Am Fam Physician. 2007;75(6):796
IS TOAST WITH HONEY A HANGOVER REMEDY?
Drinking a glass of milk and eating a slice of toast with honey or syrup may combat that St. Patrick's Day hangover. Acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical the body produces from ingested alcohol, induces hangover symptoms such as nausea and headaches. Therefore, undoing the chemistry of the hangover (i.e., ridding the body of acetaldehyde) is the best way to remedy it. Drinking milk before consuming alcohol can help because it slows down the rate of alcohol absorbtion in the body. Avoid dark-colored drinks, which may have natural chemicals that can have an adverse effect, and also moderate drinking with an occasional soft drink. Although time is the only cure for a hangover, eating toast and honey the morning after can speed up the body's recovery time by replenishing it with the potassium, sodium, and fructose it needs. (Royal Society of Chemistry news release, January 1, 2007)
HAND GEL FOR SMOKING CESSATION?
Craving a little hand gel? A U.S. drugstore chain has announced that it will soon sell a hand gel to help people curb their tobacco cravings. The evaporating gel, which is made with tobacco extracts, can be used to alleviate nicotine cravings for up to four hours. Although the product contains all the components of tobacco, the manufacturer notes that it lacks many carcinogens. It already is sold in the United Kingdom, Germany, and France, and it is expected to generate $200 million in U.S. sales this year. The demand may be enormous, especially because cities such as Washington, D.C., New York, N.Y., and Philadelphia, Pa., have enacted public smoking bans. However, antismoking advocates could oppose the gel's use because it may not help smokers quit. (Reuters, January 10, 2007)
IMPLANT MAY HELP PEOPLE SEE
Can a tiny microchip help people who are blind to see? According to ongoing research by a scientist at the University of Missouri–Columbia, it may be possible. Although the study is being performed on cats, the size and structure of the feline eye are very similar to those of the human eye, which makes it an ideal model for research. Cats also contract many of the same eye diseases that humans do. The microchip, which is only 2 mm in diameter and 23 mcm thick, is inserted into the back of the retina where it reacts to light, producing electrical impulses to other parts of the retina. This technology, the researcher notes, has the potential to improve vision in some of the millions of people with retinal blindness—and in the pets that have it, too. (University of Missouri–Columbia news release, January 9, 2007)
SLEEPING PROBLEMS AND SUICIDAL BEHAVIOR COULD BE RELATED
Problems with sleeping, especially nightmares, could be strongly associated with suicidal behavior, according to study results published in Sleep. Researchers evaluated 165 patients who had been admitted to the hospital after attempting suicide; 89 percent of participants said they recently had problems sleeping. Getting to sleep was the most common complaint, affecting 73 percent of participants; the inability to stay asleep affected 69 percent; nightmares were reported by 66 percent; and 58 percent had early morning awakening. Additionally, nightmares were associated with a fivefold increased risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors. (Sleep, January 2007)
YOUNG ADULTS WHO COOK THEIR OWN MEALS HAVE HEALTHY DIETS
Eat out or eat in? According to study results from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, young adults who cook their own meals have healthier diets than their peers who don't cook for themselves. Researchers asked 1,710 adults 18 to 23 years of age how they shopped for and prepared daily meals. They found that those who prepared meals at home were less likely to eat fast food and more likely to meet dietary recommendations than their counterparts. Compared with men, women were more involved in food preparation, and 56 percent said they made a meal with fish, chicken, or vegetables at least once a week. Only 3 percent of young adults who did not prepare food for the majority of their meals ate five or more servings of fruits or vegetables a day compared with 31 percent of those who cooked at home. Alarmingly, the researchers note that 25 percent of participants said they didn't have the money to buy food to prepare their own meals, and more than one third of participants thought they didn't have the time. (J Am Diet Assoc, December 2006)