On Twitter, hookah smoking seen as positive​​​

Positive mentions on Twitter about hookah smoking may promote the assumption that it is less harmful than smoking cigarettes even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that hookah smoking has many of the same harmful toxins and carries the same health risks, according to new research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis led by Melissa J. Krauss, seen here with a hookah pipe.

Reward, aversion behaviors activated through same brain pathways​​

New research may help explain why drug treatments for addiction and depression don’t work for some patients. The conditions are linked to reward and aversion responses in the brain. And the research suggests that some treatments simultaneously stimulate reward and aversion responses, resulting in a net zero effect.

Youth regularly receive pro-marijuana tweets

Hundreds of thousands of American youth are following marijuana-related Twitter accounts and getting pro-pot messages several times each day, according to researchers at the School of Medicine. They said the tweets are cause for concern because young people are thought to be especially responsive to social media influences and because patterns of drug use tend to be established in a person’s late teens and early 20s.

Drug users switch to heroin because it’s cheap, easy to get

A nationwide survey of heroin users indicates they are attracted to the drug not only for the “high” but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers. Shown is the study’s principal investigator, Theodore J. Cicero, PhD, of the School of Medicine.

Internet, social media expose youth to tobacco

Although tobacco companies are barred by law from advertising their products to children, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have found that many teens and pre-teens are getting tobacco advertisements and promotions through social media outlets or text messaging on mobile phones. More than one in 10 children under 18 reported receiving tobacco coupons or promotions on their Facebook or MySpace pages or in text messages.

Smoking cessation may improve mental health

Although many health professionals who treat people with psychiatric problems overlook their patients’ smoking habits, new research at the School of Medicine shows that people who struggle with mood problems or addiction can safely quit smoking and that kicking the habit is associated with improved mental health.
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