Testing It Up » October 2009

Monthly Archives: October 2009

Substance Abuse

Substance Abuse is Leading even Pre-teens to Need Rehab in Australia

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According to government reports Australia is dealing with children as young as ten reporting for rehabilitation. These pre-teens are seeking rehabilitation for addiction to substances like alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines and heroin and the numbers say that such occurrences are becoming more common. While there are a wide variety of reasons such treatment is sought out most of those seeking treatment are dealing with alcohol problems. At a rate of roughly 44% (up from 38% in 2002/2003) alcohol poses a larger problem for young teens and pre-teens more and more each year.

While it’s not totally unheard of for pre-teens this age to seek treatment from time to time the increase is definitely worth watching since it’s been on the rise over the last few years along with drug abuse (which while remaining lower than alcohol has had a bit more users as well) This increase comes after a steady five year declining period and accounts for about 700 more substance abusers seeking treatment recently. Heroine, while nowhere near as highly available or used as it was during the heroin heavy 90s is making a comeback in the country as well. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s study shows that there is a clear need for some sort of substance abuse management in this age group.

Substance Abuse

Spain’s Anti-Smoking Law IS Helping Smokers Quit

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By researching and studying waiters and waitresses who work in bars, clubs and restaurants who have been affected by the no smoking ban in Spain it’s been found that the restriction as a method of encouraging cessation has had some success. 5% of those who smoked in 2006 when the law was passed have since quit and 9% have reduced the amount and frequency of smoking they’ve taken part in since that time. Researchers from the Catalan Institute of Oncology have proven through their study that thus method does have some success at reducing nicotine addiction.  In fact it’s believed that the law has halved the number of smokers in Spain since the law first took effect three years ago.

The greater rate of smoking cessation and reduction is among those who work in businesses that no longer allow smoking on the premises and conduct nicotine testing on the regular basis. 431 employees were studied in the three years since the ban started all of whom worked in the restaurant and bar trades and half of which were smokers.

Substance Abuse

6,000 Die Each Year as a Result of Drinking in the UK

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The rate of alcohol related diseases is up to 9,000 in the UK each year, an increase that is three times higher than what it was 25 years ago. According to the Alcohol & Health Research Unit at the University of the West of England’s research the rate of disease is directly proportional to the rising level of heavy drinkers in the country and as a result to higher death rates. Researchers calculated that an increase of one liter in alcohol use would result in 928 additional alcohol-related deaths in the UK.  With the typical person drinking an extra 0.08 of a liter per year — an extra 810 people will die by 2019.

Part of the cause for this is directly related to the ease of purchase, England’s largest eight cities outside London showed that alcohol is now so inexpensive that it can be bought for as little as 9p a unit — or £1.18 for a three-liter bottle of cider.  Britain is one of the highest drinking country in Europe with the rate as high 1.1 million adults there being alcohol dependent. Britain’s drinking problem is bad enough to require a £ 2.7 billion cost in rehabilitation a year and this doesn’t take into consideration the cost of treating those who become ill as a result of their alcohol abuse. Most health officials in the UK feel that a price hike in alcohol would do a great deal in reducing these numbers. Until these sort of measures are taken those who deal with alcohol problems and their families will deal with a great deal of financial and personal hardship.

Substance Abuse

How Steroid Use Changes Testosterone/Epitestosterone Ratio

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The introduction of testosterone anabolic steroids in the market resulted to a lot of changes in men. Included in this list of changes are increased endurance, stamina and muscle mass. Because of these so-called positive results, more people abuse the use of these steroidal hormones. This then led to the need of discovering how steroids will be normalized physiologically thus resulting to T/E ratios.

The T/E ratio is used to determine the relative proportion of the testosterone and epitosterone. This is done by measuring the testosterone glucuronide (TG) and epitosterone glucuronide (EG) levels through a man’s urine. The normal levels are set at a 1:1 ratio. The result may somehow be affected if a man has flu at the time the test was conducted. This in turn makes the testosterone levels higher even if the epitosterone is left unaffected.

The T/E ratio utilization led to further studies. Some groups encouraged further testing to see more reliable results in consonance with the doses of testosterone. This is to ensure that the shifting of marker ratios for the EG and TG are determined by other factors.

For full version of this article, please visit “How Steroid Use Changes Testosterone/Epitestosterone Ratio“.

Health & Wellness

Halloween Goodies You Should Be Scared Of

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The first holiday of the holiday season is here — it’s Halloween, trick or treat! Holidays are inevitably associated with food, and lots of it. For Halloween, it will most likely be candy in all its form and glory – from candy bars to lollipops to gum drops of every size, shape and color. Not exactly the best of times for anyone who is on a diet for one reason or another. Here is a list of Halloween ideas and goodies that you might want to keep a tab on.

scary Halloween treatsFirst up are full-sized candy bars. Each one of us has his or her favorite; mine has always been and will always be Snickers. But in this the season of candy, we might want to hold off on the full-sized candy bars and the equally full-sized calories. This doesn’t mean that you need to totally deprive yourself of the “essence of the season” and swear off candy bars altogether. You might want to stick to fun-sized bars instead, which is the size that will be better for handing to trick-or-treaters anyway. Just make sure you watch your intake, though. The down side to these mini goodies is that sometimes, once you pop, you can’t stop!

If you really want to do yourself and the young kids a favor and really stay away from the candy, then you may want to switch to other sorts of goodies for trick-or-treat — stickers, pencils and other knick-knacks will also be attractive to 6- to 10-year-old kids. If you still want to give out gum and candy, then you may want to switch to the sugar-free variety and include other snacks such as pretzels. Just be prepared to fork over a few extra dollars per giant package.

When you get to the party buffet, limit yourself to tiny portions of the very tempting array of baked treats. Pumpkin pies and muffins and donuts will probably be a plenty, but that doesn’t mean that you should heap them all on your plate. Self-control is key! If you really want to get serious, then you might want to throw a party yourself instead of going to one, where what will be served is in your own terms.

But the most important thing to remember this season is to have fun. Happy Halloween!

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

H1N1 Has Killed 1,000 in the U.S.

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Vaccination rates are up by a large margin this flu season even in the regular seasonal flu. While supply plays a part, there are far more available this year than are usually provided this early in the cold and flu season, 85 million ( a huge section of the 100 million that are usually available every flu season in total) seasonal flu doses aren’t the whole reason for the rise in inoculation. 60,000,000 have received the vaccine for seasonal flu this season and health officials are pleased to say that it’s likely because of public information on the risk of death and ill health with both the regular and swine flu going around a public health concern that had previously gone unheeded by many in the U.S.

The swine flu has already taken 1,000 lives this flu season in the U.S. alone ( 100 of which were in children) and the seasonal flu is already fairly widespread as this is it’s peak season. Forty-six of the fifty U.S. states are dealing with widespread H1N1 so far Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and South Carolina are the only states that aren’t dealing with this big a spread so far. With seasonal flu vaccine being ineffective for the swine flu (seasonal flu vaccine was made before the virus became such a concern) people have to get both vaccines and that’s proven difficult with the delays that have occurred with the H1N1 vaccine thus far. The fact that people are so readily getting vaccinated is a good sign that maybe the death risks can be kept to a minimum.

Drug Testing Substance Abuse

Addiction Vaccines Have the Full Backing of the U.S.

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tobacco vaccine

Recent information about a shot that can help cocaine adducts break the habit  and the HPV drug Gardasil have kicked off an interest in the possibly of treating addiction with medication and now the U.S government would like to see drug companies make many more of these treatments for addiction. Drug companies were already very drawn to the idea of such drugs due to the major success of Gardasil despite recent deaths and illnesses associated with the vaccine. The government wants to encourage real growth in medicine that fights disease and encourages successful research into disease treatment over time.

Among these treatments currently being researched is a new nicotine addiction vaccine called NicVAX which works by stimulating the immune system to make antibodies against nicotine much like the cocaine addiction treatment that is receiving such buzz. In fact the vaccine for cocaine was developed by the same doctors that made the tobacco vaccine. This new wave of vaccines and treatments are expected to be able to help addicts if they get through the studies that often make or break such drugs. It’s thought that the government is backing such medication development to get pharmaceutical companies to pay for the trials themselves and feel motivated to pursue them. If this effort pays off we may have some real progress in treating addiction of several forms, something that could save billions worldwide every year.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Evolution of Pregnancy Prevention Methods in History

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Pregnancy prevention methods were first introduced in response to unwanted pregnancies and early parenting. This took place during the 1960s to 1970s. At this point in time, researchers found the need of educating the populace about responsible parenthood. Social services were extended to pregnant women in their adolescent and adult stages.

During the first two decades of extending these social services, some of the contraceptive methods were also introduced. Birth control methods using a condom and other contraceptives were also launched. These methods were created not only for pregnancy prevention but for decreasing STD possibilities as well.

In the 1980’s, researchers saw the need to bring the pregnancy prevention measures into a better approach. Aside from education on unwanted pregnancies, the reproduction process was also taught to concerned individuals. Proper utilization of contraception methods and the value of sexual abstinence were also discussed.
During the 1990’s, another program was included in these pregnancy prevention methods. By this time, the services were extended due to the spread of immune deficiency syndromes. This period also led to production of effective contraceptive pills and encouragement of condom use. In some areas of the country, abortive pills were permitted for special cases.

For full version of this article, please visit “Evolution of Pregnancy Prevention Methods in History“.

Celebrity Substance Abuse

Andre Agassi Confesses to Crystal Meth Use!

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When one talks about tennis, one inevitably will have to mention a name that has long been synonymous with the game. True, we now have new and younger stars that dominate tennis, but before they even were, there was an Andre Agassi.

The talk – or tweet – of the town in the past few days was quite a bombshell — the one-time world number one tennis player ‘fessed up to taking crystal meth at a “low point in his life”. Why the sudden surge of honesty? The “confession” is part of the story that is Andre Agassi, a story that is currently being told through an autobiography called “Open”.

Andre AgassiThere are mixed reactions to the news. Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, now the reigning tennis greats, ranked world number one and number two respectively, expressed disappointment over Agassi’s “revelations”. Prior to Andre Agassi’s admission, tennis was one of the sports that has been spared from drug-related scandals.

According to his autobiography, Agassi reportedly took crystal meth, a recreational drug, in 1997. The situation even reportedly went as far as Agassi actually failing a drug test. Agassi admits further that in order to get himself out of that bind, he sent a letter to the ATP and lied that he only received a positive test because of a spiked drink. In reality, he knew all too well that there was definitely a reason for the test to yield positive.

Despite the disappointments expressed by Federer and Nadal, however, Agassi received some love at the home front. Fellow American and Wimbledoon finalist Andy Roddick said that inspite of it all, he still looks up to the eight-time major winner. In Agassi’s defense, Roddick said that at the time crystal meth played a tiny part in Agassi’s life, he was no longer part of the sports’ top 100 and people actually believed that he was already on his way out.

Still, however, Agassi won five more majors after the 1997 incident.

Health & Wellness

Swine Flu Update: Are Things Looking Up?

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It is an extremely difficult question to answer, and at this point, there may be no way of telling. For the most part, what we do have are mixed feelings and mixed reactions. The United States government has been getting both flak and praise for how they have been and are handling the outbreak of swine flu in the country.

swine flu symptomsOn the one hand, people and health care providers have been frustrated due to the lack of vaccine experienced in the past week. On the other hand, a vaccine was developed in record time and anti-viral stocks were pushed out when they were needed.

Still, there is the fact that the number of swine flu cases has now reached millions, a figure that is enough to make some people quite anxious. In a span of about three months or so, the number of cases reportedly reached almost six million, according to calculations released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These numbers are not exactly count-by-count figures; to arrive at these estimates, the CDC needed to extrapolate somehow. For one, most people who developed swine flu may have only experienced mild symptoms and recovered without the benefit of medical care or even getting tested for the virus. The assumption that was used was that for every one confirmed swine flu case, there may have been as many as 80 cases that were unaccounted for.

It was also assumed that for every hospitalization that occurred at that time, there were probably three others who were hospitalized.

At any rate, people are still dealing with living with the disease in their midst in whatever way they think is best. Demand is still high for both swine flu and seasonal flu vaccine, despite the disappointments and frustrations that have been widely publicized. If anything, the reported shortages seem to have heightened demand all the more.

To close, we still are far from being able to conclude that things are looking up; but we urge everyone to make the most of what we do have, and go from there.