Summer is winding down, and for many student athletes, that means one thing: football. Practices are starting across the country. And now more than ever, there’s a focus on safety…especially preventing head injury and concussions. All this week, WBHM explores what this means for football in our state, and highlights homegrown research and scientific developments that could change the game forever.
Last year, Alabama was the second state to legalize limited use of marijuana derivate, commonly known as CBD oil. Alabama’s Carly’s Law, is allowing doctors at the University of Alabama at Birmingham to study and prescribe CBD oil to select patients. CBD oil has only traces or no THC --the active ingredient in marijuana known to produce a high-and is changing the debate surrounding the use of use of marijuana as medicine. UAB’s study officially started this spring.
Injection drug use is on the rise around the country, feeding an increase in cases of the blood-borne liver disease Hepatitis C. The Centers for Disease control says that, nationally, Hepatitis C infections rose 150 percent in the last 3 years. But the spread of the disease in Alabama is hard to measure. Doctors and health care officials are trying new ways to determine the true spread of the disease here in Alabama -- doctors like Jim Galbraith, an emergency room physician at UAB.
Police and public health leaders in Alabama are trying to deal with a spike in heroin use in recent years. Naloxone -- or narcan -- is a drug that, when administered correctly, can reverse the effects of a heroin overdose. A bill passed the Alabama Legislature this week that would allow first responders to give narcan to someone dying from an overdose. But some don't think the bill goes far enough. UAB researchers are working on a crowd-funded study that puts narcan directly in the hands of users' and family and friends.
For decades Anniston’s now closed Ft. McClellan was home to the Army Chemical School and housed substances including sarin gas and nerve agent. The company Monsanto also released toxic chemicals into the environment around the area. Some veterans say exposure to these substances while at Ft. McClellan caused them an array of health problems and have called for compensation from the federal government. Those activists can now claim a small victory.
When Alabama Psychiatric Services suddenly closed in February, 28,000 people who depended on the company for mental healthcare found their treatment thrown into chaos. APS closed after the company said it couldn’t reach an agreement with the state’s largest health insurance company Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Alabama. A similar situation in Florida has some mental healthcare professionals wondering if more closures are possible or if something illegal is happening.
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