Headline Medical News: July 2018. What were the top medical stories from the month of July? Scroll through the slideshow above for highlights from the top 5 medical news stories that could impact clinical practice:
Amazon's purchase of the online pharmacy, PillPack.
Marijuana becoming more socially accepted among US adults.
Frequent digital media use linked to ADHD symptoms among teens.
First Alzheimer guidelines announced for primary care physicians.
Another round of food recalls hits popular retailers.
Goodbye Pharmacies, Hello Amazon? Amazon sent shockwaves through the healthcare industry when they announced their plans to purchase the small, online pharmacy PillPack for $1 billion. Amazon has expressed interest in joining the $560 billion prescription drug industry, but faced issues with securing pharmacy licenses within each state. However, with the purchase of PillPack, which is licensed to ship drugs across the country, Amazon may just become a key player in the business. “Even as Americans have shifted their buying habits online, prescription drugs have remained a stubbornly brick-and-mortar purchase. About 90 percent of all prescriptions are filled at a pharmacy counter . . . If Amazon can break that habit, it could upend the industry,” The New York Times reported on June 28.
Marijuana is Becoming More Socially Accepted. More US adults have a favorable view of marijuana despite little evidence about its benefits and risks, according to a survey of 9003 adults in Annals of Internal Medicine. “‘The public seems to have a much more favorable view than is warranted by the current evidence . . . We don’t have evidence about many things marijuana is marketed for and we need to communicate that to the public,’” lead survey author Salomeh Keyhani, MD, MPH, told Medpage Today on July 24. Despite little research into the impact of marijuana, 14.6% of survey participants reported using marijuana in the past year and 81% of participants said marijuana has at least one benefit including managing pain, treating epilepsy, and providing relief from anxiety, depression, and stress.
Frequent Digital Media Use Linked to ADHD Symptoms. Frequent use of digital media by teens might increase their odds of developing ADHD symptoms, according to a new study published in JAMA. While previous research has shown that watching television or playing video games put teenagers at a slightly higher risk of developing ADHD, this study was one of the first to look at the link between modern digital media use and ADHD risk. The study included 2587 10th grade students with no ADHD symptoms at the start of the study who reported how many of 14 online activities (eg, texting, social media sharing, streaming music) they participated in and how often. At 2-year follow-up, teens who were high frequency users of 7 or 14 digital media sites were more than twice as likely to develop ADHD symptoms vs teens who did not use any at a high frequency rate.
First Alzheimer Guidelines Announced for Primary Care. The Alzheimer’s Association previewed its first-ever clinical practice guidelines for primary care physicians at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Chicago. “These new guidelines will provide an important new tool for medical professionals to more accurately diagnose Alzheimer’s and other dementias,” said James Hendrix, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Director of Global Science Initiatives in a press release on July 22. “As a result, people will get the right care and appropriate treatments; families will get the right support and be able to plan for the future.” The recommendations include guidance that patients who have cognitive, behavioral, or functional changes should be evaluated, concerns should not be dismissed as “normal aging” without proper assessment, and an evaluation should involve the patient, clinician, and care partner.
Another Round of Food Recalls. Just days after Ritz crackers and Goldfish were recalled, the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service issued a public health alert warning consumers about the contamination of the beef, pork, and poultry salads and wraps distributed to popular retailers such as Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens. The romaine lettuce that is used in the wraps and salads may be contaminated by the parasite, Cyclospora. Federal officials are, “concerned that some product may be in consumers’ refrigerators and that consumers may be at risk due to the length of the Cyclospora incubation period. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them,” the press release stated on July 30.