Thursday, March 30, 2017

Eating Or Smoking Weed - Which Is Healthier

Eating Or Smoking Weed - Which Is Healthier?

Names like "Raspberry Macaroons," "Mellow Handcrafted Marshmellows," and "Pineapple Delight Bites" sound tasty to those with a sweet tooth.

Often mistaken for sweets, these names belong to some of the most popular marijuana edibles across the U.S. As more states prepare to legalize the recreational use of the drug, many are trying edibles as a "healthier" option, but is eating weed better for you than smoking it?

In AsapScience's video, "Your Brain On Edible Marijuana," host Mitchell Moffitt explains that how much heat is applied will determine how the drug will affect the brain.

Heating marijuana changes the chemical makeup of the compounds within it, also known as cannabinoids.

Weed In Heat

Smoking weed heats it to around 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit and converts THCA to Delta-9THC, which binds to receptors in the brain, making them continually fire, distorting our imagination, thoughts, and perceptions.

Weed edibles are heated to about 302 degrees Fahrenheit, which burns less of the actual plant and minimizes carcinogens.

Since THC is lipophilic and not a water soluble, activated THC must be dissolved into something fatty (i.e., oil or butter).

The onset of the high is delayed after eating because the drug moves slowly through the gut; the high lasts between four to eight hours, leading to more of a high than smoking.

Why Eating Weed Produces More Of A High

Eating weed produces more of a high because of the way THC enters the body.

First, it's metabolized by the liver before it enters the bloodstream — this is where Delta-9THC also becomes 11-OH-THC, which passes the brain barrier more quickly, and is a more potent chemical.

Cooking the drug ends up creating both Delta9-THC and 11-OH-THC, which is a stronger compound, and because there's more of the psychotropic types of cannabinoids acting on our neurons, you'll be high for longer.

Smoking Weed Vs. Eating Weed: Which Is Healthier?

Getting high without smoking will be healthier on your lungs and body. It eliminates the toxic chemicals that smoking creates, like carbon monoxide, bronchial irritants, and tumor initiators.

There is a downside:
it's much harder to control the high, because it takes up to one to two hours to feel its full effects, and the dosage can vary significantly, which can change its effects and make you higher than you planned.

However, there is no serious long-term harm, toxicity, or lethal overdose if you consume more than you intended.

The Future Of Weed Edibles
Ingesting rather than smoking weed is healthier, but it's also difficult to self-monitor, since it can take hours before you experience the high.

Moreover, meds in the body can also affect how THC is metabolized, since it will compete with other drugs in the liver.

Lastly, states like Washington and Colorado regulate edibles and concentrates, but it's unknown if the rest of the country does the same.

So, in theory, yes eating weed is healthier, but there is still much more to be known about its effects in the body.

Source:     MedicalDaily

Discovered - The World's Healthiest Hearts - Must Read

'Healthiest Hearts In The World' Found

The healthiest hearts in the world have been found in the Tsimane people in the forests of Bolivia, say researchers.

Barely any Tsimane had signs of clogged up arteries - even well into old age - a study in the Lancet showed.

"It's an incredible population" with radically different diets and ways of living, said the researchers.

They admit the rest of the world cannot revert to a hunter-gathering and early farming existence, but said there were lessons for all of us.


Tsimane is pronounced "chee-may-nay".
There are around 16,000 Tsimane who hunt, fish and farm on the Maniqui River in the Amazon rainforest in the Bolivian lowlands.

Their way of life has similarities to human civilisation thousands of years ago.

It took the team of scientists and doctors multiple flights and a canoe journey to get there.

How does your diet compare with the Tsimane?

17% of their diet is game including wild pig, tapir and capybara (the world's largest rodent)

7% is freshwater fish including piranha and catfish

Most of the rest comes from family farms growing rice, maize, manioc root (like sweet potato) and plantains (similar to banana)

It is topped up with foraged fruit and nuts

It means:
72% of calories come from carbohydrates compared with 52% in the US
14% from fat compared with 34% in the US, Tsimane also consume much less saturated fat

Both Americans and Tsimane have 14% of calories from protein, but

Tsimane have more lean meat

How fit are they?

They are also far more physically active with the men averaging 17,000 steps a day and the women 16,000.
Even the over-60s have a step count over 15,000.
It makes most people's struggle to get near 10,000 seem deeply insignificant.
"They achieve a remarkable dose of exercise," says Dr Gregory Thomas, one of the researchers and from Long Beach Memorial medical centre in California.

So how magnificent are their hearts?

The scientists looked for coronary artery calcium or "CAC" - which is a sign of clogged up blood vessels and risk of a heart attack.
The scientists scanned 705 people's hearts in a CT scanner after teaming up with a research group scanning mummified bodies.
At the age of 45, almost no Tsimane had CAC in their arteries while 25% of Americans do.

By the time they reach age 75, two-thirds of Tsimane are CAC-free compared with the overwhelming majority of Americans (80%) having signs of CAC.

The researchers have been studying this group for a long time so it is not simply a case of the unhealthy Tsimane dying young.

Michael Gurven, a professor of anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara, told the BBC: "It is much lower than in every other population where data exists.

"The closest were Japanese women, but it's still a different ballpark altogether."

Is it only diet and exercise?

They also smoke a lot less, but they do get more infections which could potentially increase the risk of heart problems by causing inflammation in the body.

One idea is that intestinal worms - which dampen immune reactions - could be more common and this may help protect the heart.

What can I learn?

Prof Gurven said: "I would say we need a more holistic approach to physical exercise rather than just at the weekend.
"Bicycle to work, take the stairs, write your story on a treadmill desk." (I didn't)

Dr Thomas said: "It could be to maintain health we need to be exercising much more than we do.

"The modern world is keeping us alive, but urbanisation and the specialisation of the labour force could be new risk factors [for an unhealthy heart].

"They also live in small communities, life is very social and they maintain a positive outlook."

What do experts make of all this?

Dr Gavin Sandercock, reader in clinical physiology (cardiology) at the University of Essex, said: "This is an excellent study with unique findings.

"The Tsimane get 72% of their energy from carbohydrates.
"The fact that they have the best indicators of cardiovascular health ever reported is the exact opposite to many recent suggestions that carbohydrates are unhealthy."

Prof Naveed Sattar, from the University of Glasgow, said: "This is a beautiful real life study which reaffirms all we understand about preventing heart disease.

"Simply put, eating a healthy diet very low in saturated fat and full of unprocessed products, not smoking and being active life long, is associated with the lowest risk of having furring up of blood vessels."


Measles Outbreak Across Europe

Measles is spreading across Europe wherever immunisation coverage has dropped, the World Health Organization is warning.

The largest outbreaks are being seen in Italy and Romania.

In the first month of this year, Italy reported more than 200 cases.

Romania has reported more than 3,400 cases and 17 deaths since January 2016.

Measles is highly contagious.

Travel patterns mean no person or country is beyond its reach, says the WHO.

For good protection, it's recommended that at least 95% of the population is vaccinated against the disease.

But many countries are struggling to achieve that.

Most of the measles cases have been found in countries where immunisation has dipped below this threshold and the infection is endemic - France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Preliminary information for February suggests that the number of new infections is rising sharply, says the WHO.

WHO regional director for Europe Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab said: "I urge all endemic countries to take urgent measures to stop transmission of measles within their borders, and all countries that have already achieved this to keep up their guard and sustain high immunisation coverage."

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says that between 1 February 2016 and 31 January 2017 the UK reported 575 cases of measles.

The MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine is available on the NHS for babies and pre-school children.

Lagging immunisation

Robb Butler, of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, says there are a number of reasons why vaccination coverage has waned in some regions.

"In some countries, like the Ukraine, there have been supply and procurement issues."

Then there's vaccine hesitancy. Some people are fearful of vaccination, while others are complacent or find it an inconvenience, he says.

In France, for example, people need to make an appointment with their doctor to get a prescription, go to the pharmacy to collect the vaccine and then rebook with their doctor to have the jab administered.

"We need to get to the point where we appreciate that people have busy lives and competing priorities."

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England, said:
"England's uptake of MMR vaccine by five years of age has reached the WHO's target of 95%.

"In the last year, the measles cases confirmed in England have mainly been in older adolescents and young adults with many linked to music festivals and other large public events. Individuals of any age who have not received two doses of the MMR vaccine, or those who are unsure, should speak to their GP - it's never too late to have the vaccine and measles can still be serious in adults. We are continuing to invest in programmes which encourage uptake of the vaccine to ultimately consign measles to the history books."


Unvaccinated young children are at highest risk of measles and its complications, including death

Measles is spread by direct contact and through the air by coughs and sneezes

The virus remains active and contagious on infected surfaces for up to two hours

The first signs of infection are usually a high fever and cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose

You may notice small white spots on the inside of the cheeks as well
After several days, a rash develops, usually on the face and neck first and then spreading to the body and limbs

An infected person can pass on the virus to others from four days prior to developing the skin rash to four days after the rash erupts

There is no treatment, but two doses of vaccine can prevent infection in the first place


Friday, March 24, 2017

Medical School Seeks To Make Training More Compassionate

After the SUICIDE of a 4th Year Medical Student, a Medical School is seeking to change its training culture

A New York City medical school has embarked on a soul-searching campaign of culture change after a 27-year-old student there jumped to her death last summer from her eighth-floor dorm residence.

“Rocked by waves of anguish, anger and frustration, guilt, fear and profound sadness,” the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is trying to forge a kinder, gentler system of training, according to an essay by a dean at the school​in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The school is considering significantly expanding access to mental-health specialists, as well as changing aspects of its grading system. Another idea on the table: creating a hub for activities related to student health and well-being.

“Medical school is a cauldron,” says David Muller, the school’s dean for medical education, and the author of the essay that promises to improve conditions for Sinai’s doctors-in-training, both students and residents. The residents are at the front lines of care, Dr. Muller added in an interview, and “feel very often helpless and hopeless, the machine is intense and churns on relentlessly.”

One morning in August, the fourth-year medical student took her life on Mount Sinai’s campus on New York’s Upper East Side. Several months earlier, a medical resident, also female, committed suicide at the school’s West Side campus.

Jordyn Feingold, a first-year medical student, lived next door to the woman who committed suicide in August. Ms. Feingold had arrived at Sinai only 10 days before the tragedy and recalled how she and her peers were racked by “cognitive dissonance”—excited about starting training but distraught at the tragedy. “It was very weird,” she said.

Ms. Feingold, who is 24 and has a master’s in applied positive psychology, joined a task force Dr. Muller charged with figuring out how to improve Sinai’s academic culture and doctors’ well-being. “We are so focused on taking care of patients, to give quality care, but absent from our education is how we can take care of ourselves,” she said.

In 2014, two other young doctors-in-training at two different New York-area medical schools committed suicide. “We are all in the same very, very, scary boat,” Dr. Muller said.

The deaths underscore a broader problem, researchers say: That young doctors and medical students face grueling academic pressures and are experiencing high rates of burnout, depression and psychological strain.

But it isn’t because individuals drawn to medicine are necessarily more prone to angst. “We found at admission that the kids look fine,” says Liselotte Dyrbye, professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. “It is as if they go through our training process, and they develop worsening mental health.”

Dr. Dyrbye blames this on an “absurd” medical system: “It is the curriculum, it is the learning environment, it is the type of stuff you do as a [young] physician, and it is not unique to Mayo, it is not unique to Sinai.”

The Mayo researcher, who studies physician well-being, says in addition to mastering vast amounts of information, medical students and residents cope with “complex patient interactions, the suffering, the deaths.” Too often, “it is not a supportive environment—students are set up to compete with each other.”

Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at the NYU School of Medicine, describes physician burnout as “a kind of epidemic” that can also hurt patients.

“There is trouble for patients in having a work force that is burned out,” he said in a video on the medical-information website Medscape, noting that these physicians may have “compassion fatigue” and could be prone to making medical errors.

It isn’t clear what drove Kathryn Stascavage—the student referred to as “Kathryn” in the New England Journal essay—to suicide, nor what role the pressures of medical school may have played.Through Dr. Muller’s office, the family declined to comment.

Even so, Prameet Singh, vice chair of psychiatry at Mount Sinai’s West Side campus, says the tragedy “gives us a chance to pause and look at what is the matter with our medical system—what do we do to contribute to the stresses and tribulations.”

Dr. Singh, along with about 30 faculty members, medical students, fellows and residents, took part in the task force, and proposed steps to remedy the academic culture. They were split into three areas—mental health, physician well-being and the learning environment.

Dr. Singh’s group, which focused on mental health, grappled with making it easier to consult a therapist. That meant both removing the stigma of psychiatric care, and arranging access to affordable practitioners, since many don’t accept insurance. One proposal calls for making more therapists in the institution available to students. Another idea: identifying 15 to 20 therapists willing to lower their fees for students. The school also would like to ask students to have regular mental-health checkups, with an “opt-out” possibility if they don’t wish to have them.

Jonathan Ripp, an internist on the faculty of the Icahn School who co-chaired the working group on well-being, believes young doctors and trainees are suffering because medicine has changed dramatically.

“There are a lot of new pressures and physicians are being scrutinized more than before,” Dr. Ripp says. An older generation “could spend most of the time looking at the patient and speaking with the patient,” whereas now, “you have 15 minutes to see someone.”

Dr. Ripp’s group suggests dedicating space on campus to a clearinghouse where young doctors and students could avail themselves of a “menu of well-being”—such as finding a psychiatrist or signing up for a mindfulness training session.

His group wants “protected dedicated time” built into the schedules of medical students and trainees, to allow them to take a break, meet with peers, and review stressful incidents such as the death of a patient. “Until now, it was expected you would deal with it,” Dr. Ripp said, “but it is not normal to experience a death and go about your business.”

Dr. Muller is most concerned about the academic culture: “I said to the group, we can have an army of psychiatrists, and have mindfulness and yoga every day, but if we don’t change the fundamental culture of academic medicine, all we will do is produce more burned-out people.”

Sinai tackled one source of angst—a high-stakes grading system marked by quotas for third- and fourth-year students that limited “honors,” a coveted distinction that helps an individual enter residency programs—to 25% of the class. After “honors,” the “high pass” distinction was limited to 25%, while the remaining half of the class would receive a “pass” grade. The system provoked intense rivalry among students, Ms. Feingold says.

The school has rejiggered the distribution to allow one-third of students to receive “honors,” one-third “high pass” and one-third “pass,” Dean Muller said, with an eye to creating a system that will drop the limits altogether.

Dr. Muller is hopeful the tragedy will accelerate change: “The same kind of compassion and humanism we are teaching them to show patients, they should be showing each other and we should be showing them.”

Source:     WSJ