Saturday, August 11, 2012

Red Bull Plus Alcohol Makes You Drunker Than You Feel

Many people feel more in control when they mix Red Bull with alcohol than if they mix some other drink with alcohol. According to a study carried out at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, people may feel more in control, but tests have proved the opposite is the case.

You can read about this study in Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The researchers studied the reactions and behaviour of 26 men during three drinking sessions. The men were given either:

1. An alcoholic drink (without Red Bull)
2. Red bull (without an alcoholic drink)
3. Red Bull mixed with alcohol.

The men who had the Red Bull with alcohol said they felt less impaired than when they drank alcohol without Red Bull. But tests proved this 'feeling' was an illusion.

According to team leader, Professor Maria Lucia Souza-Formigoni, the men experienced a feeling of pleasure and heightened alertness (less sleepy) when taking Red Bull with alcohol. They reported fewer headaches, less weakness, their mouths did not feel so dry. They also said they experienced fewer problems with motor coordination.

However, the team noticed that the men's perceptions were completely unrelated to their abilities after objective tests were carried out.

Prof. Souza-Formigoni said "In Brazil, as in other countries, people believe that Red Bull and other energy drinks avoid the sleepiness caused by alcoholic beverages and increase their capacity to dance all night. Many nightclubs offer this mix among their cocktails."

The team noticed that the men (on Red Bull plus alcohol) did not have fewer of the negative effects of alcohol on coordination or visual reaction times. They concluded that the men were more drunk than they thought they were.

This could be dangerous as the consumer of Red Bull plus alcohol may feel he/she is able to undertake such tasks as driving a car or handling heavy machinery.

A spokesperson for Red Bull stressed that the danger was not with the consumption of Red Bull alone, but rather with the consumption of alcohol.

Red Bull Contains:

- Taurine
- Glucoronolactone
- Caffeine
- B-Group Vitamins
- Sucrose
- Glucose
- Acesulfame K (in the sugar-free version)
- Aspartma/Sucralose (in the sugar-free version)
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3-week Diet/exercise Study Shows 50 Percent Reversal In Metabolic Syndrome, Type 2 Diabetes

Obese and overweight individuals suffering metabolic syndrome and Type 2 diabetes showed significant health improvements after only three weeks of diet and moderate exercise even though the participants remained overweight.

"The study shows, contrary to common belief, that Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be reversed solely through lifestyle changes," according to lead researcher Christian Roberts of University of California, Los Angeles.

"This regimen reversed a clinical diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome in about half the participants who had either of those conditions. However, the regimen may not have reversed damage such as plaque development in the arteries," Roberts said. "However, if Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome continue to be controlled, further damage would likely be minimized and it's plausible that continuing to follow the program long-term may result in reversal of atherosclerosis."

"The results are all the more interesting because the changes occurred in the absence of major weight loss, challenging the commonly held belief that individuals must normalize their weight before achieving health benefits," Roberts said. Participants did lose two to three pounds per week, but they were still obese after the 3-week study.

The study, "Effect of a diet and exercise intervention on oxidative stress, inflammation, MMP-9, and monocyte chemotactic activity in men with metabolic syndrome factors," is in the online edition of the Journal of Applied Physiology published by the American Physiological Society. Researchers were Christian K. Roberts, Dean Won, Sandeep Pruthi, Silvia Kurtovic, and R. James Barnard, all of UCLA; Ram K. Sindhu of Charles R. Drew University, Los Angeles; and Nosratola D. Vaziri of University of California, Irvine.

The study involved 31 men who ate a high-fiber, low-fat diet with no limit to the number of calories they could consume. The participants also did 45-60 minutes of aerobic exercise per day on a treadmill.

Fifteen of the men had metabolic syndrome, a condition that is characterized by excessive abdominal fat, insulin resistance, and blood fat disorders such as high levels of triglycerides (fat in the blood) or low levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein, or "good" cholesterol). Thirteen of the participants had Type 2 diabetes. There was also some overlap between the two groups and some participants who had neither metabolic syndrome nor Type 2 diabetes, but were overweight or obese.

"The diet, combined with moderate exercise, improved many factors that contribute to heart disease and that are indirect measures of plaque progression in the arteries, including insulin resistance, high cholesterol, and markers of developing atherosclerosis," Roberts said. "The approach used in this experiment of combining exercise with a diet of unlimited calories is unusual."

Low-calorie foods

The participants in the current study, who ranged in age from 46 to 76 years old, took part in a 21-day residential program at the Pritikin Longevity Center, formerly in Santa Monica, combining the Pritikin diet and exercise program. The daily diet was low fat (12-15% of calories), moderate protein (15-20% of calories), and high in unrefined carbohydrates (65-70% of calories) and fiber (more than 40 grams).

Natural foods -- whole grains (five or more servings daily), vegetables (four or more servings), and fruits (three or more servings) -- were the main source of daily carbohydrates. The sources of protein were plants (such as soy, beans, and nuts), nonfat dairy (up to two servings daily), and fish and poultry (3.5-ounce portion once a week and in soups and casseroles twice a week). The remainder of the calories came from fat with a polyunsaturated-to-saturated fatty acid ratio of 2.4 to 1.

"Aside from meat and dairy, the study participants could eat as much as they wanted," Roberts said. "Because the food was not as high calorie as a typical American diet, the participants ate less before feeling full. This is a departure from most diets, which usually leave the dieter feeling hungry," he said.

The men also exercised daily on a treadmill, including level and graded walking, for 45-60 minutes. The exercise program was tailored to ensure each individual reached 70-85% of maximum heart rate.

Next steps

Trials outside the laboratory environment are needed to test the regimen in the general population. "The findings are likely generalizable, although the magnitude of change is proportional to the degree of abnormality when the person begins the regimen," Roberts added.

Scientists also need to determine whether long-term lifestyle change can prevent or reverse end-organ damage noted in those with metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes, Roberts said. These changes may be difficult to make but the payoff for individuals and society could be enormous.

Further studies are also needed in those who are at risk for metabolic syndrome or Type 2 diabetes. Individuals should still be tested to see if Type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome can be prevented in the first place. Individuals may be considered healthy before developing metabolic syndrome but looking healthy does not necessarily mean being healthy, he noted.

Source and funding

"Effect of a diet and exercise intervention on oxidative stress, inflammation, MMP-9, and monocyte chemotactic activity in men with metabolic syndrome factors," by Christian K. Roberts, Dean Won, Sandeep Pruthi, Silvia Kurtovic, and R. James Barnard, of the Department of Physiological Science at UCLA; Ram K. Sindhu of the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Molecular Medicine at Charles R. Drew University, Los Angeles; and Nosratola D. Vaziri of the Division of Nephrology and Hypertension, Department of Medicine at University of California, Irvine is in the online issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology published by the American Physiological Society.

Research was supported by a grant from the LB Research and Education Foundation, an independent foundation in California and a National Research Scholarship Award postdoctoral fellowship from the NIH.

The American Physiological Society was founded in 1887 to foster basic and applied bioscience. The Bethesda, Maryland-based society has more than 10,000 members and publishes 14 peer-reviewed journals containing almost 4,000 articles annually.

APS provides a wide range of research, educational and career support and programming to further the contributions of physiology to understanding the mechanisms of diseased and healthy states. In May 2004, APS received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring (PAESMEM).
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College Kids Choose Adderall Over Ritalin For Illicit Use

More than 75% of college students who reported using prescription stimulants illicitly last year chose amphetamine-dextroamphetamine products, like Adderall, over methylphenidate products, like Ritalin. The study, first-authored by Northeastern University Pharmacy Professor Christian Teter, also found that the primary motives for illicit use were to enhance academic performance, while less than a third of illicit users intended to get high or experiment with these stimulants. However, alarmingly, approximately 40% of these students had snorted prescription stimulants.

Titled, "Illicit Use of Specific Prescription Stimulants among College Students: Prevalence, Motives, and Routes of Administration," the study randomly sampled 4580 undergraduate college students from a large, midwestern university. Using a self-administered Web survey, the authors assessed lifetime and past-year prevalence to find out what prescription drugs students use illicitly, for what purpose, and how they administered these pills.

"We knew prescription stimulant abuse happened on college campuses, but until this study, data regarding the prevalence of individual drugs had been scarce," says Christian J. Teter, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice at Northeastern University School of Pharmacy and Clinical Research Pharmacist at McLean Hospital. "The only way to effectively combat this problem is by assessing the prevalence and motives for illicit use of these potent psychostimulants."

While there were no differences in past-year illicit use between men and women, the study found significant ethnic-racial differences. While not one African-American student reported getting high as a motive, nearly thirty percent of Caucasians and nearly twenty percent of Asians, Hispanics and others did. These groups were also more likely to experiment with prescription stimulants than their African-American counterparts.

The study found that most lifetime users started while in college. Also, those students who began using pre-college were almost three times more likely to still use during the past year, than those who began while in college.

"We also found that students who started illicitly using prescription stimulants during college were motivated primarily by a desire to improve concentration, possibly due to academic competitiveness," adds Teter. "However, most pre-college initiators reported using it to get high, lose weight, and for experimentation."

The study also puts forth several hypotheses as to why amphetamine-dextroamphetamines, like Adderall, are three times more popular than other stimulants. Authors note that Adderall might be more appealing to a student because it is an extended-release drug with effects lasting 10-12 hours, whereas Ritalin and similar stimulants may produce a so-called roller coaster response with effects lasting no longer than 6 hours in many cases. Another possibility for the overwhelming prevalence of illicit Adderall use may be the fact that it is the most commonly prescribed brand-name stimulant in the U.S.

The study appeared in the October 2006 issue of the journal Pharmacotherapy, and is authored by Christian J. Teter, Pharm.D. (Northeastern University), Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D., M.S.W. (University of Michigan), Kristy LaGrange, Pharm.D. (Northeastern University), James A. Cranford, Ph.D. (University of Michigan), and Carol J. Boyd, Ph.D., R.N. (University of Michigan). The study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

About Northeastern

Northeastern University, located in the heart of Boston, Massachusetts, is a world leader in practice-oriented education and recognized for its expert faculty and first-rate academic and research facilities. Northeastern integrates challenging liberal arts and professional studies with the nation's largest cooperative education program. Through co-op, Northeastern undergraduates alternate semesters of full-time study with semesters of paid work in fields relevant to their professional interests and major, giving them nearly two years of professional experience upon graduation. The majority of Northeastern graduates receive a job offer from a co-op employer. For more information, please visit
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Free Unstructured Play Is Essential For Children

In order to develop socially, emotionally and cognitively, children need plenty of free, unstructured play - in other words, lots of old-fashioned free playtime, says a report by the American Academy of Pediatrics, called "The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds."

The American Academy of Pediatrics believes pediatricians should check children's levels of stress, to make sure they are not being overloaded with activities and tasks that are designed to do them good, but could end up having the opposite effect.

Too many children in the USA have to give up free play time because their parents, in a bid to help them do well, send them to classes and encourage them to take part in "development activities". Several pediatricians, says the report, are finding that some children are becoming stressed - they are not getting enough 'downtime'.

The report says that not only does unstructured play give children time to adjust to a new school setting, but it also allows them to use their creativity, find out what they really like, acquire and practise their social skills, and solve problems. Children who can take part in unstructured free play tend to become more resilient.

The report urges parents to be guided by what their child is like, rather than how well other kids down the road are doing.

The report lists many factors which could contribute towards childhood stress:

-- changes in family structure
-- competitive college admissions process
-- federal education policies
-- fear a child may fall behind academically
-- less physical activity
-- a hurried lifestyle

If a child has to live a hurried lifestyle, while at the same time he/she has less free time, he/she can become more stressed and anxious. The report states that some children could even become depressed. Although excelling academically has its benefits, the reports stresses that parental love, role modeling and guidance are what really matter for success in life.

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds (PDF)
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