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Youth of Himachal should pay attention to this new research on effects of marijuana use during adolescence



Marijuana use in himachal youth

Boys who started occasionally using cannabis around 15 or 16 years old and had a dramatic increase in use by the time they were 19 had the greatest dysfunction in brain reward circuitry, the highest rates of depression and the lowest educational achievements.

Shimla – How an adolescent uses marijuana, in particular, a pattern of escalating use, may make an adolescent more prone to higher rates of depression and lower educational accomplishments by the time they reach adulthood. Those findings come from a new study led by researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and Pitt Department of Psychology published today in the journal Addiction.

The drug menace among the adolescents and youth of Himachal Pradesh is on an alarming level. The recent case of gruesome rape and murder of a school girl in Kotkhai region of Shimla district is being associated with increased substance and drug abuse among youth. Now the substance abuse is not limited only to smoking marijuana. A variety of synthetic drugs are consuming the youth of Himachal. Unfortunately, school children nowadays are exposed to drugs at a very tender age.

More unfortunate is the fact that even the most prestigious schools in Himachal don’t want to spend on services of professional child psychologists to deal with it in the proper way. The State Education Department is also in deep slumber and representatives of people are busy in politics.

Meanwhile, a section of youth in Himachal favors marijuana believing it is not a drug. They believe it cast a lesser negative impact on their brains. While smoking, its users often hold unofficial debates in enclosed groups advocating legalisation of marijuana in Himachal. The adolescents here should pay special attention to findings of this new research before they fall into this trap.

According to Erika Forbes, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry, psychology and pediatrics, and lead author of the study,

We know that cannabis use in adolescence is associated with outcomes like lower educational level, and difficulties with mood and depression, but through this long-term study, we’ve been able to provide a much deeper insight into this relationship, showing that certain characteristics of use may be more important than others.

The researcher further adds,

The findings highlight that understanding marijuana use across the entire period of adolescence, which we know is an extremely vulnerable developmental phase, may tell us much more about detrimental long-term impacts than knowing about overall or one time use,


Researchers analyzed 158 boys and young men from Pittsburgh who were part of The Pitt Mother & Child Project (PMCP), a long-running longitudinal study of males at high risk for antisocial behavior and other psychopathology based on low income, family size and child gender, led by Daniel Shaw, Ph.D., distinguished professor of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.

At age 20, the young men self-reported annual cannabis use characteristics for every year since they started use during an interview. Each man’s brain was also scanned using fMRI to assess functional connectivity in the brain’s reward circuit. The study participants completed questionnaires at ages 20 and 22 that examined psychosocial outcomes measuring depression and educational attainment.

The researchers analyzed frequency of cannabis use from ages 14 to 19 to determine the relationship between use during adolescence and psychosocial outcomes. In an unexpected finding, boys who started occasionally using cannabis around 15 or 16 years old and had a dramatic increase in use by the time they were 19 had the greatest dysfunction in brain reward circuitry, the highest rates of depression and the lowest educational achievements.

We expected to see that the young men who had a high, consistent level of marijuana use would have differences in brain function. However, it turned out that those who had an increasing pattern of use over their teens had the biggest differences,

Forbes added.

Though the results do not show a direct causal link, it’s important to note that even though most people think marijuana isn’t harmful, it may have severe consequences for some people’s functioning, education and mood,

Forbes said.

While that may seem unimportant at age 20, the level of education you receive will likely have a huge effect on your quality of life and socioeconomic status later in adulthood.

Additional authors on this research are Sarah D. Lichenstein, M.S., Samuel Musselman, B.S., Daniel S. Shaw, Ph.D., and Stephanie Sitnick, Ph.D., all of Pitt.

Photo: Mental

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Misc News/Press Release

Krishi Karman Award to Himachal for increased food grain production



Himachal wins national Krishi Karman Award

The total food grains production in the state increased from 14.94 lakh tonnes to 16.40 lakh tonnes during last five years

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has received the Krishi Karman Award for its achievement in showing highest production of food grains, said the State government. 

Agriculture Minister Dr Ramlal Markanda received ‘Krishi Karman Award’ for the year 2015-16 from Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a ceremony organized at New Delhi, yesterday.  The award consists of a trophy, citation, and cash prize.

Besides, two progressive farmers of the state including a woman farmer also received the prizes.

Congratulating the Agriculture department for this achievement, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Dr Srikant Baldi said this feat was achieved by the department by extending technological inputs and services to the farmers of the state.

As per the government records, the total food grains production in the state increased from 14.94 lakh tonnes to 16.40 lakh tonnes during last five years.  Besides, the department claims it has also done commendable work in promoting poly-house cultivation, crop diversification, micro-irrigation, organic farming and soil health management.

Krishi Karman Awards are instituted by the Union Ministry of Agriculture in 2010-11 to reward the best performing States in the production of rice, wheat, cereals, pulses and total food grains.

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HP Cabinet Minister Vipin Singh Parmar celebrates birthday with special children



HP Cabinet Minister Vipin Singh Parmar Birthday

Shimla: Health and Family Welfare Minister of Himachal Pradesh, Vipin Singh Parmar, visited the school for deaf and dumb at Dhalli, Shimla, in the late evening  and celebrated his birthday with special children.

Health Minister distributed fruits, vegetables, cake and sweets to the children. He also attended the cultural programme presented by the children on this occasion.

Parmar said the State government is giving special emphasis on the welfare of special children, education, food and shelter facilities. He urged teachers and staff members at school to work for the welfare of these children with commitment and dedication.

These children are an important part of the society. These children have some traits and talents in them which need to be honed for their better future, he said.

He said many special children are contributing to the society at par with the general citizens. These children are also serving efficiently in the government services.

Parmar interacted with children and encouraged them to learn more. He said that these children are special to the society. They should have a progressive approach to the life and a passion for learning.

Son of Kanchan Singh Parmar, Vipin was born at village Nanao, Tehsil Palampur, in Kangra on March 15 March, 1964.


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Rohtang Tunnel access road facing increased avalanche threats as Himachal’s average temp on rise: Study



Shimla: A research carried out in Himachal Pradesh within the framework of the Indian Himalayas Climate Adaptation Program (IHCAP), a partnership led jointly by the Indian and Swiss authorities with strong scientific input from University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, has a bad news for the Hill State.

The impacts of global warming are felt especially in mountainous regions, where the rise in temperatures is above average, affecting both glacierized landscapes and water resources.

The repercussions of these changes are manifold and varied, from retreating glaciers to an increase in the frequency and intensity of snow avalanches.

A team of researchers from the UNIGE, Switzerland, has employed endrochronology– the reconstruction of past disasters as recorded in growth series of trees– to disentangle the role of global warming in the triggering avalanches.

The results of this study are published in the Proceedings of the National Academic of Science – PNAS.

Read Detailed Study

Avalanches are a natural phenomenon and occur repeatedly in mountain areas; nonetheless, rising temperatures are altering their triggering. This can lead to disasters and serious consequences in mountain areas where they can severely affect the socio-economic development and the destruction of traffic infrastructure, and buildings.

This is the case in Himachal Pradesh, where increasing residential numbers and tourism are exerting pressure on land use. Along the road to Leh, 500 km north of New Delhi, the Indian government has drilled one of the largest tunnels of the Indian sub-continent.

study of glacier melting in himcahla pradesh

Avalanche slope in the Western Himalayas used for the reconstruction of changes in avalanche frequency. Red dots indicate the locations of sampled trees. Potential release areas are indicated with semitransparent white surfaces and have been detected using the approach suggested by Bühler et al. (26). The access road to the new Rothang tunnel crosses the lower part of the slope.

With the ongoing climate warming, snow avalanches are increasingly threatening the access road to the tunnel. This is why UNIGE researchers conducted their fieldwork at the spot from 2013 to 2015, in a valley located at between 3,000 and 4,000 m.

Trees: silent witnesses to the upsurge in the number of avalanches

The aim of the research group was to evaluate – and add to – the information currently available about avalanches with two goals:

(i) To identify the nature of the changes in avalanche activity currently taking place; and

(ii) To assess future needs for tackling these changes.

In the absence of data comparable to the information collected in European surveys, for which records often exist for the past few centuries, the UNIGE researchers focused on trees: they examined stumps (when the tree had been removed) or cored trees that were still standing to reconstruct past snow avalanches at the study site.

The scientists were able to date individual events by analysing the growth rings and wounds left on the trees by avalanches. The research included nearly 150 trees.

Since we knew the position of each affected tree, we were able to reconstruct the dynamics, lateral extent and runout distance of every avalanche,

explains Juan Antonio Ballesteros-Cánovas, a senior lecturer at UNIGE’s Institute for Environmental Sciences (ISE).


This technique meant we could go back to 1855 and record 38 avalanches over this period in the valley, the largest survey conducted to date in the Himalayas.

he added.

The models used for testing the impact of climate change combine the risks of avalanche with local climate data. They were adjusted to include the likely effect on topographical features resulting from earlier avalanches.

Since they destroy the plant cover, they are an aggravating risk factor. The results brooked no argument: from the second half of the twentieth century, there has been an increase in the number of avalanches, both in terms of frequency and intensity. The frequency has risen from one event per decade to almost one event every year.

The impact of temperature on the cryosphere

Avalanches are bigger, travel greater distances and are triggered earlier in the year. These changes can be attributed clearly to rising temperatures, which have reached 0.2 to 0.4 degrees annually in some parts of the Himalayas.

And rising air temperature are also affecting the cryosphere: glaciers are receding and permafrost is melting, losing its role as a sediment stabiliser.

 In addition, the structure of the snowpack is changing: it is being transformed by increasingly warmer air temperatures and/or altered by rain-on-snow events.

Snow is now also falling earlier in the season and is being destabilised before spring, at a time when it is thicker, leading to an increase in the number and intensity of avalanches.

Since the snow is wet, avalanches are descending slowly but over greater distances than in the past.


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