Testing It Up » April 2010

Monthly Archives: April 2010

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Ex-Playmate Charged with Trafficking Oxycodone

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Tanya Beyer graced Playboy magazine as Miss February for the year 1992, moving on to appear in Playboy videos such as “Playboy: Wet and Wild IV” and “Playboy Playmate Private Pleasures”.

Tanya BeyerFast forward to 2010, and Beyer posed for a different sort of photograph: a mug shot this time. According to a report on the New York Daily News, the now 38-year old Beyer is facing felony charges for trafficking Oxycodone, a powerful painkiller. Beyer was arrested on March 24 and is currently jailed in Palm Beach.

Investigators caught on to the activities of Beyer, who was “doctor-shopping”, hopping from one doctor to another and collecting prescriptions for Oxycodone. According to police allegations, Beyer would lie to doctors in order to get prescriptions and filled prescriptions for the drug in at least three pharmacies in Florida.

Florida Drug Screening

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Doctor-Shopping and Prescription Drug Abuse

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We have been hearing stories about prescription drug abuse and how it has resulted in the lives getting cut short. Although addiction to prescription drugs can happen to anyone, it becomes a focal point for gossip if a celebrity succumbs to it. A feature on NBC Los Angeles shares how easy it can be for a celebrity to develop a prescription drug habit.

medical prescriptionRachel Pollack, daughter of Sidney Pollack, shared her prescription drug experience. She talked about her own battle with abuse and how it nearly cost her her life. According to Pollack, she could easily get 200 pills every three days. Corey Haim reportedly had prescription for more than 500 pills before he passed away.

So how exactly can one get hold of this much drugs? Pollack shares information about “doctor-shopping”; an addict can get prescriptions for the drugs that he or she wanted by going to several doctors, getting prescriptions from each doctor. This is a common practice, according to Pollack; they do not suspect that the alleged patient is just in the office to get more prescriptions because “They don’t know each other. They don’t talk to each other.”

And being a celebrity, Pollack said, is a plus, because doctors “like to please celebrities”. This is the same story that MacKenzie Phillips shared with CNN in an interview. Still, this problem is not confined to celebrities; according to the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, prescription drug abusers include your everyday Joe: police officers, lawyers, bus drivers and construction workers – and even doctors and nurses.

Now, Pollack is helping others deal with prescription drug addiction; she is running a sober-living home in Marina del Rey.

Los Angeles Drug Screening

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Is Ohio Scared of Legalizing Medical Marijuana?

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We may have to qualify that question, because based on an opinion piece given by NORML on Opposing Views, a poll conducted by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati indicated that a majority of the adult residents of Ohio – 73 percent – are in favor of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes in the state.

medical marijuanaRep. Kenny Yuko, along with some House Democrats, introduced House Bill 478; the Ohio Medical Compassion Act. HB 478 will allow patients authorized by the state to possess and grow their own cannabis for medical purposes. However, according to an article on the Newark Advocate, HB 478 is bound to fizzle out even before it is able to get a fire going. Rep. Bob Hagan, one of the Bill’s sponsors, revealed that there are lawmakers who have expressed that they are hesitant to support the bill, viewing doing so as “political suicide.”

It is this reference to “political suicide” that the article lashes out against; it certainly is not in keeping with what surveys indicate. Since it seems that the a majority of the constituency support the initiative, then lawmakers need no be worried that supporting the bill will cost them their careers, the article contends: “Excuse me, but since when is it ‘political suicide’ to endorse a measure that over seven out of ten of your constituents say they support?”

On the contrary, the writer believes that supporting legislation in favor of medical marijuana should be viewed by lawmakers as a “political opportunity.”

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Maryland Senate Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

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A bill that seeks to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in Maryland has been passed by the state Senate. We shared with you reports circulating on Friday that the measure will pass the Senate, and they indeed approved the bill on Saturday.

medical marijuanaAs previously mentioned, though, it will not be an easy – nor a fast – ride for this measure in the House. Two committees have reportedly formed a working group to evaluate a similar bill in the House; while they do support the idea of medical marijuana they would like to put spend more time on the various aspects of a program, including implementation, according to the spokesperson for House Speaker Michael E. Busch, Alexandra Hughes.

Already the proposed medical marijuana legislation for the state of Maryland is being touted as the “best medical marijuana bill in the country.” While it seeks to provide patients in need with safe access to the drug as well as legal protection, it staunchly strives to prevent abuses, as expressed by Sen. Jamie Raskin, a principal sponsor of the bill. Sen. Raskin also encourages House lawmakers to give the bill their support.

The provisions of the bill include close monitoring of production through state-run licensed production centers, licensing of pharmacies for the distribution of the drug, and allowing prescriptions only from doctors who already have an established history for treating a patient and who can justify that all other treatments have not worked before resorting to a marijuana prescription.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. says: “It’s a very important issue and I think the people want it… The bill is very tightly drafted and I think it’s a good start.”

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Egg-Based Breakfast Can Help Reduce Calorie Consumption

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A recent study conducted at the University of Connecticut has provided further support to claims that an egg-based breakfast can promote weight loss.

Results of the study have shown a reduction in the feeling of hunger as well as in calorie consumption for lunch and the rest of the day.  When the participants ate eggs for breakfast, they consumed fewer calories in an unlimited lunch buffet compared to those who had a carbohydrate-based breakfast of equivalent caloric content.

egg-based breakfastThe egg-based, protein-rich breakfast that the participants ate consisted of three scrambled eggs and one-and-a-half pieces of white toast.  The carbohydrate-based breakfast of identical caloric content to the egg-based breakfast consisted of one plain bagel, one-half tablespoon of low-fat cream cheese, and 6 oz of low-fat yogurt.

The researchers observed that the participants consumed about 112 fewer calories at the unlimited lunch buffet 3 hours following an egg-based breakfast and approximately 400 fewer calories during the 24-hr period following the egg-based breakfast. They also reported that the amount of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger when elevated, in the blood was higher when measured after the carbohydrate-based breakfast compared to the egg-based breakfast.

Previous research have also shown that eating eggs for breakfast as part of a reduced-calorie diet helped overweight dieters increase their weight loss by 65% and enhanced overall energetic feeling.

Eggs are nutrient-packed foods. It is an excellent source of choline, which is important for brain function and health and contains high quality protein and riboflavin.  Most of its nutrients are found in the yolk, namely: choline, folate, lutein, zeaxanthin, vitamin D, as well as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. About half of the protein in eggs is also found in the yolk.

Early Disease Detection

Martina Navratilova Undergoes Breast Cancer Treatment

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Cancer is a disease that can take anybody by surprise – and it can literally be anybody, even someone that one might think is the epitome of health and fitness.

Fifty-three year-old tennis great Martina Navratilova has revealed that she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer. In a phone interview with USA Today, Navratilova shared that “it was a total shock because I’ve been so healthy.” She made the announcement on Wednesday via Good Morning America and People.com, and various sites and news agencies now carry the story.

Martina NavratilovaNavratilova was diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), according to a report on USA Today. It was detected through a mammogram in January. The good news is that DCIS is generally not considered as life-threatening (it is also referred to as Stage 0 or pre-cancer) although it does carry with it an increased risk for developing cancer in the future.

The tennis great has undergone a lumpectomy and will start undergoing radiation treatment for more than a month beginning in May. Initially, Navratilova had planned to keep her condition under wraps, but decided against it in the hopes of helping other women who may be in the same situation, or even worse.

Despite all the debate that is currently ongoing regarding the timing of getting a mammogram and how often it should be done, Martina suggests: “Get the bloody mammogram,” adding further: “the sooner you catch it, the better.”

Navratilova is slated to do commentaries with the Tennis Channel during the French Open in Paris, and it is for this reason that she hopes to be able to begin treatment in the French capital.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

SAGE: New Self-Test for Early Detection of Memory Disorders

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The Self-Administered Gerocognitive Examination (SAGE) is a handwritten self-test developed by Dr. Douglas Scharre, a neurologist at The Ohio State University Medical Center, to help speed up the diagnosis and subsequent treatment of memory disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease.

memoryThe test can help healthcare providers and caregivers identify individuals with mild thinking and memory impairment at the early stage. It consists of a 22-point evaluation that can be completed in less than 15 minutes. Missing six or more points in the test usually warrants additional follow-up by the physician.

In a statement at OSU Research News, Dr. Scharre, who specializes in treating Alzheimer’s disease, emphasized the importance of early detection of Alzheimer’s and dementia because the treatments are most effective when introduced at the earliest stage of the disease. Patients are typically not diagnosed until three to four years after the first symptoms appear. Dr. Scharre has made the test available free of charge to healthcare personnel and can be downloaded from www.sagetest.osu.edu.

Dementia is a disorder involving loss of mental skills that affect a patient’s daily life by causing problems with memory as well as how one thinks or plans and gets worse over time. It is caused by damage or changes to the brain including strokes, tumors or head injuries.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia and is also sometimes referred to as presenile dementia. It is a progressive condition that causes degenerative changes in the brain leading to patches or plaques and entanglement of nerve fibers. These changes in the brain tissue result to memory loss and behavioral changes.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Janet Jackson Talks to Oprah About MJ

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Before Dr. Conrad Murray appeared in a Los Angeles court on Monday regarding charges related to the death of superstar Michael Jackson, the latter’s sister Janet Jackson spoke to host Oprah Winfrey on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on Friday, according to a report on CNN. During their conversation, Janet shared that the Jackson family had known that her brother “had a problem.”

Janet JacksonWhat that alleged “problem” was, though, was not specifically mentioned in the article. But when Janet mentioned something about going through relationships with people who have struggled with addiction, how “difficult” it was for her to see it and how she can “recognize it quickly,” one has a fair idea about what she may be referring to.

Controversy has surrounded Michael Jackson in the last few years of his life, and how he has changed physically over the years has certainly led to speculation. While some may have the impression that the Jackson family had been oblivious to what was behind these changes, Janet clarified: “People think we were in denial but we weren’t. We tried intervention several times. He was very much in denial — he didn’t think he had a problem.”

Whatever Michael Jackson’s problems may have been and no matter what his flaws were (after all, who does not have flaws anyway?), the bottom line is that at his peak, he made such a positive contribution to music. More than anything, this is what people should remember him for. Now that he is hopefully at peace, nothing else really matters anymore.

Los Angeles Health Screening

Celebrity Substance Abuse Early Disease Detection

Dr. Conrad Murray Goes to Court

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Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael Jackson’s physician, appeared in court Monday to attend a hearing regarding the involuntary manslaughter case against him, according to a feature on the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Conrad MurrayMichael Jackson fans were gathered outside the courthouse in Los Angeles, carrying placards that called for stronger charges against Murray regarding the pop star’s death. They were singing “We Are the World” and wore shirts that had Michael Jackson’s photo and the slogan “Justice for Michael.”

Also at the courthouse were Michael Jackson’s parents and his sister Janet, who were present at the hearing.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor ordered that Murray appear in court again on June 14. It is expected that a preliminary hearing will be set on that day. It will be during this preliminary hearing when the judge will decide whether the prosecution has enough evidence to require the doctor to stand trial. The judge will also consider whether Dr. Murray will be prevented from practicing medicine in California while the case is pending.

Los Angeles Health Screening

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Philadelphia Eases Up On Marijuana

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Philadelphia will reportedly stop charging people who were caught with less than 30 grams of marijuana, according to a feature on The Raw Story. District Attorney Seth Williams shared the following sentiment with The Philadelphia Enquirer: “We have to be smart
marijuanaon crime… We can’t declare a war on drugs by going after the kid who’s smoking a joint on 55th Street. We have to go after the large traffickers.”

The Philadelphia police, however, have said that they will not stop making arrests: “Until they legalize it, we’re not going to stop,” a police spokesman said.