Researchers at Ohio State University say that they have found evidence suggesting that compounds found in marijuana may benefit the aging brain by reducing inflammation and possibly stimulating the growth of new brain cells. Professor Gary Wenk and colleagues have already proven that a drug containing synthetic tetrahydrocannabinol, a.k.a. THC, the main psychoactive substance in marijuana, can improve memory in animals. They are now working to uncover the mechanism behind THC’s apparent memory-boosting properties.
Their latest findings suggest that at least three receptors in the brain are activated by the THC-like drug. All three receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in a variety of physiological processes, including memory, appetite, mood and pain response. Research suggests that when the THC-like drug binds to those receptors, it helps the brain curb inflammation while also stimulating the production of new brain cells, or neurons.
Tests have also shown, however, that the drug is not effective once memory impairment is already evident, meaning that the drug can be used only to guard against future memory impairment.
“Could people smoke marijuana to prevent Alzheimer’s disease if the disease is in their family? We’re not saying that, but it might actually work,” Professor Wenk said. “What we are saying is it appears that a safe, legal substance that mimics those important properties of marijuana can work on receptors in the brain to prevent memory impairments in aging. So that’s really hopeful.”
Up Your Vitamin D?
Scientists are calling on the government to increase the recommended daily intake of vitamin D to 2,000 international units.
The current RDIs of vitamin D are 200 I.U. for adults up to 50 years of age, 400 I.U. for people between 51 and 70 and 600 I.U. for those aged 70 and over. The scientists say that the current RDI needs to be increased because research conducted in recent years has linked vitamin D deficiency to myriad diseases, including tuberculosis, psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, muscle myopathy and cancer. They believe that the incidence of many of those diseases could be reduced by 20 to 50 percent or more if vitamin D deficiency—currently found in 40 to 60 percent of the U.S. population—and insufficiency were eradicated. That could be done by increasing vitamin D intake to ensure serum levels of 40 to 60 ng/m.
The “call to D action” is led by eminent scientist Anthony Norman, professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside. “Two thousand I.U. per day of vitamin D3, a form of vitamin D, is the appropriate intake for most adult Americans,” said Norman. “This intake is the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine’s upper limit for daily intake and is 400 I.U. less than the National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine’s ‘no adverse health effect’ level.”
In October 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics announced its decision to double the daily amount of vitamin D it recommends for children to 400 I.U. per day. IM
Editor’s note: For the latest information and research on health and aging, subscribe to the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine e-zine free at WorldHealth.net.
Dr. Robert M. Goldman MD, PhD, DO, FAASP has spearheaded the development of numerous international medical organizations and corporations. Dr. Goldman has served as a Senior Fellow at the Lincoln Filene Center, Tufts University; as an Affiliate at the Philosophy of Education Research Center, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, He is Clinical Consultant, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Korea Medical University; and Professor, Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Central America Health Sciences, Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. Goldman holds the positions of Visiting Professor, Udayana University School of Medicine, Indonesia; Visiting Professor, Huazhong University of Science & Technology Tong Ji Medical School, China; Visiting Professor, The Wuhan Institute of Science & Technology, China; Visiting Professor at Hainan Medical College, China; and Visiting Professor, School of Anti-Aging, Aesthetics and Regenerative Medicine, UCSI University, Malaysia. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Fellow of the American Academy of Sports Physicians and a Board Diplomat in Sports Medicine and Board Certified in Anti-Aging Medicine. He has overseen cooperative research agreement development programs in conjunction with such prominent institutions as the American National Red Cross, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the FDA’s Center for Devices & Radiological Health.
Dr Goldman was awarded the 2012 LifeTime Achievement Award in Medicine &Science. Dr. Goldman is the recipient of the ‘Gold Medal for Science, the Grand Prize for Medicine, the Humanitarian Award, and the Business Development Award. He received honors from Minister of Sports and government Health officials of numerous nations. In 2001, Excellency Juan Antonio Samaranch awarded Dr. Goldman the International Olympic Committee Tribute Diploma for contributions to the development of sport & Olympism.
In addition, Dr. Goldman is a black belt in karate, Chinese weapons expert, and world champion athlete with over 20 world strength records, he has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records. Some of his past performance records include 13,500 consecutive situps and 321 consecutive handstand pushups. Dr. Goldman was an All-College athlete in four sports, a three time winner of the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Physical Fitness Award, was voted Athlete of the Year, was the recipient of the Champions Award, and was inducted into the World Hall of Fame of Physical Fitness. Dr. Goldman was awarded the Healthy American Fitness Leader Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports and U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Goldman is Chairman of the International Medical Commission overseeing sports medicine committees in over 184 nations. He has served as a Special Advisor to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. He is founder and international President Emeritis of the National Academy of Sports Medicine and the cofounder and Chairman of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M). Dr. Goldman visits an average of 20 countries annually to promote brain research and sports medicine programs.