1/2/2014, Brainstormers: Obama’s big research push kicks off


Eighteen months after President Obama launched an ambitious brain-research initiative, likened by some to the moonshot of the 1960s, federal officials are trying to create a new model for neuroscience research, one that emphasizes innovation and cooperation across specialties and institutions. To do that, they threw a two-day “kickoff” for scientists fortunate enough to have received the first funding slices of what probably will be a multibillion-dollar federal pie…

There are approximately 86 billion neurons in our brain, and at a minimum those neurons contain 100 trillion synapses, or connections. Identifying synaptic connections is further complicated by the fact that while the genome is essentially fixed, the brain is changing constantly. Every thought, every emotion, every act we perform creates, redirects, strengthens or weakens neural connections…

Japan, Australia and Israel also are in the planning stages of their own national neuro projects, and China launched its program nearly a decade ago…

…and using new data to develop theories on how the healthy human brain works.

Shouldn’t we first define what “healthy” means, as it pertains to the brain?

Only one species has had the entirety of its brain connections, called a connectome, mapped. At one millimeter in length, the C. elegans roundworm has 302 neurons, harboring about 6,400 connections. It took scientists more than a decade to complete a map of its neural code, but that was in 1986, before automated brain sectioning and computer algorithm data analysis.

Mapping the human connectome, at least right now, seems almost beyond comprehension. In just a single cubic millimeter of human brain tissue — about the size of a grain of salt — there are 30,000 neurons and 50 million connections…

The West Virginia scientist told the Hopkins researcher about her previous work studying abnormal eye movements in schizophrenics. He told her about his research into dopamine receptors in schizophrenics…

Just looking for possible interest in the treatment of pain… no such luck.

Republicans in state governments plan juggernaut of conservative legislation


And as marijuana legalization takes effect in two more states, in addition to the two where the drug was already legal, legislators in most states are expected to debate a rash of drug law revisions. Pure legalization bills will be introduced in 18 states, while decriminalization bills will be introduced in 15, according to a tally maintained by the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project.

11/18/2014, New Mexico To Pay Less For Healthcare


The analysis shows New Mexico residents as a whole will be paying nearly 12 percent less for health insurance than they did during the previous open enrollment period. Nationally average insurance costs have stayed relatively the same. The Kaiser report shows only Colorado and Mississippi experienced a greater drop in coverage prices, while costs in other states increased between 18 and 28 percent.

8/2/2014, Woman charged with sister in drug case to plead


Jennifer and Jacqueline Weiss… are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of meth. Jacqueline Weiss pleaded guilty in May. The attorney for Jennifer Weiss filed notice earlier this week that she wants to change her plea to guilty. A plea hearing has not been set.

Medical Marijuana a Challenge for Legal Pot States


Alaska doesn’t have commercial medical dispensaries, so licensed stores there won’t face direct competition.

Ah, the fear of competition… There’s a lot of that in New Mexico.

And in Oregon, taxes on recreational pot are set at just $35 an ounce, which officials hope will minimize competition from the medical side.

Sorry, but $35 an ounce is still a lot of money, especially for poor people.

A competition to see which side can make the most money… pay the most in taxes… No, no, no.  Patients shouldn’t have to pay taxes on their medicine.  So why is it fair to tax cannabis for any other use?  Marijuana isn’t a drug like alcohol, with only a small amount of medicinal benefit. Why should those who have the money to access medical cannabis be the only ones who benefit from the medicinal properties of this plant?

Legalization — the only fair, reasonable, and logical answer.  And taxes should be a lot lower on cannabis than on alcohol, to equal the amount of harm/benefit each drug brings to the public. (Are there taxes on guns?)