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Medical Muse: June 2018 Issue

Medical Muse


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APPs to Dominate Health Care by 2030


Last month, I talked about how APPs are in a pretty cush place within the medical industry, as both NPs and PAs are seeing substantial salary increases. And it seems that things are only looking up from here.


With the skyrocketing demand for APPs, you can rest-assured that you’re in the right line of work. In fact, researchers estimate that by 2030 over two thirds of healthcare providers will be APPs. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, shows that the number of NPs entering the field per year will grow almost seven times faster than for physicians. For PAs, that number will grow four times faster than for physicians.


Of course, primary care is one of the driving forces of this projected influx. But there are other factors to consider including: physician burnout and retirement rates, the longer education and training times for physicians and the limited number of residency spots.


The lead researcher for the study David I. Auerbach, PhD, notes, “There are always going to be some practices that are physician-only. But those will be fewer and fewer.” In fact, he predicts that there will be more NP-led clinics and greater APP presence in multispecialty practices.


Epidiolex Makes History as First Cannabis-Based Drug with FDA Approval


On Monday June 25th, the FDA announced its approval of Epidiolex. The GW Pharmaceuticals drug is an oral solution that treats two types of childhood-onset epileptic syndromes.


The first is Dravet syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder that affects the SCN1A gene and causes chronic and/or prolonged seizures starting in the patient’s first year of life. The second is Lennox-Gastaut syndrome. This type of epilepsy begins early in childhood between the ages of 3 and 5 and can lead to multiple types of seizures, the most common of which are tonic.


GW Pharmaceuticals CEO Justin Gover reported that the Epidiolex would be available to the public in the fall but costs for the drug have yet to be disclosed. One thing is certain, however—this event is a milestone for the future of cannabinoid medicine and the greater pharmaceutical industry.


BCG Vaccine Gives Hope to Patients with Type 1 Diabetes


A recent study published this month in npj Vaccines found that the Bacillus Calmette Guérin (BCG) vaccine may reduce hyperglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes.


Spanning over eight years, the nine diabetic participants in the study received two doses of the vaccine. After year three, the participants experienced a lowered hemoglobin A1c to near-normal levels that lasted for the next five years.


Researchers believe the mechanisms behind this effect involve the BCG vaccine increasing T cells and cellular metabolic consumption, whereby the cells consume more sugar out of the blood.


Because of the vaccine’s influence on T cell production, which in turn boosts the body’s immune system, these findings show that the vaccine may be applicable to other severe autoimmune disorders.