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Alcohol ‘more damaging to brain health than marijuana’.

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Marijuana legalization on the rise, an increasing number of studies are exploring the drug’s potential harms and benefits. However, a new study suggests that when it comes to brain health, alcohol is more damaging.

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Scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder conducted a review of existing imaging data that looked at the effects of alcohol and marijuana, or cannabis, on the brain.

Their findings linked alcohol consumption with long-term changes to the structure of white matter and gray matter in the brain.

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The use of marijuana, however, seemed to have no significant long-term effects on brain structure.

Study leader Rachel Thayer, of the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, and colleagues recently reported their results in the journal Addiction.

It is estimated that around 22.2 million people in the United States have used marijuana in the past month, making it “the most commonly used illicit drug” in the country.

Across the U.S., however, it is increasingly becoming legalized for both medicinal and recreational purposes. As a result of this changing legislation, researchers have been trying to find out more about how marijuana may benefit health, as well as the damage that it could cause.

Last year, for example, on a study linking marijuana use to a greater risk of psychosis in teenagers, while another study claimed that the drug is “worse than cigarettes” for cardiovascular health.

On the other side of the coin, researchers have found that cannabinoids — which are the active compounds in marijuana — could help to prevent migraine, and a more recent study linked marijuana use to an increased sex drive.

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Health & Lifestyle

Sports head injuries Balanced reportage is required – Experts

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A group of more than 60 leading international neuroscientists, including Mark Herceg, PhD, a neuropsychologist at Northwell Health’s Phelps Hospital in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and a member of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, published a correspondence today in The Lancet Neurology, asking for balance when reporting on sports-related injury chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a type of dementia associated with exposure to repeated concussions, and has been linked with a variety of contact sports such as boxing, football, American football and rugby.



Although CTE is commonly featured in the news media and discussed among peers, the medical community is just beginning to understand how to recognize the disease, guidelines for how to assess its severity have yet to be established.

“We don’t currently have a clear understanding of the link between CTE pathology and any specific symptoms,” noted Dr. Herceg. “It’s important to note to the public at large that CTE is at an early stage of scientific and medical understanding, with many important aspects of the disease yet to be established.”

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“Dr. Herceg and his colleague’s CTE research is timely and impactful as a major step forward to more clearly defining the risk and prevalence of this important syndrome,” said Kevin J. Tracey, MD, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institute.

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-Northwell Health

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Health & Lifestyle

Mother bags 4 years jail term for drawing son’s blood.

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A Danish court on Thursday sentenced a mother to four years in jail for aggravated abuse for having unnecessarily drawn a half-litre (one pint) of blood from her son weekly for five years.

A trained nurse, the 36-year-old woman began drawing her son’s blood when he was 11 months old, averaging about once a week for the next five years.

The mother said she would not appeal the verdict handed down by the district court in the western town of Herning.



“It’s not a decision that I took consciously. I don’t know when I started doing what I had no right to do. It came gradually. I threw the blood down the toilet and put the syringes in the garbage,” she told the court.

The boy, today aged seven and who lives with his father, suffered an intestinal illness shortly after birth but as the years went by doctors could not explain why he had so little blood in his system.

To remedy the situation, doctors gave him 110 blood transfusions over the years.

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They eventually grew suspicious of the mother, and police began investigating her.

She was arrested in September 2017 carrying a bag of blood.

On social media, she had presented herself as a single mother fighting for her sick son.

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Psychiatric experts told the court they believed the mother suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare condition in which a person, usually a mother, fabricates an illness for a dependent and puts them through unnecessary medical treatment.

However, they deemed her healthy enough to go to prison.

She has been barred from the nursing profession.

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