08/22/13

Respiratory Monitoring Helps to Protect Patients on Pain Medication

Athens Regional Medical Center recently strengthened patient safety measures by expanding its use of capnography to monitor patients using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) to regulate their pain after surgery.

PCA can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medication intravenously, but the technology poses unique risks because the opioid medications used can also suppress the patients breathing. The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend that hospitals take special precautions including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.

Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patients blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.

Athens Regional Medical Center is among the nations leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients using PCA. Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery, as well. Early indication of respiratory depression with capnography enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.

Athens Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor a patients breathing is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety, said Carrie Capps, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

The clinical staff selected this infusion system to use at ARMC.  The staff  was trained for two weeks prior to the implementation of its use at the end of March this year.  The Alaric IV system has a truly interdisciplinary implementation and oversight to it, as Pharmacy is very involved with the infusion pumps now as compared to any IV and PCA pumps used in the past.

Athens Regional Medical Center chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.

08/15/13

FDA Approves Stem Cell Clinical Trial For Multiple Sclerosis

The Tisch MS Research Center of New York announced today that it has received Investigational New Drug (IND) approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to commence a Phase 1 trial using autologous neural stem cells in the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).  MS is a chronic human autoimmune disease of the central nervous system that leads to myelin damage and neurodegeneration and affects approximately 2.1 million people worldwide.

To my knowledge, this is the first FDA-approved stem cell trial in the United States to investigate direct injection of stem cells into the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients, and represents an exciting advance in MS research and treatment, said Dr. Saud A. Sadiq, Senior Research Scientist at Tisch MS Research Center of New York and the studys principal investigator.

The groundbreaking study will investigate a regenerative strategy using stem cells harvested from the patients own bone marrow.  These stem cells will be injected intrathecally (into the cerebrospinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord) in 20 participants who meet the inclusion criteria for the trial.  This will be an open label safety and tolerability study.  All study activities will be conducted at the Tisch MS Research Center and affiliated International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP).

The clinical application of autologous neural progenitors in MS is the culmination of a decade of stem cell research conducted by a dedicated team of scientists headed by Dr. Sadiq and by Dr. Violaine Harris, Research Scientist at Tisch MS Research Center.

Preclinical testing found that the injection of these cells may decrease brain inflammation and promote myelin repair and/or neuroprotection. This study exemplifies the Tisch MS Research Centers dedication to translational research and provides a hope that established disability may be reversed in MS, Dr. Sadiq noted.

Participants will undergo a single bone marrow collection procedure, from which mesenchymal stem cell-derived neural progenitor cells (MSC-NPs) will be isolated, expanded and tested prior to injection. Participants will receive three rounds of injections at three month intervals. Safety and efficacy parameters will be evaluated in all participants through regular follow-up visits.

For more information on this study visit: www.tischms.org

07/25/13

Privateer Holdings The Cannabis Industrys First Private Equity Firm Closes $7 Million Funding Roun

Firm investing in companies in cannabis space, developing mainstream brands

Privateer Holdings Inc., the cannabis industrys first private equity firm, today announced the completion of its Series A funding round. The company raised an initial $7 million from high net worth individual investors and family offices, with a strategic plan to invest in companies in the cannabis space and build mainstream brands. The completion of this initial round of funding positions Privateer Holdings as the leader in the nascent cannabis industry. Leafly.com is its flagship acquisition.

Privateer is focused on elevating the conversation and building trusted, approachable brands in the cannabis space, said Brendan Kennedy, Privateer CEO.  We are tired of the clichés – pot leaves, Cheech and Chong, and nurses in bikinis! We are moving the cannabis industry out of the shadows and into the light.

Kennedy founded Privateer Holdings in 2011 with Yale MBA classmate Michael Blue, who serves as chief financial officer, and long-time friend and colleague Christian Groh, who serves as chief operating officer. Privateers three founders bring backgrounds in investment banking, private equity and operations.  Kennedy previously served as COO of SVB Analytics, a subsidiary of Silicon Valley Bank that evaluated start-ups for venture capital backing; Blue served as principal of a private equity and development firm; and Groh served as head of sales for SVB Analytics.

Our investors include ranchers in Texas, farmers in Kansas and finance professionals in New York, continued Kennedy. They all are interested in ending the harms caused by prohibition and see the cannabis space as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an industry from the ground up. We are investing in the kinds of cannabis companies that your parents or grandparents would be comfortable doing business with – professional companies with mainstream brands.

Privateer Holdings first acquisition, Leafly.com, is similar to a Yelp for medical cannabis. Leafly.com is the simple, straightforward way to search cannabis strain types by health uses and effects, and find nearby dispensaries that carry them. Privateer acquired Leafly in 2011 and built the site from an online resource earning no revenue into a successful brand generating $100,000 in revenue each month. Leafly had 2.5 million visitors in May, and is projected to earn $1 million in revenue per month within the next 12 months. Privateer is launching two new businesses under the Leafly brand – an online cannabis industry news site and an online store that provides Office Depot-style one-stop shopping for supplies needed by dispensaries.

Along with closing its first round of fundraising, Privateer Holdings also named Michael Auerbach as its first board member. Auerbach is a senior director of global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group who held previous leadership positions with risk consultancy Control Risks, the Center for American Progress and The Century Foundation. Auerbach is also a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations and a national security fellow at the Truman National Security Project.

Privateer is transforming the cannabis space into a thriving and profitable, legal industry with professionals, infrastructure, regulations and a customer-centric mentality, said Auerbach. I invested in Privateer and joined the Board because Privateers management has the experience and plan to push forward an end to a prohibition that incarcerates hundreds of thousands of Americans, weakens our national security, wastes billions of tax dollars and law enforcement resources, and keeps vital medical benefits away from millions of patients. The business community is going to drive the changes to American regulations and I am excited to be part of this change.

Privateer Holdings, Inc. is the cannabis industrys first private equity firm. Through strategic investments in the emerging legal cannabis industry, Privateer is building a portfolio of mainstream companies that elevate the conversation about cannabis. Privateer aims to change past perceptions of the marketplace by building brands set apart by their professionalism and operational excellence. For more information, visit www.privateerholdings.com.

 

Related story: http://www.besthealthblog.org/88-a-majority-of-parents-say-legal-age-for-marijuana-use-should-be-21-smoking-pot-in-public-places-should-be-prohibited

07/18/13

A Majority of Parents Say Legal Age for Marijuana Use Should be 21, Smoking Pot in Public Places Should be Prohibited

A new, nationally representative survey released today by The Partnership at Drugfree.org confirms that parents who support legalization of marijuana expect strict regulation of the substances availability to kids and teens. While 40 percent of adults say they are in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes, a majority of them oppose any form of legal marijuana for use among kids and teens. They believe that, like alcohol, it should only be legal for adults over the age of 21. The online study also found that despite shifting attitudes in support of marijuana legalization, the risks of marijuana – especially to young people – is a relevant topic that is of concern to parents and caregivers.

The new survey data are being released today at a panel discussion, hosted by The Partnership at Drugfree.org and titled Marijuana: Its Legal, Now What? A Dialogue About Americas Changing Attitudes, Laws and What This Means for Families. The discussion is taking place this morning in Denver, Colorado, where marijuana was legalized via ballot initiative just eight months ago. (Read the Full Survey Report Here)

The reality is that marijuana is now legalized for recreational use in the states of Colorado and Washington and its clear that societys views on marijuana are evolving dramatically, said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. This new research provides richer insight into what todays parents believe about marijuana, their thoughts on legalization and the risks it may pose to adolescents. The data bring to life the fact that parents – including the large number who favor legalization – have serious expectations that legal marijuana will be regulated and restricted to protect kids and teens. Those expectations far exceed how legal marijuana is being implemented. So the fact remains, whether marijuana is legal or not, much more needs to be done to protect the health of our children.

New Survey Data Confirms Cultural Shifts, More Positive Attitudes Toward Marijuana Use 

According to the new survey data, support within the general population of adults for medicalization, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana is approximately 70 percent, 50 percent and 40 percent, respectively, and only slightly lower among parents. The study found that support for each of these scenarios increased by anywhere from three to 11 percentage points when survey respondents were given specific definitions for medicalization, decriminalization and legalization of marijuana:

  • Medicinal marijuana refers to marijuana being made available through licensed medical centers only to individuals who have a doctors recommendation to possess and use marijuana to treat a medical condition.
  • Decriminalization of marijuana refers to changing laws so that those caught with marijuana would receive a warning or fine (much like a speeding ticket), but would not face jail time.
  • Legalization of marijuana refers to changing laws so that anyone over a certain age would be permitted to possess, buy, sell and use marijuana for recreational purposes within the limits of the law (much like alcohol).

Parents Who Have Used Marijuana in Past Want Legal Pot Heavily Regulated

Roughly half of all parents surveyed report having used marijuana before. The number is somewhat higher (62 percent) for parents living in Colorado. The survey also found that:

  • Increasing tolerance does not mean support for a laissez faire attitude toward marijuana – even in Colorado and Washington State. Fully 90 percent of parents in those states believe that marijuana should be sold only through licensed growers / sellers and not in places like convenience stores, grocery stores or newsstands.
  • Similar proportions of parents say that marijuana use should be prohibited in public places where tobacco smoking is now banned (92 percent of Colorado parents, 96 percent of Washington State parents agree).
  • A majority of parents surveyed agree that it should be illegal to provide marijuana to underage children at home (90 percent of Colorado parents, 91 percent of Washington State parents agree).
  • Over 80 percent of parents (87 percent of Colorado parents) believe marijuana advertising should still be banned.
  • Interestingly, when forced to choose, a majority of parents identify the number one place where it should be permissible to advertise marijuana as nowhere.

What is especially notable is the extremely high level of support for a wide array of strict marijuana regulations to protect children after legalization, said Scott Kotchko, pollster and Vice President of Whitman Insight Strategies, who fielded the survey. Many of these people voted to legalize marijuana in Colorado or Washington – and are very clearly telling us that they expect authorities to put a comprehensive regulatory system in place. This kind of intensity of conviction tells us that people arent just saying that these kinds of regulations are a good idea – theyre demanding them. Lawmakers in Colorado, Washington, or anywhere else where legalization may soon be a reality would be well served to listen.

The new survey data show that the risks of marijuana use of greatest concern to parents are the developmental consequences for teens, and the potential impact on their childrens futures. In Colorado, 85 percent of parents agreed that marijuana can have strong negative consequences on the still-developing brains of teenagers, and 85 percent agree that marijuana use at a young age can hurt performance in school and impact a young persons future.

Increasing availability, mass marketing and wider use of marijuana is a public health issue because of the genuine risks that marijuana poses to childrens health and development, said Pasierb. Clearly these changes mean that parents and caregivers have an even more critical role to play to ensure that the readily available marijuana in these states does not result in higher levels of use by and problems among their children and young teens.

Survey Methodology

The Partnership at Drugfree.org collaborated with Batten & Company, a subsidiary of advertising agency BBDO Worldwide, which enlisted independent researcher, Whitman Insight Strategies to field the online survey of 1,603 adults in early March of 2013. Of the 1,603 adults surveyed, 1,200 were parents of children ages 10-19. Of these 1,200 parents, 200 reside in Colorado and 200 reside in Washington State, allowing researchers to analyze parent attitudes in these states, where marijuana was legalized in November 2012.

About The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities . Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, The Partnership at Drugfree.org works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please call The Parents Toll-Free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE.

07/4/13

Exercise may lower breast cancer risk

According to a new study in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, exercise may lower a womans risk of breast cancer by affecting the way her body breaks down estrogen.
Ours is the first study to show that aerobic exercise influences the way our bodies break down estrogens to produce more of the good metabolites that lower breast cancer risk, study researcher Mindy S. Kurzer, Ph.D., a professor in Minnesota Universitys food science and nutrition department, said in a statement.

The study included 391 healthy premenopausal women who led sedentary lifestyles; 179 of them were put in a control group where they kept living a sedentary lifestyle, and 212 were placed in an exercise group where they did 30 minutes of aerobic exercises (moderate to vigorous level, such as running on a treadmill or using the elliptical machine) five days a week for four months. Of all the women in the study, 78 percent of those from the exercise group and 86 percent of those from the control group completed the study.

They found the women who were assigned to the exercise group experienced an increase in this protective estrogen metabolite ratio, while the ratio never varied for those who remained sedentary.  ABC News had reported on previously published research showing links between exercise and breast cancer risk; the news organization noted that the association may be because exercise helps you lose weight and the less fat, the less estrogen your body produces.

 

For more information breast cancer, see http://www.pharmacydrugguide.com/Breast_Cancer_Awareness_Month