1. Zolot, Joan PA

Article Content

Legalized marijuana: ramifications. States that have legalized marijuana use have seen cannabis-related effects on health and safety. In Colorado, the prevalence of marijuana-related ED visits doubled after the 2014 legalization of recreational marijuana, from 22 per 100,000 ED visits between 2010 and 2013 to 38 per 100,000 ED visits in the first half of 2014. ED visits by children for accidental ingestion of marijuana edibles like brownies and candies are also now seen. Although definitive data are lacking, several indicators suggest that marijuanaimpaired driving is on the rise (visit A survey revealed that the prevalence of daytime marijuana use by Washington State drivers increased significantly after the state's 2014 legalization. While it's difficult to assess the direct effects on accident rates, insurance data showed increases in collision claims frequency in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon that correlated with the dates of legalization.

Figure. Scientists f... - Click to enlarge in new window Scientists from Riken and the Sumitomo Riko Company in Japan have developed a new experimental nursing care robot, ROBEAR, which is capable of performing tasks such as lifting a patient from a bed into a wheelchair. Photo (C) Associated Press.

Hospitals and cybersecurity. Health care data breaches have been on the rise since 2015 as Internet-based technology is increasingly relied on to deliver and manage health care. Electronic health records (EHRs) have largely replaced paper records, and today's medical devices-pacemakers, for example-are frequently connected and programmable via the Internet to hospital networks and smartphones. EHRs contain patients' names, addresses, social security numbers, and, sometimes, insurance, banking, and financial information. Criminals who obtain these data can use or resell them for tax fraud, credit card fraud, and medical billing and insurance fraud. Another security threat is ransomware, in which hackers encrypt or disable a hospital's data systems, thereby hijacking the institution's ability to function until a ransom is paid. Ransomware can be introduced through e-mail attachments unwittingly opened by system users. For more information, go to


Artificial intelligence. Nearly half of all health care organizations expect to utilize some type of artificial intelligence (AI) within the next five years, according to a 2017 survey of health care executives. Health care is considered an industry ripe for the application of AI, owing to the enormous volume of medical records from which machines can learn and develop interpretive algorithms. Experts say AI's initial use will most likely be in diagnosis, clinical decision support, population health, and precision medicine. At Weill Cornell Medicine in New York, for example, researchers are working with AI to identify the most effective chemotherapeutic drug combinations against melanoma, using information from patients' individual genomes. And nurses could benefit by the incorporation of AI into medical devices to enable these devices to assist in monitoring and decision making.-Joan Zolot, PA