Monday, June 20, 2016

Hemp 101: What is Hemp? Why is it illegal? Can it be used to treat neurological disorders?

Informational piece about the history of hemp and why you should know a little bit about the plant.    -JR

What is Hemp? What's it Used for, and Why is it illegal? 

Perhaps most importantly, how can hemp extract help people with neurological conditions including epilepsy and lennox-gastaut syndrome.

Hemp is one of the oldest domesticated crops known to man. It has been used for paper, textiles, and cordage for thousands of years. In fact, the Columbia History of the World states that the oldest relic of human industry is a scrap of hemp fabric dating back to approximately 8,000 BC.

There are many different varieties of the cannabis plant. Hemp -- also called industrial hemp -- refers to the non-psychoactive (less than 1% THC) varieties of Cannabis sativa L. Both hemp and marijuana come from the same cannabis species, but are genetically distinct and are further distinguished by use, chemical makeup, and cultivation methods.

Hemp fibers and stalks are used in clothing, construction materials, paper, biofuel, plastic composites, and more.

Hemp can do a lot, but it can’t get you “high.” Because hemp varieties contain virtually zero tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), your body processes it faster than you can smoke it. Trying to use hemp to put you on cloud nine will only put you in bed with a migraine!

Then why is hemp illegal?

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act strictly regulated the cultivation and sale of all cannabis varieties. The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified all forms of cannabis -- including hemp -- as a Schedule I drug, making it illegal to grow it in the United States (which is why we’re forced to import hemp from other countries as long as it contains scant levels of THC -- 0.3% is the regulation for hemp cultivation in the European Union and Canada). As a result of this long-term prohibition, most people have forgotten the industrial uses of the plant and continue to misidentify hemp with its cannabis cousin, marijuana.

Dietary Hemp? Cannabinoids? Unraveling the Information

Lots of attention to Cannabinoids lately.  Does CBD help epilepsy, spasticity / CP. 

Here is an easy overview of the differences between hemp and marijuana and how the former has  promising effects on the treatments of neurological conditions. -JR

"...Cannabinoids And Dietary Hemp..."

Marco Torres, Prevent Disease

"There are over 400 phytonutrients that exist in Hemp Plants. Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness. Optimal brain health is achieved when linoleic acid (LA) and alpha linoleic acid (ALA) are consumed in a ratio only naturally found in hemp.
The brain also has a requirement for cannabinoids, which regulate most of the major functions of the body including alertness, emotions, inflammation and cancer defenses.

The brain can make a small number of its own cannabinoids, but as 4,000 years of history and decades of scientific research indicate, it operates optimally when supplied with dietary cannabinoids, such as those found in hemp.
What’s The Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?
Confusion amongst the public on how exactly hemp oil differs from cannabidiol, or CBD, oil, has prompted the nonprofit Hemp Industries Association to issue a statement explaining the difference between the oils in order to ensure that consumers — specifically, medical marijuana patients — are not misled about the intended uses.
Confusion between hemp oil and marijuana oil has spiked recently, as states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for the use of strains of marijuana that are low in THC and high in CBD. Consumers often confuse hemp oil with CBD oil because both are low in THC and contain CBD."

Sunday, June 12, 2016

What medicines can exacerbate Restless Legs Syndrome?

Medications that CAN Worsen RLS...keep in mind, its not 100%. JR

Sleep apnea reduces brain cells in children in multiple areas. Abstract from #Sleep2016

Sleep apnea reduces gray matter in children. Does your child have a developmental, psychiatric or neurologic illness?  Check their sleep. - JR

Sleep Apnea linked with Hearing Loss? Intermittent low oxygen...makes sense.

Sleep Apnea linked with Hearing Loss? Intermittent low oxygen...makes sense.  JR

Sleep Apnea Is Associated with Hearing Impairment: The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos

Amit Chopra, MBBS1; Molly Jung, MPH2; Robert C. Kaplan, PhD2; David W. Appel, MD3; Elizabeth A. Dinces, MD3; Sumitrajit Dhar, PhD4; Phyllis C. Zee, MD, PhD4; Franklyn Gonzalez, MS5; David J. Lee, PhD6; Alberto R. Ramos, MD, MPSH6; Howard J. Hoffman, MA7; Susan Redline, MD, MPH8; Karen J. Cruickshanks, PhD9; Neomi A. Shah, MD, MPH10

1Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY; 2Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY; 3Montefiore Medical Center; Bronx, NY; 4Northwestern University, Evanston, IL; 5University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC; 6University of Miami, Miami, FL; 7National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, MD; 8Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA; 9University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI; 10Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY

Study Objective

Sleep apnea (SA) may promote hearing impairment (HI) through ischemia and inflammation of the cochlea. Our objective was to assess an independent association between SA and HI in the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos (HCHS/SOL) participants.


We used data from the HCHS/SOL, a multicenter population-based study of self- identifying Hispanic/Latinos 18- to 74-y-old adults from four US urban communities. We performed home SA testing and in-clinic audiometry testing in all participants. SA was defined as an apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) ≥ 15 events/h. HI was defined as a mean hearing threshold > 25 dB hearing level in either ear at the frequencies: 3,000 to 8,000 Hz for high-frequency HI (HF-HI) and 500 to 2,000 Hz for low-frequency HI (LF-HI). Combined-frequency HI (CF-HI) was defined as both conditions present, and Any-HI was considered as HI in either low or high frequencies.


Of 13,967 participants, 9.9% had SA and 32.3% had Any-HI. Adjusted for risk factors for HI, those with SA had a 30% higher odds of Any-HI (95% confidence interval [CI] = 8% to 57%), 26% higher odds of HF-HI (CI = 3% to 55%), 127% higher odds of LF-HI (CI = 21% to 326%), and 29% higher odds of CF-HI (CI = 0% to 65%).

 A dose-response association was observed between AHI severity and Any-HI (versus no SA, OR for AHI ≥ 15 and < 30 = 1.22, CI = 0.96 to 1.54, and OR for AHI ≥ 30 = 1.46, CI = 1.11 to 1.91, p = 0.002).


SA is associated with HF-HI and LF-HI, independent of
 snoring and other confounders.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Are you sleeping? The importance of solving sleep disorders

Dr. Batra eloquently explains the importance of sleep, how being deprived of it hurts us, and how to get help.


How sleep, or lack of it, affects our health

By Vikas Batra, MD
Having a good night sleep is very important. If you are not sleeping well, or are not rested in the morning, seek help. You may have a sleep disorder that can be treated. 

Treatment of sleep disorders may help you manage your chronic diseases better, and may improve your health and longevity.

About 70 million Americans suffer from sleep problems.

Insufficient sleep is a very common problem. It is so widespread that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have called insufficient sleep a public health epidemic.

A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends that Adults should sleep seven or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

Sleeping less than seven hours per night on a regular basis is associated with adverse health outcomes, including weight gain and obesity, diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and stroke, depression, and increased risk of death. Sleeping less than 7 hours per night is also associated with impaired immune function, increased pain, impaired performance, increased errors, and greater risk of accidents.

How does sleep deprivation hurt us?
Sleep deprivation has significant impact on our functioning and heath. It causes daytime tiredness and sleepiness. It causes lapses in attention and memory, and cognitive slowing. Learning and acquisition of new information is reduced. In fact, 24 hours of constant wakefulness reduces cognitive psycho-motor function to a level equivalent with having a blood alcohol level of 0.10.

What are the benefits of sleep medicine?

Sleep medicine is a medical subspecialty devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders. Nearly 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, Periodic Limb Movements, Restless Leg Syndrome and Narcolepsy.

A sleep study may involve sleeping overnight in a sleep lab to diagnose various sleep disorders. Most common being sleep apnea. Sometime a Home Sleep Test can be performed to diagnose sleep apnea. Sleep studies can also help diagnose other conditions, such as periodic limb movement disorders and sleep-related movement disorders.

Promising Innovation: Detect Seizures 20 Minutes Before an Incident with Microchip Technology

The design of a smart-tech microchip may  open

a world where seizures can be detected 

before the occurrence of episodes. - JR


An  algorithm that may

 detect  seizures up to 20

 minutes in 


Two years ago, the American Epilepsy Society raised the Seizure Prevention Challenge to 502 research teams around the globe. The goal was to design a method to help epileptic patients accurately detect signs of an oncoming seizure, so they can take precautionary measures before the episode occurs. 

The third place winner was an innovative technique developed by scientists from CEU Cardinal Herrera University (CEU-UCH) in Valencia, Spain, which enables patients to predict seizures up to 20 minutes in advance.

The CEU-UCH team earned their third-place award by developing an algorithm that can process and analyze neural data via a microchip implanted in a patient’s brain. They’ve recently published an article detailing their design in Oxford’s journal of neurology, Brain.

In theory, the chip relays the neural information to a patient’s smartphone or wearable device, which in turn alerts the patient of the potential onset of an epileptic seizure. With this warning, patients can immediately take action to avoid the seizure by taking medication or removing themselves from potentially compromising situations.
When seizures strike without warning, patients must periodically take medication and avoid high risk activities (like driving or swimming) that may put themselves or others in harms way.

The seizure-detecting algorithm may save patients the hassle, expense, and adverse effects of periodically taking medication throughout the day. Instead, patients can save their medication for moments when an episode is impending. With the algorithm’s oversight, seizure patients may even be able to engage in activities that many of us take for granted.

The project demonstrates the importance of interdisciplinary scientific efforts, according to researcher Juan Pardo, who’s field of study is not medicine but computer science. “This work shows how computer scientists and mathematicians are needed in many fields to help solve pressing issues, in this instance in neuroscience,” he said in a talk at the University.