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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Science Scene

Increased numbers of senior citizens smoke marijuana

Grandma may be complaining about arthritis pain less due to an increasing popularity of medical marijuana usage among people 50 years and older.

From 2002 to 2008, the percentage of senior citizens who reported using marijuana increased from 1.9 to 2.9, according to surveys from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

The majority of those surveyed said they used the drug for recreational purposes.

Researchers believe the cause of the increase is a result of the return to the drug by baby-boomers hoping to relieve the age-related pains.

The drug has proven to successfully relieve pain, according to research conducted by the University of California. These pains include glaucoma and macular degeneration.

Source: The Belfast Telegraph

Overweight lab rats found to skew research

Obesity is a major health issue – obesity in rats, that is.

Researchers from the U.S. National Institute on Aging in Bethesda, Maryland believe these fat rats may have an intolerance to glucose, which causes problems when testing anti-cancer drugs on the rats. These rats also may face an early death, which causes an irregularity for testing.

“The vast majority of investigators who use rats and mice don’t recognize that their normal conditions are relatively unhealthy,” said Mark Mattson, co-author of the study and chief of the National Institute on Aging’s Laboratory of Neurosciences.

To solve the problem of fat rats, the researchers proposed placing running wheels in the cages and feeding them only every other day. Currently, national standards for rat and mice testing allow rats to eat an unlimited amount of food placed in cages.

Researchers hope that the dietary and exercise changes will elongate the lives of the rats and mice so that they can further contribute to scientific advancements.

Source: Nature Magazine

LAUREN STEUSSY compiles Science Scene. She can be reached at science@theaggie.org.


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