Research News Roundup: January 6, 2022

    E-Cigarette Initiation Predicts Subsequent Academic Performance among Youth: Results from the PATH Study

    Journal: Preventive Medicine, 2021, doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106781

    Authors: Craig T. Dearfield, Julia C. Chen-Sankey, Timothy S. McNeel, Debra H. Bernat & Kelvin Choi

    Abstract:

    Research shows cigarette smoking is associated with lower academic performance among youth. This study examines how initiating e-cigarette use is associated with subsequent academic performance. Data from Waves 2–4 youth and parent surveys of the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health (PATH) Study were analyzed. Youth (12–15 years old) who reported never using any tobacco products at Wave 2 were included in the analysis (n = 4960). Initiation of e-cigarettes and cigarettes was assessed at Wave 3. Weighted multivariable linear regression models were tested to assess the association between e-cigarette and cigarette initiation at Wave 3 and academic performance at Wave 4, controlling for covariates at Wave 2. At Wave 3, 4.3% and 1.9% of youth initiated e-cigarette and cigarette use, respectively. Youth who initiated e-cigarette use at Wave 3 had lower academic performance at Wave 4, compared to those who did not initiate e-cigarette use (adjusted regression coefficient [ARC] -0.22, 95% confidence interval [CI] -0.43, −0.02). Initiating cigarettes was also associated with lower academic performance (ARC -0.51, 95% CI -0.84, −0.18). Results indicate that e-cigarette use initiation is associated with lower subsequent academic performance, independent from the association between cigarette use initiation and lower academic performance among U.S. youth. Future research needs to examine whether preventing youth e-cigarette and cigarette use can lead to improvement in academic performance.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    The Molecular Neurobiology and Neuropathology of Opioid Use Disorder

    Journal: Current Research in Neurobiology, 2021, doi:10.1016/j.crneur.2021.100023

    Authors: Christopher A. Blackwood & Jean Lud Cadet

    Abstract:

    The number of people diagnosed with opioid use disorder has skyrocketed as a consequence of the opioid epidemic and the increased prescribing of opioid drugs for chronic pain relief. Opioid use disorder is characterized by loss of control of drug taking, continued drug use in the presence of adverse consequences, and repeated relapses to drug taking even after long periods of abstinence. Patients who suffer from opioid use disorder often present with cognitive deficits that are potentially secondary to structural brain abnormalities that vary according to the chemical composition of the abused opioid. This review details the neurobiological effects of oxycodone, morphine, heroin, methadone, and fentanyl on brain neurocircuitries by presenting the acute and chronic effects of these drugs on the human brain. In addition, we review results of neuroimaging in opioid use disorder patients and/or histological studies from brains of patients who had expired after acute intoxication following long-term use of these drugs. Moreover, we include relevant discussions of the neurobiological mechanisms involved in promoting abnormalities in the brains of opioid-exposed patients. Finally, we discuss how novel strategies could be used to provide pharmacological treatment against opioid use disorder.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Drugs and Bugs: The Gut-Brain Axis and Substance Use Disorders

    Journal: Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, 2021, doi: 10.1007/s11481-021-10022-7

    Authors: Sierra Simpson, Rio Mclellan, Emma Wellmeyer, Frederic Matalon & Olivier George

    Abstract:

    Substance use disorders (SUDs) represent a significant public health crisis. Worldwide, 5.4% of the global disease burden is attributed to SUDs and alcohol use, and many more use psychoactive substances recreationally. Often associated with comorbidities, SUDs result in changes to both brain function and physiological responses. Mounting evidence calls for a precision approach for the treatment and diagnosis of SUDs, and the gut microbiome is emerging as a contributor to such disorders. Over the last few centuries, modern lifestyles, diets, and medical care have altered the health of the microbes that live in and on our bodies; as we develop, our diets and lifestyle dictate which microbes flourish and which microbes vanish. An increase in antibiotic treatments, with many antibiotic interventions occurring early in life during the microbiome’s normal development, transforms developing microbial communities. Links have been made between the microbiome and SUDs, and the microbiome and conditions that are often comorbid with SUDs such as anxiety, depression, pain, and stress. A better understanding of the mechanisms influencing behavioral changes and drug use is critical in developing novel treatments for SUDSs. Targeting the microbiome as a therapeutic and diagnostic tool is a promising avenue of exploration. This review will provide an overview of the role of the gut-brain axis in a wide range of SUDs, discuss host and microbe pathways that mediate changes in the brain’s response to drugs, and the microbes and related metabolites that impact behavior and health within the gut-brain axis.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Journal: Pediatric Reports, 2021, doi: 10.3390/pediatric13040073

    Authors: Hong Li, Teresa Dodd-Butera, Margaret L. Beaman, Molly Broderick Pritty, Thomas E. Heitritter & Richard F. Clark

    Abstract:

    Despite significant prevention efforts, childhood poison exposures remain a serious public health challenge in the United States. This study aimed to assess annual trends of pharmaceutical vs. non-pharmaceutical poison exposures in the US among children 0–19 years and compare the odds of death by children’s age group. Poison exposure and fatality data were retrospectively extracted from 2009 to 2019 National Poison Data System (NPDS) annual reports for children in all reported age groups. Overall, there was a significant reduction in the annual population-adjusted poison exposures in children (annual percentage change = −2.54%, 95% CI = −3.94% to −1.15%, p < 0.01), but not in poisoning-related fatalities. Children 0–5 had similar odds of dying from exposure to non-pharmaceuticals vs. pharmaceuticals. The odds of children 6–12 dying from non-pharmaceuticals vs. pharmaceuticals was 2.38 (95% CI = 1.58, 3.58), χ2 = 18.53, p < 0.001. In contrast, the odds of children 13–19 dying from pharmaceuticals vs. non-pharmaceuticals was 3.04 (95% CI = 2.51, 3.69), χ2 = 141.16, p < 0.001. Suicidal intent accounted for 40.63% of pharmaceutical deaths in children 6–12, as well as 48.66% of pharmaceutical and 31.15% of non-pharmaceutical deaths in children 13–19. While a significant decline in overall childhood poison exposures was reported, a decrease in poisoning-related fatalities was not observed. Children in different age groups had contrasting relative odds of death from pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical exposures. Among older children, a greater proportion of poisoning-related deaths was due to intentional suicide. These findings provide evidence of age-specific trends in childhood poison exposure risk and directions for future poison prevention efforts and behavioral health partnerships.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    Prevention of Opioid Use Disorder: The HOME (Housing, Opportunities, Motivation and Engagement) Feasibility Study

    Journal: Harm Reduction Journal, 2021, doi: 10.1186/s12954-021-00560-x

    Authors: Kelly J. Kelleher, Ruri Famelia, Tansel Yilmazer, Allen Mallory, Jodi Ford, Laura J. Chavez & Natasha Slesnick

    Abstract:

    Young adults experiencing homelessness are at high risk of opioid and other substance use, poor mental health outcomes, exposure to trauma, and other risks. Providing access to stable housing has the potential to act as a powerful preventive intervention, but supportive housing programs have been studied most often among chronically homeless adults or adults with serious mental illness. The Housing First model, which does not precondition supportive housing on sobriety, may reduce drug use in homeless adults. In the present study, we piloted an adapted model of Housing First plus prevention services that was tailored to the needs of young adults (18–24 years) experiencing homelessness in the USA. Preventive services were added to the Housing First model and included youth-centered advocacy services, motivational interviewing, and HIV risk prevention services. This model was piloted in a single-arm study (n = 21) to assess the feasibility, acceptability, and initial efficacy of a Housing First model over a 6-month period in preparation for a larger randomized trial. We use repeated measures ANOVA to test for changes in alcohol and drug use (percent days of use; alcohol or drug use consequences), housing stability, social network support, and cognitive distortions over 6 months of follow-up. A total of 17 youth completed the study (85% retention), and a high proportion of youth were stably housed at 6-month follow-up. Participation in intervention services was high with an average of 13.57 sessions for advocacy, 1.33 for MI, and 0.76 for HIV prevention. Alcohol use did not change significantly over time. However, drug use, drug use consequences, and cognitive distortions, and the size of youths’ social networks that were drug using individuals decreased significantly. The Housing First model appeared to be feasible to deliver, and youth engaged in the supportive intervention services. The study demonstrates the potential for an adapted Housing First model to be delivered to youth experiencing homelessness and may improve outcomes, opening the way for larger randomized trials of the intervention.

    To read the full text of the article, please visit the publisher’s website.

    By Partnership Staff
    January 2022

    Published

    January 2022