jueves, 29 de septiembre de 2016

Canada: Patients Now Allowed to Grow Medical Cannabis at Home (Indoors and Outdoors)

Canada: Patients Now Allowed to Grow Medical Cannabis at Home (Indoors and Outdoors)

Grow Medical CannabisIn Canada, medical cannabis patients are now legally allowed to grow the plant at home. The change made byHealth Canada comes roughly six months after a federal court struck down the nation’s ban on home-grown medical cannabis.
Under the new law, patients are allowed to grow at least two plants outdoors, or up to five plants indoors. They can cultivate higher amounts if their physician recommends it. According to Health Canada, the new rules provide “an immediate solution” for complying with the February court order that mandates the government to make the medicine more affordable and accessible for those in need.
The rules – which officially took effect on August 24th – are temporary and may be changed in the future, though no change will completely prohibit the private cultivation of medical cannabis.

5 New Cannabis Discoveries That You Won’t Hear About in the Corporate Media

5 New Cannabis Discoveries That You Won’t Hear About in the Corporate Media

WIKI - Cannabis5Paul Armentano, NORML
Waking Times
Scientific discoveries are published almost daily in regard to the healing properties of the cannabis. But most of these findings appear solely in subscription-only peer-reviewed journals and, therefore, go largely unnoticed by the mainstream media and by the public. Here are five just-published cannabis-centric studies that warrant attention.

1. Men Who Smoke Pot Possess a Reduced Risk of Bladder Cancer

Is cannabis use protective against the development of certain types of cancer? The findings of a just released study in the journal Urology imply that it might be.
Investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Department of Neurology assessed the association of cannabis use and tobacco smoking on the risk of bladder cancer in a multiethnic cohort of more than 80,000 men aged 45 to 69 years old over an 11-year period. The results? While men who smoked cigarettes possessed a 1.5-fold increased risk of cancer, those who only smoked pot possessed a 45 percent reduced risk of being diagnosed with the disease.
“After adjusting for age, race or ethnicity, and body mass index, using tobacco only was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer (hazard regression 1.52) whereas cannabis use was only associated with a 45 percent reduction in bladder cancer incidence (HR 0.55),” investigators reported.
The study is not the first time that researchers have identified an inverse association between marijuana use and the development of cancer. In 2009, Brown University researchers similarly reported that the moderate long-term use of marijuana was associated with a reduced risk of head and neck cancers in a multi-center cohort involving over 1,000 subjects. In addition, the largest case-controlled study ever to investigate the respiratory effects of marijuana smoking found no positive association between inhaling pot and lung cancer risk. “We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use,” pulmonologist Dr. Donald Tashkin, Professor Emeritus at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA told The Washington Post. “What we found instead was no association at all, and even a suggestion of some protective effect.

2. Long-Term Pot Exposure Isn’t Damaging to Lung Health

All smoke is not created equal.
Unlike tobacco smoking, the inhalation of marijuana cigarettes – even long-term — is not associated with significant adverse changes in pulmonary health, according to data published online in December in the journal Annals of the American Thoracic Society.
Investigators at Emory University in Atlanta assessed marijuana smoke exposure and lung health in a large representative sample of US adults age 18 to 59. Researchers reported that cannabis exposure was not associated with FEV1 (forced expiratory volume) decline or deleterious change in spirometric values of small airways disease. They further reported that marijuana smoke exposure may be associated with some protective lung effects among long-term smokers of tobacco, acknowledging, “[T]he pattern of marijuana’s effects seems to be distinctly different when compared to that of tobacco use.”
Their findings are similar to those of a 2013 literature review, published in the same journal, which concluded: “[H]abitual use of marijuana alone does not appear to lead to significant abnormalities in lung function. Findings from a limited number of well-designed epidemiological studies do not suggest an increased risk of either lung or upper airway cancer from light or moderate use. … Overall, the risks of pulmonary complications of regular use of marijuana appear to be relatively small and far lower than those of tobacco smoking.”

3. Alcohol, Not Pot, Alters the Brain

It was less than a year ago when the mainstream media was chock-full of headlines like this one: ‘Brain changes associated with casual marijuana use in young adults, study finds.’ But a funny thing happened when a team of scientists from the University of Colorado and the University of Kentucky tried to replicate these results in a larger, more well-controlled cohort of subjects.
“We acquired high-resolution MRI scans, and investigated group differences in gray matter using voxel-based morphometry, surface-based morphometry, and shape analysis in structures suggested to be associated with marijuana use, as follows: the nucleus accumbens, amygdala, hippocampus, and cerebellum,” researchers summarized in the January 28 edition of The Journal of Neuroscience. “No statistically significant differences were found between daily users and nonusers on volume or shape in the regions of interest. Effect sizes suggest that the failure to find differences was not due to a lack of statistical power, but rather was due to the lack of even a modest effect.”
They concluded, “In sum, the results indicate that, when carefully controlling for alcohol use, gender, age, and other variables, there is no association between marijuana use and standard volumetric or shape measurements of subcortical structures. … [I]t seems unlikely that marijuana use has the same level of long-term deleterious effects on brain morphology as other drugs like alcohol.”

4. Marijuana Use Doesn’t Lead to Depression

“Regular use of marijuana has also been linked to depression, anxiety, and a loss of drive or motivation.” So says the online publication, ‘Marijuana: Facts for Teens,’ published by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. But is this claim true? No, according to longitudinal data published online ahead of print in the Journal of Affective Disorders, which reports that future incidences of major depression are not higher among cannabis users compared to nonusers.
Investigators concluded, “Our results do not support a longitudinal association between cannabis use and increased incidence of MDD (major depressive disorder); rather, they indicate an inverse relationship between the two, which may be attributed to self-medication factors.”
Previous studies have similarly dismissed the notion that pot use is associated with increased suicide risk. Specifically, a 2013 study published in the American Journal of Public Health reported a drop in suicide rates in states that had legalized marijuana compared to those that had not, finding: “Suicides among men aged 20 through 39 years fell after medical marijuana legalization compared with those in states that did not legalize. The negative relationship between legalization and suicides among young men is consistent with the hypothesis that marijuana can be used to cope with stressful life events.”

5. Marijuana Possesses a Unique Margin of Safety Compared to Other legal and Illegal Drugs

Despite the US federal government’s ongoing insistence that pot is one of the most dangerous substances known to man, an objective review of the plant’s safety profile finds that it is comparably safer than most other drugs, particularly alcohol.
Writing in Nature.com this past January, an international team of German and Canadian researchers published a comparative risk assessment of the toxicity of tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis. Their evaluation concluded that the risks of cannabis have likely been “overestimated” while the dangers associated with booze “have been commonly underestimated.”
They concluded: “[Our] results point to risk management prioritization toward alcohol and tobacco rather than illicit drugs. … [and] suggest a strict legal regulatory approach [for cannabis] rather than the current prohibition approach.”

How our cells use mother's and father's genes

How our cells use mother's and father's genes

September 28, 2016
DNA
Credit: CC0 Public Domain
Researchers at Karolinska Institutet and Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research have characterized how and to what degree our cells utilize the gene copies inherited from our mother and father differently. At a basic level this helps to explain why identical twins can appear rather different, even though they share identical genetic makeup. With this knowledge we will better understand the variation in outcomes of genetic disorders.
Humans have two copies of all autosomal genes, one inherited from the mother and one from the father, and often the two copies are not perfectly identical due to small differences in their DNA sequence. Therefore, variation in the utilization of the two copies in cells has functional consequences, but the nature and patterns of their gene copy utilization has remained largely unknown. Now, the researchers have provided answers to this longstanding question in molecular genetics. They used allele-sensitive gene expression analyses, so called "single-cell RNA-sequencing", on the newly divided cells to characterize the dynamics of gene copy expression in mouse and human cells in remarkable detail.
"Our experiments allowed us to determine which genes get locked into expressing only one  and which genes that dynamically switches between the two gene copies over time", says Björn Reinius, at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology one of the lead authors of the study published in the journal Nature Genetics.
Non-identical genetic
In genetics, the two gene copies are referred to as the two "" of each gene. Indeed, DNA differences in the mother's and father's genomes explain why siblings can appear physiologically rather different from each other, as the siblings inherit different sets of alleles and thereby have non-identical genetic makeup. However, even between so-called , which carry precisely the same set of alleles, there are still differences in manifestation of some genetic traits. For example, sometimes only one of two twins suffers the effects of a genetic disorder – even though both twins carry the same disease allele. Historically this was mainly explained by variations in external environment and life history. However, since the last few decades we know that purely random molecular events taking place inside the cells can actually affect how and when the set of alleles are expressed. The mother's allele of a certain gene may be expressed in some of the individual's cells while the father's allele is expressed in other cells of the very same individual. Whether this "choice" of expressed allele tends to be forwarded through cell division or whether the allelic choice takes place independently in each cell again and again over time has remained unknown.
Patterns flicker
These competing scenarios would result in crucially different physiological outcomes; since the first results in patches of cells in the body having the same set of expressed alleles, while the other scenario results in allelic expression patterns that "flicker" between the mother's and father's gene copies over the coarse time. The results of the present study, demonstrate that most autosomal genes dynamically fluctuate in expression of the two alleles, while only as little as 0.5–1% of genes are fixed into expressing only one.
"The knowledge gained from this detailed study on the nature of gene transcription will help researchers and medical doctors to better understand and model the mechanisms underlying variable outcomes in genetic disease", says Rickard Sandberg, at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology at Karolinska Institutet and the Ludwig Centre for Cancer Research, who supervised the project.
More information: Björn Reinius et al. Analysis of allelic expression patterns in clonal somatic cells by single-cell RNA–seq, Nature Genetics (2016). DOI: 10.1038/ng.3678

A Rare Suite of Kandinsky’s Experimental Prints Goes on View

A Rare Suite of Kandinsky’s Experimental Prints Goes on View

Kleine Welte 6
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten VI” (1922) (all images courtesy Springfield Museums)
In 1895, after deciding to turn from a career in academic law to art-making, Wassily Kandinsky was working as the artistic director of a print shop in Moscow. There, he designed covers for chocolate boxes while gaining early exposure to printmaking traditions. It was only until two years later that he first started working with the medium himself, creating many etchings, woodcuts, and lithographs. A rare portfolio of 12 works he produced in 1922 showcases his achievements with all these techniques, offering a taste of Kandinsky’s broad skills and revealing his eagerness for experimentation. Titled Kleine Welten (Small Worlds), these works contain the same denseness in composition and harmony of form so present in his more famous abstract paintings.
Kleine Welten III
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten III” (1922) (click to enlarge)
Prints are convenient to reproduce and disseminate, but complete sets of Kleine Welten are rare and in the possession of only a handful of public museums. Among that handful is the Springfield Museums’ Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, which is currently hosting a smallexhibition in its Collins Print Gallery that spotlights these insightful works. Like Kandinsky’s renowned paintings, these reveal no reference to the natural world, instead swirling with shapes of all sizes, often integrated into dynamic clutter that seems frozen in mid-explosion.
“As evident in their titles, each image represents an independent microcosm, or ‘small world’ — a reflection of Kandinsky’s view of the world as a self-contained cosmic entity consisting of countless independent, enclosed elements,” curator Julia Courtney told Hyperallergic. “He used each method to its best advantage in rendering his abstract compositions, creating a set of prints that showcases the unique visual features of each print-making style.”
Etching, for instance, allowed for the rendering of fine and precise lines; woodcut simplified forms but gave works a certain richness of texture — although with limiting palette; and lithography, combining colors and a range of marks, yielded images that most closely recall paintings. Kandinsky’s formal experiments with reductive woodcuts, Courtney said, particularly helped pave the road towards abstraction. In Kleine Welten, each print measures just about 10 by 8 inches, but many burst with frenetic energy and present within their small, flat planes an extraordinary dimensionality.
Kandinsky published the suite the same year he started teaching at the Bauhaus and after his most prolific printmaking period. Within that decade between 1900 and 1911 — the year he founded Der Blaue Reiter with Franz Marc — he produced nearly two-thirds of the 200 prints he’s known to have created over his lifetime. The dizzying and varying sights in Kleine Welten‘s 12 capture how Kandinsky saw the potential for prolonged experimentation within centuries-old techniques of printmaking.
Kleine Welten II
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten II” (1922)
Kleine Welte 5
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten V” (1922)
Kleine Welten VIII
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten VIII” (1922)
Kleine Welte 1
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten I” (1922)
Kleine Welten IX
Wassily Kandinsky, “Kleine Welten IX” (1922)
Kleine Welten (Small Worlds) continues at the Springfield Museums (21 Edwards St, Springfield, Mass.) through January 15, 2017

New colors, a new world of pigments continue to evolve from accidental blue discovery

New colors, a new world of pigments continue to evolve from accidental blue discovery

September 28, 2016
New colors, a new world of pigments continue to evolve from accidental blue discovery
Credit: Oregon State University
A bright blue compound that was first discovered by accident seven years ago in an Oregon State University laboratory – and has since garnered global attention – has now led to the more rational and methodical development of other colors that may ultimately change the world of pigments.
Findings on the newest , in shades of violet and purple, were just published in Inorganic Chemistry, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
More important, researchers say, is that progress made since the first accidental discovery of this family of inorganic compounds has allowed intensive science to take the place of luck. What's emerging is a fundamental understanding of the chemistry involved in these "trigonal bipyramidal" compounds.
As the basis for pigments, they are quite remarkable.
Compared to the flaws that exist in many of the compounds they replace, they are all thermally stable, chemically inert, non-toxic and non-carcinogenic. For commercial use, they also have the extraordinary characteristic of reflecting heat, which is highly unusual for dark colors and potentially of great value for saving energy.
All of the compounds have been patented, and are being developed commercially by a private company. Yellow, green and orange colors have already been created, along with the original blue. The research has been supported by the National Science Foundation.
These developments began in 2009 when OSU researchers were studying some manganese oxide compounds for their potential electronic properties, and when one compound came out of an extraordinarily hot oven – about 2,000 degree Fahrenheit – it had turned a vivid blue, now known as "YInMn" blue.
The scientists noticed and took advantage of this unexpected result. They used the compound to create a pigment that was environmentally benign, resisted heat and acid, and was easily made from readily available raw materials.
"No one knew then that these compounds existed," said Mas Subramanian, the Milton Harris Professor of Materials Science in the OSU College of Science, and corresponding author on the new publication.
"Now we've been able to move beyond the accident and really understand the chemistry, including its structure and synthesis. We can produce different colors by using the same basic chemical structure but tweaking things a little, by replacing manganese atoms by iron, copper, zinc and/or titanium. And we're slowly moving toward what we really want, what everyone keeps asking for, the Holy Grail of pigments - a bright, new, durable, nontoxic red."
Along with blue, Subramanian said, a stable, nonorganic red pigment would have huge commercial demand.
In this process, the OSU researchers are opening the door to new, inexpensive types of pigments that leave behind some of the toxic compounds historically used to create colors – lead, cadmium, mercury, even arsenic and cyanide. And the bonus of solar heat reflection has huge value for many applications, such as building construction or vehicles, where this characteristic can reduce cooling expenses and something other than white is desired.
Based on the novelty of the discovery and the growing value of these pigments, this research has captured international media attention and broad public fascination – a single online video received 14 million views.
The newest colors of violet and purple, the researchers noted in their study, have long been associated with royalty, aristocracy, piety and faith. The first pigments of these colors date back to cave paintings in France in 25,000 B.C., they said. And Chinese Han purple, the first synthetic purple pigment, was found in some murals in tombs more than 2,000 years old.
Pigments still being used to produce these colors are in some cases chemically and thermally unstable, and subject to increasing environmental regulations.
Applications of the new pigments, the researchers said in their report, may be found in high-performance plastics and coatings, building exteriors, cool roofing, vinyl siding, automobiles, and even art production or restoration.
More information: Hanyang Zhang et al. Preparation of Graphite Intercalation Compounds Containing Crown Ethers, Inorganic Chemistry (2016). DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.6b01689


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-09-world-pigments-evolve-accidental-blue.html#jCp