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Regular Cannabis Use Linked to Structural Changes in Heart – MD Magazine

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Results of a new study from the Queen Mary University of London is establishing a potential link between cannabis use and structural changes to the heart.

Using MRI images from more than 3000 people, including 152 current or former cannabis users, investigators found regular use of cannabis was linked to enlargement of the left ventricle and early signs of impaired heart function.

With the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis becoming increasingly common throughout the world, investigators sought to evaluate potential associates between cannabis use and cardiac function and structure through MRI images of 3407 UK Biobank participants. Most of the participants rarely or never used cannabis, while 47 were current regular users, and 105 had used it regularly but more than 5 years ago—regular use was defined as daily or weekly use.

The mean age of the study population was 62 years and 55% were female. Investigators pointed out participants who were current users were more likely to be younger, male, current tobacco smokers, and have greater levels of social deprivation but were less likely to be on antihypertensive medication, compared to the non-users or previous user groups.

In analyses adjusted for factors including age, sex, BMI, diabetes, smoking, and alcohol consumption, regular cannabis use was associated with larger indexed left ventricular end-diastolic (+5.31 ml/m2, 95% CI: 1.4 – 9.3 mls/m2, P=0.008), end-systolic volumes (+3.3 mls/m2, 95% CI: 0.78 – 5.83 mls/m2, P=0.010), and impaired myocardial global circumferential strain (-0.78, 95% CI: -1.47 – -0.09, P=0.026) compared to non-users. No differences were noted between left ventricular myocardial mass, ejection fraction and stroke volume, or right ventricular, left atrial and right atrial parameters. Additionally, previous users had parameters similar to those of participants classified as rare or non-users.

While investigators noted the study, which they suggest is the first to report alterations in cardiac structure and function associated with recreational cannabis use, indicates cannabis use was associated with potentially adverse changes to heart structure they also pointed out their study had multiple limitations. Limitations of the study included being restricted to mostly (96%) Caucasians and reliance on self-reported cannabis use.

 “Our findings are not conclusive but the research took place against a backdrop of decriminalization and legalization of recreational cannabis use in many countries,” said lead investigator Mohammed Khanji, MBBCh, PhD, senior clinical lecturer at Queen Mary University of London. “We urgently need systematic research to identify the long-term implications of regular consumption of cannabis on the heart and blood vessels.”

This study, titled “Association between recreational cannabis use and cardiac structure and function,” was published in  JACC Cardiovascular Imaging.

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New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry – Penticton Western News – Pentiction Western News

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A COVID-19 outbreak at a Kelowna care home where residents and staff were offered immunization is serving as a stark reminder that vaccines aren’t 100 per cent effective.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry confirmed Monday (March 8) that the outbreak at Cottonwoods Care Centre includes staff and residents who have already received vaccination for COVID-19.

Interior Health confirmed on Sunday that two staff and 10 residents have tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Henry told reporters during a news conference that vaccines can prevent severe illness and death, but aren’t a blanket antidote.

“You can have transmission even when people are fully vaccinated,” she said. “The illness seems to be milder and doesn’t transmit as much; we won’t see rapid explosive outbreaks.”

Henry said that British Columbians need to be mindful that high levels of transmission in our communities means ongoing precautions remain an important piece in fighting the infectious respiratory illness.

Over the weekend, the province recorded 1,462 new cases and 11 deaths.

READ MORE: 545 COVID-19 cases recorded Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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B.C. could allow outdoor gatherings, sports and some religious ceremonies in coming weeks – CTV News Vancouver

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VANCOUVER —
Health officials in British Columbia could soon be easing some of the tough COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place across the province for months.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said the government is considering a relaxation of restrictions over the coming weeks that could allow residents to return to sports, attend some religious ceremonies, and gather together outdoors.

“I’d like to think of it as slowly turning up the dial again, rather than flicking a switch, because we know that we’re not yet in a place where we can go back to our pre-pandemic gatherings,” Henry said.

“What we are looking at as we head into March break or spring break, at the end of this week and into next week, is seeing the return of things like gatherings outside where it’s safer.”

Henry did not provide any further details on what those outdoor gatherings could look like.

She did hint at the possibility families or small household groups would also be allowed to travel between different regions during March break, but stressed that people should avoid “places that are not yet ready to receive visitors.”

“The risk is different in different communities in this province and we need to be mindful of that,” she added.

The provincial health officer said the resumption of sports and certain religious events could also happen in the coming weeks. Though she did not provide a firm timeline, she suggested people could be sitting in pews for Easter.

‘We know there are many important dates coming up in many faiths, and we are working on how to best safely enable these important and critical celebrations in our religious life,” Henry said.

None of the restrictions have been relaxed yet.

Less than two weeks ago, Henry broke the news that B.C. was not ready to take its foot off the brakes, pointing to a number of alarming metrics that officials use to determine the severity of the pandemic.

Those included a gradually increasing seven-day average for new cases, and an increasing COVID-19 test positivity rate.

The weekly average has hovered around 500 per day since, and increased to 520 in recent days.

Henry said the continually expanded understanding of COVID-19 variants of concern, rising temperatures and the ramping up of the province’s immunization program are among the factors being weighed in the government’s decision-making.

“It continues to be true that outside is better than inside, bigger spaces are better than smaller spaces, and our layers of protection will still be needed, and still work, even with the increasing numbers of cases caused by more infectious variants,” she said.

“As we head into the spring and summer, we know that the transmissibility starts to fade, as well. These principles will be guiding our decisions in the coming weeks.”

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B.C. could ease some COVID-19 restrictions 'in coming weeks', Dr. Henry says – radionl.com

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B.C.’s top doctor is suggesting there will be some sort of a return to outdoor gatherings and even the possibility of some travel within the province during Spring Break, which is next week.

Dr. Bonnie Henry described the approach as “slowly turning up the dial” rather than “flipping a switch”.

“As we head into March break at the end of this week and into next week, [we could see] the return of things like gatherings outside, where it is safer,” she said during her briefing today. “Activities outside that we can do in groups with precautions in place — small groups that we can do for games and summer camps or spring camps — and safe, small groups with masks and safety precautions in place.”

“As well, we’ll be looking at how we can travel and explore during March break as a family or a small group together with our household, exploring our own region.”

Henry said health officials have been learning about the virus and how to respond to it for a little over a year now, noting there is a lot that people can look forward to in the months ahead.

“In the weeks ahead we can start to look at this modify return to some of the activities that have been on pause for the last month’s of winter, we aren’t going to rush to get things opened, but we are going to take a thoughtful, careful and phased approach over the next few weeks,” she said.

Henry says she is also working with faith leaders for a return to in-person services as well, and she hopes that could be in place before Easter and Passover at the end of this month.

“Throughout the pandemic we have been in dialogue with faith leaders and I am so grateful for that opportunity to speak with them on a regular basis and to understand the concerns and the needs,” she added.

This comes as Henry reported 1,462 new COVID-19 cases since Friday, as well as 11 more deaths, with 79 new cases in Interior Health.

B.C. residents have been living with COVID-19 restrictions on things like non-essential travel and social gatherings since Nov. 19, though the restrictions had been in place for the Lower Mainland since Nov. 8.

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