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Research shows that incessant smoking increases psychosis risk.

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Two new studies report an increased risk of psychosis among smokers of not only marijuana, but tobacco, too.

The tobacco study has now been published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, and the marijuana study — which was conducted by the same team — has now been published in The British Journal of Psychiatry.

Research has found links between psychosisand both tobacco and marijuana smoking — particularly in regard to schizophrenia-related psychosis.

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However, the precise reasons why people who experience psychosis are more likely to smoke are not clear.

Some scientists think that smoking might act as a kind of “self-medication” — that is, people with psychosis might find that smoking relieves their symptoms, perhaps due to some unidentified neurological mechanism.

Or, smoking might help to make people who have psychosis less bored or stressed, which could also alleviate symptoms.

Recently, studies have started to investigate whether smoking itself might increase a person’s risk of psychosis. Although much research has looked at whether smoking marijuana might contribute to an increased risk of psychosis, comparatively few papers have applied the same investigative approach to tobacco.

A 2015 systematic review and meta-analysis that was published in The Lancet examined this issue. Its authors reported that smoking tobacco every single day was linked with both increased risk of psychosis and earlier age of onset of psychotic disorder.

In this latest systematic review, people having a first episode of psychosis were three times more likely to be smokers than nonsmokers.

Based on their findings, the authors questioned the “self-medication” theory and proposed instead that nicotine may be having an effect that creates the conditions for psychosis, possibly on the dopamine system.

Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that helps to control the brain’s “pleasure and reward centers.” Scientists now know that smoking feels pleasurable because nicotine causes dopamine to be released into the brain.

Part of the reason why the authors of The Lancet study believe that the dopamine system may play a role in driving the link between daily smoking and psychosis is because studies have shown that smokers are less likely to get Parkinson’s disease.

While Parkinson’s disease is characterized by a lack of dopamine, schizophrenia is thought to be “the opposite of Parkinson’s,” in that some scientists believe that its symptoms are caused by an excess of dopamine.

In the tobacco study, the researchers analyzed data from 6,081 individuals who were part of the 1986 birth cohort of Northern Finland. Participants who were 15–16 years old in 1986 answered questions on psychotic experiences and whether they used drugs or alcohol. They were then followed until they reached the age of 30.

The team found that smoking heavily or daily was linked with increased risk of psychosis.

Individuals who smoked 10 or more cigarettes per day were more likely to experience psychosis than people who did not smoke. Furthermore, people who began smoking before the age of 13 were also found to be at increased risk of psychosis.

Even when the researchers took into account whether the people in the study used alcohol or drugs or had a family history of psychosis, the link between smoking and psychosis was still significant.

“Based on the results, prevention of adolescent smoking is likely to have positive effects on the mental health of the population in later life,” concludes study author Jouko Miettunen.

In the study of marijuana, the team found an increased risk of psychosis among teenage users.

“We found that young people who had used cannabis at least five times had a heightened risk of psychoses during the follow-up, even when accounting for previous psychotic experiences, use of alcohol and drugs, and the parents’ history of psychoses,” notes study co-author Antti Mustonen.

“Our findings are in line with current views of heavy cannabis use, particularly when begun at an early age, being linked to an increased risk of psychosis,” he adds.

“Based on our results, it’s very important that we take notice of cannabis-using young people who report symptoms of psychosis. If possible, we should strive to prevent early-stage cannabis use.”

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DR Congo blame Unending Ebola Outbreak on Violence , Community Mistrust.

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DR Congo Ministry of Health spokesperson Jessica Ilunga has declared that violence and community mistrust have continued to hamper all efforts to control and end the fresh Ebola outbreak, which started Aug. 1.



Though according to the World Health Organization the number of new Ebola cases has dropped slightly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo as there are 33% fewer cases to date in February compared with the same time period in December per STAT’s Helen Branswell, but some experts warn Axios that there remain signs that this outbreak is far from over.

Meanwhile, some experts warn that, that doesn’t mean the world’s second-largest Ebola outbreak on record is yet under control, and in fact it could simply be moving to new areas of the sprawling country.

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Johns Hopkins’ public health expert Jennifer Nuzzo maintains there are several reasons people should continue to view this outbreak as a cause for concern.

However, Nuzzo said Congo needs more than money from the international community and the U.S. in particular. Safety concerns have largely caused the CDC to limit its Ebola experts to the capital city of Kinshasa, where some have returned after being evacuated during an uptick in election-related violence, Nuzzo added that Now is the time for the U.S. to send them into the field.

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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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