Testing It Up

New Type 1 Diabetes Drug: Rejected by US, Approved by EU

Health officials in the U.S. have rejected the approval of this monumental diabetic drug due to adverse cardiovascular effects. The European Union (EU), on the other hand, is embracing it with open arms.

tresiba type 1 diabetes drugTresiba, a drug designed by Novo Nordisk to treat Type 1 diabetes, was approved by EU in 2013, and is currently in developmental clinical trials. According to a news report from Reuters, the pharmaceutical company recently announced that Tresiba was tested to be safe and effective for children up to 18 years of age. “These data show that Tresiba has the potential to offer youngsters with diabetes a new treatment option, which may help them achieve better control of their diabetes,” said Dr. Nandu Thalange of U.K.’s Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital and one of the lead study authors.

The clinical trial was conducted on 350 youngsters with Type 1 diabetes. Results were favorable based on diabetes tests: blood sugar levels of the patients who received Tresiba were improved without decreasing the level too much to cause hypoglycemia. Results also showed that the fasting plasma glucose dropped significantly after the patients took Tresiba.

Diabetes continues to be one of the most widely spread diseases in the U.S., with close to 30 million already diagnosed with the blood sugar abnormality. Global figures from the World Health Organization show that only 10 percent of diabetics in the whole world are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which usually occurs in children.

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September 19, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

September is National Recovery Month

Recovery from addiction is a very challenging terrain that many people are facing. It’s a daily battle of making the right choices and fleeing away from old ways.

september national recovery monthThis is the main reason why the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) is joining many organizations in declaring September as National Recovery Month. This annual observance aims to highlight the importance of support and understanding for people who are recovering from drug and alcohol addiction.

Marijuana remains one of the most common drugs that many Americans are addicted to. According to data reported by Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 78 percent of teenagers are exposed to people who use marijuana on a regular basis. What’s worse is that 90 percent of most addictions begin as children reach their adolescent years. That is why the fight for drug and alcohol intervention is being raised by several groups including NCADD.

National Recovery Month is sponsored by the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, an arm of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

If you want to support the cause, you may send your donations through this link from DrugFree.org. You may also read more information about the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids campaign.

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September 18, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Robin Thicke High On Drugs and Alcohol During ‘Blurred Lines’ Creation

In the midst of the writing process for last year’s monumental summer hit “Blurred Lines”, singer Robin Thicke admitted through a court deposition that he was “high on Vicodin and alcohol”.

robin thicke drug alcohol blurred linesThe deposition was part of the ongoing court battle between the song’s credited writers — Thicke, Pharrell Williams, and Clifford “T.I.” Harris Jr. — and children of the late Marvin Gaye, whose 1977 song “Got to Give It Up” was claimed by Gaye’s family to be the basis for the 2013 ditty.

Here’s a portion of the court deposition, as it appears in THR:

Q: Were you present during the creation of ‘Blurred Lines’?

Thicke: I was present. Obviously, I sang it. I had to be there.

Q: When the rhythm track was being created, were you there with Pharrell?

Thicke: To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.

The papers suggest that aside from Thicke getting high on drugs and booze, he was never a part of the writing process. In fact, he admitted in several interviews that he was under a massive “drug and alcohol problem for the year.”

“Blurred Lines” bagged the record for the longest running number one single in the 2010s decade at 12 consecutive weeks.

Thicke was arrested for marijuana possession in 2012.

September 17, 2014 at 1:58 am Comments (0)

New Blood Test Detects Depression

Many people believe that depression is just a state of mind and that it can be wished away. A new technology supports the idea that depression is caused by biochemical reactions that can be treated medically and identified through a blood test.

blood test for depressionIn fact, a new test is being developed by Dr. Eva Redei of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to identify blood particles linked to depressive episodes. Call it a blood test to detect depression. According to Redei, the study could pave the way for treating depression like any other disease, which can be cured through medical treatment.

In the meantime, the study focuses on tracing ribonucleic acids (RNA) in the blood as a marker for depression. The framework of the RNA strand of a person experiencing depression was taken from comparisons conducted on depression patients with those who were not depressed. The study was able to identify differences between the RNA in the blood of depressed people and those of people without the condition.

The study author believes that the study will change the way society thinks about depression. “I really believe that having an objective diagnosis will decrease stigma,” said Redei in a news release.

Medical professionals advise people diagnosed with depression to have their condition treated as soon as possible. Unfortunately, diagnosis takes months to confirm that the person is depressed. With this new blood test, detection of depression is made quicker.

September 17, 2014 at 12:59 am Comment (1)

Rare Enterovirus in Kids Spreads Across U.S.

Heads up: A rare virus is threatening the health of children in the U.S., and physicians are just beginning to scratch the surface of this growing problem.

enterovirus D68 respiratory problems in childrenThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released an advisory about Enterovirus D68 (EV-D68), a rare virus strain that causes breathing and respiratory problems in children across the country. The virus is reportedly not lethal, unlike the Ebola virus spreading in West Africa, but the CDC is sending information to parents and doctors about the issue.

According to a news report, the virus has already infected at least a hundred kids in seven states — New York, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, and New York — and seems to be spreading even further. In fact, a news release last week said that 30 children a day are sent to hospitals in Kansas City due to the virus. Many of the kid patients were diagnosed to have respiratory diseases even before the virus struck. This particular enterovirus strain seems to target the victim’s breathing, based on the cases that have been reported so far. Other symptoms of the virus include wheezing, coughing, sneezing, tender muscles, and fever.

Despite the hazards that the virus poses on child health, the CDC declares that Enterovirus D68 is not deadly, and may be cured just like common colds. In fact, the virus typically spreads like the common cold. Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC, said that the effects of the enterovirus may die down within a week, with proper fluid replenishment, respiratory assistance, and good hygiene.

There are currently no vaccines to cure a child of EV-D68, but treating the symptoms may relieve the patient of the virus.

September 17, 2014 at 12:06 am Comments (0)

Fertility Problems May Affect Mental Health In Women

Women who have difficulty conceiving a child have a higher risk of mental health problems if they cannot accept their infertility condition.

fertility treatmentsThis was revealed through a new study conducted by a team of researchers from the U.K.’s Cardiff University School of Psychology. Dr. Sofia Gameiro, lead study author, said that while previous studies have been conducted to link infertility issues with mental health concerns (such as this one in 2012), their study looked into additional factors that might worsen or relieve the effects.

One of the factors that the study identified was whether the women already has children or none. “The strength of this association varied according to whether women had children or not. For women with no children, those with a child-wish were 2.8 times more likely to have worse mental health than women without a child-wish… For women with children, those who sustained a child-wish were 1.5 times more likely to have worse mental health than those without a child-wish. This link between a sustained wish for children and worse mental health was irrespective of the women’s fertility diagnosis and treatment history,” Gameiro said in a news item.

In contrast, women experienced better mental conditions if the cause of infertility was either the partner male or another undetermined reason.

The study involved a survey on more than 7,000 females who underwent treatments to correct their fertility concerns from 1995 to 2000. The study proponents were quick to clarify that the link between fertility and mental health is not a direct cause-and-effect relationship.

September 16, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Obama on Ebola Virus Outbreak: Send More U.S. Aid to West Africa

The Ebola virus outbreak continues to threaten not only the localities in West Africa, but also the health of other countries around the world. According to sources close to U.S. President Barack Obama, the president is drafting a strategic plan to send aid to the virus-stricken countries.

ebola virus west africa US aidLisa Monaco, an adviser of the president for counterterrorism, said in a news release via WSJ that Obama wants Congress to boost funding for an increased involvement of the U.S. in the battle against the Ebola virus. “There’s a lot that we’ve been putting toward this, but it is not sufficient… So the president has directed a more scaled-up response and that’s what you’re going to hear more about on Tuesday,” Monaco said.

Obama is scheduled on September 16 for a visit to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to possibly discuss the details of the plan. According to Monaco, the Obama administration plans to help in controlling the virus outbreak, boosting Africa’s health care system, giving health training to West Africa’s officials, and facilitating support from the World Health Organization.

CDC Director Tom Frieden spoke to Obama about the situation in West Africa, stating that he “could not possibly overstate the need for an urgent response.” This statement from CDC, along with reports, might have brought the president to act on the pressing matter, despite the fact that key officials have declared a low likelihood of the deadly virus from entering U.S. soil.

To date, the U.S. government has already sent more than a hundred health workers from the CDC to West Africa, as well as 8 military personnel. The government has also spent at least $100 million in financial aid and another $75 million is already declared in funding.

September 15, 2014 at 12:35 am Comments (0)

Development For Portable Bath Salts Drug Test Kits Under Way

The war on drugs has just been given a major boost through a recent study involving the development of better test kits for bath salts detection.

bath saltsA news release from the America Chemical Society revealed that scientists are currently developing a portable drug test kit to detect bath salts. The illicit drug has been declared illegal in the U.S., but many retail shops and online stores are still carrying the controversial substance on their shelves. This new drug testing technology aims to provide a more convenient way to identify the use of bath salts.

While existing testing technologies that detect bath salts are already available, the equipment used in these tests are difficult to transport and carry around. One bath salt test equipment was developed for field use, but it made use of a mercury electrode, which is dangerous to human health.

The team of scientists led by Craig Banks is trying to develop a safe and convenient drug testing kit to identify bath salts. Their initial prototypes resulted in a testing method that is not only safe and easy to handle, but is also disposable, fast, and affordable. The team hopes that their discovery could be installed in modern handheld devices for better detection of bath salt compounds.

Bath salts are composed of synthetic cathinones derived from the khat plant that is abundant in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The compounds in bath salts create a euphoric feeling, which may later regress to hallucinations, seizures, and even death.

September 14, 2014 at 9:49 pm Comments (0)

Pet Lovers Beware: Antifreeze Causes Kidney Failure In Cats

While some of us take care of our pets and want to give them the best that we can, others are doing the opposite.

cat antifreeze poisoning kidney failureA news report from the U.K. revealed that pet owners of the city of Hull in Yorkshire, England have been warned against antifreeze ingestion by their pets. One family in particular, whose identities were undisclosed as per request, said that two of their pet cats died because of the hazardous compound.

The head of the family said that when they noticed something abnormal in the behavior of one of their cats, they rushed the pet to the vet. According to the pet doctor, blood tests revealed elevated amounts of toxic materials. Eventually, the cat died due to complete kidney failure. When a similar set of symptoms was exhibited by another one of their cats, he already knew the reason.

According to the vet, the cat’s immediate death due to kidney failure may be a result of antifreeze matter eaten by the pet. What’s disturbing the family is that it happened again on another pet of theirs. “At this time of year you don’t just get antifreeze lying around… It seems like too much of a coincidence to be an accident,” the father said in a news release.

The family immediately raised the issue to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), which can conduct an investigation on the matter. The organization upholds an existing law — the Animal Welfare Act 2006 — that considers pet poisoning as a criminal offense.

Proper pet treatment has always been a strong issue in the U.S., and similar offenses are also being investigated. On the other side of things, it’s nice to learn that pet testing products and pet hotels featured in Furlocity exist to give our pets a better life.

September 9, 2014 at 7:42 pm Comments (0)

Study: Common Viruses Spread Fast In Busy Buildings

Amidst the worldwide scare of the Ebola virus outbreak, a new study revealed that a common virus could spread in only a matter of hours inside a building full of people.

phone receiver virus spread officeResearchers from the University of Arizona simulated the spread of a virus — a noroviruses in particular — from surfaces that are commonly touched, and monitored the presence of the said virus on other parts of the building. An inert tracer virus was used in place of the norovirus, which is the leading cause of gastroenteritis.

Results of the study showed that traces of the tracer virus was found in up to 60 percent of the people inside the building in a matter of 2 to 4 hours. Virus traces were found on several areas where people usually touch surfaces: light switches, push buttons, door knobs, phone receivers, computer peripherals, and coffee pots.

While the study showed the speed of virus spread inside a building facility, the study suggests a very simple yet effective solution: use disinfectants with quaternary ammonium compounds (QUAT). Lead study author Charles Gerba, who works as professor at the university’s Microbiology & Environmental Sciences department, discussed the effectiveness of QUAT-based disinfectant products. “Using disinfecting wipes containing quaternary ammonium compounds registered by EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) as effective against viruses like norovirus and flu, along with hand hygiene, reduced virus spread by 80-99%,” Gerba said in a news item.

Noroviruses are notorious for afflicting stomach flu especially in schools, hospitals, and office buildings. In fact, this disease may cause a particular facility to be shut down and closed until the virus has been eliminated.

September 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm Comments (0)

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