Testing It Up » December 2010

Monthly Archives: December 2010

Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

Celebrities Share Hangover Cures

Published by:

Alcohol is usually part of a New Year’s Eve party, but no one wants to spend the first day of the year completely hung over and unable to get out of bed. A post on Celebrities With Diseases spilled the beans on the hangover cures used by some celebrities.

hangoverCameron Diaz and Kate Winslet both shared that bacon sandwiches help them deal with a hangover. Kate shared: “A sausage and bacon sandwich usually does it for me. I also have a big glass of orange juice and a cup of sugary tea. The combination of vitamins and sugar perks me up.” For Cameron, grease is the most important component of a hangover cure. Her remedy consists of a bacon-packed sandwich and a beer.

Nigella Lawson, on the other hand, shared two hangover cures. One is the “Brian, which consists of Berocca and Spatone. The other is called the “Prairie Oyster”: an egg yolk, Tabasco, worcestershire sauce, brandy and vinegar, to be swallowed in one gulp.

Daniel Craig suggests sweating it out to overcome a hangover, or, if you really can’t make yourself move and work out, try going for a sauna session.

The best way to avoid a hangover, however, is not through a hangover cure – but through prevention. It may be a good time to gently remind everyone to drink a reasonable amount of alcohol when they do drink, and ensure that there is a designated driver before hitting the road after an all-night party. The best way to avoid a hangover is still to not drink too much!

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Study Indicates Cholesterol Improvement After Smoking Cessation

Published by:

There are several important reasons for smokers to kick their habits, and a new study adds yet another one: improving one’s cholesterol profile.

According to a study led by Dr. Adam Gepner of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, quitting smoking leads to an increase of “good cholesterol” levels, despite experiencing weight gain, which is one of its side effects. Through future research, this finding may eventually lead to more in depth understanding regarding the link between smoking and heart health, as shared in a feature by Reuters.

smoking is bad for the heartPrevious studies were able to determine that smoking results in lower good cholesterol (HDL) levels, and increased bad cholesterol (LDL) levels, according to Dr. Gepner. He and his colleagues recruited more than 1,500 smokers, who represent the various sectors of the current U.S. population, in order to rigorously test the impact of smoking on cholesterol levels. This test population included the high proportion of overweight and obese individuals.

The researchers were able to note that 36 percent of the participants in the study were able to succeed in quitting smoking after a year, using one of five smoking cessation programs. They also noted that those who were able to stop smoking were able to experience an average increase of five percent, or 2.4 mg/dL, in HDL cholesterol levels.

It was also observed that the effects described above were “somewhat stronger” in women. It also appeared that there was no difference in how heavy a smoker the participant was at the beginning of the study; both heavy and light smokers were able to enjoy the same HDL benefit after quitting.

Early Disease Detection

Glucose Test Strips Recalled

Published by:

Glucose test strips that are used for monitoring the blood sugar of those suffering from diabetes were recalled by Abbott Laboratories, according to a report on the Los Angeles Times.

glucose test stripThe recall involves as many as 359 million test strips. The recall is due to the fact that the strips may not absorb enough blood as quick as it should in order to give a proper reading. It is possible that the strips may give out false low readings, which may lead diabetes sufferers to try to raise their sugar levels, according to Abbott. In its statement, the company also said that its users may not be able to treat elevated glucose levels as appropriate.

Abbot company spokesman Scott Davies shared that the test strips included in the recall were manufactured between January and May, 2010, at an Abbott facility in the United Kingdom. The recall was spurred by the discovery of the defect via routine in-house testing, according to Davies.

Erica Jefferson, spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration, revealed that north Chicago-based Abbott reported 22 cases of “false low” readings to the FDA. It also volunteered to do the recall.

Diabetes researcher and George Washington University associate professor of medicine Michael Thompson explained, however, that while diabetes sufferers should be rightly concerned about inaccurate blood sugar readings, “this is an error in a safer direction, falsely low rather than falsely high.”A false high reading is considered more dangerous as it can lead patients to overdose on insulin, which can trigger an episode of hypoglycemia.

Los Angeles Health Screening

Alcohol Testing Celebrity Substance Abuse Substance Abuse

On Betty Ford Fiasco: Lindsay Lohan Claims She Only Drank Shirley Temples

Published by:

Troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is trying to get her life back on track, but controversies always seems to get in the way. A post on Drug Free Homes shared the most recent news regarding Ms. Lohan, who has been accused of assaulting an employee of the Betty Ford Center, where she is currently staying.

Dawn Holland, a chemical technician, shared her altercation with Lindsay Lohan to TMZ.com, a decision that eventually led to Holland losing her job.

Lindsay LohanHolland had alleged that Lindsay and two other residents of the center were caught sneaking back after a night out. The actress was said to be drunk, and Holland had been asked to give LiLo a Breathalyzer test, which the star reportedly declined – in a rather aggressive way, at least according to reports.

In a feature on OK! Magazine, however, Lindsay refuted Holland’s version of the story, saying that, contrary to reports, she was not drunk. She reportedly only consumed Shirley Temples – which are non-alcoholic – while she had her hair done with friends in Palm Springs. She arrived at the rehab center after that night out at 1 am.

One of Lindsay’s friends admitted that she herself had been drinking, but did not say anything about whether Lindsay also did the same.

Another point of contention was the Breathalyzer test. Holland had claimed that the alleged “assault” was brought about by Ms. Lohan’s adamant refusal to undergo testing. Lindsay, however, claims that she was the one who wanted to take a Breathalyzer test to prove that she wasn’t drunk, but it was Holland who would not allow her to do that.

Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

NGO in Philippines Pushes for Marijuana Legalization

Published by:

In the Philippines, the Philippine Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Pormal), a non-government organization (NGO), is calling for the decriminalization of marijuana, citing the drug’s medicinal benefits, according to a report by Philippine news agency GMA News.

medical marijuanaPormal pointed out the various medical benefits that can be derived from marijuana, the medical use of which has been made legal in 14 states in the United States. Pormal touted the positive effects that marijuana-based treatments can bring for nausea, vomiting, pre-menstrual syndrome, unintentional weight loss, and loss of appetite, among others.

Marijuana has been recognized as an alternative therapy for patients suffering from chronic illnesses, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and Hepatitis C. Decriminalization allowed patients to take advantage of the medical benefits of marijuana, which are free from side-effects.

In the United States, the 14 states that legalized medical marijuana instituted various regulations, including limiting the amount of marijuana that can be bought or grown, and ensuring that the use of medical marijuana is done through the recommendation, and under the supervision, of a physician. Implementation, however, has been far from perfect, and there are challenges that still need to be overcome.

Pormal asked: “What other medicine or drug do you know of that has so many applications, without dangerous side effects?”

For a conservative, largely Roman Catholic country like the Philippines, however, these efforts will not be easy. As in many other countries, marijuana is viewed as a gateway drug, and it is believed that decriminalization may only fuel more widespread use of drugs.

Philippine Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III, who used to head the country’s Dangerous Drugs Board, said the following of Pormal: “That group is misguided. They’re completely wrong. That’s probably just a gimmick.”

Drug Testing Substance Abuse

Pros and Cons of Steroid Testing Your Teenager

Published by:

It is devastating for anyone to find out that someone they cared about is hooked on an illegal substance such as anabolic steroids – but it is perhaps most devastating for a parent to find that out about their teenaged kids. One of the things that parents can do to ensure that their kids are not using steroids – or to catch them if they are and do something about it – is to have them undergo testing. Asking them to do that, however, is not going to be easy.

There are advantages and disadvantages associated with steroid testing your teens, and here are some of those points, as shared by Lena Butler.

steroidsAdvantages. Having your teens undergo testing can potentially save lives, if your teens are indeed taking steroids. If they are not, then knowing the results of the test will give parents the peace of mind that they need, realizing that their children are not in any kind of danger. This is especially true for teen athletes, the kind of student that would usually be vulnerable to the temptation of steroid abuse. As parents, you can take care of your children as well as their athletic careers by ensuring that they do not experiment with steroids.

Disadvantages. Before parents ask their teens to undergo testing, they have to be prepared for backlash. If the idea of steroid testing and why it has to be done is not received well by the teenager, he or she may feel that he or she is not being trusted. Your teen may take a certain attitude with you, and consider it as an invasion of their privacy.

Health & Wellness

How to Find the Best Doctor for Your Family

Published by:

There are many things that parents aspire for their children and their families as a whole: a good home, good education, and the best possible health care. Ensuring that one’s family is provided with the best health care possible does not only entail having a good and comprehensive health care plan; one should also have a family doctor that one could rely on and trust.

Here are some tips on how to find the best doctor for your family.

doctorOne of the helpful things that will guide you in your search for a family doctor is word-of-mouth. Ask friends and relatives for their personal experiences and recommendations regarding a doctor who would be good for your family.

Someone who will also be a great help – especially if the reason why you need to look for a family doctor is because you are relocating – is your current doctor. Ask our doctor for referrals, as he may be able to recommend someone from his network who practices in your new town or neighborhood.

When you search for a family doctor, it is ideal if you limit yourself to someone whose practice is in your local area. While distance may not be such a big deal when there is no health crisis, it is important to ensure that you are able to get to your doctor as soon as possible when a medical emergency does arise.

Other tips include checking with your insurance company regarding their policies and rules (there are companies that only work with accredited doctors); doing your own research; making calls and scheduling appointments; paying attention to the clinic staff; and having your children meet with the doctors.

And most important of all, remember that this decision is important to the welfare of your family, and should not be taken lightly. Do not, therefore, rush your decision.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Strict Regulations for Medical Marijuana Proposed for Arizona

Published by:

Taking a lesson or two from the states that allow the use of medical marijuana, regulators in Arizona are proposing strict rules for potential users and prescribers of medical marijuana in the state, according to a feature on The Washington Post.

medical marijuanaEstimates now peg the number of people who can potentially use medical marijuana, under the stricter rules, at no more than 20,000 – a decline from the earlier estimate of 100,000 patients. The changes to the estimates were made after a review of the rules that are being followed in other states that allow the use of medical marijuana, as well as the number of users in those 14 states.

During a news conference, Will Humble, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, shared: “We figured hey, if we put some true checks and balances in this system, we can actually make this a medical marijuana program and not a recreational marijuana program.”

Arizona became the 15th state to allow the use of medical marijuana after the November vote.

The medical marijuana ballot measure in Arizona will allow patients who are suffering from cancer, HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis C, and other chronic diseases, to buy 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks, or grow a limited number of plants – that is, if they live 25 miles from a marijuana dispensary.

In order to qualify for treatment using medical marijuana, a patient should secure a recommendation from an Arizona doctor who has been seeing the patient for at least a year, or has compiled a medical history of the patient, conducted a comprehensive exam and reviewed medical records before taking over primary care, among other rules.

Substance Abuse

Tobacco Company to Pay Damages for Giving Away Free Cigarettes to Kids

Published by:

A tobacco company based in Greensboro, North Carolina, was ordered to pay $81 million in punitive damages, in addition to $71 million in compensatory damages, to the family of a woman from Boston who died of lung cancer in 2002.

A report on CNN shared that Lorillard Tobacco Company allegedly encouraged kids to smoke by giving away free samples of cigarettes to kids in the late 50s and early 60s, in the Orchard Park neighborhood in Boston.

cigarettesMarie Evans suffered from small cell lung cancer and died at the age of 54, a mere three weeks after sitting through three days’ worth of videotaped deposition, which was eventually heard by the jury. In her deposition, Marie described how she started smoking as a child after receiving free cigarette samples distributed by Lorillard in the housing project where she lived.

Lorillard, however, said that the charges against them were “unfounded.” A company statement described Lorillard as the third largest manufacturer of cigarettes in the United States.

Lorillard’s lawyer acknowledged that a few decades ago, they gave away free cigarette samples to adults, in order to encourage them to switch brands.

Gregg Perry, spokesman for Lorillard, shared: “Lorillard respectfully disagrees with the jury’s verdict and denies the plaintiff’s claim that the company sampled to children or adults at Orchard Park in the early 1960s.”

Willie Evans, Marie’s son, gave the following statement after the verdict was read: “Hopefully this does allow other people to come forward, and gives them confidence to move their cases forward.”

Health & Wellness

Children Consuming Too Much Caffeine from Soft Drinks

Published by:

There are a number of people who probably grew up in households where coffee is considered as an adult beverage, and you probably did not get to enjoy it until you were, at the very least, in high school. While we may be following the same no-coffee-until-you’re-old-enough tradition in our own homes, it does not necessarily mean that our kids are not able to have their own caffeine fix.

softdrinksA feature on The New York Times shared the results of a study at an urban pediatric clinic that indicated that children under the age of 12 may be taking in too much caffeine, that it is already leading to difficulty in sleeping. Does this mean that there are kids who already have coffee habits? Not exactly, according to the study. The source of caffeine for children, it has been determined, is caffeinated soft drinks, such as good ole’ Coca-Cola.

The study, led by William J. Warzak, professor of psychology at the University of Nebraska, determined that around 75 percent of 228 children involved in the study consumed caffeine. The average daily consumption of caffeine for children aged 5 through 7 was pegged at 52 mg, while the daily average for those aged 8 through 12 was determined to be 109 mg – roughly the same amount as a cup of drip coffee.

Researchers also determined that the average sleep times for children who were caffeine drinkers were slightly less than the amount recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was published online in The Journal of Pediatrics.

New York Drug Screening