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Medical marijuana activists rally in Frankfort;


People from around the country rallied at the Kentucky Capitol Wednesday hoping to ultimately influence state lawmakers to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Members of the House and Senate Committee on Health and Welfare listened to passionate testimony along with occasional outbursts from the audience in what Sen. Perry Clark, D-Louisville, called a historic hearing.

Clark pointed out that 20 states plus Washington D.C. have permitted people to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

“We can’t really say that marijuana has no medicinal value,” Clark said. “The cat’s out of the bag. Marijuana is a medicine; it is a forbidden medicine.”

The senator called current marijuana prohibition laws “hypocrisy” and pointed out that the federal government actually holds a patent for the plant.

Irvin Rosenfeld of Florida is a medical marijuana patient who is one of four Americans authorized by the federal government to hold a prescription. Rosenfeld, born with a rare debilitating bone disease, said without decades of cannabis he would likely be dead or homebound and a “drain on society.” The stockbroker used marijuana illegally for about a decade, but successfully fought federal officials and won the legal right to have a prescription in 1982.

Before turning to cannabis, Rosenfeld took potentially addictive prescription drugs such as morphine, Valium and now-outlawed Quaaludes. He pointed out that morphine is synthetic heroin; Chuck Thompson of Paducah voiced similar sentiments about the popular prescription painkiller methadone and pointed out that Nazi scientists invented methadone.

Thompson, who uses a wheelchair due to severe limb swelling and nerve damage, says he was prosecuted under current state laws for using marijuana for medicinal purposes. As a result, he risks five years imprisonment for any further illicit cannabis use and says he is forced to take four methadone pills a day to alleviate his “chronic, excruciating pain.”

“I am a medicine user,” Thompson said. “I am not a drug abuser.”

After the session, dozens of activists including Randy Grimes of Stanford and Paula Kaye Willett of Marshall County met at the steps of the Capitol Annex building.

“It has never killed anybody,” Grimes said. “(Medical marijuana) is even legal in D.C. where the President of the United States lives.”

Willett, who had hoped to testify before the committee but did not get an opportunity to do so, has battled numerous medical problems since the 1970s including chronic pain from two motor vehicle collisions, anxiety, depression and an inflammation of the colon.

“The one plant that God Himself put on this planet for man’s use helps everything that is wrong with my body,” Willett said. “…I do not use cannabis to get ‘high’ and have a party; I use cannabis to heal my body and bring me closer to my Creator and help make me a better person, a better mom and able to do my job as a mom and be productive in society.”

By Stephanie Mojica
The Advocate Messenger

State to create more community services for persons with serious mental illness

Kentucky Press News Service

Those Kentucky residents who have serious mental illness may receive additional housing and state support after two state agencies have reached agreement on the need to increase such services.

The state Cabinet for Health and Family Services and Kentucky Protection and Advocacy, which protects and promotes the rights of individuals with disabilities, announced Friday they have reached agreement that will provide additional services for eligible persons who have serious mental illness and who live in or are at risk of residing in a personal care home.

P&A Director Marsha Hockensmith said in a news release that her agency has visited many personal care homes across that state over the last four years and the agreement represents a top priority for the agency.

“P&A staff have met with and listened to the requests for assistance from personal care home residents and witnessed their isolation,” Hockensmith said. “Persons with mental illness represent some of the last to receive funding for comprehensive community services and supports in Kentucky. This agreement will afford choice in terms of living arrangement and service array to many persons with mental illness and represents a serious systemic change in Kentucky's treatment of individuals with mental illness. We applaud CHFS’s leadership under Secretary Haynes to address this matter and look forward to assuring that this agreement creates the necessary infrastructure to allow all persons with serious mental illness to successfully live in the community, as is their right.”

It's estimated there are some 2,300 persons, most with serious mental illness, currently receiving the state supplement and residing in personal care homes.

As noted in the agreement, “P&A and the Cabinet acknowledge that the relief . . . will not initially afford relief to all potential class members, but enter into this agreement in good faith based upon the Cabinet’s promises . . . that such supports and services will be expanded to include other individuals in a subsequent agreement.” 

“You don’t get help like this every day,” Donald Dyer, a long-time resident of Waynesburg Manor in Lincoln County and one of the potential named plaintiffs, said in the news release. “Many people don’t know we are out here sick and alone. Waynesburg Manor was not my home. I am happy and joyful I am leaving the personal care home and getting my own place.”

The two agencies began negotiating in order to avoid possible litigation on behalf of individuals with serious mental illness. The agreement was based on the Americans with Disabilities Act, the news release said.

August 12, 2013

How Diet and Activity Affect Weight in Children...

Researchers created a mathematical model that simulates how weight and body fat in children respond to changes in diet and physical activity. The model may offer new insights for addressing childhood obesity.

Young boys pulling on a rope in tug of war game.Young boys pulling on a rope in tug of war game.More than one-third of children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. Excess weight at an early age can lead to lifelong health problems such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Promoting weight loss in children, however, can be complicated. Because their bodies are growing, some weight gain is normal. Excess weight occurs when calories eaten are greater than the energy the body needs. However, growing evidence shows that the body’s metabolism can change as you alter your diet or exercise habits. Keeping track of these metabolic changes can be difficult, especially during childhood growth.

A research team led by Dr. Kevin Hall of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) previously developed a mathematical model that simulates weight changes in adults. In their new study, they set out to adapt the model to capture the unique characteristics of child metabolism. Such a model could be used to predict how well different weight loss approaches might work in children of different ages.

The researchers used clinical data from 5- to 18-year-olds to create the model. To test its effectiveness, the team compared model predictions to actual changes in children that were measured in other clinical studies. As reported online on July 30, 2013, in Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, the researchers developed a model that accurately predicted observed changes in body fat and weight.

Using the model, the scientists were able to identify major differences between obese adults and children. For example, a child under age 10 requires more than twice as many calories as an adult to gain excess weight.

The model suggests that the adolescent growth spurts of obese boys might be harnessed to “outgrow” obesity. By successfully maintaining weight from ages 11 to 16, simulated boys lost their excess body fat. However, the effect wasn’t as pronounced in simulated obese girls, suggesting that obese girls would likely need to lose weight to normalize their body fat during this period.

“Obese children are much more likely to become obese adults, which makes achieving or maintaining a healthy weight early in life vitally important,” says NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers. “This study suggests that we may need to approach weight management and obesity prevention differently in youth than in adults.”

“Our model, which takes growth into consideration, helps quantify realistic goals for weight management in children and adolescents,” Hall says.

Looking forward, researchers are exploring options to develop a user-friendly online tool for health professionals and others. Parents should work with a health care provider before beginning any weight-loss program for an overweight or obese child.

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