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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

If you have questions or suggestions about this content, please email the doctor at or leave him a message at 516-778-8864.  His website is:

Please note that the news, views, commentary, and opinions that Dr. Smith provides are for informational purposes only.  Any changes that you or members of your family contemplate making to lifestyle, diet, medications, or medical therapy should always be discussed beforehand with personal physicians who have been supervising your care.

Apr 11, 2019


Nearly 20% of fatal strokes occurring in younger persons are due to illicit drug use and abuse.  This is the conclusion of a new study from Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Center.

The investigators studied 279 persons aged 15 to 44 years who died of stroke.  The most frequent drug implicated was methamphetamine.  None of the stroke victims were taking the typical psychostimulants prescribed for attention deficits.

Notable was the fact that the levels of circulating methamphetamine in the stroke victims were less than half of that found in those dying from methamphetamine overdoses indicating that even lower doses of methamphetamine may be deadly by triggering a hyper-metabolic state and intracranial bleeding.

Psychostimulant drug use, both legal and illicit, is on the rise, and about 76 million people are now using them.  Given this fact, it is not surprising that the only group in which the incidence of stroke is markedly increasing is the 25 to 44 year old cohort with a 44% rise.  In contrast, older persons 65 to 84 years of age have a 29% lower incidence of stroke.

These facts should remind you, particularly those of us in the younger and middle-aged groups, that use of psychostimulants and disregard of tendencies toward high blood pressure can place you on the road to a deadly or debilitating stroke.

Shane Darke, Johan Duflou, Sharlene Kaye, Michael Farrell, Julia Lappin. Psychostimulant Use and Fatal Stroke in Young Adults. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/1556-4029.14056

Rising Stroke Incidence in Young Adults: More Epidemiological Evidence, More Questions to Be Answered.

#Psychostimulants #stroke #hypertension #methamphetamine