Mississippi Hospital Tries New Approach to Opioids

Mississippi Hospital Limits Opioid PerscriptionsAiming to end a wave of death and addiction, hospital emergency departments in the Magnolia State are shifting away from using opioids to treat pain, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports. While it hasn’t experienced quite the level of overdose deaths as some of its northern neighbors, Mississippi does rank high on the list of prescriptions written, the newspaper notes. So, hospitals such as Baptist Memorial Golden Triangle, in Columbus, are coming up with new policies in their EDs. Beginning Jan. 1, the organization is no longer treating chronic pain (lasting more than three) months with opioids like Percoset or Demerol in the emergency room. When necessary, Golden Triangle doctors do dish out opioids for acute pain, but only with a three-day supply for those who need further relief after they’re discharged. If all goes smoothly, the system plans to expand the new policies to 11 other hospitals across the state. North Missisippi Medical Center-Tupelo, too, is revising its ED policies on opioids, offerring altnerntaive pain relief options first and lowering dosages where possible, the newspaper reports. “We’re trying to make it the last line of defense,” says Joe Johnsey, M.D., medical diretor of NMMCT’s ED.

Fecal Transplants Might Help Autism Symptoms, Small Study Shows

Fecal Implant Reduces AutismA new, small study reveals that children with autism may see improved behavioral and gut symptoms from fecal transplants, The Ohio State University reports. Increasing research links the bacteria and viruses that are connected to the gut and problems in the brain, and it is possible the two are linked in autism. Additionally, a technique of putting donated healthy microbes into the systems of those with gastrointestinal disease has been found to rebalance the gut. In a study of 18 children with autism and gastrointestinal problems, parents and doctors said they saw encouraging changes that lasted at least eight weeks after the treatment.

NHL Timid on Limiting Concussions

NHL ConcussionsThe National Hockey League let one through the five hole in taking the approach of refusing to acknowledge any connection between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy, as reported by USA Today. Like the NFL, the NHL has been sued over the matter, but unlike the NFL, has refused to acknowledge any connection, and did so as recently as October in a letter to a House committee. The NHL also has not supported research, which is the stated goal of the suits. “We’re not asking for money. That’s not what we want. What we’re asking for is money to be donated to research, money for medical monitoring for guys who need treatment,” said Dale Purinton, in the article. He is one of more than 100 former players accusing the NHL in a class-action lawsuit of failing to protect them from brain injuries or educate them about the risks of repetitive head trauma.

Pet Rats Source of Seoul Virus

Rats Seoul DiseaseThe recent outbreak of Seoul virus infections in Illinois and Wisconsin have been confirmed to have originated in pet rats, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a CNN report. Currently, eight patients are confirmed to have the virus, and are the first human cases seen in the U.S. associated with pet rats, said Jennifer McQuiston, M.D., a veterinarian and deputy division director for CDC’s division of high consequent pathogens and pathology said in the report. Symptoms of Seoul virus include fever, chills, nausea, pink eye-type eye infection and abdominal pain, the CNN article reports. The investigation is still ongoing, but more infected people may be identified as it continues.