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Cannabis use rises among the elderly, finds study

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

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New Delhi, Feb 26 : Cannabis use continues to increase in popularity among adults of 65 years of age and older in the United States, according to a new study.

Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine estimates that cannabis use in adults aged 65 and older increased from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent in the United States — a significant increase of 75 percent — between 2015 and 2018.

With the legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in many states in the US, medical professionals are studying its use in treating a number of chronic health conditions. Since 1996, 31 states have legalized medical marijuana, while 11 states and Washington DC have legalized recreational use.

The survey categorized cannabis use by asking whether marijuana, hashish, pot, grass, or hash oil was either smoked or ingested.

Researchers observed trends in prevalence of past-year cannabis use, broken down by sociodemographic background, chronic disease, healthcare utilization, and other substance use among adults age 65 and older, in the United States, between 2015 and 2018.

Certain subsets of this population saw an even higher rise in prevalence. For example, researchers estimated that past-year use more than doubled by older adults with diabetes, among those who have received mental health treatment, and those reporting past-year alcohol use.

Women, and individuals who were married, had a college degree, or had higher income also significantly increased their cannabis use.

Researchers say they next plan to acquire more detailed information about how medical marijuana affects older populations, its risks and side effects.

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9-minute lights off for solidarity: Indians come together

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Dibyangshu Sarkar / AFP - Getty Images

New Delhi, April 5 (IANSlife) As a gesture and acknowledgement to all those who are on the frontlines in the battle against the COVID-19 outbreak, Indians came together for a nine-minute show of solidarity at 9 pm on Sunday.

On the request of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people across the country switched their lights off, coming out on their rooftops or balconies to light a candle for nine minutes as a salutation for those risking their lives while fighting coronavirus,

The Prime Minister had requested Indians to pay their respects in a video message stating, “We have stood together and fought the coronavirus pandemic togethere We have set an example to the world. In the time of lockdown, we displayed the same unity. Crores of people are in their homes. We might be alone in our homes, but we are not alone in this fight. The Indian society is fighting this together. This Sunday, April 5, we must come together to dissolve the darkness of COVID-19 and bring in light. On April 5, 9pm, I need your nine minutes. Turn off all lights in your home and light lamps, mobile flash lights and torches. We are not alone in this fight. Nobody is alone. But, please do this activity within the confines of your home. Do not violate social distancing.”

India is currently under a 21-day lockdown, imposed by the government, which is one of the strictest steps taken in the fight against the novel coronavirus compared to any other nation in the world.

Many celebrities took to their social media accounts to post pictures in support of what is being called the e#9Baje9Minute’ or e#9pm9minutes’ across online platforms.

Actor Akshay Kumar posted a picture of himself holding a candle at his window commenting, “Together we stand and together we will come out of this dark phase. Till then stay strong, stay safe #9Baje9Minute.” Actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh also shared a picture during this time of self-isolation.

Power couple, cricketer Virat Kohli and actress Anushka Sharma also posted a pictue lighting traditional diyas (candles). Virat commented, “A prayer in unity does make a difference. Pray for every being and stand together,” while Anushka wrote, “I light a diya everyday for many years now. And as I light the diya I seek guidance, asking for the darkness in me to be dispelled. For many days since the turn of the recent events across the world, I have prayed to God to end the suffering of so many who are losing their lives without their families beside them, for the less-fortunate and the needy whose lives have turned upside down completely, for all the healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly & bravely to protect the lives of other beings, for those who are uncertain about their jobs and future. So tonight, I prayed extra for everyone and I lit diyas with the whole of India and we all prayed for each other. Prayers never go in vain,” on their respective Instagram posts.

During this time India has seen the cleanest air levels in almost 3 decades as businesses, industries and transport have come to a standstill. However, while most choose to support the activity, many Indians especially in affluent localities or over crowded societies saw this as an opportunity to light fire crackers, creating both noise pollution and air pollution, which was neither the request nor the motive behind the event.

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How important is speech in transmitting coronavirus

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New York: Normal speech by individuals who are asymptomatic but infected with coronavirus may produce enough aerosolized particles to transmit the infection, according to a new study.

Although it’s not yet known how important this is to the spread of COVID-19, it underscores the need for strict social distancing measures, according to the findings, published in the journal Aerosol Science and Technology.

“Aerosols are particles small enough to travel through the air. Ordinary speech creates significant quantities of aerosols from respiratory particles,” said study lead researcher William Ristenpart, Professor at the University of California, Davis in the US.

These respiratory particles are about one micron, or one micrometre, in diameter. That’s too small to see with the naked eye but large enough to carry viruses such as influenza or SARS-CoV-2.

Last year, Ristenpart, graduate student Sima Asadi and colleagues published a paper showing that the louder one speaks, the more particles are emitted and that some individuals are “superemitters” who give off up to 10 times as many particles as others.

The reasons for this are not yet clear.AIn a follow-up study published in January in PLOS One, they investigated which speech sounds are associated with the most particles.

Calculating just how easily a virus-like SARS-CoV-2 spreads through droplets requires expertise from different fields, the study said.

From virology, researchers need to know how many viruses are in lung fluids, how easily they form into droplets and how many viruses are needed to start an infection.

Aerosol scientists can study how far droplets travel once expelled, how they are affected by air motion in a room and how fast they settle out due to gravity.

“The aerosol science community needs to step up and tackle the current challenge presented by COVID-19, and also help better prepare us for inevitable future pandemics,” the researchers concluded.

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Can water treatment methods kill COVID-19 virus?

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New York, April 4 : As some coronavirus, including the deadly SARS-CoV-19 one responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic, can remain infectious for days — or even longer in sewage and drinking water — researchers have called for more testing to determine whether water treatment methods are effective in killing coronavirus.

The virus can be transported in microscopic water droplets, or aerosols, which enter the air through evaporation or spray, the researchers wrote in an editorial for Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, a leading environmental journal.

The researchers — Haizhou Liu, Associate Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering at the University of California, Riverside in the US; and Professor Vincenzo Naddeo, Director of the Sanitary Environmental Engineering Division at the University of Salerno in Italy — suggest governments of developed countries must support and finance water and sanitation systems wherever they are needed.

“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic highlights the urgent need for a careful evaluation of the fate and control of this contagious virus in the environment,” Liu said.

“Environmental engineers like us are well positioned to apply our expertise to address these needs with international collaborations to protect public health,” Liu said.

During a 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, a sewage leak caused a cluster of cases through aerosolisation.

Though no known cases of COVID-19 have been caused by sewage leaks, the novel coronavirus is closely related to the one that causes SARS, and infection via this route could be possible.

In fact, traces of the novel coronavirus have been found in some wastewater treatment plants in the Netherlands, according to reports.

Fortunately, most water treatment routines are thought to kill or remove coronaviruses effectively in both drinking and wastewater.

Oxidation with hypochlorous acid or peracetic acid, and inactivation by ultraviolet irradiation, as well as chlorine, are thought to kill coronaviruses.

In wastewater treatment plants that use membrane bioreactors, the synergistic effects of beneficial microorganisms and the physical separation of suspended solids filter out viruses concentrated in the sewage sludge.

Liu and Naddeo cautioned, however, that most of these methods have not been studied for effectiveness specifically on SARS-CoV-19 and other coronaviruses, and they have called for additional research.

They also suggested upgrading existing water and wastewater treatment infrastructure in outbreak hot spots, which possibly receive coronavirus from places such as hospitals, community clinics, and nursing homes.

For example, energy-efficient, light-emitting, diode-based, ultraviolet point-of-use systems could disinfect water before it enters the public treatment system.

Potable water-reuse systems, which purify wastewater back into tap water, also need thorough investigation for coronavirus removal, and possibly new regulatory standards for disinfection, the researchers wrote.

The extent to which viruses can colonise biofilms is also not yet known. Biofilms are thin, slimy bacterial growths that line the pipes of many ageing drinking water systems. Better monitoring of coronaviruses in biofilms might be necessary to prevent outbreaks.

If the novel coronavirus could colonise biofilms that line drinking water systems, showerheads might become a possible source of aerosolised transmission.

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