Fifth-grader brought gummy candies to school, containing THC

A 9-year-old student in New Mexico gave fellow students gummies – only to realize later they were not ordinary candies.

The candies had apparently been infused with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the chemical responsible for how marijuana affects the brain, and were being used by the student’s parents as medical marijuana. Kristi Del Curto, dean of elementary students at Albuquerque School of Excellence, told the Albuquerque Journal the fifth-grader brought the box of gummies she found at home and shared with friends at the school cafeteria one morning.

“She thought she was sharing candy, and if you saw the picture on the box, it did look like candy,” Del Curto told the paper.

The student later felt dizzy during class and was sent to the school nurse. After school officials determined the fifth-grader had eaten THC-infused gummies, students were asked over the school’s public address system who else had the candies, the paper reported. Del Curto said five other students had gummies. Some did not seem to have been affected, and some others were “giggly,” she said. The student who brought the candies felt ill after eating five.

One student told KRQE News 13 she immediately realized they were not ordinary candies after she ate one and started feeling dizzy. Paramedics were later called to check on the students.

School officials informed parents of the incident, which happened a little more than a week ago, according to the school’s Facebook page.

“We would like to remind all students and parents to be cautious about food/drink sharing … and we would like our community to be alert with drugs and any edibles that may or could be in different formats,” the school wrote. “We kindly ask our parents and community members not to talk explicitly about drugs/medicine when students are present.”

Twenty-nine states or territories, including the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico, allow the use of marijuana for medical purposes. New Mexico became the 12th state to allow medical cannabis in 2007.

Eight states and D.C. have legalized recreational use of marijuana, but New Mexico is not one of them.

Edibles, or food products infused with cannabis extract, have become a popular way to sell marijuana, and many are sold online, though interstate transport is illegal. In Colorado, for example, edibles accounted for 45 percent of all cannabis sales, according to a paper published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

Edibles come in different forms, such as candies, gummies, chocolates, baked goods and beverages. They are largely considered a safer way to consume marijuana because they do not pose the harmful risks of smoking, though little research is available on how effective edibles are compared with other methods of ingestion. Edible products also account for majority of hospital visits, likely because users who do not realize the delayed effects consume higher-than-recommended amounts, the paper says.

Del Curto told local media the gummies came in a box labeled “Incredibles.” The company’s website says it sells different flavors of THC gummy candies. Recreational ones contain 100 milligrams of THC while medicinal ones have 300 milligrams.

How genes, pedigree, and environment influence adult obesity

Vervet monkeys in the wild do not get fat, but monkeys in captivity do. BU Assistant Professor Christopher Schmitt wants to understand what combination of genes, environment, and ancestry may trigger obesity. Credit: Ryan Cadiz

In 2004, the monkeys of the Vervet Research Colony got an unpleasant surprise. Scientists had noticed that the 350-or-so African green monkeys, also called vervets, were getting a little chunky, so they changed the animals’ diet from regular monkey chow to high-fiber, high-protein fare. For the vervets, it was goodbye Hungry Man, hello Lean Cuisine.

“It was not a starvation diet, but it was definitely a ‘diet’ diet,” says Christopher Schmitt, an assistant professor of anthropology and biology at Boston University who specializes in primate obesity. “They didn’t really like it. When they started eating it, I think on average everybody lost about 10 percent of their body weight because they just didn’t want to eat it.”

All the monkeys got the new chow, whether they were old, young, pregnant, or breastfeeding, and that sudden dietary shift turned out to be a boon for research scientists like Schmitt, who studies what genetic and environmental factors lead to obesity and how it manifests over time. In examining 15 years of data on the monkeys’ pedigrees and genes, Schmitt found something unexpected: monkeys introduced to the diet in the womb were significantly more likely to be obese as adults. Even stranger, only the male monkeys showed this trend toward obesity, while the females did not.

The different outcomes for male and female monkeys are puzzling. “What do they mean in terms of evolution, and what does it mean for adult health?” asks Julienne Rutherford, a biological anthropologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who was not involved with the research. “Do obese adult men and women get there by different processes? It’s a surprising finding that we’re all still trying to make sense of.”

Credit: Boston University

The research, published in preview on December 6, 2017, in the International Journal of Obesity, suggests not only a genetic predisposition to obesity, but also contributes to a growing body of evidence pointing to the importance of “gestational programming”—the idea that the environment of the womb influences growth and development throughout a person’s life.

“You can see in Chris’ work that the kind of diet during pregnancy, or the timing of diet during pregnancy, has this outcome in adulthood for the offspring. That is a spectacular finding,” says Rutherford. “It’s also a daunting and very sobering finding. We’re talking about processes that run through generations.”

There are some historical parallels in humans, most famously the Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944–1945, when a German blockade cut off food and fuel to parts of the Netherlands. An estimated 18,000 to 22,000 people died. Women who were pregnant during the famine sometimes survived on only 400 to 800 calories each day, and the starvation diet took a toll on their children. Researchers found that women exposed to famine during the second and third trimester of pregnancy had babies with significantly reduced birth weights, and the babies remained small throughout their lives. However, babies whose mothers endured famine during their first trimester had normal birth weights, but grew up to be obese.


Scientists hypothesized that the first-trimester mothers were essentially programming their babies to prepare for a calorie-poor environment, an idea that became known as the “thrifty phenotype” hypothesis. “It’s this idea that mothers can program their offspring in order to best take advantage of the caloric environment that the mother is exposed to,” says Schmitt. “And this may be what’s happening in the case of the vervets.”

Credit: Boston University

For this study, Schmitt collected pedigree data from 906 vervets—and full genetic data for 720—that lived in the colony between 2000 and 2015. (The colony, which has existed since the 1970s and is housed at Wake Forest University, generally has about 350 monkeys at a time; scientists remove males when they reach sexual maturity to replicate behavior in the wild.) Schmitt also had data on the animals’ body weight and crown-to-rump length, from which he was able to calculate their body mass index, or BMI.

About 16 percent of the vervets in the colony are obese at any given time, says Schmitt, even though they are all fed the same diet. Schmitt examined the data from all of them, comparing the chronically obese monkeys to those that never developed obesity, using their genes and pedigrees to look for genetic patterns that might differentiate them.

In addition to the developmental programming finding, he also found approximately 40 different—and surprisingly diverse—genomic regions associated with obesity, including areas associated with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, coronary artery disease, lipid metabolism, glucose transport, and thyroid conditions. Vervets are a particularly good model for studying human obesity, says Schmitt, not only because they are primates like us, but because they also develop type 2 diabetes and metabolic disorders along with obesity, just like humans.

“We recognize that obesity is a complex trait,” says Schmitt, whose research is funded by the National Institutes of Health. “There are some forms of obesity that are really simple, like you have a mutation and you become obese; but for most people, and the problem we’re experiencing in the United States and worldwide right now, it isn’t a single gene. It’s probably hundreds and hundreds of genes, each having a small effect contributing to obesity. And finding the variety of loci that we found really highlighted the complexity.”

Schmitt’s next step is to look at these genetic loci in wild vervets, which generally do not become obese, to try to understand how and why these genes evolved in primates. Ultimately, Schmitt hopes that his work will lead to a better understanding of the genetic underpinnings and environmental triggers of obesity. “The hope is that we could construct a panel of genes that indicate a higher likelihood of becoming obese,” says Schmitt. “And if that’s the case, you could start dietary interventions or exercise interventions early. This isn’t going to help us cure obesity per se, but what it could do is provide us with greater predictive power that might help prevent obesity.”


Explore further:
Women born to obese mothers much more likely to be obese as adults

More information:
C A Schmitt et al. Obesity and obesogenic growth are both highly heritable and modified by diet in a nonhuman primate model, the African green monkey (Chlorocebus aethiops sabaeus), International Journal of Obesity (2017). DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2017.301

Journal reference:
International Journal of Obesity

Provided by:
Boston University

Dementia – Looking at Forgetting As a Symptom of Dementia

Dementia is characterized by the loss of or decline in memory and other intellectual and thinking abilities, caused by various diseases and conditions that result in damaged brain cells. Experiencing problems in thinking and memory should not be ignored just because you are old.

Difficulty remembering names and recent events is often an early clinical symptom; apathy and depression are also often early symptoms. Later symptoms include impaired judgment, disorientation, confusion, behavior changes and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

In Alzheimer's disease, as in other types of dementia, increasing numbers of nerve cells deteriorate and die and as a result information areas in the brain begin to fail. Brains with advanced Alzheimer's show dramatic shrinkage from cell loss but patients who showed no sign of memory loss had clean brains. A healthy adult brain has over 100 billion nerve cells.

SYMPOSOM OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Alzheimer's disease can affect different people in different ways, but the most common symptom pattern begins with gradually worsening difficulty remembering, ability to reason or care for themselves.

SOME WARNING SIGNS

Memory loss that disruptions daily life
Confusion with time or place
Changes in mood and personality

In Advanced Alzheimer's people need help with bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, eating and other daily activities.

Although families generally prefer to keep the person with Alzheimer's at home as long as possible, most people with the disease often move into nursing home or other residence where professional care is available

Risk FACTORS FOR ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

Most experts agree that Alzheimer's like other common chronic condition probably develops as a result of multiple factors rather than a single cause.
The greatest risk factor for Alzheimer's disease is advancing age, but Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging.

A significant portion of people with mild brain injury, but not all, will later develop Alzheimer's. Mild brain injury is a condition in which a person has problems with memory, language or other function.

TREATMENT AND PREVENTION OF ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE

No treatment as yet is available to slow or stop the deterioration of brain cells in Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have identified treatment strategies that may have the potential to change its course.

Studies have shown that active medical management of Alzheimer's and other dementias, the use of supporting services such as counseling, activity and support groups and adult day center programs, can significantly improve quality of life through all stages of the disease.

Increases in short- and intermediate-term risks for Alzheimer's were seen not only at age 65, but also were markedly increased at age 75 and 85 for both women and men.

The increased numbers of people with Alzheimer's will have a marked impact on healthcare systems, not to mention families and care givers.

Although Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, data collected, suggest that the attribution of dementia to specific types may not be as clear.

Studies report that mostly older people have changes in the brain, often evidence of multiple types of brain disease.

CAUSES OF DEMENTIA maybe more complicated than initially believed.

Some factors not to be ignored: Promoting public awareness, encouraging brain health, early diagnosis and treatment.

This Thing Called Relapse

cat-tempted

The cumulative effect of several W8Loss2Go studies has caused Dr. Pretlow to say this:

Caving in the moment of food temptation, with motivation getting pushed aside, but feeling remorse afterwards, has been a problem for kids in our studies.

Behavioral scientist Paul Dolan of the London School of Economics and Political Science is featured in a short video (under 7 minutes). Using tools and techniques that include “surveys, big data, lab studies, and field experiments,” he trains people to automatically repel temptation.

In addiction recovery, a relapse consists of an episode that turns into a spiral. The whole trick is to never take that first step back into bondage. Dolan’s work is to help his fellow humans form new habits and avoid the fateful episode. As one subject expressed it, “I found out things about myself that I never knew.”

Using a protocol that has been shown to work successfully for children, Dolan trains a young man to eat vegetables. Dolan says:

If we can get him into good habits, this will be a long-lasting, long-term impact on Pete, Selena, the children, and the children’s children. That’s how much this matters.

It sounds boringly earnest, but actually is rather entertaining. Because this show was made for television, with the need to attract ratings, romance was added to the mix by recruiting people who, as the title implies, aim to “Lose Weight for Love.” Dolan’s method of discouraging relapse has been effective for public speakers, people with anxiety disorders, and alcoholics. This time, it’s compulsive eaters.

A lot of compulsive eaters are more accurately compulsive drinkers. Their big problem arrives in cans and bottles. Dolan meets with Phil, who is obsessed with sugar-sweetened beverages, and shows him how to rewire his brain. The method involves a joystick, and slides projected on a screen. The obese youth is instructed to “push” away the fizzy drinks, and “pull” the healthy beverages toward him. Apparently, change can be achieved in as few as five daily 15-minute sessions.

EMA revisited

Because substance use is episodic and apparently related to mood and context, Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) seems to work pretty well on it. In fact, substance use research is where EMA is most often found, particularly in the areas of alcohol and tobacco, where the specter of the lapse episode — or “slip” — is a relentless stalker.

A 2010 study looked into the problem of temptation that leads to relapse, which had long troubled therapists because patients couldn’t describe it well, once the moment had passed and battle was lost. The results were bias and inaccuracy, which are the very difficulties that the immediacy of EMA appears to overcome.

As some researchers pointed out, drug use can’t really be understood unless information about periods of non-use is also available. Likewise…

[…] without a comparator or “control,” we cannot know what is particular to lapse episodes, versus being typical settings for the person or the person’s experience during withdrawal and a struggle to maintain abstinence.

Here is the crux of the matter:

Relapse investigators have been particularly interested in the initial lapse to drug use, as it represents a pivotal transition from abstinence back to use. This imposes particular challenges, because the initial lapse episode is a unique event — there is no second first lapse… The strategy in EMA studies is to engage subjects in ongoing monitoring, so that they are poised to record the first lapse if and when it does occur.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “BBC One’s ‘Lose Weight for Love”’ (best bits),” PaulDolan.co.uk, 07/11/17
Source: “Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) in Studies of Substance Use,” NIH.gov, December 2010
Photo credit: Les Chatfield (Elsie esq.) on Visualhunt/CC BY

The Battle With Childhood Obesity Could Be Won by Putting Down That Fork!

The thought that most commonly passes through a persons mind that does not have a weight problem is 'stop eating'. If you are over weight and you want to lose weight just stop eating. "Wow! Why did not I think of that? You must be the skinny genius". First off it's not healthy and second it's not like smoking, drinking or drugs 'just throw them in the toilet and problem solved' yea right! Life should be so simple. Of course, you should slow down the intake of food. But what about eating habits, how you eat your food. The battle with childhood obesity could be won by putting down that fork!

What are bad eating habits? Most of the time you do not realize you have a bad habit unless someone close to you points it out. Even then an overweight person may ignore that person because they have lost hope. Well there is hope and there is help. Here's three things that will help!

1. As a mother you normally are the one to serve the food to young children, or supervise the older one's, if they want to help. The keyword here is proportions. Some of these fast food restaurants offer 'Supersize' meals which is probably great for the skinny genius but out of the question for someone overweight. If you want to lose weight you must commit yourself to a program and then psyche out your mind. Here's a little trick that might help. Have you ever gone to an all you can eat buffet? Seems the largest people grab the largest plate and pile it high. I think it has something to do with getting your moneys worth. Anyways, go to the store and buy a set of small dinner plates, then when you serve up the meal the smaller proportions fit on the plate.

2. No proportions at all is a big no-no. This is a 'psyche out you're mind' that more often backfires than works. "I'll skip breakfast in the morning, save time and lose weight" The problem here is by the first recess the kids are hiring the vending machines for goodies instead of playing on the playground. Now they are eating poorly and not getting any exercise.

3. Eating slowly helps by giving your body time to realize it's full. After smelling the food cook on the stove all day, all you can think of is to stuff as much as you can into your mouth. Here's a trick that will help you slow down … GUARANTEED. Buy some chopsticks and learn to use them properly. This comes under the 'commit yourself to a program' banner. You'd be amazed at how fast kids pick up on how to use chopsticks. You're the one I'm worried about. Here's a freebie if chopsticks are a bridge too far. PUT THE FORK DOWN between bites.