Friday, March 15, 2013

Zolpidem (Ambien, Stilnox) is good for you!

Sleeping pills could actually IMPROVE your memory, claims controversial new research. (It gives you constipation, though)

Taking sleeping tablets could help improve your memory, according to controversial new research.

A team of researchers claim to have discovered the mechanism that enables the brain to build-up memories – and say they found that a commonly prescribed sleeping tablet containing zolpidem enhances this process.

They hope the discovery could lead to new sleep therapies that could improve memory for ageing adults and those with dementia, Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.

The findings contradict a wealth of previous research that has suggested that sleeping pills can have devastating effects on health, including memory.

The new research claims to have demonstrated, for the first time, the critical role that sleep spindles play in consolidating memory in the hippocampus.

Sleep spindles are bursts of brain activity that last for a second or less during sleep.

Earlier research found a link between sleep spindles and the consolidation of memories that depend on the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in memory forming, organising, and storing.

The research team say they showed that the drugs could significantly improve that process, far more than sleep alone.

Lead author of the study, Dr Sara Mednick, a psychologist from the University of California Riverside, said: ‘We found that a very common sleep drug can be used to increase memory.  ‘This is the first study to show you can manipulate sleep to improve memory.

‘It suggests sleep drugs could be a powerful tool to tailor sleep to particular memory disorders.’

But previous research has suggested that sleeping pills taken by more than a million Britons significantly increase the risk of dementia.  Pensioners who used benzodiazepines – which include temazepam and diazepam – are 50 per cent more likely to succumb to the devastating illness, a Harvard University study found. [Irrelevant!  Zolpidem is NOT a benzodiazepine]

They work by changing the way messages are transmitted to the brain, which induces a calming effect but scientists believe that at the same time they may be interfering with chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, which may be causing dementia.

The new study tested normal sleepers, who were given varying doses of sleeping pills and placebos, allowing several days between doses to allow the drugs to leave their bodies.

Researchers monitored their sleep, measured sleepiness and mood after napping, and used several tests to evaluate their memory.

They found that zolpidem significantly increased the density of sleep spindles and improved verbal memory consolidation.

Dr Mednick said: ‘Zolpidem enhanced sleep spindles in healthy adults producing exceptional memory performance beyond that seen with sleep alone or sleep with the comparison drug.

‘The results set the stage for targeted treatment of memory impairments as well as the possibility of exceptional memory improvement above that of a normal sleep period.’

Dr Mednick also hopes to study the impact of zolpidem on older adults who experience poor memory because individuals with Alzheimer's, dementia and schizophrenia are known experience decreases in sleep spindles.

Dr Mednick, who began studying sleep in the early 2000s, says sleep is a very new field of research and its importance is generally not taught in medical schools.

‘We know very little about it,’ she said.  ‘We do know that it affects behaviour, and we know that sleep is integral to a lot of disorders with memory problems.

‘We need to integrate sleep into medical diagnoses and treatment strategies. This research opens up a lot of possibilities.’


Sixty-four Percent of Schoolchildren Fed on Federal Subsidies

Sixty-four Percent of Schoolchildren Fed on Federal Subsidies
Not so long ago in this republic, most parents of school-age children would frequently visit grocery stores where they would use their own money to buy things like peanut butter and jelly, and bologna and cheese to make lunches for their kids to haul to school in brown paper bags.  It was an American tradition.

Now, like other great things about America, brown-bag lunches are being driven to extinction by politicians seeking inordinate government control over our lives.

In fiscal year 1969 (which started in 1968), there were approximately 47,906,000 American children enrolled in elementary and high schools, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. During the average school month in that year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 19,400,000 of these students ate lunches subsidized by the National School Lunch Program.

That means that in 1969, about 40 percent of all elementary and high school students ate federally subsidized lunches.

Not all these lunches were free. The USDA divides lunches funded by the National School Lunch Program into three categories: "free," "reduced price" and "full price." (Last year, the USDA reimbursed schools $2.86 for each "free" lunch they served, $2.46 for each "reduced price" lunch, and $0.27 for each "full price" lunch.)

Of the 19,400,000 students who ate federally subsidized lunches in 1969, 2,900,000 ate "free lunches." Of the 31,600,000 students who ate federally subsidized lunches in 2012, 18,700,000 ate "free lunches."

Between 1969 and 2012, when there were 49,485 students in elementary and high school, the percentage of students eating any category of federally subsidized lunch increased from about 40 percent to about 64 percent. At the same time, the percentage eating "free" lunches increased from about 6 percent to about 38 percent -- a more than sixfold increase.

Federally subsidized lunches cost taxpayers $203.8 million back in 1969 -- or $1.34 billion in inflation-adjusted 2012 dollars. In 2012, federally subsidized lunches cost taxpayers $10.4 billion -- and that does not include the cost of the federally subsidized school breakfast program, which put another $3.3 billion on the taxpayers' tab.

While the inflation-adjusted cost of the school lunch program has increased sevenfold over four decades, there has been a cultural cost, as well.

In the America of brown-bag school lunches, the lunches that were lovingly put in the bags were generally not only bought and paid for by moms and dads, they were made and packed by moms and dads.

But concomitant with the rise of the federally subsidized lunch, there has been a decline in moms and dads.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has published data on unmarried childbearing in America going back to 1940. In that year, only 3.8 percent of the babies born in this country were born to unmarried mothers. That percentage stayed in single digits through 1968, before ticking up to 10 percent in 1969. Since then, it has quadrupled. In 2011, 40.7 percent of the babies born in this country were born to unmarried mothers. And that does not count children who were born to married parents who later divorced.

Politicians may present the federal school lunch program as an act of compassion that they sincerely support with other people's money. It is in fact a weapon liberals employ in their war against the family.

The strategic question is this: Who is going to raise, be responsible for and instill fundamental values in future generations of Americans? Will it be parents or the state?

Modern American liberals want the state to take custody of children from the earliest possible moment. In their vision of society, the state will feed and educate the child in exchange for the child's soul.

And who is more likely to teach children to love what is true and beautiful and to instill in them the spirit of self-reliance that made America prosperous and free? His or her mother and father? Or the people who have created and maintain a school lunch program that now transfers to school administrators a portion of the hard-earned wages of that minority of parents who still lovingly pack the brown bags for their own children each morning before school?


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