Monday February 18, 2019

Marijuana users may develop prediabetes: Study

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New York:  Everything that is green is not healthy! Marijuana users are more likely to have prediabetes – the state of poor blood sugar control that can progress to Type-2 diabetes – than those who have never used the drug, new research has found.

The findings suggest that marijuana use may adversely affect a person’s metabolic health in the long term.

“Marijuana use was associated with the development and prevalence of prediabetes,” said the study led by Mike Bancks from University of Minnesota School of Public Health in Minneapolis, US.

To determine marijuana use and presence of prediabetes and diabetes, the researchers used data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study that began in 1985-1986 with over 5,000 individuals aged 18-30 years.

The participants are now in their 30th year of observation.

The percentage of individuals who self-reported current use of marijuana declined over follow-up, from 28 percent in 1985-1986 to 12 percent in 2010-2011.

After adjustment for behavioural/lifestyle and physiological characteristics, there was a 65 percent increased odds of currently having prediabetes in individuals who reported current use of marijuana than those who reported never using marijuana.

“It is unclear how marijuana use could place an individual at increased risk for prediabetes yet not diabetes,” the authors said.

But they suggest that it could be because individuals excluded from the study generally had higher levels of marijuana use and greater potential for development of diabetes.

Another explanation could be that marijuana may have a greater effect on blood sugar control in the prediabetic range than for full blown Type-2 diabetes, when other traditional diabetes risk factor levels are exceedingly less favourable, the study said.

The research was published in the journal Diabetologia.

With inputs from IANS

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US Military Planes Deliver Aid to Venezuela-Colombia Border

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

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FILE - Demonstrators who are against the Venezuelan government chant outside of the Organization of American States during the special meeting of the Permanent Council, in Washington, April 3, 2017, to consider the recent events in Venezuela. VOA

More than 200 tons of US humanitarian aid intended for Venezuela is scheduled to begin arriving just across the border in Colombia Saturday, delivered by US military cargo planes.

The aid will be delivered to Cucuta, Colombia, where other food and medical supplies are being held.

The aid comes at the request of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido to ease shortages of food and other essentials in economically troubled Venezuela.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has said the aid is part of Washington’s political maneuvering to get him out of office, and he has blocked off a bridge needed to bring the supplies into Venezuela.

The United States said Maduro’s election was unfair and illegitimate, and U.S. officials and scores of other nations have recognized his rival, Guaido, as the country’s interim leader.

US, Colombia, Venezuela
Sacks containing humanitarian aid are pictured at a warehouse near the Tienditas cross-border bridge between Colombia and Venezuela in Cucuta, Colombia, Feb. 14, 2019. VOA

Adding pressure

On Friday, Washington added to the political pressure on Maduro by sanctioning the head of Venezuela’s oil company as well as top intelligence officials.

Earlier Friday, Guiado’s representatives collected aid pledges from many nations at a meeting of the Organization of American States in Washington, where 25 countries promised more than $100 million in humanitarian aid to Venezuela.

“We came to ask for the solidarity of the governments of the world,” said Lester Toledo, coordinator for international help for Venezuela. “We appreciate the diplomatic gestures. We appreciate the letters and the recognition of President Guaidó. But we ask for help, to make the humanitarian aid a reality. That all donations can let us purchase medical supplies that we really need.”

Venezuela, US, Colombia
If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said. Pixabay

Distributing the aid

U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States Carlos Trujillo said Guaidó has a plan.

“I believe that President Guaidó has done everything possible to make Maduro accept the humanitarian aid. Maduro has no argument, the person sitting in power doesn’t let the humanitarian aid reach his people who are dying of hunger,” Trujillo said.

Guaido said the aid will be brought into Venezuela Feb. 23.

Maduro, however, said the aid will not be brought into his nation, and he blames U.S. economic sanctions for Venezuela’s problems.

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“They’re putting pressure on Venezuela’s banks, which are in charge of purchasing and bringing the food and supplies. The White House is pressuring so that none of our bank accounts work. They have frozen billions of dollars that could otherwise buy food and medicine,” he claimed.

If the aid does arrive in Venezuela, organizations like the Red Cross will help distribute the supplies with “neutral and independent” conditions, Mario Villarroel, president of Venezuela’s Red Cross, said.

“We have the necessary experience, we know it is a very complex issue, but we will do our best to coordinate the distribution and organization of this humanitarian aid,” he said. (VOA)