Testing It Up » September 2010

Monthly Archives: September 2010

Substance Abuse

Illegal Drug Use at Its Highest in Nearly a Decade

Published by:

An increase in the illegal use of marijuana, ecstasy and methamphetamine led to the highest rate in illegal drug use in nearly a decade, based on the annual report of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, released on Wednesday.

A report shared a 9 percent increase in drug use, something that Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, was disappointed – but not surprised – about. Kerlikowske said: “I think all of the attention and the focus of calling marijuana medicine has sent the absolute wrong message to our young people.”

drugsThe report identified marijuana as the most commonly used drug.

The results of the survey, however, were viewed by Mike Meno, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, as proof that the war being waged by the government against marijuana is not working. Meno said: “It’s time we stop this charade and implement sensible laws that would tax and regulate marijuana the same way we do more harmful – but legal –  drugs like alcohol and tobacco.”

There was some good news in the report, though; it was shown that cocaine use has continued to decline. Cocaine use has reportedly dropped 32 percent from its peak in 2006.

The survey showed that about 21.8 million Americans, aged 12 and older, admitted to using illegal drugs in 2009. This is the highest rate of illegal drug use since the surveys began in the year 2002; the previous peak was in 2006, where over 20 million Americans admitted to illegal drug use.

Early Disease Detection

Surviving Cancer: Jennifer Grey

Published by:

We shared the story of Patrick Swayze and his battle with pancreatic cancer in several previous posts, but this is the first time that we are doing one on his co-star in Dirty Dancing, one of the movies that made him an icon. Swayze starred in Dirty Dancing with Jennifer Grey, who, like Swayze, battled cancer.

Jennifer GreyGrey is part of this season’s line-up of celebrities in Dancing With the Stars, and she paid tribute to her late co-star by dancing to the song “These Arms of Mine,” a song from the soundtrack of Dirty Dancing. The performance and what it represented brought her to tears.

Grey has opened up about her own experience with cancer. In a feature on Access Hollywood, she shared that she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer while preparing to join the show. She shared that she went to get her neck checked, because it had been bothering her since figuring in a car accident in Ireland in 2007. Her doctor advised that her neck needed to be fused; but the operation found another problem. Her surgeon discovered a lump on her neck during the procedure to have her spine fused. Later, it was discovered that she had thyroid cancer.

Grey shared: “He said, ‘That doesn’t look right to me… you need to get that out… So a month after my fusion, I went and got half of my thyroid out and they said it’s probably fine and then four days later they called and they said [you’ve] got cancer. So they took the other half out at Christmas Eve.”

She has since undergone two surgeries, and is described as a cancer survivor.

Early Disease Detection

Gloria Stuart, Titanic’s Older Rose, Passes Away

Published by:

I will have to admit it, I watched the movie Titanic more times than I would dare count, and I still have not gotten tired of it. One of the more pivotal scenes in the movie involves lovers Jack and Rose, holding on to each other, with Jack assuring Rose that she will not “die like this” and live to be an old lady.

Gloria StuartThat is exactly what actress Gloria Stuart, who played the older Rose to Kate Winslet’s young Rose, lived to be – an old lady who has lived her life to the fullest.

Hollywood lost yet another star after Titanic actress Gloria Stuart passed away of a respiratory failure in her home in Los Angeles on Sunday night. This was confirmed by her daughter, Sylvia Thompson, according to a report by The Associated Press. She was 100 years old.

Gloria Stuart was a breast cancer survivor, and was diagnosed with lung cancer five years ago.

Her daughter, Sylvia, said the following of her mother: “She did not believe in illness. She paid no attention to it, and it served her well.” She went on to share: “She had a great life. I’m not sad. I’m happy for her.”

Gloria Stuart was an actress in Hollywood in the 1930s, retired in the 1940s, and resumed her career in the 1970s. She starred in such movies as “Poor Little Rich Girl” and “My Favorite Year.” The younger generation, however, best remembers her for playing the 101-year-old Rose Calvert in Titanic, a role that earned her an Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

Los Angeles Health Screening

Early Disease Detection

September 27 Is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Published by:

The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, gave a statement about the observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27, 2010 on the NIH website.

AIDS ribbonNational Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) is observed in order to reflect on how HIV/AIDS has affected gay and bisexual men. At the same time, it serves as a time to recognize the invaluable contribution of gay and bisexual men to the development and the implementation of programs towards the prevention and treatment of the disease.

Fauci goes on to share that HIV/AIDS is still taking a “terrible toll” on gay and bisexual men. Since AIDS was first recognized in 1981, more than half a million from this group have been diagnosed with the disease, with more than 300,000 succumbing to it. Despite the fact that sexually-active gay and bisexual men made up a small percentage of the male population in the United States aged 13 years old and older, sexually-transmitted HIV among their group made up more than half of new diagnoses of HIV in 37 states in 2008.

Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men, however, has been challenging, mainly due to the fact that prejudice and discrimination make it difficult for them to have open access to prevention, treatment and care. Still, their contribution to HIV/AIDS research through participation in research efforts and clinical trials has been invaluable. Dr. Fauci expressed gratitude to gay and bisexual men “for their leadership in advancing HIV/AIDS research and their participation in studies aimed at controlling and ultimately ending the pandemic.”

NGMHAAD was launched by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in 2008.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Similac Baby Formula Recalled due Contamination!

Published by:

Abbott Laboratories has announced a recall of about 5 million containers of Similac powdered baby formula, due to the possibility of contamination by beetles or their larvae.

Melissa Brotz, spokeswoman for Abbott, revealed to WebMD that the proactive action being taken by the company involves Similac powdered baby formula sold in cans and plastic containers. Similac in liquid form is not included in the recall.

SimilacBrotz said: “We know that parents place a lot of trust in our Similac brands and delivering anything less than the highest quality infant formula to them is unacceptable to us… We will do whatever is necessary to maintain that trust in the coming weeks and months.”

The recall was reportedly triggered by an internal quality review that detected “remote possibility of the presence of a small common beetle in the product produced” in one of the company’s manufacturing facilities, based on a news release from Abbott posted on the FDA website.

The FDA, however, has reportedly determined that while the product that may contain beetles “poses no immediate health risk, there is a possibility that infants who consume formula containing the beetles or their larvae could experience symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort and refusal to eat as a result of small insect parts irritating the GI tract,” according to Abbott.

The recall involves Similac products sold in the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, and other markets in the Caribbean. Consumers who would like more information regarding the recall are encouraged to go to www.similac.com. One can type in the lot number to determine whether the product that they currently have is included in the recall.

Early Disease Detection

Pink Ribbon Classes for Breast Cancer Survivors

Published by:

Breast cancer survivors who go through mastectomies usually suffer from a lack of mobility and strength, post-op. A feature on The Washington Post shares a program that will help survivors get these abilities back through exercise.

pink ribbonColumnist Vicky Hallett shared the story of Tracey McKee, director of Pilates programming at the American Dance Insitute in Rockville. McKee was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in October last year, and underwent modified radical mastectomy; she has since been cancer-free. Prior to her diagnosis, McKee was already aware of the Pink Ribbon Program, a Pilates-based regimen for breast cancer survivors, and instructors at the studio were already scheduled to undergo Pink Ribbon training.

Now, a year after McKee was diagnosed with breast cancer, the American Dance Institute is the only studio in the country with a fully-certified staff. A schedule of Pink Ribbon classes has been drawn up, and during the month of October, breast cancer survivors will be able to enjoy free consultation with an instructor, and a free class.

Exercise and breast cancer survival go hand-in-hand, and it is not just because of the fact that raising money for breast cancer research and awareness usually involves physical activities, such as Run/Walks. There are studies that show that exercise helps survivors keep recurrence of the disease at bay, as well as improve energy levels and mood. The results of a study released in 2005 indicated that women suffering from breast cancer who exercised moderately three to five hours a week were 50 percent less likely to die of cancer than women who did not exercise.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Woman Killed in Crash While Rushing Home to Prep for DUI Class

Published by:

It is certainly sad and disheartening that a woman due to attend a DUI class met an untimely death on a California freeway – in an alcohol-related accident.

A feature on KTLA.com shared the story of 24-year-old Lidia Kopach, who figured in a fatal car accident last Thursday morning. Her passenger, 24-year-old Daniel Martinez, survived the accident with minor injuries, and shared a few details regarding what they had done before the incident.

drunk drivingMartinez shared with police officers at the scene that he had met up with Kopach at a bar in Monrovia for drinks. The Pasadena Star News reported that they drank two vodka drinks and shared two pitchers of beer. Martinez then said that Kopach had revealed that she needed to get home immediately to rest because she was due to attend a court-mandated DUI class later in the day. It was revealed further that Kopach had been convicted of DUI at West Covina Superior Court on September 30, 2009.

Unfortunately, as Kopach and Martinez were racing home at around 2:00 in the morning, she lost control of her car, and slammed into the center divider on the freeway. The vehicle then rolled over, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jim Frausto.
Another young life cut so short, no thanks to alcohol.

Incidents such as these ought to serve as a reminder of the very real dangers of drinking and driving; when going out for drinks, it may be a good idea to simply leave the car at home and take a cab. If you decide to bring a vehicle, there should be a designated driver who will stay away from the booze.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

September 26 Is World Heart Day

Published by:

September 26 is World Heart Day, and in honor of the observance, CanolaInfo, a source of information regarding canola oil for consumers, health professionals, chefs, media, and educators, has struck up a partnership with the World Heart Federation towards the promotion of global heart health.

In a press release, CanolaInfo shares a collection of heart-healthy recipes; these recipes may serve to urge people to lead healthier lifestyles, which will, in turn, lead to the prevention of heart disease.

healthy heartThe World Heart-Smart Recipe Collection was created for CanolaInfo by six culinary experts of cuisines from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, China, and India, bringing with it flavors from all over the world. The creation of the collection is supported by the World Heart Federation.

The culinary experts who contributed to the collection are Carla Hall, a finalist on Bravo’s “Top Chef” Season 5; Mairlyn Smith, a cookbook author from Toronto; Alfredo Oropeza, the host of “Al Sabor del Chef” and cookbook author, from Mexico City; Stella Fong, a food writer from Billings, Montana; Gene Kato, the executive chef of Japonais Restaurant in Chicago; and Raghavan Iyer, a cookbook author from Minneapolis.

All the recipes in the collection are made using canola oil, which has the least saturated fat among cooking oils and is free of trans fat and cholesterol.

World Heart Federation Senior Science Officer Kathryn Tauber, Ph. D., shared: “It’s easy to forget that heart disease is not just a problem in one’s own country but also around the world… Diet plays a significant role in protecting or predisposing people to heart disease, so we hope to inspire them to eat more healthfully and make simple changes that may reduce their risk of the disease.”

Chicago Health Screening

Substance Abuse

Smoking May Be Banned in NYC Parks

Published by:

The City of New York may ban smoking in city parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas, according to a report on USA Today. The proposed ban was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, along with City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, on Wednesday.

The list of places where smoking may be forbidden consists of 1,700 parks and 14 miles of beach, including Central Park, Coney Island, and the new pedestrian plazas in Times Square.

no smokingMayor Bloomberg has been a staunch advocate of placing restrictions on smoking in public; he mentioned the dangers that inhalation of second-hand smoke can bring to non-smokers. During the announcement, Bloomberg said: “When you breathe secondhand tobacco smoke, you’re inhaling a bouquet of … toxins and carcinogens.” He added that once the ban is in place, New Yorkers and visitors alike who head off to the City’s parks and beaches for a bit of fresh air will get what they came for.

Present smoking prohibitions are already enforced in playgrounds, in outdoor sports events and concerts, and in bars and restaurants in New York City. The implementation of smoking bans in beaches and parks is not something that is happening first in NYC; Los Angeles and Chicago have already implemented such prohibitions.

Mayoral spokeswoman Jessica Scaperotti clarified that smoking on the sidewalk is alright; however, once one enters into the pedestrian plaza, the area will become a no-smoking zone. Those who light up in the plaza will risk a $50 ticket.

Tim Tompkins, president of the business owner group Times Square Alliance, said that the ban will result in cleaner streets and a cleaner air for Times Square.


New York Health Screening


Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Bob Marley’s Daughter Pleads Guilty to Marijuana Plant Possession!

Published by:

A report on The Philadelphia Inquirer shared that the daughter of the late reggae icon Bob Marley, Makeda J. Marley, has pleaded guilty to marijuana possession charges on Tuesday.

Makeda J. MarleyThe 29-year-old resident of Chester County was charged with the following: possession of a passel of marijuana plants, consisting of 11 mature and 3 juvenile plants, and tampering with evidence. According her lawyer, Thomas K. Schindler, Makeda Marley and her late father share the belief that marijuana has religious value. Schindler said: “She doesn’t go around telling people that she’s Bob Marley’s daughter, but if it comes up, she acknowledges it… It troubles her that this is illegal.”

Bob Marley practiced Rastafarianism, a religious movement that believes that Africa is the Promised Land, and considers Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Smoking marijuana is considered as a spiritual act for Rastas. It is considered as a sacrament that “cleans the body and mind, heals the soul, exalts the consciousness, facilitates peacefulness, brings pleasure, and brings them closer to Jah,” and is often accompanied by Bible study.

Bob Marley died of cancer in 1981, when he was 36 years old.

The feature shared that Makeda Marley is also awaiting trial on charges of drunken driving. The criminal complaint reportedly stated that Ms. Marley allowed police to do a search in her basement. She went to get a key, but was seen trying to remove a marijuana plant.

Ms. Marley’s sentencing will be on October 25, by Chester County Court Judge Thomas G. Gavin.