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Alcohol, Energy Drinks Add Up To Higher Intoxication Levels, Increased Driving Risk

Energy drinks, favored among young people for the beverages' caffeine jolt, also play a lead role in several popular alcoholic drinks, such as Red Bull and vodka. But combining alcohol and energy drinks may create a dangerous mix, according to University of Florida research. In a study of college-aged adults exiting bars, patrons who consumed energy drinks mixed with alcohol had a threefold increased risk of leaving a bar highly intoxicated and were four times more likely to intend to drive after drinking than bar patrons who drank alcohol only. The study appears in the April issue of the journal Addictive Behaviors. "Previous laboratory research suggests that when caffeine is mixed with alcohol it overcomes the sedating effects of alcohol and people may perceive that they are less intoxicated than they really are, " said the study's lead researcher Dennis Thombs, an associate professor in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions' department of behavioral science and community health.

Intense Sweets Taste Especially Good To Some Kids

New research from the Monell Center reports that children's response to intense sweet taste is related to both a family history of alcoholism and the child's own self-reports of depression. The findings illustrate how liking for sweets differs among children based on underlying familial and biological factors. "We know that sweet taste is rewarding to all kids and makes them feel good, " said study lead author Julie A. Mennella, PhD, a developmental psychobiologist at Monell. "In addition, certain groups of children may be especially attracted to intense sweetness due to their underlying biology." Because sweet taste and alcohol activate many of the same reward circuits in the brain, the researchers examined the sweet preferences of children with a genetic predisposition to alcoholism.

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DNA Found To Leak Into Preservatives In Mescal 'Worm' Test

Just because you don't swallow the worm at the bottom of a bottle of mescal doesn't mean you have avoided the essential worminess of the potent Mexican liquor, according to scientists at the University of Guelph. Researchers from U of G's Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) have discovered that mescal itself contains the DNA of the agave butterfly caterpillar - the famously tasty "worm" that many avoid consuming. Their findings will appear in the March issue of BioTechniques, which is available online now. The BIO researchers set out to test a hypothesis that DNA from a preserved specimen can leak into its preservative liquid. As part of their study, they tested a sample of liquid from a bottle of mescal.

Anthrax Alert For Heroin Users In London

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) and NHS London have confirmed that a drug injecting heroin user has tested positive for anthrax and is being treated in a London hospital. This is the first case of anthrax seen in an injecting drug user in England since similar cases were first seen in Scotland in December 2009. Nineteen cases have so far been confirmed in Scotland. Similarities to the cases in Scotland suggest that the heroin, or a contaminated cutting agent mixed with the heroin, is the likely source of infection. Dr Brian McCloskey, Director of the Health Protection Agency in London, said: "We are working closely with NHS London to monitor the situation.

Marijuana Ineffective As An Alzheimer's Treatment: UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health Research

The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics. Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons.

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TruTouch Technologies Announces Successful Clinical Testing Of Next-Generation Finger-Touch Intoxication Detection System

TruTouch Technologies, a pioneer in non-invasive biometric intoxication detection systems, today announced that it has successfully carried out human clinical trials of its newest finger-touch detection system for alcohol intoxication, in collaboration with Lovelace Scientific Resources. The trial is intended to support continued product commercialization and new technology development for the device, called TruTouch 2000. TruTouch and Lovelace Scientific Resources carried out a comparison alcohol level detection study in 55 patients, comparing effectiveness and sensitivity of the newly developed TruTouch 2000 finger touch device with the TruTouch Guardian forearm device, breathalyzer and the current gold standard for intoxication detection, venous blood.

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