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Quitting smoking can turn that frown upside down

BY Michael Johnsen

COLUMBIA, Mo. — University of Missouri researchers earlier this week revealed evidence that showed those who quit smoking show improvements in their overall personality.

"The data indicate that for some young adults, smoking is impulsive," stated Andrew Littlefield, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science. "That means that 18 year olds are acting without a lot of forethought, and favor immediate rewards over long-term, negative consequences."

In the study, MU researchers compared people ages 18 years to 35 years who smoked with those who had quit smoking. They found that individuals who smoked were higher in two distinct personality traits during young adulthood — impulsivity and neuroticism.

"Smokers at age 18 had higher impulsivity rates than nonsmokers at age 18, and those who quit tended to display the steepest declines in impulsivity between ages 18 and 25," Littlefield said. "However, as a person ages and continues to smoke, smoking becomes part of a regular behavior pattern and less impulsive."

Despite the evidence from this study, substance use still is a complex relationship of genetic and environmental factors, Littlefield said.

The study, "Smoking Desistance and Personality Change in Emerging and Young Adulthood," has been accepted by the journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research. The study was co-authored by Kenneth J. Sher, a professor in the MU Department of Psychology.

 

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Meta-analysis: Magnesium critical partner to calcium supplementation

BY Michael Johnsen

ORANGE, Calif. — Without magnesium, calcium supplements increase risk of heart attacks, according to a meta-analysis recently conducted by Carolyn Dean, medical director of the Nutritional Magnesium Association.

"If we consume too much calcium without sufficient magnesium, the excess calcium is not utilized correctly and may actually become toxic, causing painful conditions, such as some forms of arthritis, kidney stones, osteoporosis and calcification of the arteries leading to heart attack and cardiovascular disease," Dean said.

There needs to be about a 2:1 ration of magnesium to calcium in order for calcium to be effectively absorbed into the body, Dean claimed, making magnesium supplementation more important than calcium in order to maintain both healthy bones and healthy hearts.

The meta-analysis, published in the British Medical Journal, was based on the results of five clinical trials conducted in the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand that involved more than 8,000 people.

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Lilly invests in partnership to fight NCDs

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS — Drug maker Eli Lilly is investing $30 million in a partnership that will address noncommunicable diseases, also known as chronic diseases.

The Lilly NCD Partnership is committed to fight the rising burden of noncommunicable diseases in developing nations over the next five years, the drug maker said. The first phase of the partnership will focus on improving diabetes care in targeted communities in Brazil, India, Mexico and South Africa.

Chronic diseases disproportionately affect the economically disadvantaged, with 80% of all NCD deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries, Lilly said.

"Noncommunicable diseases are afflicting nations, communities and families around the world, with the most vulnerable bearing most of the burden," Lilly chairman, president and CEO John Lechleiter said. "We believe we have a responsibility — and are uniquely positioned — to assist in the global fight against these diseases. In partnership with leading health organizations, Lilly will contribute its deep expertise and the company’s broad research capabilities to help find solutions for these pressing societal needs."

The Lilly NCD Partnership, the drug maker said, complement the Lilly MDR-TB Partnership, a program the company launched in 2003 to help address multidrug resistant tuberculosis.

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