Testing It Up

New Survey Finds Stimulant Abuse “Normal” for College Kids

A new survey entitled Under Pressure: College Students and the Abuse of Rx Stimulants and released by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids confirms that the abuse of prescription stimulants is becoming normalized among current college students and other young adults.drug abuse among students

It found that 1 in 5 college students (20%) report abusing prescription stimulants at least once in their lifetime, compared to 1 in 7 non-students (15%).

Among young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, 1 in 6 (17%) has abused a prescription stimulant at least once in their lifetime. Young adults are most likely to abuse the prescribed stimulants Adderall (60%), Ritalin (20%) and Vyvanse (14%), which are all prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

The reasons college students and other young adults cite for abusing these Rx medications are for functional reasons:

  • 50% report abusing Rx stimulants to study or improve academic performance
  • 41% say they misuse or abuse them to stay awake
  • 24% misuse or abuse Rx stimulants to improve work performance at a job

Among current college students specifically:

  • 44% say they abuse Rx stimulants in order to study and improve academic performance
  • 31% say they abuse in order to stay awake
  • 21% report abusing Rx stimulants in order to improve work performance at their jobs
  • 27% who report abuse of Rx stimulants also hold full-time jobs, in addition to attending school compared to just 12% of those who do not abuse Rx stimulants

Perhaps most worrying of all, the research shows college students perceive tangible rewards after they’ve abused Rx stimulants. 64% who report abusing Rx stimulants indicate that doing so helped them obtain a higher grade, improve work performance or gain a competitive edge.

“Students need help in learning how to manage their busy lifestyles effectively,” said Dr. Josh Hersh, Staff Psychiatrist at Miami University. “Learning time management strategies such as ‘block scheduling’ and ‘syllabus tracking’ can help prevent ‘cramming’ – the main reason people look to stimulants at whatever the price. In addition, teaching students with ADHD who are prescribed stimulants about how to properly care for their medication will help address misuse and prevent these drugs from getting into the hands of students who might abuse the meds.”

November 21, 2014 at 12:54 pm Comments (0)

Mental Health Care Essential In Pregnancy and Parenting

It might not seem as important as physical health, but the mental condition of the mother is important during pregnancy.

parent mental health childbirth pregnancyThis was identified through several research studies highlighted in the journal The Lancet, which recently released a series of articles that emphasized the importance of mental health care for parents. Abandoning the mental health of the mother may have adverse consequences on the child.

One of the papers examined factors that increase the likelihood of prenatal anxiety, depression, and other psychological and mental disorders. Study lead author Louise Howard — who works as a professor of Women’s Mental Health at UK’s King’s College London under the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience — said that anticipation during childbirth can be a very difficult time for any parent. “The stigma around [pre] and postnatal mental illnesses can prevent people from getting the help they need. It’s important that people seek treatment promptly to prevent suffering and distress for the whole family,” Howard said in a news release.

Another study discovered a link between mental health issues of the parent and a higher risk of physical and psychological problems on the child. University of Oxford Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit chief Alan Stein said, “parents at risk of mental health disorders during or after pregnancy need to be identified early to try to prevent symptoms from affecting offspring.” Apart from the mental health of the mother, depression by the father may also affect development of the child.

Meanwhile, another research from the UK — this time from Cardiff University’s Medical Research Council Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics — suggests that giving birth may lead to extreme mental disorders on the mother. Ian Jones, study lead author, said that the field is still wide open for further research in order “to understand what triggers psychotic episodes after childbirth so that we can predict women at risk and develop treatments that are safe to be administered for mother and baby.”

The series of articles suggests that identification and intervention are crucial in preventing negative effects on the parent and child due to mental disorders.

November 21, 2014 at 6:24 am Comments (0)

Prescribed Medication Not Taken By Patients, Intervention Necessary

A new study recently shed light into the truth that prescriptions do not guarantee better health outcomes of the patients receiving them.

take prescription medicineAccording to a study by a team of researchers at Canada’s McMaster University, patients do not take the medications prescribed to them based on the intended dosage. Amidst widespread news about prescription drug abuse and how some people are circumventing medical laws to procure prescription medicines, the study suggests that some patients are not even taking the medicine issued to them.

Study lead author Robby Nieuwlaat said that previous studies have delved into this issue but interventions and recommendations are few and far between. “The studies varied so much in terms of their design and their results that it would have been misleading to try to come up with general conclusions,” said Nieuwlaat in a news item.

The study looked into more than 180 trials from past researches to check if the approaches to ensure correct administration of prescription drugs was followed by patients. The team’s results showed that while previous studies had the best of intentions, it was difficult to determine the effectiveness of each. Many of them were deemed “unreliable and inconsistent” in terms of proof of effectiveness. The studies covered a wide range of diseases and were “measured using wide-range methods”, which complicated the data review even more.

“We need more advanced methods for researching ways to improve medicine adherence, including better interventions, better ways of measuring adherence and studies that include sufficient patients to draw conclusions on clinically important effects,” the research team said. All in all, less than 10 percent of the 182 trials produced high-quality approaches.

[ Image source ]

November 20, 2014 at 8:09 pm Comments (0)

November 20 is Great American Smokeout Day

If you’re thinking about quitting smoking sometime soon, why not do it during a “quit smoking” campaign?

great american smokeout day november 20 2014The third Thursday of November is celebrated in the U.S. as the Great American Smokeout Day, a campaign by the American Cancer Society to urge smokers to kick the habit. The date was marked by the organization to invite people who are planning to quit smoking to do so on this day. Participants are encouraged to devote 24 hours to abstain from smoking on November 20 — the third Thursday of this month — with the hope that this will kick-start a habit to make the right decision.

According to cancer.org, quitting smoking gives the person immediate health benefits such as a drop in heart rate and blood pressure within 20 minutes from smoking cessation. Halfway into the day, the carbon monoxide level in the bloodstream returns to normal. As the person continues to abstain from tobacco products, the respiratory system will improve dramatically over the course of 2 weeks to 3 months, together with improving breath capacity and making the lungs cleaner.

Statistics reveal that almost one in every five adults in the U.S. smokes cigarettes, which remain one of the leading causes of disease and death in the country. The silver lining for people who are currently addicted to smoking is that they can decide today — or on the Great American Smokeout Day — to stop the vice and live a healthier life. Even better, deciding to quit smoking will not only benefit smokers but also protect people close to them against the hazards of secondhand smoke.

November 17, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Laser Imaging Technology: Key To Better Asthma Inhalers

Inhaler drugs for asthma are difficult to assess in terms of effectiveness because the method of introduction to the body may not be consistent. However, a new study looks into using laser technology to monitor the drug particles as they enter the patient’s respiratory system.

asthma inhalerThe study, conducted by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Birmingham in the U.K., assessed the behavior of asthma inhaler drug particles as they are dispersed in the air. The study involved the use of laser imaging technology to trace where the particles are going as they are emitted by the inhaler casing. The researchers are hoping that this could pave the way for pharmaceutical companies to improve the current inhalers in the market and increase their effectiveness and accuracy.

The microscopic particles of the drug salbutamol sulphate were traced using the Octopus laser imaging facility housed in the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Central Laser Facility. Through the device, researchers were able to study how the particles behave as they are expelled to the air. According to the study, as the particles enter the body, water is absorbed by the particles, which get dissolved and absorbed by the body. Together with the use of Raman spectroscopy, researchers were able to observe the salbutamol particles in detail. “You can observe the size and shape of drug particles using a microscope, but you don’t get any chemical information about what exactly is happening to the particles if they float in air,” said study co-author Markus Kalberer in a news item.

Study team lead Francis Pope shared the potential of their new discovery. “This research could lead to more efficient inhalers to deliver drugs for respiratory problems. We would not have been able to do this work without the unique capability of these lasers to capture and levitate particles, providing a new way to test the performance of the inhalers.”

November 16, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Health Benefits of Moderate Alcohol Intake Require Specific Genotype

We’ve all heard the belief that one glass of wine a day can pump up our cardiovascular health, but a new study indicates that this benefit is enjoyed by only a fraction of the population.

drinking alcoholA team of researchers from Sweden’s Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg studied the advantage of moderate alcohol consumption on decreasing the risk of coronary heart disease. Results of their study showed that in order for the benefits of alcohol to take effect, the person needs to possess CETP TaqIB (rs708272) polymorphism, a specific genotype of the cholesteryl ester transfer protein.

The study involved more than 600 patients below 75 years of age and diagnosed with myocardial infarction. The respondents were asked about their drinking habits, particularly the amount and frequency of alcohol intake over a variety of different alcoholic beverages. They were also tested for the presence of the CETP TaqIB genotype and whether they possessed the genotype’s B1 or B2 allele.

Results revealed that people with the B2 allele of the genotype exhibited a lower risk of coronary heart disease, and the result was more significant on people who enjoyed moderate alcohol consumption. However, the researchers said that not everyone has this B2 genotype. Academy Professor Emeritus Prof. Dag Thelle said in a news item that “moderate drinking has a protective effect among only 15% of the general population.” He added that further research must be conducted to strengthen the results of the study. “Assuming that we are able to describe these mechanisms, it may be a simple matter one day to perform genetic testing and determine whether someone belongs to the lucky 15%.”

November 15, 2014 at 7:22 pm Comments (0)

Smartphone App Developed For Alcohol and Marijuana Home Deliveries

An iPhone app to send marijuana directly to your doorstep?

nestdrop smartphone app alcohol marijuana delivery

The clamor for marijuana in California continues to rise as a new smartphone app offers medical marijuana deliveries. Nestdrop, the company behind the alcohol delivery service in California using a mobile app, has now pushed its software further by selling medical marijuana and sending it to a California address.

According to the company, Nestdrop is the first app of its kind. Other delivery service apps require other online stores to process the sale and delivery, but Nestdrop is a purely app-based service.

Ordering medical marijuana through the mobile app requires the users to upload a snapshot of their medical marijuana card or a doctor’s prescription along with their ID card. The users then select their desired pot variant and enter the amount that they want to purchase. Within one hour, the product is delivered to the address specified in the order. The source of the marijuana will depend on the collective the buyer belongs to.

Service coverage for Nestdrop is currently confined within a section of Los Angeles, but the company is planning to expand depending on the demand. Michael Pycher, co-owner of Nestdrop, explained the company’s drive to move towards the medical marijuana business. “After our initial success with alcohol deliveries, we decided to expand when we saw how this platform could be used to bring difficult-to-obtain products to people who really need them,” Pycher said in a news release.

The current iteration of Nestdrop is available in iPhones and Android devices, with the iOS app pending approval by Apple.

November 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm Comments (0)

World Diabetes Day on November 14: Interesting Facts

The global recognition of World Diabetes Day November 14 allows people around the world to understand and gain more awareness about the disease. The annual event is being carried out by the World Health Organization and the International Diabetes Federation as a way to make people aware of diabetes and to address the increasing risk of the disease.

Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent diseases globally. In 2013, more than 380 million people were diagnosed with diabetes, with most of the cases having Type 2 Diabetes. Projections estimate the cases to increase to almost 600 million by the year 2035. It has also become one of the leading causes of death, which is probably the reason why world governments spend a lot of money on diabetes treatment and studies.

As we recognize World Diabetes Day today, here are some interesting facts about the awareness campaign:world diabetes day logo

  • November 14 is the birthday of Canadian scientist Frederick Banting who discovered insulin (together with colleague Dr. Charles Best) as a treatment for diabetes.
  • The first World Diabetes Day was celebrated in 1991 as a response to the increasing risk of the disease.
  • The event’s simplistic logo is a blue circle, which is considered the global symbol for diabetes. The circle shape signifies life, health and unity. The color blue is aligned with the color of the United Nations flag.
  • The World Diabetes Day focuses on a different theme every year. This year will focus on “healthy living and diabetes”, particularly on eating healthy. Key messages to be used in this year’s campaign are the following: “Make healthy food the easy choice,” “Healthy eating: make the right choice,” and “Healthy eating begins with breakfast.”
  • The International Diabetes Federation has more than 230 member associations across 160 nations.
November 14, 2014 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Dennis Kerns Joins the Current Consulting Group

Dennis Kerns

Photo courtesy of Curren Consulting Group

Dennis Kerns has joined the Current Consulting Group, as a senior consultant.

Kerns has been around the drug testing industry a long time, having started and managed drug testing companies and having served as both president and a member of the board of directors of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA).

“We are very excited to add Dennis to our highly-qualified team of industry experts,” said Bill Current, president and founding partner of the Current Consulting Group. “Dennis is highly regarded in the industry.  He has become one of the leading experts on international drug testing, Department of Transportation drug testing regulations, and oral fluid drug testing. He makes it possible for CCG to offer a wider variety of services to help drug testing providers and background screening companies grow their businesses.”

November 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm Comments (0)

Smoking Cigars Poses Same Risk As Cigarettes

If you think that cigars are safer to smoke than traditional tobacco cigarettes, a new study revealed that cigars can still introduce toxic substances to the body.

cigar smokingA study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products discovered that cigars infuse the same toxicity to the human body as cigarettes. The research team collected data from the National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey between the years 1999 and 2012 to investigate the level of tobacco exposure in the respondents. Results showed that cigar smokers were found with higher levels of toxic substances — most notably cotinine, cadmium and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) — compared with non-smoking individuals.

Study lead author Dr. Jiping Chen, who works for the FDA center’s Office of Science, said that cigars are no better than cigarettes in terms of human health. “Cigar smoking exposes users to similar types of harmful and cancer-causing agents as cigarette smoking,” Dr. Chen said in a news release.

Furthermore, the study discovered that cigar smokers who engaged in smoking cigarettes in the past are more inclined to have even higher amounts of toxic substances in their bodies.

The popular belief that cigars are safer seems to stem from the idea that a person who puffs a cigar does not inhale the smoke, unlike cigarette smokers. Still, the National Cancer Institute says that the risk of contracting lung diseases is still higher in cigar smokers than those who don’t smoke at all.

[ Image source ]

November 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm Comments (0)

« Older Posts