Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Bushes are Back

Heaven help us all. The Bush family dynasty is rearing its ugly head again in the form of Jeb Bush ranting against President Obama’s handling of the Ebola situation, an obvious first salvo in a run for the presidency. Hasn’t this family killed enough Americans (more than five thousand at last count) in trumped-up unnecessary wars to sufficiently tarnish whatever grand proclamations any member of that silver spoon-clan has to say about anything?  Hasn’t this family killed enough foreign citizens (more than 200,000 in Iraq alone) to lose any credibility about how to handle a potential crisis?  Wait, you might say. Is it fair to extrapolate the demagoguery and shortcomings of Georgie Junior to the younger and more intelligent Jeb who can actually speak in full sentences, unlike his older brother?  We have daily reminders of Junior’s handiwork in the holdings of the Supreme Court’s far-right activist justices who have equated money with speech in deciding that elections will go to the highest bidder.  The theme "Money Talks, Everyone Else Walks" is the current electoral trend compliments of Junior-appointed justices Roberts and Alioto. The Bush family message (and its legacy) has been received. The government of the United States is for sale to the highest unnamed bidders.  I predict we will have the opportunity to witness a first-class pandering of Tea Party types by Jeb-Boy as he systematically moves far enough to the right by demonstrating his hatred of all things Obama, the only way that he can possibly be considered a serious candidate.

The Bushes have done enough damage to our country already. Let’s not go there again. Enough is enough.

Just saying . . .

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marijuana Kills Brain Cells in Teenagers

A carefully done peer-reviewed study has demonstrated unequivocally that pot smoking in teenagers can result in a significant decline in IQ that appears to be permanent. The neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the adolescent brain highlights the importance of prevention and policy efforts targeting adolescents. The authors of this study say "Prevention and policy efforts should focus on delivering to the public the message that cannabis use during adolescence can have harmful effects on neuropsychological functioning, delaying the onset of cannabis use at least until adulthood, and encouraging cessation of cannabis use particularly for those who began using cannabis in adolescence."

Their findings suggest that regular cannabis use before age 18 years of age  predicts impairment. In the  study, the most persistent adolescent-onset cannabis users evidenced an average 8-point IQ decline from childhood to adulthood. Cannabis use in adolescence causes brain changes that result in neuropsychological impairment. "Several lines of evidence support this possibility (24⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓⇓31, 33, 34). First, puberty is a period of critical brain development, characterized by neuronal maturation and rearrangement processes (e.g., myelination, synaptic pruning, dendritic plasticity) and the maturation of neurotransmitter systems (e.g., the endogenous cannabinoid system), making the pubertal brain vulnerable to toxic insult (33). Second, cannabis administration in animals is associated with structural and functional brain differences, particularly in hippocampal regions, with structural differences dependent on age and duration of exposure to cannabinoids (33). Third, studies of human adolescents have shown structural and functional brain differences associated with cannabis use (26, 29, 35). The association between persistent cannabis use and neuropsychological decline was still apparent after controlling for years of education. However, the toxic effects of cannabis on the brain may result in impaired neuropsychological functioning, poor academic performance, and subsequent school dropout, which then results in further neuropsychological decline.
"Our finding of neuropsychological difficulties among adolescent-onset former persistent cannabis users who quit or reduced their use for 1 year or more suggests that neuropsychological functioning is not fully restored in this time.
"Increasing efforts should be directed toward delaying the onset of cannabis use by young people, particularly given the recent trend of younger ages of cannabis-use initiation in the United States and evidence that fewer adolescents believe that cannabis use is associated with serious health risk (42). Quitting, however, may have beneficial effects, preventing additional impairment for adolescent-onset users."

         Madeline H. Meier, Avshalom Caspi, Antony Ambler, HonaLee Harrington, Renate Houts, Richard S. E. Keefe, Kay McDonald, Aimee Ward, Richie Poulton, and Terrie E. Moffitt
Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife

PNAS 2012 109 (40) E2657–E2664; published ahead of print August 27, 2012.

Just saying . . .