Today in Research: One Reason to Legalize Medical Marijuana; More

Discovered: a more competitive age group, why that person who never sleeps has so much energy, learning from weightless space worms and the latest salvo in the "legalize it" debate.

  • The latest salvo in the endless debate over legalizing medical marijuana. It would seem to take a lot of ifs to theorize that the legalization of marijuana would lead to fewer people drinking and driving and would, therefore, lead to fewer traffic fatalities from drunk drivers. But legalize advocates appear to have new (but not yet peer-reviewed, an important indicator of some scientific acceptance) research on their side with a study by two professors who found "passage of state medical-marijuana laws is associated with a subsequent drop in the rate of traffic fatalities." The study touts a nine percent decrease in traffic deaths and a five percent drop in beer sales in those states. As The Denver Post carefully noted, the "study stops short of saying the medical-marijuana laws cause the drop in traffic deaths" but the implication is there. [The Denver Post, Eurekalert]
  • Here's a theory about why that person at work who never sleeps always has so much energy. It has nothing to do with coffee, or any other stimulants, but it is sort of an obvious research go-to theory: "German scientists have found a gene variant that may be responsible for some people's short sleeping habits," The Los Angeles Times informs. Ah, the old gene varient theory. "[R]esearchers found that those who had two copies of a variant of the ABCC9 gene slept for short amounts of time, briefer than those who had two copies of another form of the gene." An apparent downside: "That same gene has also been associated with heart disease and diabetes." [The Los Angeles Times]

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