Testing It Up » September 2009

Monthly Archives: September 2009

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Phenergan is Required to Have a Strict Warning Label by the FDA

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Phenergan (also known as promethazine), a drug intended for use as an intravenous anti-nausea drug has been required to have a strict safety warning placed on its label by Food and Drug Administration. What’s caused the FDA to act so strongly? Apparently Phenergan when injected by accident into an artery can cause serious tissue damage and even gangrene, issues that could become serious enough to require amputation.

The decision to demand a warning comes after a Supreme Court case was made forcing Wyeth, the drug’s maker to pay 6.8 million to a Vermont musician who lost her arm and hand to the drug after it was accidently injected into an artery in 2000. In an appeal Wyeth pled that the FDA had labeled a less strict warning adequate enough for the drug. At the time drug companies were hoping that cases like this one would kill lawsuits made by people who felt that drug warnings weren’t clear enough about the potentially harmful and debilitating effects of certain drugs and therefore caused their injuries. Was drug maker Wyeth or the FDA more responsible for any harmful side effects that occurred due to the less than clear warning placed on the drug?

It seems clear based on this change in the warning that the FDA is starting to be more concerned with protecting patients and upholding safety than they once appeared to be.

Alcohol Testing

Should Breastfeeding Moms Avoid Alcohol?

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Women are always advised to avoid alcohol when they are pregnant because anything they consume is also absorbed by their unborn babies. Alcohol has many known adverse effects on unborn infants. However, there is still the question of whether or not women can drink alcohol after they have given birth and have begun breastfeeding their babies. Medical experts are divided over this, and there is no conclusive evidence that babies are negatively affected by alcohol in their mother’s milk.

Some medical experts believe that women should still completely avoid alcohol while breastfeeding to prevent any alcohol in their milk to be consumed by their babies. Some medical experts, on the other hand, think that it is acceptable for women to drink alcohol as long as they wait for the alcohol to clear their bloodstream before breastfeeding. It is the mother’s choice whether to drink alcohol or not, but in order to be safe, she can use measures that will prevent her baby from absorbing any alcohol from her milk.

For full version of this article, please visit “Should Breastfeeding Moms Avoid Alcohol?“.

Drug Testing

NFL Drug Testing Case Could Affect Other Sports

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NFL Drug Testing

The NFL’s drug testing program may no longer be enforceable; thanks to a federal court ruling and they might not be the only U.S. sport that will be facing the backlash. The NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA have all begun programs in an effort to discipline players who’ve been found to be using illegal steroids. Now thanks to the ruling these players will be able to use state courts to challenge suspensions made based on doping charges from their sports leagues.

The ruling made in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals of Minneapolis upheld the ruling of a lower court prohibiting the NFL from suspending two Minnesota Vikings who were being punished for violating the anti-doping policy. Stating that state level courts could be used to contest suspensions of this type, the court made the ruling on the basis of laws barring employers from suspending or firing an employee on the basis of an initial positive drug test.

The NFL like most sports leagues had been making suspension policies that penalized players for positive tests not considering these laws that exist in Minnesota and several other states. The ruling is viewed as a major change in the overall bargaining process for players, potentially opening new doors for players who hadn’t previously been able to lay claim to rights that regular employees experienced every day.

Health & Wellness

7 Most Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalance

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Hormonal imbalance is becoming more and more common in younger women. Doctors are still unsure as to how to deal with it and misdiagnosis can lead to various problems with a woman’s overall health, such as heart ailments, infertility and cancer.

There are many possible causes of hormonal imbalance. One such cause is stress, where the body produces too much cortisol and other hormones are secreted to cancel it out. Another cause is an imbalanced diet. Improper exercise also leads to hormonal imbalance, as too much or too little can impede with the production of hormones. Taking hormonal supplements such as birth control pills also puts the body’s hormone balance out of whack.

Certain diseases like cancer and PCOS also create hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body. Some forms of cancer affecting females feed on the body’s hormones. PCOS causes the body to secrete too much androgen. Lastly, environmental toxins can also lead to hormonal imbalance.

For full version of this article, please visit “7 Most Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalance“.

Drug Testing

PFA Chief Executive Objects to Home Drug Testing

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The chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association, Gordon Taylor has revealed his opposition to the World Anti-Doping Agency’s expected pronouncement that home drug testing be done on soccer players before the World Cup finals. Citing the view that such action would be an invasion of privacy for players he also expressed concern that it might be directed at certain key players who he feels will also be expected to dictate where they are and what they’re doing 365 days a year.

Taylor goes on to say that he has no problem complying with the standard drug testing already used by the WADA policy but is concerned that these new regulations will focus on injured players in order to make sure they heal without the use of drugs that could “speed up” the process of healing. Focusing on healing back to a state of fitness by standard means, he feels WADA is trying to force the players to conform to a certain standard even in their private lives where social drugs could be in use outside the sports competition that WADA was made to regulate.

Health & Wellness

Top 5 Anti-Oxidant Foods that Can Benefit Your Health

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Antioxidants are proven to be beneficial in maintaining our body’s health and normal functions. They protect the cells of the body from free radicals as well as helps in their repair. Antioxidants are also administered as medications to treat various forms of brain injury and degenerative diseases.

It is important for us to get ample amounts of antioxidants in the food that we eat to take advantage of the health benefits that we can get from them. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants. Of these food sources, there are five that are said to contain the highest levels of antioxidants.

These five food sources are berries such as strawberries and blueberries, small red beans like kidney beans and pinto beans, nuts like pecans and hazelnuts, tea, and green-leaved vegetables like lettuce and spinach. Other good sources of antioxidants are garlic, carrots, broccoli and tomatoes. These food sources help greatly in fighting against illnesses.

For full version of this article, please visit “Top 5 Anti-Oxidant Foods that Can Benefit Your Health“.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

What’s Lurking in Your Shower?

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shower head

Some rather frightening news has come to light about older shower heads and it isn’t pretty.

Apparently bacteria grows inside the head and the space inside is a great place for it to develop and grow, getting worse.  When researchers tested the germ levels of the gunk that sits inside the head and the water both before and after it went through it they found that the levels of  Mycobacterium avium was at least 100 fold higher than any other bacteria in the water. While there isn’t much known about the microorganism it does pose a threat to patients with illnesses that affect the immune system such as AIDS and lung diseases like emphysema.

One of the larger concerns is that many of these microorganisms (along with pathogens and microbes) are small enough to be breathed in, an issue that becomes twice as worrisome when you consider that the shower makes them aerosolized making it even easier for them to get into the body as we shower.

Researchers suggest that if you’re concerned about these contaminants you should take down your showerhead and look for higher levels of grit and grime. If you find that there’s a lot then it’s a wise idea to buy and install a new head. While healthy people aren’t likely to developed problems, those with lung and immune diseases should skip showers all together taking baths instead.  The study was conducted in an effort to see what household factors could be affecting the health of those that lived there.

Drug Testing

From Adam to Ecstasy: How the Drug Known as MDMA Got Its Names

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Ecstasy has been given many names throughout the decades. Before it became Ecstasy, it was known as MDMA, a by-product of the drugs manufactured by Merck to stop abnormal bleeding in the early 1900s. As early as then, scientists have already recognized the potential of MDMA as a therapeutic drug. In fact, both Germany and the United States did research on the potential of the drug as a brainwashing agent.

In 1976, MDMA was synthesized by Dr. Alexander Shulgin for use in psychotherapy. This usage was reputed to be a success. The drug was then called Adam to signify hope for psychotherapy patients. However, the drug came into the hands of non-psychotherapists who abused the drug for recreational purposes. Companies that manufactured the drug for such a purpose called it Ecstasy for marketing. The drug became so popular that it attracted the attention of the US Senate. It was then classified as a Schedule I drug that has no medical benefits.

For full version of this article, please visit “From Adam to Ecstasy: How the Drug Known as MDMA Got Its Names“.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Mosquitoes Carry Yet Another Serious Illness This Time From Africa

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Chikungunya virus has spread from Africa since 2005 affecting regions of India, France and Italy and in some cases becoming fatal. This new mosquito borne virus is far worse than West Nile which sickens only about 1 out of every 10 who become infected with it. Chikungunya virus will make those it infects very ill and it’s not uncommon for it to be fatal. The fact that there is no virus doesn’t help the outlook for the patient either.

Chikungunya, which was first discovered in Tanzania in 1952, causes fever, nausea, fatigue, muscle pain, vomiting, rash and joint pain. These symptoms can last for a few weeks and for some it can results in a pain like arthritis that lasts for months after the initial infection.

The mosquito that carries the virus, the Asian tiger mosquito, is found all around the world and is most prominent east of the Mississippi in the U.S.  so the area where it can spread might seem small here. However it’s beginning to become a problem in the Islands of the Indian Ocean a popular tourist spot for Europeans.  With all the planes going in and out infected tourist and mosquitoes are traveling to other parts of the world spreading the potential area of infection. Larger and more impoverished areas are more likely to face a problem but it could be a concern all across the world.

Drug Testing

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: A Drug Story

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The song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” has long been the subject of debate among music experts and fans of the Beatles as to whether or not it is a reference for LSD. According to the official story, the song had nothing to do with LSD and was instead inspired by a painting done by Julian Lennon, the son of John Lennon, of his schoolmate Lucy O’Donnell. Lucy was also the daughter of the antique shop owner whose establishment was often patronized by the band.

However, Paul McCartney gave hints that the song was indeed a reference to the drug, as John Lennon may have composed it while he was on an acid trip. The song accurately describes the kind of high that this acid trip can bring, which includes hallucinations and seeing brilliant colors. This is the reason why “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” became slang for LSD.

For full version of this article, please visit “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: A Drug Story“.