July 17, 2019 by Muriel Sommers
Roundup: Meds and Dementia Risk; CDC Warns of Pool-Water Parasite; and ‘Secondhand Drinking’ Hazards
Long-Term Use of Some Meds Linked to Higher Risk of Dementia, Study Says
A new study indicates there may be a higher risk of dementia associated with long-term use of certain types of so-called anticholinergic drugs.
The medications in question include anti-depressants, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-Parkinson drugs, anti-epilepsy drugs and bladder antimuscarinics, which are used to treat urinary incontinence, according to the study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
The study’s authors stress that people taking such medications are advised not to stop them without consulting with their doctor. Not using prescribed medications could be prove very harmful, they warned.
The research involved data on 284,343 adults in the United Kingdom, aged 55 and older, between 2004 and 2016. They found only an association between anticholinergic drugs and dementia risk, not a cause-and-effect relationship.
More research is needed to “clarify whether anticholinergic medications truly represent a reversible risk factor” for dementia, states an editorial that was published with the new study.
Researchers found “nearly a 50 percent increased odds of dementia” associated with a total anticholinergic exposure of more than 1,095 daily doses within a 10-year period. That’s an “equivalent to 3 years’ daily use of a single strong anticholinergic medication at the minimum effective dose recommended for older people,” the study’s authors wrote.
“Adverse effects should be considered alongside benefits when these drugs are prescribed, and alternative treatments should be considered where possible …” the study concluded.,
CDC Warns Pool-Goers of Increased Cases of Diarrhea-Causing Parasite
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is warning pool-goers to be cautous of microscopic parasites called cryptosporidium or “crypto” for short.
Cryptosporidium is spread by feces and cases have been on the rise over the past few years, says the CDC. It can cause “profuse, watery diarrhea” for as long as three weeks. Children, pregnant women and anyone with a compromised immune system are most susceptible, the agency says.
In a new report, the agency says there’s been a 13 percent increase every year between 2009 and 2017 in crypto cases nationwide. Most people are infected by pool water, but you can also get it from swimming in lakes and coming into contact with cattle or other animals.
Between 2009 and 2017, 444 crypto outbreaks, resulted in 7,465 cases reported by 40 states and Puerto Rico. Leading causes include swallowing contaminated water in pools or water playgrounds, contact with infected cattle, and contact with infected persons in child care settings.
Reversing the crypto trend will require “prevention messages to discourage swimming or attending child care while ill with diarrhea and encourage hand washing after contact with animals,” the CDC adds.
Study: 20% of Americans Hurt by ‘Secondhand Drinking’ in Last 12 Months
One in five U.S. adults — an estimated 53 million people in the U.S. — suffer from other people’s alcohol drinking every year and that represents a “significant public health issue,” says a new study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.
Researchers analyzed U.S. national survey results from 8,750 adults interviewed for the National Alcohol’s Harm to Others Survey and the National Alcohol Survey. Subjects were asked whether they experienced any of the 10 types of harms — caused by someone who had been drinking alcohol — in a 12-month period. These harms included threats or harassment, ruined property or vandalism, physical aggression, harms related to driving, or financial or family problems.
The conclusion: about 21 percent of women and 23 percent of men, an estimated 53 million adults, experienced harm because of someone else’s drinking over the previous 12 months
The research, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, was done to provide data for potential alcohol-control government policies, such as taxation and pricing to reduce alcohol’s harm to persons other than the drinker.
“Secondhand effects of alcohol in the United States are substantial and affected by sociodemographics, the harmed individual’s own drinking, and the presence of a heavy drinker in the household,” the study’s authors concluded.