interventions may help overweight and obese children

I’m keeping a bit quiet about this for fear of upsetting some of my little woodland neighbours, but scientists have been Doing Things to mice and have discovered a gene mutation linked to obesity, which they hope may lead to the development of new drugs to help control weight. While we’re waiting for that (and it [read the full story…]