Testing It Up » November 2011

Monthly Archives: November 2011

Early Disease Detection

Polycystic Kidney Disease: Symptoms and Management

Published by:

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD), or polycystic kidney syndrome, is the most common life-threatening genetic disease.

Since knowledge is one of key things that will help people manage any disease, we would like to share information regarding the disease.

PKD is characterized by the development of clusters of cysts – non-cancerous round sacs that contain water-like fluid – within the kidneys. While the disease is not limited to the kidneys, they are the most severely affected organs. PKD can lead to the development of cysts in the liver, as well as in other parts of the body.

Common symptoms associated with PKD include high blood pressure, back or side pain, headache, increase in the size of the abdomen, blood in the urine, frequent urination, kidney stones, and urinary tract or kidney infections.

It is possible, however, for people to have PKD and not develop any signs or symptoms, or to not know that they already have it. It is therefore helpful to be keen about such signs as an increase in the size of the abdomen and back and side pain, and to see a doctor to find out what may be behind these symptoms.

One may also benefit from discussing with a doctor the advantages and disadvantages of screening for PKD if one has a first degree relative – such as a parent, sibling, or child – who is suffering from the disease.

There are two types of polycystic kidney disease: Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), and Autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease (ARPKD).

Early Disease Detection

How to Keep Colorectal Cancer at Bay

Published by:

More often than not, one’s thoughts automatically turn to undergoing a colonoscopy when talking about preventing colorectal cancer. Undergoing the procedure starting at the age of 50, however, is not the only thing that could be done in order to prevent the onset of colorectal cancer.

Steer clear of cigarettes. Smoking is associated with a number of health issues, and one of them is colorectal cancer. A study conducted in 2008 indicated that smokers are 18 percent more likely to develop colorectal cancer, as opposed to those who do not smoke. They are also 25 percent more likely to succumb to the disease.

Keep red meat consumption at a minimum. Diets rich in red meat, especially processed, salted, smoked, or cured meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, have been associated with a higher risk of developing colorectal cancer. The Health.com feature suggests limiting red meat consumption to two 4-ounce portions of lean meat (trim off the excess fat!) a week, and discourages charring the meat on a grill.

Avoid binge drinking. Binge drinking, like smoking, is something that no one should do, and one reason to add to a long list of reasons to refrain from binge drinking is the fact that it has been associated with an increased risk for colorectal cancer. An analysis conducted this year revealed that people who have two or three alcoholic drinks a day have a 21 percent higher risk of colorectal cancer, when compared against those who do not drink, or who only drink occasionally.

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

28 Sailors of the USS Ronald Reagan Busted for Spice Use

Published by:

The United States Navy announced on Monday that 28 Sailors, all serving aboard the carrier Ronald Reagan, will be discharged from the service due to Spice use. The Navy has a zero-tolerance policy for illegal drugs, including the use and possession of synthetic marijuana, such as Spice.

Processing of administrative separation for the 28 Sailors has begun. The basis for the discharge includes the use or possession of synthetic marijuana, as yielded by six separate investigations of the crew of the USS Ronald Reagan, over the past month. This was revealed by Lt. Beth Teach, a spokeswoman for the 3rd Fleet.

The identities of the 28 Sailors, as well as how they were caught, were not revealed. Spice use is not detected through the regular random urinalysis testing conducted by the Navy.

These discharge proceedings are the latest in a series of investigations into spice use in the Navy that have resulted in the administrative separation of dozens of Sailors. One of the more recent was the discharge of 49 crew members of the USS Carl Vinson in October.

A release announcing the investigations included the following statement from 3rd Fleet commander Vice Adm. Gerard Beaman: “The Navy’s policy on drug abuse is simple and clear — zero tolerance… Drug use puts lives and missions at risk and undercuts unit readiness and morale. The use of synthetic drugs, to include spice, is illegal and the Navy continues to aggressively investigate the use of synthetic drugs and hold those in violation accountable.”

Health & Wellness

Cement, Tire Sealant Used by Fake Doctor to “Augment” Woman’s Rear

Published by:

Sometimes, we need to accept that there are things we cannot afford – instead of jumping at cheaper but dubious alternatives to get the things that we want. One example is the story of a woman that has been making the rounds of news sites on the web, whose rear was injected with toxic substances by a fake doctor, as she sought to have a curvier body.

A woman from Miami, whose identity was not revealed, searched for someone who could perform plastic surgery on her on the cheap. She wanted to work at a night club, and wanted a curvier body.

What she found in her quest for a surgery within her price range is a woman who, posing as a doctor, filled her buttocks with cement, mineral oil, and flat tire sealant.

Police say that the fake woman doctor  – identified as 30-year-old Oneal Ron Morris – was actually born as a man, and that she may have performed the surgery on herself, as well as on others. Morris was arrested last Friday.

The victim shared that Morris injected a type of tube in several areas around her bottom, and then pumped it full of a “toxic concoction.” Police shared that when the pain became too intense for the woman, Morris reassured her by saying “Oh don’t worry, you’ll be fine. We just keep injecting you with the stuff and it all works itself out.”

The victim was initially reluctant to come forward, but her mother eventually brought her to the hospital. She is still recovering from surgery, and has accumulated numerous medical bills.

Substance Abuse

Man Gets 10-Year Prison Sentence for Bringing Oxycodone into Maine

Published by:

A 20-year-old man from New Bedford, Massachusetts, received a 10-year prison sentence after being convicted of bringing in almost 500 oxycodone pills into Maine, with the intent to sell them.

The accused, Angel Acevedo, brought the oxycodone pills, cocaine, and heroin to Rockland, Maine in April, with the help of another man from New Bedford, according to authorities. Acevedo pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated trafficking of scheduled drugs and one count of unlawful trafficking in scheduled drugs.

The drugs were discovered in Acevedo and his accomplices’ possession following a raid conducted by the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency at the hotel where the suspects were staying. Another suspect involved in the case was due to appear in court later that same week.

Substance Abuse

Underage Drinking Linked to Increased Suicide Risk for Women

Published by:

A recent study, released online in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, revealed that underage drinking in women – those who drink alcohol before reaching the age of 21 – may have undesirable consequences later in life.

Decades ago, drinking while still under the age of 21 was legal in the United States. The results of the study indicated, however, that drinking-age women who lived in states where underage drinking was legal were more at risk for suicide and homicide later in life.

The study involved an analysis of data from national cause-of-death files, as well as census surveys. The data consisted of information on more than 200,000 suicides, as well as 130,000 homicides, for people who turned 18 between 1967 and 1989. It was during this period that the legal age to drink alcoholic beverages in the United States shifted from under 21 to 21 and older.

When the data was taken as a whole, without regard for gender, there was no link observed between minimum drinking age laws and the rates of suicide and homicide. When the data for men and women were segregated, however, the researchers noted that women who lived when the laws had not yet changed were at 12 percent greater risk of suicide, and at 15 percent greater risk of homicide.

Richard Grucza, an epidemiologist at the Washington University School of Medicine and co-author of the study, shared: “For homicide, females are victimized by acquaintances in 92% of the cases. If lower drinking ages result in elevated rates of alcohol problems, this could contribute to alcohol-fueled domestic violence. For suicide, it may be that alcohol contributes to the severity of suicide attempts.”

Substance Abuse

Vodka Tampons: New Way to Get Drunk?

Published by:

The teenage years are a time for discovery, and it is unfortunate that for some, this includes experimenting with drugs and alcohol.

Teens are trying out a very unusual way to get drunk. It is so unbelievable that one would think it was an urban legend. Officer Chris Thomas, a school resource officer, shared: “What we’re hearing about is teenagers utilizing tampons, soak them in vodka first before using them… It gets absorbed directly into the bloodstream. There’s no barrier, there’s no stomach acid to prevent it.”

Officer Thomas shared further that the use of vodka tampons is not just limited to girls: “Guys will also use it and they’ll insert it into their rectums,” Thomas said. He revealed further that there are even some teens who have taken to using the beer bong rectally, a practice that has been given the name “butt-chugging.”

Dr. Dan Quan of the Maricopa Medical Center said that the teens may be resorting to the use of vodka tampons as “they think [the high will] last longer, it’s more intense.” He said further that he “would expect it to absorb pretty quickly as well, because it’s a very vascular structure.”

As unusual as this whole thing may seem, Thomas shared that these cases are “not isolated to any school, any city, any financial area… this is everywhere.” There have even been documented cases of patients being treated for alcohol poisoning because of utilizing alcohol in this way.

Some kids turn to this method of alcohol consumption because they believe that their breath won’t smell of alcohol. There are dangers, however, that they may not be taking into consideration, such as mucosal irritation and alcohol poisoning.

Early Disease Detection Substance Abuse

Synthetic Marijuana Associated with Teen Heart Attacks

Published by:

A heart attack is something that one may not necessarily expect a teenager to have; but cases of heart attacks in teenagers have been noted recently, and all of them have been associated with the use of synthetic marijuana.

Doctors from the UT Southwestern Medical Center shared the cases of three teenagers who used K2, a brand of synthetic marijuana, who suffered heart attacks. The teen boys, all aged 16, admitted to recent marijuana use, as well as to using K2 within the past few days, or within the past week.

After using K2, the teens had suffered intermittent chest pain. All of them did not exhibit signs of cardiovascular disease prior to the incident. The young boys were treated and eventually recovered.

There has been a lot of concern over synthetic marijuana and its effects, especially since the substance is more accessible to the youth. It has been previously known that smoking marijuana may affect the heart, but there are concerns that synthetic marijuana, such as K2 or spice, may present additional risk as they contain synthetic cannabinoids. These have become popular among users of illegal drugs as an alternative option, as they do not appear on toxicology reports.

The authors of the report, however, wrote the following warning: “Lack of information regarding the origin of these compounds as well as other chemical products possibly contained in these products makes their use dangerous and unpredictable.”

Substance Abuse

Study Shows Black and Asian Teens Less Likely to Resort to Drug Use

Published by:

A new study, published in the November issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, indicated that Black and Asian teens are less likely to engage in drug and alcohol use, when compared against teens of other races.

The results of a survey of teens, aged 12 to 17, which show that 37 percent of the respondents had admitted to using alcohol and drugs in the past year. In addition, 7.9 percent of the respondents were able to meet the criteria that categorized them as having a substance-related disorder.

Native American teens had the highest level of drug use; 48 percent of Native American teens admitted to drug or alcohol use in the past year. Following in second are white teens, at 39 percent; Hispanics at 37 percent; and multi-racial adolescents at 36 percent. Meanwhile, 32 percent and 24 percent of black and Asian teens, respectively, admitted to drug use in the past year.

The researchers conducted an analysis of the results of the survey, which consisted of responses from 72,561 teens nationwide, regarding drug and alcohol use. This included use of such substances as cocaine, heroin, and oxycodone.

Senior study author Dan Blazer, of the Department of Psychiatry of Duke University, shared the following statement: “There is certainly still a myth out there that black kids are more likely to have problems with drugs than white kids, and this documents as clearly as any study we’re aware of that the rate of… substance-related disorders among African American youths is significantly lower.”

Drug Testing

Maine Governor Pushes for Drug Testing of Welfare Recipients

Published by:

Paul LePage, governor of Maine, has expressed that he would like welfare recipients to undergo random drug testing.

The governor said: “I’m going to ask the Legislature to allow us to do what every truck driver in the United States of America has to do, take a random test… I think if we’re going to take our own limited resources, we ought to be able to test ’em on occasion.”

The governor had shared these sentiments during a business chamber breakfast in the town of Jay in Maine.

LePage had given an overview of accomplishments from the previous legislative session. When it came to drug testing, it was shared that in this year’s budget, the Legislature had provided the state the ability to test recipients of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, if they have a felony drug conviction. The governor, though, would like to take that even further, in order to deter people from going “benefit shopping.”

Random drug testing programs for welfare recipients, however, has been deemed unconstitutional in other states, according to Robyn Merrill of Maine Equal Justice, an entity that provides legal services for the poor. She shared: “Random drug testing is very questionable legally with respect to constitutional issues… If the government has the right to drug-test people based on receipt of aid from public assistance programs, what is to stop the government from requiring drug testing for anyone who receives a student loan or any other government benefit? This law would create a very slippery slope with respect to infringement on people’s right to privacy.”