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A look at serotonins and water cautions

Northern Wyoming Daily News



"I ain't left this little room ... tryna concentrate to breathe, cause this piff [weed] so potent, killing serotonin," sings Grammy-winning R&B singer The Weeknd in his song "Initiation." With over 4 million views on YouTube, it seems the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter and all-around gut-loving hormone serotonin has made its way into mainstream pop culture! The Weeknd is probably right; research shows that chemicals in marijuana lower serotonin levels. The repercussions are far more serious than the munchies.

For a new study, Johns Hopkins researchers reviewed brain scans of over 50 people, and found that those with mild cognitive decline had lower levels of serotonin compared with people with healthy brains. Maybe protecting serotonin levels (bye-bye, weed) will help you avoid progression to Alzheimer's disease.

Another lab study found that a lack of neurons that modulate serotonin can lead to a buildup of amyloid plaques in the brain - one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer's. Decreased respiratory and cardio health (caused by smoking anything) may contribute to decline of healthy neurons.

While scientists untangle the link between Alzheimer's and low serotonin, you want to make sure enough of this chemical is circulating in your brain and gut. Serotonin modulates a whole host of things, from mood and appetite to sleep and sexual function. Boost your supply by:

-Shooting for at least 30 minutes exercise daily (more is better).

-Catching some rays. Exposure to bright light of any kind can boost serotonin levels.

-Eating foods with tryptophan (turkey, nuts, pumpkin seeds and salmon).


You know how, right after you jog or do free weights, you feel fine, but the next day your muscles are tender and sore? This phenomenon was first described by Dr. Theodore Hough in 1902. He called it delayed-onset muscle soreness, or DOMS. But today, 115 years later, scientists are still debating why it happens.

Well, dangerous and severe discomfort can set in after swimming, too. The conditions are called atypical or dry drowning, and secondary drowning - but we know exactly what causes them.

Atypical drowning happens (mostly in kids) when you take in water while swimming. Such a near-drowning experience triggers laryngospasm - constriction of airway muscles - and that deprives the body of oxygen. Worse, when you try to breathe, that suction disrupts the junctions between cells in the lungs, triggering edema and making the lack of oxygen even harder to correct. "That's why every child who's fallen into the water or experienced a near-drowning should be taken to the emergency room immediately," says Dr. Purva Grover, medical director of Cleveland Clinic's Children's Pediatric Emergency Departments.

Secondary drowning occurs when someone has gotten water into his or her lungs (again, usually a child) without being aware of it. If it causes pulmonary edema, within an hour there's rapid or difficult breathing; however, sometimes symptoms don't show up for 24 hours. Then they can include respiratory problems plus vomiting, lethargy and a lack of desire to eat or drink.

Seek medical attention immediately if your child experiences any of these symptoms after being in or around water.

Mehmet Oz, M.D. is host of "The Dr. Oz Show," and Mike Roizen, M.D. is Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic. To live your healthiest, tune into "The Dr. Oz Show" or visit

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