July 26, 2013
Regular use of marijuana in adolescence may permanently impair brain function and cognition, and may increase the risk of developing serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, according to a new study from the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“Over the past 20 years, there has been a major controversy about the long-term effects of marijuana, with some evidence that use in adolescence could be damaging,” says the study’s senior author Asaf Keller, Ph.D., Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “Previous research has shown that children who started using marijuana before the age of 16 are at greater risk of permanent cognitive deficits, and have a significantly higher incidence of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia. There likely is a genetic susceptibility, and then you add marijuana during adolescence and it becomes the trigger.”
“Adolescence is the critical period during which marijuana use can be damaging,” says the study’s lead author, Sylvina Mullins Raver, a Ph.D. candidate in the Program in Neuroscience in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “We wanted to identify the biological underpinnings and determine whether there is a real, permanent health risk to marijuana use.”
The scientists — including co-author Sarah Paige Haughwout, a research technician in Dr. Keller’s laboratory — began by examining cortical oscillations in mice. Cortical oscillations are patterns of the activity of neurons in the brain and are believed to underlie the brain’s various functions. These oscillations are very abnormal in schizophrenia and in other psychiatric disorders. The scientists exposed young mice to very low doses of the active ingredient in marijuana for 20 days, and then allowed them to return to their siblings and develop normally.
“In the adult mice exposed to marijuana ingredients in adolescence, we found that cortical oscillations were grossly altered, and they exhibited impaired cognitive abilities,” says Ms. Raver. “We also found impaired cognitive behavioral performance in those mice. The striking finding is that, even though the mice were exposed to very low drug doses, and only for a brief period during adolescence, their brain abnormalities persisted into adulthood.”
The scientists repeated the experiment, this time administering marijuana ingredients to adult mice that had never been exposed to the drug before. Their cortical oscillations and ability to perform cognitive behavioral tasks remained normal, indicating that it was only drug exposure during the critical period of adolescence that impaired cognition through this mechanism. The researchers took the next step in their studies, trying to pinpoint the mechanisms underlying these changes and the time period in which they occur.
“We looked at the different regions of the brain,” says Dr. Keller. “The back of the brain develops first, and the frontal parts of the brain develop during adolescence. We found that the frontal cortex is much more affected by the drugs during adolescence. This is the area of the brain controls executive functions such as planning and impulse control. It is also the area most affected in schizophrenia.”
July 25, 2013
Although marijuana has recently been decriminalized in a number of states, the effect of these policies remains largely unknown. One study, reported in the July 2013 issue of The Journal of American Medical Association, examined the number of marijuana-associated visits by young children at a Denver hospital both before and after Colorado’s legalization of medical marijuana in October 2009. The study looked at hospital cases from January 2005 to December 2011 and found an increase of unintentional marijuana ingestion among children younger than 12.
Prior to October 2009, there were no hospital visits recorded of young children due to marijuana ingestion. Since then, 14 young children have visited the ER following exposure to the drug, 8 of them due to ingesting medical marijuana. Furthermore, 2 of these patients had to be admitted to the ICU.
Colorado’s revised laws have set up a situation where more children are likely to unknowingly ingest brownies, cookies, and other food items that include marijuana as an ingredient. Although Colorado has yet to pass any laws that would restrict children’s access to the drug or establish guidelines for parents using marijuana as medication, doctors strongly urge parents to contact their local poison control if they suspect their child has ingested marijuana–and then take their child immediately to the nearest critical care center or hospital.
Image Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20015533-10391704.html
Study: George Wang, Genie Roosevelt, & Kennon Heard. (2013). Pediatric marijuana exposures in a medical marijuana state. JAMA Pediatrics, 1–4. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.140
NYT Article: Anahad O’Connor. Hazards: Medical Marijuana and Children – NYTimes.com. Online Newspaper. Retrieved June 5, 2013, from http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/a-new-childhood-hazard-medical-marijuana/?ref=health
Dr. Hurely, http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1691419
July 24, 2013
Today is the last day to provide feedback. It takes only 15 minutes!
Have you ever tried to find grant information on SAMHSA.gov? We are working on improving this section of our website. Give us your feedback!
You are invited to participate in an online exercise specifically for the Grants section of SAMHSA.gov that will help us better categorize and organize the grant content. This exercise, called a “Card Sort,” is intuitive with no “right” or “wrong” answers. Expertise in web design or technology is not required, and the exercise should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. The Card Sort will be available online from July 18 through July 24. Your participation is completely anonymous.
Participate in the Card Sort:
July 23, 2013
Now that summer has arrived, the beach becomes the favorite destination for many. Every summer, families pack up their coolers, umbrellas, beach chairs, and boogie boards. However, it is important to remember the vital sun-loving accessory no one can afford to be without–sunscreen!
About 2 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every year, and 1 in 5 Americans develops skin cancer at least once in their lifetime. A new study, published in May 2013 by researchers in Australia, shows that applying sunscreen appropriately not only reduces the chance of skin cancer but also reduces skin aging by 24%. Although the results of this study may not be surprising, it finally offers proof that the sun does, in fact, cause skin aging. In order to maintain your health and youth, here are some myths and realities to protect your skin from the sun.
|Putting on sunscreen once in the morning will protect you the whole day.
||Apply a sunscreen of 30 SPF or greater about a half hour before you go outside. Even if you use sunscreen with a higher SPF, don’t forget to reapply every two hours or after you go swimming.
|A sunscreen with a greater SPF means you can stay out in the sun longer without applying more sunscreen.
||SPF is not an indication of how much time you can spend in the sun. SPF 30 does not mean you can stay out twice as long as SPF 15. Different measures of SPF represent the number of UV-B rays that a sunscreen filters out. SPF 15 filters out 93% of UV-B rays, whereas SPF 30 filters out 97% of them.
|You can swim as much as you want without reapplying when you use water-resistant sunscreen.
||Water-resistant sunscreen isn’t actually water-proof. Normal sunscreen can wash off while swimming or sweating, and water-resistant sunscreen will only remain effective for 40-80 minutes during those activities.
|If you’re in the shade, you don’t need to worry about sunscreen.
||Wear sunscreen whenever you’re outside. Reflective surfaces, such as sand, water, or pavement, can direct the sun’s UV rays toward you. And a cloud cover still allows harmful rays through.
|Putting on a little dab of sunscreen is enough.
||It is recommended that you apply at minimum the equivalent of a shot glass (1.5 oz.) of sunscreen over your body and use the minimum of a nickel-sized dollop for the face.
|All you have to do is put sunscreen on your face, arms, legs, back, and neck.
||The feet, ears, and back of your neck are the most commonly neglected areas in putting on sunscreen. Don’t forget about those sensitive areas!
Painter, K. (2013, June 03). Regular sunscreen slows skin aging, study shows. USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/06/03/sunscreen-skin-aging/2384615/
Skin cancer facts. (2013, February 12). Retrieved from http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts
Skin cancer facts. (2013, March 15). Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/sunanduvexposure/skin-cancer-facts
July 23, 2013
The European Sponsorship Association (ESA), the trade body representing the sponsorship industry in Europe, recently claimed to be unaware of any research showing that young people are adversely affected by alcohol advertising. This prompted a reply from The European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM) which strongly disputes the statement and quotes peer-reviewed empirical research suggesting that young people are indeed adversely affected by alcohol advertising, for example in reducing the age of first drink and increasing consumption of existing drinkers. The EUCAM response makes very useful background reading on this topic. Mentor has also published a very wide range of related articles easily accessible on the Prevention Hub.
July 22, 2013
At LifeSkills Training, we update our grant announcements weekly in order to give potential schools and organizations the ability to get their schools and communities trained with Botvin’s LifeSkills Training. Here are two new grants this week that have been announced on the LST website:
CVS CAREMARK COMMUNITY GRANTS
RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE CHARITIES – CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING PROGRAM GRANTS
Click the links above to view deadlines, eligibility and information about who is funding for prevention and substance abuse programs in your local communities today!