The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Marijuana and brain volume changes in people at high risk of schizophrenia

    Researchers at Royal Edinburgh Hospital, in the UK are the first to follow patients over 2 years.

    First, the details.

    • Magnetic resonance imaging of brain scans were obtained from individuals at high genetic risk of schizophrenia at the start of the study and approximately 2 years later.

    And, the results.

    • Cannabis exposure was associated with bilateral thalamic volume loss.
    • This effect was significant on the left and the right sides.
    • These results remained significant when individuals using other illicit drugs were removed from the analysis.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “These are the first longitudinal data to demonstrate an association between thalamic volume loss and exposure to cannabis in currently unaffected people at familial high risk of developing schizophrenia.”

    They think this may be important in understanding the link between cannabis exposure and development of schizophrenia.

    In the brain, the thalamus is the sensory and motor gateway to the cortex, which plays a key role in memory, attention, perceptual awareness, thought, language, and consciousness. The contrasting correlation of thalamus volume deficits with psychopathology scores in other studies suggests a correlation with the development of symptoms in schizophrenia.

    11/20/11 19:44 JR

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