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February 2010

Selective brain damage modulates human spirituality, research reveals

Selective Brain Damage Modulates Human Spirituality, Research Reveals

ScienceDaily (Feb. 11, 2010) — New research provides fascinating insight into brain changes that might underlie alterations in spiritual and religious attitudes. The study, published by Cell Press in the February 11 issue of the journal Neuron, explores the neural basis of spirituality by studying patients before and after surgery to remove a brain tumor.

Although it is well established that all behaviors and experiences, spiritual or otherwise, must originate in the brain, true empirical exploration of the neural underpinnings of spirituality has been challenging. However, recent advances in neuroscience have started to make the complex mental processes associated with religion and spirituality more accessible.

"Neuroimaging studies have linked activity within a large network in the brain that connects the frontal, parietal, and temporal cortexes with spiritual experiences, but information on the causative link between such a network and spirituality is lacking," explains lead study author, Dr. Cosimo Urgesi from the University of Udine in Italy.

Dr. Urgesi and colleagues were interested in making a direct link between brain activity and spirituality. They focused specifically on the personality trait called self-transcendence (ST), which is thought to be a measure of spiritual feeling, thinking, and behaviors in humans. ST reflects a decreased sense of self and an ability to identify one's self as an integral part of the universe as a whole.

The researchers combined analysis of ST sco

via www.sciencedaily.com


Marijuana Ineffective As An Alzheimer's Treatment: UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health Research

Marijuana Ineffective As An Alzheimer's Treatment: UBC-Vancouver Coastal Health Research

The benefits of marijuana in tempering or reversing the effects of Alzheimer's disease have been challenged in a new study by researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute.

The findings, published in the current issue of the journal Current Alzheimer Research, could lower expectations about the benefits of medical marijuana in combating various cognitive diseases and help redirect future research to more promising therapeutics.

Previous studies using animal models showed that HU210, a synthetic form of the compounds found in marijuana, reduced the toxicity of plaques and promoted the growth of new neurons. Those studies used rats carrying amyloid protein, the toxin that forms plaques in the brains of Alzheimer's victims.

The new study, led by Dr. Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease and a professor of psychiatry in the UBC Faculty of Medicine, was the first to test those findings using mice carrying human genetic mutations that cause Alzheimer's disease - widely considered to be a more accurate model for the disease in humans.

"As scientists, we begin every study hoping to be able to confirm beneficial effects of potential therapies, and we hoped to confirm this for the use of medical marijuana in treating Alzheimer's disease," says Song, a member of the Brain Research Centre at UBC and VCH Research Institute and Director of Townsend Family Laboratories at UBC.

"But we didn't see any benefit at all. Instead, our study pointed to some detrimental effects."

Over a period of several weeks, some of the Alzheimer's-afflicted mice were given varying doses of HU210 - also known as cannabinoids - which is 100 to 800 times more potent than the marijuana compounds. Their memory was then tested.

The mice treated with HU210 did no better than untreated mice, with those given low doses of HU210 performing the worst. The researchers also found that HU210-treated mice had just as much plaque formation and the same density of neurons as the control group. The group given higher doses actually had fewer brain cells.

"Our study shows that HU210 has no biological or behavioural effect on the established Alzheimer's disease model," says Song, the Jack Brown and Family Professor and Chair in Alzheimer's Disease. "More studies should be done before we place much hope in marijuana's benefits for Alzheimer's patients."

Alzheimer's disease is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by progressive cognitive deterioration and is the most common form of dementia.

Source:
Hilary Thomson
University of British Columbia

AdWords Updates Pharmacy Policy for U.S. and Canada

February 10, 2010

AdWords Updates Pharmacy Policy for U.S. and Canada

New restrictions go into place at the end of the month.

Selling prescription drugs online is big business. And where there's lots of money, there's usually people wanting to engage in nefarious practices. That's why there are restrictions placed on pharmaceutical ads which appear in search engines.

Google is updating their policy for pharmacies wishing to market their products via AdWords. Here's what you need to know:

  • Google will only accept ads from pharmacies accredited by the National Association Boards of Pharmacy VIPPS program, and from online pharmacies in Canada that are accredited by the Canadian International Pharmacy Association (CIPA).
  • Pharmacies will be restricted to advertising to consumers in their country. U.S. pharmacies can only advertise to U.S. consumers and Canada to Canadian consumers.

These new policies will go into effect at the end of the month.

Posted by Nathania Johnson on February 10, 2010 3:47 AM