Testing It Up

BPA Possibly Linked to Prostate Cancer

Bisphenol A, commonly known as BPA, has been under fire in recent years, as it’s been linked to numerous health concerns, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, immunological disorders and a range of reproductive abnormalities.prostate cancer

And now there is another dire link for the product: prostate cancer.

A new study from researchers at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, is believed to be the first study to associate BPA and prostate cancer in people.

Researchers of the study, published in PLoS One, measured urinary BPA levels in 60 urology patients—27 men with prostate cancer and 33 men without it. The researchers found that men with prostate cancer had significantly higher levels of urinary BPA.

“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that provides preliminary evidence of an association of BPA exposure with PCa [prostate cancer] in a clinical setting,” the authors wrote.

BPA  has been used widely in plastics for decades and is present in thousands of consumer and commercial products. National studies have estimated that more than 90 percent of the U.S. population has measurable levels of urinary BPA.

April 3, 2014 at 6:51 am Comments (0)

Study Raises Concerns Over Acetaminophen Use During Pregnancy

Acetaminophen use during pregnancy may be associated with a higher risk of attention-deficity/hyperactivity disorder and hyperkinetic disorder, a new study has found. pregnancy

The study, done by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health in collaboration with the University of Aarhus in Denmark and published in the current online edition of JAMA Pediatrics, used the Danish National Birth Cohort, a nationwide study of pregnancies and children, to examine pregnancy complications and diseases in offspring as a function of factors operating in early life.

The researchers studied 64,322 children and mothers who were enrolled in the Danish cohort from 1996 to 2002 and obtained diagnoses of hyperkinetic disorder among the cohort’s children (at an average age of 11) from the Danish National Hospital Registry or the Danish Psychiatric Central Registry.

The researchers found that children whose mothers used acetaminophen during pregnancy were at a 13% to 37% higher risk of later receiving a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, being treated with ADHD medications or having ADHD-like behaviors at age 7. The longer acetaminophen was taken the stronger the associations. The risks for hyperkinetic disorder/ADHD in children were elevated 50% or more when the mothers had used the common painkiller for more than 20 weeks in pregnancy.

“The causes of ADHD and hyperkinetic disorder are not well understood, but both environmental and genetic factors clearly contribute,” said Dr. Beate Ritz, professor and chair of the department of epidemiology at the Fielding School and one of the senior authors of the paper. “We know there has been a rapid increase in childhood neurodevelopmental disorders, including ADHD, over the past decades, and it’s likely that the rise is not solely attributable to better diagnoses or parental awareness. It’s likely there are environmental components as well.”

ADHD, one of the most common neurobehavioral disorders worldwide, is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, increased impulsivity, and motivational and emotional dysregulation. Hyperkinetic disorder is a particularly severe form of ADHD.

February 27, 2014 at 7:41 am Comments (0)

April Will Mark 28th Annual Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month kicks off in April and this year’s theme is ”Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

Started by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the month-long initiative, which has been going since 1987, will feature local, state, and national events by local NCADD Affiliates, schools, colleges, churches, and other community organizations aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism.Alcohol_desgracia

This year, the NCADD highlights the issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family and community consequences.

Annually, according to the NCADD, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.


  • Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
  • 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.

“Underage drinking is a complex issue,” says Greg Muth, chairperson of the NCADD Board of Directors, “one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families.”

Kicking off Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 4-6, 2014), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community.

NCADD encourages all Americans to participate in three alcohol-free days over this weekend and to use this time to contact local NCADD Affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.

To find out more about the Alcohol Awareness Month activities in your area, contact your local NCADD affiliate.

February 24, 2014 at 7:27 am Comments (0)

Indian-Made Medications Raise Red Flags

Generic medications made in India are creating safety concerns, as the country has come under increasing fire for safety lapses, falsified drug test results and selling fake medicines.medicine

India is the second-largest exporter of generic over-the-counter drugs to the United States, supplying 40% of over-the-counter and generic prescription drugs consumed in the US.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg, the commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), recently visited India to express her growing unease with the safety of Indian medicines because of “recent lapses in quality at a handful of pharmaceutical firms.”

The FDA has drastically stepped up its inspections on Indian medicine factories, using the roughly $300 million in annual fees from generic drug makers collected as part of a 2012 law requiring increased scrutiny of overseas plants. The FDA inspected 160 Indian drug plants last year, three times as many as in 2009. This has led to a bunch of new penalties for some plants in India.

One of India’s biggest drug manufacturers, Ranbaxy, pleaded guilty to felony charges and paid a $500 million fine last year, the largest ever levied against a generic company. Ranbaxy had been caught repeatedly lying to the FDA and had been found to have unsanitary conditions in some of its plants.

Although many of India’s drug manufacturing plants are on par with their Western counterparts, some have serious quality control problems. The World Health Organization estimates that one in five drugs made in India are fakes and a 2010 survey of New Delhi pharmacies found that 12% of sampled drugs were spurious.

Despite these findings, some Indian officials see the FDA’s increased scrutiny as just a way of protecting the US domestic market from cheaper imports, citing the fact that for many Indian drug manufacturing plants, it is prohibitively expensive to maintain the FDA’s safety standards.

“If I have to follow U.S. standards in inspecting facilities supplying to the Indian market,” G. N. Singh, India’s top drug regulator, said in a recent interview with an Indian newspaper, “we will have to shut almost all of those.”

February 17, 2014 at 9:28 am Comments (0)

TestCountry Interviews Pharmacist Ross Pelton About his Book “The Pill Problem”

Ross Pelton is a professional pharmacist, health educator, cancer researcher, nutritionist and author. His latest book, The Pill Problem, teaches women how to protect their health from the dangerous side effects of oral contraceptives.stacks_image_135

TestCountry recently sat down with Ross to ask him about his motivation for writing this book and what women can get out of it.

You can read the full TestCountry interview with Ross Pelton here.






February 6, 2014 at 1:28 pm Comments (0)

FDA Launches New Anti-Smoking Campaign for Youth

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has launched “The Real Cost” campaign, aimed at preventing tobacco use and reducing the number of kids ages 12 to 17 who become regular smokers by targeting the 10 million young people in that age range who have never smoked a cigarette but are open to it and youth who are already experimenting with cigarettes and are at risk of becoming regular smokers.teen_smoking_080604_main

This is the FDA’s first of several planned tobacco education campaigns using their new authority granted under the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, signed into law in 2009.

“We know that early intervention is critical, with almost nine out of every ten regular adult smokers picking up their first cigarette by age 18,” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “Today marks a historic moment as we launch the FDA’s first-ever national education campaign to prevent tobacco use among our nation’s youth, and we bring to life the real costs that are of the most concern to young people.”

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of disease, disability and death in the United States, causing more than 480,000 deaths each year. Each day, more than 3,200 youth under age 18 in the United States try their first cigarette and more than 700 kids under age 18 become daily smokers.

Click here to see “The Real Cost” commercials on YouTube.


February 4, 2014 at 7:41 am Comments (0)

Peanut Allergy Treatment Gives Allergic Kids Chance to Eat Nuts

Doctors at Cambridge University Hospitals in the United Kingdom have developed a simple way to treat children with peanut allergies. peanuts

The treatment involves introducing peanut protein into the children’s diet in tiny amounts. Doctors start by feeding the children an amount of peanut flour that equals about 1/70th of a peanut every day and then gradually increasing the amount every two weeks thereafter. Once the patients have been ingesting these tiny amounts for a few months, they are able to eat small quantities of peanuts.

“It’s like retraining the immune system to accept something that would previously cause a severe reaction,” Doctor Andrew Clark told The Guardian newspaper in the UK.

In total, 99 children between seven and 16 have been taking part in the treatment. Eleven-year-old Lena Barden, who is among them, is now able to eat five peanuts a day whereas prior to the treatment, she could not eat even trace amounts of peanuts. She is allowed a maximum of 12 peanuts per day, meaning that she no longer has to avoid foods that have labels warning that they may contain trace amounts of peanuts.

Clark says deaths still occur in the UK because children with peanut allergies have a difficult time avoiding them altogether. So, enabling children with peanut allergies to eat foods that have trace amounts of peanuts will open up a broader range of foods and help them navigate what is essentially a food minefield for them.


January 30, 2014 at 6:57 am Comments (0)

Children Crushing Up and Snorting Candy for No Discernible Reason

smartiesWe all know kids can be bizarre — that’s what makes them so loveable a lot of the time — but a new trend has gone beyond bizarre and into the territory of just plain weird … and disgustingly dangerous.

Middle school children are crushing up and snorting or smoking the candy Smarties (not the chocolate-centered ones made by Nestle and sold in some countries, the powdery ones in the plastic wrapper sold in the US). And the trend is not just rumor. Hundreds of videos attracting thousands of views can be found on YouTube showing kids and teens treating the candy like a drug.

It’s gotten so bad that officials at Portsmouth Middle School in Rhode Island, have issued a warning to parents about it. And the warning is warranted, as snorting the candy can lead to:

  • nose infections,
  • lung infections,
  • septicemia,
  • internal bleeding, and
  • maggots.

Yes, maggots. Flies are attracted to the sugar left in the children’s nose.

The oddest part about the whole trend, which apparently started all the way back in 2007, is that the candy doesn’t get the kids high, nor is it addictive in any way, meaning they’re doing it for absolutely no reason.


January 22, 2014 at 7:21 am Comments (0)

Acetaminophen Overdoses More Common than People Realize

Even over-the-counter drugs that contain acetaminophen will put people at risk of overdosing if they’re not careful. acetaminophen

About 8% of the 100 million Americans who take acetaminophen visit the ER for accidentally overdosing on the drug each year, according to researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What makes potential acetaminophen overdose truly scary, though, is that people don’t realize they’re taking too much of the drug. It’s become such a concern that a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warning is requesting that doctors stop prescribing combination medications that contain more than 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen per pill.

Prescription painkillers like Vicodin, Percocet, Lortab, and Codeine with Tylenol contain more than that amount per pill and some versions can have as much as 500 to 750 mg of acetaminophen per pill. But the FDA says there’s no evidence that larger doses of acetaminophen deliver any additional benefits. Plus, too much of the painkiller could put you at an increased risk of serious liver damage.

But it’s not just the prescription drugs that are causing the problem. Acetaminophen is one of the most common over-the-counter painkillers available and people can easily take too much without realizing it.

“It’s very easy to unintentionally overdose by taking two or three different over-the-counter medications that contain the drug,” says Robert Geller, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine.

If you have a bad cold, for example, and you take a few different over-the-counter medications to help you with symptoms, there is a good chance that they will all contain acetaminophen. And, even if you follow package directions (including frequency of dosage), you could end up taking somewhere around 9,200 mg or more within 24 hours. The maximum amount of acetaminophen that’s considered safe to take is only 4,000 mg per day.  

A person who has overdosed on acetaminophen will show flu-like symptoms, making it even more difficult to spot, because people are often treating the flu when they take medications containing the drug. Symptoms include: nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, or vomiting. Within 24 to 72 hours, your risk of liver toxicity increases. In the U.S., half of liver failure cases each year are due to acetaminophen poisoning.

You can protect yourself by reading labels, which contain acetaminophen amounts. Follow package instructions to ensure you’re staying within or below the 4,000 mg range and don’t take more than one type of medication that contains acetaminophen. And check with your doctor that your prescription pills fall within the safe limit.

January 21, 2014 at 8:42 am Comments (0)

Asthmatic Children in Danger of Second Hospital Admission Due to Secondhand Smoke

It’s not really rocket science, but the risks of cigarette smoking to asthmatic kids were stressed by a recent study by a children’s hospital in Ohio.

secondhand smokeDr. Robert Kahn of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center led a team of researchers who studied more than 600 hospital admission cases involving asthma in children from 1 to 16 years of age. The study involved cases from August 2010 until October 2011, and verified whether the children were admitted back to the hospital within a 12-month span.

To confirm the child’s exposure to secondhand smoke, researchers obtained saliva and blood samples from the admitted children for presence of cotinine, a compound resulting from the body’s natural metabolism of nicotine.

Results of the study showed that 17% of the children investigated through the study were readmitted to the hospital within a year after the first visit, as reported in Medical News Today. Meanwhile, the presence of cotinine in the admitted children registered more than 56% occurrence through blood samples and close to 80% in saliva. The correlation of the study suggests that asthmatic kids exposed to secondhand smoke were at risk of readmission by up to two times compared to those not exposed to the deadly smoke.

Researchers of the study recommended that the findings should form the basis for insurance companies and health care providers to provide more benefits to parents who don’t smoke.

January 20, 2014 at 10:26 pm Comments (0)

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