The potential for medical marijuana to curb the growing incidence of opioid analgesic-associated deaths is the focus of an invited commentary in the Aug. 25 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), co-authored by a University of Maine psychology researcher and a physician at Eastern Maine Medical Center.
The invited commentary, “Legalization of Medical Marijuana and Incidence of Opioid Mortality,” by Marie Hayes, a UMaine professor of psychology, and Dr. Mark Brown, chief of pediatrics and director of nurseries at EMMC, references a study in the same JAMA issue examining the link between medical marijuana laws and unintentional overdose mortality from opioid analgesics.
This is the second time in the past two years that Hayes has been tapped for commentary by JAMA as a result of her research on substance-exposed newborns. And in 2013, she also was the co-author on a JAMA research paper.
“The striking implication is that medical marijuana laws, when implemented, may represent a promising approach for stemming runaway rates of nonintentional opioid analgesic-related deaths,” write Hayes and Brown.
Use of medical marijuana to lessen the drive to use opiates at lethal levels in individuals with psychiatric, nonpain-related conditions is particularly promising, the Maine researchers write. That’s critically important for states like Maine, where the rates of opioid analgesic overdose deaths are high, and addiction and related psychiatric disorders represent an estimated 50 percent of opioid analgesic-related deaths.
The question that needs more study, says Hayes, is whether marijuana provides improved pain control that decreases opioid dosing to safer levels.
Since 2009, research led by Hayes and Brown has included the collection of genetic data as part of a longitudinal study of mothers and their substance-exposed newborns. In 2011, Hayes and Brown began collaborating with Drs. Jonathan Davis and Elisha Wachman at Tufts Medical Center to determine which genes would be most helpful in predicting severity of withdrawal symptoms and, ultimately, most effective treatments and lengths of hospital stays.
Their research is part of a $3 million, multi-institution National Institutes of Health (NIH) study led by Davis at Tufts Medical Center and Barry Lester at Brown Medical School. Hayes is a member of the steering committee on the associated clinical trial, providing expertise on genetic polymorphisms and developmental outcomes in neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) infants.
The first findings of the collaborative research with Wachman and Davis at Tufts Medical Center, and Hayes on the genetics of neonatal abstinence syndrome were reported in JAMA in 2013. The research team also included Jonathan Paul, a former UMaine doctoral researcher under Hayes who helped develop the genetic model and who is now an NIH postdoc at the University of Texas Medical Branch.
A year ago, JAMA featured an editorial by Hayes and Brown, “The Epidemic of Prescription Opiate Abuse and Neonatal Abstinence,” detailing the challenges of caring for this vulnerable population, cautioning against defunding maternal treatment programs, and calling for stepped-up research into effective medications and other protocols.
Contact: Margaret Nagle, 207.581.3745
The Graduate School is pleased to invite all graduate faculty, support staff, graduate students and their families to the Annual Graduate School Picnic on September 23, 2014 from 4-6PM on the Stodder Hall Patio (East side). The event will be held rain or shine. Please contact us if you have any questions.
Rebecca Holberton, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Maine, was quoted in a SeacoastOnline article about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using tiny transmitters to study shorebird migration patterns. The tags transmit signals to radio towers on the Northeast coast of the United States and Canada, with two of the towers in the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in Wells, according to the report. The Wells activity is part of a larger project to study migration patterns of semipalmated sandpipers, which began in 2013, the article states. The larger project is co-directed by Holberton and Lindsay Tudor, a shorebird biologist for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Holberton said the project is still at the beginning. “Last year was the first time for shorebird tracking in Maine,” she said. “This is the first year in Wells. It’s the first year with more than one site in Maine. We want to continue and expand to more sites in Maine and more species.” The Associated Press and the Bangor Daily News picked up the SeacoastOnline article. The Portland Press Herald and Maine Public Broadcasting Network carried the AP report.
Jesse Moriarity, coordinator of the University of Maine’s Foster Center for Student Innovation, and Jennifer Hooper, an entrepreneur and mentor coordinator at the center, were featured in the Mainebiz article “Innovation, Maine style: A creativity hub hopes to keep good ideas in-state.” Moriarity and Hooper are co-coordinators of the Bangor Innovation Hub, which is one of five hubs planned for development statewide and funded by Blackstone Accelerates Growth, a three-year, $3 million grant from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation. The hubs are aimed at bridging the gap between good ideas and profitable businesses, according to the article. UMaine is one of the key partners in the Bangor Innovation Hub, along with Husson University and the towns of Orono and Old Town.
WLBZ (Channel 2) reported in its community section, that the Mount Desert Island Historical Society and the University of Maine will announce a new partnership at the society’s annual meeting Aug. 27 in Northeast Harbor. With funding from the University of Maine Humanities Initiative (UMHI), the organizations will create a collaborative internship to engage students of history, new media and other disciplines. The outcomes of the project will depend on the interests of students and faculty, and could range from a redesign of the society’s website, to the development of guided historical tours for handheld computer applications, to ways to explore and present historical research projects, according to the report. “This is precisely the sort of project the Public Humanities Grant program aims to support. We are especially excited about the opportunities for student engagement with Mount Desert Island Historical Society resources and the community,” said Justin Wolff, UMHI director.
Renae Moran, a tree fruit specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, spoke to the Maine Public Broadcasting Network about this year’s apple crop in Maine. According to the report, experts are predicting an excellent crop this year, with good size and color. Moran said most people who pick their own apples will not see much hail damage, and added most apple farms in Maine get a significant portion of their incomes from pick-your-own and retail farm stand sales. Moran said pick-your-own has started in southern Maine with summer varieties. Activity usually picks up after Labor Day, when the main crop harvest begins the second week in September in southern Maine and continues into October in more northern areas, she said.
Daniel Williams, executive director of the University of Maine’s Collins Center for the Arts, spoke to Mainebiz about the Bangor region becoming an entertainment destination. Williams said he remembered when the Collins Center opened its doors in 1986 under the name Maine Center for the Arts. “It changed our community overnight. I believe the MCA was the start of a cultural experiment that has been wildly successful. Ten or 15 years ago, we heard a lot of talk about the creative economy. I think we are seeing that concept in full swing in greater Bangor,” he said. Indigenous arts at CCA’s Hudson Museum and fine arts at the University of Maine’s Museum of Art in downtown Bangor were also recognized in the article. An economic impact study on Bangor’s Waterfront Concerts conducted by UMaine economics professor Todd Gabe also was cited in the article. Gabe found from 2010 to 2013, the series drew more than 300,000 people to the region.
The Portland Press Herald, USA Today, Inquisitir and the New York Daily News cited statistics from the Lobster Institute at the University of Maine in articles about a 14-year-old girl from Old Orchard Beach who caught a bright blue lobster in a trap off Pine Point in Scarborough. According to the Lobster Institute, about 1 in 2 million lobsters is blue.
Darren J. Reid, a visiting research scholar in the University of Maine William S. Cohen Center, wrote an op-ed in the Bangor Daily News about the Sept. 18 Scottish independence referendum. Reid said the vote of the people of Scotland whether to remain part of the United Kingdom or become the 196th independent country on the planet, “will have serious ramifications for the United Kingdom, Europe and also the U.S.,” including having possible implications for U.S. foreign policy. Discussion about Scotland’s independence has centered on democracy, political representation and redistribution of wealth. “I strongly believe in the importance of American engagement in the debate, and for the U.S. government and citizens alike, to give serious consideration to the implications of an independent Scottish state and a reduced U.K.,” Reid wrote.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the Maine State Beekeepers Association (MSBA) will offer Beginner Bee School, 6–8:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Oct. 1-29, at Anderson Learning Center, 21 Bradeen St., Springvale.
Instructor Larry Peiffer, master beekeeper and former MSBA vice president, will discuss honeybee colonies, hive construction, pests and diseases and honey production. During the five-week course, participants will also observe area hives and gain hands-on experience during a field lab. Cost is $90 per person/$130 for two people who share the text and materials. A one-year membership in the York County Beekeepers Association is included with the fee. Sept. 19 is the deadline to register.
More information, including registration, is available online or by contacting the UMaine Extension York County office at 800.287.1535 (in state), 207.324.2814 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To request a disability accommodation, call Frank Wertheim, 800.287.1535 (in state) or 207.324.2814.
Three University of Maine business students — Brent Martin of Acton, Craig Blackwell of Corinth and Casey Libby of Hollis Center — have been chosen for Patriot Insurance scholarships. Six other students attending the University of Southern Maine, Central Maine Community College, Thomas College and Saint Joseph’s College also received awards. The scholarships totaled $62,000. The scholarship are awarded to Maine high school graduates studying business at Maine colleges and universities. More information about the scholarships awarded by Patriot Insurance, based in Yarmouth, is online.
WCSH6 interviewed University of Maine student Emily Mayer about the exhibit of moon jellies and lion’s manes jellies – commonly called jellyfish — she designed during her summer internship at the Maine State Aquarium in Boothbay Harbor.
A number of media outlets covered the induction of three University of Maine sports legends —Joanne Palombo-McCallie, Rachel Bouchard and Thomas “Skip” Chappelle — into the newly formed Maine Basketball Hall of Fame. UMaine graduate, former men’s player and Maine Basketball Hall of Fame vice chair Tony Hamlin emceed Thursday night’s inaugural event at Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. The Portland Press Herald, 92.9 The Ticket, Bangor Daily News, WABI-TV5 and WCSH6 were among the outlets to cover the ceremony.
All New Graduate Teaching Assistants and New Graduate Students are invited to attend the Graduate School's Annual Orientations on August 27th and 28th. The TA Orientation will be conducted in Stodder Hall on Wednesday, August 27th, and the New Graduate Student Orientation will be conducted at Neville Hall in Room 101 on Thursday, August 28th. Please continue to check here for updated agendas (below).
WABI-TV5 and Fox 22 covered the University of Maine football team’s “Meet the Bears” event Aug. 20, on Morse Field at Harold Alfond Sports Stadium. About 250 youth took part in fun drills, and met coaches and players.
Lu Zeph, director of the Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies at the University of Maine, wrote a tribute to the late Vermont U.S. Sen. James Jeffords that was published on the website of the national network, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Zeph is an AUCD public policy co-chair.
WVII (Channel 7) reported on the Art in the Garden event held at Rogers Farm in Old Town, which is part of the University of Maine’s J.F. Witter Teaching and Research Center. The demonstration garden at the farm is maintained by Master Gardener volunteers. The event featured live music, food, demonstrations on pressing flowers, children’s activities and poems read in the garden. Kate Garland, a horticulturist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, said she’s always happy to see new faces at the farm and hopes it attracts as many people as it can. “We want to showcase the wonderful work the Master Gardeners have been doing all season long and welcome a broad range of people into the garden,” Garland said.
WABI (Channel 5) reported the University of Maine football team will host its annual Meet the Black Bears free football clinic at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 20 at Alfond Stadium. Participants of all ages are welcome to meet players and coaches, get posters and autographs, and enjoy pizza. Jack Cosgrove, head coach of the football team, said about 200 children attended last year, and he would like to continue to the grow the event.
John Jemison, a soil and water quality specialist with the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, was featured in the latest installment of the “Backyard Gardener” series on WVII (Channel 7). Jemison spoke about planting fall crops such as spinach and arugula as summer gardening wanes and space becomes available in the garden. He also suggested gardeners plant cover crops such as a mixture of peas and oats to amend the soil before putting the garden to bed for the winter.