Testing It Up » March 2010

Monthly Archives: March 2010

Early Disease Detection

New Inhaled Mealtime Insulin Shows Promise

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Insulin therapy has been an important part of diabetes treatment. The most common method of delivery is by injection. Through the years, alternative methods have been explored, including delivery via inhalation.  This was pioneered by Pfizer through their product, Exubera, which was available in the market from 2006 to 2007.

ExuberaAfrezza, developed by MannKind Corporation, is a new form of inhaled insulin awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is a fast-acting mealtime insulin that is orally inhaled as a dry powder which is then absorbed in the lungs almost instantly. The product uses a delivery technology called Technosphere which allows for ultra-rapid systemic delivery and absorption of the drug.

It is claimed that its action peaks in about 12 to 15 minutes after inhalation, faster than Exubera which takes about 40 to 60 minutes. The fast-action of Afrezza helps in keeping the after-meal blood sugar level to normal, a goal for people with diabetes, and carries a lower risk of causing hypoglycemia, a condition caused by insulin levels that are higher than required for a meal. This can be especially appealing to people with diabetes that need insulin in every meal.

Although Afrezza looks very promising, it is still not a total replacement for insulin injections in people with diabetes as it only replaces mealtime insulin but not basal insulin. There are some concerns on the possible impact of the drug on the lungs since it is the site of absorption. Clinical trials assessing its effects on people with asthma are reported to be currently ongoing.

DNA & Paternity

Commonly Asked Questions on Paternity Testing

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What is paternity testing?

Paternity testing is the procedure done to establish if a man is the biological father of a child. The DNA pattern of the child will be compared with the alleged father’s to prove biological relationship.

father and childCan a paternity test be conducted without the mother?

Yes, a paternity test can be done without the participation of the child’s mother, although it may require a more extensive analysis to achieve accurate results. The mother’s participation will be helpful in the rare case of a mutation or in other unexpected results. Also, some courts would require the mother’s consent and participation during paternity testing.

Can a paternity test be conducted if the father is dead or missing?

In case the father is dead or missing, a DNA viability test may be performed where preserved samples such as blood, hair, or other body tissues will be used. If no viable specimen is available, grandparentage testing or siblingship tests may be done to indirectly determine paternity.

Can a paternity test be conducted even before the baby is born?

If the mother is between 10 and 24 weeks pregnant, a DNA sample can be collected from the developing child through either chorionic villi sampling or amniocentesis, and paternity may be determined through prenatal paternity tests. The mother must discuss with the doctor collecting the sample the possible medical risks involved in these procedures. If the mother is more than 24 weeks pregnant, the paternity testing may be done any time after birth.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Pregnancy Rumors: Sandra Bullock, Beyonce and Kristen Stewart

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As they say, when it rains, it pours. It seems like this is what’s happening with pregnancy rumors these days. We’ve been hearing celebrity pregnancy stories left and right, and we can’t help but check how true these stories are.

sandra bullockSandra Bullock

In the wake of infidelity reports against his husband Jesse James, Sandra Bullock is also in the midst of rumors that she is pregnant with their first child. Bullock is said to be devastated with the news of her husband cheating and has chosen to skip events and spend time in seclusion in her home in Hollywood Hills. She seems to be a great woman, and we’re sure she would make a great mom, but we wish these rumors don’t turn out to be true as any woman deserves to experience motherhood in the most special way possible.


After several online communities got busy last week when a report claiming to have a “rock solid source” said that Beyonce is pregnant and that husband Jay-Z is “extremely happy” with it, a publicist from her label, Sony, says this is not true.

Kristen Stewart

It is not the first time we’ve heard about Twilight stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson expecting a baby. The rumors first broke out last year and fans have been anticipating for months, and still no little baby. You would expect the rumors to simply die and fade away, but it just gets reborn again and again. Well, as for now, probably the baby we can expect from this hot couple is Renesmee of Bella Swan and Edward Cullen, Stewart’s and Pattinson’s characters in the blockbuster Twilight saga.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Medical Marijuana in the Workplace: What Should Companies Do?

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In a previous post, we shared with you how Wal-Mart associate Joseph Casias lost his job after testing positive for marijuana, which he was using to deal with the pain associated with sinus cancer and an inoperable brain tumor.

medical marijuanaWith this precedent and the reaction that followed after Wal-Mart fired Casias, other companies in Battle Creek, Michigan, are figuring out how a situation such as Mr. Casias’ ought to be handled, as shared in an article on the Battle Creek Enquirer. Casias has a medical marijuana card that proves that he is using the substance to treat a valid medical condition, under the supervision of a physician.

Marijuana for medical purposes was made legal in Michigan in 2008. The conditions covered by the law include cancer, Hepatitis C, Alzheimer’s disease, and HIV/AIDS. However, there is no specification in the prevailing law that provides protection to users covered by the ruling from discrimination at work, according to Michigan Medical Marijuana Association executive director Greg Francisco.

In contrast, the law that governs intoxication is clear, as shared by Francisco: “The law is very clear that employees cannot be intoxicated or use marijuana on the job, and nobody is saying anyone has the right to use marijuana on the job. At the same time, we would hope employers would have a sense of decency.”

Several companies gave their two cents regarding the issue, with most, it seems, adhering to a “zero-tolerance” policy as far as drugs – including marijuana – is concerned. None, though, have been faced with what Wal-Mart had with Casias.

Michigan Drug Screening

Health & Wellness

Cranberry Juice for a Healthy Heart

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Cranberry juice is a refreshing drink that provides tons of health benefits.  A new addition to the list of benefits is its potential as a non-alcoholic alternative to red wine in helping lower blood pressure and promoting cardiovascular health. A research study conducted at the Queen Mary University of London by Dr. Roger Corder, author of “The Red Wine Diet”, has recently shown that the procyanidins found in cranberries helps in preventing blood vessel constriction with comparable effectiveness to those present in red wine.

cranberry juiceOther benefits

The phytochemicals present in cranberries have been linked to prevention of cancer and urinary tract infection. Experts have reported that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice has some inhibitory effect on the growth of bacteria in the mouth thereby reducing dental plaques.

Packed with vitamins

A cup of unsweetened cranberry juice is a good source of vitamin C (23.5 mg, 39% of daily value in a 2,000 calorie diet), vitamin K (12.9 mcg, 16% DV), and vitamin E (as alpha-tocopherol at 3.0 mg, 15% DV).

Buying cranberry juice

Studies have shown that the effectiveness of the health benefits is related to the amount of procyanidins, phytochemicals and other nutrients in the beverage. For instance, a cup of cranberry juice cocktail containing a certain percentage of cranberry juice will not be as effective as a cup of 100% cranberry juice. It will be a good idea to read the ingredient list to maximize the benefits. Note that labels indicating “100% juice” may not necessarily mean “100% cranberry juice” but can refer to a mixture of juices with cranberry juice as the dominant ingredient. Also, some fruit juice options can contain high amounts of sugar which may be counterproductive.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Foods to Help Manage High Blood Pressure

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Having a high blood pressure is a major bummer for most food enthusiasts out there. People with high blood pressure need to watch what they eat all the time. To help out, here are foods recommended for those with high BPs:

boiled broccoliGarlic

Garlic is known as a home remedy for people with high blood pressure. Either chewed or introduced to your meal, garlic is an effective supplement that helps lower and manage blood pressure. Garlic helps with thinning the blood and prevents blood vessels from clogging or tightening.


Spinach is a very healthy vegetable that is rich in magnesium and folate. Just remember that overcooking often makes spinach lose some nutrients and vitamins. Take advantage of the nutritional effects of spinach, just like Popeye does!


Tomatoes are a very healthy source of calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E. It is also a great source of lycopene, which is known to lower the risks of heart disease. Its antioxidants help prevent LDL cholesterol from sticking to the walls of the blood vessels, which in turn prevents the raising of blood pressure. Drinking tomato juice or making your own natural tomato sauce for dishes are great ways of enjoying tomatoes.


Broccoli is a great source of potassium and chromium, which act as a regulators for blood sugar and insulin. To maintain its levels of nutrients, it is important that the broccoli is not overcooked. You may place broccoli in a pan with small amounts of water to help with the retention of vitamins and other nutrients.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Recommended Diet for Diabetics

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Controlling and managing diabetes can be a challenge. It is important that a diabetic is fully aware of his sugar level to ensure it keeps within the normal range. This means a diabetic would have to cut down on certain foods which can affect the levels of sugar in his blood.

cakeMyths on Diabetic Diets

There is a misconception that diabetics are absolutely forbidden to eat certain foods like chocolate or cakes. This is just not true. People with diabetes may eat these foods, but should carefully watch the amount of food that they eat, especially those which are high in fat or sugar. If you have diabetes, sure you can have a cake once in a while; just don’t indulge yourself too much.

What You Should Eat

It is important for someone with diabetes to eat fruits and vegetables which are high in fibre on a regular basis. These types of foods lower the body’s need for insulin. Vegetables that are encouraged to be introduced are onions, garlic, ginger, radish, spinach, kales, cucumbers, carrot, tomato, cabbage and cucumber. Fruits such as guava, kiwi, apples and citrus fruits would be very helpful. Since juices are high in fruit sugars, it is important to drink the juice along with a meal and to limit the intake to once a day. It is also important to drink about 8 to 10 glasses of water daily.

What You Should Avoid

Of course, it is important to avoid eating too much of white sugar, white flour, junk food and processed foods and to limit intake of sweets, cakes, ice cream, chocolates and other sweets that would spike one’s blood sugar dramatically.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Effective Home Remedies for Fever

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There are many household remedies for treating fevers. Among the many natural remedies, the most widely available in the market are raisins, oranges, grapefruits and apricots.


Preparing a raisin tonic would require a half a cup of water and about 20 to 30 raisins. The raisins are crushed in the water and are strained, discarding the dark skin. You may add a teaspoon of lime juice to improve its potency and taste. This should be taken twice a day as long as the fever is still there.


Oranges is a great fruit that is helpful for all kinds of sickness. Fevers usually impair the digestive processes in the body. Oranges, either eaten as a fruit or extracted to make juice, help with the body’s lack of appetite, provides energy, increases urination, and provides a boost for the body’s immune system.


Grapes are very helpful in fighting all kinds of fevers. It has the capability of reducing the burning-up sensation that fever gives the body. Either in the form of juices or fruit, it is helpful in restoring valuable liquids that the body needs.


Apricot juice mixed with honey or sugar is a very helpful drink in combating high temperature fevers. It also helps in cleaning up the digestive tract; giving vital vitamins and minerals as it helps in maintaining the heart, liver, nerves and stomach.

Health & Wellness

New Health Care Reform Bill Still Leaves Some Americans Uninsured

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After all the debates, the health care reform bill that the Democrats have been lobbying for more than a year has been signed by the President into a law. While at the outset is promises more health care coverage for Americans, there are still those who will inevitably fall through the cracks. And by 2019, according to an article on the Christian Science Monitor, 23 million Americans will still be uninsured, based on an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

health care reformFirst on the list are undocumented immigrants – although technically they cannot be considered as Americans yet, the fact that they live on American soil will mean that they are among those who might be needing health care at some point. They are, however, not eligible for Medicaid.

There are also those who, while eligible, choose to not enroll in Medicaid. Even the institution of fines by virtue of the fact that health care insurance will be mandatory may not exactly be a deterrent. There may be some who would rather pay the fines – which are cheaper than actually getting insurance coverage. The article mentioned that this group may be composed of the younger and single set.

Still, there are those who, despite the subsidies that have been set up for them, will find that health insurance is simply out of reach from a financial point of view. For this group of people, there will even be no need to pay penalties; households where the cost of insurance coverage will exceed 8% of income will not be penalized for deciding to forego it.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Risks of Taking Too Much Salt

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Salt has always been an ever-present ingredient in every person’s diet. Salt has been used to add a little flavor to food or to help preserve it. But there are serious effects involved when one takes in just too much salt.

saltPerhaps the two most common illnesses related to a high-salt diet are kidney stones and high blood pressure. There have been a lot of studies that point out that high salt intake is associated with an increased risk of getting a stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Not good for the heart

Several studies link salt intake to blood pressure and death due to stroke or cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular disease is first among the causes of death and disability in the whole world among those who are aged 60, and only second to those aging 15 to 59.  Given that there is a direct relationship between the levels of the intake of dietary salt and levels of blood pressure, reducing the level of salt intake would significantly lower risks of suffering from stroke and coronary heart diseases.

Not good for the kidney

Kidney stones are usually formations of small rocks in the kidney. Calcium stones are a type of stone resulting from having too much (or too little) calcium, oxalate or urate in the urine. Eating too much salt often causes more calcium to stay in the urine, increasing the risks of kidney stone formations in the body. Reducing the amount of salt in the diet can significantly lower the amount of calcium that is present in the urine, thus lowering significantly the risks of calcium stone formation.