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Teen cannabis use is not without risk to cognitive development -- ScienceDaily

"However, further increases in cannabis use, but not alcohol consumption, showed additional concurrent and lagged effects on cognitive functions, such as perceptual reasoning, memory recall, working memory and inhibitory control," Conrod said. "Of particular concern was the finding that cannabis use was associated with lasting effects on a measure of inhibitory control, which is a risk factor for other addictive behaviours, and might explain why early onset cannabis use is a risk factor for other addictions." Morin added: "Some of these effects are even more pronounced when consumption begins earlier in adolescence."

Everything You Know About Obesity Is Wrong - The Huffington Post

The United States spends $1.5 billion on nutrition research every year compared to around $60 billion on drug research. Just 4 percent of agricultural subsidies go to fruits and vegetables. No wonder that the healthiest foods can cost up to eight times more, calorie for calorie, than the unhealthiest—or that the gap gets wider every year. It’s the same with exercise. The cardiovascular risks of sedentary lifestyles, suburban sprawl and long commutes are well-documented. […]Only 13 percent of American children walk or bike to school; once they arrive, less than a third of them will take part in a daily gym class. Among adults, the number of workers commuting more than 90 minutes each way grew by more than 15 percent from 2005 to 2016, a predictable outgrowth of America’s underinvestment in public transportation and over-investment in freeways, parking and strip malls. For 40 years, as politicians have told us to eat more vegetables and take the stairs instead of the elevator, they have presided over a country where daily exercise has become a luxury and eating well has become extortionate.

Inside Marijuana Anonymous, the group for people addicted to weed – VICE News

Michael described it as a silent addiction. “No one sees you, you’re not out robbing people. You’re not beating people up, you’re not getting into fights,” he said. “So for the rest of society, you’re not really a problem. You’re just a problem to yourself because you’re not doing anything with your life.” “It’s like being kicked to death by a bunny.” One of the reasons people might hold the view that cannabis is safer is because the withdrawal syndrome is kind of non-specific and could easily be attributed to something else, said Juurlink.

In test with rats, cannabidiol showed sustained effects against depression for seven days -- ScienceDaily

"The forced swim test is used to measure the effect of antidepressant drugs because all known antidepressants shorten the duration of immobility and hence lengthen swim time. A reduction in immobility time in this test is interpreted as 'antidepressant-like' behavior." The researchers found that cannabidiol induced acute and sustained antidepressant-like effects in mice submitted to the forced swim test. "However, to make sure this result isn't due to the increase in movement caused by a psychostimulant effect leading the animals to swim more vigorously, for example, we performed a separate test to control for locomotor activity," Joca explained. "To do this we used the open-field test, which consists of putting the animal in a novel arena and letting it explore the new environment freely while its locomotor and exploratory activity is recorded. A drug is said to have potential antidepressant effects if it reduces immobility time and increases swim time in the forced swim test without increasing locomotor activity in the open-field test, showing that the effects observed in the forced swim test aren't secondary to nonspecific alterations in locomotor activity."

Differences between combined, isolated use of cannabis, nicotine on brain networks -- ScienceDaily

MRI scans were used to evaluate resting state functions in 12 different regions of the brain among four groups of participants: 28 nicotine users, 53 cannabis users, 26 nicotine and cannabis users, and 30 non-users in a control group. These scans revealed that the control group displayed greater connectivity in almost all of the networks compared to the nicotine and cannabis groups, while the combined nicotine plus cannabis group had greater connectivity than the only-nicotine and only-cannabis groups. Notably, this study did not demonstrate a correlation between substance use severity and functional connectivity.

Can You Get Addicted to Pot? - The Atlantic

Public-health experts worry about the increasingly potent options available, and the striking number of constant users. “Cannabis is potentially a real public-health problem,” said Mark A. R. Kleiman, a professor of public policy at New York University. “It wasn’t obvious to me 25 years ago, when 9 percent of self-reported cannabis users over the last month reported daily or near-daily use. I always was prepared to say, ‘No, it’s not a very abusable drug. Nine percent of anybody will do something stupid.’ But that number is now [something like] 40 percent.”

Liberals do drink more lattes, but maybe not for the reasons you think -- ScienceDaily

In fact, only 16% of liberals, 11% of moderates, and 9% of conservatives prefer lattes. In exploring why liberals show a stronger preference for lattes, the researchers considered numerous factors, including the availability of lattes in one's local area, household income, and gender. Although all of these were predictors of latte drinking, none of them explained the relationship between lattes and liberals. However, latte drinkers' attitudes toward globalization proved most meaningful in explaining why liberals are more likely to drink lattes.

What people think they're doing and what they're doing are very different

They found that: Smartphone usage is repetitive and consistent for each person Future phone checking frequency can be predicted with very little data A standard survey was unable to predict these behaviours For example, the researchers found that if you check your phone 80 times today, you are likely to repeat this behaviour every day. Dr Tom Wilcockson from Lancaster University said: "Multiple checks could indicate an absent minded use of mobile phones, which is habitual and unconscious"

Coffee affects cannabis and steroid systems -- ScienceDaily

Blood metabolites of the endocannabinoid system decreased with coffee consumption, particularly with eight cups per day, the study found. The endocannabinoid metabolic pathway is an important regulator of our stress response, Cornelis said, and some endocannabinoids decrease in the presence of chronic stress. "The increased coffee consumption over the two-month span of the trial may have created enough stress to trigger a decrease in metabolites in this system," she said. "It could be our bodies' adaptation to try to get stress levels back to equilibrium." The endocannabinoid system also regulates a wide range of functions: cognition, blood pressure, immunity, addiction, sleep, appetite, energy and glucose metabolism.

Start small

If the science is compelling and if an incremental approach is good enough for the top athletes in the world, then why do so many people still fall prey to a suboptimal cycle of big, in-over-your-head workouts followed by extended time off due to injury and fatigue? Dixon believes there are two primary reasons: a lack of self-confidence, and a lack of understanding the training process.

Three or more cups of coffee daily halves mortality risk in patients with both HIV, HCV -- ScienceDaily

Coffee is known to have anti-inflammatory and liver-protective properties. In the general population, drinking three or more cups of coffee a day has been found to be associated with a 14% reduction in the risk of all-cause mortality. This is probably due to the properties of polyphenols contained in coffee that can protect the liver and also reduce inflammation.

We're motivated to stay ahead more than to catch up? (Relates to fear of losing?)

Peer effects in running are also heterogeneous across relationship types. For example, runners are more influenced by peers whose performance is slightly worse, but not far worse, than their own as well as by those who perform slightly better, but not far better, than they do (Fig. 2a). Moreover, less active runners influence more active runners more than more active runners influence less active runners (Fig. 2b). These results are corroborated by heterogeneity across consistent and inconsistent runners. Inconsistent runners influence consistent runners more than consistent runners influence inconsistent runners (Fig. 2c). Social comparisons may provide an explanation for these results. Festinger’s social comparison theory proposes that we self-evaluate by comparing ourselves to others27. But, in the context of exercise, a debate exists about whether we make upward comparisons to those performing better than ourselves28 or downward comparisons to those performing worse than ourselves29. Comparisons to those ahead of us may motivate our own self-improvement, while comparisons to those behind us may create ‘competitive behaviour to protect one’s superiority’ (27, p. 126). Our findings are consistent with both arguments, but the effects are much larger for downward comparisons than for upward comparisons.

Cycling to work 'halves risk of heart disease and cancer' | Daily Mail Online

The researchers, whose findings are published in the BMJ, studied the commuting habits of 263,450 middle aged men and women. They assessed their health for five years and recorded whether they developed cancer, heart disease or died of any cause. Adults who walked to work – typically six miles a week – were 27 per cent less likely to develop heart disease than those who drove or took public transport. But walking did not protect them against cancer or other chronic health problems – possibly because they were not exercising for long enough. Adults who cycled to work for any distance were more than 40 per cent less likely to get cancer, heart disease or die within the next five years.

Is soda bad for your brain? (And is diet soda worse?): Both sugary, diet drinks correlated with accelerated brain aging -- ScienceDaily

Now, new research suggests that excess sugar -- especially the fructose in sugary drinks -- might damage your brain. Researchers using data from the Framingham Heart Study (FHS) found that people who drink sugary beverages frequently are more likely to have poorer memory, smaller overall brain volume, and a significantly smaller hippocampus -- an area of the brain important for learning and memory. But before you chuck your sweet tea and reach for a diet soda, there's more: a follow-up study found that people who drank diet soda daily were almost three times as likely to develop stroke and dementia when compared to those who did not.

Insulin resistance may lead to faster cognitive decline: Executive function, memory are particularly vulnerable to the effects of insulin resistance, researchers say -- ScienceDaily

nsulin resistance is a condition in which cells fail to respond normally to the hormone insulin. The resistance prevents muscle, fat, and liver cells from easily absorbing glucose. As a result, the body requires higher levels of insulin to usher glucose into its cells. Without sufficient insulin, excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, leading to prediabetes, diabetes, and other serious health disorders. The scientists followed a group of nearly 500 patients with existing cardiovascular disease for more than two decades. They first assessed the patients' baseline insulin resistance using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), calculated using fasting blood glucose and fasting insulin levels. Cognitive functions were assessed with a computerized battery of tests that examined memory, executive function, visual spatial processing, and attention. The follow-up assessments were conducted 15 years after the start of the study, then again five years after that. The study found that individuals who placed in the top quarter of the HOMA index were at an increased risk for poor cognitive performance and accelerated cognitive decline compared to those in the remaining three-quarters of the HOMA index. Adjusting for established cardiovascular risk factors and potentially confounding factors did not diminish these associations.

So-called 'synthetic marijuana' linked to serious health problems

SCBs are often sold as safe alternatives to marijuana that, because of their chemical structures, will not be discovered through standard drug screenings. This feature makes them popular among groups who want to elude detection, such as adolescents and military personnel. SCBs are also more potent than ?9-THC; "these are highly efficacious drugs; they tend to activate the CB1 receptor to a greater degree than we can ever get to with THC from marijuana," says William E. Fantegrossi, a behavioral pharmacologist at UAMS. As a result, some users turn to them to achieve a more intense high. A range of both acute and long-term adverse effects of SCB use are reported in clinical case studies, including seizures and convulsions, kidney injury, cardiotoxicity, strokes, anxiety, and psychosis in susceptible individuals, as well as tolerance, withdrawal, and dependence. Twenty deaths have also been linked to SCB use.

One 20 minute exercise session reduces key inflammatory protein 5%.

[…]This activation process during exercise produces immunological responses, which include the production of many cytokines, or proteins, one of which is TNF -- a key regulator of local and systemic inflammation that also helps boost immune responses. "Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a five percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF," said Hong.[…]

Impact of parent physical activity, sedentary behavior on their preschool children -- ScienceDaily

Young children do follow in their parents' footsteps. Literally. That's the conclusion of researchers who found that in underserved populations, parents' physical activity -- and their sedentary behavior -- directly correlates with the activity level of their preschoolers. Researchers say these findings could lead to interventions that focus more on helping parents model -- not just encourage -- an active lifestyle for their children.

Health Hacks for the Holidays

Make your exercise commitment small enough so that there is no way you can’t fit it in.

Crossing State Lines Is No Easy Jaunt for Insurers and Local Regulators - WSJ

Insurance executives question how much interstate sales would unleash competition. Premiums are closely tied to underlying costs, such as rates paid to local doctors and hospitals and projected health needs of enrollees. The regulatory environment notwithstanding, selling coverage in any given state would require an insurer to have a local network of allied doctors and hospitals, something new entrants to a market might find costly to arrange. “In order to offer more value, you will need to have relationships and contracts with the providers in a state,” said Paul Markovich, chief executive of Blue Shield of California. Insurers almost certainly wouldn’t sell coverage at the same price in multiple states, said Jim O’Connor, a principal at consultants Milliman Inc. They would adjust rates to reflect costs in each location, even if all the policies were under the same regulatory regime, he said.

How Exercise May Turn White Fat Into Brown

Exercise may aid in weight control and help to fend off diabetes by improving the ability of fat cells to burn calories, a new study reports. It may do this in part by boosting levels of a hormone called irisin, which is produced during exercise and which may help to turn ordinary white fat into much more metabolically active brown fat, the findings suggest.

Want a new body? Get a new 'buddy'! | News | The University of Aberdeen

Dr Rackow added: “Once we found that having a new exercise companion increases exercise frequency we wanted to find out why this is beneficial and what quality of support they offer that has this effect.   Our results showed that the emotional social support from the new sports companion was the most effective. Thus, it is more important to encourage each other than doing the actual activity together. “

Fitness trackers do not increase activity enough to noticeably improve health | Society | The Guardian

The participants were assigned to one of four groups – a control group which had no tracker, a group which wore a Fitbit Zip device and the two final groups were given trackers and also offered financial rewards, either cash incentives for themselves or donations to charity for the first six months of the trial.[…] The researchers also measured participants’ levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per week as well as their weight, blood pressure and cardio-respiratory fitness at the start of the study and six and 12 months later. They found that during the first six months of the study, only participants in the cash incentive group recorded increases in physical activity. The mean daily step count among wearers was 11,010 steps in the cash group, 9,280 in the charity group, and 8,550 in the Fitbit group. After a year, those in the cash incentive group had returned to the same levels of physical activity that they recorded at the start of the trial. Advertisement But by contrast, those in the Fitbit group showed improved levels of physical activity, recording an average of an additional 16 minutes of MVPA per week than they did at the start of the trial. However, the authors said that this increase was “probably not enough to generate noticeable improvements in any health outcomes”. They also found that Fitbit and charity participants showed similar step counts to when they were measured at six months.

Can Running Kill You?

Even if we did have perfect information, though, we’d still be left to roll the dice—as we do in countless decisions every day. What if it turned out that running at least 40 miles a week would extend life by two years for 99 percent of people, but shorten it by 10 years for the other 1 percent? Would you carry on? What if, instead, the proportions were 99.9 percent and .1 percent? Such decisions are deeply uncomfortable, which is why we avoid thinking about them when we, say, take an antibiotic or step outside on a sunny day.

Arivale launches data-based wellness coaching program in California | MobiHealthNews

“Our target spans three categories,” said Lewis. “Health Optimizers, like someone who wants to live a long time and do all kinds of exciting things; Health Hopefuls, who have recently had or known someone who had a health scare and wants to change their ways; and Health Demoralized, who have a number of unhealthy behaviors and want to change almost everything, but they don’t have a chronic illness – yet.” Arivale, which was cofounded in 2014, has been offering its product since last year to users in Washington. In May 2015, the company raised $36 million in funding. Over the past year, they had 1,200 people try out the beta version, and expects a swift customer following in the new market. “We chose California because we’ve had so much interest,” Lewis said. “We’ve received a lot of requests from people who want science-based feedback and coaching on how to maximize their wellness.”   At $3,500 for a one-year subscription to the service, and $1,000 following that, Alivare isn’t cheap, and it’s not a quick undertaking. It takes a few months to fully analyze and put the data to actionable use, and early testing took up to six months. Customers join, go through the concierge service of the app to make goals, get blood tests, wait for the results, then start figuring out a plan with their dietician/coach.

Use it or lose it: UMD study shows that stopping exercise decreases brain blood flow | EurekAlert! Science News

Dr. Smith and colleagues measured the velocity of blood flow in brain with an MRI scan while they were still following their regular training routine (at peak fitness) and again after 10 days of no exercise. They found that resting cerebral blood flow significantly decreased in eight brain regions, including the areas of the left and right hippocampus and several regions known to be part of the brain's "default mode network" - a neural network known to deteriorate quickly with a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease. This information adds to the growing scientific understanding of the impact of physical activity on cognitive health.