Testing It Up

Nebraska Lawmakers Looking to Make Marijuana Oil Legal

A group of Nebraska lawmakers wants to legalize marijuana oil for patients with severe forms of epilepsy.

Influenced by families who have moved to Colorado because they want legal access to marijuana to deal with a family member’s seizures, the group of Nebraska lawmakers wants to craft a bill legalizing the drug in Nebraska so other families don’t have to leave.marijuana

“I am a seizure victim myself. It’s been 20 years since I had my last one. Always had an interest in epilepsy and trying to deal with solutions to it,” said state Sen. Al Davis, who just returned from Colorado on a medical marijuana research trip with colleagues Sens. Sue Crawford and Tommy Garrett. The Gillen family joined them.

“It has come full circle. I feel like the more that we’ve been educating legislators and the public of the better accepted it is,” said Shelley Gillen, mother for legal medical marijuana.

The Gillens want the marijuana extract cannabidiol oil legalized in Nebraska for their son Will, who suffers from severe epilepsy.

“I really think they will be able to present a positive argument for why this is a good thing,” said Dominic Gillen, father for legal medical marijuana

“I think it will be a easier to sell them then it was a year ago,” said Davis, who said he saw how cannabidiol oil dramatically reduced seizures in children with epilepsy during the Colorado trip. “I think we will prevail this next year. I just can’t imagine anybody who meets these parents and sees what they are going through and what these children are going through as far as the disease concerns would ever say no to this.”

“When people realize this is not about getting high, I understand that it is the oil in the process can be done in a safe way it’s very hard to find people that are against it,” said Dominic Gillen.

August 11, 2014 at 8:15 am Comment (1)

Peers have a big influence on weight

A person’s effort to lose weight and be healthy can be influenced positively or negatively by people close to them, a nutrition expert says. lose weight

Walter Willett, who is the Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) said a person’s friends, family and co-workers can undermine their weight-loss plans by encouraging unhealthy eating habits or sedentary behavior.

The numbers back up Willett’s claims, with research showing that a person’s chance of becoming obese increases by 57% if a close friend is obese, 40% if a sibling is obese, and 37% if a spouse is obese.

“Obesity is ‘contagious’ but physical activity and healthy eating are too, so we want to emphasize the latter,” Willett said. “Invite friends to join you for a walk or for an evening of cooking healthy foods. Bring your friends along in a positive way. That is the ultimate goal.”

Willett’s new book Thinfluence examines how friends, family, advertisements, entertainment, and other environmental factors influence body weight.

August 11, 2014 at 8:06 am Comment (1)

Diabetes Medication Improves Life Expectancy of Non-Diabetics

Known worldwide as a diabetes drug, metformin is now touted by a recent study as a life extender even for people without insulin problems.

metforminAccording to a new research by Cardiff University in the U.K., metformin was able to extend the life of not only diabetic patients but also those without the ailment. This was confirmed by study lead author Craig Currie, who works at the School of Medicine in Cardiff University. “The findings indicate that this cheap and widely prescribed diabetic drug may have beneficial effects not only on patients with diabetes but also for people without, and interestingly, people with type 1 diabetes. Metformin has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-cardiovascular disease benefits. It can also reduce pre-diabetics’ chances of developing the disease by a third,” said Currie in a news release.

The study was published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism. It focused not only on metformin but also on sulphonylurea, also a treatment for type 2 diabetes. The study involved testing and monitoring of more than 180,000 individuals, split in half between diabetes patients who were treated with drugs and those without diabetes.

“Patients treated with Metformin had a small but statistically significant improvement in survival compared with the cohort of non-diabetics, whereas those treated with sulphonylureas had a consistently reduced survival compared with non-diabetic patients,” according to the study.

August 11, 2014 at 3:01 am Comments (0)

WHO Declares Public Health Emergency Over Ebola Virus Outbreak

Despite earlier reports that the Ebola virus outbreak is contained in West Africa and neighboring countries, the World Health Organization has declared the issue an “international public health emergency”.

ebola virus outbreak in west africaAccording to WHO director general Margaret Chan via WSJ, close to 150 health workers have been reported to be infected by the lethal virus, which has already claimed 80 lives of these workers. Early this week, more than a thousand cases of deaths due to the virus have been logged in WHO records.

The outbreak in the West African region — particularly Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Liberia — is considered by many experts as the most severe in recent history. One of the main reasons behind the massive spread is the ineffective infrastructure of health services in these regions. Chan is expecting that the fatality numbers will increase in the coming days, amidst some unreported cases of deaths due to the Ebola virus. “The outbreak is moving faster than we can control it,” said Chan.

Chan urged “the international community to provide (this) support on the most urgent basis possible,” during a Geneva news conference. Furthermore, the WHO recommends a travel restriction in the regions most affected by the virus spread.

[ Image source ]

August 8, 2014 at 6:56 am Comments (0)

Woman Fired For Using Medical Marijuana Sues Former Employer

A drug free workplace policy hit a snag when one of its disgruntled former employees decided to sue the company for her employment termination due to medical marijuana use.

medical marijuanaThe former employee, Donna Smith from New Mexico, is filing charges against Presbyterian Health Services after being fired for testing positive for marijuana use. The complainant worked as an assistant to one of the doctors in the medical facility.

According to Smith’s attorney via a news release, it appears hypocritical for Presbyterian to reprimand its employees for medical marijuana use but not synthetic antidepressants that may trigger prescription drug abuse. In addition to this, Smith says her termination is a violation of the Human Rights Act in the state, particularly the clause on discriminating against people diagnosed with medical conditions.

On its part, Presbyterian said it was merely acting on its drug free workplace policy to promote the safety of its patient clients. While New Mexico allows the use of medical cannabis, Presbyterian Senior VP Joanne Suffis is citing federal law as the company’s basis for implementing a drug free workplace, including the restriction against medical marijuana.

August 8, 2014 at 6:35 am Comments (0)

Health apps not only likely useless, could potentially harm you

If you are using one of the thousands of health apps out there, including: calorie counters; blood-pressure testers; and even music-therapy apps, you are using an unregulated piece of software that could potentially harm you. health apps

An article in The New England Journal of Medicine says there are over 97,000 mobile health (mHealth) apps available and that because these apps aren’t effectively regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, many of them could be useless, if not harmful.

Medical companies like Pfizer and Sanofi Aventis have already had to send out warnings that their apps were giving wonky readings and some mHealth apps like Pocket Doctor promise to give medical diagnosis while simultaneously claiming to be just for entertainment purposes.

It’s not that mHealth apps are all useless, the article authors say, it’s just that most people aren’t savvy enough to know that many of them are questionable at best and shouldn’t be trusted to be accurate.

Currently, the FDA doesn’t get overly involved in the mHealth industry, except when there could be a clear danger to people when a health app is misused.

Unless an app is associated with a medical institution you know and trust, or unless you can find specific information backing up its claims and methods, it’s best to cast a wary eye at anything health-related that can be downloaded to your phone.

August 6, 2014 at 1:47 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)

Drug Testing Myths Debunked

The field of drug testing has been receiving a lot of flak from the public eye. Some of the bad publicity involving drug testing and drug test kits include lack of accuracy, as well as selective drug identification.

random drug testingIn addition to this, any person undergoing a drug test is at a risk of public ridicule and persecution once the results come out. Because many drug test kits can provide accurate results, people subjected to the tests — especially when administered randomly and in mandatory fashion — are likely to feel bad about themselves or get discriminated upon.

The folks at Test Country have listed a number of myths surrounding drug testing technology, and the realities behind them. Here are some of the highlights of the feature article:

  • Two successive drug tests do not confirm an earlier result. Instead, the drug testing technique must be replaced with a more accurate method.
  • Synthetic opiates cannot be confirmed through a regular opiate screening test. These kinds of substances require special drug test kits for better detection.
  • Being exposed to secondhand marijuana smoke may yield positive results for THC, but the numbers will not be at the same magnitude as in samples taken from pot-smoking individuals.
  • Even if taken simultaneously, urine and oral samples may yield different drug test results. This is due to the fact that drugs in urine stay longer than those in saliva.

For more debunked myths and further information about drug testing technologies, read the feature on Test Country.

August 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm Comment (1)

Why Your Company Needs a Current Marijuana Policy

A new Yahoo article explains in detail why companies need to ensure their drug testing policies are worded correctly to reflect the growing acceptance of marijuana in the country. marijuana legalization

Now that Colorado and Washington have legalized marijuana for recreational use and many other states have legalized it for medicinal use, company drug policies need to be updated so there are no grey areas when it comes to the drug, the article says.

Companies should follow these steps to make sure they are protected against the possibility of employees believing it is okay to come to work high on marijuana:

1. Add consequences for the use of marijuana at work.

2. Don’t completely prohibit the use of marijuana at all times.

3. Be sure to include marijuana in any drug-testing policy.

4. Make safety a priority.

To read the entire article, click here.

July 31, 2014 at 8:17 am Comment (1)

« Older PostsNewer Posts »