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Medical students highly associated with alcohol abuse

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New Delhi: A team of US researchers has found that medical students, especially who are young, single and under high debt are twice as likely to abuse alcohol than their peers who are not attending medical school.

Burnout factors such as emotional exhaustion or feelings of depersonalization were highly associated with alcohol abuse or dependence among the medical students.

“Our findings clearly show there is reason for concern,” said Liselotte Dyrbye from Mayo Clinic in the US.

“We recommend institutions pursue a multifaceted solution to address related issues with burnout, the cost of medical education and alcohol abuse,” Dyrbye added in the paper published in the journal Academic Medicine.

The researchers surveyed 12,500 medical students and one-third of those responded. Approximately 1,400 of that subgroup experienced clinical alcohol abuse or dependence.

The results indicate three factors that were independently associated — a younger age than most peers in medical school, being unmarried and amount of educational debt.

No statistical difference was found between differing years of medical school or between men and women.

“In our paper we recommend wellness curricula for medical schools, identifying and remediating factors within the learning environment contributing to stress and removal of barriers to mental health services,” added first author Eric Jackson.(IANS)

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Exposure to Air Pollution May Trigger Alzheimer’s in Aged Women, Reveals Research

"Our hope is that by better understanding the underlying brain changes caused by air pollution, researchers will be able to develop interventions to help people with or at risk for cognitive decline," Petkus added

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Alzheimer's
A lady suffering from Alzheimer's. Flickr

Women in their 70s and 80s who were exposed to higher levels of air pollution experienced greater declines in memory and more Alzheimer’s-like brain atrophy than their counterparts who breathed cleaner air, new research has revealed.

“This is the first study to really show, in a statistical model, that air pollution was associated with changes in people’s brains and that those changes were then connected with declines in-memory performance,” said study researcher Andrew Petkus, the Assistant Professor University of South California in the US.

Previous research has suggested that fine particle pollution exposure increases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

What scientists haven’t known is whether PM2.5 alters brain structure and accelerates memory decline.

For the study, published in the journal Brain, researchers used data from 998 women, aged 73 to 87, who had up to two brain scans five years apart as part of the landmark Women’s Health Initiative launched in 1993 by the US National Institutes of Health and enrolled more than 160,000 women to address questions about heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis.

"The question for us now is not how to eliminate cholesterol from the brain, but about how to control cholesterol's role in Alzheimer's disease through the regulation of its interaction with amyloid-beta," Vendruscolo said.
In Alzheimer’s disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Those brain scans were scored on the basis of their similarity to Alzheimer’s disease patterns by a machine learning tool that had been “trained” via brain scans of people with Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers also gathered information about where the 998 women lived, as well as environmental data from those locations to estimate their exposure to fine particle pollution.

When all that information was combined, researchers could see the association between higher pollution exposure, brain changes and memory problems — even after adjusting to taking into account differences in income, education, race, geographic region, cigarette smoking, and other factors.

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“This study provides another piece of the Alzheimer’s disease puzzle by identifying some of the brain changes linking air pollution and memory decline. Each research study gets us one step closer to solving the Alzheimer’s disease epidemic,” Petkus said.

“Our hope is that by better understanding the underlying brain changes caused by air pollution, researchers will be able to develop interventions to help people with or at risk for cognitive decline,” Petkus added. (IANS)