Testing It Up

Colorado Opens Marijuana Market To More Private Dispensaries

The marijuana business in Colorado is going to get crazy starting this week, as the state opens up the market for marijuana dispensaries.

colorado marijuana recreationalApart from about 200 marijuana shops already licensed by the state of Colorado, 46 new licenses will be handed to other pot dispensaries. In addition, about 37 marijuana growing farms and 13 pot-infused product makers will also be given licenses to operate, according to Yahoo! News.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, although prices prior to the open market have been kept at a high of up to $2,500 per pound. With the cessation of the grandfathering period by the state on October 1, pot prices may go down to as low as $1,000 per pound.

While recreations use of pot in Colorado is allowed, regulations are still very much in place. In fact, a new set of rules took effect on the same day of the free-market start, some of which include the following:

  • Marijuana food products must be packaged in serving sizes each containing 10mg of tetrahydrocannabinol.
  • These food products must be subjected to food safety tests to check for presence of E. coli or salmonella.
  • Growers and retail shop owners will be paying lower licensing fees starting October 1.

Apart from these, the 70/30 rule — where pot retailers have to grow at least 70 percent of the marijuana being sold in their shops — has been lifted.

Today at 12:48 am Comments (0)

First U.S. Ebola Case Confirmed by CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has just announced that a possible case of Ebola has arrived in the U.S. for the first time this period, but tests have yet to be conducted.

worldmapThe patient was reported in a news statement to have come from Liberia — one of the countries in West Africa affected by the Ebola outbreak — and landed in Dallas, Texas. The person went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to seek medical assistance due to sickness. Symptoms of the patient’s illness were reported to be very similar to those of Ebola virus.

The CDC recommended complete isolation of the patient, as well as testing to be conducted. Specimen sampling was completed, with the sample sent to one of the centers of the Laboratory Response Network of CDC. The patient received the results courtesy of CDC and the state’s health department. Anyone who comes in close contact with the patient will also be monitored within a 21-day span.

CDC director Tom Friedin declares that while the Ebola virus has caused paranoia in the U.S., but says that the country has little to fear over this outbreak. “The United States has a strong health care system and public health professionals who will make sure this case does not threaten our communities… While it is not impossible that there could be additional cases associated with this patient in the coming weeks, I have no doubt that we will contain this,” Frieden said.

Yesterday at 7:52 pm Comments (0)

October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

Just in case you need another reason to adopt an adorable little pal, October is Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month.

Photo courtesy of Jack Pease on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Jack Pease on Flickr

As part of the initiative, some shelters are lowering adoption fees and providing incentives for people to adopt dogs. The San Diego Humane Society, for example, is lowering adoption fees for dogs seven months and older to $10 and giving away a free pumpkin with each adoption. There are also several events planned around the city

Often, dogs adopted from shelters are older and have more health problems than their young counterparts. To keep your dog in the best possible health, rely on TestCountry’s at-home dog testing kits.

To find out the breeds of your adopted dog, which is important to maintaining its health, rely on TestCountry’s DNA Dog Breed Saliva kit.

To learn more about adopting a shelter dog, visit the ASPCA website, the American Humane Society website or the Hartz website.


Yesterday at 1:47 am Comments (0)

October is Depression Awareness Month

depressionToday marks the start of October, and also the kick-off of Depression Awareness Month. We at TestCountry have covered much about depression and how it has gripped the U.S. and the rest of world. Here are some of our feature articles that we want you to read again, in order to better understand the medical condition:

Much has been said about depression, its symptoms, its causes, and its treatment. If you are feeling episodes of depression of if you know someone who is under a depressive state, let this month be a start for you to get acquainted with the condition and understand how it should be handled and treated.

Yesterday at 12:00 am Comment (1)

New Jersey Preschooler Death Due To Enterovirus? CDC Investigates Further

The rare enterovirus strain EV-D68 has been spreading like wildfire across several states in the U.S., creating a nationwide paranoia. A recent news report revealed the death of a preschooler, but New Jersey health officials ruled out the enterovirus strain as the cause.

cdc enterovirus child death new jerseyThe four-year-old victim did not die of influenza, based on tests conducted by the state’s health department. Despite this, a specimen taken from the patient is going to be studied by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the possible contribution of EV-D68 to the child’s death.

The preschooler, whose identity remains disclosed at this time but was known to have studied in Yardville Elementary School, was diagnosed with a respiratory disease, although no connection to the enterovirus was established by doctors.

No cure has been discovered for the EV-D68 enterovirus strain, but doctors advise treatment just like you would a common cold.

September 29, 2014 at 8:13 pm Comments (0)

Top Cigarette Companies Issue Health Warnings on E-Cigarette Products

Here’s something you don’t see everyday: tobacco manufacturers warning their clients about the hazards of nicotine.

electronic cigaretteThe New York Times recently released a story about several cigarette companies issuing strong warnings about the adverse health effects — of e-cigarettes. Tobacco manufacturer Altria, which produces the popular Marlboro brand of cigarettes, has placed a comprehensive statement of health hazards on the packaging label of its MarkTen e-cigarettes. Here are some of the provisions in the product alert:

  • “This product is not a smoking cessations product and has not been tested as such.”
  • It cannot be used by “children, women who are pregnant or breast feeding, or persons with or at risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or taking medicine for depression or asthma.”
  • “Nicotine is addictive and habit forming, and it is very toxic by inhalation, in contact with the skin, or if swallowed.”

The warning goes on to detail the various dangers of nicotine on human health: “can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and cause dizziness, nausea, and stomach pain.”

Stanford School of Medicine professor Dr. Robert K. Jackler believes that the product warning was issued for reasons other than keeping the e-cigarette customer’s health in check. “Is this part of a noble effort for the betterment of public health, or a cynical business strategy? I suspect the latter,” Jackler stated.

The idea of electronic cigarettes as a smoking cessation method has been disproven by a recent study that said these products don’t help cancer patients quit the vice.

September 28, 2014 at 7:46 pm Comment (1)

Skin-Like Device: Breakthrough For Heart Monitor Technology

Scientists are now discovering non-intrusive ways to monitor health signs. This time, researchers from Illinois’ Northwestern University have come up with a breakthrough technology that monitors heart and skin health signs using a wearable device that feels like human skin.

heart attackAccording to the university news release, the product is a tiny device — with a surface area of about 5 square centimeters — that contains thousands of liquid crystals to detect changes in skin conditions in relation to blood flow. What sets this device apart from the rest is its wearability and close resemblance to skin.

In fact, the monitor moves like real skin. “The device is very practical. When your skin is stretched, compressed or twisted, the device stretches, compresses or twists right along with it,” said university assistant professor Yihui Zhang, who is one of the proponents of the technology.

The device works by allowing the microscopic crystals to pick up changes in skin temperature of the wearer. The device will then emit a particular color that translates to a health diagnosis about the patient’s heart condition and skin moisture.

“These results provide the first examples of ‘epidermal’ photonic sensors. This technology significantly expands the range of functionality in skin-mounted devices beyond that possible with electronics alone,” according to co-author John Rogers. The system banks on liquid crystal technology, which is a much cheaper method compared to the infrared technology that most hospitals use.

September 27, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Survey Says Women Who Undergo Preventive Mastectomy Satisfied With Decision

How would you feel if you had a healthy part of your body removed? For a majority of the women who underwent preventive mastectomy, they felt their decision was right.

breast fitnessA survey conducted by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota showed an overwhelming majority — 92 percent — of women were satisfied with their decision to have their healthy breast removed as a preventive measure against breast cancer. More than 600 patients with diagnosed breast cancer in only one breast were surveyed about their option to go under the knife for the preventive surgery from 1960 to 1993.

In addition to this, 84 percent of the women said that, if given an option to do otherwise, they would choose to undergo the same procedure again. About two-thirds of them opted for breast reconstruction.

Study lead author Dr. Judy Boughey, a breast surgeon at Mayo Clinic, explained more about the findings of the survey: “I think what this study does is adds some literature to the hands of the people counseling patients to say, ‘Whatever decision you make, you’re very likely to be happy with that in the long run, so listen to yourself, and make the decision that’s best for you’,” Boughey said in a news release.

News about preventive mastectomy erupted when Angelina Jolie opted to have both of her breasts removed in May 2013.

September 26, 2014 at 6:03 am Comments (0)

Study: E-Cigarettes Don’t Help Smoking Habits of Cancer Patients

If you believe that replacing tobacco products with electronic cigarettes to help people kick the habit, a new study says it doesn’t do a significant improvement.

e-cigaretteA study by researchers from New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center investigated the impact of e-cigarette usage on the goal of people to quit smoking. Results revealed a simple message: There’s no significant difference between e-cigarette users and those who don’t use the electronic variant.

This echoes a similar study from the University of California that e-cigarettes don’t help people quit smoking.

The scope of the study involved more than a thousand cancer patients in a tobacco treatment center from 2012 to 2013. While many patients have shifted to electronic cigarettes — from 10.6 percent in 2012 to almost 40 percent by the following year — e-cigarette users had the same likelihood as those not using electronic cigs to continue smoking. In fact, further analysis of the study results suggests that those who use e-cigarettes have double the likelihood to return to their smoking habits compared to those who didn’t.

The study showed that using electronic cigarettes is not a guarantee — and is even a non-factor — to lead a person to quit smoking. It also did not reduce the rate of smoking of individuals, based on the study results.

Study co-author Dr. Jamie Ostroff recommends the current standard interventions for helping tobacco users quit the vice. “In the meantime, oncologists should advise all smokers to quit smoking traditional combustible cigarettes, encourage use of FDA-approved cessation medications, refer patients for smoking cessation counseling, and provide education about the potential risks and lack of known benefits of long-term e-cigarette use,” Ostroff said in a news release.

September 24, 2014 at 12:00 am Comment (1)

Ebola Outbreak Projected to Reach 6,800 New Cases Before September Ends

A bold new study claims that the Ebola virus in West Africa could break out to exponential heights as more and more people in the region are afflicted with the disease without any clear cure in existence.

ebola virus africaAccording to a joint study by proponents from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Arizona State University, the rising trend in Ebola virus cases could harvest an average of 4,400 new cases, but could shoot up to 6,800. These figures were based on earlier data provided by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Current efforts to conduct quarantine methods in West African countries affected by the outbreak might even have contributed to the growth of the numbers, according to study co-author Sherry Towers. “There may be other reasons for the worsening of the outbreak spread, including the possibility that the virus has become more transmissible, but it’s also possible that the quarantine control efforts actually made the outbreak spread more quickly by crowding people together in unsanitary conditions,” Towers said in a news item.

Effective control measures should be able to bring down the trend, but the data showed that the growth is still ongoing, thereby leading to the conclusion that the current efforts are not working. To this day, there has been no specific cure for the virus. In lieu of the cure, medical professionals are emphasizing the importance of personal hygiene, and isolation of identified patients.

Just last week, U.S. president Barack Obama expressed his plans to boost financial and personnel assistance to West Africa.

September 23, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

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