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Latest News Around the Web

New York Senator Says Caffeine Inhaler Is A Dangerous “Club Drug” To Teens

Bloomberg News (12/23, Edney) reports AeroShot Pure Energy, a caffeine inhaler, “dispensed from canisters that fit in jean pockets and are allowed in carry-on luggage is a ‘club drug’ that may be dangerous to teenagers,” Democrat Charles Schumer said. The senator “wrote Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg today asking her to review the safety and legality of the AeroShot Pure Energy caffeine inhaler, a yellow and gray canister of caffeine powder and B vitamins resembling a tube of lipstick,” which “is set to hit store shelves in New York and Boston next month.” Schumer says if the caffeine inhaler is “taken with alcohol, the mixture may have effects similar to caffeinated alcohol drinks tied to hospitalizations in the past.” According to a FDA spokesman’s email, the agency will review information related to the product.

“US Sen. Charles E. Schumer fired off a letter to the Food and Drug Administration today, urging it to ask the maker of a lipstick-sized inhalable caffeine canister set to hit store shelves in Boston and New York on New Year’s Day to back up its claims that the product is safe,” the Boston Herald (12/23, Szaniszlo) reports. “According to the Cambridge-based company’s website, ‘AeroShot’ delivers an airborne shot of caffeine powder,” which “does not enter the lungs, but rather is dissolved in the mouth and swallowed,” the company’s materials claim.

The AP (12/23) points out that “its manufacturer, Breathable Foods, says each AeroShot contains as much caffeine as a cup of coffee plus B vitamins” and “is safe but is not intended for children under 12.”

Chronic School Absenteeism Associated With Mental Health Problems

HealthDay (12/23, Dallas) reports, “Children who miss school often are more likely to have symptoms of mental health problems as teens,” according to a study published in the journal Child Development. For the study, researchers at the University of California-Los Angeles “compiled information on 17,000 students in grades 1 through 12.”

They discovered that “kids in second through eighth grades with mental health problems, such as antisocial behavior or depression, missed more school days than kids without those issues.” In addition, “middle and high school students who missed a lot of school were…more likely to be later diagnosed with mental health issues.”

SAMHSA Announces New Definition Of Recovery

The Los Angeles Times (12/23, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reports, “A year-long project by experts nationwide has led to a new definition of the term” recovery from addiction or mental illness “that is meant to help doctors, counselors and policymakers.” Yesterday, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) disclosed the new definition: “A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” And, “as part of SAMHSA’s Recovery Support Strategic Initiative, researchers and other mental-health experts also clarified four major dimensions that support a life in recovery.” Those are health, home, purpose, and community.

NPR Segment Focuses On Autism Diagnosis, Treatment

In its “Talk of the Nation” program, NPR (12/20, Conan) discussed the reasons “behind the growing number of diagnoses” of autism. “According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly one percent of US children have some form of autism, 20 times higher than the rate in the 1980s.” The program interviewed clinical psychologist Catherine Lord, PhD, and Alan Zarembo, of the Los Angeles Times, the author of a series of articles called “Discovering Autism” that ran last week.

Zarembo discussed a Columbia University study that “found that if you lived very close to somebody else with the disorder, your chances of having your child diagnosed were 16 percent higher than if you lived further away.” Lord emphasized the importance of early intervention in treating children with autism to help them achieve the maximum amount of basic independence, but also mentioned that even later treatment is not without benefits.

Type 2 Diabetes Associated With Increased Serious Psychological Distress Risk

MedWire (12/16, Robertson) reports, “People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to experience serious psychological distress (SPD) than those without the condition,” according to a study published online Dec. 9 in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. After analyzing data from “49,644 respondents from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey,” researchers found that “participants with diabetes were at an increased risk for being psychologically distressed compared with nondiabetic individuals, at an odds ratio of 1.81.”

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