Study: Pot increases risk of heart failure, stroke

Well, if smoking increases the risk of heart failure, then it goes to reason that marijuana use would as well.

Now new research analyzing millions of U.S. medical records bear this out, according to CBS News.

“Even when we corrected for known risk factors, we still found a higher rate of both stroke and heart failure in these patients,” lead researcher Dr. Aditi Kalla, a cardiologist at Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, told CBS.

Kalla’s study looked at 20 million health records of patients aged 18 to 55 who were discharged from one of more than a thousand hospitals across the United States in 2009 and 2010. Of those patients, 1.5 percent said they’d used marijuana.

Researchers also associated pot with a 26 percent increased risk of stroke and a 10 percent increased risk of heart failure.

“More research will be needed to understand the [reasons] behind this effect,” Kalla said.

The study was not without its detractors

Paul Armentaro, deputy director of the marijuana advocacy group NORML, said the study “is inconsistent with other studies finding no adverse effects to those who consume marijuana.”

Kalla said now that medical or recreational marijuana use is now legal in more than half of U.S. states and a better understanding of pot’s health effects is needed.

You can read the whole CBS story by clicking here.

Depression: researchers find biomarker for disorder

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brain that may serve as a biomarker for depression.

UPI, reporting on a study published in Neuropsychopharmacology, says researchers came across the discovery while comparing the brains of people at high and low risk for depression based on their family history.

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Researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found a physical difference in the brains that may serve as a biomarker for depression, according to a study is published in Neuropsychopharmacology.

“These findings suggest that looking at activity in the DMN may offer an objective method of identifying people who are at risk of developing major depression,” said Dr. Myrna Weissman, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center.

“This may represent a another way toward advancing prevention and early intervention for this major public health issue.”

Using MRI scans, researchers found the DMN system is more active when people are thinking deeply about something, and shown to have increased connections in people with major depressive disorder.

Dr. Jonathan Posner, an associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center said the research could lead to  behavioral interventions, such as meditation and mindfulness – the later has been successful in treating addiction and obsessive compulsive disorder.

Read the whole UPI story by clicking here.

No doubt: obsesity linked with cancer, study says.

There seems little debate in the scientific community that obesity is linked to cancer, according to a scientific review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Kaiser Health News reports that the organization based in France 14 yrs ago reported finding sufficient evidence that excess body fat increases the risk of certain cancers.

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The group published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine not only to reaffirm those findings but adding eight more cancers to the list.

Reducing one’s weight can reduce the risk of several cancers, including colon, rectum, stomach, esophagus, and numerous others, the evaluation concluded.

The report also found that an estimated 4.5 million deaths in 2013 were related to overweight and obesity.