New Smell Tech Could Make VR Therapies More Powerful

An emerging trend in virtual reality – incorporating smell – could be exciting news not just for gaming but for health care as well. A growing number of hospitals across the country are using virtual reality to help patients manage pain, overcome phobias, and calm anxiety. Providers and patients report mostly good results, save for … Read more

Chronic Pain Patients Swapping Opioids for Medical Cannabis

Almost one third of patients with chronic pain report using medical cannabis to manage that pain, with more than half of them decreasing use of other pain medications, including opioids, new research shows. “That patients report substituting cannabis for pain medicines so much really underscores the need for research on the benefits and risks of … Read more

Screen All Patients for Cannabis Use Before Surgery: Guideline

If you smoke, vape, or ingest cannabis, your anesthesiologist should know before you undergo a surgical procedure, according to new medical guidelines. All patients who undergo procedures that require regional or general anesthesia should be asked if, how often, and in what forms they use the drug, according to recommendations from the American Society of … Read more

Novel Approach to Recovery After Attempted Suicide

Researchers propose a conceptual model of personal recovery after attempted suicide that focuses on nonclinical factors such as helping people find meaning and purpose in their lives. Developed by a panel of mental health professionals and individuals who have attempted suicide, the COURAGE model has seven themes: choosing life, optimizing identity, understanding oneself, rediscovering meaning, … Read more

Cluster Headache Tied to Risk of Mental, Neurologic Disorders

Cluster headache (CH) is associated with a significantly increased risk for comorbid conditions, including mental disorders and other neurologic disease, leading to significant disability and absenteeism, new research shows. Results from a Swedish register-based study also showed that patients with CH had a sixfold increased risk for central nervous system (CNS) disorders and a twofold … Read more

Placebo Effect a Major Driver of Pain Reduction in Cannabis Trials

A strong placebo response may be largely responsible for the significant pain reduction observed in clinical trials of cannabis-based therapies, results of a new meta-analysis suggest. Investigators found that while the effect of cannabinoids on pain intensity was significant, the placebo effect was about the same. “The data from the present meta-analysis, including 1,459 patients … Read more

More Evidence Insomnia Contributes to Cognitive Decline

A new study provides more evidence that insomnia may contribute to cognitive decline in older adults and shows that difficulty falling asleep in midlife may be most indicative of future cognitive impairment. Investigators found that having trouble falling asleep most nights (vs rarely/never) was equivalent to the effect of 2 to 3 years of aging … Read more

Primary Care Moves Patients With Addiction to Self-Advocacy

Samuel Werner, DO, a family medicine physician in West Hartford, Connecticut, vividly remembers one patient who was struggling with a drug addiction. The man was having trouble holding down a steady job because of his dependence, but with Werner’s guidance, he started on buprenorphine. Werner also connected him with a social worker to address housing … Read more

Naloxone May Fail for Overdoses Tainted With ‘Tranq,’ FDA Warns

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is alerting healthcare professionals about the special management required for opioid overdoses tainted with xylazine, an animal tranquilizer known on the street as tranq, tranq dope, sleep-cut, Philly dope, and zombie drug. The tranquilizer is often combined with fentanyl or heroin, or occasionally with a stimulant, said the … Read more

Chronic Pain Tied to Poor Health, Increased COVID Risk

Individuals who have chronic pain at age 44 are more likely to report poor general health, poor mental health, and joblessness when they are in their 50s and 60s, new research shows. Chronic pain at age 44 (in 2002) was also predictive of SARS-CoV-2 infection nearly two decades later, in 2021. “We speculate that pain … Read more