No Such Thing As A Free Lunch…:
So for awhile now, not counting the snake-oil-soaked 1800s & 1900s, we’ve been living in an era of a drug for almost every ailment, right down to a mild sniffle.
Recently it seems more and more of them are available without a prescription.
Though they’re usually ignored, the Side-Effects of both types can be a real problem.
And once again, people like our pal Yasmina Rossi who try not to take anything unless it’s a dire circumstance are looking like psychic geniuses.
Because this time researchers have discovered a new problem with drug side-effects; -and your Brain…
If They Sell It In The Stores, It’s Safe. Right?:
Now ordinarily, you’d think that if something’s available for consumption, it’s relatively-safe. -Even a prescription med.
So much so, that most pharmacists who regularly save your life will tell you people just plain throw out the warning sheet of cautions, interactions, and side-effects for any meds they’re on.
And the big surprise here is the danger lies not just with the big bad Prescription meds; it’s stunningly also from the ones you can get without one.
First Study With Imaging Confirms Recent Suspicions:
In one of the first studies of its kind, Indiana University researchers are finding what science has suspected but not yet proved for at least 10 years.
Medicines affect your brain.
-In a bad way.
In-fact, some of those easy-to-get meds are looking like they’re highly-correlated with problems big enough to be called “Diseases” of the brain.
-Like: Dementia, and the big one: Alzheimer’s.
And Those Effects On Your Brain Are Not Small:
So in their study of 451 adults, using not just cognitive test scores but also brain-scans like an MRI, Shannon Risacher and her colleagues found that people who took certain types of medication started having problems with their brain-function as a result.
These included but were not limited to Lower Scores on:
1) Short-Term Memory
They also included: Slower Energy Metabolism, and a Measurably-Smaller Brain with Larger Gaps between structural parts than you’d normally see.
These changes were noticeable in Both the overall structure, and in the brain’s memory-center.
They Can Happen Quite Soon, Especially On A Steady Dose:
And while her study included people who were taking these meds for at least 30 days,
Previous work by the same school showed that ones on the Stronger end of the scale had negative effects that were apparent in as early as 60 days and Minimal-risk medicines caused observable issues within 90 days.
Everyone Was Affected To A Different Extent, Here’s How Bad:
All participants in the study taking these meds experienced the impairing effects, some more than others.
But the largest difference between users and non-users was as much as a 16% difference in memory test scores, and a 70% difference in Executive-Function test scores.
The average brain-volume loss across different regions was about 3%.
Furthermore, the results showed that people on these drugs who also had Alzheimer’s complications also had a much worse rate of survival.
The Meds That Affect You Are Everywhere:
The problem with these meds which include some anti-depressants, specialized incontinence meds, and things as ordinary as sleep-aids allergy pills like Benadryl is that they block some of the function in your brain.
The other problem with them as we hinted earlier, is that you can basically self-medicate with no supervision at-all and buy several of the most powerfully-negative ones right off the shelf at the CVS.
And Their Action May Actually Kill Some Brain Cells:
What they do specifically is to slow or stop the usage of a nerve-signaling chemical called Acetylcholine.
-And that’s what screws you up. Apparently, AC is an extremely-important chemical in your brain.
According to the study details, this interference may actually kill some of the brain-cells at the sites in-question.
And though at least one other study has been done before, this is the first one with brain images & scans to prove it.
Obviously, the best thing you can do is to talk to your doctor & find a way to reduce your exposure to these meds as much as is reasonably-possible.
Choline Supplements May Not Be The Answer, Either:
But do note that according to Dr. Stanley Hazen there are reasons not to take a Choline supplement.
And also, there are plenty of ways to get Choline in your diet, like: Eggs, Yogurt, Nuts & Seeds.
It’s also been said that one of the best, if not The best, sources of vitamins & minerals is just to get them from food.
The concentrations & speed of release are so much slower than taking a pill that many doctors agree it’s better to just get it in the diet. That might be doubly-so for something like Choline.
Perhaps Fewer Meds Really Is Better?:
Returning to someone like Yasmina, who tries not to take any drugs at-all, this study might just be another example of letting your body sort things out without medication usually ends up being healthier in the long run.
-I know, tell that to a hard-core allergy-sufferer, or someone with even more serious issues. But still, sometimes the cure is worse than the disease…
For Example, Here is a list of the drugs they’ve identified that have the lowest risk. The whole list with groups 2&3 is at Aging Brain Care [PDF, Archive]:
Aging Brain Care’s Lowest Risk List, ACB Score 1:
Generic Name, Brand Name
Bupropion, Wellbutrin™, Zyban™
Chlorthalidone, Diuril™, Hygroton™
Fentanyl, Duragesic™, Actiq™
Hydrocortisone, Cortef™, Cortaid™
Isosorbide, Isordil™, Ismo™
Loperamide, Immodium™, others
Metoprolol, Lopressor™, Toprol™
Morphine, MS Contin™, Avinza™
Nifedipine, Procardia™, Adalat™
Prednisone, Deltasone™, Sterapred™
Theophylline, Theodur™, Uniphyl™
NOTE: Drugs like Benadryl, Dramamine, Unisom and Paxil are all in the high-risk category #3
Check out the details at the Links below:
Photo Credits: “Snake Oil” photo, by Flickr User Jagrap
• Source: IU Medicine
• via: CNN
• More Coverage: Aging Brain Care-Anti-Cholinergic Drugs List, Groups 1, 2, & 3 [PDF, Archive] | HarvardMed-WU Study Similar Results, AC Drugs | Wikipedia-Executive Function