Medical Marijuana Lowers Prescription Drug Abuse

Medical Marijuana Lowers Prescription Drug Abuse

Research Shows That Medical Marijuana Lowers Prescription Drug Abuse

Guest article by Helen Smith

The abuse of prescription opioids such as heroin, morphine and prescription painkillers is a global problem affecting up to 36 million people worldwide. Opioid addiction is of particular concern in the United States, with over two million people abusing prescription medications and around half a million addicted to heroin. The consequences of opioid abuse are immense; the Centers for Disease Control (CDCP) and Prevention notes that deaths via the overdose of prescription medications have risen four-fould since 1999; almost half of all opioid overdose deaths involve prescription medications. The most common medications which contribute to so many needless deaths, are methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone. The CDC notes that around 1,000 people are treated daily in emergency rooms following the abuse of prescription drugs.

There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, though, with research showing that medical marijuana may curb the rate of prescription drug abuse. Read More …

HEALTH or SICK Care?

 

Health or Sick Care

Dr. Sachin H. Jain wrote a good article in Forbes calling for Redesigning Health Care to Meet the Needs of Our Sickest Patients, and I’m publishing my response here.

“While I understand the need to improve care of our sickest and most frail elderly patients, my view conflicts with that of the medical industry, which we mistakenly call the “healthcare” industry.  Read More …

Are Our Plates Too Full? A Nation Confronts Addiction

By David L. Katz

Earlier this month, thanks largely to the influence and convening power of Dr. Mehmet Oz, the nation was invited to talk about addiction. Among those weighing in to lend support, on air and via social media, was the nation’s Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy.The National Night of Conversation - about Addiction

The symbol chosen for the campaign was an empty plate, the image meant to convey that this night — the conversation and related food for thought — matter more than the food. Something additional suggests itself to me, however, especially as I try to get this column written (as I promised I would): catch up and then keep up with demands as furious and frenetic as a swarm of bees. Maybe our plates are generally way too full.

I really have no cause to complain on my own behalf. Yes, I am too busy, and yes, I do often feel like Sisyphus. But I have a loving family and plenty of support. Many are not so fortunate. Read More …

Checklist for Extended Travel – Preparation & Protection

Travel Rome

From communicating in a foreign language to finding your way around in a new city, exploring abroad is full of daily challenges. Minimize any travel-related stress by controlling what you can by keeping your finances and health in order while abroad. Avoid trouble by doing your homework ahead of time so you can be prepared to navigate any speed bumps on your trip so that they don’t prevent you from thoroughly enjoying your journey.

Travel Alerts and Warnings

These are easy to find by country through the U.S. Department of State. They cover everything from extreme weather alerts to country-specific travel precautions. Be sure to check for any alerts or warnings in your destination country on a weekly basis in the months preceding your departure. Read More …

How to Manage Arthritis Pain

Arthritis Pain

5 All-Natural & Effective Ways to Manage Arthritis Pain

If getting out of bed in the morning is difficult due to a chronically sore back or knees, or your hands or ankles ache throughout the day, you may be among the 52.5 million adults in the United States that the CDC estimates have some form of arthritis.

While many people who suffer from osteoarthritis are prescribed pain medication by their physicians, some may wish to find alternative ways of dealing with their discomfort.

Fortunately, there are a variety of natural and simple ways that can help people manage their arthritis pain. Read More …

Senior Citizen Drug Dependency or Addiction

Drug Money

Drug addiction can easily extend to seniors as they age, develop multiple chronic illnesses, have many pains, and are seen by different physicians who may not know what else the patient is taking.

Contrary to what many people may believe, substance abuse is not just a problem for young, reckless people who are living a party lifestyle. Senior citizens experiencing multiple pains from various ailments may end up abusing prescription painkillers or other substances. Medication abuse knows no boundary of age, and whether a person is 20 or 80, dependency and addiction is a possibility if he or she must use painkillers or similar drugs. It is important for such people to seek substance abuse treatment if they have become addicted or dependent. Read More …

Trust the Internet or Your Doctor?

Doctors were once the most trusted members of the community, but now it’s the opposite. Why are we so desperate for our doctors to be wrong? I don’t get it.

That was the beginning of an editorial in The Daily Beast that made my hair stand on end. The undisclosed doctor/author did a fine job of writing and defending his profession, but I found it obvious that he/she still doesn’t understand why so many people distrust their doctor. The rest of this is from the two comments I posted, along with links to related articles.

TIME magazine cover

COMMENT-1:

No, you don’t get it. Your sarcastic editorial, although interesting and well-organized, misses the point entirely. Americans pay twice as much on healthcare as other nations but still live sicker and die younger, according to the World Health Organization. Why is that? It’s certainly not because we now trust the Internet more than our doctor. It must be something else, and Steven Brill got closest to describing the problem in his TIME Magazine report, “Bitter Pill: Why High Medical Bills Are Killing Us.”

How has the Internet become a more trusted source of medical information than the family doctor? Maybe it has to do with the natural incentives of an industry that profits from illness and injury and spends twice as much on political lobbying as the military industrial complex to protect its obscene profits. Read More …

Transparency in Medicine

Dr. Leana Wen gave an important TED talk about transparency in medicine, but her campaign made other doctors angry and even generated death threats. Thankfully, however, a few hundred physicians have seen the light and joined in. Watch the video and notice the quotes.

“Being totally transparent is scary. You feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable. But … when doctors are willing to step off our pedestals, take off our white coats, and show our patients who we are and what medicine is all about, that’s when we begin to overcome the sickness of fear.” — Dr. Leana Wen Read More …

Precision Medicine vs Prevention & Wellness

Health iconsPresident Obama and the National Institutes of Health have announced a Precision Medicine Initiative that complements other programs for Prevention and Wellness. That’s important because too many diseases don’t have a proven means of prevention or effective treatments.

Read More …

How to Help Elderly Overcome “Drug” Addiction

Creative Commons/Borya

Creative Commons/Borya

By Rohit Agarwal

Recent studies and theories show that elderly citizens of all countries seem to be affected by what appears to be a rebellious nature to prevent themselves from becoming delusional or losing control of themselves. This is dangerous not because of their change in nature but because of the reason behind this change, because leading studies have also shown that the elderly face a new trouble: drug addiction.

Read More …

What is Functional Medicine?

3-legged stoolI first encountered the term Functional Medicine a few years ago during a lecture by Dr. Lane Sebring at a World Future Society dinner. In keeping with the focus of this organization, he titled his talk The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine, which links to my notes and a video of the 71-min lecture. Dr. Sebring looked to anthropology to understand why, even with modern medicine, many of our diseases today didn’t even exist about a century ago when Heart Disease was almost unknown and Cancer was rare, not even making the top 10 as a cause of death.

The more he looked into the cause of illness, the more he became disillusioned and frustrated with modern healthcare and the traditional practice of providing “sick care” and just another pill in a “disease management” system that profits from illness. To focus his practice on health & wellness, he became an expert in Functional Medicine, which he describes as a form of evolutionary, integrative, holistic, or alternative medicine. Read More …

Stroke and Sleep – Related

Here’s a story from AARP about TV personality Mark McEwen’s experience suffering from a Stroke. It prompted me to share some advice on how to avoid a stroke or reduce its effects.

 

For over 15 years, Mark McEwen was the face and voice of CBS’ morning show, until a misdiagnosed stroke almost killed him. Watch the inspiring story of how stroke changed Mark’s life forever, and how he fought to take back his life again. For more information on how to prevent stroke and know the symptoms visit stroke.org.

Read More …

Going on a Cruise? How to Stay Healthy On Board

Going on a CruiseCruises are a great way to see the world, and if you haven’t gone on one yet, you probably know at least a few people who’ve come home raving about how wonderful it was. Cruises are also fertile ground for illnesses like the norovirus, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says causes more than 90 percent of cruise ship diarrhea outbreaks.

No one wants to get sick on vacation. Keep in mind that while incidents do happen, in general, they’re few and far between. The best way to reduce your risk of illness is to be prepared and take some common sense safety precautions. Read More …

Food versus Medicine [Infographic]

Food vs Medicine ThumbWhile mHealthTalk is mostly about tech solutions for home health care and aging-in-place, we recognize the role of these pillars of good health:

  1. Nutrition,
  2. Exercise, and
  3. Sleep.

That’s why we occasionally publish articles on those topics and why today we feature this infographic by a website that helps students find and compare nursing programs. After the infographic is a summary of key points for automated screen readers to aid people with visual disabilities. Read More …

The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine

fresh-fruits-and-vegetables“The Future of Medicine is … Not Medicine” was the topic of a lecture I attended three years ago by Dr. Lane Sebring of Winberley, TX. He spoke to our futurist dinner at the World Future Society, and I completely forgot about this until I stumbled upon a recording and re-watched it. What follows are my notes from his 71-minute lecture, followed by the video recording and a shorter 3-minute intro to his clinic. Dr. Sebring got his MD at the University of Texas in Galveston but quickly became disillusioned with the traditional practice of providing “sick care” and just another pill in what can be called a “disease management” system that profits from treating symptoms to keep patients as paying customers. Because he wanted to focus on health and wellness instead, he became an expert in Functional Medicine — a form of alternative, integrative, or holistic medicine — and now practices in that specialty and serves as a board examiner for the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. Read More …

Disease Delusion: What Really Makes You Sick!

The Disease Delusion, by Dr. Jeffrey Bland

Available at leading book stores.

by Mark Hyman, MD
(from his Forward to The Disease Delusion, by Dr. Jeffrey Bland)

Imagine a time when people died or suffered from incurable acute infections. Imagine a time before antibiotics — when women died of simple childbirth fever, when a bad chest infection could lead to death, when a strep throat caused heart failure, when limbs were amputated because of an infected wound. Those commonplace occurrences seem unimaginable now.

Yet that is the exactly the state of medicine today as we face the tsunami of lifestyle-related chronic diseases that will cost our global economy $47 trillion over the next twenty years. These diseases are eminently preventable and treatable, and yet currently, every year, they kill twice as many people around the world as infectious diseases do. Read More …

US Healthcare Spending to hit $3.8 Trillion in 2014

Dan Munro wrote that annual U.S. healthcare spending will hit $3.8 trillion this year (~21% of GDP).

11/20/2015: Spending actually has stayed mostly flat at about $3 trillion.

There’s good info in his Forbes article and the referenced Deloitte report, but it should not be taken politically one way or another. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) data shows a slow bending of the cost curve, where the increases in health care expenditures are slowing slightly, the increase is slower than the economy, and it’s slightly slower than in previous years. Still, many of us hope to see costs decline outright, and by a lot.

Total Health Care Expenditures Grew 19% from 2006 to 2010.

The past four years have seen a gradual slowing in health care expenditure annual growth rate. The percentage change from the previous year slowed between 2007 and 2010: 5.9 percent in 2007, 4.7 percent in 2008, and 3.7 percent in 2009 and 2010.

To me, the real value is recognizing that there are hidden costs not captured in the official 2012 estimate of $2.8 trillion/year. Read More …

Moore’s Law and The FUTURE of Healthcare

By Wayne Caswell, Founder of Modern Health Talk
Which Future

This article examines a future driven by Moore’s Law and the trend of circuits and components getting smaller, faster and cheaper exponentially over time and the eventual blending of science and technology (INFO + BIO + NANO + NEURO). I approach this topic from the unique perspective of an IBM technologist, market strategist, futurist, and consumer advocate. See About the Author and About Modern Health, below, to better understand what shaped this view of the future. You can also see my slide presentation and related articles & infographics at the bottom.

Which Future?

Futurists regularly consider alternative scenarios and examine factors that can steer the future in one direction or another. That way, clients can select a preferred version of the future and know what they might do to make that future happen.

It’s relatively easy to extrapolate past trends, assuming that nothing prevents those trends from continuing at the same rate, but will they? One can also look at what’s possible by tracking research lab activity and then estimating how long it will take to bring those new technologies to market.

But a potentially better approach is to start with a solid understanding of market NEEDS and what drives the development of solutions for them, or factors that inhibit solutions. Changes in politics and public policy, for example, can be a huge driver, with Obamacare as an example, or a huge inhibitor. That’s why I’m so interested in various healthcare reforms that accompany tech innovation. Read More …

Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of Pharmaceuticals

Drug MoneyGuest article by Ray Collins

The FDA has tolerated, regulated, and now seems to favor direct-to-consumer advertising by pharmaceutical companies, apparently as part the the judicial and regulatory trends toward corporate free speech. Susan Schwartz McDonald posts at National Analysts about her company’s view

The very fact that this particular [FDA] survey [of health care professionals] is on the docket speaks volumes about what many FDA-watchers have already concluded: that the agency has morphed from wary and grudging to comfortable and upbeat about the benefit of allowing pharma to converse with patients. After several decades of experience, the FDA seems ready to conclude that direct-to-consumer advertising (DTC) can do more than bring relevant therapies to broader awareness.

Read More …

Printing Your Own Medicine… and Organs

Chemist Lee Cronin is working on a 3-D printer that, instead of objects, is able to print molecules. It has exciting long-term potential: printing your own personalized medicine using chemical inks. The 3-minute TED talk below paints a fascinating view of the , but a great many issues remain. Following the video are two related TED talks with more near-term impact.

My reaction

I was amused at the comments on TED.com and had to add my own…

So will the use of illegal narcotics and abuse of prescription drugs explode? Where will we buy the “ink,” and can it be ordered online? Will the cartridges be refillable? Will we need a new constitutional amendment to ensure “the right to bear printers” or the “right to buy ink?” Who will profit from this new industry and lobby for the new laws and regulatory oversight (or lack of it)? As with any disruptive technology, there are many new questions, and there will be many incumbents fighting to preserve the status quo. Read More …