Starting age of marijuana use may have long-term effects on brain development

first_imgShare on Facebook LinkedIn Email The age at which an adolescent begins using marijuana may affect typical brain development, according to researchers at the Center for BrainHealth at The University of Texas at Dallas. In a paper recently published in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, scientists describe how marijuana use, and the age at which use is initiated, may adversely alter brain structures that underlie higher order thinking.Findings show study participants who began using marijuana at the age of 16 or younger demonstrated brain variations that indicate arrested brain development in the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for judgment, reasoning and complex thinking. Individuals who started using marijuana after age 16 showed the opposite effect and demonstrated signs of accelerated brain aging.“Science has shown us that changes in the brain occurring during adolescence are complex. Our findings suggest that the timing of cannabis use can result in very disparate patterns of effects,” explained Francesca Filbey, Ph.D., principal investigator and Bert Moore Chair of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the Center for BrainHealth. “Not only did age of use impact the brain changes but the amount of cannabis used also influenced the extent of altered brain maturation.” Pinterestcenter_img Share Share on Twitter The research team analyzed MRI scans of 42 heavy marijuana users; twenty participants were categorized as early onset users with a mean age of 13.18 and 22 were labeled as late onset users with a mean age of 16.9. According to self-reports, all participants, ages 21-50, began using marijuana during adolescence and continued throughout adulthood, using cannabis at least one time per week.According to Filbey, in typical adolescent brain development, the brain prunes neurons, which results in reduced cortical thickness and greater gray and white matter contrast. Typical pruning also leads to increased gyrification, which is the addition of wrinkles or folds on the brain’s surface. However, in this study, MRI results reveal that the more marijuana early onset users consumed, the greater their cortical thickness, the less gray and white matter contrast, and the less intricate the gyrification, as compared to late onset users. These three indexes indicate that when participants began using marijuana before age 16, the extent of brain alteration was directly proportionate to the number of weekly marijuana use in years and grams consumed. Contrastingly, those who began using marijuana after age 16 showed brain change that would normally manifest later in life: thinner cortical thickness, stronger gray and white matter contrast.“In the early onset group, we found that how many times an individual uses and the amount of marijuana used strongly relates to the degree to which brain development does not follow the normal pruning pattern. The effects observed were above and beyond effects related to alcohol use and age. These findings are in line with the current literature that suggest that cannabis use during adolescence can have long-term consequences,” said Filbey.Filbey notes that a longitudinal study would be necessary to establish a causal relationship between brain alterations and marijuana use. Her future studies will explore cognitive and behavioral changes associated with structural brain change and consider the different patterns of development within the adolescent period and how these patterns could lead to non-linear effects.last_img read more

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Brain ‘reads’ sentences the same in English and Portuguese

first_imgPinterest An international research team led by Carnegie Mellon University has found that when the brain “reads” or decodes a sentence in English or Portuguese, its neural activation patterns are the same.Published in NeuroImage, the study is the first to show that different languages have similar neural signatures for describing events and scenes. By using a machine-learning algorithm, the research team was able to understand the relationship between sentence meaning and brain activation patterns in English and then recognize sentence meaning based on activation patterns in Portuguese. The findings can be used to improve machine translation, brain decoding across languages and, potentially, second language instruction.“This tells us that, for the most part, the language we happen to learn to speak does not change the organization of the brain,” said Marcel Just, the D.O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology and pioneer in using brain imaging and machine-learning techniques to identify how the brain deciphers thoughts and concepts. Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Emailcenter_img Share LinkedIn “Semantic information is represented in the same place in the brain and the same pattern of intensities for everyone. Knowing this means that brain to brain or brain to computer interfaces can probably be the same for speakers of all languages,” Just said.For the study, 15 native Portuguese speakers — eight were bilingual in Portuguese and English — read 60 sentences in Portuguese while in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. A CMU-developed computational model was able to predict which sentences the participants were reading in Portuguese, based only on activation patterns.The computational model uses a set of 42 concept-level semantic features and six markers of the concepts’ roles in the sentence, such as agent or action, to identify brain activation patterns in English.With 67 percent accuracy, the model predicted which sentences were read in Portuguese. The resulting brain images showed that the activation patterns for the 60 sentences were in the same brain locations and at similar intensity levels for both English and Portuguese sentences.Additionally, the results revealed the activation patterns could be grouped into four semantic categories, depending on the sentence’s focus: people, places, actions and feelings. The groupings were very similar across languages, reinforcing the organization of information in the brain is the same regardless of the language in which it is expressed.“The cross-language prediction model captured the conceptual gist of the described event or state in the sentences, rather than depending on particular language idiosyncrasies. It demonstrated a meta-language prediction capability from neural signals across people, languages and bilingual status,” said Ying Yang, a postdoctoral associate in psychology at CMU and first author of the study.Discovering that the brain decodes sentences the same in different languages is one of the many brain research breakthroughs to happen at Carnegie Mellon. CMU has created some of the first cognitive tutors, helped to develop the Jeopardy-winning Watson, founded a groundbreaking doctoral program in neural computation, and is the birthplace of artificial intelligence and cognitive psychology. Building on its strengths in biology, computer science, psychology, statistics and engineering, CMU launched BrainHub, an initiative that focuses on how the structure and activity of the brain give rise to complex behaviors.last_img read more

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Stewardship / Resistance Scan for Sep 12, 2019

first_imgChick-fil-A reached goal of antibiotic-free chicken in all its restaurantsChick-fil-A today announced it has reached its goal of serving only chicken raised without the routine use of antibiotics, an ambition it set in 2014, according to a company news release.Chick-fil-A reached its “no antibiotics ever” milestone in May and will be touting the achievement on packaging in its restaurants next month. Matt Abercrombie, director of menu and packaging for the company, said, “Our goal was to pursue the highest standard and partner with the USDA [US Department of Agriculture] to verify it.” He added, “We worked with our suppliers to convert our chicken supply to No Antibiotics Ever, which was an industry-changing move, as the supply of No Antibiotics Ever chicken previously did not exist to match our scale.”Other restaurant chains that have reached the same milestone are Chipotle, Panera, McDonald’s, Subway, and KFC, according to a blog post today by Avinash Kar and Lena Brook with the New York City–based Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).The pair said, “This reflects a stunning antibiotics success story that has unfolded across the U.S. chicken industry in the last decade,” pointing to the fact that 92% of US chicken sold last year was produced without the use of medically important antibiotics.Sep 12 Chick-fil-A news release Sep 12 NRDC blog post Study finds similar antibiotic resistance rates in sewage, clinical samplesA study today in Eurosurveillance suggests analysis of sewage samples has the potential to be used for population-level surveillance of antibiotic resistance, complementing current monitoring systems and providing clinically relevant data for countries where clinical surveillance is lacking.In the study, a team of Swedish researchers collected hospital and municipal sewage on eight and six occasions, respectively, in 2016, then analyzed 1,252 Escherichia coli isolates from the samples for resistance to eight different antibiotics. The annual mean resistance rates measured in hospital sewage were higher than in the municipal sewage for seven of the eight antibiotics, and a higher prevalence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producers was also observed in the hospital sewage. In addition, E coli showing resistance to at least one of the antibiotics were twice as prevalent in the hospital sewage (36.6% vs 17.9%), and 10 of the 11 most resistant isolates were found in the hospital sewage.Comparison of the resistance rates in the hospital and municipal sewage isolates showed a strong correlation with resistance rates in corresponding clinical isolates from hospital patients and from primary care urine samples, with the stronger correlation observed between resistances rate in hospital sewage and hospital clinical isolates (r² = 0.95 and 0.89 for urine and blood samples, respectively) and a slightly weaker correlation between resistance rates in municipal sewage and primary care isolates (r² = 0.82). The resistance rates in isolates from hospital sewage were overall close to those observed in hospital patient isolates, while the resistance rates from municipal sewage were about half of those measured in primary care isolates.”In conclusion, this study indicates that resistance data obtained from sewage samples reflects well the resistance situation in the studied populations. However, in order to use sewage monitoring to predict the clinical situation in other populations, including those for which such data are missing, further calibration is needed,” the authors of the study write. “This calibration could be extended from E coli to additional important pathogens that can be present in faeces (such as Klebsiella pneumoniae and Salmonella enterica) and possibly from the study of human populations to husbandry animals.”Sep 12 Eurosurveill studylast_img read more

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Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG Expands Its Board Of Directors

first_imgAndré SobottkaGermany-based manufacturer Wulf Gaertner Autoparts has created two new board positions. André Sobottka will be responsible for sales, marketing and communications; and Michael Knopf is responsible for company organization, information technology and new business fields. Both appointments are effective July 1.AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementWith responsibility for sales, marketing and communications on the board, Sobottka assumes a role previously allocated to the chairman of the board. He is an expert in his field with many years of extensive experience in the automotive aftermarket, including positions at Philips, Honeywell and most recently, Federal-Mogul, where he was managing director, North Europe.“We are very pleased to have André Sobottka in our management team. His expertise in the field of sales and the automotive aftermarket will provide important support for the next growth phase of our company,” said Dr. Karl Gaertner, chairman of the board at Wulf Gaertner Autoparts AG.Michael KnopfKnopf has been working at Wulf Gaertner Autoparts for more than seven years. He was responsible for the successful implementation of the new IT strategy based on SAP and for the implementation of the company’s process-oriented organizational structure. In his new role, he will take over the new division of company organization, information technology and new business fields. Knopf is an experienced process, organizational and ERP expert. Before joining Wulf Gaertner Autoparts, he worked at IDS Scheer AG and Eppendorf AG.last_img read more

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Sunnen Products Co. Appoints Chris Miltenberger As New President And COO

first_imgLSI President Brett Tennar says, “Steve’s success in developing operational strategies that improves the bottom line, builds teamwork, reduces waste and ensures quality product development and distribution checks many of the boxes of what we were looking for in a COO. This, coupled with his career in the Air Force working with highly technical systems and his in-depth understanding of Lean Six Sigma and Business Process Management sealed our offer. As our tagline states, our products are Powered by Science. This data driven approach is one reason why our company has grown exponentially as we employ the most advanced technology to product development. I am confident that Steve is the right person to drive operational strategy for our diverse and growing brands.” Advertisement DeMoulpied comes to LSI from the Private Client Services practice of Ernst & Young where he managed strategy & operations improvement engagements for privately held client businesses. Some of his prior roles include VP of strategic development, director of strategic initiatives, and Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt at OptumHealth, UnitedHealth Group’s health services business, as well as Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at General Electric, where he applied operations improvement principles to customer service, supply chain and product development. A successful entrepreneur, deMoulpied is also the founder of PrestoFresh, a Cleveland-based e-commerce food/grocery business.  Sunnen Products Co. has appointed Chris Miltenberger president and chief operating officer (COO), as announced recently by Matthew Sunnen Kreider, the company’s board chairman. “Chris brings a proven ability to identify and capitalize on the strengths of an enterprise, as well as the team members he leads,” said Kreider. “We believe his progressive leadership style and demonstrated technical competence will strengthen Sunnen and be great assets in guiding the company to a successful future.”AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisementMiltenberger brings Sunnen 25 years of experience in operations, management and business development for industrial and automotive manufacturing companies. Most recently, he was director of manufacturing and logistics – North American Operations of PlayPower Inc. in Monett, Missouri. Prior to that, he held positions of increasing responsibility with NN Inc., ATC Drivetrain, Zolo Technologies and Delphi.Miltenberger holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration from Ball State University, an Master of Business Administration from Michigan State University, and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering technology from Purdue University.“Sunnen is a company with a great record of innovation in developing precision manufacturing technology that gives its customers competitive advantages,” said Miltenberger. “The culture and history of the company are unique, its future is bright, and I look forward to helping Sunnen realize even greater success going forward.”,Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI), manufacturer of Hot Shot’s Secret brand of performance additives and oils, recently announced the expansion of senior leadership. Steve deMoulpied joins LSI as the company’s chief operating officer (COO). AdvertisementClick Here to Read MoreAdvertisement DeMoulpied has a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Management from the United States Air Force Academy and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Dayton in Marketing and International Business. He served six years with the USAF overseeing the development of technology used on fighter aircraft and the E-3 Surveillance aircraft, finishing his career honorably as Captain. With more than 20 years of experience across multiple industries and functional areas, deMoulpied has particular expertise in organizations with complex technical products. Combined, his prior positions have required a spectrum of skills in corporate strategy, operations improvement, product quality, and revenue cycle management. He has an impressive history of utilizing data driven problem solving (Lean Six Sigma) and project management (PMP and CSM) to achieve strategic goals surrounding customer satisfaction, operational efficiency and improved profit. last_img read more

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Government Briefs

first_imgFirst Responders HonoredOn Tuesday, September 18, Congressman Lee Zeldin joined the U.S. Postal Service and local first responders for the dedication ceremony of the Honoring First Responders Stamp. The stamp portrays three first responders as they race into action.“Our nation’s first responders put their lives on the line each and every day to protect ours, and they have earned nothing less than our utmost gratitude,” said Congressman Zeldin after the dedication ceremony. “It is so important that in everything we do we honor these brave men and women for their service to our communities and nation. Now as we mail letters and cards to our family, friends, and loved ones, we will always be reminded that their safety and security is thanks to our local first responders.”Schumer Decries CutsU.S. Senator Charles Schumer is railing against a White House proposal to cut more than 20 percent of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration budget. Schumer said the cuts could cripple the federal government’s ability to gather critical weather data that translates into the forecasts we all rely upon when hurricanes, tropical storms, and other major weather events occur.“A storm is brewing at the federal level when it comes to our ability to robustly track the paths of severe weather events and deliver early warning forecasts to the public,” Schumer said. “That is why we need to put high pressure on Congress to stop the unwise cuts proposed by the Administration that could impact everything from our weather forecasters to our critical data gathering and modeling methods that scientists use to perfect predicting and in turn save lives on the ground when an erratic storm begins its churn.”Under the Administration’s proposed plan for NOAA, the agency would see a 23 percent slash to its overall budget. Funding for NOAA for the 2018 fiscal year was allocated at $5.9 billion. Schumer’s plan to prevent these cuts rests on his ability to negotiate a bi-partisan spending bill by the end of this month, also known as a continuing resolution, which he hopes can fund NOAA at levels experts would say allow it to perform its critical work. Schumer says this agreement must be bi-partisan if it is to pass and noted high hopes for getting this done.“Tracking dangerous storms and ensuring the federal government has the tools, the satellites, and the manpower necessary to forecast wild weather should not be a political undertaking, and so I am hopeful I can work with colleagues to stop the Administration’s cuts to NOAA via the upcoming spending bill that we should pass by the end of the month,” Schumer noted.One of the largest cuts within NOAA includes a massive cut to critical NOAA research. The NOAA is the federal government’s scientific agency within the United States Department of Commerce. The mission of NOAA is “to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans, and coasts, and to share that knowledge and information with others, and to conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.” NOAA is the federal entity responsible for weather satellites, storm tracking, and scientific modeling.The Atlantic Ocean currently has four named storms churning, a largely unprecedented occurrence, that Schumer says should help propel bi-partisan cooperation to stop unwise and ominous cuts to NOAA and its operations. Hurricane season ends November 1.rmurphy@indyeastend.com Share The Honoring First Responders stamp.last_img read more

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Youth On Stage Take To The Boards

first_imgIndependent/Gianna VolpeAspiring young area actors and actresses have found a home within the Youth on Stage series at the North Fork Community Theater for nearly half a decade, when the first summer musical took place in 1971, though NFCT members ran the series independently of the theater between then and 1977, according to their website. It is a program where dreams come true, futures and friendships are forged, and where the theatrical cycle comes full circle, as is the case with key members of the cast and crew putting on “Pippin” between July 18 and August 4.Take 25-year-old Chelsea Chizever, for example. The long-time Youth on Stage performer said she’s making her NFCT directorial premiere because of her dedication to a program she has loved since she was 14 years old. “My brother had done it previously and then so did I for about eight years,” said Chizever. “When I finally aged out, I was like, ‘How can I get back into this?’ So, I started choreographing again and was asked to direct ‘Pippin’ this year after choreographing ‘Seussical’ last summer.”Chizever was the assistant director for NFCT’s last play, “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and has directed three shows at Riverhead High School. It was the Chizever name that attracted Pippin’s “Leading Player,” 19-year-old Alexandra Rose Meli — currently studying local performance at New York University with a concentration in musical theater — back to NFCT four years after her 2015 appearance in “All Shook Up,” directed by Chizever’s brother, Brett, who supports his sister in the assistant role for this summer’s production.“He is so fabulous, so when I saw the name Chizever as director, I thought, ‘Oh! That must be Brett’s sister!’ I had such a positive experience in ‘All Shook Up’ working with Brett and such an amazing cast,” said Meli. “The sense of belonging and community at NFCT, in particular, made it such a memorable experience that I thought, ‘You know what? I really need that this summer.’ Freshman year was pretty tough. I really just want to do something that feels so good to be a part of.”Meli did theater at Shoreham-Wading River High School, studied and took acting lessons at Gateway Playhouse, and did a year of pre-college at Manhattan School of Music in addition to her senior year of high school before auditioning for 13 colleges and landing at NYU.Her chops make her the perfect fit for Leading Player, whose role is that of “almost a ringleader who is trying to put on a spectacular production for the audience that is entertaining and fun — something they will remember for the rest of their lives — but eventually we come to realize that her obsession with putting on a spectacular production is kind of dangerous for some of the other actors on stage, so it’s really about being obsessed with show business,” according to the passionate and experienced student performer.“Chelsea’s interpretation is that she represents evil temptation and drawing things to a darker side for Pippin, who is the character trying to find his way and where he belongs,” she said.Pippin, historically based on the son of King Charlemagne, will, appropriately enough, be played by a brand-new Shoreham-Wading River High School graduate named David Lopez, who is doing Youth on Stage for the first time, not to mention as its title character, after performing more supportive roles on the Main Stage, such as Snoopy in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown.” While scoring a top spot was unexpected, Lopez said he felt the right choices have been made. “This cast is really an all-star cast,” he said. “Everyone who was cast in this show is perfect — you can’t move them anywhere — I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to do this show with and the music is fantastic.” NFCT former president Mary Motto Kalich, who stepped down from her two-year-term so Michael Hipp could take the reins this month, said she agrees the cast is spot-on, adding it will be the second YOS performance for her 15-year-old son, Micky. “He loves music and theater too and now he gets to do it like I said,” said Kalich. “That’s what it is. It’s generations after generations of people involved in the theater and that’s why we’re so close to the community.”gianna@indyeastend.com Sharelast_img read more

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Enhanced CO2 cleaning technology – the new i³ MicroClean from Cold Jet

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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Debut for Europe’s first LNG railcar

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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ITM Power receives grant to develop electrolyser

first_imgSubscribe Get instant access to must-read content today!To access hundreds of features, subscribe today! At a time when the world is forced to go digital more than ever before just to stay connected, discover the in-depth content our subscribers receive every month by subscribing to gasworld.Don’t just stay connected, stay at the forefront – join gasworld and become a subscriber to access all of our must-read content online from just $270.last_img

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