Good Stuff To Know December 2018

One month of abstinence from cannabis improves memory in adolescents, young adults

A new study finds that one month of abstaining from cannabis use resulted in measurable improvement in memory functions important for learning among adolescents and young adults who were regular cannabis users.

New study finds evidence of brain injuries in football players at surprisingly young age

A new study reveals that lasting evidence of brain injuries is present at an alarmingly young age. The study tested the blood of college football players for biomarkers that indicate traumatic brain injuries. They found that players not only had higher levels of these markers than those who didn’t play football, but that the biomarkers were elevated before the season even started.

For older adults, does eating enough protein help delay disability?

A research team focused their attention on learning whether eating more protein could contribute to helping people maintain independence.

Grandparents: Raising their children’s children, they get the job done

Millions of children are being raised solely by their grandparents, with numbers continuing to climb as the opioid crisis and other factors disrupt families. New research shows that caregivers who step up to raise their grandchildren are overcoming unique challenges to manage just as well as biological and adoptive parent caregivers.

Questionable Medical Exemptions for Vaccines Up After New Law in California

A California law designed to increase vaccination rates among schoolchildren by eliminating nonmedical exemptions is turning out to be a source of considerable frustration among state health officers and immunization staff, researchers report in an article published online October 29 in Pediatrics.

Those interviewed for the study say one of the biggest problems is the lack of authority to override questionable medical exemptions written by physicians who engage in unprofessional or even unethical behavior in providing them . . . without aggressive legal challenges, some of these physicians may continue to write unwarranted exemptions, and in so doing, limit the law’s efficacy.

OK to Give Leftover Chemo Pills to Needy Patients in Tennessee

It’s a common scenario: a cancer patient has died, and family members or loved ones ask, “What do we do with these expensive, leftover cancer pills?” Or a patient returns to the oncology clinic with a supply of an oral chemotherapy that was not effective and asks the same thing. It’s a common scenario: a cancer patient has died, and family members or loved ones ask, “What do we do with these expensive, leftover cancer pills?” In Tennessee, there is a now an answer other than “throw them out” —

Adolescent cannabis use alters development of planning, self-control brain areas

Adolescent marijuana use may alter how neurons function in brain areas engaged in decision-making, planning and self-control, according to researchers.

New insights into the neural risks and benefits of marijuana use

Research released today underscores both the dangers and the therapeutic promise of marijuana, revealing different effects across the lifespan. Marijuana exposure in the womb or during adolescence may disrupt learning and memory, damage communication between brain regions, and disturb levels of key neurotransmitters and metabolites in the brain. In Alzheimer’s disease, however, compounds found in marijuana, such as the psychoactive compound delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), may improve memory and mitigate some of the disease’s symptoms.

Could machines using artificial intelligence make doctors obsolete?

The technology of these tools is evolving rapidly. Standalone machines can now perform limited tasks raising the question of whether machines will ever completely replace doctors?

Social media use increases depression and loneliness, study finds

Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram may not be great for personal well-being. The first experimental study examining use of multiple platforms shows a causal link between time spent on these social media and increased depression and loneliness.

Patients with untreated hearing loss incur higher health care costs over time

Older adults with untreated hearing loss incur substantially higher total health care costs compared to those who don’t have hearing loss — an average of 46 percent, totaling $22,434 per person over a decade, according to a new study.

Pilot study suggests pedal desks could address health risks of sedentary workplace

A recent pilot study by kinesiologists found that pedaling while conducting work tasks improved insulin responses to a test meal. Investigators found that insulin levels following the meal were lower when sedentary workers used a pedal desk compared to a standard desk. In addition, work skills were not decreased in the pedaling condition.

Researchers closer to gonorrhea vaccine after exhaustive analysis of proteins

In a study of proteins historic in its scope, researchers have pushed closer both to a vaccine for gonorrhea and toward understanding why the bacteria that cause the disease are so good at fending off antimicrobial drugs.

Excessive posting of selfies is associated with increase in narcissism

A new study has established that excessive use of social media, in particular the posting of images and selfies, is associated with a subsequent increase in narcissism by an average of 25 percent.

Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson’s patients

A high-tech form of brain surgery that replaces scalpels with sound waves improved quality of life for people with Parkinson’s disease that has resisted other forms of treatment, a new study has found.

Diet fluctuations lead to a rollercoaster of risk for heart disease and diabetes.Risk factors for cardiovascular disease closely track with changes in eating patterns, even only after a month or so.

Playing high school football changes the teenage brain

A single season of high school football may cause microscopic changes in the structure of the brain, according to a new study. A new type of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) revealed significant changes in the structure of the grey matter in the front and rear of the brain and changes to structures deep inside the brain.

Study: Football Affects Youth Brain Development After Just One Season

Just one season of football resulted in signs of damage to brain development for those youth players who have frequent impacts to the head, according to a study, CNN reported.

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