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More Evidence Links Marijuana Use And Psychosis : Shots - Health News : NPR

The study found that those who used pot daily were three times more likely to have a psychotic episode compared to someone who never used the drug. Those who started using cannabis at the age of 15 or less had a slightly more elevated risk than those who started using in later years. Use of high potency weed almost doubled the odds of having psychosis compared to someone who had never smoked weed, explains Di Forti. And for those who used high potency pot on a daily basis, the risk of psychosis was even greater — four times greater than those who had never used.

Inflammation links heart disease and depression -- ScienceDaily

This finding was given further support by the next stage of the team's research. They used a technique known as Mendelian randomisation to investigate 15 biomarkers -- biological 'red flags' -- associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease. Mendelian randomisation is a statistical technique that allows researchers to rule out the influence of factors that otherwise confuse, or confound, a study, such as social status. Of these common biomarkers, they found that triglycerides (a type of fat found in the blood) and the inflammation-related proteins IL-6 and CRP were also risk factors for depression. Both IL-6 and CRP are inflammatory markers that are produced in response to damaging stimuli, such as infection, stress or smoking. Studies by Dr Khandaker and others have previously shown that people with elevated levels of IL-6 and CRP in the blood are more prone to develop depression, and that levels of these biomarkers are high in some patients during acute depressive episode. Elevated markers of inflammation are also seen in people with treatment resistant depression. This has raised the prospect that anti-inflammatory drugs might be used to treat some patients with depression. Dr Khandaker is currently involved in a clinical trial to test tocilizumab, an anti-inflammatory drug used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis that inhibits IL-6, to see if reducing inflammation leads to improvement in mood and cognitive function in patients with depression. While the link between triglycerides and coronary heart disease is well documented, it is not clear why they, too, should contribute to depression. The link is unlikely to be related by obesity, for example, as this study has found no evidence for a causal link between body mass index (BMI) and depression.

Blood test to diagnose heart attacks is flawed, warn researchers: One in 20 patients had test levels higher than recommended limit -- study results could help to avoid misdiagnosis and inappropriate treatment -- ScienceDaily

This recommended level is used as the upper limit of normal (ULN). In other words, if the value of troponin is above the 99th percentile, that is considered to be abnormal, and would indicate a heart attack in appropriate clinical circumstances. But little is known about the true distribution of the troponin level across a whole hospital population that includes inpatients, outpatients, patients undergoing surgery, in intensive care etc. So researchers measured levels of high sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) in 20,000 inpatients and outpatients undergoing blood tests for any reason at University Hospital Southampton between 29 June and 24 August 2017. The average age of participants was 61 and 53% (10,580) were women. The researchers found that the 99th centile of troponin for the whole study population was 296 ng/L compared with the manufacturer's recommended level of 40 ng/L. One in 20 (1,080; 5.4%) of all 20,000 patients had a troponin level greater than 40 ng/L, but in most of these patients there was no clinical suspicion of a heart attack. Overall, 39% of all patients from the critical care units, 14% of all medical inpatients, and 6% of all patients from the emergency department had a troponin concentration greater than the recommended ULN.

Inactive ingredients in pills and capsules may cause allergic, adverse reactions: Majority of oral medications available to consumers contain ingredients that can affect sensitive individuals -- ScienceDaily

A new study led by a team of investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital and Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that the vast majority of the most frequently prescribed medications in the U.S. contain at least one ingredient capable of causing an adverse reaction. Known as inactive ingredients, these components are added to improve the taste, shelf-life, absorption and other characteristics of a pill, but the authors found that more than 90 percent of all oral medications tested contained at least one ingredient that can cause allergic or gastrointestinal symptoms in sensitive individuals. Such ingredients include lactose, peanut oil, gluten and chemical dyes.