Testing It Up » July 2010

Monthly Archives: July 2010

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Lindsay Keeps Her Hair Extensions in Jail

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Lindsay Lohan gets to keep her hair extensions, despite jail rules that specifically say that no inmate is allowed to have such inside prison premises. Is Lohan an exception to the rule? Probably not as L.A. County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore explains to E!Online:  “They are sewn into her scalp and are bonded by glue so anybody like that — and there are women who come in with those type of hair extensions — we don’t remove them.” He further said that they only remove those types which are detachable or those kinds that work as wigs.

lindsay lohanMeanwhile, Jason Dottley who starred with Lohan in the film Inferno, went to visit the place where LL is staying and all he could say is that the place is just “heartbreaking” and that he is “petrified to be there inside the facility.” While he did not see Lohan personally when he visited, he tells E! that hopefully, the place will help Lindsay become a stronger person, and when she comes out, she would somehow prove to the world that her talent is still her asset, and return to Hollywood with a new look in life.

Shawn Chapman Holley who still represents Lohan has had the opportunity to visit her client in three straight days. When entertainment press asked her for her evaluation on Lindsay’s stay in prison, she only had good information to give. Holley says that after Lindsay started serving her prison sentence due to drug-related violations, she is actually doing well despite her situation.

The lawyer adds that Lindsay is eating, writing a lot, and surprisingly looks better than her pre-prison days. Although she has no particular plans as of this day, she continues to write, and who knows, she might come out with a memorabilia from her jail stint. Lindsay’s stay is said to end on Sunday, but a confirmation from her rep is yet to be received.

Early Disease Detection

Wireless Sensor for Blood Sugar Monitoring Tested

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A report published in the journal Science Translational Medicine shared what is considered as a milestone in diabetes treatment.

A feature on Reuters shares information regarding an implantable device that can measure blood sugar continuously, and has the ability to transmit information wirelessly. The wireless sensor was tested in one pig for a year, and in another for ten months; the researchers reported that they did not experience any trouble with the device.

diabetes testingLead researcher David Gough, professor of bioengineering at the University of California San Diego, shared: “You can run the device for a year or more with it constantly working, and recording glucose quite satisfactorily.” In a telephone interview, Gough shared further that they hope to start human trials in a few months; the device has been tested for 31 years in pigs, according to Gough.

The wireless sensor used in the pig trials measures about 1.5 inches in diameter and is 5/8 inches thick, but Gough said that they intend to make it even smaller in the future. It uses a sensor to detect oxygen in the tissue, where it is implanted to measure glucose. It has the ability to transmit 10 to 12 feet.

The research team said that the device will come in handy for diabetes patients who need to check their blood sugar on a daily basis, particularly patients who are suffering from type 2 diabetes. Eventually, Gough predicts that ways will be developed to enable the device to send its signals to cell phones.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Wife Beaten for Cocaine Use Murders Husband

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Erick Shepheard could not have thought that it would be his last day on earth, ironically on the first day of the year 2008. He was shot twice, on the chest and on his head. He died instantly and the sole witness — and shooter — is no less than his wife, Cindy.

cocaineLast Monday, Cindy Shepheard’s trial began at the St. Clair County Circuit Court with Assistant State’s Attorney Judy Dalan and defense attorney Rick Roustio. The defense pointed out that what Cindy did on January 1, 2008 was an act of self defense. They said that Erick was so angry with his wife because of her cocaine addiction and was about to be violent. It was not the first time Erick would hurt her for the same reason, and so she had no choice but to shoot him before he can get to her.

Dalan later told the jury that after Cindy shot her husband twice, she left their house together with her kids and stayed the night at her in-laws without telling them what had happened. In an attempt to cover up the scene, she went back to their house next day and burned it down, with the body of Erick still inside. When autopsy results were revealed, there was no soot in Erick’s lungs which allowed prosecutors to conclude he did not die in the fire. Erick Shepheard was dead before the incident happened, and his wife is now trying to get-away with first-degree murder.

Under the Illinois’ state laws, first-degree murder need not have any primary motive to be proven, yet in this particular case, there is a $100,000 at stake for Erick’s beneficiary, if ever he died a violent death. The beneficiary is Cindy Shepheard, and it looks like it’s going to help nail the case on her. Her defense lawyers’ job just got a little more complicated, and proving it was all for self-defense might be harder than they first thought.

Health & Wellness

Too Much Couch Time Linked to Increased Death Risk

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The results of a study published in the online edition of the American Journal of Epidemiology showed that the time people spend sitting down can be associated to increased mortality risk, according to a feature on msnbc.com.

sitting on couchThis risk, according to the study, seems to be unaffected by the amount of physical activity done by the individual – which means that the effect of the length of time one spends sitting down will be the same even if one hits the gym regularly.

The term “sitting down” was qualified to mean as time spent sitting outside of work, though the amount of couch time within work (in number of hours) was not defined in the feature.

Researchers from the American Cancer Society (ACS) conducted an analysis of survey responses of more than 123,000 men and women who were enrolled in the 1992 Cancer Prevention II study of the ACS. The test population consisted of individuals who had no history of heart attack, cancer, stroke or emphysema.

The study looked into the amount of time that the participants spent sitting down as well as the level of physical activity that they were engaged in, and related this with mortality. The period considered by the study covered 13 years, from 1993 until 2006.

Researcher Alpa Patel shared: “Prolonged time spent sitting, independent of physical activity, has been shown to have important metabolic consequences, and may influence things like triglycerides, high density lipoprotein, cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, resting blood pressure, and leptin, which are biomarkers of obesity and cardiovascular and other chronic diseases.”

Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories

Medical Marijuana for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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It was all Judy Mendoza could take. She was driving towards their garage when all of a sudden, her 12-year-old son Ryan came out from their front door, ran towards her and threw himself on the hood of her car asking her to just kill him. Ryan decided on that day that he no longer wants to live with his illness: severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).  For Judy, it was too much suffering to see her son wanting to die, and she finally decided to do whatever it takes to cure him. She took the one way that perhaps many others would not: medical marijuana.

marijuanaIn her state, the use of marijuana is considered legal when administered by a doctor. Instead of the typical marijuana consisting of dry leaves being smoked, medicinal marijuana comes in a liquid form (a “tincture”) which is then mixed on food or can be directly applied under the tongue of the patient for a more rapid effect.

True enough, after Ryan’s first encounter with marijuana, his condition greatly improved. He was able to go to the beach and just be normal like any other boy of his age. A year earlier, Judy swears no one can take him for he feared that a tsunami might strike him.

Marijuana has been classified as an illegal drug, and so it has never been tested for its medicinal benefits. Dr. Lester Grinspoon, a professor at the Harvard Medical School, says that there’s no guarantee that it can be effective for OCD or other diseases, but it cannot be harmful as it is remarkably non-toxic.

The effect of marijuana to the brain is still a subject that needs to be further assessed. While further testing is still a thing to be done, it becomes irrelevant for those who favor its administration, especially for parents who only wish to end what their child might be enduring for the longest time.

Drug Testing Substance Abuse

School’s Random Drug Testing Program Stirs Controversy

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It has been five years since schools in the Grapevine-Colleyville district started their random drug testing program for students, especially for school athletes. Yet, it is still one of the major issues during board meetings in the district.

student athleteSteve Trachier, executive director of the administration, said that among the students who undergo random drug testing, a little less than four percent come out positive. In the said district, 10 to 40 percent of students who are in athletic programs are tested for illegal drugs each year. In the 2009-2010 school year, 385 students from Colleyville Heritage High School and 389 students from Grapevine High School were tested. At Colleyville, 15 cases of marijuana use and 1 for ecstasy use were registered and at Grapevine, 14 were positive for marijuana, 2 for amphetamines, and 1 for cocaine.

As results would show, marijuana use among students is slowly peaking. Not one case though was reported for steroids abuse. Because of these outcomes, more trustees want the program to be expanded. With the program actually spending $27,000 annually, some voice out that this amount may be better used to increase teachers’ salaries.

Those who oppose the program pointed out that students who participate in competitive extra-curricular activities are the only ones being tested and that in the University Interscholastic League, athletes are also tested before they can compete. Why then is there a need for district schools to do the same procedures and spend that much?

Board President Charlie Warner said that those students who do not participate in UIL activities are not deterred from drug-related activities since they are not required to undergo the test. The money spent on the program, which pays $13.50 each for a drug test and $115 for a steroid test, can be saved if the budget is cut back.

The debate is still on for the right decision to be made regarding this matter.

Health & Wellness

Toxic Metals Found in Dust in Afghanistan

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A feature on the Navy Times shared yet another risk that deployed service members have to face: toxic dust.

According to a new study from the U.S. Navy, dust from Afghanistan contains metals that can lead to respiratory problems and brain damage. The study was presented at a medical conference in Portland, Oregon, in June. A briefing of the study mentioned that  the sand in Afghanistan “produces neurotoxicity,” and indicated that this may potentially pose health risks to soldiers deployed to the area.

afghanistan soldierThe study was said to have been triggered by concerns over the potentially harmful effects of dust and dust storms, which are a common occurrence in the Middle East. It involved an analysis of dust samples taken from the Forward Operating Base Salerno near Khost, Afghanistan.

The results of the analysis showed traces of manganese, as well as silicon, iron, magnesium, aluminum and chromium. Mentioned in particular is the fact that manganese is a toxic chemical that may cause symptoms similar to that of Parkinson’s disease. These metals, once inhaled, can potentially travel through the bloodstream and reach the brain as well as other organs.

Cmdr. Cappy Surette, a spokesman for Navy medicine, shared: “There is no definitive basis to say the sand is neurotoxic to people or animals. It is important to note though that in a great many cases, preliminary research outcomes do not bear out the earlier findings when the investigation involves replication of exposure in the living intact mammalian animal and human research subject. That said, research will continue until a complete picture is understood.”

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Child Abuse Resulting to Girl’s Overdose Death

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Just when you thought your teens are safe in the hands of “more mature and older individuals”, it’s time to reconsider the idea. In Palm Springs, a 44-year-old woman was charged with child abuse leading to the overdose death of a 16-year-old girl.

Reports and court records show that Suzanne Mowery of Desert Hot Springs drove Megan Escalante to purchase heroin and they used it on the night of her death. Mowery faces charges of child abuse and giving a minor controlled substances.

heroin kitOn the day of Megan’s death, Mowery was able to drive her to a friend’s house to buy $60 worth of heroin. Mowery, who was then with her 4-year-old daughter, proceeded to smoke the heroin with Escalante and another 17-year-old while enjoying the 4th of July Fireworks, the detective added.

In another statement, Mowery said she did not believe it was completely her fault why Megan died. She said she was just pressured by Megan into smoking the heroin, adding that they did three hits of the drug. Escalante took methadone pills before going to bed and was later found dead in her father’s apartment the next morning.

The accused admitted that she has been at the Betty Ford Center Rehabilitation Facility last April but had relapses. Upon her arrest, she declared that she and Escalante would take turns paying for oxycodone. It was Megan who paid for the drugs lately since she didn’t have money. She said she drove the teen that day to buy drugs because she had no car to use.

When police interviewed Mowery, methadone, Xanax and morphine pills was found in her possession.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Paris Hilton Questioned About Marijuana Possession – Again!

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Is it just the curse of being a celebrity, or is she really using pot? Reports surfaced again that heiress Paris Hilton was once again caught in possession of marijuana and was brought in for questioning. The last time that this happened was after the game between Brazil and the Netherlands in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, during the World Cup; that time, it was her companion Jennifer Rovero who was said to be at fault and was charged.

Paris HiltonThis time, sniffer dogs reportedly detected a small amount of marijuana in the bag of Ms. Hilton herself, according to a report on The Associated Press. The incident happened on Friday in Corsica, where the heiress was briefly detained for questioning. The newspaper Corse Matin reported that officers at the airport in Figari were able to find one gram’s worth of marijuana.

Ms. Hilton, according to the report, was traveling with “personalities close to power in Malaysia” from Paris to Porto Cervo in Sardinia. They were passing through Corsica, traveling on a private jet. The heiress was said to have undergone questioning for half an hour, but was eventually released. No charges were filed against her.

On Saturday, Hilton wrote a post on the TwitLonger site, which reads: “Just to put an end to these rumors. The stories saying I have been arrested are completely false! I am having the best vacation of my life.”

But when one was very recently involved in another marijuana “incident,” people cannot help but put two and two together.

Substance Abuse

Painkiller Abuse: Obsession with Escaping Discomfort?

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A study that was released by the White House recently showed that there was a very significant increase in admissions for substance abuse treatment for prescription pain killers over a ten year period. Figures pegged the increase at more than 400 percent, from 1998 to 2008.

prescription drug abuseIn a feature on the Christian Science Monitor, Pamela Hyde, the administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), was quoted as saying that the “tragic consequences [of prescription drug abuse] are seen in substance abuse treatment centers and hospital emergency departments throughout our nation.”

Prescription drug abuse – which includes abuse of prescription pain relievers – is considered as the second most abused substance in the country. The feature included views expressed by addiction specialist Clare Kavin of The Waismann Method, a treatment center for opiate dependency, which we totally agree with: “We are in a culture of immediate gratification and nobody will put up with even the slightest discomfort anymore.”

Essentially, it seems that the country has become too dependent on pain relievers. More people are turning to pills for relief of even slight discomfort, and there is a demand for stronger painkillers, despite the fact that there are low strength and non-addictive options available.

Dr. Scott Glaser, president of Pain Specialists of Greater Chicago, revealed that the problem of prescription painkiller abuse exists across age groups and socio-economic status. He also shared the following information: “There has been a strong push among doctors in recent years to be more aggressive in addressing pain. This has led to the dramatic increase in opiates such as morphine, but the problem is there hasn’t been a whole lot of science to go along with that.”

Chicago Health Screening