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sugarra

Beverage manufacturers urged to cut sugar content

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13, CMC – Jamaica’s Finance Minister Audley Shaw has  issued an appeal to beverage manufacturers to lower the sugar content in their products or force the Government to take action.

sugarraShaw, who was addressing a scientific symposium on fiscal measures to prevent obesity/non-communicable diseases (NCD), on Thursday, said they can either respond voluntarily “or we as a Government can respond to the needs of the country through appropriate policy prescriptions.”

“There has to be a willingness on the part of the producers of beverages to lead the way, set the examples. Don’t wait for the tax act to force you to do it. They need to start reducing the sugar contents even before fiscal measures are contemplated,” he added.

He said that the Government is concerned about the sugar content of products being marketed to children.

He noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that countries implement guidelines as it relates to the production of food and beverages in order to reduce the amount of sugar, and imposing taxes to encourage manufacturers to take the appropriate actions.

The Minister pointed out that policy measures already being implemented by countries across the region are reducing the amount of sweet beverages provided to schoolchildren and, ultimately, having a positive impact on the social and economic fabric of such societies.

Shaw said that although several programmes have been initiated to reduce NCDs, a more aggressive stance is needed to get more partners to join the fight in reducing the lifestyle-related diseases.

He argued that with Jamaica spending US$170 million annually on chronic diseases, the country must act so that more funds can be available for infrastructure improvement to health facilities and the upgrading of healthcare services.

Urging action from beverage manufacturers, the Finance Minister noted that they are armed with research about the “impact of your product on your consumers. We want you to be more responsible in what you include in these products.”

He also urged consumers to “put themselves in informed positions to make healthy choices, because it is your health that is impacted.”

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IMG_1003

Montserrat Community College Graduation 2017

The Montserrat Community College held its 2016/17 Graduation Ceremony at 4:30 pm on December 20, 2017, in the Brades Arts and Entertainment Centre.

Valedictorian Meliek Richards gave the address on behalf of the graduands, and Acting Attorney-General Mrs Sheree Rodney (a graduate of the College) gave the graduation address.

Acting co-principals Miss Anne Marie Dewar and Mrs Geraldine Cabey led the procession followed by Rev. Dr Ruth Allen who opened the proceedings with a prayer. Mrs Cabey introduced the Chairperson Miss Thandie Williams, following with Miss Dewar delivering the  Principal’s Remarks.   

A break followed with student, Miss Tamarra Agard singing a solo, accompanied by another student Mr Yannick Lynn, on the guitar. 

In the graduation address, guest speaker Ag. Attorney General Mrs. Sheree Rodney who was introduced by Sandrae Thomas, reflected on the College motto: ‘Aspire, Apply, Achieve,’ and pointed to the significance of clear, concise, achievable but challenging goals. This was reflected in the Valedictorian’s speech in which Mr Richards spoke to the theme: imagine, desire, act on, and it will come to pass, pausing to thank God for the help given.

Miss Dewar in her remarks informed as she recounted some of the highlights, giving note, “For the past two years’ students at the college have undertaken short weekly personal development sessions entitled ‘My Time’ on a range of topics from Financial Planning and Savings to managing stress, sexuality and ethics.”

She said, the program was the brainchild of former Principle Dr. Clarice Barnes, who according to scant information left the college in circumstances yet to be explained or examined as having being forced out, all yet to be confirmed.

Miss Dewar said the program, “has enabled students to engage in thinking on areas and matters critical to their own well-being now and for the future…”

During the year there were forty-one full-time students, with twenty-eight doing part-time studies in various technical fields: building construction, cosmetology and clothing and textiles. There was a display and a video on work done. Seventeen of the graduands studied for the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examinations (CAPE), and during the year two new subjects were added. These were Literatures in English and Tourism Studies. Students in the flagship CAPE programme achieved an overall pass-rate of 92%. The Valedictorian passed eight subjects, winning a regional award for Accounting.

Intended as a surprise, at the end of awards to students, the students gave special awards of appreciation to teachers in addition to the traditional awards to presenters and special guests. The vote of thanks was given by Miss Lindsey.

The traditional shifting of the tassels was then held and the ceremony was complete.

Click on link to see other pictures of Graduation. 

END

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Haile Thomas

Jamaican American named CNN ‘Young Wonder of the Year’

ATLANTA, Dec. 28, CMC – The Atlanta, Georgia-based Cable News Network (CNN) has named a Jamaican-American among its five “Young Wonders of the Year.”

Haile Thomas, 17, who lives in New Windsor, a town in Orange County, Upstate New York, was named by the network on its “Young Wonders: A CNN Heroes Special.”

All five “CNN Young Wonders” were also be honored during “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.”

Haile ThomasCNN has described Thomas as “a teen health activist,” stating that her  “HAPPY organisation”  is leading the next generation toward a healthier future by bringing cooking lessons and nutrition education to children in underserved areas.”

The popular network said the five “extraordinary young people” are “making a difference in their communities.

“Their inspiring stories serve as reminders that you are never too young to change the world,” CNN said.

It said Thomas is an international speaker, health activist, vegan food and lifestyle influencer, podcaster, the youngest Certified Integrative Health Coach in the United States, and the founder/chief executive officer of the nonprofit HAPPY (Healthy Active Positive Purposeful Youth).

Thomas said on her website that she founded HAPPY when she was 12 years old to “address the need for free/affordable plant-based nutrition and culinary education in underserved/at-risk communities, as well as in schools and through annual summer camps.”

She said she has personally engaged over 15,000 kids since beginning her activism in 2010, stating that she was inspired to pursue this passion after her family successfully reversed her father’s type-2 diabetes “without the use of medication, only healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and upon learning that kids were also increasingly being diagnosed with conditions like diabetes, heart disease and obesity.”

Thomas said all of her programmes, projects and initiatives are geared towards engaging, educating, motivating and empowering young people to make healthy lifestyle choices to live their best life.

She also hosts the podcast “Girl Empowered,” interviewing, inspiring and empowering women; “therefore fulfilling its mission to broadcast female voices of empowerment.”

Thomas is one of the first eight young chefs featured on season one of “Rachael vs. Guy Kids-Cook-Off,” and also on “Cupcake Wars Kids,” both airing on the Food Network.

She also worked for two years as the Jr. Chef Advisor for Hyatt Hotel’s “For Kids – By Kids” Menu, with her kids’ menu recipes serving at all Hyatt Resorts in North America and the Caribbean.

Thomas said she has been featured on the “Today Show,” “Dr. Oz,” “Home and Family Show,” and “The Rachael Ray Show,” and highlighted in several major publications, including O magazine, Teen Vogue and YES magazine.

She is the first teen to be featured on the cover of Experience Life Magazine in the October 2016 issue.

Additionally, Thomas said she creates creative and artistic lifestyle and vegan recipe videos through her channel “ Plant-Powered Haile” on YouTube.

Thomas started to work at the Canyon Ranch Institute in 2015 as a nutrition science assistant; and, in 2016, she partnered with the nonprofit Harlem Grown organization to educate people about urban farming, sustainability and nutrition.

Thomas and her family moved from Arizona to New York in September 2016, “so she could expand her business.”

In 2017, Thomas was the youngest graduate of the Integrative Nutrition Health Coach program at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

“Nutrition is super important for our growth and development for our brains and our bodies,” Thomas says.

“Haile is an example for all of you, what your little powerful voices can do to change the world,” said former US First Lady Michelle Obama on Thomas’s website.

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Be careful how you complain the justice system!

Be careful how you complain the justice system!

It can never enough, certainly not currently, to have the conversation relating to sexual, child and women abuse. But because of how Miss Shirley Osborne an organiser of women’s affairs, who also functions as a dominant person as Speaker of the Montserrat Legislature has recently and prior address issues surrounding issues as above, we think it important to touch on her posture on the issues.

December 23, 2017

Miss Osborne has come out and is critical of the ‘justice system’, unfortunately using recent matters that appeared before the High Court during the last criminal assizes. Her take on the matter: “…the terrifying thing for me is that the court, the judicial system which is what you look to when all else fails, or we should look to when all else fails, by some accounts and in some people’s informed opinion has failed this time… We’re going to talk about this last high court session,” speaking in the end as to planned meetings and perhaps consultations going forward.

She stressed the point further. “There’s too many questions too much disappointment too much anger too much failure there.”

In fairness to her she had preceded those words with an admission, which we believe is exactly what needs to be fixed, these issues having gone through many interventions. “Clearly, we’re not doing nearly enough to protect women not just adult women but young women and our more vulnerable women also and our more vulnerable girls,” she said.

Since 2010 and earlier these matters surrounding women, girls and children; sexual abuses, were brought out into the public. HMG joining almost the rest of the world poured monies into the region to address the issues. Montserrat has not been left out, and it is one of the areas, under the heading of ‘Child Safeguarding’

She refers to a domestic violence bill before the house which like several other matters surrounding the issues is one of the mistakes being made on the issues.

How familiar is the public with what that domestic violence bill seeks to do for the ‘people’ of Montserrat? The same question can be asked about various pieces of legislation surrounding ‘Child Safeguarding’. Going to the people who will be affected by the outcomes of the legislation to tell them what it is, cannot be called consultation.

That issue, by the way, is a serious issue in Montserrat. Take the discourse at and coming out of the recent ‘consultation’ on the Economic Growth Plan.

The issues that Miss Osborne took up with the court and the ‘justice system’ were clearly not studied. When they do, it is hoped that a double back will be taken if and when they discover that the approach at attempting to show that somehow the system is rigged against the interests of women, is simply because the facts are not truly or even honestly being considered, preventing the kind of preparations needed to create a solid foundation.

Sometimes and often the personal agendas all round are not sincere, taking the matter at hand with the proper focus obviously skewed.

There are issues promoting one thing and then backing away or looking at the issue only because of who is involved and not really the situation at hand, which is supposed to be for the benefit of good. That is a serious issue facing this country, one that must be corrected if good is going to fall over this land. It is the goal that is important, always.

“You can’t remedy what’s already been done, but we could look really intentionally purposely look for ways to ensure as far as that’s possible that we don’t have this occurring again,” Hon. Shirley said.

That she will find has been overlooked time and time again and will continue if serious examination is made into the motives of those seeking to promote what we believe is not ‘women domination’ but rather correcting and if necessary punishing, what has been for far too long a kind of scourge; that fact being an issue in itself. Full support is forthcoming but that can only bring success if ‘proper’ discussions and consultations take place.

With that a blessed Christmas is our wish to everyone, whichever side of love you may be. And if we do not see you again before the new year, may 2018 bring nothing less than joy and more blessings.

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Court

Guyanese teen used last breath to tell cops who shot her

NEW YORK, CMC – Police here have testified that a Guyanese-born teenager in Brooklyn used her last few breaths to tell cops the name of the man who shot her after she spurned his advances, as she struggled through an agonizing 20-minute wait for an ambulance.

Sixteen-year-old Shemel Mercurius was fatally shot inside a Brooklyn apartment last year by a 25-year-old man who wanted to date her.

CourtEarlier this week, at the trial of Taariq Stephens — who is charged with murdering Shemel — the Brooklyn Supreme Court heard from the hero patrol cop who tried to keep her alive.

The police reported that Shemel, a junior at Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, was babysitting her 3-year-old cousin on May 31, 2016, when Stephens allegedly showed up at the Brooklyn Ave. apartment and shot her three times with a submachine gun.

Responding New York Police Department (NYPD) officers kicked down the apartment door to find a horrifying scene.

“There was a 3-year-old male child covered in blood crying next to the victim,” said Sgt. Ryan Habermehl, who testified that he immediately called the Emergency Medical Services (EMS).

“It took about 20 minutes for EMS to arrive,” Habermehl testified.

Officer Kyle Thomas Daly found Shemel, bleeding heavily, seated on a toy car and leaning against the wall, said the New York Daily News .

“I put on gloves, took her off the car and laid her down and began rendering aid,” said Daly, who has since left the NYPD to join the Suffolk County police department in Shirley, Long Island, a New York City suburb. “She regained consciousness, gave me her name and date of birth.  “It took a very long time for the ambulance to come, about 20 minutes.”

While Shemel was in and out of consciousness, the dying teen told another detective that Stephens wanted to be “boyfriend and girlfriend,” but she wasn’t interested, Daly said.

Shemel and Stephens reportedly met at a daycare center a week before the murder and exchanged phone numbers.

An ambulance arrived at 6:55 p.m. and Mercurius died at Kings County Hospital at 7:57 p.m., according to testimony.

Shemel, who lived with her aunt after moving to the US four years ago from Guyana, had buzzed a friend into the East Flatbush building where she was babysitting moments before she was shot.

It said Lona Junien took the stand to describe what she saw happening between Stephens and Shemel when she showed up to visit her friend.

“The person pushed her. The person said ‘Don’t ever lie to me.’ She was screaming, he took out the gun and shot her,” said Junien, 18.

Junien admitted on cross-examination that a detective told her Stephens was the shooter before she identified him.

If convicted, Stephens faces 25 years to life in prison for second-degree murder and weapons charges.

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Children rightss

Barbados joins other Caribbean islands in signing ILO initiative regarding child labour

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Dec 11, CMC – The International Labour Organization (ILO) says Barbados has become the ninth Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country to join the Regional Initiative, Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour.

It said that the island’s Labour Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo handed over the signed agreement to José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, ILO Regional Director of the Americas and Caribbean in the margins of the Organization of American States (OAS) XX Inter-American Conference of Ministers of Labour held here earlier this month.

Children rightssIt said as a result of Barbados signing the agreement, it now brings the total  number of participating countries in the region to 28, all aligned in pursuit of a common objective: to accelerate the rate of reduction of child labour in the region and by 2025, to eliminate all forms of child labour.

“The adhesion of Barbados reflects the commitment and importance attributed by the Caribbean countries to the tripartite collaboration and partnership among governments, and employers and workers organisations, as the region works towards achieving Target 8.7 of the 2030 Agenda,” the ILO added.

According to the ILO, Barbados has ratified the commitments set forth in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and has also ratified ILO Conventions 138 on the minimum age for admission to employment and 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour.

It noted that in Barbados, the minimum age established for employment is 16 years, however, according to estimates done in 2014, the incidence of child labour in the country was 3.5 per cent between 5-14 years of age.

“As part of the country’s efforts to combat the issue, Barbados has established the National Committee for Monitoring the Rights of the Child, which seeks to generate recommendations on policies that favour the rights of children and sensitizes communities on the matter. Among the challenges faced by Barbados is the creation of lists of light work and dangerous work for minors,” the ILO added.

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Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

Government critical of Opposition over defeat of Anti-Gang legislation

PM Rowley: “And we’re seeing an exponential rise in gang activity,”

 

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad, Dec 7, CMC – The Trinidad and Tobago government Thursday blasted Opposition legislators after they failed to provide the necessary support for the Anti-Gang Legislation that the authorities said was needed to deal with the rising gang activities in the country.

Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley told a news conference that all objections to the bill had been addressed and amended before it was put to the vote and accused the Opposition of supporting criminality by objecting to the legislation that had required a two-thirds majority in Parliament.

At the end of it all…there was not a single impediment standing in their way…every single thing they raised including the (comments by the) Chief Whip (David Lee) (were addressed).

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad Bissessar and Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley

“On December 7, 2017, in the wee hours of the morning, (Opposition) refused to use their vote to defend the lives of the people,” a visibly upset Rowley told reporters.”

“The business of Trinidad and Tobago was gutted and undermined. We have a scourge of gang activity in many if not most of our communities, there are thousands of families where the quality of life is being severely impacted by illegal activity.

“For some inexplicable reason, our colleagues in the Parliament found it difficult or impossible to convert the scourge of gang activity into an illegal activity,” he added.

The Anti-Gang Bill 2017 seeks to make provision for the maintenance of public safety and order through discouraging membership of criminal gangs and the suppression of criminal gang activity and for other related matters.

It seeks to make it an offence to be a member of a gang, to be in possession of a bullet-proof vest, to participate in, or contribute to, the activities of a gang, to support or invite support for a gang, or to harbour or conceal gang members or recruit persons to a gang.

The legislation also contains a ‘retaliatory clause’ which protects persons who have left gangs from retaliatory actions by gang members.

Opposition legislators voted against the bill that had first been introduced here during the term in office of the People’s Partnership government headed by Kamla Persad Bissessar.

Former Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar abstained when the vote was taken during the early hours of Thursday morning and has promised to outline his position at a news conference  on the weekend.

Rowley told reporters that he had spoken to the Lee seeking to determine the objections of the Opposition saying that the main opposition United National Congress (UNC) was seeking to benefit from the crime situation in order to attain power.

“Kamla Persad-Bissessar and her UNC gang and cabal voted to maintain that status quo….so that crime and criminality can remain a chronic state of affairs, so that those politicians can point to the crime and call Trinidad and Tobago a failed state and hope that you will be disgusted with those in office and put them in office

“That is the most cynical, wicked and pernicious act,” Rowley said, adding that citizens should hold their representatives to account.

“You put them in office and you have to get them to work for you, because right now they are working for themselves. I could not believe…I served with people who would do something like that.”

Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi, who had earlier told legislators during the debate that between 2014 and this year, gangs in Trinidad and Tobago had increased 129 per cent and gang members have increased 60 per cent,

“And we’re seeing an exponential rise in gang activity,” he said, noting that in 2014 the acting Police Commissioner had said there were 92 gangs with 1,500 members.

“In 2016 it grew to 172 gangs and 2,358 members – today it’s 211 gangs and 2,458 members,” he said, adding that gang-related murders totalled 998 between 2010 and this year and the number of gang-related guns seized stands at 4,674.

According to Al-Rawi an estimated 1,195 firearms were seized since 2016 alone, reiterating that the number of gangs and their members in the nine police divisions ranging from 49 (Western) to nine (Eastern). There are also 221 members in the Witness Protection Programme, he noted.

Al- Rawi said that when the bill was first introduced here by the previous government, 463 were arrested under the law during the 2011 state of emergency (SoE).

Speaking at the news conference Al-Rawi said he was ‘shell-shocked’ by the Opposition’s behaviour, saying “we went over it bit by bit…when we came to take the final vote… all 21 PNM (People’s National Movement) members present voted yes. When we came to the vote from the Opposition it started with no…a big fat no.

“Suffice it to say it was shell-shocking to see what happened yesterday after 14 hours of work,” he said, telling reporters that he had observed that some Opposition legislators were in disagreement with the decision adopted by the Opposition Leader.

“I saw the look on the faces of those opposite me last night. I saw shock. I saw fear, I saw disgust. I saw a member of the UNC bench have some very heated words with his leader and storm out of the Parliament,” Al-Rawi added.

Prime Minister Rowley said his government would continue to seek to criminalise gang activity and will seek to use other laws in the interim in order to crack down on gang activity.

“I realised that Opposition was hell-bent on not making gang activity in Trinidad and Tobago an illegal act….we have one hell of a problem because Opposition has decided to come down in support of criminality in Trinidad and Tobago.”

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BAKERs from fine grains Barbados

Caribbean Grains spreads the fine art of baking

Bakers Michael and Ali with students from Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School Barbados

(PRESS RELEASE) – Caribbean Grains Ltd, which operates a production mill in Vieux Fort, considers itself more than just a manufacturer of flour.

The Company, which has been here for more than a year, sees itself as an ally of the present and future generation of bakers.

During the month of November, the Company has been conducting training sessions aimed at equipping bakers with new techniques in the areas of bread and pastry production.

The latest training sessions were held on Thursday, November 16th and Friday, November 17th at the Caribbean Grains facility in Vieux Fort. A session with students of the Beanefield Comprehensive Secondary School, together with local bakers from the south, was conducted on day-one. Day-two was devoted to students from the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College (SALCC) and Vieux Fort Comprehensive Secondary School (VFCSS). The training sessions were conducted by two bakers from Guadeloupe and Mustique.

Managing Director of Caribbean Grains Ltd, Arnaud de Moussac said such training is very useful because it allows the Company to interact with bakers while they prepare various products made from flour from the Company.

“What we are aiming at is giving a consistent product every time the baker is starting his process, helping them to rationalise and practising economy, mostly by weighing the product because, at the end of the day, not weighing products can make a big difference in terms of earning and losing. And no one knows that you are winning when you are getting a little heavier product, but your bottom line will know it. So, we are trying to get the same cause and effect from these training sessions.”

The Managing Director added that Caribbean Grains is a new Company which must prove itself to its customers. He described the level of business with local bakers as “good” and “picking up.”

“The people have a better response to our product. We are very happy with the way they are willing to re-assess us. Nobody likes to change, but the change is welcome, and more and more we hear people saying that they want to buy Saint Lucian products because it generates Saint Lucian employment.”

Bakers were given an opportunity to learn and improve their skills in the areas of French and local bread products, as well as in baked goods such as pastries, cakes, croissants and pizza, using local flour manufactured by Caribbean Grains.  Sessions with the students are part of a practical training programme that Caribbean Grains conducts every other month with local bakeries and bakers.

Chef at Coconut Bay Resort, David Serieux, who has been a baker for 18 years, said he emerged from the training session with knowledge of how to refine his baking skills.

” Well, to be honest, it’s not something I never did before, but the techniques and the process I saw here seem much better here because of the equipment, such as the proof-box, and the way the oven works is amazing.”

Other bakeries represented at the training sessions were Bonne Baguette Bakery, the French Bakery, Mannee’s Bakery, and Kaision Bakery.

Participating students expressed gratitude to Caribbean Grains for exposing them to various techniques and opportunities in the field of baking.

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Addicted to Your Phone? It Could Throw Off Your Brain Chemistry

Addicted to Your Phone? It Could Throw Off Your Brain Chemistry

Livescience.com
 Credit: baranq/Shutterstock

It’s hard to escape screens; there is a roughly 100 percent chance you are looking at one right now. And though the long-term effects of screen time are still being studied, the effects of excessive internet and smartphone use are well-documented. “Pathological” internet use has been linked to depression in teens, and it may even shrink gray matter.

Now, a small new study suggests that for teens, being hooked on the internet and smartphones may harm brain chemistry, as well.

The research was presented yesterday (Nov. 30) at the Radiological Society of North America’s annual meeting in Chicago.The paper, which was presented by lead study author Dr. Hyung Suk Seo, a professor of neuroradiology at Korea University in Seoul, South Korea, found an imbalance of chemicals in the brain of “internet-addicted” teenagers. This imbalance was similar to that seen in people experiencing anxiety and depression. [9 Odd Ways Your Tech Devices May Injure You]

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But there’s also good news: The imbalance is reversible in several weeks using a type of psychotherapy called cognitive behavioral therapy.

In the study, researchers examined the brains of 19 internet- and smartphone-addicted teenagers and 19 nonaddicted teenagers using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, a form of MRI that can reveal changes in the chemical composition of the brain. (Internet and smartphone addiction were measured using standardized questionnaires.)

Compared with the control group, the teens with internet and smartphone addiction showed a clear overabundance of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in one region of the limbic system, the brain’s emotional control center. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it blocks nerve cells from firing.

GABA is found in everyone’s brain, but too much of this neurotransmitter in the wrong areas can have stultifying effects.”When the normal function of the limbic system is disturbed, patients can develop anxiety, depression or addiction,” said Dr. Max Wintermark, a professor of radiology and the chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University. Wintermark was not involved with the new research but said that he was intrigued by it because of the increasing prevalence of phones and web devices in society.

“There have been multiple studies published [that link] addiction to alcohol and other substances with chemical imbalances in different regions of the brain, but this is the first study I’ve read about internet addiction” that shows such a link, Wintermark told Live Science.

For most people, checking email first thing in the morning or spending an hour scrolling though Instagram after work does not signify an internet addiction.

Rather, internet addiction, as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, is an excessive use of the internet that leads to impairment of everyday life, sleep and relationships. Studies from around the world have found that the rates of internet addiction in young people range from less than 1 percent to 18 percent.

The teens who participated in Seo’s study all took standardized tests used to diagnose internet and smartphone addiction. The participants whose scores indicated an addiction  tended to saythat their internet and smartphone use interfered with their daily routines, social lives, sleep and productivity. These teenagers also had significantly higher scores in depression, anxiety, insomnia and impulsivity than the control group (the participants whose scores did not indicate internet addiction).

Due to the small sample size used in the study, Wintermark stressed that it’s too early to say that the chemical imbalances observed in the teens’ brains are linked to clinical problems such as anxiety and depression. Further testing on a larger group of people is needed, he said.

Wintermark noted that 12 teens in the study with addiction went on to participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, and after nine weeks, they all showed decreased or normalized levels of GABA in their brains. According to the researchers, those teens completed a modified form of therapy that’s used to treat video game addiction, involving weekly 75-minute sessions of mindfulness exercises. These include recognizing internet impulses, finding alternative activities and expressing emotions.

“With appropriate intervention, the teens were able to basically correct those chemical changes” in their brains, Wintermark said. “That’s the part of the study I find most interesting. It shows there’s hope.”

The study has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Originally published on Live Science.

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marijuuu

Guyana to host CARICOM consultations on use of marijuana

 
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Nov 3, CMC – Guyana will host a consultation on the use of marijuana on Monday, November 6, 2017 as part of the efforts by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments to conduct careful in-depth research so as to inform decision making on the issue.

The Regional Commission on Marijuana, which was established by CARICOM leaders, will meet with various stakeholders including Youth and Faith-based organizations.

marijuuuThe region-wide consultations are intended to obtain information on the social, economic, health and legal issues related to marijuana use in the Caribbean.

“Such information would, among other outcomes, determine whether there should be a change in the current drug classification, modelled after the UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances for which many, if not all, CARICOM members are party to,” the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat said in a statement.

It said that given that reclassification of the drug would make it legally accessible for all types of use, including religious, recreational, medical and research, the Regional Commission is expected also to provide recommendations on the legal and administrative conditions that will apply, as per its Terms of Reference.

Many Caribbean countries’ legislations do not currently allow for full legislation under international law and national approaches to addressing this issue have resulted in various positions.

In the case of Jamaica, for example, the Dangerous Drugs Act was amended in 2016 and legislation was passed which reduced possession of small quantities to a petty offence. It also created the framework for the development of legal medical marijuana, hemp and nutraceutical industries.

Antigua and Barbuda’s Cabinet agreed, in August 2016, to send a draft law to Parliament for its first reading. In August of this year, Belize introduced an amendment to its Misuse of Drugs Act, to deciminalise the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana.

The proposed legislation also provides for the imposition of monetary and non-recordable penalties for such amounts that are found on school premises in specialized circumstances and decriminalizes the use of the substance in small amounts on private premises.

In other countries there have been widespread public information and communications initiatives driven by both government and civil society.

In addition to national consultations, the Regional Marijuana Commission will undertake extensive secondary research to inform the preparation of reports to be submitted to the CARICOM leaders for its consideration, the Secretariat added.

So far, consultations have taken place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados and the Secretariat said that national consultations will continue in Suriname, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Belize.

The Commission is headed by Professor Rose-Marie-Bell Antoine, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) and includes practitioners with expert knowledge in a variety of disciplines including medicine and allied health, health research, law enforcement, ethics, education, anthropology/sociology/ culture.

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