Children of older fathers have an increased risk of psychiatric and academic problems, says new cohort study

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Research suggests that the risk of developing psychiatric problems (such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or schizophrenia) may be linked to increased paternal age at the time of conception. This seems quite plausible given that advancing age in men is associated with increased genetic mutations in sperm. However, studies so far have generally not [read the full story...]

CBT and motivational interviewing are effective treatments for comorbid alcohol use disorders and depression, says new meta-analysis

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Alcohol use disorder is frequently comorbid with major depressive disorder, and the disease burden associated with this dual diagnosis is considerably greater than that attributed to each disorder in isolation. This creates a problem for clinicians who are trying to treat depressed problem drinkers, because many services are set up to deal with only one [read the full story...]

Tobacco industry evidence submitted to government on plain packaging found to be either lacking in quality or irrelevant

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Standardised (or ‘plain’) packaging of cigarettes requires all branding to be removed, leaving the brand name to be placed in a standard location and font on a standard colour cigarette pack. Apart from the small brand name, the packs would still feature a prominent health warning as well as counterfeiting marks. The aim of standardised [read the full story...]

US policy on prescription drug abuse: tackling an unique and significant problem

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The fact that drug overdoses are the second largest cause of premature death from unintentional injuries in the US (for example, in 2010 there was 38,329 drug overdose deaths) is not a surprising statistic. What may surprise readers is that of these deaths 22,134 were attributed to prescription drugs. Indeed, almost one and a half [read the full story...]

Cochrane review finds that acupuncture, acupressure, laser therapy and electrostimulation show little benefit for smoking cessation

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Despite being on the decline, smoking is still one of the largest causes of preventable morbidity and mortality in the world. According to recent World Health Organisation data, smoking directly kills around 5 million people every year.  The NHS spends almost £90 million on cessation efforts to combat the £5 billion treatment cost. Recent research [read the full story...]

Quitting smoking is associated with decreased anxiety, depression and stress, says new systematic review

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It is well known that tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world (WHO, 2011). However, the associations between smoking and mental health are less well established. Smokers often want to quit, but the belief that cigarettes can be used to regulate mood can often deter them, and this is especially true [read the full story...]

Adapting smoking cessation interventions to meet the needs of black and minority ethnic populations

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Tobacco use is the single most important preventable cause of mortality and morbidity in developed countries. However, what is less widely appreciated is that as the overall prevalence of smoking has declined, tobacco use has become an increasingly important driver of health inequalities. For example, the prevalence of smoking in the United Kingdom has declined [read the full story...]

Interventions for drug using offenders: What works in reducing drug use and criminal activity?

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It is estimated that between 10% (Gunn 1991) and 39% (Brooke 1996) of prisoners in the UK are dependent on illicit drugs; and that 14.5% of male and 31% of female prisoners have serious mental health problems (Steadman 2009). Drug use can be associated with many health, social and criminological consequences; and when mental health [read the full story...]

Adults with mental illness have lower rate of decline in smoking

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It’s well known that individuals with mental illness smoke nearly twice as much as those without a psychiatric disorder (Gfroerer et al, 2013; Lasser et al, 2000), and are more addicted to nicotine, smoke more cigarettes per day, and find it more difficult to quit (Lasser et al, 2000). However, studies have shown that  individuals [read the full story...]

Extended therapy with varenicline reduces rates of smoking relapse in people with serious mental health issues

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People with serious mental health issues such as schizophrenia have higher rates of cigarette smoking than the general population, with estimates suggesting more than 50% are current smokers. When people in this population do manage to quit during treatment we then see particularly high rates of relapse after treatment ends. A new randomised control trial (Evins [read the full story...]