Parents spend weekend with juniors on campus

first_img Parents and juniors attended college workshops Saturday morning, Connors said. In the workshops, parents learned about what their sons and daughters have studied the past three years. “A lot of families come. It’s like another football weekend,” JPW 2011 chairperson Erin Connors said. “I really wanted to show them was how I spent my time,” she said. “They met all of my friends.” “It’s an exhausting process,” junior Drew Davis said. “But it’s a treat having my parents in town and it was a lot of fun. “I loved the Gala because we got dinner with our family first and you got to see everyone’s parents,” she said. “People would say, ‘You look so much like your mom or your dad.’” Junior Stephanie Ruas went to the Mendoza presentation with her parents. As parents returned home, campus activity settled down once again and juniors prepared for the week ahead. For the past three days, Notre Dame juniors and parents roamed campus to experience events offered by this year’s celebration of the annual Junior Parents Weekend (JPW). Sunday, parents said goodbye at the Closing Brunch where University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh gave a closing benediction. Chuck Lennon, executive director of the Alumni Association, also gave a farewell speech. While activities and academic presentations were major components of the weekend, Ruas said showing her parents how she lived on campus was the most important part. The weekend began Friday evening, Connors said, with an Opening Gala that featured a cash bar, DJ and photographer. Later, juniors and parents emerged from dorms Saturday evening clad in formal attire for the mass and President’s Dinner with University President Fr. John Jenkins. More than 4,000 people attended, Connors said. Fr. Tom Doyle, vice president for Student Affairs, gave a homily accompanied by an opening and closing prayer by University President Emeritus Fr. Edward “Monk” Malloy and Ryan Hall rector Breyan Tornifolio. “I introduced them to once of my professors and then we went off to a breakout group for marketing,” she said.last_img read more

Zach Braff Has a Religious Experience at Hand to God

first_imgBroadway alum Zach Braff made a new friend on May 1: Hand to God’s evil sock puppet Tyrone! After catching the new Tony-nominated comedy by Robert Askins, Braff went backstage to sing the praises of Tyrone and his co-stars, including Tony nominees Steven Boyer, Geneva Carr and Sarah Stiles. Check out these Hot Shots of Braff hanging out with the cast (and the Devil an innocent puppet), then see the outrageous comedy at the Booth Theatre! Hand to God Show Closed This production ended its run on Jan. 3, 2016 Related Shows View Commentslast_img

A Murder In The Woods: The Mystery Behind Shenandoah National Park’s Last Homicide

first_imgIn May of 1996, Julianne “Julie” Williams and Laura “Lollie” Winans walked into the woods and never came out alive. Their double-murder sparked shock and fear within Shenandoah National Park, where they were murdered at their backcountry campsite, and far beyond, prompting a nation-wide search for their killer. I was in high school when Julie and Lollie were murdered. If I heard the news as it unfolded, I don’t remember. But a year after their death Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods was published and opened a previously unknown chamber inside of me. At the time, I was just a kid in Ohio who took solace in nature. But in Bryson’s kooky memoir about walking the Appalachian Trail, I found an obsession, enthralled by the idea that one could walk over 2,000 miles without ever leaving the forest. It was in one of the years that followed, as my curiosity about the Appalachian Trail deepened, that I first learned of Julie and Lollie.Julie and Lollie weren’t hiking the Appalachian Trail when they were murdered, but their bodies were discovered not far from the popular footpath. As I learned more about their lives, I began to see myself reflected in their stories—Julie’s love of travel, Lollie’s belief in the transformative powers of testing oneself in the outdoors. Reading between the lines, I could sense their yearning to find themselves, to build a simple and meaningful life. It was the same desire that drove me to eventually make my home in Western North Carolina, so many years after first feeling the pull of the Appalachian Mountains.A double-murder in ShenandoahOn Sunday May 19, 1996, Julie Williams and Lollie Winans embarked on a backpacking trip in Shenandoah National Park with their golden retriever, Taj.Julianne WilliamsJulianne WilliamsJulie, 24, of St. Cloud, Minnesota and Lollie, 26, of Unity, Maine, pitched their tent off of one of Shenandoah National Park’s horse trails. They chose a peaceful spot next to a mountain stream, which, investigators later noted, may have drowned out the sound of approaching footsteps.The women had met nearly two years before at Woodswomen, a now-defunct nonprofit organization in Minnesota focusing on education and adventure travel for women. It was there in the isolated lakes of the Boundary Waters and the towering pine forests of northern Minnesota that they connected—two people from very different backgrounds bound by their love of the outdoors.According to journalist Barry Yeoman in a story for Out, Lollie was a “microbrew-drinking, Phish-following, cigarette-smoking, good-time girl.” She was from a well-to-do family in Michigan but rejected the privilege of her birth. She left home after high school and enrolled in college in Vermont, though she eventually dropped out. A few years later, in 1994, she enrolled in Unity College near Waterville, Maine and began studying to become a wilderness guide. By all accounts Lollie loved the outdoors and wanted to give others the experience of finding themselves in the wilderness, as she had.Laura WilnansLaura WinansJulie was a geologist in the making, a high-achiever and sports enthusiast who won the Minnesota state double tennis championship in high school and traveled to Europe in college to study the extinction of dinosaurs. She graduated summa cum laude, spoke Spanish, and worked with the disenfranchised, including migrants and people suffering abuse. After college she struck out for Richmond, Vermont and took a job at a bookstore in Burlington. Her future was bright and flourishing. The trip she planned with Lollie in Shenendoah was, in fact, a celebration of a new job that she was set to start in Lake Champlain, Vermont on June 1, 1996.Instead, that was the day that park rangers found her body.On May 31, 1996, Thomas Williams, Julie’s father, reported his daughter missing. Park Rangers started a search and located Julie and Lollie’s car just north of Skyland Lodge. “We started doing hasty searches to cover all of those trail corridors in that general area to see if we could locate them,” explains Bridget Bohnet, Deputy Chief Ranger at Shenandoah National Park. “At some point during those hasty searches we did locate the dog.” Taj, the golden retriever, was wandering through the park unleashed.The next evening, on June 1, 1996, rangers found the bodies of Julie and Lollie at their campsite on Bridal Trail, a part of the horse trail system that runs from Big Meadows to Skyland.Their wooded campsite was only a quarter mile down the trail from Skyline Drive and a half-mile from Skyland Lodge, a popular gathering place with a bar, restaurant and cabins. It was the weekend after Memorial Day, and the lodge must have been jam-packed with hikers and tourists itching to get a jumpstart on the summer. I’ve stood on the balcony of the lodge myself, sipping a beer and staring out over the Shenandoah Valley as color slowly leaked from the evening sky. It’s unfathomable to think that within a ten-minute hike from this popular location, two women could be bound and gagged and have their throats slashed, and their killer could disappear without a trace. But sometime after May 24, 1996, the date that Julie and Lollie were last seen, that’s exactly what happened.It also seems nearly impossible that two bodies could lay undiscovered in such a popular part of the park on a busy holiday weekend but, as Bohnet explains, one of the backcountry regulations at the time was that backpackers had to camp away from designated trails, fire roads, and developed areas. “It wasn’t a heavily used or heavily traveled trail,” says Bohnet. “They were following the backcountry regulations at the time which required them to be out of sight.”Photos left behind in their camera give a glimpse of the last few days of Julie and Lollie’s lives. The women arrived in Shenandoah National Park on May 19, 1996 and launched off into the woods on the Whiteoak Canyon Trail, emerging again a few days later due to rain. According to Yeoman, they hitched a ride with a park ranger and renewed their camping permit before setting out again. They climbed Hawksbill, the highest mountain in Shenandoah, before making camp that night in an idyllic spot next to a stream near the Appalachian Trail.At some point shortly thereafter, Julie and Lollie’s lives violently ended.The challenges of solving crimes in National ParksScroll through the National Park Service’s list of cold cases and you’ll find that it’s easy to disappear in the woods. There are a number of reasons that people go missing, most of which are attributed to accidental falls or wrong turns. Statistically, when it comes to crime, public lands are incredibly safe. In fact, Julie and Lollie’s murders were the last to happen in Shenandoah National Park.“We don’t have a lot of crime in the park,” says Sally Hurlbert, Management Specialist at Shenandoah National Park. Hurlbert had just started working at Shenandoah when Julie and Lollie were murdered. “It was very intense,” she remembers. “We were all very scared and worried about it.”But when a crime does occur in a National Park, the investigation that follows is often more complex than if the crime had occurred off of public land.“The first step in conducting an investigation in a national park is identifying what the jurisdiction of the land is where the incident occurred,” says Christopher Smith, Special Agent in Charge of Operations for the National Park Service Investigative Services Branch (ISB). The ISB acts as the investigative arm of the National Park Service. They are responsible for investigating crimes that occur in, or affect, the National Parks.Shenandoah National Park is exclusive federal jurisdiction, which means that only the Federal government has law enforcement authority. “Our law enforcement staff was involved in the initial crime scene security,” explains Bohnet. “We had special agents that are part of the National Park Service handling the investigation in conjunction with the FBI. We also worked with the Virginia State Police’s crime scene unit to have them come and process the crime scene along with the FBI, because at the time we did not have the equipment.”Aside from the complications that can come from a multi-jurisdictional investigation, investigations can also become problematic due to the nature of crimes on public lands, which often occur outside.“Several factors make conducting investigations in National Park Service sites challenging,” explains Smith. The first factor is that so many people are coming and going from the park each day. The year that Julie and Lollie were murdered, 1.57 million people visited the park. That kind of transient environment allows the perpetrator to easily slip through park gates unnoticed.Locating, accessing, collecting and preserving evidence outdoors also make solving crimes on public lands more challenging. “Any type of crime that occurs in an outdoor environment, your crime scene is probably ten times larger than it would be in a residence,” explains Bohnet. “You have the initial crime scene where something happened and then you have the outer crime scene because you don’t know which way the person came in or went. So the crime scene in and of itself tends to be larger and harder to contain and process.”Another factor is that the discovery of the crime may be delayed because of the remoteness or solitude of its location. “We had that problem with Lollie and Julie’s case,” says Bohnet. “We had to find them first. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”In the years that followed the discovery of the women’s bodies, the National Park Service and the FBI joined forces to conduct a nationwide search for their killer, including following up on an estimated 15,000 leads.For over a year, nothing happened. Until one day in July 1997 when the tranquility of Shenandoah National Park was shattered once again.A suspect emergesShenandoah’s Skyline Drive is a popular place for a bike ride and in July 1997, that’s what Yvonne Malbasha, a tourist from Canada, had come to do. As she pedaled the mountainous road, admiring the Blue Ridge views, Malbasha was forced off the road and off her bike by a man driving a truck. He screamed sexual profanities at her as he stepped from his vehicle, enraged, and tried to force her inside. Malbasha was able to fight him off and took cover behind a tree as the man reentered his truck and tried numerous times to run her over. He eventually gave up and sped away, and rangers apprehended him as he was attempting to leave the park. Later, when investigators searched his vehicle they found hand and leg restraints hidden inside.Not much is known about the attacker, Darrell David Rice. At the time of Malbasha’s attack he was in his late twenties and living in Columbia, Maryland, a single guy with no kids. Although he had no previous criminal record, reporting done by The Hook, a now-shuttered weekly newspaper out of Charlottesville, Virginia, states that Rice was fired from his job at Maryland’s MCI Systemhouse in June 1997 because he was extremely hostile at work. Rice’s former co-workers told investigators that he yelled sexual and other profanities at them, punched a hole in the wall of the men’s bathroom, stole their lunches, bumped into them so that they’d spill their coffee and took down one woman’s picture and threw it in the trash.In 1998, Darrell David Rice pled guilty to the attempted abduction of Malbasha. He was sentenced to 135 months in a Petersburg, Virginia federal penitentiary. Interviews after his arrest led prosecutors to believe Rice may have been involved with Julie and Lollie’s murders. The Hook reports that prosecution documents stated: “Rice became a possible suspect for a variety of reasons, including the obvious parallels in geographic location, the predatory behavior exhibited, and the exclusive selection of female victims.” The Hook also claims that Rice “was videotaped entering the park at Front Royal at 8:05pm on May 25, and again at Rockfish Gap at 4:57pm on May 26. He returned with his friends Caryl and Robert Ruckert on June 1.” Rice denied that he was in the park on May 25 and May 26 but did admit that he was there on June 1.With circumstantial evidence in hand, on April 10, 2001, nearly five years after their deaths, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced the indictment of Darrell David Rice in the murder of Julie Williams and Lollie Winans.Julie and Lollie were lovers, a fact that threatened to steal headlines in 1996. In a news conference announcing Rice’s indictment, prosecutors alleged that, “Rice has stated on several occasions that he enjoys assaulting women because they are, in his words, quote, ‘more vulnerable,’ close quote, than men.” Additionally, prosecutors stated that Rice said the women deserved to die because they were gay.Rice was charged with four counts of capital murder, two of which alleged he selected his victims because of their sexual orientation. Because Rice was charged with a hate crime, his indictment invoked a federal sentencing enhancement. If convicted, Rice could receive the death penalty.But he was never sentenced.Though prosecutors spent years building the case against Rice, they lacked forensic evidence. Then, in 2003, a hair found at the crime scene was tested. DNA results indicated that it did not match Rice or the victims. After that, the case fell apart. In 2004 the charges against Darrell David Rice were dismissed “without prejudice,” meaning he could still be charged at a later date.Because the murder of Julie and Lollie is still an active investigation, the FBI will not discuss persons of interest. No one has been convicted of the murders, and Rice was released from prison in 2011. The last reported sighting of Rice was in 2014 when police in Durango, Colorado began receiving calls from frightened residents saying they’d seen him in the area. Durango Police Chief Jim Spratlen said people were overreacting, adding, “all I know is he’s not wanted, and we ain’t looking for him.”Still waiting for answersLast year, around the twentieth anniversary of Julie and Lollie’s murders, the FBI circulated a press release and updated posters. “The case remains an open and active investigation,” says Dee Rybiski of the FBI. “It’s our hope that any continued coverage of the girls’ murders will one day generate that one crucial piece of information that may bring someone to justice and peace for their families.”Today, Julie and Lollie would be 45 and 47 years old. And while time marches on, the women are still remembered by their loved ones, the FBI, and the old timers at Shenandoah who were working in the park all those years ago. “When I found out that they were geologists, that hit me because I’m a geologist,” remembers Hurlbert. “I felt bad knowing that they were out having a good time, looking at the rocks, enjoying themselves and then something horrible like that happened.”“I was a very young ranger at the time and it affected my career. Before that, I may not have taken the law enforcement part of my job as seriously as I do now. I was a backcountry seasonal, you know? I was having a blast,” says Bohnet. “I didn’t think about people getting murdered in the park. I changed the way I thought about things after that. I changed the way I trained for things. I changed a lot of stuff about how I did my job. It had a profound effect on me and I know it did on the people who worked that case.”Over two decades have passed since Julie and Lollie were killed in Shenandoah National Park. The shock of their murders is now just a shadow on an otherwise peaceful recreational paradise that I, like many others, will return to again and again. But the next time I climb Old Rag, or stargaze at Big Meadows, I will remember Julie and Lollie, two lives cut short while enjoying a place that so many of us love.If you have any information concerning the murder of Julianne “Julie” Williams or Laura “Lollie” Winans, please contact the FBI-Richmond Division at (804) 261-1044. Two hikers attacked on Appalachian Trail Saturday, one victim deadlast_img read more

Significant Progress in Providing Aid to Quake Victims in Haiti

first_imgBy Dialogo February 03, 2010 The United Nations reports significant progress has been made in providing assistance to hundreds of thousands of quake victims in Haiti. A senior U.N. official says the relief operation is being scaled up on all levels, with shelter topping the list of priorities. The United Nations says things may be improving, but the crisis in earthquake-devastated Haiti is far from over. U.N. officials report nearly one-half million people have left the capital Port-au-Prince for outlying areas. They say 90 percent of these people are staying with host families who are in need of assistance. U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes calls Haiti a particularly difficult and complicated operation. He says he understands the frustration of aid workers who are not able to quickly reach the survivors with desperately needed assistance. “What I think we can see now is that we are beginning to make really significant progress in doing that, particularly on the food side, but, in some other areas as well,” Holmes said. “So, the scaling up is happening significantly now … But, we still have a significant way to go before we reach everybody with the aid that they need.” Holmes says health care for the injured and sick is getting better, although it still is not good. He notes most life-saving operations have taken place. But vital drugs are still lacking, and there need to be more surveillance systems to monitor the outbreak of epidemics. He says most people are receiving water, but sanitation must be improved and 7,000 latrines must be built in Port-au-Prince. He says more people are receiving food and the World Food Program aims to reach two million people in the next 10 days. “The number of people being reached with the basic food they need, rice and ready-to-eat meals where appropriate is scaling up in the way we all want to see,” Holmes said. “That is an operation that is being conducted on the basis of coupons and so it can be more easily targeted than the very quick and dirty distributions, if I call it that way, which were being used in the first couple of weeks. So, I think there is good progress being made there.” Holmes says tens of thousands of people will need tents, plastic sheets and tarpaulins before the rainy and hurricane seasons start in a few months. He says there are not many tents in Haiti, but 50,000 tents are in the pipeline and are expected to arrive shortly. “I think there was a desire to avoid creating large camps, which have a tendency to become permanent over time rather than temporary,” Holmes said. “There is a problem of space for large camps, certainly in the immediate vicinity of Port-au-Prince. Therefore, it was also clear to people looking at this that people did not want to go away from Port-au-Prince into large camps. They wanted to stay close to their homes.” U.N. humanitarian chief Holmes says many of the quake survivors are still in the rubble of their own homes because they want to be close to where they used to live and work.last_img read more

CUNA CEO Council launched at America’s Credit Union Conference

first_img 7SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Credit Union National Association has announced that CUNA CEO Council, the newest addition to CUNA Councils, launched at America’s Credit Union Conference, June 26-29, 2016, in Seattle.“Given its emphasis on the newest trends and the future of the credit union movement, America’s Credit Union Conference was the perfect venue to debut the CUNA CEO Council,” said Nader Moghaddam, executive committee chair of the CUNA CEO Council and president and CEO of Financial Partners Credit Union in Downey, CA. “Attendees were among the first to join together onsite to participate in a dialogue on issues that are front and center for credit union CEOs.”CUNA CEO Council seeks to unite credit union CEOs from across the country through a trusted, relevant network designed to facilitate open discussion, problem solving and cooperation. continue reading »last_img read more

How to use analytics to identify at-risk members

first_img continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The COVID-19 pandemic is roiling credit union members’ finances in unprecedented fashion, and forward-leaning cooperatives are slicing and dicing data as quickly and deeply as they ever have to find out who’s at financial risk and how much risk is involved, including for the credit unions themselves.Analytics directors from across the United States regularly talk with about the tools they’re using, how often they’re using them, and what they’re learning about how to use analytics more effectively.Sharing their insight and best practices below are Daniel Hirschlein of Grow Financial Federal Credit Union($2.8B, Tampa FL), Mike Wiseman of CAP COM Federal Credit Union($2.0B, Albany, NY), and John Sahagian of BCU($4.0B, Vernon Hills, IL).last_img read more

Newly-formed E4C Shipping behind tanker order at Hyundai Mipo

first_img Posted: 2 months ago “The owners of the Ecco Group have decided to invest in the Newco E4C Shipping Pte Ltd. as an isolated good investment opportunity with professional partners with a proven track record within the field of ship building and shipping,” Ecco Holding confirmed to Offshore Energy in a separate statement. Vessels When delivered, the vessels “will be amongst the most fuel-efficient product tankers operating in the world”, according to the JV. The contract for the petrochemical tanker pair, which also includes two options, was unveiled earlier this week by Hyundai Mipo. The 50,000 dwt newbuilds will have a length of 183 metres and a width of 32.2 metres. They are scheduled for delivery in the third quarter next year. Categories: Singapore-based E4C Shipping Pte Ltd, a newly-formed joint venture company, has ordered two medium-range (MR) product tankers from South Korea’s Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD). Hyundai Mipo secures orders for petrochemical carrier quartetcenter_img “We are delighted to place an order for vessels of such a high specification from the pre-eminent product tanker shipyard in the world. We look forward to working alongside our highly professional investment partners on this transaction,” Carsten Mortensen, founding partner of Dee4 Capital Partners, commented. As explained, the ships will be demonstrating substantial savings on CO2 emissions as against existing tonnage on the water, for the benefit of the environment and in savings to the owners and charterers of the vessels. “Ecco Holding A/S is already an investment partner with Dee4 Capital Partners, states Søren Dalsgaard Stier, Managing Director of ECCO Holding A/S”. Posted: 2 months ago E4C will be managed by a board representing the investors. Day-to-day operations will be overseen by Dee4 Capital Partners, reporting to the board of E4C. E4C is comprised of entities and individuals affiliated with Danish shoe manufacturer Ecco Holding A/S, Swiss commodity trading company Gunvor Group and Dee4 Capital Partners ApS, a Danish private equity firm focussed on maritime-related investments.last_img read more

Same-Sex Marriage – What does a mum tell her children?

first_imgPublic Discourse 17 June 2013Deborah Savage is a professor of philosophy and pastoral ministry in the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas.To demand that we recognize same-sex romantic relationships as marriages, and teach our children so, is to prevent them from discovering reality…Those of us for whom same-sex marriage has been, until now, almost impossible to contemplate, have some things to figure out. Of those, the most urgent is the question of what we are to tell our children.I am the mother of a ten-year-old girl, a beautiful child, more precious to me than anything you can imagine. When, on June 1, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of Minnesota, I needed to know what to tell her. How is this supposed to work—actually—in the concrete world of a ten-year-old child and her mother? Her father is wondering too, of course, but he is rather speechless at the moment. And the way it works in our house, though he is really good at protecting her from possible physical threats, it usually falls to me to protect her from the more psychological threats she encounters occasionally in her young life. But this is a new one. So I need some advice.In the interests of full disclosure, I should state that, as a philosopher, I have gotten fairly skilled at treating the philosophical errors of our age in the classroom setting. But a ten-year-old is at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to the arguments I have developed against relativism, nominalism, dualism, materialism, and so on. And then of course, parenting comes with its own specific challenges. So I am hoping those who advocate same-sex marriage have given some thought to this, eager as they seem to be to take on the task of parenting themselves.…With her child’s natural grasp of real things, she already knows that married people have babies, and she knows it has something to do with mothers and fathers. But since our state has declared that the categories of mother and father are no longer relevant for marriage, that marriage has nothing really to do with children, how shall I explain to her where babies come from? She already knows that little people like her would not even exist in a world where same-sex marriage was the norm. Do I get to make any claims about the fact that only a mommy and a daddy can actually produce one?And what shall I tell her about what her body is for? Am I to tell her that it is sort of like a ship and her personal identity is the equivalent of the ship’s pilot, someone in charge but not personally affected by any damages to the vehicle in which she is riding? That her identity has actually nothing to do with her embodiment in a female body? That self- consciousness resides in her mind and that at some point it will simply be a matter of discerning which way her body is leading her? (She is pretty smart and so she might ask me if those two ideas don’t contradict each other somehow; any guidance on that would be appreciated). read more

Is marijuana a ‘gateway’ drug? Most scientists still aren’t sure

first_imgLas Vegas Review Journal 30 October 2016Family First Comment: If the ‘jury is still out’, we should definitely not be liberalising it!Discussions of legalizing the use of marijuana often revolve around the contention that pot functions as a “gateway drug” — a substance that can lead individuals to abuse “harder” substances like cocaine or heroin.“There’s not enough evidence to prove (it) one way or another,” said Nathan Gillespie, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University who has done research on drug use and genetics.SOME SCIENTISTS ARE PERSUADEDA commonly cited 2015 article on marijuana’s potential “gateway” properties in The International Journal on Drug Policy, based on responses to a national survey on use of alcohol and other mind-altering substances, found that about 45 percent of adults who used cannabis at some point progressed to use of at least one other illicit drug.The strong correlation between marijuana use and use of harder drugs found by that study and similar research has supported the belief of some scientists that the link is real.In an April opinion piece in The New York Times titled “Marijuana Has Proven to Be a Gateway Drug,” Robert L. DuPont, president of the Institute for Behavior and Health and a past director of NIDA, argued that legalizing marijuana would expand the country’s drug abuse problem.“Like nearly all people with substance abuse problems, most heroin users initiated their drug use early in their teens, usually beginning with alcohol and marijuana. There is ample evidence that early initiation of drug use primes the brain for enhanced later responses to other drugs,” he wrote.A series of studies on animals have bolstered the gateway theory, finding that tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana, can increase the risk for addiction to nicotine and opiates, though other published studies have cast doubt on the opiate claim.Critics of the gateway argument in regard to marijuana say the animal studies fall short of establishing a causal connection and more studies of marijuana’s effects on humans are needed.They also note that similar correlations have been found with alcohol and nicotine. A 2011 journal article in Science Translational Medicine, for instance, found that nicotine also altered the brain, making it easier for users to become addicted to cocaine.Some researchers believe environment and accessibility play primary roles in people’s progression from marijuana to harder substances, according to the NIDA website.Instead of a gateway-type theory proposing that marijuana leads to use of harder substances, proponents of this theory believe the movement from drug to drug is predicated on outside factors like genetics or environment.“An alternative to the gateway-drug hypothesis is that people who are more vulnerable to drug-taking are simply more likely to start with readily available substances like marijuana, tobacco or alcohol, and their subsequent social interactions with other substance users increases their chances of trying other drugs,” NIDA says.A third theory indicates use of the drugs is a mixture of gateway effects, genetics and other factors.Because marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, research involving the substance has been tightly controlled in the past. However, the DEA announced in August it would allow more approved growers to distribute the drug to authorized institutions to foster research. That, in turn, could pave the way for comprehensive studies that could put the debate to rest.Gillespie said a lengthy study of twins could definitively answer the question.Such a study would allow scientists to control for factors like genetics and environment, Gillespie said, and demonstrate once and for all what role marijuana use plays, if any, in leading a user down the path to addiction.“The correct models have never been properly or adequately tested,” he said.READ MORE: read more

British Ebola survivor cleared of misleading doctors

first_imgAn ambulance pulls away from The Royal Free hospital in north London on Janurary 3, 2015, where it was announced that British nurse Pauline Cafferkey, who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, is in ‘critical condition’. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLISLONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) – A British nurse who recovered after contracting Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014 was Wednesday cleared by a disciplinary panel of misleading doctors about her health when returning to Britain.The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) launched a disciplinary hearing against Pauline Cafferkey, 40, over accusations she knew her temperature was dangerously high when she received a screening check-up on arrival at London’s Heathrow Airport – but allowed a lower temperature to be recorded.An independent panel in Edinburgh ruled that the three charges against her were not proven, that she had not set out to mislead health authorities and that her ability to practise again was “not impaired”.Panel chairman Timothy Cole said there was “compelling and clear medical evidence” that the illness impaired Cafferkey’s ability to make clear decisions, according to the Press Association.Her health was “going rapidly downhill” at the time of her screening and the process “occurred in circumstances characterised as disorganised and chaotic,” he added.The nurse’s lawyer later issued a statement saying she would “never knowingly” put lives at risk and that she was “relieved the process is at an end”.Cafferkey became infected with the deadly virus while working in Sierra Leone in December 2014, but returned home unaware of her illness.A doctor screening Cafferkey at Heathrow found her temperature to be 38.2 degrees, which would require further testing under rules imposed by health authorities. The doctor told the hearing that a member of the group recording the values – “Registrant A” – suggested it be noted down as 37.2 degrees, thereby avoiding having to undergo further tests.“Registrant A stated… that she would record the temperature as 37.2 degrees on Ms Cafferkey’s screening form and then they would ‘get out of here and sort it out’,” NMC representative Anu Thompson told the hearing Tuesday.“Ms Cafferkey has stated she recalls the words ‘let’s get out of here’ being used but now cannot remember who said it or who entered the temperature of 37.2 on her screening form,” Thompson added.Cafferkey travelled to her hometown of Glasgow the same day as she arrived back in Britain. It was the next day that she was diagnosed with Ebola after waking up and feeling “very unwell”.Cafferkey was successfully treated within weeks of her diagnosis but suffered a relapse in October 2015, when she became critically ill with meningitis linked to Ebola.She made a full recovery but was admitted for a third time in February to London’s Royal Free Hospital, Britain’s only isolation ward for Ebola, due to another relapse and again recovered.More than 11,300 people died from the disease before the World Health Organization declared last month that the two-year Ebola outbreak in west Africa was over, although Sierra Leone has since recorded new cases. Tweet Share Share 48 Views   no discussionscenter_img Sharing is caring! HealthInternationalLifestylePrint British Ebola survivor cleared of misleading doctors by: Associated Free Press – September 14, 2016 Sharelast_img read more