Authors of a new study say that public health efforts to reduce smoking, alcohol use, obesity, physical inactivity, and irregular sleep may also pay off in reducing the prevalence of low back pain (LBP).
In an article e-published ahead of print in Spine, researchers shared findings from what they believe is the first study to document the association between behavior-related factors and LBP in US adults. Authors gathered data from a series of cross-sectional surveys pulled from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), a population that featured adults between the ages of 18 and 85, with a population size totaling 122,337.
When authors cross-referenced individuals with LBP with various behaviors, they found some telling connections. Among them:
From the moment she woke one June morning, Jenny Morgan knew something was wrong. She felt peculiar, her face ‘wouldn’t work properly’ and her arms and legs were like lead weights.
When she tried to speak, her words were slurred, and she had a pounding headache.
Her husband Neil rushed her to hospital, where they waited in A&E for three hours, during which time one side of her face began to droop and she lost control of her bladder. Yet when she finally saw a doctor, he seemed focused on one thing: how much alcohol Jenny had been drinking.
‘He clearly thought I was drunk and kept asking how much I’d had to drink,’ recalls the 61-year-old author from Solihull. ‘I wasn’t able to speak by this point, so couldn’t remonstrate, but my husband told him repeatedly that I’d had nothing to drink. It was still only around midday.’
The doctor discharged her, handing Neil a cardboard bowl in case his wife was sick. Not satisfied with this, the couple went to their GP, who sent them to a different hospital, the Queen Elizabeth in Birmingham, where her stroke was diagnosed.
This is an interview with Lynda Ferrara, and it didn’t happen over night. So much was going on in her personal life: a recovering addict herself, addiction continues to affect her family today just as it has for many generations. Both her parents were alcoholics. Her father died from the disease when he was 44; her mother is still alive and sober. Now married for the third time to another recovering addict, Lynda’s first husband died from addiction at the age of 42. Her second husband died of alcoholism and cancer last year at age 55. Lynda’s adult children continue to struggle.
"My family history is one of the reasons that service is so much a part of my life," said Lynda. "I told my yoga teacher recently that without the connection to my practice, which allows me to give back to the universe, I sometimes feels like my fear could swallow me whole.
Rob: What got you started doing direct yoga service work?
My service career started when I got clean in the rooms of a 12-step fellowship 24 years ago. It was, and still is, the foundation of my recovery and life. I discovered yoga when I was 42 years old. I met Penni Feiner at Naturally Yoga in Glen Rock, N.J., where I did my teacher training and currently teach yoga for beginners. Penni and I became fast friends. I got involved with Kula for Karma doing fundraising work. From time to time, I would accompany Penni when she taught at a facility in Newark, N.J. called Integrity House, where 20 or so women trying to get clean from drug addiction would gather for a yoga class. The bond I felt with the girls happened instantly.
New Zealand’s pervasive alcohol culture is threatening to make the future dementia wave even bigger, says a Nelson addiction specialist.
Nelson Hospital drug services addiction medicine specialist, and New Zealand chairman of the Australasian chapter of Addiction Medicine, Dr Lee Nixon, spoke in Nelson about the impacts of alcohol and drinking culture on the elderly at a seminar on alcohol abuse and the elderly.
A review of worldwide research by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council had concluded that if a person exceeded two units of alcohol per day, they had an increased risk of dementia, or rate of cognitive decline, as they got older, Dr Nixon said.
"Alcohol is a major contributor to dementing processes. And it doesn’t take much alcohol in your lifespan to increase chance of dementia."
While dementia rates were going to increase with a growing elderly population anyway, the current level of alcohol intake in New Zealand society was going to increase that burden further, he said.
A person who drinks too much alcohol may be able to perform complicated tasks, such as dancing, carrying on a conversation or even driving a car, but later have no memory of those escapades. These periods of amnesia, commonly known as "blackouts," can last from a few minutes to several hours.
Now, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, neuroscientists have identified the brain cells involved in blackouts and the molecular mechanism that appears to underlie them. They report July 6, 2011, in The Journal of Neuroscience, that exposure to large amounts of alcohol does not necessarily kill brain cells as once was thought. Rather, alcohol interferes with key receptors in the brain, which in turn manufacture steroids that inhibit long-term potentiation (LTP), a process that strengthens the connections between neurons and is crucial to learning and memory.
Better understanding of what occurs when memory formation is inhibited by alcohol exposure could lead to strategies to improve memory.