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World Diabetes Day on November 14: Interesting Facts

The global recognition of World Diabetes Day November 14 allows people around the world to understand and gain more awareness about the disease. The annual event is being carried out by the World Health Organization and the International Diabetes Federation as a way to make people aware of diabetes and to address the increasing risk of the disease.

Diabetes continues to be one of the most prevalent diseases globally. In 2013, more than 380 million people were diagnosed with diabetes, with most of the cases having Type 2 Diabetes. Projections estimate the cases to increase to almost 600 million by the year 2035. It has also become one of the leading causes of death, which is probably the reason why world governments spend a lot of money on diabetes treatment and studies.

As we recognize World Diabetes Day today, here are some interesting facts about the awareness campaign:world diabetes day logo

  • November 14 is the birthday of Canadian scientist Frederick Banting who discovered insulin (together with colleague Dr. Charles Best) as a treatment for diabetes.
  • The first World Diabetes Day was celebrated in 1991 as a response to the increasing risk of the disease.
  • The event’s simplistic logo is a blue circle, which is considered the global symbol for diabetes. The circle shape signifies life, health and unity. The color blue is aligned with the color of the United Nations flag.
  • The World Diabetes Day focuses on a different theme every year. This year will focus on “healthy living and diabetes”, particularly on eating healthy. Key messages to be used in this year’s campaign are the following: “Make healthy food the easy choice,” “Healthy eating: make the right choice,” and “Healthy eating begins with breakfast.”
  • The International Diabetes Federation has more than 230 member associations across 160 nations.
November 14, 2014 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Dennis Kerns Joins the Current Consulting Group

Dennis Kerns

Photo courtesy of Curren Consulting Group

Dennis Kerns has joined the Current Consulting Group, as a senior consultant.

Kerns has been around the drug testing industry a long time, having started and managed drug testing companies and having served as both president and a member of the board of directors of the Substance Abuse Program Administrators Association (SAPAA).

“We are very excited to add Dennis to our highly-qualified team of industry experts,” said Bill Current, president and founding partner of the Current Consulting Group. “Dennis is highly regarded in the industry.  He has become one of the leading experts on international drug testing, Department of Transportation drug testing regulations, and oral fluid drug testing. He makes it possible for CCG to offer a wider variety of services to help drug testing providers and background screening companies grow their businesses.”

November 11, 2014 at 12:40 pm Comments (0)

Smoking Cigars Poses Same Risk As Cigarettes

If you think that cigars are safer to smoke than traditional tobacco cigarettes, a new study revealed that cigars can still introduce toxic substances to the body.

cigar smokingA study by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Tobacco Products discovered that cigars infuse the same toxicity to the human body as cigarettes. The research team collected data from the National Health Nutrition and Examination Survey between the years 1999 and 2012 to investigate the level of tobacco exposure in the respondents. Results showed that cigar smokers were found with higher levels of toxic substances — most notably cotinine, cadmium and 4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanol (NNAL) — compared with non-smoking individuals.

Study lead author Dr. Jiping Chen, who works for the FDA center’s Office of Science, said that cigars are no better than cigarettes in terms of human health. “Cigar smoking exposes users to similar types of harmful and cancer-causing agents as cigarette smoking,” Dr. Chen said in a news release.

Furthermore, the study discovered that cigar smokers who engaged in smoking cigarettes in the past are more inclined to have even higher amounts of toxic substances in their bodies.

The popular belief that cigars are safer seems to stem from the idea that a person who puffs a cigar does not inhale the smoke, unlike cigarette smokers. Still, the National Cancer Institute says that the risk of contracting lung diseases is still higher in cigar smokers than those who don’t smoke at all.

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November 10, 2014 at 7:11 pm Comments (0)

Massachusetts Town Could be First to Ban All Tobacco Sales

Massachusetts town Westminster is contemplating banning the sale of all tobacco products. tobacco taxes

A draft of the proposed ban has been posted on the town’s website and would prohibit sales of products containing tobacco or nicotine, including cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and electronic cigarettes.

Tobacco use is already prohibited in all Massachusetts workplaces, including restaurants and bars. It is illegal to sell tobacco products to minors in the state, and some communities have gone as far as banning smoking in public parks.

Westminster has a population of about 7,400 and sits about 25 miles north of Worcester.

“This sends a clear message to residents that this is a bad product,” said D.J. Wilson, director of the municipal association’s tobacco control program. He pointed out that a ban may not stop adults from driving to another town to buy cigarettes, but may be effective in curbing smoking in younger people, who are unable to drive.

But owners of the seven stores licensed to sell tobacco in the community said it is unfair to ban sales of a legal product and they worry that their financial losses will be considerable.

“Where do you draw the line, a candy ban because it causes diabetes? Are we going to ban bacon because it causes [high] cholesterol? It seems like a slippery slope,” said Brian Vincent, owner of Vincent’s Country Store.

What do you think about banning the sale of all tobacco products? Is this good or bad?

November 10, 2014 at 8:38 am Comments (0)

Clinical Trial: Blood Pressure Medication May Cure Diabetes

The title says it all, and its impact may be lasting and significant in the quest to find a cure for an incurable disease.

Scientists from the University of Alabama at Birmingham led by Dr. Anath Shalev are investigating the potential result of verapamil — a drug used to treat high blood pressure — on diabetics. Initial trials on lab mice have so far turned out positive, with the results showing a total removal of the disease.


The study has been ongoing for more than 10 years at the university’s Comprehensive Diabetes Center. To bolster its move to pursue human trials, the study team was reported in a news release to have received a research grant amounting to over $2 million over the course of three years from Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a major charitable institution that focuses on Type 1 diabetes research.

According to the study, the success of the experiments may be attibuted to the action of the blood pressure drug on TXNIP, a protein in the human body that is produced in excessive amounts due to high blood sugar. Once the TXNIP levels increase above the threshold, the risk of pancreatic beta cell death becomes greater, eventually leading to the malfunction of the cells and inability of the body to create insulin, worsening the diabetic condition.

The researchers believe that with the use of a well-known and oft-prescribed drug, people who take verapamil to treat diabetes will not experience adverse effects. “This trial is based on a well-known blood pressure medication that has been used for more than 30 years and is unlikely to have any severe side effects,” said Dr. Shalev. The study could pave the way for a real cure for Type 1 Diabetes. “We want to find new drugs – different from any current diabetes treatments – that can help halt the growing, worldwide epidemic of diabetes and improve the lives of those affected by this disease … Finally, we have reason to believe that we are on the right track,” Dr. Shalev added.

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November 8, 2014 at 9:16 pm Comments (0)

Alex Rodriguez Found Way To Beat Urine Test During PED Scandal

It’s probably old news for some, but the seemingly tricky technique that professional baseball player Alex Rodriguez used to beat tests for performance-enhancing drugs (PED) has escaped medical practitioners and other people invested in the scandal. This time, a recent report shed light on how A-Rod was able to succeed in this matter.

alex rodriguez linked to biogenesis performance enhancing drugs scandalThe Yankees A-lister circumvented a possible positive result by cheating his way through the urine test. His secret? Discard the beginning and end of the urine stream and collect just the mid-stream. This was a tip given to him by Anthony Bosch, the shady doctor and owner of Biogenesis of America, the company behind the controversial drugs.

Here’s a snippet of what was reported in the Miami Herald:

According to Rodriguez, “Bosch advised him to only use mid-stream urine for MLB drug testing. Bosch told Rodriguez not to use the beginning or the end urine stream.”

It worked. During the American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, Rodriguez was called to take a drug test. He passed. The Yankees were swept in the series.

In addition, while A-Rod publicly and categorically denied his usage of banned substances to enhance his performance, he admitted in a private conference room in the presence of federal drug enforcers and prosecutors that he purchased PEDs from Biogenesis. He was granted immunity from being prosecuted because of his confession. The baseball player’s private meeting with DEA took place on January 29.

November 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm Comments (0)

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)

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