Long-Term Marijuana Use Is Associated With Health Problems Later in Life

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Attitudes and policies regarding recreational marijuana use are becoming increasingly permissive. To effectively address the implications of these developments, researchers and policy makers need to understand how much and how long people use marijuana during the lifespan, and the degree to which different use patterns are associated with long-term issues such as health status. This study found that: Marijuana users exhibited six different patterns of marijuana use from ages 18 to 50.Longer-term marijuana use (extending from age 18 into the late 20s or beyond) was associated with increased risk of self-reported health problems at age 50. To this end, Yvonne Terry-McElrath of the University of Michigan and her colleagues applied the statistical technique of latent class analysis to identify distinct patterns of marijuana use from age 18 to 50 among nearly 10,000 participants in the Monitoring the Future (MTF) study. The participants had reported their past-year marijuana use when they were...

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Young Men With Drinking Problem Have More Health Issues Later in Life

Young Men With Drinking Problem Have More Health Issues Later in Life

Young men with alcohol dependence are more likely to have health problems later in life, compared with their peers who do not drink, a new study suggests. Researchers found young adult men with alcohol dependence had an average of three medical conditions when they reached their 60s, compared with two medical conditions for those who did not drink. The study analyzed Vietnam-era veterans, according to HealthDay. Men who had been heavy drinkers early in life were more likely to have health problems even if they had quit drinking for many years. The researchers said the results indicate there may be hidden mental or physical consequences of heavy drinking in young adulthood. The findings appear in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs.

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Researchers Identify Brain Circuits That Help People Cope with Stress

Researchers Identify Brain Circuits That Help People Cope with Stress

Research supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has identified brain patterns in humans that appear to underlie "resilient coping," the healthy emotional and behavioral responses to stress that help some people handle stressful situations better than others. People encounter stressful situations and stimuli everywhere, every day, and studies have shown that long-term stress can contribute to a broad array of health problems. However, some people cope with stress better than others, and scientists have long wondered why. The new study, by a team of researchers at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, is now online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "This important finding points to specific brain adaptations that predict resilient responses to stress," said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of NIH and a supporter of the study. "The findings also indicate that we might...

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