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

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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,

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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 Healthy.co.uk

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Himachal Reports Spike in Covid Casualties with 64 Deaths in 24-hours; 4,977 Fresh Infections Reported

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Shimla-Himachal Pradesh reported a surge in Covid-19 fatalities on Tuesday as 64 people died due to the infection, while 4,977 new cases were reported within the last 24 hours. This takes the death toll to 1,989 while the total cases of coronavirus in the state till now to 1,40,759.

Out of 64 dead, only 11 patients had comorbidities. While thirteen patients were below the age of 50. This indicates the aggressive nature of the new variant of coronavirus that has been ravaging the country. The highest casualties were reported from Kangra district with 21 deaths while Solan district reported 12 deaths followed by Mandi district with 10 fatalities.

As the fatalities are increasing across the state, the sampling of infection has still not touched even the 20,000 mark. On Tuesday 14,722 people were sampled while 3,713 tests remain awaited.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 11, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

hp health dpt

Out of 2,445 beds available across the state in the Covid hospitals, only 63 ICU beds are available. While 415 beds have oxygen support.

On Tuesday the state government also issued a notification announcing that health workers who have received both the Covid vaccine shots will not have to follow the quarantine protocol after rendering their services in health care facilities.

On the condition of anonymity, a health official told Himachal Watcher that Himachal Medical Officers Association (HMOA) has opposed this move as cases of infection despite vaccination continue to appear.

The spike in Covid cases across the state has highlighted the shortage of healthcare workers in the state as medical infrastructure moves toward the brink of a formidable caseload.

Further, the state needs to consider the meagre incentives the frontline workers are receiving and the overwhelming effect it will have on their mental and physical health.

Himachal is currently under a corona curfew with restrictions on interstate movement. But the government maintains that it’s not a lockdown as some exceptions have been included in the activities to be allowed.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 11, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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Shimla City’s Sanitation Worker Dies of Covid-19, Demand Raised to Pay Rs. 50 Lakh Ex-Gratia as Assured to All Frontline Workers  

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Shimla– Sanitation workers/garbage collectors in Himachal Pradesh are among the frontline workers who had been performing their duties unabated regardless of lockdowns. Right from the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, sanitation workers have been playing their part in combating it. The pandemic has grown deadlier this year with its second wave. Sanitation workers and garbage-collectors are at higher risk of contracting the infection due to the nature of their job. 

One of these sanitation workers, Sun Kumar, working under the Shimla Environment, Heritage & Beautification Society (SHEB) as a garbage collector, succumbed to Covid-19.

He was about 32-year-old and is survived by a wife and an infant. Demand has been raised to pay Rs. 50 lakh as Ex-Gratia and job to a family member. When the concerned authority was asked regarding the same, it said a request has been forwarded to higher officials for the Ex-Gratia and situation would be clear only after their approval. 

The former mayor of Shimla, Sanjay Chauhan, was one of those raising this demand.

“The city didn’t lose a sanitation worker but a Covid warrior due to the coronavirus,” he said in a statement released today.

“The government has recognized sanitation workers as frontline workers and had decided to pay Rs. 50 as Ex-Gratia to any such worker who dies on duty. So, the family should be paid the said amount at the earliest along with ensuring employment to one of the family members,” he demanded.

Pertinent to mention that on April 23, 2020, the Himachal Pradesh Government had announced that a sum of Rs. 50 lakhs would be paid as Ex-Gratia out of HPSDMA COVID-19 State Disaster Response Fund to the next of kin of those officers and officials working in the State Government (except health workers) i.e. regular, outsourced, contractual, daily wagers and employees of SEHB Society of Municipal Corporation Shimla engaged in sanitation activities and working in different capacities for the response, relief and containment measures of COVID-19, in case of their death due to COVID-19 pandemic.

Chauhan further appealed to the state government to provide high-quality PPE kits to all the frontline workers of various departments deployed on the Covid duty. He also demanded that the Municipal Corporation, Shimla, should also ensure regular health checkups of its employees to prevent any further loss of lives.   

The state on 17th January 2021 had vaccinated Hardeep Singh, a sanitation worker at the Indira Gandhi Medical Collage & Hospital, Shimla. He was the first person in Himachal to get the vaccine jab. Also, sanitation workers were also honoured last year and certificates of appreciation were given to workers of wards number 16 and 17. 

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Himachal: 53 Succumb to Severe Covid Symptoms in 24 Hours, Spike in Fatality Rate Among Patients With No Comorbidities

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Shimla-On Monday, Himachal reported 4,359 new cases of coronavirus while 53 people succumbed to severe symptoms of infection. This took the state death toll to 1,925 and the total number of infections to 1,35,782 till now according to official data.

 Kangra district continues to report the highest numbers of daily deaths due to coronavirus. In the last 24 hours, the district reported 18 deaths. While the Solan district reported the second-highest casualties with eight deaths in the last 24-hours. The youngest patient to succumb to coronavirus was a 24-year-old man from the Solan district. The man died of sudden cardiopulmonary arrest with severe SARS COVID 19 Pneumonia according to official data. No other comorbidity was cited in the report.

About 16 of the deceased persons were aged below 50 years. According to the official statistics, at least 45 (84%) of the deceased had no comorbidities.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Cases for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

dailly covid case himachal

Source: HP NHM

Meanwhile, in its recent press statement, a state government spokesperson said that the positivity rate of Covid-19 across the state has come out to be 26.3% in the last week. Districts of Kangra, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Shimla, Mandi, Solan, and Sirmour have recorded a positivity rate of more than 20 percent from May 3 to May 9. 

In the last 24-hours, a total of 10,746 Covid testings was done across the state out of which 1,180 remains awaited.

Till now the state has conducted 16,33,923 sampling across the state however, the daily testing rate continues to fluctuate and remains below 20,000 tests per day.

Further, according to the government, by May 10, a total of 16,59,619 people had received the vaccine, out of which 38,0791 people had received both doses. Meanwhile, the state has gone under stricter corona curfew with restrictions imposed on interstate travelling as well.

View the District-wise Details of all COVID-19 Deaths for May 10, 2021 (Till 7 pm) Below:

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