Testing It Up

Children of Dads Who Smoked Pre-Conception More Likely to Have Asthma: Study

Children are more likely to have asthma if their fathers smoked prior to conceiving them, a new German study has found. kid with asthma

The research looked at the smoking habits of 13,000 men and women who responded to survey questions, including whether they have smoked, when and for how long. They also indicated whether they stopped smoking before conceiving, according to a news release about the study, which found fathers who smoked prior to conception raised the chances of their unborn children having asthma. Fathers who had been smoking longer and fathers who began smoking before 15 were more likely to have babies born with asthma.

Mothers smoking prior to conception was not associated with increased asthma risk among the women in the survey.

It isn’t exactly clear how smoking before conception could cause asthma, but air pollution is certainly a factor, the authors said.

“This study is important as it is the first study looking at how a father’s smoking habit pre-conception can affect the respiratory health of his children,” said one of the study authors, Dr. Cecile Svanes, of the University of Bergen, Norway, in a statement. “Given these results, we can presume that exposure to any type of air pollution, from occupational exposures to chemical exposures, could also have an effect.”

Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to swell, leading to labored breathing and tightness around the lungs. At least 25 million Americans have asthma, and 7 million of them are children, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.


September 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm Comments (0)

Prescription Drug Disposal Program Expanded

The Drug Enforcement Administration has expanded its prescription drug disposal program by allowing the medication to be dropped off at hospitals, pharmacies, clinics and other authorized drop-off sites in an effort aimed at curbing rising drug addiction and abuse.prescription drug disposal

Long-term care facilities will be able to collect controlled substances turned in by residents. Prescription drug users also can mail unused medications to collectors using pre-paid packages, a statement from the DEA said.

“I am committed to ending the national epidemic that has already stolen too many lives and torn apart too many families,” Attorney General Eric Holder.

A 2013 survey showed that about 6.5 million Americans 12 and older were non-medical users of prescription drugs, the statement said. In 2011, more than half of the 41,300 unintentional U.S. drug overdose deaths involved prescription drugs. Opioid pain relievers caused about 17,000 of those deaths.

Sept. 27 is National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. For more information about the day and what you can do to promote it in your community, click here.

September 8, 2014 at 12:03 pm Comments (0)

Government Tightens Restrictions on Commonly Abused Prescription Drug

Ahead of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31st, the federal government tightened restrictions on the prescribing of hydrocodone,  the most common form of painkiller in the country.prescription drug abuse

Hydrocodone, is the most widely prescribed painkiller in the United States and is an ingredient in drugs like Vicodin.

The rule places hydrocodone in a tougher, more restrictive category. Doctors will no longer be able to call in prescriptions by telephone, and patients will not be allowed to get refills on the same prescription, but will have to return to a health care professional to get a new prescription. The drug will have to be kept in special vaults in pharmacies.

The Drug Enforcement Administration published the rule on Thursday and it will take effect in 45 days.

“This is substantial,” said Dr. Nathaniel Katz, assistant professor of anesthesia at Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. “It’s a sign of a shift toward more cautious opioid prescribing. This will be an inconvenience to some, but policy is a machete, not a scalpel, and you have to figure out where to use it. I think people will be more helped than harmed.”

Abuse of painkillers now claims the lives of more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, according to federal data, and the number of Americans who die from prescription drug overdoses has more than tripled since the late 1990s.

August 27, 2014 at 10:22 am Comments (0)

Marijuana Use May Lower Risk of Domestic Violence

New research has found that couples who frequently use marijuana are at a lower risk of intimate partner violence (IPV).medical marijuana

“More frequent marijuana use generally predicted less frequent IPV for both men and women over the first 9 years of marriage,” researchers from Yale University, University of Buffalo and Rutgers wrote in their study. Not only that, couples who both used marijuana frequently — compared to one spouse using it more than the other — had the lowest risk for partner violence.

Researchers hypothesize that the positive side effects of using marijuana may reduce conflict and aggression by blunting emotional reactions, which could in turn decrease violent or aggressive behavior between spouses.

The researchers conducted the study by recruiting 634 couples from 1996 to 1999 while they were applying for a marriage license in New York State.

After an initial interview, the researchers followed the couples over the course of nine years using mail-in surveys to measure the effects of marijuana use on intimate partner violence (IPV), defined as acts of physical aggression, such as slapping, hitting, beating and choking, and it was measured by asking couples to report violence committed by them or toward them in the last year. The couples were also asked about their marijuana intake.

August 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm Comments (0)

Ebola Drug Experimentation Under Way After FDA Hold

Roughly a month after testing was held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Ebola drug being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is now ongoing development anew.

ebola virus africaThe FDA recently lifted its hold on medical experiments by the Canadian company, probably due to the urgency of the Ebola situation. As of this writing, no vaccines or medicines have been developed and released for treatment of the Ebola virus, amidst official reports that about a thousand people have already died from the lethal virus.

Tekmira Chief Mark Murray expressed positivity in light of the latest FDA decision. “We have been closely watching the Ebola virus outbreak and its consequences, and we are willing to assist with any responsible use of TKM-Ebola,” Murray said in a news item.

The pharmaceutical company was given the green light by the U.S. government to develop a drug that could treat people infected with Ebola. The government-approved project was pegged at $140 million, but was held by the FDA last July due to reported safety issues when tested on human trial subjects.

Although the hold has been loosened, Tekmira’s anti-Ebola drug has yet to be tested for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. Meanwhile, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa continues to ravage locals and neighboring countries, and worldwide fear of the virus’ spread is still escalating.

August 11, 2014 at 4:34 pm Comments (0)

Substance abuse largely depends on friends’ usage

In one of the least surprising conclusions ever reported in a study, researchers found that the more friends ex-inmates have who abuse drugs, the more likely they are to abuse drugs. teen substance abuse

In the study, which was supported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Elizabeth Malouf and colleagues at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia studied the drug abuse patterns of 322 male and female inmates of a county jail, asking them to rate their self-control prior to being released, and to report on their own and their friends’ use of alcohol and illicit drugs in a followup visit one year later.

At the followup meeting one year after release:

  • three-fourths of the ex-inmates reported that they drank alcohol,
  • one-third reported using marijuana, and
  • 28 percent reported using cocaine;
  • 43 percent reported at least one symptom of substance dependence.

And the researchers found that the ex-inmates’ levels of substance use and dependence symptoms a year after their release correlated with the number of friends they had who used substances. Participants with few or no substance-using friends reported less use than they had engaged in before their incarceration, and those whose friends mostly or all used reported increased use.

Dr. Redonna Chandler, chief of NIDA’s Services Research Branch, said inmates might get a false sense of security when leaving prison because they are getting away from an environment that facilitates addiction.

“Dr. Malouf found that prisoners’ pre-release self-assessment of their ability to use self-control to avoid drug use had only an indirect relationship to their actual drug use a year later,” she said. “The finding highlights the fact that many prisoners develop a false sense of security about their ability to resist drugs. Imprisonment removes people from the environmental cues that trigger their cravings, which can lead them to think that they are cured of their addiction. However, when they get out and encounter the cues again, they may be just as susceptible as they were before they went in.”

August 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm Comments (0)

Vaping is apparently a sport now

The rise of e-cigarettes has lead to a new type of “sport:” cloud chasing.

Photo courtesy of Grenco Science

Photo courtesy of Grenco Science

Cloud chasing involves people modifying their e-cigarettes or vaporizers and competing with each other to see who can blow out the biggest cloud of vapor. But this isn’t some kind of teen craze on YouTube. These are organized events with sponsored competitors.

And competitors aren’t using the usual nicotine liquid that come with e-cigarettes, they’re using vegetable glycerol and liquid nicotine and apparently some of them don’t even use nicotine at all.

These vaping — or cloud — competitions have already taken place in New Jersey, Illinois, New Mexico, Texas and California and are popping up in states all over the place.

Some people have raised concerns about modifying vaping machines to produce more vapor, but participants aren’t phased by these concerns.

August 6, 2014 at 1:15 pm Comments (0)

Major American Newspaper Backs Marijuana Legalization

The New York Times editorial board is on board for marijuana legalization.

The newspaper’s editorial board released an editorial announcing its position on marijuana legalization, saying: “The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana.”marijuana legalization

The editorial says the board discussed and debated the issue for a long time and acknowledges that there are issues with marijuana’s effect on the developing adolescent mind. But, considering it seems no more dangerous (and, in fact, less dangerous) for adults than either alcohol or tobacco, the editorial said, the board has sided with legalization on a national level, allowing individual states to decide how they want to handle it medicinally.

Setting up a system for regulating manufacture, sale and marketing wouldn’t be easy, the editorial says, but it is possible. It also says the editorial board is in favor of not selling to anyone under the age of 21.

July 28, 2014 at 7:43 am Comments (2)

Drug Tests that Avoid Testing for Marijuana Gaining Popularity

Marijuana used to be at the very top of the list of drugs to test for in the workplace. It was virtually impossible to find a drug test that tested for any combination of the major abused drugs and not have marijuana included.

drug-free workplaceBut, now that Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational marijuana, drug tests that detect all the major drugs except marijuana are starting to pop up.

For example, there is one product named Multi Drug 4 Panel Urine Dipstrip Test that tests for all other relevant drugs like cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine and amphetamine, but does not test for marijuana/THC. These tests are convenient for workplaces that want to have a workplace drug testing policy, but that do not want to risk having an employee test positive for a substance that is currently legal within the state.

Click here to read more about drug testing without testing for marijuana and THC.

July 21, 2014 at 12:33 pm Comment (1)

Majority of Seniors Support Medical Marijuana Legalization in Florida: Report

The senior population in Florida is overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted this past spring.cape_florida

About 84% of Florida voters who support the initiative are older than 65, the survey found. Among all voters, support was at 88%. Among voters 50- to 64-years-old, 62% admitted smoking marijuana, which was more than any other demographic.

“What we’re hearing from older voters is not a lot different from the electorate as a whole,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for United For Care, which landed the issue on the ballot. “For the most part, it’s not a controversial topic…If their doctor recommends a particular treatment plan, whether it’s a medication regimen, a new diet, exercise, yoga or medical marijuana, they should be able to follow their doctor’s orders without being treated like a criminal,” he said.

However, older voters who believe marijuana can act as a painkiller are just as misinformed as the rest of the population who believe that, said John Anderson, 87, of Cocoa Beach. Anderson is a former chairman of the Brevard GOP and a retired nurse anesthetist who does not support the initiative.

“There are many people who think marijuana relieves pain. Marijuana is not an analgesic. You can get more pain relief from aspirin than marijuana, if you’re talking about it in that sense,” he said.

Floridians will vote in November on whether to legalize medical marijuana.


July 21, 2014 at 12:10 pm Comments (4)

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