February 11, 2010 at 11:30 am Comments (0)
According to a survey (in which more than 28,500 U.S. troops were surveyed last year)conducted by the Pentagon one in four soldiers admit that they have abused prescription painkillers. Much of this abuse is thought to be caused by the consistent redeployment of troops during the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars since 2003.
“We are aware that more prescription drugs are being used today for pain management and behavioral health issues,” says Brigadier General Colleen McGuire, director of the Army Suicide Prevention Task Force.”These areas of substance abuse along with increased use of alcohol concern us.”
Painkillers were the most abused drug in the military, used illegally at a rate 3 times that of marijuana or amphetamines, the next most widely abused drugs. 15% of soldiers and 10% of marines said they had abused prescription drugs in the 30 days before taking the survey. Painkiller abuse has been a rising problem in the US in recent years and the military is evidently not immune to the problem. Painkiller abuse among troops has soared since 2005 when the last survey was conducted (according to the 2005 survey 4% of soldiers had abused painkillers in the previous 30 days in 2008 that rate had increased to 13%).
Last year narcotic prescriptions for injured or wounded U.S. troops jumped from 30,000 a month to 50,000 since the Iraq war started. The percentage of troops showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder has also increased during the years the war has been fought. 60% of Marines admit to binge drinking (defined as 5 or more drinks per period a week). The rate of such drinking among all service members18 -35 is still higher than in that of the civilian population. The rate of suicidal thoughts also rose since 2005 by as much as 2 times. All of these factors are likely to play at least a small part in such abuse.
November 17, 2009 at 10:00 pm Comments (2)
Lupus has proven as much of a challenge for pharmaceutical companies seeking a cure as it is for those who suffer from the disease itself. Setbacks and failures have killed many of the treatment drugs seeking to aid those with lupus and until now none have made much ground. Human Genome Sciences claims to have a new drug that’s succeeded in its second trial, if that’s true then it could be the first major step to having an effective drug for Lupus treatment in nearly 40 years.
Benlysta performed well in the second trial though not as well as it had in the first making some wary but Human Genome Sciences seems confident that the effectiveness of the drug will show itself in the coming months. If all goes well Benlysta should be seeking approval in the first half of 2010.
Lupus, an autoimmune disease, is a condition in which the body’s natural protective pathogens instead begin to attack the tissues of the body. The disease can cause arthritis, mouth sores, kidney damage, and rashes among other problems. The diseases is particularly affecting because it targets women of child-bearing age. The varying times of activity and inactivity involved with Lupus and the case by case symptoms make the disease detection difficult.
An estimates 200,000 of those affected by the disease could be looking at being candidates for the drug. Belysta works by blocking a protein that stimulates B cells, a part of the immune system that plays a part in the effects of Lupus. If the drug us proven effective many sufferers could be seeing how the drug works for themselves by the end of next year.
November 13, 2009 at 9:43 pm Comment (1)
Risk taking sexual behavior has long been connected to substance abuse but few doctors test for either if these high risk behaviors. CRAFFT, a diagnostic test developed for use at Children’s Hospital Boston allows physicians to test for substance abuse in only a few minutes time. This same test, according to new research may also be able to test that child for high risk sexual behavior. Children who were more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol were tested as being much more likely to fall into risky sexual behavior as well. These teens were much more likely to have sex with multiple partners, have unprotected sex and catch STDs from their partners. 305 adolescents ages 12-18 from 3 different urban clinics were tested to get the results. The CRAFFT test was used alongside a self administered test about risky sexual behavior to reach the results.
When the CRAFFT results were compared to the questionnaire roughly 42.6% of those tested positive reported having had unprotected sex. 26.1% of those said that it occurred after drinking, 15.6% said it occurred after using drugs, and 21.7% had done so with a partner who had been drunk. The CRAFFT asks questions pertaining to drug use in specific situations. Those who answer ‘yes’ to more than two of these questions are generally dealing with substance abuse problems and are much more likely to have sexually risky behaviors as well. Having this testing available to the family’s regular doctor means that these behaviors can be caught at a point where they can be evaluated and stopped more completely through counseling, education and support about the risks involved.
November 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm Comments (0)
While you may have read that recent research could make it possible to transplant a human womb in as little as two years researchers say that this is an estimate that’s far off the mark. An overly optimistic assertion the news became widespread recently and indicated new hope for women who had difficulty in conceiving due to damage to, removal or the lack of a uterus. The reality is that such research has only begun and despite recent success with testing and research on rabbits, human subjects aren’t likely to be tested for years yet. Even if research did get as far as humans there’s no guarantee that it would become a procedure that would be given medical merit either due to its potential for failure and the risk of it being labeled a “cosmetic” procedure.
What many are unaware of is that rather than being a simple transplant of the uterus alone this research in rabbits also includes the transplant of major blood vessels and even an aorta. It was also a small research group that involved 5 rabbits of which 2 only lived for 9-10 months after the procedure. It’s also worth noting that while their bodies maintained blood flow to the uterus they never conceived due to blockage in the fallopian tubes. The damage could be caused by a cut that was made to the fallopian tubes that the researchers say they would not do un humans however. While the study does have merit and could show promise toward eventually helping women with fertility issues it shouldn’t be hailed just yet.
October 16, 2009 at 9:58 am Comment (1)
You can give your teen a confidential, at home test for marijuana by testing him or her at home. This confidential urine test will pick up the THC in the system. This is an easy test to administer and you can find out the results right away.
There are many at home marijuana testing kits that are used, usually by parents of teens who may be worried that their child is taking marijuana. When the parents use this at home testing kit, they can find out first hand if their teen is smoking pot and then deal with the situation if the test shows up positive. Because it is a confidential test, there is no risk of getting anyone else involved in the problem.
If you are a parent who wants to learn if your teen has been taking marijuana, you can find out the truth if you do a confidential, at home drug test that will reveal if there is any THC in the system through the urine.
October 14, 2009 at 9:34 pm Comments (0)
Drug testing among athletes has become a common regulation in the US and now testing before tests could join it. Why? Recently there’s been an increase in the use of cognitive enhancing drugs among academics. Drugs like methylphenidate are taken just before a major test to aid the user in achieving better scores on their tests than they would without. This means that essentially these drugs (primarily drugs used for ADHD) are being used to cheat the system, which not only negates the purpose for the testing in the first place but leaves students who aren’t using the drug in the dust. While the drug doesn’t dramatically increase the skill level of the user it does give them an edge over their normal scores. To make matters worse new drugs being developed for treating Alzheimer’s disease could up the effectiveness of such drug abuse.
With these facts in mind and the understanding that drug testing among athletes helps to deter the use of performance enhancing drugs officials are considering doing the same before major testing in schools. The rate of this type of drug abuse is at about 25% on US campuses and is increasing over time, as its sorted out that the drug can effectively help a student to cheat it could also increase the number of students who are doing it. While the risks associated with this sort of drug abuse aren’t certain it seems clear that using a drug for a purpose that does not match the one it was made for could also have major health risks over time.
October 7, 2009 at 8:01 pm Comments (0)
According to research the level of habitual alcohol abuse and smoling can have an effect on your relationship. While the relationship seems to do well if the level of use is similar if there is a major difference in the level you use versus that of your partner it could have negative consequences. If this difference is especially prominent (most notably in cases where one spouse is abstinent and the other uses these substances) it can cause significant damage to the relationship and could be a major reason for that relationship’s failure.
Using a questionnaire format 634 newly married couples were asked to take part in the survey over the course of 7 years. When they reached the 2nd, 4th and 7th years they were asked to rate their level of satisfaction with their marriage. There was a noted decline in the first few years and then a period of leveling off. Heavy drinking was most common in these cases.
Major changes such as a couple that goes through a significant alteration in use (such as when one enters treatment or AA) can have particularly harmful side effects as one partner tries to lower their use or quit while the other continues.
This research underlines the need for therapy that includes both partners to be effective and save the relationship from being damaged. Factors like the partner’s use levels should also be considered part of the treatment for a patient to be successful.
October 6, 2009 at 7:58 pm Comments (0)
A new version of the common pain relief drug made by Purdue Pharma LP has been made and is being considered by the FDA. The newer Oxycotin is being touted as a much harder pill than in previous versions (it has a coating with a plastic quality) thereby making it much harder to crush for snorting or injecting with the purpose drug abuse .
Awaiting approval by the FDA (they want the company to prove the drugs ability to better withstand tampering) the drug has been in the testing phase since going before an advisory board to the FDA last year.
Oxycotin was made to offer pain relief over the course of a 12 hour period for those in severe pain. Not long after its release in 1996 however, it was being abused to achieve a high like that produced by the illegal drug heroin and the abuse of the drug has persisted ever since. Problems like these have prompted the FDA to try making programs that warn against the abuse to no effect. As a result they’ve begun to encourage drug makers to help remedy the problem by producing drugs that are harder to tamper with.
October 4, 2009 at 7:59 pm Comments (0)
According to CNN medical correspondent Sajay Gupta H1N1 is “a lot like…the flu”. The correspondent has firsthand knowledge about what it was like to experience the new and more virulent form of the flu after he dealt with it in Afghanistan. The doctor explains that the symptoms began as a cough that stings the chest and went on to become fever, body aches, and eventually nausea and vomiting.
While the virus is considered to be a serious health concern worldwide Gupta’s own case was treated as any other case of the flu might have been with a decongestant, Tylenol and eventually an IV (to replace lost fluids when they couldn’t be held down). Dr. Gupta expressed a strong belief that most people will have no more serious symptoms than he himself had and have the added benefit of easily accessible medical care, a luxury didn’t have while he was in Afghanistan. This is interesting news in light of the warnings put out by such groups as the World Health Organization who warned that the first strain of the flu shouldn’t be used as a guide for how serious the impending strain will be.
October 3, 2009 at 7:51 pm Comments (0)
New hope in the quest to treat and vaccinate against the AIDS virus has finally begun to look possible! An experimental vaccine that has been developed and is currently undergoing testing has shown at least moderate success in preventing the virus from developing in those it was administered to in an initial trial. The vaccine is a combination of two previous vaccines which failed to have an effect but has offered the 16,000(the expansive trial was done in Thailand) who took it a more than 31% reduction in the risk of developing the virus.
While the success rate is still moderate it’s a much larger leap in the right direction than has been seen thus far. Strains that are common in Thailand were used for testing and so it’s not known how effective it will be against strains found in other parts of the world like Africa and the United States. Even a vaccine with a moderate success rate could help reduce the rate of those infected every year. 2 million died from AIDS in 2007 and everyday about 7,500 are freshly infected by HIV. This is the third large trial since testing was first tried in 1983 after HIV was discovered to be the cause of AIDS.