Football-related concussion: A call for action

MNT, 20 October 2016
Author: Yvette Brazier
“Head injuries and concussion are common among young athletes in the United States. From 2002-2012, there was a 200 percent increase in both the number of emergency room visits for concussion among 8- to 13-year-olds and the number of reported concussions in those aged 14-19 years. Since 2009, “Return-to-Play” laws have been introduced to give athletes enough time to recover before putting themselves at further risk. However, some experts believe the laws do not offer sufficient protection.”
Find article here.

No uptick in marijuana use by adolescents after states pass medical marijuana laws

Eureka Alert, 19 October 2016
Source: Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health
“Adults over the age of 25 increased their use of marijuana after their home states made changes to medical marijuana laws, according to new research by scientists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. However, there was no difference in the prevalence of marijuana use reported for 12 to 17 or 18 to 25 year-olds after the laws passed. The findings are published online in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The study is the first to link state medical marijuana laws with marijuana availability and use among adults.”
Find article here.

Medical Technology Start-Ups In Free Fall As Industry ‘Grays’

Forbes, 18 October 2016
Author: Bruce Japsen
“The number of start-up companies in the U.S. medical technology industry has dropped nearly 70 percent over the last three decades amid regulatory challenges and competition for young talent. The number of new medical technology and device-making startups plummeted to about 600 in 2012 from nearly 1,500 annually three decades ago. The industry blames regulations such as a slow review process for devices and hurdles raised by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which has stricter rules on devices it will allow Medicare to pay for.”
Find article here.

‘Like doctors in a war’: inside Venezuela’s healthcare crisis

The Guardian, 19 October 2016
Author: Jonathan Watts
“The country’s devastating economic downturn is ravaging its hospitals, where acute shortages threaten to reverse decades of progress. Despite its immense oil wealth, the country is in the midst of devastating economic, social and health crises. It has the world’s steepest economic decline, the second highest murder rate and the sharpest-rising inflation. These problems all converge in the nation’s hospitals, where doctors report rising levels of mortality thanks to a dire shortage of medical supplies, shutdowns of operating theatres, staff declines and violent crime, including gunshots during surgery and mugging in corridors.”
Find article here.

Organ Donation And The Opioid Epidemic: ‘An Unexpected Life-Saving Legacy’

KHN, 18 October 2016
Author: Martha Bebinger
“There is a nine-fold increase so far in donations from drug users across New England since 2010. So far this year, more than one in four, or 27 percent, of donations in New England are from people who died after a drug overdose. Nationally, that rate is 12 percent for the same time period. That legacy is much more dramatic in New England than across the U.S. as a whole, where organ donations from drug users are up from 341 in 2010 to 790 through Aug. 31 of this year. It’s not clear why.”
Find article here.

CDC now recommends just two HPV vaccine doses for preteens

Washington Post, 19 October 2016
Author: Laurie McGinley
“Children who start getting vaccinated against human papillomavirus before 15 need only two doses, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided Wednesday. Its previous recommendation was for a three-shot regimen, but studies have shown that two doses work just as well. Experts predict that the simpler, more flexible timeline will result in higher rates of HPV vaccination.”
Find article here.

Industry sponsorship hits the headlines

BMJ 2016; 355: i5585
Author: Zosia Kmietowicz
“The headlines after the first day of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ annual conference at the beginning of October were unexpected. Chair Maureen Baker’s speech to the 1630 registrants was largely overlooked in favour of a story about a flyer included in delegates’ bags from a company called Babylon, which offers consultations to patients through smart phones.”
Find article here.

Doctor in Germany sent to prison for raping and sexually assaulting patients and coworkers

BMJ 2016; 355: i5634
Author: Ned Stafford
“A leading vascular surgeon in Germany who heavily sedated patients and coworkers whom he then raped, sexually assaulted, and photographed was today sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison and banned from practising medicine for five years.”
Find article here.

Permitting patients to pay for participation in clinical trials: the advent of the P4 trial

Med Health Care and Philos (2016). doi:10.1007/s11019-016-9741-2
Authors: David Shaw, Guido de Wert, Wybo Dondorp, David Townend, Gerard Bos, Michel van Gelder
“In this article we explore the ethical issues raised by permitting patients to pay for participation (P4) in clinical trials, and discuss whether there are any categorical objections to this practice. We address key considerations concerning payment for participation in trials, including patient autonomy, risk/benefit and justice, taking account of two previous critiques of the ethics of P4. We conclude that such trials could be ethical under certain strict conditions, but only if other potential sources of funding have first been explored or are unavailable.”
Find article here.

The Ethics of Behavioral Health Information Technology

JAMA. 2016;316(15):1539-1540
Authors: Michelle Joy, Timothy Clement, Dominic Sisti
“A subpopulation of individuals with serious mental health conditions makes repeated and frequent visits to emergency departments and psychiatric crisis centers. These so-called super utilizers often have financial problems and present with chronic or untreated comorbid psychiatric and substance use disorders. These patients are often well known to clinical staff and are sometimes colloquially labeled “frequent flyers.” A pejorative branding, “frequent flyers” are often assumed to be problem patients. In psychiatric settings, these patients are sometimes said to be “borderlines,” “drug seekers,” “malingerers,” or “treatment resistant.”
Find article here.