A Government Accountability Office report found there are too few physicians and nurses on American Indian reservations to provide quality health care to patients. The report said there is a 25% practitioner vacancy rate in the Indian Health Service, which has difficulty matching local market salaries and lacks housing.
Neonatologist Jodi Jackson is leading an effort in Kansas to change how hospitals treat neonatal abstinence syndrome so that mothers and infants are kept together, babies are held and comforted, and opioids are provided in decreasing dosages to ease withdrawal symptoms, rather than sending infants to the NICU. Jackson says many hospitals do not have practice standards for treating these infants.
A study in the Journal of Pain found that among those 65 and older, major memory impairment was more likely with high levels of pain than low levels. Lead author Dr. Guusje van der Leeuw said that pain may be a modifiable risk factor, and the findings "underline the importance of monitoring pain in older adults."
Patients who used alternative medicine were twice as likely to die as those who didn't, a study in JAMA Oncology found. The risks were attributed to delaying or declining traditional treatment, and alternative care linked with reduced survival did not include integrative treatments such as massage or relaxation training received with medical treatment.
The FDA issued a policy statement on veterinary use of opioids shortly after a paper published in the American Journal of Public Health called for a coordinated effort to stop diversion of opioids prescribed for treatment of animals. "Though our animal patients are not the ones struggling with opioid addiction, concerns about misuse and diversion are top-of-mind for the veterinary profession, and the AVMA is actively involved in providing resources to practitioners describing alternative ways to treat pain and minimize opioid use," AVMA spokesman Michael San Filippo said.
The brown dog tick carries Rickettsia rickettsii bacteria, is more likely than many other ticks to bite people and is to blame for an epidemic of Rocky Mountain spotted fever in dogs and people in Mexicali, Mexico, according to a study published in Emerging Infectious Diseases.
The eastern massasauga rattlesnake, a threatened species, is facing a fungal disease similar to white-nose syndrome in bats and chytrid infection in frogs, says veterinarian Matt Allender, director of the Wildlife Epidemiology Lab at the University of Illinois. Dr. Allender and his colleagues have found that the Ophidiomyces fungus alters the snakes' skin microbiome, and they are now planning studies exploring ways to minimize the pathogen's impact.
Australia's Tasmanian devil population has been devastated by a facial tumor disease, and scientists have identified a similar but distinct contagious cancer that may pose a greater threat. Research on the emerging cancer may aid the development of an effective vaccine, could reveal how cancers avoid the immune system and, because contagious cancer cells are similar to organ transplants, might lead to new methods of preventing transplant rejection, researchers write in eLife.
Five people in Hawaii have contracted rat lungworm disease this year, according to the state's Department of Health, including a child who began showing symptoms of infection late last month. Department officials say rat lungworm infections can be prevented by controlling slugs, snails and rats around gardens, yards and farms; setting traps and baits; wearing gloves when working outside; and inspecting and washing produce thoroughly and storing it in sealed containers.
An outreach program developed at Purdue University's College of Veterinary Medicine and supported by the NIH engages children in science through animal-focused content, and students, staff and faculty at Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine are using it and other tools that give children hands-on experience examining and training animals. A pilot study in the Journal of STEM Education demonstrated that middle-school students were more interested in science and engineering after completing an animal-focused program.