July 16, 2021

High-Potency Marijuana Linked to Mysterious Illness

Over the last couple years, a trend has begun to emerge in emergency departments across the country, mostly those in states that have legalized recreational marijuana. A condition called "cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome," or more colloquially, "scromiting," is becoming more and more common. Since the condition was first seen in scientific literature in 2004, it has become progressively prevalent in ERs. The condition entails the combination of violent vomiting and screaming for hours on end and seems to be caused by the usage of increasingly potent marijuana. Marijuana consumed two decades ago had levels of THC of about two or three percent; today, it's not uncommon to find cannabis products with THC levels as high as 90 percent. Well, that escalated quickly. Read more

Walmart to offer more affordable insulin products —

Walmart is taking huge strides to help provide insulin at a more affordable price for those who depend on it daily. Announced recently, Walmart will produce “the first-ever private brand analog insulin, which will revolutionize the access and affordability to diabetes care." Analog insulin vials will be priced at $75 each, with FlexPens just over $85. While still not cheap, these proprietary prices will allow customers to save upwards of 75 percent on their routine insulin products. The US has been behind in providing equitable insulin to its citizens, with historic prices already six times more than those in Canada, nine times those in the UK, and nearly 28 times those in Turkey. Put succinctly, this change is “one glimmer of hope amid the notoriously spiraling prices of medication in the U.S." Read more

Promising new obesity drug hinges on insurance coverage —

Wegovy, a new drug to treat obesity that was recently approved by the FDA, will be the first weight-loss drug to be approved since 2014. Clinical trials have revealed its ability to help people lose an average of 15% of their body weight; more specifically, up to 34 pounds over 16 months. For reference, this amount is roughly three times that which previous weight-loss drugs have achieved. Also important is the fact that Wegovy has shown none of the major side effects that many similar drugs present. However, with a price tag of $1,000+ per month: Who's paying for it? While we wait on the answer from major insurance companies, Douglas Langa, executive VP of Novo Nordisk North America, is begging insurance companies to seize the opportunity to help millions of people: "We do believe insurers understand that [untreated obesity] is a gateway into 60 other health conditions," and that treating it head on in a way that's accessible to all is critical to improving the health of our nation. Read more

Improving health care for the deaf community —

For years, the deaf community has experienced a lack of available health information positioned specifically for them. However, according to Dr. Gary Kaufman, medical director of Sinai Chicago's Deaf Health, the internet has "dramatically improved the interface between deaf individuals and the health system." From more accessible written content to American Sign Language (ASL) videos, there are more avenues to learn about public and personal health issues. Even smartphones can be used to access ASL translators, something useful in doctor's visits or hospital stays. While more still needs to be done in healthcare settings themselves, for now, outside technologies are making do. Read more

Coronavirus Updates

New COVID-19 hotspots are primarily those with lower vaccination rates —

As the spring ushered in warmer weather, COVID-19 case numbers across the country dropped. However, in recent weeks, this progress has stalled, and in some states, reversed. Vaccination efforts have slowed, while the Delta variant continues to spread rapidly. And although new infections started to plateau in early June, they are now beginning to climb slightly across the nation. New hotspots are emerging, particularly in areas of the South, Midwest, and West (areas that contain pockets of dangerously low vaccination rates). "I think we should brace ourselves to see case increases, particularly in unvaccinated populations," says Jennifer Nuzzo, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins. With a fall surge forecasted, health experts are still promoting the vaccine as much as possible over the summer months. Read more

Pfizer recommends a third vaccine booster to the FDA and CDC —

About a week ago, Pfizer shared plans of emergency-use authorization for a third vaccine dose. The claim? It could boost antibodies by nearly tenfold if given within one year of the second dose. Shortly after this announcement, the FDA and CDC presented a joint statement saying that they still lack the evidence warranting a third shot. This week, Pfizer met with health officials to decide whether a third shot would be necessary in the months to come. An update is expected soon. Read more

Upcoming Events

7/21, 3pm PDT: The Ins & Outs of Aesthetic Nursing —

Venturing into aesthetic medicine is a journey that many desire but have absolutely no idea how to get started! Arielle Auston will share the ins and outs of aesthetic medicine and how she made her journey from bedside nurse to Aesthetic Nurse Practitioner. This event is open to all nurses, so invite your nurse friends and family, just make sure you RSVP!

Clockin' Out ✌️

"Too many nurses are giving up things in their lives that they love for their jobs. It doesn’t have to be that way. You get to have both. A great life AND a thriving, meaningful career as a nurse." - @FrancesWrightRN