Thursday, October 13

weeding out anxiety

Don't believe the hype. First scientists and doctors—not to mention worried parents—thought you couldn't replace brain cells. Once dead, forever gone was the idea. But that was wrong.

Now, in the what the #$@!*# finding of the day, scientists say a synthetic cannibanoid—that is, a man-made version of one of the chemicals in marijuana that gets you high—may help spur such growth of new nerve cells. (Link to New Scientist story.)

OK, granted, it's not like you can regrow half a brain—at least not yet. And the study showed this works in rats and in [correction] neuronal stem cells growing in a dish, but not yet in full-fledged human brains. But the cannabinoid seemed to have positive effects:
in rats, this cell growth was linked with reducing anxiety and depression. The results suggest that marijuana, or its derivatives, could actually be good for the brain.
But whether this would work in humans remains to be seen. For one, the rats don't have to deal with cops on their tails.


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