In the news

Is the price of legalized marijuana getting too high?         By the end of this decade it’s likely that nearly half of the states will have legalized the medical and/or recreational use of marijuana. It’s clear that it does have some medical benefits. What is also becoming clear is that frequent use of marijuana carries more risks than its supporters acknowledge, or may even be aware of. Three disturbing findings should make us pause for a moment.

We know that marijuana affects the brain. Otherwise, why bother? Colorado pediatricians, concerned about the future mental health of babies whose mothers smoke marijuana during pregnancy, monitor all newborn babies for the presence of the drug. Ten to fifteen percent of newborns in Colorado have marijuana in their systems. In one recent month in the city of Pueblo that figure was an astounding ninety percent!

In a study of more than 3600 children there was a more than 30 percent increased risk of “psychotic-like experiences” in the offspring of cannabis (marijuana) users when the children were evaluated at age ten years.

Canadian physicians are also concerned, and no wonder. The Canadian Psychiatric Association notes that “22 percent of youth aged 15 to 19 reported using cannabis during the past year.”  In a 2017 article they note that marijuana use in teenagers is “strongly linked” to other substance use disorders, depression, anxiety, psychosis, impaired neurological development, cognitive decline and diminished school performance.

Marijuana, like tobacco and alcohol, is here to stay.  If we could keep it from young people and pregnant women we could limit the ultimate damage.

Lifestyle

Ten ways to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

       “Alzheimer’s disease is no longer considered an inevitable consequence of the aging process.” M. Folstein, M.D.

          This should be not only a reassurance but an incentive to take advantage of the several means of avoiding or at least postponing the onset of one of the most feared illnesses of our generation. In the biweekly blogs that follow we will present each of the steps – there are actually more than ten – that anyone can do without a massive change in lifestyle.

Alzheimer’s disease is only one type of dementia and is not actually a single condition. However all the steps described here will not only help to prevent these dementias, they will also lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and type 2 diabetes.

#1 – Busy body, better brain

Regular, moderately intense exercise is the single most important factor in preventing not only dementia but the major chronic diseases that are (incorrectly) blamed on aging.

Exercise helps to grow new brains cells, makes existing cells last longer and forms more connections between brain cells. Thus with an extra reserve of brain cells and the connections between them, loss of some of these structures due to the accumulation of abnormal protein such as that which occurs in Alzheimer’s disease is less crippling.

Persons who exercise regularly (that means at least 4 times a week and for about one hour) are found to have faster thinking speed and better memory. Exercise almost entirely eliminates one form of dementia, that caused by damage to blood vessels.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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