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Saturday, June 17, 2006

Revealing How Marijuana Affects the Brain

By Emily Singer

Scientists have long known that the brain possesses natural chemicals similar to marijuana. While little is known about their precise function in the brain, studies suggest that these compounds, known as cannabinoids, and the receptors they bind to, play a role in diseases, including schizophrenia, Parkinson's disease, and obesity.

Now researchers at Johns Hopkins University have developed a way to image cannabinoid receptors in living animals. The tool will help scientists figure out how these receptors are altered in drug addiction and disease, as well as helping pharmaceutical companies to design drugs that better target this system.

"This is a real breakthrough," says Richard Frank, vice president of medical affairs at GE Healthcare in Princeton, NJ. "Scientists have long believed that the cannabinoid system is involved in diseases, but they've never been able to measure the receptor in living people's brains." The new tracer acts as a receptor antagonist -- meaning it blocks the receptor but does not activate it. That's important, says Frank, because the compound has no pharmacologic effect. In other words, it doesn't make the user feel "high."

Andrew Horti and Robert Dannals at Johns Hopkins designed a novel compound that selectively binds to the cannabinoid receptor, CB1, in the human brain, and labeled it with a radioactive tag. They then used imaging technology known as positron emission tomography (PET) to determine precisely where in the brain the receptors were present. "Such tracers offer the opportunity to study if receptors in the brain are static or if they increase or decrease when we're exposed to different substances [such as marijuana]," says Dannals, senior author on the study, whose results were presented at the Society of Nuclear Medicine meeting in San Diego last week. Such studies could give clues to addiction or other disorders.

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read the rest......

Technology Review: Emerging Technologies and their Impact

1 Comments:

Anonymous maggie.danhakl@healthline.com said...

Hi,

I hope all is well with you. Healthline just published an infographic detailing how marijuana affects the body. This is an interactive chart allowing the reader to pick the side effect they want to learn more about.

You can see the overview of the report here: http://www.healthline.com/health/addiction/marijuana/effects-on-body

Our users have found our guide very useful and I thought it would be a great resource for your page: http://inmyownway.blogspot.com/2006/06/revealing-how-marijuana-affects-brain.html

I would appreciate it if you could review our request and consider adding this visual representation of the effects of marijuana to your site or sharing it on your social media feeds.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

All the best,
Maggie Danhakl • Assistant Marketing Manager

Healthline • The Power of Intelligent Health
660 Third Street, San Francisco, CA 94107
www.healthline.com | @Healthline | @HealthlineCorp

About Us: corp.healthline.com

10/30/2014 4:17 AM  

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