Reminder: Buzz going members-only

If you aren’t a GPhA member, your last GPhA Buzz e-mail will be Monday, January 8. That’s when it — along with some major sections of the GPhA.org website — go members-only.

If you’d like to continue to receive Buzz, no worries, just join GPhA! The daily news is just one of a host of member benefits, including a lot of free and deeply discounted CE courses. (And remember, it’s a license-renewal year.) Joining is easy: Just head over to GPhA.org/join!

There’s an ongoing outbreak of E. coli infections

It’s in 13 states (Georgia is not among them). The likely culprit: romaine lettuce, according to Canadian authorities.

Why yes, sugar comas are real

Interestingly, though, they’re limited to glucose and sucrose. (Fructose doesn’t cross the blood-brain barrier, so that didn’t have an effect.)

A study in New Zealand found that, “[P]articipants who had consumed glucose or sucrose tended to perform worse on the cognitive tests than those who had consumed fructose or sucralose.”

The flu is widespread

Do we need to say more? (Georgia’s numbers are a bit outdated, though — the last report from DPH was from December 9, 2017.)

More than a third of Georgia’s hospitals penalized

About 35 of the state’s hospitals — that’s about 35 percent — are being hit with Medicare penalties in 2018 because of patient injuries. That makes Georgia the sixth-worst state in the country; nationally about 23 percent were penalized.

Babies, health, and fracking

The good news: Hydraulic fracturing (aka, “fracking”) has cut U.S. energy costs tremendously, and reduced pollution by cutting the use of coal.

The bad news (besides earthquakes): Babies born within about two miles of fracking sites have a much higher risk of “infant mortality, ADHD, asthma, lower test scores, lower schooling attainment, and lower earnings.”

The good news: These effects are very local; “the study found no evidence of impacts on infant health among babies born to mothers living farther than about 2 miles from a fracking site.”

Got patients on Chantix?

You might want to warn them that, if they’re taking varenicline to quit smoking, there are some potential dangers.

If they have had heart issues, a study found that they’re “34 percent more likely to be hospitalized or visit the ER due to a heart problem while taking the drug.” (For people without heart problems, the risk of a cardiovascular event only goes up about 12 percent.)

Measles triumph

Despite the best efforts of anti-vaxxers, measles deaths worldwide have fallen below 100,000 per year for the first time in history, thanks to “widespread donor-supported vaccination that began in the early 2000s.”

Let the price hikes begin!

Effective January 1, a bunch of pharmaceutical companies are raising the prices of their drugs in the U.S. Allergan raised its prices across the board by 9.5 percent; Teva’s increases ran from 2.3 to 9.4 percent.