Tag Archives: medical

Texas’ medical cannabis program could expand under bill preliminarily OK’d by House

Author: Reese Oxner
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Medical marijuana expansion bill gets initial approval from Texas House

Author: Wes Rapaport
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

Medical marijuana expansion bill

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — More Texans would qualify for medicinal marijuana under an expansion of the state’s Compassionate Use program, which passed the Texas House.

House Bill 1535 grows the state’s medical marijuana program to include all Texans with cancer. People with chronic pain and debilitating medical conditions would also qualify. HB 1535 was amended Wednesday to include all forms of diagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), rather than for veterans with PTSD as it was initially introduced.

“We need to include [survivors] in that sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD than any other event,” State Rep. Stephanie Klick, R-Fort Worth, said Wednesday.

The legislation also raises the limit for tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)— the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana— from 0.5% to 5% by weight.

The bill must be read a third time on the House floor for final passage. If it clears the House, it heads to the Senate for approval.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety records, there were 4,919 patients in the system.

Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton goes into rehab after turning to alcohol following severe medical issues

Author: FIONA NIMONI
This post originally appeared on Showbiz – The Scottish Sun

FORMER Liberty X singer Michelle Heaton has gone into rehab as she fights a booze battle brought on by a string of severe medical issues.

Michelle, 41, is said to have struggled with the effects of a hysterectomy in 2012 and a double mastectomy in 2015 which she had to cut her high risk of cancer.

Michelle Heaton has gone into rehab after turning to alcohol following a hysterectomy and a double mastectomy

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Michelle Heaton has gone into rehab after turning to alcohol following a hysterectomy and a double mastectomyCredit: Paul Edwards – The Sun

An early menopause before the isolation of lockdown then hit the married mum of two hard, and she began rehab treatment yesterday.

An insider said: “She realised she needed to get help when she’d increasingly turned to alcohol as a crutch as she couldn’t cope with the effects of her operations.

“Michelle was left feeling like she had lost so much of what made her a woman and when she went into early menopause that brought with it a whole other collection of problems.

“She was just about coping when lockdown hit last year, but the effect of being at home and being unable to distract herself, saw her hit rock bottom.”

Michelle was also deeply affected by the shock death of her friend Nikki Grahame this month.

The singer shot to fame on ITV talent show Popstars in 2001

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The singer shot to fame on ITV talent show Popstars in 2001Credit: Rex

In a tribute post online to the former Big Brother star she said: “I was scared to see you . . . to say anything that may be a trigger to lose you . . . I was a coward and I’m so sorry.”

Michelle has often appeared on TV to discuss her mutated BRCA2 gene, which meant she had an 80 per cent chance of developing breast cancer, as well as a 30 per cent chance of getting ovarian cancer.

Michelle is married to Irish businessman Hugh Hanley and they have a daughter Faith, nine, and son AJ, seven.

She has also spoken of how an early menopause — brought on by the hysterectomy — put a strain on her marriage, particularly as she had few female friends who were going through the same changes.

She added: “With us being so young and going through it and with the kids being so young as well, I don’t have that group of women around me who are going through it at the same time. So, it’s really hard.”

Hugh said at the time: “Michelle really struggles to get hold of herself. She’s lost a bit of herself.”

Michelle was also deeply affected by the death of her friend Nikki Grahame

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Michelle was also deeply affected by the death of her friend Nikki GrahameCredit: Rex

She shot to fame on ITV talent show Popstars in 2001 and went on to join the chart-topping group Liberty X, who split in 2007.

She also appeared on Celebrity Big Brother and The Real Full Monty.

A spokeswoman for Michelle confirmed that she had entered a rehab facility, adding: “She has the love and support of her family and friends.”

Michelle is married to Irish businessman Hugh Hanley

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Michelle is married to Irish businessman Hugh HanleyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
She has also spoken of how an early menopause — brought on by the hysterectomy — put a strain on her marriage

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She has also spoken of how an early menopause — brought on by the hysterectomy — put a strain on her marriageCredit: PA

NHS guidelines on drinking alcohol

According to the NHS, regularly drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week risks damaging your health.

To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level if you drink most weeks:

  • men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis 
  • spread your drinking over 3 or more days if you regularly drink as much as 14 units a week
  • if you want to cut down, try to have several drink-free days each week

If you’re pregnant or think you could become pregnant, the safest approach is not to drink alcohol at all to keep risks to your baby to a minimum.

You read more on the NHS website.

Michelle Heaton fears over son AJ’s learning difficulties over lockdown

Gender-affirming would be considered child abuse under Texas Senate bill

Author: Megan Munce
This post originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

Texas lawmakers advance bills blocking access to gender affirming health care despite opposition from LGBTQ Texans, medical associations

Medical associations unite in opposition to bills

The mental health toll of gender dysphoria and social marginalization 

Megan Munce

This article originally appeared on The Texas Tribune: Main Feed

A Boy, His Brain, and a Decades-Long Medical Controversy

In 2014, a story about one of Frankovich’s patients made the pages of a local newspaper. Other doctors had diagnosed the little girl with bipolar disorder, but the Stanford team treated her for PANS, and she’d made a dramatic recovery. The article, Frankovich says, marked “a very low point in my career and life.” It brought on a renewed wave of criticism, which was bad enough. Even worse, Frankovich says, it gave hope to vastly more patients and families than she and her colleagues would ever be able to treat. “We got absolutely crushed with phone calls and emails and people just showing up,” she recalls. “It was a nightmare.” But the article was also a turning point: Frankovich soon got an offer of support from the hospital’s chief operational officer. She requested a clinic room and a half-time coordinator.

As the calls and emails kept coming, Frankovich’s team would sift through thousands of medical records, looking for patients with the clearest-cut cases of PANS. She estimates they were able to treat one in 10 patients who applied, if that. They met families who had sold their cars and refinanced their homes to pay for their children’s medical care. Many said, like Rita, that Frankovich’s clinic was the first place they felt hope.

Doctors have been proving other doctors wrong for millennia. Established credo has been overturned many times, only to be replaced with new information and new beliefs about science and medicine. In the 19th century, perhaps one in five British men who were admitted to a mental hospital suffered what was then called general paresis of the insane, a crippling condition that ended in delusions of grandeur, paralysis, and death. As the poet Kelley Swain writes in The Lancet, the Victorians considered it “a disease of dissolution and disrepute,” more moral than biological. We have a different name for the disease now, neurosyphilis, and a treatment, penicillin. But in the decades it took for medical science to cross that threshold, people were left to suffer in shame without proper treatment.

Many PANS patients and their families feel stuck on the wrong side of the threshold. “The system is not there for them in the same way it is for other illnesses,” Frankovich says. She points out that a child undergoing treatment for a brain tumor gets access to a specialized ward and a team of medical professionals and social workers. “But when a kid comes in with a mental health deterioration and their brain MRI is normal,” she says, the support network “walks away from them.” The families become so desperate for treatment, Frankovich adds, that “they can appear very dysfunctional and disorganized, and they can be very aggressive with trying to get their child help.” (Several PANDAS skeptics declined to be interviewed for this story, saying they feared online harassment.)

Jonathan Mink, a pediatric neurologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, attributes the heightened emotions to a mismatch between what families want—an answer, a treatment—and what medical science is equipped to provide: “Some people come up to me and say, ‘I know you’re not a believer in PANDAS, and I say, ‘It’s not about believing in PANDAS. I believe in the data, and right now the data on PANS and PANDAS is inconclusive.’ ” He adds, “The underlying hypothesis is reasonable, but the data is very mixed. So how do we approach things when we physicians are uncertain?”

Stanford Shulman, the early PANDAS critic, also stressed the need for better data. “Should all older adults take an aspirin once a day? Because that was dogma for a long, long time,” he says. “But then studies came along in the New England Journal of Medicine, very large studies demonstrating no benefit and potential side effects, so we do have to change our mind.” He adds, “If we’re proven wrong, and really proven wrong, then we have to change our opinions, and that’s true for all medicine.”

For the past several years, Frankovich has been trying to raise money and recruit patients for a comprehensive, long-term study of PANS, which would follow 600 children for as long as 12 years. “We need proper funds to provide the kind of robust evidence that could end the controversy,” she says. “My colleagues have applied for NIH grants to study PANS and PANDAS, and despite their proven accomplishments they failed to get government funding. So how do we provide the evidence that this is real?”

Seema Yasmin

This article originally appeared on Backchannel Latest

The medical examiner who performed the initial autopsy of George Floyd is set to testify.

The Hennepin County medical examiner who performed the initial autopsy of George Floyd is expected to testify in Derek Chauvin’s trial on Friday, a prosecutor said, along with other medical expert witnesses who will discuss Mr. Floyd’s cause of death.

The medical examiner, Dr. Andrew Baker, determined during his autopsy[1] that Mr. Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest” and declared his death a homicide.

The prosecution has signified that it believes that Dr. Baker’s diagnosis was vague; through the testimony of other medical witnesses, it has tried to convince jurors that Mr. Floyd died from asphyxia, or a deprivation of oxygen.

The witnesses on Friday will come on the heels of weighty testimony[2]. On Thursday, two witnesses said a thorough review of video evidence gave no indication that Mr. Floyd died of an overdose. Instead, they concluded that he died from insufficient oxygen.

The defense of Mr. Chauvin[3], the former Minneapolis police officer charged with murdering Mr. Floyd, has sought to pin the cause of death on Mr. Floyd’s drug use and a heart condition. A toxicology report found fentanyl and methamphetamine in Mr. Floyd’s system, and pills recovered at the scene contained both of the same drugs.

But the argument that Mr. Floyd died from an overdose was rejected by Dr. Bill Smock[4], the surgeon for the Louisville Metropolitan Police Department, who said that Mr. Floyd’s behavior in the minutes before his death did not match those of the typical person who overdoses on fentanyl.

While pinned to the ground by Mr. Chauvin, Mr. Floyd appeared alert and aware, begging for breath and crying out to “Mama.” In a typical opioid overdose, Dr. Smock said, people slip out of consciousness without a fight. “That is not a fentanyl overdose,” he said. “That is somebody begging to breathe.”

Similarly, Dr. Martin J. Tobin, a pulmonologist and critical care physician from the Chicago area, said Mr. Floyd died from a lack of oxygen[5] while Mr. Chauvin pinned him to the pavement for nine and a half minutes. “A healthy person subjected to what Mr. Floyd was subjected to would have died,” he said.

Dr. Tobin ran through the arrest in vivid detail[6], pinpointing what he believed to be key moments, including when Mr. Chauvin lifted his feet off the ground, further shifting his body weight onto Mr. Floyd, and the exact moment Mr. Floyd took his last breath.

“You can see his eyes — he’s conscious — and then you see that he isn’t,” Dr. Tobin said as he watched a bystander video of the arrest. “That’s the moment the life goes out of his body.”

References

  1. ^ during his autopsy (www.nytimes.com)
  2. ^ weighty testimony (www.nytimes.com)
  3. ^ The defense of Mr. Chauvin (www.nytimes.com)
  4. ^ Dr. Bill Smock (www.nytimes.com)
  5. ^ Mr. Floyd died from a lack of oxygen (www.nytimes.com)
  6. ^ in vivid detail (www.nytimes.com)

Will Wright and Andrés R. Martínez

Some medical experts unconvinced about holding Tokyo Games

Surveys in Japan show up to 80% of the population is opposed to holding the Olympics under present conditions.

TOKYO, Japan — The Tokyo Olympics open in under four months, and the torch relay has begun to crisscross Japan with 10,000 runners. Organizers say they are mitigating the risks, but some medical experts aren’t convinced.

“It is best to not hold the Olympics given the considerable risks,” Dr. Norio Sugaya, an infectious diseases expert at Keiyu Hospital in Yokohama, told The Associated Press. “The risks are high in Japan. Japan is dangerous, not a safe place at all.”
Sugaya believes vaccinating 50-70% of the general public should be “a prerequisite” to safely hold the Olympics, a highly unlikely scenario given the slow vaccine rollout in Japan.
Fewer than 1% of the population has been vaccinated so far, and all are medical professionals. Most of the general public is not expected to be vaccinated by the time the Olympics open July 23.
“Tens of thousands of foreigners are going to be entering the country, including mass media, in a short period of time,” Sugaya said, “the challenges are going to be enormous.”
The Japanese government and local Olympic organizers have said vaccination is not a prerequisite for the Olympics, although the International Olympic Committee is encouraging the 15,400 Olympic and Paralympic athletes to be vaccinated when they enter Japan.
The number of COVID-19-related deaths in Japan is about 9,000 — far fewer than many countries — but Sugaya stressed the number is among the highest in Asia.
Hospital systems are stretched, especially in hardest hit areas such as Tokyo.
Japan never pushed PCR testing, meaning few mechanisms are in place to prevent infection clusters. There hasn’t been a national lockdown, but the government has periodically issued a “state of emergency,” urging people to work from home and restaurants to close early.
Dr. Toshio Nakagawa, who heads the Japan Medical Association, expressed serious concern about what he called “a rebound” of coronavirus cases. He called for preventive measures.
“To prevent a fourth wave, we have to act forcefully and extremely quickly,” he told reporters earlier this month.
Taisuke Nakata and Daisuke Fujii, professors of economics at the University of Tokyo, have been carrying out projections for the spread of the coronavirus, adapting a standard epidemiological model but taking into account economic activity as measured by GDP and mobility data.
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According to their projections, daily infection cases in Tokyo will total more than 1,000 people by May, peaking in July, right about the time the Olympics are on. Daily cases have hovered at about 300 people for Tokyo lately.
They say that’s an “optimistic” scenario that assumes vaccines will be gradually rolling out by then.
The other possible scenario has the government declaring a state of emergency as daily cases climb. That could mean the Olympics will be held in the middle of an “emergency.”
The professors declined to comment directly on the wisdom of holding the Olympics.
Despite the warnings, the Japanese government and Tokyo Olympics organizers remain determined to go ahead with the Games. Tokyo is officially spending $ 15.4 billion to prepare the Olympics, but several government audits say it might be twice that much. All but $ 6.7 billion is public money.
The chief driver of the Olympics is the IOC, which derives almost 75% of its income from broadcast rights and needs to get the games on television.
Organizers say they will hold a “safe and secure” Olympics by keeping athletes and officials in a “bubble,” administering periodic tests, and then getting everyone to leave Japan as soon as possible.
Last week the IOC said it would cut back on the number of accredited participants entering Japan, providing credentials only to those who “have essential and operational responsibilities.”
RELATED: Tokyo Olympics torch relay begins; Games 121 days away
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Japanese news agency Kyodo has reported, citing unidentified sources, that 90,000 people are expected to enter Japan from abroad. About 30,000 of those are Olympic and Paralympic athletes, coaches, staff and officials.
That leaves 60,000, and Kyodo said the plan is to cut that to about 30,000, many of whom would be news media.
In addition, organizers said all ticket holders from abroad would be banned from entering.
Public opinion surveys show most Japanese want the Tokyo Games canceled or postponed again.
Taro Yamamoto, a former lawmaker, said Japan is not prepared to deal with an influx of travelers from abroad.
“If Japan has not been able to protect its own people, it cannot claim to be able to protect people from all over the world,” during the Olympics, he said. “To keep insisting the Games will go on is just madness.”

AstraZeneca vaccine: UK regulator issues warning about headaches – seek medical attention

The blood clot controversy continues to whip up a storm despite no conclusive proof that the AstraZeneca vaccine is the cause. A new development further adds to this fraught atmosphere: people who experience a headache for more than four days after having the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab should seek medical attention, the UK’s medicines regulator has said. They should also get help if they have bruising somewhere other than the injection site after a few days, it added.
It comes as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said on Thursday it was investigating a “very small” number of reports of an extremely rare form of blood clot that occurring in conjunction with lowered platelets after vaccination.

Called sinus vein thrombosis (CVST), it characterises what happens when a clot forms in the cerebral vein of the brain.

The MHRA has assured that this can occur naturally in people who have not been vaccinated.

It added that a “rigorous” scientific review had found no evidence that the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 caused blood clots in veins.

READ MORE: Why do some people react to Covid vaccine?

The MHRA confirmed on Thursday that a British man has died and four others have suffered a dangerous blood clotting condition after being given the AstraZeneca vaccine.

The five men, aged between 19 and 59, suffered from Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis (CVST), although the MHRA said it did not know whether it had been directly caused by the vaccine.

The regulator urged people to continue getting the vaccine, adding that the link is unproven and the benefits far outweigh the risks of not getting vaccinated.

Fewer than one in a million cases had been recorded after a jab and a causal link had not been established, it noted.

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The MHRA’s vaccines safety lead, Dr Philip Bryan, commented on the developing situation at a press conference on Thursday afternoon.

He said: “We have had five reports of a unique form of blood clot, Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis, concurrent with low blood platelets. This is similar to some of the cases reported through Europe.

“What we don’t know is whether these have been caused by the vaccines. We are working closely to determine this, because these illnesses do very rarely happen naturally. We do know that after more than five million this is extremely rare – less than one in a million cases of this even after vaccination.

“Covid disease is associated with significant mortality. Both vaccines are highly effective. And there is no proven causal association with what is still an extremely rare medical event.”

When will I receive the vaccine?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.

In England, the vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and pharmacies, at local centres run by GPs and at larger vaccination centres. More centres are opening all the time.

It’s being given to:

  • People aged 50 and over
  • People at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • People who live or work in care homes
  • Health and social care workers
  • People with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • People with a learning disability
  • People who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Hazard warning: Real Madrid medical department panned as Belgian star Eden Hazard picks up ELEVENTH injury in less than two years

Serious questions are being asked as to the efficacy of Real Madrid’s medical team after record signing Eden Hazard picked up his ELEVENTH injury in less than two seasons with the Spanish giants last weekend.

Hazard was plucked from the Premier League to become Real Madrid’s latest ‘Galactico’ prior to the start of last season after seven largely successful seasons with Chelsea, but what was initially a dream move for the Belgian maestro has turned into something more resembling a nightmare after repeated injury misery has limited his appearances to just 36 over the course of his spell at the Bernabeu to date.
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The Belgian, who is Real Madrid’s all-time most expensive signing, made his first appearance since January from the bench during Madrid 2-1 against Elche on Saturday but just when it seemed that Hazard was clear of the treatment table, head coach Zinedine Zidane confirmed in a press conference Monday that Hazard has suffered another setback, this time a “muscle injury in the right pelvis“.

It was clear from the presser that Zidane was as mystified as anyone about Hazard’s injury woes. He indicated that there are “things I cannot explain” in relation to the player’s continued fitness troubles – even suggesting that Hazard’s mindset could be a factor, saying that his problems might be connected to “things up here in the head, which influences a lot“.

Hazard has been restricted to just 14 first team appearances this season and 36 in total since his €100 million move from Stamford Bridge. The contrast between his spell at Chelsea and in Madrid is stark; he was rarely injured in seven seasons in West London. In Madrid, the opposite has become true.

Like always I try to stay positive and hope it will be a little thing,” Zidane explained. “Something is happening. He is a player who was never injured in his career. We want to help him.”

However, a clearly aggravated Zidane grew weary when attention turned to the Real Madrid medical steam who, for one reason or another, have been unable to nurse the player to full health for any prolonged period.

I don’t think there is a problem, we have very competent people here, who are close to the players every day,” Zidane shot back.

We are trying to find out what is happening with the injured players, there are things that happen in football. We have spoken about the pre-season, about the number of games.”
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Whatever the reason for his fitness problems, it is difficult to describe Hazard’s Real Madrid stint as anything other than a disaster up to this point. He was drafted into the team with a flawless reputation following his time with Chelsea, where he was a four-time Player of the Year.

So impressive was he towards the end of his Chelsea career that many observers predicted that he was poised to take over the mantle from the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi – but this is a prophecy that looks to continue being unfulfilled as the superstar Belgian’s injury woes continue. 

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