At-a-glance: Research on opioid addiction, exergaming for Alzheimer patients, medical cannabis for chronic pain, and more.
Up in Smoke. Second hand marijuana smoke (SHMS) combined with tobacco smoke exposure increases emergency department (ED) visits in children, according to a 1500 caregiver cross-sectional survey. Children exposed to SHMS + tobacco had a mean number of 2.48 ED visits in the last 12 months, which was higher than all other exposure groups. The marijuana-only exposure group had a mean of 2.19 ED visits, tobacco-only had 2.09, and the control group (unexposed) had 1.97 ED visits. SHMS + tobacco exposure group had higher incident rate ratio than the marijuana-only and tobacco-only groups (1.12 and 1.07).
For more information: Johnson A, Mistry R. Impact of second hand marijuana smoke exposure on pediatric health and emergency department visitation. Paper presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting; May 2018; Toronto Canada.
Could Marijuana Replace Opioids? Researchers at Northwell Health who conducted an anonymous 20-question survey taken by 138 medical marijuana users with chronic pain aged 61 to 70 years, say, “yes.” When asked if they were able to curb use of other painkillers after starting medical marijuana, 18% of subjects said use decreased “moderately,” 20% “extremely,” and 27% “completely;” 91% of subjects said they would recommend medical marijuana to others with chronic pain and on a scale of 1-10, most patients said their average pain score dropped from a 9 to a 5.6.
For more information: Medical marijuana could reduce opioid use in older adults, study finds [press release]. Northwell Health; May 1, 2018.
Microbeads Combat Infection in Burn Wound Simulations. Computer simulations of microscopic, protein-coated beads that block bacteria from binding to host cells found that the spheres help reduce or eliminate bacterial infections in burn wounds. The microbeads would complement traditional antibiotic drugs to help eliminate bacterial infections faster. Importantly, use of the microbeads could help reduce antibiotic use and now widespread antibiotic resistance.
For more information: Roberts PA, Huebinger RM, Keen E, Krachler AM, Jabbari S. Predictive modelling of a novel anti-adhesion therapy to combat bacterial colonisation of burn wounds. PLoS Comput Biol. 2018;14.
Dual Opioid Mechanism Proposed. New research suggests that opioid analgesics may produce their addictive effects by binding to receptors inside neurons in addition to their action on surface receptors, the well-known action that mimics the mechanism of endogenous opioids. The internal receptors are not a target for the naturally occurring molecules. This difference between how medically- and naturally-made opioids interact with nerve cells can help guide the design of pain medications that are not addictive and have fewer adverse effects, including tolerance and dependence.
For more information: Stoeber M, JulliÃ© D, Lobingier BT, et al. A genetically encoded biosensor reveals location bias of opioid drug action. Neuron. 2018.
Molecule Could Improve Memory, Slow Alzheimer Progression. A small molecule sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ -ATPase (SERCA) activator may improve memory and cognition for Alzheimer patients by preserving calcium ion balance in neurons and could offer a new therapeutic strategy for neurodegeneration drug development. Researchers at Purdue University focused on 2 subjects, memory/cognition and brain cell mass, and found that SERCA preserved brain cell mass and boosted memory in treated subjects.
For more information: Krajnak K, Dahl R. A new target for Alzheimer's disease: A small molecule SERCA activator is neuroprotective in vitro and improves memory and cognition in APP/PS1 mice. Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2018;28:1591-1594.
Early HIV Treatment Key to Avoiding Brain Deterioration. New study shows early detection of HIV and delivery of combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) is necessary to avoid neurologic damage. Researchers analyzed magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data from 65 patients who had been infected <1 year before vs MRI data of 19 HIV-negative and 16 HIV-positive participants who had been infected for at least 3 years. Researchers found the longer the duration of untreated infection, the greater the volume loss and cortical thinning in several brain regions. When cART treatment began, the volume changes in these regions stopped and cortical thickness increased slightly in frontal and temporal lobe.
For more information: Sanford R, Ances BM, Meyerhoff DJ, et al. Longitudinal trajectories of brain volume and cortical thickness in treated and untreated primary HIV infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2018.
Let’s Game! New study reveals adults, average aged 78 years, with mild cognitive impairment showed significant improvement in executive function after âexergaming” (video games that also require physical exercise). Over 6 months, 7 subjects pedaled on stationary bike with virtual bike path display several times a week and 7 subjects pedaled while playing a video game that included chasing dragons and collecting coins. Results were compared against data collected from separate group of 8 seniors who played video games with no exercise and a group who exercised with no video game component. Participants in both exergaming groups had better executive functions, verbal memory, and physical function vs non exergaming groups.
For more information: Anderson-Hanley C, Barcelos NM, Zimmerman EA, et al. The aerobic and cognitive exercise study (ACES) for community-dwelling older adults with or at-risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI): Neuropsychological, neurobiological and neuroimaging outcomes of a randomized clinical trial. Front. Aging Neurosci. 2018.
What is new in primary care research? We will give you some hints: a new finding in opioid addiction research, bacteria-fighting microbeads, virtual reality gaming that helps Alzheimer patients, efficacy of medical marijuana in pain treatment, and more. Click through the slideshow above to get the highlights from 7 new studies that could impact your practice soon.Â