Tag Archives: Alzheimer’s disease

Underreported hospital delirium is on the rise

Saturday, January 29, 2011 by: Lindsay Chimileski , citizen journalist

(NaturalNews) Although malpractice and missing sponges have become somewhat silently accepted by the medical community there is a new alarming risk on the rise, Hospital Delirium. Hospital Delirium results from the combination of an unnatural environment, sleep deprivation and medications. It poses a silent threat to the health of all hospital patients, especially the elderly. Patients report experiencing zombie attacks, alien invasion, and other paranoid hallucinations. It may sound like a strange science fiction nightmare but in reality it occurs in up to 1/3 of the hospitalized geriatric population.

Hospital delirium is marked by an inability to think clearly, disorientation, alertness fluctuations, hallucinations, and paranoia. It is usually sudden and can progress over hours or days. Hospital delirium is more prevalent and poses a greater risk for the geriatric population. In the allopathic medical system, the elderly are expected to be senile and disoriented. Because of this false expectation, patients experiencing hospital delirium are often dismissed as “normal aging” and ignored. Delirium and disorientation are not a part of the natural healing process and should always be observed as a warning sign. Mental status changes often indicate serious turns in medical conditions and should not be overlooked.

The official cause of hospital delirium is undefined but the triggers are everywhere in the hospital atmosphere. Patients are placed in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable environment. They are usually suffering from dehydration, malnutrition, infection and/or anxiety. Patients can also be left feeling vulnerable due to the removal of their glasses or dentures. On top of that, add Pandora’s Box of drugs and medications, especially sedatives.

Hospital delirium is the consequence of violating the simplest of nature’s laws and preventing the body from getting real, good ol’ fashioned sleep. Studies prove that disruption of sleep may contribute to delirium and cognitive dysfunction in ICU patients. Staff monitoring and unnatural lighting prevent proper rest. This is especially true when deprived of sensory stimulation in units without windows, such as Intensive Care Units. Hospitals are now beginning to recognize the importance of adjusting light cycles to sync with the body’s innate circadian rhythm and sleep wake cycle.

Sleep allows the body to repair and restores the brain. It primes the brain for all the new knowledge it will acquire in the following day. Sleep distribution and sedation are linked as important factors because of their shared effects on memory. Interruption of this process, in combination with baseline vulnerability and other hospital triggers, provides the perfect cocktail for delirium.

Hospital delirium is now found to have some lasting effects. Due to complications and postponed surgeries, hospital stays are on average six days longer when patients experienced delirium. Delirium patients have a three times higher risk of death in six months. Hospital delirium can also be responsible for the premature placement of patients in short or long term care, such as nursing homes.

Hospital delirium is finally being recognized but the current statistics are still vastly under estimated. Most practitioners avoid the use of the term delirium and use synonyms like confusion or agitation instead. Although hospital delirium can cause outbursts and aggressive behavior, it can also silently occur in patients who appear to be resting quietly. Patients can become too paranoid to speak or share their hallucinations, so they suffer in silence and their experience goes unreported.

Although the public knows little of the issue, many hospitals are acknowledging the problem and initiating new natural protocols including massage and meditation. When hospital stays are unavoidable, awareness and familial support are the best ways to protect yourself and loved ones.

References

Belluck, P. (2010, June 20). Hallucination in Hospital Pose Risk to Elderly. The New York Times.

Collins, N., Blanchard, M., Tookman, A., & Sampson, E. (2009). Detection of delirium in acute hospital. Age and Ageing Oxford Journals. 131 (5).

Maze, M., Sanders, RD. (2010, Dec. 18). Contribution of sedative-hypnotic agents to delirium via modulation of the sleep pathway.

Rocha, M. (2010). Delirium in ICU. Characteristics, Diagnosis and Prevention. Retrieved from <http://www.slideshare.net/hospira20…

About the author

I am student in a Naturopathic Doctorate Program, expecting to graduate in 2013. I am not a doctor and not giving any medical advice, just spreading the word of natural living, and the pressing health revolution.
http://harmoniousvibrations.blogspo…

Source: http://www.naturalnews.com/031141_hospitals_malpractice.html


Recent Research on Medical Marijuana

Emerging Clinical Applications For Cannabis & Cannabinoids
A Review of the Recent Scientific Literature, 2000 — 2011

 

Despite the ongoing political debate regarding the legality of medicinal marijuana, clinical investigations of the therapeutic use of cannabinoids are now more prevalent than at any time in history.

For example, in February 2010 investigators at the University of California Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research publicly announced thefindings of a series of randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials on the medical utility of inhaled cannabis. The studies, which utilized the so-called ‘gold standard’ FDA clinical trail design, concluded that marijuana ought to be a “first line treatment” for patients with neuropathy and other serious illnesses.

Among the studies conducted by the Center, four assessed smoked marijuana’s ability to alleviate neuropathic pain, a notoriously difficult to treat type of nerve-pain associated with cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, spinal cord injury, and many other debilitating conditions. Each of the trials found that cannabis consistently reduced patients’ pain levels to a degree that was as good or better than currently available medications.

Another study conducted by the Center’s investigators assessed the use of marijuana as a treatment for patients suffering frommultiple sclerosis. That study determined that “smoked cannabis was superior to placebo in reducing spasticity and pain in patients with MS, and provided some benefit beyond currently prescribed treatments.”

Around the globe similarly controlled trials are also taking place. A 2010 review by researchers in Germany reports that since 2005 there have been 37 controlled studies assessing the safety and efficacy of marijuana and its naturally occurring compounds, involved a total of 2,563 subjects. By contrast, most FDA-approved drugs go through far fewer trials involving far fewer subjects.

While much of the renewed interest in cannabinoid therapeutics is a result of the discovery of the endocannabinoid regulatory system (which we describe in detail later in this booklet), some of this increased attention is also due to the growing body of testimonials from medicinal cannabis patients and their physicians. Nevertheless, despite this influx of anecdotal reports, much of the modern investigation of medicinal cannabis remains limited to preclinical (animal) studies of individual cannabinoids (e.g. THC or cannabidiol) and/or synthetic cannabinoid agonists (e.g., dronabinol or WIN 55,212-2) rather than clinical trial investigations involving whole plant material. Predictably, because of the US government’s strong public policy stance against any use of cannabis, the bulk of this modern cannabinoid research is taking place outside the United States.

As clinical research into the therapeutic value of cannabinoids has proliferated – there are now an estimated 20,000 published papers in the scientific literature analyzing marijuana and its constituents — so too has investigators’ understanding of cannabis’ remarkable capability to combat disease. Whereas researchers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s primarily assessed cannabis’ ability to temporarily alleviate various disease symptoms — such as the nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy — scientists today are exploring the potential role of cannabinoids tomodify disease.

Of particular interest, scientists are investigating cannabinoids’ capacity to moderate autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis,rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease, as well as their role in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease.) In fact, in 2009 the American Medical Association (AMA) resolved for the first time in the organization’s history “that marijuana’s status as a federal Schedule I controlled substance be reviewed with the goal of facilitating the conduct of clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines.”

Investigators are also studying the anti-cancer activities of cannabis, as a growing body of preclinical and clinical data concludes that cannabinoids can reduce the spread of specific cancer cells via apoptosis (programmed cell death) and by the inhibition of angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels). Arguably, these latter trends represent far broader and more significant applications for cannabinoid therapeutics than researchers could have imagined some thirty or even twenty years ago.

THE SAFETY PROFILE OF MEDICAL CANNABIS

Cannabinoids have a remarkable safety record, particularly when compared to other therapeutically active substances. Most significantly, the consumption of marijuana – regardless of quantity or potency — cannot induce a fatal overdose. According to a 1995 review prepared for the World Health Organization, “There are no recorded cases of overdose fatalities attributed to cannabis, and the estimated lethal dose for humans extrapolated from animal studies is so high that it cannot be achieved by … users.”

In 2008, investigators at McGill University Health Centre and McGill University in Montreal and the University of British Columbia in Vancouverreviewed 23 clinical investigations of medicinal cannabinoid drugs (typically oral THC or liquid cannabis extracts) and eight observational studies conducted between 1966 and 2007. Investigators “did not find a higher incidence rate of serious adverse events associated with medical cannabinoid use” compared to non-using controls over these four decades.

That said, cannabis should not necessarily be viewed as a ‘harmless’ substance. Its active constituents may produce a variety of physiological and euphoric effects. As a result, there may be some populations that are susceptible to increased risks from the use of cannabis, such asadolescentspregnant or nursing mothers, and patients who have a family history of mental illness. Patients with Hepatitis C, decreased lung function (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), or who have a history of heart disease or stroke may also be at a greater risk of experiencing adverse side effects from marijuana. As with any medication, patients should consult thoroughly with their physician before deciding whether the medicinal use of cannabis is safe and appropriate.

HOW TO USE THIS REPORT

As states continue to approve legislation enabling the physician-supervised use of medicinal marijuana, more patients with varying disease types are exploring the use of therapeutic cannabis. Many of these patients and their physicians are now discussing this issue for the first time, and are seeking guidance on whether the therapeutic use of cannabis may or may not be advisable. This report seeks to provide this guidance by summarizing the most recently published scientific research (2000-2010) on the therapeutic use of cannabis and cannabinoids for 19 clinical indications:

Alzheimer’s disease
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Chronic Pain
Diabetes mellitus
Dystonia
Fibromyalgia
Gastrointestinal disorders
Gliomas
Hepatitis C
Human Immunodeficiency Virus
Hypertension
Incontinence
Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus (MRSA)
Multiple sclerosis
Osteoporosis
Pruritus
Rheumatoid arthritis
Sleep apnea
Tourette’s syndrome

In some of these cases, modern science is now affirming longtime anecdotal reports of medicinal cannabis users (e.g., the use of cannabis to alleviate GI disorders). In other cases, this research is highlighting entirely new potential clinical utilities for cannabinoids (e.g., the use of cannabinoids to modify the progression of diabetes.)

The conditions profiled in this report were chosen because patients frequently inquire about the therapeutic use of cannabis to treat these disorders. In addition, many of the indications included in this report may be moderated by cannabis therapy. In several cases, preclinical data and clinical data indicate that cannabinoids may halt the progression of these diseases in a more efficacious manner than available pharmaceuticals.

For patients and their physicians, let this report serve as a primer for those who are considering using or recommending medicinal cannabis. For others, let this report serve as an introduction to the broad range of emerging clinical applications for cannabis and its various compounds.

Paul Armentano
Deputy Director
NORML | NORML Foundation
Washington, DC
January 7, 2011

* The author would like to acknowledge Drs. Dale Gieringer, Dustin Sulak, Gregory Carter, Steven Karch, and Mitch Earleywine, as well as Bernard Ellis, MPH, former NORML interns John Lucy, Christopher Rasmussen, and Rita Bowles, for providing research assistance for this report. The NORML Foundation would also like to acknowledge Dale Gieringer, Paul Kuhn, and Richard Wolfe for their financial contributions toward the publication of this report.

** Important and timely publications such as this are only made possible when concerned citizens become involved with NORML. For more information on joining NORML or making a donation, please visit: http://www.norml.org/join. Tax-deductible donations in support of NORML’s public education campaigns should be made payable to the NORML Foundation.


%d bloggers like this: