Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom multimedia intern Lena Morris:
Beyond having their names screamed at the games, Division I athletes symbolize the best health and physique of our age group. However, a recent study conducted by Janet Simon, doctoral student at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, shows that such ideas might not be true for the long run.
Her study, published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, found that former Division I athletes reported suffering not only more physical struggles years after college, but also suffer mental issues such as depression.
In the accompanying video, which I prepared, Simon discusses the change in perspective on college athletics, and what collegiate athletic programs can do to help graduating athletes in their transition to life after college sports.
This post is provided by guest blogger Mary Lay, project manager of the Indiana Problem Gambling Awareness Program, which is a project of the Indiana Prevention Resource Center at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington.
Mid March is the time when all college basketball fans come together to do their “brackets.” It is big news on sports websites; hours of work time is spent being sure a bracket is just right. Even the President of the United States is known for completing a bracket. Many of these brackets are done for fun, but many also involve placing a bets.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates that 2.5 billion is illegally bet annually on the NCAA basketball tournament. While most people who gambling do not become problem gamblers, an estimated 3 to 4 percent of those who begin gambling will develop into problem gamblers.
Again, most people can gamble responsibly and never develop a problem. But for some, gambling develops into a problem for which they have little to no control.
Problem gambling can lead to financial devastation, crime and poor physical and mental health, including an increased risk of substance abuse, depression, and suicide. More than six million Americans are addicted to gambling.
We’ve all heard the phrase, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow,” but how many people actually do this? Check out my Health & Vitality blog on Tumblr to learn about why people should care. IU energy policy researcher Shahzeen Attari talks about her research findings that Americans use twice the amount of water that they think they use — and much of it is just flushed down the toilet.
A debate that pits potential relief for chronic pain against efforts to stem an epidemic of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. is unfolding as advocacy groups ask the FDA to reverse its decision to approve Zohydro, scheduled to hit markets this month.
Advocates who want the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reject the powerful narcotic include attorneys general from 28 states and a group called Fed Up!, comprising consumer groups, addiction treatment providers, drug and alcohol prevention programs and interest groups. An FDA advisory panel voted 11-2 against support of the drug.
In a letter from Fed Up! to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D.:
“Over the past 15 years, prescriptions for opioids have skyrocketed. The United States, with about 5 percent of the world’s population, is now consuming more than 84 percent of the world’s entire oxycodone supply and more than 99 percent of the hydrocodone supply. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, the sharp increase in opioid prescribing has led to parallel increases in opioid addiction and overdose deaths. Since 1999, overdose deaths have skyrocketed, especially among middle-aged individuals prescribed opioids for chronic pain. Opioid analgesic overdose deaths have increased 415 percent in women and 265 percent in men.
“The highest available dosage of Zohydro will contain 5-10 times more hydrocodone than Vicodin or Lortab. Someone unaccustomed to taking opioids could suffer a fatal overdose from just two capsules. A single capsule could be fatal if swallowed by a child.”
From an article in WebMD:
“I firmly believe that the benefits of this product outweigh its risks,” the FDA’s Bob Rappaport, MD, wrote in the summary review explaining why he approved Zohydro last October. Rappaport is director of the FDA’s Division of Anesthesia, Analgesia, and Addiction Products. “Many patients in the U.S. suffer from untreated or poorly treated chronic pain. Further limiting access to potential treatments is not the answer when new treatments are critically needed.”
Courtney Stewart, research associate at the Indiana Prevention Resource Center in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, said the debate puts doctors and their patients who suffer from severe and chronic pain in a difficult position.
“The goal should be to ‘do no harm’ and provide patients with needed relief while avoiding misuse and addiction to a very strong drug like Zohydro,” she said.
“This is an ongoing and now much more serious concern with the introduction of a drug like Zohydro. Zohydro is easily crushable, making it appealing to drug users who will either snort or inject it. From a prevention standpoint it is crucial that prescribing doctors carefully go over the risks and prescribe the least amount needed to relieve pain and provide comfort. Difficult decisions are in store for both doctors and those suffering from severe, ongoing pain as both sides try to meet in the safety of a middle ground.”
When I was pregnant with my youngest child, I recall my doctor mentioned my “advanced age” several times. A bit aggravated, I planned to assure her that I was aware of my “advanced age” — 37 — so she didn’t need to keep bringing it up, but she didn’t bring it up again (maybe I gave her the evil eye).
Examining an immense data set — everyone born in Sweden from 1973 until 2001 — the researchers documented a compelling association between advancing paternal age at childbearing and numerous psychiatric disorders and educational problems.
Among the findings: When compared to a child born to a 24-year-old father, a child born to a 45-year-old father is 3.5 times more likely to have autism, 13 times more likely to have ADHD, two times more likely to have a psychotic disorder, 25 times more likely to have bipolar disorder and 2.5 times more likely to have suicidal behavior or a substance abuse problem.
“We were shocked by the findings,” D’Onofrio said. “The specific associations with paternal age were much, much larger than in previous studies.
Chaos is no stranger to people dependent on alcohol, making their lives and often the lives of loved ones more complicated. IU researcher Lindsay Arcurio used functional magnetic resonance imaging, or fMRI, to look more closely at the brain activity of women dependent on alcohol and found a lot going on inside, as well.
“We see that the network dynamics of alcohol-dependent women may be really different from that of healthy controls in a drinking-related task,” said Arcurio, a graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, in a news release. “We have evidence to suggest alcohol-dependent women have trouble switching between networks of the brain.”
Women in the study who were not dependent on alcohol showed a surprisingly different pattern of brain activity, deactivating and activating specific areas of the brain in response to the experiment. Not so with the alcoholic women.
“It gets really interesting,” Arcurio said, “comparing this pattern of activation to those in alcohol-dependent women, who behaviorally say they’re more likely to take the high-risk drink compared to the controls. They don’t deactivate anything. In contrast to the controls, alcohol-dependent women activate all three regions in question. They activate regions associated with reward (which release dopamine). They also activate frontal control regions involved in cognitive control and regions associated with the default mode network, involved in resting-state behavior. They are activating everything.”
With research centers on my “beat” such as the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington and The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction, it’s not unusual for me to be writing about one sexuality discovery/insight or another.
Justin Garcia, assistant professor in gender studies and research scientist at The Kinsey Institute, can be seen Skyping with the Wall Street Journal about findings in Match.com’s fourth annual Singles in America study. Garcia also is a scientific adviser for the international dating site. He also spoke with the Wall Street Journal about dating choices.
Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion, discussed with The New York Times how to talk with children/teens about sexuality and consent; she spoke with IU alum and Wall Street Journal columnist Elizabeth Bernstein for the article, “Even long-married happy couples ask, ‘How can we have sex more often?‘”
Debby Herbenick, co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion in the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, offers parents and guardians some nuts-and-bolts tips in this New York Times article that discusses talking with children about sex and the important topic of giving and receiving consent.
You know how little kids like to be tickled? If a kid says stop, even if they’re laughing, the best thing you can do as an adult is stop. What that teaches them when they’re 2 or 3 or 4 is that they have control over their own body.
Herbenick said kids need to learn at an early age to keep their hands to themselves, because they often grab and touch each other — sometimes in inappropriate places. Talking with children in preschool and kindergarten is a good time to start.
Talking about the importance of giving and receiving consent should begin in middle school or earlier, if the children go to parties, Herbenick said. It might be easy to think one’s child would not misbehave, drink alcohol or develop wrong ideas about sex, but children often are easily influenced by friends. How do we know what our children think if we avoid the subject?
I encourage parents to give this short article a read.
During frigid weather like we’ve seen in Indiana, I inevitably find myself daydreaming about balmy, sandy beaches and peaceful lapping waves. Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, functional fitness guru at the IU School of Public Health-Bloomington, reminded me this week that I can enjoy water — and get a good workout — any time of the year.
Some people see indoor and outdoor pools as lap pools or accessories for sunbathing. Kennedy-Armbruster sees a “giant resistance machine.” She compares exercising in water to moving through molasses.
“It’s a resistant medium, which causes you to exert more energy,” she told the Wall Street Journal for an article about effective cross-training.
“Water exercise is the perfect upright movement for improving functionality on land because you cannot ‘sit’ with water exercise. You are in an upright position challenging the core muscles/joints/ligaments with each step you take,” she told me. “Pool workouts contain both cardiorespiratory exercise (aerobics) AND muscular strength and flexibility. Each time you walk in the water the cardiorespiratory system gets challenged but so, too, do the muscles, ligaments, tendons of the body.”
Last month we shared with reporters shyness expert Bernardo J. Carducci’s tips for making small talk more interesting and comfortable. His suggestions, such as arriving at events on time and focusing on being nice rather than titillating, are helpful around the holidays but also practical any time of the year.
“Small talk is really, really important. It helps us connect with people, and not just at holiday gatherings,” said Carducci, director of the Shyness Research Institute at Indiana University Southeast. “If you make connections with people, it makes it much more difficult for you to treat them in an uncivil way. If you think about being kind to and connecting with people, people you engage in conversation, you’re going to open a door for them, you’ll let them step in front of you in line. You’ll engage in more acts of kindness and fewer acts of rudeness.”
Small talk pays it forward. When you’re nicer to other people, Carducci says, “they’re going to be nicer to you and nicer to others.”
Small talk might come naturally to some people, but it’s also a skill that gets easier with practice — with strangers, family members, co-workers. Read our news release for details about such tips as rehearing introductions and knowing when to stop talking. Also, read how the New York Daily News discussed Carducci’s tips.
Learn more about small talk in Carducci’s book “The Pocket Guide to Making Small Talk: How to Talk to Anyone Anytime Anywhere About Anything.”