Testing It Up

New post gives parents much needed information on Spice

Synthetic marijuana has been a scourge for years now and a recently published post gives parents the definitive information they need to know about this dangerous drug.Spice

The information contained in the article includes the effects of the drug, several statistics about its usage and tips about how parents can protect their children from abusing the drug.

The tips include:

  • Communicate with your teen.
  • Make your position clear.
  • Check in frequently.
  • Look for signs of use.
  • If necessary, seek help.

To read the full Parent’s Guide to Spice, click here.

July 11, 2014 at 11:54 am Comments (0)

Study Shows 1 in 5 High School Seniors Have Tried Hookah

About 18% of high school seniors, or one in five, have tried smoking tobacco through a hookah pipe, a new study has found.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Clare on Flickr

Photo courtesy of Ryan Clare on Flickr

The study, performed by New York University researchers, involved data from the Monitoring the Future nationwide study, which follows teens’ behaviors, values, and attitudes. Of the almost 15,000 kids aged 18 involved in the study, 5,540 were questioned about their hookah use between 2010 and 2012.

Researchers also found that “students of higher socioeconomic status appear to be more  likely to use hookah,” said Dr. Joseph Palamar, assistant professor of population health at NYU Langone Medical Center, in a press release. “Surprisingly, students with more educated parents or higher personal income are at high risk for use. We also found that hookah use is more common in cities, especially big cities. So hookah use is much different from cigarette use, which is more common in non-urban areas.”

Traditionally from the Middle East, hookah involves smoking flavored tobacco from a large water pipe. It’s become increasingly popular in North America and other parts of the world, in part, because it’s believed to be less harmful to the body — the tobacco is considered to be milder. However, that’s not entirely the case because hookah smokers tend to take more puffs in one session, resulting in similar, if not worse effects than smoking.

In New York City, hookahs have become popular, appearing in clubs, increasingly numerous hookah bars, and pretty much wherever someone with a hookah pipe wants to bring it. Among the general population, hookah use has increased by as much as 123%, co-author of the study Dr. Michael Weitzman said. But although they come with similar health risks — respiratory illness, herpes, heart disease, and some cancers — consistent use isn’t such an issue.

“Use tends to be much different from traditional cigarette smoking,” Palamar said in the release. “Right now it appears that a lot of hookah use is more ritualistic, used occasionally — for example, in hookah bars, and not everyone inhales.”

However, the researchers warned that people who begin using hookah may eventually turn to vape pens or e-cigarettes, which also sport a wide range of flavors while remaining mysterious in terms of health effects. Educating the public, and especially the youth, about how smoking hookah isn’t completely harmless may be the experts’ best bet.

July 7, 2014 at 11:16 am Comments (0)

Study: Hairdressers At Higher Risk Of Cancer Due To Hair Dye

Hair products found in most salons have long been known to possess chemicals and vapors that may be harmful to human health. A new study was able to link prolonged exposure to these hair agents and a higher risk of developing cancer.

HaircoloringSwedish researchers were able to establish a connection between hair treatment products and a higher likelihood of hairdressers getting cancer. The suspect compound — carcinogenic aromatic amines — found in hair dyes and perm products may have contributed to the increase in cancer risk for hairdressers.

According to a news release, the study involved extraction of blood samples from close to 300 hairdressers, as well as frequent hair dye users and those tho haven’t undergone hair coloring for a year. For hairdressers, their exposure to hair treatment chemicals were also monitored.

Results of the study showed that the level of aromatic amines, particularly toluidines, in the blood samples of hairdressers increased with the number of treatments that they administer to customers. In addition, those exposed to perm or hair-waving products were found to have a higher level of o-toluidines. These amine variants have been touted as cancer-causing, based on previous studies.

While results do not signify a direct causality between hair dyes and cancer, researchers urge hairdressers to avoid skin exposure when handling hair coloring and perming products.

June 10, 2014 at 7:49 pm Comments (0)

Cases of measles highest in 20 years

Call it a comeback.measles

Measles cases have reached a 20-year high in the United States, largely due to resistance to vaccination,  federal health officials said recently.

As of May 23, there were 288 confirmed cases in the US. That’s more than in all of 2013, and more than in the equivalent period of any year since 1994. And the number of cases is expected to rise during the summer travel season.

“This is not the kind of record we want to break,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of immunization and respiratory diseases for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While the highly contagious measles virus itself usually only causes fever and a rash, it can lead to much more serious things like pneumonia, brain damage, deafness and even death.

An unvaccinated American child who develops measles has about a one in 500 chance of dying, even with hospital care, according to the C.D.C.

There were fewer than 200 cases last year; the record low was 37 cases in 2004.

Of this year’s cases, 85% were in people not vaccinated because of religious, philosophical or personal objections, Dr. Schuchat said. Over half of them were aged 20 or older and may have included adults whose parents refused to vaccinate them years ago, she said.

Of the 288 who contracted the virus, 43 were hospitalized, most with pneumonia, but none died.

May 29, 2014 at 12:19 pm Comments (0)

New Documentary Aims to Change the Way People Think About Sugar

A new documentary called Fed Up opens in theatres soon and its makers want the film to change the way people look at the food their eating, specifically sugar. The film is an exposé of the deadly consequences of excessive sugar consumption that accuses governments and the food industry of failing to combat the problem.sugar

The film is produced by the same woman, Laurie David, who was behind An Inconvenient Truth, the documentary that helped to change the way many people look at climate change. Stephanie Soechtig directed Fed Up and also acted as a producer, and Heather Reisman acted as an executive producer.

Sugar was thought for a long time to just cause tooth decay and weight gain, but in recent years it’s been implicated in a wide variety of health problems and more and more physicians are now saying the dangers of excessive sugar consumption are akin to those of smoking.

Many studies have shown that even moderate amounts of sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and premature death.

For example, in February, researchers reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association that people who get 10 – 25% of their daily calories from sugar increase their risk of cardiovascular problems by 30%.

In March, the World Health Organization said people should limit their consumption of added sugar to 5% of their caloric intake, about 100 calories for the average adult.

It’s that added sugar rather than naturally occurring sugar that has scientists worried, it’s the sugar that is added to cereal, condiments and sauces, packaged bread and drinks.

“Much of the sugar is hidden in our food supply, in various beverages,” says Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and one of the authors of February’s JAMA study. “It’s not really necessary to add too much sugar to these foods.”

May 5, 2014 at 6:20 am Comments (0)

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.

Additionally:

  • 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)

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