Each reversi piece has a black side and a white side. On your turn, you place one piece on the board with your colour facing up. You must place the piece so that an opponent's piece, or a row of opponent's pieces, is flanked by your pieces. All of the opponent's pieces between your pieces are then turned over to become your color. Aim of the game: The objective of the game is to own more pieces than your opponent when the game is over. The game is over when neither player has a move.
3D Reversi: Beat your opponent by converting all the Reversi pieces on the board into yours before the game ends.
About 40% of HIV infections lead to some sort of brain impairment, such as HIV-1 associated cognitive impairment (HAND) and dementia, according to a team at the school’s Division of Experimental Medicine.
“HIV goes to the brain in an early stage during the HIV infection and causes mostly mild HAND disease,” explains Hava Avraham, Ph.D, who co-authored the new study.
“Although there are quite effective HIV drugs, standard antiretroviral therapy, to treat this stage, many of these drugs cannot cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore cannot really prevent the damage that HIV causes in the brain.”
In the latest study, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Dr. Avraham and her colleagues found that cannabinoids may also offer protection from a toxic protein created by the HIV virus, known as Gp120 protein.
“This molecule (Gp120) crosses the blood-brain barrier and causes a very toxic effect on the brain, especially on neuronal cells, which are very important for the functionality of the brain.”
She adds that a process called neurogenesis plays a key role in the development of the brain’s neurons, which are generated from neural stem cells and progenitor cells.
Using a cannabinoid called AM2421, which acts only on the CB2 receptors of the brain (not CB1), the researchers were able to protect the progenitor and neural stem cells from doses of Gp120, which Dr. Avraham says had “very positive effects on stem cells surviving.”
Experiments in animal models revealed similar results.
“Based on these in vitro studies, we went and analyzed neurogenesis in vivo in the mice brain. The mice were either untreated or treated with AM2421. Then we checked different parameters of neurogenesis and we found very positive results (with AM2421).”
While the researchers focused mainly on the CB2-specific cannabinoid AM2421, Dr. Avraham says cannabinoids that act on CB1 receptors – which are responsible for the marijuana high – were also effective. But like many others, she believes the side effects of CB1 activity could pose a problem in clinical settings.
“We also saw in our in vitro data that CB1 agonists, that we used, also have protective effects. The problem is really whether you can treat patients with CB1 agonists (without) addiction and having some other very significant side effects.”
Dr. Avraham says a number of CB2-specific drugs have already been developed for treating other conditions, and believes that it could be quicker to have them approved for HIV-related impairments.
Heightened pain in individuals who are stressed, anxious or depressed is widely recognized by scientists. While the link between mood and pain perception is poorly understood, genetic factors have long been thought to play a part.
Now researchers have connected a stress-prone genetic background with a dampened response of endocannabinoids – natural chemicals that act to decrease pain – in a region of the brain called the rostral ventromedial medulla. The region is known to play a role in regulating pain.
Dr David Finn, of the Galway Neuroscience Centre and the Centre for Pain Research at the National University of Ireland (NUI), shared his thoughts on the new findings in this press release.
“The link between emotionality and pain is fascinating and highly complex. This research suggests a key role for the brain’s endocannabinoid system in a genetic background prone to heighted stress or negative emotion.”
He adds that the findings could lead to new treatments of pain and stress-related psychiatric disorders.
The study, published online in the journal PAIN, pinpointed CB1 receptors in the rostral ventromedial medulla as a site of action for the brain’s cannabinoid painkillers. CB1 receptors are also activated by THC in marijuana and a responsible for the drug’s psychoactive effects.
Previous studies have also shown a pain-relieving effect of CB1 receptors in this region of the brain. However, Dr. Finn’s study was the first to link irregular endocannabinoid activity in the rostral ventromedial medulla to genetic stress factors.
The authors conclude that reversing the irregular activity may “represent a useful and novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with pain that is exacerbated by negative affect or co-morbid with stress-related psychiatric disorders.”
The study received funding from the Science Foundation Ireland
Instead of wearing a mask every night, studies suggest a pill made from chemicals in marijuana could also do the trick. Sleep scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have spent years studying dronabinol – an FDA-approved pill containing tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – as a potential treatment for sleep apnea.
Earlier last year, they showed that it could significantly reduce the occurrence of apneas, or pauses in breathing, in a small group of patients – and without causing other sleep disruptions.
Research associate Michael Calik, PhD explains that the challenge has been finding a drug that can treat sleep apnea without creating new problems.
“Sleep apnea research has been going on for 30+ years. The main reason why we’ve always reached obstacles regarding finding a drug form to treat sleep apnea has been: when you try to treat sleep apnea, usually you will have other effects on sleep quality.”
However, scientists are keen on finding a treatment regimen that will be easier to follow than the current ‘gold standard’: a CPAP mask. Currently, there is no treatment for sleep apnea in drug form.
“Adherence to CPAP is bad. To pop a pill just before bed, the adherence would be a lot better and it could be a lot easier for people to stick on it. That’s the goal.”
Recently, Dr. Calik co-authored a study that identified how dronabinol works to reduce apneas during sleep, through its action on cannabinoid receptors in the peripheral nervous system. The findings were published this month in the journal Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology.
“What we found was a minimum of 100 ìg injections per nodose ganglia were able to totally attenuate or abolish apnea within rats.”
Dr. Calik says the findings add “proof that what we saw a couple years ago with systemic injections of dronabinol was happening extensively at the peripheral nervous system.”
Sleep apnea is thought to be caused by a loss of muscle tone in the upper airway during sleep, explains Dr. Calik. THC, on the other hand, seems to increase this tone.
While the only study in humans was a proof of concept trial, he notes that dronabinol has already been approved to treat other conditions.
“Dronabinol has been on the market for already two decades, if not more. It’s used to treat vomiting and nausea in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.”
Dr. Calik says the next step is to hopefully extend the results through a larger study and to figure out more precisely how cannabinoid mechanisms interact with the peripheral and central nervous systems when it comes to sleep apnea.
The research received funding from the National Institutes of Health
Most recognize medical marijuana to be helpful for cancer patients in some way or another.
Yet marijuana’s legal status has prevented researchers in many countries from providing thorough evidence. Instead, scientists are limited to studying the effects of chemicals isolated from marijuana (called cannabinoids), which misses the full picture.
Thankfully, cannabis research is taking off in Israel, where medical marijuana is legal.
Just last year, a study involving 200 cancer patients found medical marijuana use led to “significant improvements” across “all” cancer and cancer treatment-related symptoms.
Here’s a list of 10 ways that marijuana seemed to help these patients during their battle with cancer:
1. Nausea and Vomiting
Marijuana may be best known for its ability to reduce nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.
It’s so effective that a pill form of THC (Marinol) has been approved by the FDA for treating chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting since 1985.
2. Weight Loss
Along with nausea, patients undergoing chemotherapy often find it hard to maintain normal weight. Thankfully, marijuana has been shown to not only relieve nausea, but stimulate appetite as well.
For patients with cancer, marijuana can help improve food intake and prevent unhealthy loss of weight.
Cancer patients often suffer from mood disorders such as depression.
While it’s no secret that marijuana makes users feel good, research seems to explain why. As many studies have found, chemicals in marijuana appear to have significant anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects.
Another well-known effect of marijuana is pain relief.
And while its benefits seem to span a range of chronic pain disorders, studies show that marijuana can help reduce pain in cancer as well.
Patients with cancer often suffer from sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and maintaining sleep.
On the other hand, sleepiness is one of marijuana’s most commonly reported side effects. THC has also been shown to improve sleep in patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Cancer-related fatigue can also cause patients to feel sleepy during the day.
Interestingly, marijuana seems to help patients combat daytime fatigue, while at the same time helping patients get to sleep at night. It’s multi-faceted effect on sleep may depend on the strain of marijuana and the balance of cannabinoids that they contain.
7. Sexual Function
Sexual dysfunction is a common, yet lesser known effect of cancer and cancer therapies.
While findings are inconsistent, marijuana has a long history of use as an aphrodisiac, dating back at least 3,000 years to ancient India.
Chemicals in marijuana help regulate the digestive system and have been suggested as a treatment for a wide range of bowel disorders.
Dr. Sean McAllister, of the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute, is hoping to start human trials involving cannabidiol (CBD) as a treatment for breast cancer. His research shows that CBD can fight breast cancer in cell cultures and rodent models.
Unfortunately, no timeline on human studies has been set.
The drug is made from purified cannabidiol (CBD) – a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana – and is being marketed under the name Epidiolex, reports O’Shaughnessy’s.
So far, the FDA has approved two Investigational New Drug studies of Epidiolex for pediatric epilepsy, which are being led by Orrin Devinsky, MD, at the NYU School of Medicine, and Roberta Cilio, MD, PhD, at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Each will involve 25 children with epilepsy, and other studies are awaiting approval.
If all goes as planned, GW Pharmaceuticals’ Chairman Geoffrey Guy, MD, expects more studies to begin within months.
“In the coming months, if the FDA is comfortable about how things are going, there will be a number of senior epileptologists in major university centers throughout the U.S., each treating a couple of dozen patients with various epilepsies.”
GW Pharmaceuticals is best known for its cannabis-based spray called Sativex, which is approved in over 20 countries for the treatment of multiple sclerosis symptoms.
Unlike Sativex, Epidiolex is a liquid medicine that can be administered with a syringe dropper. According to the company, the drug contains more than 98 percent CBD, along with trace amounts of other cannabinoids.
It is also THC-free, which will ensure that children are not getting high from the medicine.
Dr. Guy says if early results are positive, the FDA could speed up the clinical trial process
According to Dr. Guy, the FDA process came after parents of epileptic children began contacting the company in late 2012 hoping to obtain CBD. Since GW Pharmaceuticals was already working with the FDA on trials of Sativex, the company decided it made sense to seek research approval for Epidiolex.
Dr. Guy told O’Shaughnessy’s that he expects the trials to provide a better understanding of “what cannabidiol does in these different children groups, what benefit we can see, and how the results can best be measured.”
The clinical trial process will likely take a number of years to complete. However, Dr. Guy says if the drug shows promise in Phase I trials, the FDA could speed up the transition into Phase III.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the major compounds found in marijuana, but lacks the high caused by THC. Previous studies suggest that it can be used to combat anxiety and other obsessive-compulsive behaviors.
While research has mostly involved simple animal models, a team led by Dr. Francisco Guimarães of the University of Sao Paulo’s School of Medicine decided to test cannabidiol in rats that were given mCPP – a drug that blocks the effects of traditional OCD treatments.
Interestingly, even at low doses, CBD was able to reverse the obsessive-compulsive behavior caused by mCPP. Published in the journal Fundamental & Clinical Pharmacology, the authors conclude that the study adds support to “a possible anti-compulsive effect of CBD.”
Serotonin levels were traditionally thought to play a dominant role in OCD. On the other hand, while researchers are still unsure of how CBD works to reduce obsessive-compulsive symptoms, a number of studies suggest that activation of CB1 receptors may be responsible.
Thus, the authors of the latest study say that both systems may interact to provide relief from the disorder.
“These results suggest that the serotonergic and cannabinoid systems interact to control repetitive behaviors, although the precise nature of this interaction is not clear.”
And it’s not just the CBD in marijuana that seems to help. In a study published in 2011, researchers were able to reduce obsessive-compulsive behavior in rats by treating them with a synthetic cannabinoid similar to THC.
Although human studies still need to be done, scientists believe that cannabinoids could be used to manage OCD in the future.
The study was published ahead of print and sources of funding were not reported
Joint mobilization is a common physiotherapy technique used to treat musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction, especially following surgery. It involves stimulating the joints through passive movements and can be applied to joints in areas such as the ankle or spine.
While the technique has been shown to reduce pain in clinical studies, scientists are still trying to figure out how it works.
Using mouse models of postoperative pain, a team from Brazil, led by Dr. Adair Santos of the Federal University of Santa Catarina, showed for the first time that naturally occurring cannabinoids are involved with the pain-relieving effects of joint mobilization. Their findings were published online in the journal Neuroscience.
“This study represents the first direct demonstration of the role of the endocannabinoid system on the antihyperalgesic effect of ankle joint mobilization.”
By blocking cannabinoid pathways (CB1 and CB2 receptors), the researchers found that the pain-relieving effects of joint mobilization could be reversed. However, pain relief seemed to last longer when the mice were treated with a drug that stopped the breakdown of the body’s own cannabinoids.
According to the authors, the findings are consistent with data from human subjects which show that joint mobilization increases blood levels of anandamide – a natural cannabinoid that mimics the activity of THC.
While more research is necessary, the authors conclude that drugs which inhibit the breakdown of cannabinoids like anandamide could be used to enhance the benefits of joint mobilization in the future.
The study received funding from Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Fundação de de Amparo à Pesquisa e Inovação do Estado de Santa Catarina (FAPESC), and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), Brazil
In a new study, researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science found that CBD and THC helped reverse MS-like diseases in mice by preventing inflammation in the brain and spinal cord. Their results were published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.
Study co-author Dr. Ewa Kozela explained how inflammation affects MS in a recent press release.
Inflammation is part of the body’s natural immune response, but in cases like MS it gets out of hand. Our study looks at how compounds isolated from marijuana can be used to regulate inflammation to protect the nervous system and its functions.
The researchers conducted experiments on immune cells isolated from paralyzed mice and found that CBD and THC could inhibit inflammatory responses by acting directly on immune cells. Scientists in the U.S. have achieved similar results using synthetic chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana.
In many countries, marijuana-based treatments, such as Sativex, are already been prescribed to manage symptoms like pain and spasticity (muscle stiffness). However, recent studies seem to indicate that cannabis may even slow the disorder itself.
Though more research needs to be done in humans, Dr. Kozela believes cannabis has significant promise.
When used wisely, cannabis has huge potential. We’re just beginning to understand how it works.
Israel is one of a growing number of countries that have legalized medical marijuana and has conducted extensive research on the medicine. Approximately 12,000 patients have a license to use medical marijuana in the country.
The study received funding from the Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation and the Israeli Ministry for Absorption in Science
Parkinson's is more common among the aging population and is marked by a widespread loss of dopamine-producing cells in the brain.
However, investigators from the Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Plymouth say that numerous studies have found cannabinoids to protect cells from Parkinson's-related damage.
Cannabinoids such as delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol [THC] are neuroprotective in animal and cell culture models of Parkinson's disease.
In the latest study, the team, led by Camille Carrol, Ph.D, identified a mechanism that appears to underlie these benefits.
Using established cell models, Dr. Carrol and colleagues found that THC could activate a specific pathway (PPAR-y) which previous studies have linked to protection in Parkinson's models. Activation of PPAR-ã is believed to increase the viability of cells by boosting mitochondria production.
Delta9-THC induces PPARy dependent mitochondrial biogenesis, a mechanism that may be beneficial for the treatment of PD [Parkinson's disease].
The study also helps to explain the results of Dr. Carrol's previous work, which found THC to have a direct effect against cell injury in Parkinson's through its ''neuroprotective, antioxidant and anti-apoptotic'' activity.
While current treatments for Parkinson's cannot slow the progression of the disease, researchers have managed to slow the death of dopamine cells in animal models of Parkinson's using both THC and CBD.
But human trials need to be conducted before cannabinoid-based therapies may be used in clinical settings.