Testing It Up

Half of poison center calls involving e-cigarette liquids involved children: CDC study

Fifty-one percent of calls over the past four years to poison centers related to e-cigarette liquids containing nicotine involved children 5 years and younger, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).e-cigarette

The study, published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, also found the number of e-cigarette exposure calls skyrocketed from one per month in September 2010 to 215 per month in February 2014 while Calls involving conventional cigarettes did not show a similar increase during that period.

Poisonings from e-cigarettes are due to the liquid containing nicotine used in the devices being ingested, inhaled or absorbed through the skin or eyes. On the other hand, poisoning from conventional cigarettes is generally a result of young children eating them.

“E-cigarette liquids as currently sold are a threat to small children because they are not required to be childproof, and they come in candy and fruit flavors that are appealing to children,” CDC director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., said in a press release.

The study authors call on health care providers and others to be aware that “e-cigarettes have the potential to cause acute adverse health effects and represent an emerging public health concern.”

April 7, 2014 at 6:52 am Comments (0)

Air Pollution Becomes Top Environmental Health Risk

In a report from CNN, the U.N. health agency stated that air pollution posts the largest health risk related to heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive disease or COPD, asthma and lung cancer. Dr. Maria Neira, with the World Health Organization’s Department for Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants, said we really need to clean up the air we breathe.

air pollutionThe news report states that 7 million deaths were due to air pollution, and a large bulk can be attributed to indoor air pollution.  This is due to the fact that around 3 billion people in the world — especially in developing countries — make use of coal, firewood, and open-air fire as fuel for cooking.  The burnt fuel produces a fine particle matter as well as carbon monoxide which are both harmful when inhaled. The WHO states that women and children are mostly at risk from indoor air pollution.

As for ambient or outdoor pollution, children and infants are the biggest victims of its side effects.  They are mostly susceptible to air pollutants because of the physiology of their young lungs.  Prolonged exposure outdoors can post risks to their health and could even be fatal.

April 7, 2014 at 12:00 am Comment (1)

Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Emphasized Through Billboard Campaign

Prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs come next to marijuana and alcohol abuse in teens aged 14 and above in America.  These are commonly abused because of the wrong notion that it is safer than illicit drugs.

Image credit: 19 Action News

Cleveland city leaders recently launched a billboard campaign against prescription drug abuse.  The billboard aims to direct the community to an available hotline number for assistance, according to a news report.  It also plans to bring awareness to the general public through education, prevention programs, and tools to lessen and improve prescribing practices.

Most prescription pills that are abused are painkillers or opioids, depressants, morphines, stimulants and sleeping pills. Most of these drugs are in the tablet form and should be taken orally.  The abusers pound it and they either snort the substance or inject it directly to the bloodstream.

Prescription drug abuse has now become an epidemic.  According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it is becoming a gateway to heroin addiction, which posts high risks to health issues.

The abuse may be done intentionally or unconsciously.  These are taken for reasons and amounts not allowed and intended by doctors. These have pleasurable effects and can be readily available. One can easily go doctor shopping to accumulate the pills.  It can cloud a person’s judgment and reasoning ability and may lead to unsafe sex, pregnancy, abortion, STDs and vehicular accidents.

Overdosing on painkillers now surpasses murders and car accidents in terms of death tolls.

April 6, 2014 at 8:16 pm Comments (0)

Guatemala Could be Next Country to Legalize Marijuana

Otto Perez Photo Courtesy of Surizar on Flickr

Otto Perez
Photo Courtesy of Surizar on Flickr

Guatemala president Otto Perez says his government will present a plan by the end of the year to legalize not only the production of marijuana, but also opium poppies.

A government commission has been studying the proposal with an eye toward publishing the commission’s recommendations in the fall and presenting legalization measures for marijuana production by the end of the year.

“The other thing we’re exploring … is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they’re controlled and sold for medicinal ends,” Perez said. “These two things could be steps taken on a legal basis.”

Opium poppies are used to make opium, heroin and pharmaceutical drugs such as morphine and codeine.




April 4, 2014 at 8:27 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)

HIV-infected men may be more prone to heart disease

Men with HIV may have a higher risk of heart disease, a new study suggests.heart attack

The reason for the increased risk of heart disease is because men with HIV have more more soft plaque buildup in the arteries that bring blood to the heart, a condition called coronary atherosclerosis, than men without the virus, the study, which was published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, showed. Coronary atherosclerosis is a risk factor for heart attack.

Unlike hard plaque, which eventually builds up and blocks blood from flowing to the heart stifling the supply of oxygen to the organ, soft plaque can cause part of the artery to rupture, leading to a blood clot, which can cause a heart attack by blocking blood flow.

For the study, researchers from Northwestern University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Pittsburgh examined the heart health of 618 HIV-infected men and 383 men without HIV who were part of the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study. The men who participated in the study were between ages 40 and 70 and had sex with other men.

Sixty-three percent of the HIV-infected men in the study had coronary atherosclerosis from soft plaque, while only 53% of the men without HIV had the condition. The increased coronary atherosclerosis association remained true for the HIV-positive men even after researchers took into account other heart disease risk factors, such as smoking and high blood pressure.

Additionally, men with HIV who had taken anti-HIV drugs for the longest amount of time and whose immune health had worsened the most were more likely to experience coronary artery blockages from soft plaque.

“Thanks to effective treatments, many people with HIV infection are living into their 50s and well beyond and are dying of non-AIDS-related causes – frequently, heart disease,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., the director of the National Institute Of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a statement. “Consequently, the prevention and treatment of non-infectious chronic diseases in people with HIV infection has become an increasingly important focus of our research.”

April 2, 2014 at 7:37 am Comments (0)

Study: E-Cigarettes Don’t Help People Quit Smoking

Do you believe the advertisements that say using e-cigarettes can help people stop smoking? Then you must be one of those who are grossly misinformed.

electroSmokeBNPS_468x348Research was done concerning the use of electronic cigarettes from the Center for Tobacco Control by the University of California. It disclosed that there is no factual basis for the efficiency of e-cigarettes to help people kick the habit.

According to Live Science, the study based on the survey conducted in 2011 involved close to a thousand respondents who were confirmed smokers. The respondents were followed up with a year later to determine the rate of participants who stopped smoking. The data shows a 13.8% reduction of smokers after one year for those who did not use electronic cigarettes compared to 10.2% of electronic cigarette users.

These results did not quantify that the use of electronic cigarettes really helped increase smoking cessation. The results of the study suggest that those who are using electronic cigarettes have no interest in quitting smoking. In fact, the use of e-cigarettes made it more difficult for them to quit.

An interview with Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, deputy editor of JAMA internal Medicine said that “the evidence on whether e-cigarettes help smokers to quit is contradictory and inconclusive” and that it has no proof of increasing the rates of cessation from smoking.

He also sees the need to regulate the use of electronic cigarettes citing the potential harm it could contribute to  minors due to the fact that there are no laws or restrictions for the use of electronic cigarettes.

He is also calling for the prohibition of e-cigarette advertisements that say these devices could help you quit smoking, until there is scientific evidence to support this claim.

April 2, 2014 at 12:00 am Comments (10)

The U.S. FDA Proposes New Nutrition Facts Label

Back on St. Patrick’s Day, the US Food and Drug Administration released a notice  to propose a new Nutrition Facts label. proper nutrition for kids

The proposed new labels would help consumers quickly identify the number of servings per container, plus, the nutrition numbers would be paired with a “normal” serving size, and calories per serving size, as well as the % DV (percent daily value) per nutrient.

The emphasis will be for the producers to identify a normally expected serving size (for some foods) of what a consumer would consume in one sitting rather than what the producers choose as the serving size, which is often misleadingly tiny. The small serving sizes often skew the % DV consumed for items like Total Fat, or Total Carbohydrates. The U.S. FDA wants to bring visibility and clarity to the packaged products.

The proposed new labels will help enable you to make better health decisions about the products you purchase, and food and amount you consume. However, it still requires good judgment on consumers’ part.

The FDA is also looking for feedback on the proposed design change, or any other comments you may have about nutrition, regulation, and labeling.

To give your feedback, click  here until June 2, 2014.

April 1, 2014 at 6:03 am Comments (0)

Canada puts medical marijuana decisions into hands of doctors

A new rule that takes effect today puts the entire decision making process about who should receive a marijuana prescription on doctors’ shoulders in Canada. medical marijuana

Previously, patients wanting to get a prescription to marijuana had to get a licence from Health Canada by submitting an application form signed by their doctor, which indicated that the physician was aware the patient was using pot for medical purposes.

But under the new rules, users seek a medical document directly from their doctor — similar to a prescription –instead of applying through Health Canada.

However, this puts doctors in the uncomfortable position of being gatekeepers to medical marijuana for patients. The Canadian Medical Association has made its concerns clear, noting in a news release earlier this month it “remains adamant that it will not throw its support behind medical use of the drug until numerous questions about safety, efficacy, dosage and delivery have been answered.”

The new rules also stipulate that the roughly 40,000 people in the country that use medical marijuana can no longer grow their own, but must now purchase it from commercial distributors, although this is currently being challenged in court.

It is estimated that the new private-sector commercial marijuana production industry  could be worth more than $1 billion a year by 2024.

March 31, 2014 at 6:33 am Comments (0)

Porn Addict Makes and Releases his Own Documentary About Dealing with Addiction

Documentary filmmaker Matt Pollack’s Run Run It’s Him will be available for download April 1 at runrunitshim.com.

Movie still courtesy of RunRunItsHim.com.

Movie still courtesy of RunRunItsHim.com.

The film, made during the 2000s prior to internet porn being so prevalent, documents Pollack’s obsessive behavior about porn, which included him planning his entire day around searching for and masturbating to pornography. Pollack says his apartment used to be filled with pornographic tapes and DVDs and he used to keep meticulous notebooks cross-referencing various porn scenes so he would know exactly where to go to on any given tape or DVD for a favorite scene.

Co-directed with Jamie Popowich, the low-budget movie describes how Pollack deferred the loss of his virginity to age 24, how pornography made him terminally ill-at-ease around women, the estimated “thousands of hours” he spent masturbating, and the way his brain began to fixate on pornography constantly.

He said he felt compelled to make Run Run It’s Him as a way of admitting his addiction and dealing with it, including confessing his addiction to various female friends and former girlfriends – some of whom he asks to sit and watch some of his favourite scenes. Pollack also takes the viewer on a city tour of his preferred porn shops, and he confronts his parents with his secret.

March 28, 2014 at 9:00 am Comments (0)

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