Testing It Up

Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC Say “Yes” to Legal Marijuana

Marijuana’s march toward acceptance by the general public took another big step Nov. 4, as Oregon, Alaska and Washington DC voters decided to make it legal for recreational use in those regions. marijuana legalization alaska oregon district of columbia

The Oregon and Alaska measures would legalize recreational pot use and allow for retail pot shops similar to those already operating in Washington state and Colorado, the two states that voted to legalize marijuana for recreational use back in 2012.

The District of Columbia, on the other hand, will not see any retail outlets opening, but will allow adults 21 and older to possess up to two ounces (57 grams) of cannabis and grow up to six plants. The D.C. measure had been strongly favored to pass but could still be halted during a review by the U.S. Congress, which has constitutional oversight over the capital.

More pot referendums are expected during 2016 presidential elections.

“In 2016 we’re going to push the ball forward in several states until we end prohibition,” Leland Berger, a Portland attorney who helped write the state’s new law, said.


November 5, 2014 at 11:46 am Comments (0)

Obese Children Already Show Tell-Tale Signs of Heart Disease

heart diseaseObese children and teens already show the same signs of heart disease as adults do, new research has found.

In a study published online in JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, German researchers studied 61 overweight and obese children 8-to 21-years-old, comparing them with 40 non-obese children of the same age. All of them were free of disease and not taking any medicines.

Compared with children of normal weight, the obese group had significantly higher triglycerides, higher total cholesterol, lower HDL (“good cholesterol”), higher LDL (“bad” cholesterol), higher blood pressure, higher fasting glucose and higher fasting insulin readings.

The researchers also found that in obese children part of the heart muscle was thicker on average, which in an adult would be a sign of impending cardiovascular problems.

“We do not know if these changes are reversible with weight loss or how they will impact future cardiovascular disease in these subjects,” said the lead author, Dr. Norman Mangner, a cardiologist at the University of Leipzig.

November 3, 2014 at 8:52 am Comments (0)

American Diabetes Month This November

Fresh off Halloween, we are now kicking into high gear as we approach the season of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Before we go on and celebrate those two momentous occasions, let us shift our focus on something that matters to U.S. health.

Blue circle: universal symbol for diabetes

Blue circle: universal symbol for diabetes

November is pegged as American Diabetes Month. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) holds this annual awareness campaign to highlight the ever-present threat of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the health of American citizens and the rest of the world. American Diabetes Month aims to put a spotlight on the concerns about the disease and the people who are affected by diabetes.

According to the ADA, about 30 million people in the U.S. are diagnosed with diabetes, while 86 million more are likely to contract the disease. The government is keen on solving this health problem, as the U.S. spends $245 million on diabetes.

Let us join the rest of the country as we raise awareness of diabetes and help individuals who are impacted by this disease. You may visit diabetes.org for more information about this month’s campaign, or you may check out several features on diabetes here at TestCountry. Here are some articles that you may find helpful:

About diabetes

Diabetes risks

Diabetes treatment updates

November 2, 2014 at 7:37 pm Comments (0)

November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month

November is National Adopt a Senior Pet Month.inacatseye

Although many people head into a shelter intent on adopting a young animal, there are advantages to adopting an older pet. Senior pets are typically calmer and less energetic than puppies and kittens and it can be easier to teach them new tricks. Many senior pets already know basic commands. Their low-key natures can also make them ideal for households with children.

Also, older pets are usually house trained, so you don’t have to spend weeks or months trying to train them like you do with a younger pet.

Understanding the personality of an animal is key to finding the perfect match for your family and for that homeless pet. While young puppies and kittens are still developing their personalities, you’ll know right away what type of animal an older pet is.

One thing you have to remember about adopting an older pet is that they do require monitoring for their health, as older animals are more susceptible to diseases and health complications. One way of monitoring your pet’s health is using at-home health testing kits for your dogs and cats. These kits use either a saliva or urine sample to test for common pet ailments so you can keep your pet healthy and happy for longer.

November 1, 2014 at 1:48 pm Comment (1)

Mixing Medication and Dietary Supplements Can be Bad for Health

Dietary supplements could alter the way medication works, regardless of whether it is prescription or over-the-counter medicine.take vitamins

“Some dietary supplements may increase the effect of your medication, and other dietary supplements may decrease it,” Robert Mozersky, a medical officer at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said.

Certain dietary supplements may change absorption, metabolism, or excretion of a medication and therefore affect its potency.

“You may be getting either too much or too little of a medication you need,” Mozersky warned.

Combining dietary supplements and medications could even have life-threatening effects. For example, drugs for HIV/AIDS, heart disease, depression, treatments for organ transplants, and birth control pills are less effective when taken with the herbal supplement St. John’s Wort. Depending on the medication involved, the results can be serious.

Also, warfarin (a prescription blood thinner), ginkgo biloba (an herbal supplement), aspirin and vitamin E can each thin the blood, so taking any of these products together may increase the potential for internal bleeding or stroke.

Dietary supplements are widely used and include vitamins, minerals, and other less familiar substances—such as herbals, botanicals, amino acids, and enzymes.

October 27, 2014 at 8:19 am Comments (0)

3D Printing Technology Produces Printable Medicine Tablets

3D printing has given rise to several breakthroughs in many fields of study, including medicine. This time, new research embarks on a product that will revolutionize the way we think about 3D printers.

3d printed medicine tabletsScientists from the University of Central Lancashire in the U.K. have developed a 3D printer that can “print” medicine tablets. The tablets may be designed to custom-fit the needs of the patient who is going to take them. This is made possible by special 3D printer filaments created by the team of researchers. The tablets produced by the printer can replicate any existing medicine in terms of weight and dosage fairly accurately.

Study co-author Dr. Mohamed Albed Alhnan of the university’s School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences expressed the impact of their discovery to the field of medicine. “Thanks to this technology, the invented system can provide medical institutions with a new option and maintain dosage form properties while accurately adjusting the dose with simple software order, something that was considered before to be costly and required experienced staff and dedicated facilities. Eventually, we hope to see that units can be kept at home for patients who continuously need to change their daily dose,” said Alhnan in a news item.

Furthermore, Alhnan said that 3D printing technology has changed the way we do things. “3D printing has been embraced by lots of different industries … but we have shown how this technology can be harnessed to improve medical care, providing low-cost, personally tailored medicines for patients,” he added.

October 26, 2014 at 10:29 pm Comments (0)

Elizabeth Pena Death Caused By Alcohol And Other Complications

elizabeth penaAlcohol has been associated with various health risks, most notably liver diseases. This proved to be a fatal case for actress Elizabeth Pena, who died October 14 due to various health complications.

The “La Bamba” actress was confirmed by CNN to have died partly because of “cirrhosis of the liver due to alcohol,” according to a death certificate obtained by the network. This disease was listed alongside other disorders such as cardiogenic shock, cardiopulmonary arrest, and acute gastrointestinal bleeding.

Pena, 55, was rushed to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles but did not survive. Her death sent shockwaves through the industry as she has been active in her career. Her latest role was Sofia Vergara’s mother in the hit TV comedy “Modern Family”. She leaves behind her husband and two kids.

October 24, 2014 at 4:22 pm Comments (0)

Secondhand Smoke Exposes Non-Smokers To Excessive Air Pollutants

If you are a non-smoker living with someone who smokes indoors, you might as well inhale the fumes of your vehicle exhaust.

secondhand smoke at homeResearchers from Scotland’s University of Aberdeen discovered that people who don’t smoke but live in homes with a smoker are exposed to more than thrice the WHO limit for fine particulate matter (PM 2.5), which are air pollutants such as soot or dust. The data was gathered from 93 smoking households and 17 that are non-smokers. Comparisons between the two home living conditions showed that PM 2.5 levels of smoking houses were ten times higher than the non-smoking counterpart.

In addition, air quality in smoking homes was comparable with the outdoor environment in polluted cities such as London. Researchers believe that living in a smoke-free house reduces the exposure of non-smokers to air pollutants by as much as 70 percent. “These measurements show that secondhand tobacco smoke can produce very high levels of toxic particles in your home: much higher than anything experienced outside in most towns and cities in the UK. Making your home smoke-free is the most effective way of dramatically reducing the amount of damaging fine particles you inhale,” said lead study author Dr. Sean Semple in a news release.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 2.5 million people who don’t smoke have died from secondhand smoke exposure since 1964.

October 23, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (0)

Oscar de la Renta Dies Of Cancer

The fashion world is mourning the death of legendary designer Oscar de la Renta, who died October 20 at the age of 82. According to Reuters, de la Renta passed away in his Connecticut home. The fashion icon succumbed to cancer, which was diagnosed in 2006.

oscar de la rentaNews spread like wildfire over Twitter, other social networking sites, and in several newspapers.

In his home country of Dominican Republic, de la Renta was remembered as a cultural icon who never forgot where he came from. “The international fashion (world) and all the Dominican Republic is in mourning. We lost the great Oscar de la Renta,” said Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina. Meanwhile, the country’s foreign minister Andrés Navarro expressed the fashion legend’s impact not only on the runway but also on society. “He was a permanent ambassador of our country abroad. He diffused the qualities that adorn the Dominican Republic. With his departure, the nation says goodbye to one of its most universal sons and a promoter of the best Dominican qualities,” Navarro said.

De la Renta was famous for dressing all of the first ladies starting with Jacqueline Kennedy. The Clinton family expressed their tribute to the late fashion mogul in a statement as posted on CNN: “Oscar’s remarkable eye was matched only by his generous heart … His legacy of philanthropy extended from children in his home country who now have access to education and healthcare, to some of New York’s finest artists whose creativity has been sustained through his support.”

Prior to his death, de la Renta designed the much talked about wedding gown of Amal Alamuddin, who married George Clooney on September 29 of this year.

October 22, 2014 at 3:08 am Comments (0)

New Gallup Pole Shows Americans Still Not Interested in Changing Drinking Age


Courtesy of Gallup

Americans are still widely opposed to lowering the legal drinking age to 18 from 21, with 74% saying they would oppose such legislation, while 25% would favor it.

All major subgroups are opposed to lowering the drinking age with political ideology being one of the major dividing lines on the issue. Liberals (34%) are among the most supportive of lowering the drinking age and conservatives (18%) are among the least supportive subgroups.

Another major predictor of support for lowering the drinking age is whether one personally drinks alcohol, with 29% of those who drink alcohol at least on occasion favoring lowering the drinking age compared with 18% who never drink. Among those who drink regularly on a weekly basis, 35% favor lowering it.

Also, support for lowering the drinking age tends to be higher among those who have higher levels of education, with 37% of those with a postgraduate degree supporting such a change in the law.

October 20, 2014 at 8:07 am Comments (0)

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