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New Technology to Predict Cancer Recurrence in Melanoma Patients

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The beginning of melanoma takes place when a small pigmented spot appears on the skin. By removing the lesion, a primary melanoma can be treated but it has a tendency of reoccurrence and can spread throughout the body. A new study showed that the likelihood of cancer can be predicted after the removal of the lesion.

Despite all medical advancements, the analysis of lesion his performed in the same old way. Generally, molecular diagnostic labs have many advances for the detection of other forms of cancer but for the skin lesion cancer the way of diagnosis is very simple. The diagnosis is based on the thickness of the melanoma and microscopic features.

A patient with thinner melanomas is considered to be normal and the T stage from 1 to 4 is assigned. The complete details of this study are published in Nature Cancer.

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The researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in collaboration with international colleagues showed a new technique about the reoccurrence and spread of melanomas. It leverages the sequences of DNA for predicting the possible factors involved in the reoccurrence and spread of melanomas.

Thomas Kupper who is the chairperson of the department of dermatology at the Brigham that there were no treatments available for metastatic melanoma 10 years ago. But now it is possible to treat the patients who have metastatic melanoma and these treatments can be given at the primary stage of the disease. It is important to have a clear idea about the patient’s progress report after giving the new immunotherapy treatments, so we can modify the treatment.

There are immune checkpoint inhibitors that can reinitiate the immune response through T cell against the cancer cells. These inhibitors have changed the results and options for the patients in which cancer has spread throughout the body. Immune checkpoint inhibitors can start dramatic responses such as long-term remission in the period of curing a patient.

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Kupper and colleagues wanted to know about some measurable features of T cells. These features are used to check the predictions of the reoccurrence of melanoma in the removed primary melanoma and disease-free patients. Scientists study T2, T2, and T4 primary melanoma as the T1 are rarely metastasized melanoma.

They also face difficulty in finding the sample that was enough for results because skin lesion surgeries are usually performed at private clinics and ambulatory clinics. So, the concentration of the specimen is not available in the hospitals. For resolving this issue and for sharing the resources researchers collaborated with colleagues of the Melanoma Institute of Australia and the Zealand university Hospital in Denmark. The sample size for the analysis contains more than 300 patients from different areas.

The samples of primary melanoma patients with progress have been compared with those patients whose primary melanoma did not show any progress. For analyzing the T cell range of tumors, Adaptive Biotechnologies performed high throughput DNA sequencing. It was found that out of all identified variables the T cell fraction (TCFr) was an independent and strong predictor for the patients’ progress condition.

Patients with the same lesion thickness were more at the risk of developing metastatic disease. If the TCFr value is lower than 20 % in the patients, then they are more at the risk of disease progression. On the other hand, if the TCFr value is more than 20% then the risk of disease progression is low in patients.

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 The test used in this study is not available at the commercial level for clinical use. It is only used for research purposes. The authors said that the study is retrospective because it took the sample and data of patients that are already available. While the prospective study is that in which data for outcomes is not known and further tests are needed for validation.

Kupper and colleagues imagine that if a test could bring to the clinics then it will improve the patient care and strengthen the results. The test is elegant, simple and quantitative. These types of tests will help us in the future to modify the treatments according to the situation. If the patients have high TCFr then we will benefit him with checkpoint inhibitor therapy. If the value is low in patients, then more interventions are needed.

 

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Cannabis

Dealing with Insomnia To Overcome Weed Dependency

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Dealing with Insomnia While Overcoming Weed Dependency

Cannabis has been the go to drug for ‘locked-down’ people during the pandemic. According to a 2020 survey, a whopping 88% of the participants reported weed use at least once a week. Around 50% of the participants use it on a daily basis.

Other stats from the survey show that around 31% participants feel dependency on it. While 31% participants have some sort of dependency, 27% want to give it up. The problem arises in cases where the drug is in use to induce sleep.

A 2009 study showed that the main cause of cannabis relapse was poor sleeping patterns.

Cannabis As An Energy Booster?

 People tend to depend on cannabis for a good night’s sleep. Those who develop a dependency, then have a hard time getting good sleep without its use. People have reported sleepless nights whenever they try to cut their use of cannabis.

For people going through such problems, cannabis actually helps them focus. This is because a lack of it will keep the brain racing at night and it will not be rested for the next day. Deirdre Conroy, the Clinical Director of Behavioral Sleep Medicine at the University of Michigan, thinks that this behavior is typically caused by the withdrawal symptoms from quitting cannabis.

ALSO READ: Mexico Takes A Shift to Create World’s Largest Cannabis Market

However, if you are looking forward to giving up cannabis, there are some ways you can achieve that.

Confronting Your Problems, The Right Way

Many a times there is some underlying problem that bothers people. They tend to take weed just to distract their minds off of that problem. According to Dr. Conroy, a person must address such an issue straight away. There are better ways of managing mental issues like anxiety and stress than taking weed. These include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and medication.

It should be kept in mind that seeking professional help is not always going to get you the answers you seek. One should be mindful and must manage themselves in the best possible manner. It is better to step out of one’s damaging cocoon and set targets that will help in managing stress.

There should a clear cut-off point that separates you from your work. To achieve this, avoid working from your bed or even your bedroom. Jot down all of your worries before bed and leave them on a paper instead of taking them to bed with you.

Instant Results Are a Hoax

Don’t expect to just climb into bed and fall asleep instantly after fine-tuning your routine. According to Conroy, it is very much normal to lay awake in bed staring at the ceiling for some time. There should be wind-down time window where phones and other such distractions are stowed away from sight. So basically the redemption starts by avoiding the more obvious addiction, the phone.

Dr Neil Stanley, a sleep expert, also suggests that the room should have minimal distractions and one must avoid anything too stimulating. Dr. Stanley believes one must sacrifice that one hour of Netflix before sleep, which keeps your brain working even after you fall asleep.

Weed Inhibits Nightmares

Cannabis suppresses REM sleep. Discontinuing the use of cannabis can cause REM sleep to rebound and this might lead to some nightmares or really tangled up dreams.

People tend to relapse when they face such episodes of dreams. Long-standing users of cannabis experience even stronger traumatic nightmares when they cut-back on the use of cannabis.

While this is not readily solvable, it can be managed to a certain extent by limiting your exposure to traumatic things.

ALSO READ: Two Faces of Marijuana

There is No One Ring Fits All Approach

The fact remains that addiction and control of it are different for every individual. The best method to deal with insomnia after quitting weed is to analyze what makes you feel content. It might be reading a book, yoga, taking a shower, or even playing with your pet. You have to analyze what helps you get the best sleep and stick to that regimen.

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Cannabis

Two Faces of Marijuana

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Marijuana and medicine

The effects of marijuana on your body depends on the style of consuming it. If you consume it through food and drinks, it takes time to get to your organs. However, when consumed directly in terms of smoking or vaping then it instantly makes its way to the organs and brain of the human body. Hence the way you intake marijuana causes different physical and physiological effects.

Marijuana and its medicinal use

Marijuana has been a stress reliever for many people around the world. People use it for different purposes. Medicinal usage of cannabis is significantly more famous. Chemotherapy is already a very devastating treatment, leaving the patient feeling helpless, vomiting and feeling drained. However, marijuana proves to reduce the effect of nausea and vomiting. Also, it may aid in relief from short-term pain and inflammation in the body.

Long-term use of marijuana may result in withdrawal symptoms that might be a setback for a few people.  THC, an active ingredient in marijuana, interferes with tumor growth and inhibits it, as carried in the bloodstream. It also stimulates your hunger resulting in increased appetite, which can help treat cancer and AIDS patients.

ALSO READ: Medical Cannabis – Can It Help Treat Asthma?

High levels of Naphthalene and Acrylamide

A new study has found that smoking weed may have similar impacts on your body as smoking tobacco. According to a study published in a journal in the US, it reports that people who have consumed marijuana only have high levels of naphthalene and acrylamide in their urine and blood samples in comparison to non-smokers.

Naphthalene connects with damage to the liver and damage to neurons. Acrylamide has been associated with cancer and other major health issues. On the other hand, the usage of marijuana is legalizing in many of the states. The report says that Mexico is going to be the third-largest population of the cannabis population. People are using it for recreational use. At times, the dosage is uncontrolled, resulting in drug abuse. The war on drugs is finally about to win, and it seems that during 2021 more states would make cannabis legalized.

Dr Dana Gabuzda, an investigator in immunology and virology, states that marijuana use is on the rise in the US with a growing number of states legalizing it for medicinal and non-medicinal purposes.

Comparison of tobacco smokers and marijuana smokers

Tobacco smokers have high levels of a chemical termed as acrolein in their blood. Acrolein leads to cardiovascular diseases in tobacco smokers, whereas marijuana smokers tend to have low acrolein levels in their blood. Upon burning the sugar present in the tobacco it produces acrolein. Exposure to acrolein can cause issues like respiratory tract infection and congestion. Extremity can cause toxicity followed by inhalation or oral exposure. Cannabis smokers have high levels of naphthalene and acrylamide in their blood and urine samples. Acrylamide is even produced from the burning of vegetables such as potatoes, but in the case of weed smokers, acrylamide is three to five times higher in their blood.

ALSO READ: Study: Most weed smokers don’t understand the risk of tobacco addiction

Based on animal studies, US National Toxicology acrylamide contributes to being one of the human carcinogens. Manufacturers of plastics and fibers use acrylonitrile as a component in plastics. According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollution elevates by cigarette smoking as it is the source of acrylonitrile. Some of the symptoms of poisoning by acrylonitrile are limb weakness, irregular breathing and dizziness. It can also lead to nausea and convulsions. In addition to this, US Environmental has also reported that workers exposed to acrylonitrile have lung cancer.

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Cannabis

Study: Most weed smokers don’t understand the risk of tobacco addiction

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tobacco addiction

Cannabis on its own is perhaps one of the best things you could possibly take. Whether it’s ground into your food and cooked, baked into desserts or just inhaled by vape, cannabis is versatile. Many studies throughout the years, looking at the physiologic effects of CBD and THC, report positive findings. CBD oils, for instance, help soothe inflammation and reduce arthritis pains. THC on the other hand is a potent sleep regulator, thanks to its effects on the endocannabinoid system. It’s the opposite of, say, tobacco.

However, when smoked, the story changes for the user. No longer is the intake of cannabis relatively safe and totally healthy. Burning the filter paper releases several carbon compounds, carbon monoxide among them. This gas, when inhaled, poisons the bloodstream since it reacts with hemoglobin. The resultant levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the blood, along with toxic chemicals like hydrogen sulfide, can prove devastating. Unfortunately, it seems that the vast majority of cannabis smokers simply do not register these adverse effects.

A recent study shows that most cannabis smokers think that smoking joints is safer than smoking cigarettes

This past month, an interesting new finding based on a study conducted on United Kingdom adults. The population sample size is quite extensive, with roughly 13000 participants. The study shows that of all the cannabis smokers interviewed, most admitted to mixing tobacco into their joints. Tobacco, added to joints, comes from gutted cigarettes. The participants typically expressed lack of understanding of the health risks tobacco-laced joints pose.

Extrapolating from the data set is not always reliable. However, the researchers noted that their diverse sample size allows them to generalize estimated statistics. Using their own numbers, they calculated that roughly 380000 cannabis smokers in the country mixed in tobacco. The reasons for this varied, from some suggesting convenience and others addiction. Furthermore, the data suggested that over 1.2 million people across the nation smoked cannabis. The alarming discovery of these numbers is serious – especially considering the number of users actively or passively taking in tobacco.

Health experts caution that the increased prevalence of tobacco consumption is the chief concern

Unlike traditional cigarettes, weed joints carry far less tobacco on average. However, the main issue that UK health authorities worry about is the increased exposure to tobacco consumption. While cigarette smokers develop rapid addictions, they grow aware of their drug dependencies quickly. This results in greater social consequence about smoking cigarettes, especially thanks to anti-cigarette government programs. However, in weed’s case the only opposition stems from conservative views on getting high, rather than the nicotine in the tobacco.

Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical compound capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. This makes it highly toxic to neural and cardiac tissue. As a result, nicotine and cotinine (its byproduct) contribute to several health conditions. These include cardiomyopathies, pancreatic cancer, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. In addition, the other contaminants present in cigarette smoke lead to lung cancer, strokes and respiratory disorders.

In another related study, health authorities in England reportedly accepted evidence that smoking tobacco with cannabis contributed to greater incidences of poor mental health. Incidences of depression, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings and manic disorders were most common in such cases. Note that the study pointed out that taking cannabis and tobacco separately did not cause this effect. Therefore, the next time you make a joint from a gutted cigarette, think twice!

For more on joints, cannabis and health science, stay tuned!

 

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