Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Programme Director:  Dr Geoffrey Robinson

 

The respiratory effects of marijuana smoking

This study utilised the latest advances in CT scanning technology and respiratory physiology testing to determine the effects of cannabis smoking on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms. It identified that cannabis smoking had profound effects on the lung, causing symptoms such as cough, wheezing and chest tightness, and airways obstruction resulting in hyperinflation, and reduced lung density. For the first time, the dose equivalence between cannabis and cigarettes in causing lung damage was determined. This analysis identified that one cannabis joint had similar adverse effects on the lung as between 2.5 and 5 tobacco cigarettes. This finding has major public health significance.

 

The role of cannabis smoking in the development of lung cancer

This epidemiology study was undertaken in response to the high prevalence of lung cancer, and the high use of cannabis in New Zealand. Through a network of collaborators in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Hutt Valley, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga and Hamilton, young people with lung cancer were identified and studied. Control subjects randomly selected from the electoral role were also studied as a comparison group. This study identified that long-term cannabis smoking is an important risk factor for lung cancer in young adults.

The genetic basis of liver disease in alcohol-dependent patients

This genetic epidemiology study investigated the role of mutations of the hemochromatosis gene in the development of liver disease, in alcohol-dependent patients. It represented a classic study of genetic/environmental interactions in the development of clinical disease. No association was observed suggesting that alcoholic liver disease develops through a mechanism unrelated to iron status

Clinical trial of the effects of party pills

This study represents the first major clinical study of the effects of the party pills BZP and TFMPP. It was undertaken in response to the lack of scientific data on the safety of party pills, which have become increasingly popular for legal recreational use in New Zealand. This randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial had to be stopped after only 35 of 64 subjects had been tested due to concerns regarding the nature, frequency and severity of the adverse events, which occurred solely in the party pill groups. From this study it was evident that BZP/TFMPP carries a significant risk of severe adverse reactions when taken in similar doses to those recommended by their manufacturers.

Homocysteine levels in alcoholism

It is well recognised that alcohol dependency increases the risk of both dementia and cardiovascular disease, although mechanisms underlying these associations are uncertain. One potential mechanism is through modifying pathways involved in homocysteine, which is increased in both these groups of conditions. In a clinical study based at the detox unit at Kenepuru Hospital, homocysteine levels were found to be markedly increased in subjects undergoing alcohol detoxication. There are a number of issues raised by these findings, including whether vitamin supplementation, which is known to reduce homocysteine levels, might partially protect against dementia and cardiovascular disease associated with alcohol abuse.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Programme Director:  Dr Geoffrey Robinson

 

The respiratory effects of marijuana smoking

This study utilised the latest advances in CT scanning technology and respiratory physiology testing to determine the effects of cannabis smoking on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms. It identified that cannabis smoking had profound effects on the lung, causing symptoms such as cough, wheezing and chest tightness, and airways obstruction resulting in hyperinflation, and reduced lung density. For the first time, the dose equivalence between cannabis and cigarettes in causing lung damage was determined. This analysis identified that one cannabis joint had similar adverse effects on the lung as between 2.5 and 5 tobacco cigarettes. This finding has major public health significance.

 

The role of cannabis smoking in the development of lung cancer

This epidemiology study was undertaken in response to the high prevalence of lung cancer, and the high use of cannabis in New Zealand. Through a network of collaborators in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Hutt Valley, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga and Hamilton, young people with lung cancer were identified and studied. Control subjects randomly selected from the electoral role were also studied as a comparison group. This study identified that long-term cannabis smoking is an important risk factor for lung cancer in young adults.

The genetic basis of liver disease in alcohol-dependent patients

This genetic epidemiology study investigated the role of mutations of the hemochromatosis gene in the development of liver disease, in alcohol-dependent patients. It represented a classic study of genetic/environmental interactions in the development of clinical disease. No association was observed suggesting that alcoholic liver disease develops through a mechanism unrelated to iron status

Clinical trial of the effects of party pills

This study represents the first major clinical study of the effects of the party pills BZP and TFMPP. It was undertaken in response to the lack of scientific data on the safety of party pills, which have become increasingly popular for legal recreational use in New Zealand. This randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial had to be stopped after only 35 of 64 subjects had been tested due to concerns regarding the nature, frequency and severity of the adverse events, which occurred solely in the party pill groups. From this study it was evident that BZP/TFMPP carries a significant risk of severe adverse reactions when taken in similar doses to those recommended by their manufacturers.

Homocysteine levels in alcoholism

It is well recognised that alcohol dependency increases the risk of both dementia and cardiovascular disease, although mechanisms underlying these associations are uncertain. One potential mechanism is through modifying pathways involved in homocysteine, which is increased in both these groups of conditions. In a clinical study based at the detox unit at Kenepuru Hospital, homocysteine levels were found to be markedly increased in subjects undergoing alcohol detoxication. There are a number of issues raised by these findings, including whether vitamin supplementation, which is known to reduce homocysteine levels, might partially protect against dementia and cardiovascular disease associated with alcohol abuse.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Programme Director:  Dr Geoffrey Robinson

 

The respiratory effects of marijuana smoking

This study utilised the latest advances in CT scanning technology and respiratory physiology testing to determine the effects of cannabis smoking on pulmonary structure, function and symptoms. It identified that cannabis smoking had profound effects on the lung, causing symptoms such as cough, wheezing and chest tightness, and airways obstruction resulting in hyperinflation, and reduced lung density. For the first time, the dose equivalence between cannabis and cigarettes in causing lung damage was determined. This analysis identified that one cannabis joint had similar adverse effects on the lung as between 2.5 and 5 tobacco cigarettes. This finding has major public health significance.

 

The role of cannabis smoking in the development of lung cancer

This epidemiology study was undertaken in response to the high prevalence of lung cancer, and the high use of cannabis in New Zealand. Through a network of collaborators in Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Hutt Valley, Palmerston North, Hawkes Bay, Tauranga and Hamilton, young people with lung cancer were identified and studied. Control subjects randomly selected from the electoral role were also studied as a comparison group. This study identified that long-term cannabis smoking is an important risk factor for lung cancer in young adults.

The genetic basis of liver disease in alcohol-dependent patients

This genetic epidemiology study investigated the role of mutations of the hemochromatosis gene in the development of liver disease, in alcohol-dependent patients. It represented a classic study of genetic/environmental interactions in the development of clinical disease. No association was observed suggesting that alcoholic liver disease develops through a mechanism unrelated to iron status

Clinical trial of the effects of party pills

This study represents the first major clinical study of the effects of the party pills BZP and TFMPP. It was undertaken in response to the lack of scientific data on the safety of party pills, which have become increasingly popular for legal recreational use in New Zealand. This randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial had to be stopped after only 35 of 64 subjects had been tested due to concerns regarding the nature, frequency and severity of the adverse events, which occurred solely in the party pill groups. From this study it was evident that BZP/TFMPP carries a significant risk of severe adverse reactions when taken in similar doses to those recommended by their manufacturers.

Homocysteine levels in alcoholism

It is well recognised that alcohol dependency increases the risk of both dementia and cardiovascular disease, although mechanisms underlying these associations are uncertain. One potential mechanism is through modifying pathways involved in homocysteine, which is increased in both these groups of conditions. In a clinical study based at the detox unit at Kenepuru Hospital, homocysteine levels were found to be markedly increased in subjects undergoing alcohol detoxication. There are a number of issues raised by these findings, including whether vitamin supplementation, which is known to reduce homocysteine levels, might partially protect against dementia and cardiovascular disease associated with alcohol abuse.

 
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