Patients using cannabis as alternative to prescription drugs
A new study by health experts at the University of Georgia suggests that people are using marijuana as an alternative to prescription medications for ailments that range from pain to sleep disorders.
That trend translates to about $165.2 million in savings for Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in 2013, the researchers reported in the journal Health Affairs.The results suggest that if all states had implemented medical marijuana the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million.
Mosquito-borne disease could be widespread by end of century
Rapidly warming global temperatures could spur epidemics of mosquito-transmitted dengue across wide parts of Europe by the end of the century, according to researchers with Umeå University in Sweden.
Along with the fact that disease-bearing mosquitoes will expand their range in a warming world, the scientists also found that, in general, climate change increase virus reproduction and transmission, and the rate in which the female mosquitos bite. As a result, a warmer overall climate extends the seasonal window of opportunity for mosquitos to transmit dengue fever.
“In the midst of warming temperatures on the European continent and a number of complex factors such as increased travel and trade, Europe now finds itself at an elevated risk of mosquito-borne epidemics such as dengue fever,” said Jing Liu-Helmersson, researcher at Umeå University’s Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine and main author of the article. Continue reading “Global warming drives up European dengue risk”→
Combing climate data with travel patterns, researchers with the Center for Disease Control and the National Center for Atmospheric Research say Zika virus outbreaks could occur as soon as this summer in parts of south Texas and Florida.
The study shows that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is spreading the virus in much of Latin America and the Caribbean, probably will become more abundant across much of the southern and eastern United States as the weather warms.
Dangerous bacteria may ‘piggyback’ from Asia to Latin America
Along with causing weather-related disasters like flooding or drought, El Niño may be a factor in spreading waterborne diseases like cholera thousands of miles across oceans, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
The findings by U.S. and UK researchers suggest that the arrival of new diseases in Latin America is linked with the spread of warmer El Niño waters. Examples include a 1990 cholera outbreak in Peru that killed 13,000 people, and two instances (1997 and 2010) when new variants the bacterium Vibrio parahaemolyticus led to widespread human illness through contaminated shellfish. The study explored how those outbreaks concurred in both time and space with significant El Niño events. Continue reading “El Niño may help spread dangerous diseases across oceans”→
People everywhere like to complain about excessive government regulation, and the European Union is no exception. But it’s clear, from a new University of Leeds study, that air quality rules in the EU have saved thousands of lives in recent decades.
Scientists gain better understanding of health risks associated with microsystins
Taking a swim in a cool, clear stream on a hot summer day always seems like a good idea, but if you’re in the southeastern U.S., you may want to stop and think. According to a new U.S. Geological Survey study, close to 40 percent of the streams in the region may be contaminated by algal toxins known as microsystins.
Public health practitioners and medical researchers have observed a range of symptoms in humans after exposure to microcystins. Symptoms can include nausea, dermatitis and, in severe cases, liver failure. Toxicity issues have been reported for humans, companion animals, livestock and wildlife. Continue reading “Algal toxins found in many streams in the Southeast”→
As a result, watchdog groups say the agency has fallen short, and the Center for Biological Diversity says it will sue the EPA because 17 states and the District of Columbia have failed to reduce ozone pollution, which poses serious threats to public health, wildlife and ecosystems. Essentially, environmental activists say the EPA has failed to meet standards set under the Clean Air Act. Continue reading “Environment: EPA faces ozone lawsuit”→