CBD, THE NEXT SUPERBUG TREATMENT?

CBD, THE NEXT SUPERBUG TREATMENT?

In recent years Cannabidiol (CBD) has been proven to help treat the symptoms of anxiety, epilepsy and pain. Now, new research is emerging that CBD may be part of the next wave of antibiotics used to treat bacterial infections.

Drug resistant diseases are on the rise and reaching a critical level affecting all countries. In April 2019, the World Health Organization released a groundbreaking report “demanding immediate, coordinated and ambitious action to avert a potentially disastrous drug-resistance crisis.” If no action is taken, it is estimated that diseases that do not respond to drug treatment could cause 10 million deaths a year by 2050. This epidemic will result in a global economic crisis similar to the 2008 financial crisis.

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Drug-resistant infections are the cause at least 700,000 deaths globally each year

This week new evidence came out that CBD could be one of the next new treatments to help fight the threat of drug resistant bacteria. Mark Blaskovich, PhD, presented research at the American Society for Microbiology annual meeting. Blaskovich is a senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia.

The results Blaskovich shared at ASM Microbe showed that CBD has a surprisingly powerful antibiotic effect against Gram-positive bacteria that was comparable to existing antibiotics, including vancomycin and daptomycin. The in vitro study led by Blaskovich found that CBD is active against Gram-positive bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus (Staph) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (Strep).


Mark Blaskovich, PhD, senior research officer at the Centre for Superbug Solutions at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland in Australia

Even in low concentrations, CBD had positive effects in treating methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). This bacterium is widely known for being the common cause of hospital-acquired infections and is resistant to some forms of antibiotics. The CDC reported that MRSA resulted in 20,000 deaths in 2017 and is considered a significant cause of mortality in the United States.

Blaskovich tweeted this week that “Cannabidiol shows promise against superbug infections.” He also stated that they reviewed CBD’s ability to kill bacteria. “In every case, CBD had a very similar potency to that of common antibiotics.”

Though this research is unpublished it may be the next breakthrough to combat the growing problem of antibiotic resistant strains of bacterial infections. Blaskovich has received a grant from Global Antibiotic Research & Development Partnership (GARDP) to assist in the research to find ‘5 By 25’. The ambitious project’s goal is to develop and deliver five new treatments by 2025 in response to the growing burden of antibiotic resistant infections. According to GARDP “Alarming levels of resistance are now reported in countries of all income levels”. This is resulting in thousands of newborn deaths and patients that have infections that do not respond to any available antibiotics. “Drug-resistant infections already cause at least 700,000 deaths globally each year.”

As more countries legalize cannabis, and research restriction are lifted, clinical trials involving CBD and THC will be able to proceed similar to other drug trials. We are optimistic that similar to the FDA approval of cannabidiol to treat epilepsy, more research will emerge involving the medicinal properties of the various cannabinoids found in cannabis.


This story was originally posted on MedicalMarijuana411.com.

Moving Away From the Bedside: Nursing Careers in Administration

Moving Away From the Bedside: Nursing Careers in Administration

Nursing leadership is an essential feature of any successful health care administration. For many in the profession, the terms nursing administration and administration are used interchangeably because any nurse leadership role includes administrative–or managerial– and executive responsibilities.

The Path of a Nurse Administrator

The chief nursing officer (CNO) of any health care organization is considered the acme position of nursing leadership; however, there are as many nursing administrative roles as there are nurses to fill them. Every position is unique to the organization that creates it and the nurse that takes it on. The typical trajectory of a nurse leader goes in the order as follows:

  1. Bedside nurse
  2. Charge nurse
  3. Nurse manager
  4. Department director
  5. Nursing leadership, executive roles, and beyond

The Value of Nurses in Health Care Administration

As evidenced by the above, those who advance in nursing leadership gradually move further away from direct bedside care. Regardless, at every level of administration, having experience with direct patient care as a nurse is essential for constructive oversight. As such, rarely do nurses advance into administration without a foundation at the bedside, and for good reason.

Charge nurses and nurse managers directly supervise nursing within specific departments, such as the intensive care unit, or operating room. Some of them even take on patient assignments of their own, whether to fill gaps in staffing or as a fundamental part of their role. Nursing department directors act as a liaison between their unit and the larger organization or community, representing and speaking on behalf of their nurses.  

This might lead to them implementing evidence-based practice or quality initiatives based on executive feedback and financial implications. Nursing leaders, executives, and administrators direct and organize systems-wide schema to better nursing and patient care, qualitatively, fiscally, and systematically.

The Future of Nursing Administration

It seems the goal of nursing leadership and administration is a popular one for young nurses today. There are even resources for nursing students to establish themselves as nurse leaders while in nursing school, both through skill development and networking. For nurses who have the competence and resiliency to be nursing leaders, it is an opportunity to affect positively the quality of care patients receive, beyond the bedside.

What It’s Like to Work as a Nurse Researcher

What It’s Like to Work as a Nurse Researcher

While some nurses have an ardent passion to become researchers, Elizabeth Johnston Taylor, PhD, RN, FAAN, a nurse researcher at Loma Linda University Health in Southern California, admits that she kind of fell into it. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love her job. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“I find great joy in doing research,” she says.

According to Taylor, nurse researchers will begin a research project by looking for an answer to a problem. For example, she says, “How can we improve the quality of life or decrease depression among people with disease X? or “How can the health care system better provide care for those with condition S?” S/he will identify something that needs further study. She says that once they decide what question needs to be answered, they design a study using scientific methods that will best answer it—whether they are quantitative or qualitative, use a small sample or big data, are biological in nature or psychological, etc.

“Each phenomenon you want to study obviously is going to require its own unique approach,” explains Taylor.

Oftentimes, nurse researchers will get others to help them with data collection, and then may work with a statistician or a team to analyze the data that is collected. Once they’ve found information that may or may not completely answer the question, it’s important to write about the results to disseminate the findings. “What good is it if you don’t share it with the world and allow the world to benefit from it?” she points out.

Taylor’s program of research—which is a researcher’s area of expertise or what s/he often studies—explores patients’ spiritual responses to illness and how nurses can support or nurture spiritual well-being. “From attending some conferences and just having conversations with chaplains, I got anecdotal evidence that some chaplains believe nurses are inappropriately providing spiritual care and/or doing things with patients that they think are within their purview, but a chaplain doesn’t think it is,” explains Taylor. “I’m doing an exploratory study where I’m asking chaplains to tell me more about these kinds of phenomena.”

For nurses thinking about getting into research, Taylor says that they need to realize that this isn’t a part-time job or something you take on with only minimal interest. They will need to earn a PhD and then obtain funding to pursue a program of research. “It really takes a lot of effort,” says Taylor. “Most academics who have a successful program of research probably work anywhere from 40 to 60 hours plus a week. So it really requires a great deal of commitment as well as a great deal of curiosity and passion.”

Medical Cannabis and PTSD

Medical Cannabis and PTSD

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects a large portion of our population, in particular veterans and victims of sexual or physical assault. While the current standard is to treat PTSD with antidepressants, these medications are not always effective and are associated with low remission rates. This is especially true for combat veterans who are notably resistant to pharmacotherapy. As cannabinoid receptors play a big role in PTSD, the use of medical cannabis offers a novel mechanism of treatment.

“Cannabinoids help the mind with the natural process of forgetting painful memories. This has been extremely positive for those who have experienced traumatic events. The ability to forget the trauma helps with anxiety, night terrors, and depression. Many times, patients suffering from PTSD treat those symptoms with multiple medications that have their own side effects. Access to medical cannabis has helped patients improve their quality of life after major trauma,” says Nikki Wright, the COO and co-founder of Medical Marijuana 411.

Changes in brain pathophysiology are linked to PTSD, in which activity in the fear center of our brains, the amygdala, increases while areas associated with executive function and memory decreases, upsetting the body’s ability to respond to stress. PTSD is further marked by an imbalance of important neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and norepinephrine, and symptoms present as intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking or mood, and alterations in arousal and impulsivity.

The active ingredient in cannabis is a class of compounds called cannabinoids. While we most often associate cannabis with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), there is another cannabinoid at play that deserves our attention. Cannabidiol works to minimize the “high” from THC with neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties that help mediate pain, nausea, muscle spasms, and anxiety. 

Our body has its own endocannabinoid system loaded with receptors that help us maintain homeostasis in response to change; they affect memory, mood, appetite, stress, sleep, metabolism, immune function, and more. Stimulation of cannabinoid receptors has been shown to increase behaviors that allow us to cope with stress, as well as fire off serotonin and norepinephrine, facilitating the release of both excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters needed to maintain balance.

In PTSD, the role of cannabinoid receptors should not be underestimated. A decrease in active cannabinoid receptors has been observed in patients with PTSD, and using medical cannabis provides a different mechanism of action in which receptors found in altered regions can be activated. Stimulated cannabinoid receptors in the amygdala, for example, potentially decrease unpleasant memories, fear, and anxiety, while receptors in the hippocampus decrease hypervigilance and hyperarousal.

Medical cannabis shows promise to provide significant relief from PTSD symptoms, but the concern of developing a cannabis use disorder should be weighed, especially among a vulnerable population. Additional hurdles for the medicinal use of marijuana is differences in state eligibility, non-standardized distribution policies among dispensaries, and financial barriers in which medical cannabis is not covered by insurance.

De-escalation Techniques for Nurses

De-escalation Techniques for Nurses

Workplace violence towards health care workers is a major issue. Nurses commonly are exposed to aggressive and violent patient behavior. Health care organizations are now starting to acknowledge this trend and work towards combating it. As a nurse, one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and protect your patient from doing something they might regret is to learn how to utilize de-escalation techniques effectively.

Before you utilize those de-escalation techniques you must pick up on cues that a patient is becoming agitated or aggressive. This could include verbal threats, physical signs such as pacing, anxiety, or even confusion. It’s important to recognize that violence can come from patients regardless of gender, age, or size and health care professionals should protect themselves regardless of these factors. If you find a patient is becoming increasingly agitated, use these techniques to help de-escalate the situation.

Actively Listen

Patients in the hospital setting are often experiencing a significant loss of control over their body and this can lead them to feelings of helplessness and loss of control. Physicians, nurses, and social workers come in and out of their room to make life-altering decisions for them in a relatively short amount of time. Feeling that you cannot control what is going on can cause patients to get aggressive. Taking the time to hear your patient while being actively engaged with their concerns can go a long way in not only de-escalating their feelings and emotions but helping to build rapport with them. People still long for someone to put down their phone and pull up a chair and listen to them. Before emotions get out of control, active listening is an easy technique to utilize.

Express Empathy

Aggressive patients often don’t feel understood and this can lead to aggression. Hospitals are a place where frustration can trigger someone to act out who already doesn’t feel well. Day-time commotion, interrupted sleep, long waits, and uncertain outcomes is a lot to manage emotionally, and sometimes they receive little support from family or friends. Simply being able to acknowledge the difficulty of the situation can go a long way to help de-escalate your patient’s emotions. It is amazing how feeling understood can bring a sense of peace to patients.

Create Firm Boundaries

When patients are escalating the last thing you want to do is to promise something and not deliver. When patients become aggressive they can become demanding and push you to do things that you might not be able to do. Be sure to frame responses in ways that are non-committal. Use phrases like, “I’ll check with the doctor and see about that,” or “I’ll do my best to get that for you, but I cannot guarantee it.” Going back on your word and killing their expectation could lead to further aggression.

Creating a safe work environment is extremely important. Keep yourself and your coworkers safe by deploying these simple yet effective techniques to de-escalate aggressive patients.


Time’s Up Healthcare: Advocating for Health Care Professionals

Time’s Up Healthcare: Advocating for Health Care Professionals

In the fall of 2017, the #MeToo and TIME’S UP movements began in Hollywood. While lots of organizations were advocating to protect women in a number of fields, they weren’t solely based in health care. On March 1, 2019 that all changed when Time’s Up Healthcare launched.

According to Tiffany A. Love, PhD, FACHE, GNP, ANP-BC, CCA, CRLC, Regional Chief Nursing Officer with Coastal Healthcare Alliance as well as one of the organization’s founders, Time’s Up Healthcare was “established in response to the common experience of power inequity, unsafe work environments, and a lack of inclusion at every level of health care leadership. The aim is to drive new policies and decisions that result in more balanced, diverse, and accountable leadership; address workplace harassment and other types of discrimination; and create equitable and safe work cultures within all facets of the health care industry.”

She took the time to answer our questions about the organization. What follows is an edited version of the interview.

You’re a founding member of the initiative. Why did you get involved?

I have worked in health care since the age of fifteen. I’ve experienced a lot of harassment and other types of discrimination over the years, and I had accepted it as a normal aspect of working in the health care environment. In more recent years, I decided that I would take a stand to create the change I wanted to see, and Time’s Up Healthcare offered me that opportunity.

What is the mission for Time’s Up Healthcare? What does the group hope to accomplish?

Our mission is to unify national efforts to bring safety, equity, and dignity to our workplace. We want to engage and support health care professionals and organizations from all disciplines to change policy and practices to support safe, equitable, and inclusive work environments. We want to raise awareness about the issues that health care professionals face. We also want to provide support for survivors through the Time’s Up Healthcare Legal Defense Fund.

Why is it important for this group to exist? How do you hope to change healthcare?

Time’s Up Healthcare is important because health care professionals need a group who will advocate for them without expecting anything in return. Time’s Up Healthcare is a 501(c)(3) foundation. Most of the work is done by volunteer health care professionals who donate their time and money to this important initiative.

As health care professionals, we are aware of the research that has proven patient safety is at risk when health care workers are forced to work in an environment that is not safe, equitable, or inclusive. The health of the employees as well as the patients is impacted by these conditions.

What do most health care workers not realize about harassment in the workplace? Or assault?

Many health care workers have been desensitized to harassment because it is so common. Harassment can be in the form of verbal aggression, exclusion, bullying behaviors, and the threat of physical violence. It can also take the form of assault through unwanted touching and even physical violence.

If nurses want to get involved with the group, what can they do?

We welcome you to join us at https://www.timesuphealthcare.org. You can sign up for our newsletter or purchase a pair of Time’s Up Healthcare scrubs under the shop tab. A portion of the proceeds will assist survivors through the Time’s Up Healthcare Foundation and Legal Defense Fund. You can also become a sponsor or encourage your organization to become a signatory who pledges commitment to align with Time’s Up Healthcare’s core statements.

You can also follow us on social media. We are on Twitter: @TIMESUPHC, Facebook: Time’s Up Healthcare, and Instagram: timesuphc. Look for Time’s Up Healthcare. You can also search the hashtags: #TimesUpHealthcare #TIMESUPHC and #TUHHERO.

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