Testing It Up » August 2009

Monthly Archives: August 2009

Health & Wellness

Smokeless Tobacco Just as Toxic as Ever

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tobaccoproblem

New research has found at least 21 new carcinogens and toxins in smokeless tobacco. According to this research this means that a single pinch of the product equals just as much harmful exposure as five cigarettes, making the effects far worse for the snuff user. Smokeless tobacco use has been rising since the 80s, primarily from the common misperception that smokeless tobacco is less harmful than cigarettes because it is not inhaled. The reality is that there are at least twenty six cancer causing substances in smokeless tobacco and a very high risk of developing oral cancers as well.  One of the new toxins found in smokeless tobacco is PAH, an environmental contaminate that comes from the wood burned in the fire curing process that makes the tobacco into a snuff.  Smokeless tobacco use is rising again due to the production and advertising of products like Snuss which offer smokers an alternative to going outdoors or looking for a smoking area when they need nicotine.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Sleep Apnea Could Raise Your Risk of Dying

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sleep apneaAccording to new research by John Hopkins University, sleep apnea may put sufferers at a greater risk for chronic disease and death. During the study, which followed 6,400 men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 with the disorder for eight years, those with sever sleep apnea were 46% more likely to die earlier than  those without the condition. Men with sleep apnea saw the risk of death nearly double and faced a much higher rate of cardiovascular disease. Those who had only mild apnea were not at greater risk of dying according to the research. These findings underline the need for treatment and prevention for the disorder which already places it’s sufferers at a greater risk for developing health problems. If you suspect you may have apnea you should discuss your symptoms with your doctor and seek treatment for the disorder.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Oral Sex Linked to Throat Cancer

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thraot cancer

A rise in HPV which can cause throat cancer if contracted during oral sex may be responsible for rising rates of the cancer. The dramatic rise in the virus over the course of the last two decades led the American Association for Cancer Research to call a meeting to discuss new research into HPV and its link to throat cancer. While tumors tested twenty years ago had HPV levels of about 20% current samples have a much higher rate 60% which is the reason for concern. It’s believed that because of the changing beliefs on sexual practice and interaction HPV may have become a more serious problem, potentially causing higher risk for developing head and neck cancer, including esophageal cancer. While it was once a problem primarily found in older people who drank and smoked now these cancers are being found in younger people. Part of the rise of oral sex is believed to be linked to a belief that it is safe sex, the reality is that oral sex should require protection as much as penetration  as it leaves those who practice it open to just as many diseases including AIDS as intercourse.

Health & Wellness

Children – Primary Sufferers of Passive Smoking Related Conditions

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It’s not just smoking that kills. Passive smoking kills as well, and the age group that is most affected by this are the children. Each year thousands of children are hospitalized with cases of asthma and other breathing related difficulties as a result of breathing cigarette smoke. They also suffer from conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis, both types of lung infection.

Moreover, maternal smoking is also responsible with what is known as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Moreover, if a woman is pregnant and still does not give up smoking during her pregnancy, the chances of SIDS increase manifold. Ear infections in children might also be a result of the chemicals in the smoke. The symptoms of this infection, which affects the lining of the Eustachian tube, include pain, which could ultimately lead to a loss of hearing.

Various birth defects could arise if the mother smoked during pregnancy.

For full version of this article, please visit “Children – Primary Sufferers of Passive Smoking Related Conditions“.

Health & Wellness

Tobacco and Nicotine – Common Agents of Cancer

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When it comes to causes of Cancer, smoking is the biggest culprit. Around 80 percent of the lung cancer caused across the world is a result of smoking. There is an untrue belief that nicotine causes cancer. However, the truth is that nicotine is the agent that leads to smoking.

Inhalation of cigarette smoke helps the nicotine present in the cigarette to enter the bloodstream. In as little as seven odd seconds it starts affecting the brain. Nicotine induces a feeling of pleasure and over time a person gets addicted to cigarettes. On the other hand, tobacco products that are taken orally also have carcinogens and therefore chewing of tobacco will lead to oral cancer. When it comes to lung cancer it’s the various chemicals present in the smoke which enter the lungs, which are the reason behind the conditions.

It’s also important to put a rider here that not all smokers suffer from cancer, however they will definitely suffer from other serious ailments.

For full version of this article, please visit “Tobacco and Nicotine – Common Agents of Cancer“.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Age Slowing Drugs Begin Testing Phase

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aging reduction

New drugs that trick the body into thinking it’s getting a calorically restricted diet are now being tested for use against aging.  When such a diet was tested among mice it resulted in a 30-40% longer life span with only one side effect, a reduction in fertility. People find following this diet (a reduction in daily calories by 30%)almost impossible so although it had proven helpful in mice it had long gone ineffective in humans. Now however drugs have been made that attempt to provide the benefits without actually having to maintain the diet. The main benefit of which is a reduction in the amount of degenerative diseases that affect the subject. Resveratrol , a small ingredient found in red wine and grapes, is one of these  and another is sirtuin activators, both are linked to the calorie restricted diet’s effects and have been linked to the extended healthy life span of the French, a matter that had previously been a mystery. It’s thought that by activating sirtuins in the body these effects could help reduce the effects of aging on the body,  this is due to research that found that sirtuins locate the energy reserves of a cell and can become active when they are exhausted. The outcome of this research could prove helpful whether the drugs do prove effective or not, giving us some insight on how the body maintains itself.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Scientists Find a Chemical Which Destroys Cancer Stem Cells in Mice

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mice cancer

Researchers have found a compound which destroys certain stem cells that are thought to cause recurrence in cancer after treatment. There is already a large collection of research which proves these stem cells play a part in rebuilding cancer after treatment is thought to have killed the initial tumor.  The stronger tumors associated with these stem cells include those caused by cancers such as breast, lung and prostate cancers among others.

Studying these cells has been a problem however, because they don’t grow as well outside of the human body.  Through a process called epithelial-to-mesynchymal transition researchers of this study were able to produce and test stem cells against thousands of chemical compounds that have been effective against breast cancer. Salinomycin, the compound in question, destroyed lab generated and naturally occurring cancer stem cells, reducing them by a 100 fold and breast tumor re-growth in the mice tested. More research will need to be done before the effects of the compound can be confirmed as effective for humans as they have been for the mice. It’s also hoped that the reason why the chemical is effective can be resolved during further study.

Health & Wellness

New Osteoporosis Drug Recieves Partial Approval

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A new drug from Amgen received a partial endorsement from a federal advisory committee for the FDA despite product safety concerns. denosumbah, a drug designed to treat post menopausal women with osteoporosis, went before the committee  in the hope of receiving full approval but found itself challenged.

While the committee voted unanimously for the drug’s approval, it also voted 12 to 3 that it should not be approved to treat women with moderately low bone growth and voted against 3 out of four possible uses for use in remedying weakened bones in patients with prostate and breast cancer developed from treatment. The board referred to their concern that the drug had caused a slight increase in certain cancers and infections during clinical trials. As a result the committee felt that it would be best to reserve denosumbah for treatment of high risk cases.

The FDA will decide by October 19th wether to approve the drug or not. Denosumbah is given in a shot once every 6 months and doesn’t have some the problems that products like Boniva have such as tolerance limits. Denosumbah is a monoclonal antibody which blocks RANK ligand, which encourages the formation and activity of cells that destroy bone.

Substance Abuse

Nicotine Test Kits Can Detect Tobacco Use

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cigarette_buttAnyone who wants to know if their child has been smoking can do so by testing them for nicotine that will stay in their system for a few days after they have their cigarette. Cotinine is the substance that is easily detected in nicotine tests and is found in the urine or the saliva. The results of these home tobacco tests are very accurate and can be performed in as little as five minutes.

In addition to helping parents discover if their child has been smoking, nicotine and tobacco home test kits can also be used by individuals who want to be sure that the nicotine is out of their system before they take a test for work.

Many companies are testing employees not only for substance abuse, but also for smoking. Those who want to work for companies that test for smoking and want to quit smoking can learn if the substance has left their system before they submit to a company test by using a confidential home test kit designed to detect nicotine in the system.

Drug Testing Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Morphine Drug Intended to Prevent Abuse Gets Go Ahead

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morphine

Embeda, a pain medication intended to help prevent morphine tablet abuse has been approved by U.S. regulators according to King Pharmaceuticals Inc., producers of the drug. The drug, which will be available in twice daily doses, is intended to replace other continuous opiate drugs intended to treat moderate to severe pain. Embeda is made up of extended-release morphine pellets which enwrap naltrexone hydrochloride, a drug which counteracts the opiate effects of morphine.

The first drug of it’s kind ot be made it’s not without its risks. King warns that the drug shouldn’t be crushed, chewed or dissolved as it could give the user a potentially lethal dose of morphine. Intravenous use of the drug, warns the FDA, is just as lethal causing blood clots and overdose. King  hopes that Embeda and several other drugs under development by the company could make them a leader in the production of abuse resistant painkillers.  Embeda has already garnered the company an increase in the value of it’s shares.