photo

Panee, Jun PhD

Pilot Project PI
Associate Professor
Department of Cell & Molecular Biology
John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Hawai’i at Manoa

(808) 692-1521
junchen@hawaii.edu




Research Overview

2014-2015 RMATRIX Collaboration Pilot Projects Program Awards

Project Description

Title: Influences of Obesity and Marijuana Use on Cognitive Function
Principal Investigator: Jun Panee, PhD
RMATRIX HEALTH Initiative(s): Nutrition & Metabolic
RMATRIX Core Support: Biostatistics & Health Sciences Data Analytics, Regulatory Knowledge and Support, Biospecimen Repository

Abstract

Obesity is a major health disparity in Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (NHPI), and being obese is associated with slightly poorer cognitive function. In addition, NHPI, including the youth, has high prevalence of marijuana (MJ) use which further increases appetite and negatively affect cognition. Since chronic MJ use not only increases visceral adiposity and adipose tissue insulin resistance, but also affects memory, attention and executive function, the concurrence of MJ exposure and obesity may additively or synergistically affect cognition in adults, and even irreversibly affect brain development in the youth. Therefore, this emerging health issue, associated with both metabolic health and the cognitive development of the next generation, calls for immediate attention and intervention. We propose a pilot study to address the co-morbid conditions, focusing on the combined effects of obesity and chronic MJ use on cognitive function. We hypothesize that the concurrence of obesity and chronic MJ use has more severe impact on cognitive function than either factor alone, and the poorer cognition is associated with metabolomic changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum, and colonic content. Our long-term goal is to identify modifiable factors for effective interventions to ameliorate obesity- and MJ use-associated cognitive deficits in this vulnerable population. We propose a pilot study to address the co-morbid conditions, focusing on the combined effects of obesity and chronic MJ use on cognitive function. We hypothesize that the concurrence of obesity and chronic MJ use has more severe impact on cognitive function than either factor alone, and the poorer cognition is associated with metabolomic changes in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), serum, and colonic content.

News
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Supported by a grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (U54MD007584), National Institutes of Health.