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The Morning Report provides a quick look at today’s medical news, research and features.  









Bill Would Allow Easier Access to Med Marijuana for Epilepsy, Seizure Patients
U.S. Congressman Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) today introduced a bill for patients to have greater access to medical marijuana. The “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014″ would amend the Controlled Substances Act to exempt plants containing less than 0.3 percent of THC, which is chemical responsible for the high associated with recreational pot.

“The bill proposes to exclude industrial hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) from the definition of marijuana, ensuring that children and individuals with epilepsy and other debilitating seizure disorders have access to life-changing Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil and therapeutic hemp,” according to the Realm of Caring, a non-profit organization formed by the Stanley family in Colorado to “to provide a better quality of life” through the use of concentrated medicinal cannabis oil.

The Charlotte’s Web strain of marijuana is named for seven-year-old Charlotte Figi, who suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a rare and catastrophic form of epilepsy. Charlotte was having up to 300 seizures per week, some of which would last for hours.  Her parents met the Stanley brothers, who had developed a strain of marijuana with minimal traces of THC and high levels of cannabidiol, which has been found to control seizures. Charlotte’s seizures have been reduced to as few as two per month and the Stanley brothers have dubbed their strain “Charlotte’s Web.” (Story and video at Physicians News)

Fist Bump Less Germy Than Handshake
Fist bumping spreads significantly fewer germs than the more traditional alternative, according to a new study. A fist bump transmits just one-twentieth the amount of bacteria that a handshake does. It is also a less germy option than a high-five, which still spreads less than half the amount of germs typically spread through a handshake, the new research found.

In the study, published in the August issue of the American Journal of Infection Control, researchers wanted to see whether alternative greetings would transmit fewer germs than the traditional handshake. A greeter immersed a sterile-gloved hand into a container of germs. Once the glove was dry, the greeter exchanged a handshake, fist bump or high-five with a sterile-gloved recipient. Then the researchers examined the number of bacteria on transferred during the experiment.

The study was conducted in response to the recent call from the journal JAMA to ban handshakes from the hospital environment. “Adoption of the fist bump as a greeting could substantially reduce the transmission of infectious diseases between individuals,” study author David Whitworth of Aberystwyth University in the United Kingdom said in a statement. (CBS)

Doc, Ass’t Contract Ebola While On Aid Mission
An American doctor and an aid worker working for two charitable groups fighting Ebola in Liberia have both become infected with the deadly virus, one of the groups confirmed. And Liberia closed some borders to help prevent further spread of the virus.

Dr. Kent Brantly, 33, medical director for the aid group Samaritan’s Purse, and his colleague Nancy Writebol, are both being treated at the center in Monrovia where they were working to help Ebola patients.  Their cases show just how difficult it can be to protect against Ebola, a highly contagious virus that’s spread by bodily fluids – something hard to avoid when victims vomit, bleed or suffer from diarrhea.

Ebola has infected nearly 1,100 people and killed 660 of them in the current West African outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. It’s the worst Ebola outbreak ever recorded. The virus has spread across borders between Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea and was taken by airliner for the first time ever when a Liberian citizen, Patrick Sawyer, collapsed a week ago after flying into Lagos. He’s since died and two tests came back positive for Ebola.

Nigerian authorities are working to track down everyone Sawyer may have been in contact with. In Liberia, doctors are doing the same for the two Americans, said Strickland. She said it’s not clear precisely how Brantly and Writebol were infected. Both used personal protective equipment, which includes a full body coverall, multiple layers of gloves, goggles and face protection. (NBC)


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