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Grapefruit and drugs, Crystal meth, Birdsong

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 28 November 2012

GRAPEFRUIT-MEDICATION INTERACTIONS
Grapefruits contain a substance which can amplify the effects of certain medications. A review of research just published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that in the last four years, the number of Canadian medications with the potential to interact with grapefruit and cause serious adverse effects has increased from 14 to 43.

We all have an enzyme in the small intestine which protects us from poisonous plants, but it also means that as much as 90% of some medication is not absorbed. This is taken into account when drugs are developed so that we take the right dose. However if you eat grapefruit, a substance in it inactivates the enzyme, and a lot more of certain drugs end up being absorbed.

The man who first discovered this grapefruit-medicine interaction more than 20 years ago was Dr David Bailey, now Emeritus Professor at the Lawson Health Research Institute in Canada.

CRYSTAL METH IN GERMANY
According to a recent report published by the EU drugs agency, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, synthetic stimulants like crystal meth, a type of methamphetamine, are a fast-growing trend. Already widespread in the US, it is said there are roughly 26 million addicts worldwide and it is now sweeping across Europe.

In Germany, the number of first time users of crystal meth has nearly tripled in the last year, particularly in the south of the country, in the region of Bavaria. The BBC’s Abby d'Arcy reports.

BIRDSONG AND WELL-BEING
There is something about the sound of birdsong that can make us feel good about ourselves. Ellie Ratcliffe who is studying for a PhD in Environmental Psychology at Surrey University noticed this and is trying to find out whether there is something special about birdsong which affects our well-being. And whether it could even affect our thinking.

(Image: Grapefruit. Credit: Press Association/Andy Butterton)

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