Testing It Up

TestCountry Interviews Corporate Drug Testing Expert Bill Current

Bill Current (courtesy of BillCurrent.com)

Bill Current (courtesy of BillCurrent.com)

Bill Current, who is president of WFC & Associates, LLC, says the three biggest issues on the horizon for corporate drug testing are the continued march of marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational purposes, the upcoming federal regulations on oral fluid drug testing and the continuing trend of companies demanding to know the return on investment of corporate drug testing.

TestCountry recently spoke with Current about the importance of having a drug testing policy in place and the simplest and most cost-effective way a company can develop one.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for companies that want to implement a drug testing program, Current notes, is the maze of various state laws that a company has to navigate through to make sure it is complying with all the laws it needs to.

On top of the state laws, there are also federal regulations to consider, which adds to the confusion of drawing up a comprehensive drug testing policy, which is why it’s important for businesses to make sure they are doing it correctly, Current adds.

To read the full interview with this corporate drug testing expert, click here.

Today at 7:48 am Comments (0)

Powdered Alcohol Now A Reality, But Sale On Hold

Alcohol drinkers have something to celebrate now because the U. S. Alcohol and Tobacco, Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) recently approved the sale and distribution of powdered alcoholic drinks or Palcohol.

Photo credit: Liberal America

Photo credit: Liberal America

The product was introduced by Mark Phillips, who is a known alcohol enthusiast and will soon be out in the market.  The product has already proven to be popular with alcohol drinkers due to its trendy packaging and affordability, as posted on the product website.

However, some groups are showing outrage at the manufacture of this powdered alcoholic beverage and even questioning the approval of its distribution due to misleading information published in the Palcohol website. Their marketing campaign allegedly stirred negative feedback from parents as they claim it promotes addiction and alcohol to teenagers by depicting the powder being snuck into concert venues or cinemas. The ads even suggested snorting the product, which some opposition groups say can give you a one-way ticket to the hospital. However, Palcohol representatives denied this allegation, and emphasized that the product “should be used in a responsible and legal manner”.

Though it was reported to be approved last April 8 by TTB, an immediate reversal of approval was ordered due to product labeling issues, according to a news report. Product branding of Palcohol seemed to fail in passing the label compliance, as required by the bureau due to transparency of alcohol content in the product. The agency is closely looking into the public interest and the controversy it will bring.

[ Image source ]

April 22, 2014 at 6:37 pm Comments (0)

Michigan Mulls Possible Roadside Saliva Testing for Marijuana Use

Michigan lawmakers are debating a measure that would allow police to conduct roadside saliva tests to help them detect marijuana usage among drivers.marijuana legalization

The proposed legislation has some medical marijuana users concerned that the saliva tests would inadvertently catch medical marijuana users, even when they’re not under the influence.

“These tests are very flawed,” said Adam Macdonald of Grosse Pointe Farms, chairman of the National Patients Rights Association, a nationwide advocacy group for medical-marijuana users.

“I’ve heard this will kick the ability to drive right out from under anyone who uses medical marijuana for up to 20 days” before the test, Macdonald said.

However, the real aim of the bills is to catch repeat offenders of drugged driving, said State Rep.  Dan Lauwers, a Republican from Brockway Township near Port Huron, who co-sponsored the bill.

Saliva testing is “not critical to this legislation” although Michigan’s police officers deserve to have it available, he said. ”We need to look to the future.  This kind of testing has been approved in California.”

The saliva tests have not been approved throughout California but are being used in field trials by Los Angeles police to see if results can qualify as court-admissible evidence.

Under the Michigan proposal, motorists would not be arrested simply for failing the saliva test but only after being pulled over for “erratic driving.” Then the saliva test would add confirming evidence, just as portable breath testers do in cases of drunken drivers to justify an arrest.

“What we’re really after is repeat offenders,” Lauwers said.

Saliva testing detects a subject’s level of active THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. It is performed by taking a swab from inside a person’s mouth and testing it for a chemical reaction that detects the presence of THC.


April 18, 2014 at 12:33 pm Comments (0)

Medical Pot Measure Gains Votes For Florida Democrats

The legalization of medical marijuana under Amendment 2 would help patients suffering from nine medical conditions, namely cancer, HIV, AIDS, glaucoma, ALS, hepatitis C, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease.

medical marijuanaThe Florida Republican camp feels that the legalization of medical marijuana is a strategy by the Democrats to help former Gov. Charlie Crist reclaim governorship.

The medical pot measure can gain advantage for the Democrats in the elections.  Polls show that the measure is gaining popularity especially among young voters.  According to a recent survey from the George Washington University shared by Boston.com, 40 percent of likely voters are in favor for the legalization of medical pot use, while another 30 percent will more likely vote in support of the Democrats.

The organizers targeted $10 million for this campaign and a large portion of the budget is aimed at the registration of absentee voters to be able to cast their votes.

Atty. John Morgan is the chief financier of the Democrats marijuana campaign.  His reason for supporting this campaign is personal rather than political.  He said marijuana has eased the pain of his father during his dying years due to esophageal cancer and that of his quadriplegic brother.

If the measure will be legalized in Florida, this will be historic for the state because it would be the first state to legalize marijuana in the conservative South.

April 18, 2014 at 1:13 am Comments (0)

Trekking at Mt. Everest Increases Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

Climbing Mt. Everest presents another risk with the latest medical revelation that its high altitude level will likely cause Type 2 Diabetes.

climbing mount everest causes type 2 diabetesOxygen level at its peak may cause the human body to react from low oxygen intake known as hypoxia. Many studies have linked this condition to insulin resistance in the body.

The Caudwell Xtreme Everest, in coordination with the Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine (CASE Medicine), conducted a study involving experiments on 24 participants who climbed high altitudes. Half of the group climbed the peak at 8,848 meters while the rest took the 5,300-meter height. All of participants were assessed for glucose control, weight changes and inflammation biomarkers, and were re-evaluated on the sixth and eighth weeks.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, revealed that the group who reached the peak registered significant increase in insulin resistance on its biomarkers after 6-8 weeks. The study proponents attribute this to the group’s exposure to hypoxia or low oxygen levels.

Professor Mike Grocott who led this research shared via a news release that “these results have given us useful insight into the clinical problem of insulin resistance”. He further stressed that this study provides comparative analysis on their findings of hypoxia on obese individuals and healthy people who are exposed to high altitudes. These results could play a significant role in finding appropriate medical intervention for diabetic patients.

April 15, 2014 at 7:34 pm Comments (0)

New Study Suggests Breastfeeding While on Antidepressants is Okay

Although many breastfeeding mothers worry about taking any kind of medication due to the fact that it can be passed onto their babies, a new study shows that antidepressants may be beneficial for some mothers to take.breastfeeding

A University of Adelaide study shows that when new mothers who need antidepressants took them, they were more likely to continue breastfeeding, at least through the first six months of the baby’s life, when it is most recommended. The study also showed the benefits of the breastfeeding outweighed the risks associated with taking the antidepressants.

“This is a really important message because we know that breastfeeding has immense benefits for the child and the mum herself, including a degree of protection against post-natal depression,” says NHMRC Early Career Fellow Dr. Luke Grzeskowiak from the Robinson Research Institute, a researcher on the study.

April 14, 2014 at 7:47 am Comments (0)

Electrical Stimulation: Breakthrough for Paralysis Treatment

Paralysis affects all ages regardless of sex and nationality as a result of an accident or ailment.  The dictionary defines it as a condition wherein complete loss of strength occurs in an affected limb or muscle group.  It may affect a single muscle, but the effect usually involves the entire body region.  The paralysis may be caused by brain or spinal cord nerve damage.

spineAs reported by CNN, neuroscientist Susan Harkema discovered another breakthrough for science.  At her research lab at the University of Louisville, she was doing research on a paralytic patient. The study was focused more on learning about nerve pathways rather than making her patient move.

The research study is being funded by the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.  Scientists were using electrical stimulation sent to the spinal cord for the purpose of recording the nerve pathways. What they discovered is that by implanting electrical stimulants directly to the spinal cord, it can bring new life to the injured muscles. According to Dr. Barth Green of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, it appears as if the spinal cord nerves have a mind of their own. With the use of technology, a spinal cord beneath layers of injury can still move.

They have used electrical stimulation in the past to make patients move but this is the first time wherein electrical stimulation was put directly to the spinal cord and earned a voluntary response.

Though the technique is another puzzle that they will further pursue, they are hoping that a device company will sponsor and help them come up with the technology to stimulate more muscles that enable movement and function.

The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is part of the University of Miami and is the brainchild of Green and NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti.

April 13, 2014 at 10:54 pm Comments (0)

Your Mobile Phone Might Cause Erectile Dysfunction

Are you one of those who cannot live without a mobile phone? Tech-savvy people are getting more addicted to mobile gadgets and becoming more obsessed every time new apps are available in the market. Social media and playing games are the most influential factors for the surge in mobile device usage.  It has been disclosed that mobile phone users worldwide will reach 1.75 billion in 2014.

Photo credit: Garry Knight via Flickr

Photo credit: Garry Knight via Flickr

Did you know that carrying your mobile phone 4 hours or more could cause you to have erectile dysfunction?

Scientists from Austria and Egypt are evaluating the effect of excessive usage of mobile phones in relation to the risk of getting one of the diseases most dreaded by males. This is based from their study from a group of men with twenty of them experiencing erectile dysfunction six months from the start date of the study, while ten of them were found to be sexually healthy. All participants are being evaluated to be at similar health conditions, age and height, as reported in a news release. They were also asked to answer question relative to their phone habits.

Researchers noted that there are no significant differences in any of the participants except for their cellphone exposure wherein those who suffered sexual problems spent more time with their gadgets compared to those who are sexually active.

However, medical researchers are recommending for a follow-up study relating to this issue to have a conclusive results in linking mobile phones to erectile dysfunction.

This study was published in the Central European Journal of Urology.

April 10, 2014 at 7:10 pm Comments (0)

Google Glass Helping Parkinson’s Patients Live More Independently

Whether or not the general public embraces Google Glass, one group of individuals are already benefiting from the high-tech, wearable gadget.

Photo courtesy of Taeytan on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Taeytan on Flickr

Google Glass is currently undergoing a medical trial in the United Kingdom at Newcastle University to support people living with Parkinson’s disease. Researchers want to help people with the disease live more independently by giving them cues that they can see on the Google Glass screen.

The researchers have developed custom apps to provide subtle alerts to patients to remind them to take medication and notify them of upcoming appointments. They are also prompted to speak or swallow to prevent drooling and the Glass’ motion sensors prevent patients from “freezing” by displaying cues to help unblock their brains and get them moving again.

Although the project is still in its early stages, researchers say the results they have so far are positive and they are continuing to develop a variety of apps to address patients’ specific needs.

April 9, 2014 at 6:35 am Comments (0)

Half of poison center calls involving e-cigarette liquids involved children: CDC study

Fifty-one percent of calls over the past four years to poison centers related to e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine involved children 5 years and younger, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).e-cigarette

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found the number of e-cigarette exposure calls skyrocketed from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014 while Calls involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during that period.

Poisonings from e-cigarettes are due to the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices being ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes. On the other hand, poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally a result of young children eating them.

“E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children,” CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release.

The study authors call on health care providers and others to be aware that “e-cigarettes have the potential to cause acute adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern.”

April 7, 2014 at 6:52 am Comments (0)

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