Testing It Up » December 2011

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Health & Wellness

Investigation to Include Other Infant Formulas Aside from Enfamil

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The investigation surrounding the death of 10-day-old infant Avery Cornett of Lebanon, Missouri, will be expanded to include other infant formulas, aside from Mead Johnson’s Enfamil.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that the baby had consumed other infant formulas prior to his death, although the CDC did not provide any details beyond that.

Wal-Mart had pulled Enfamil off its store shelves nationwide after the formula was linked to Cornett’s death.

The infant had tested positive for Cronobacter, a bacterium that has been linked to rare illnesses among newborn babies. Cronobacter was described in the report as “a relatively common environmental contaminant,” and has been found in milk-based powdered baby formula.

The fact that the infant had also been fed with other baby formula before he died means that the link to Enfamil was still not proven. Despite this, however, sales of Enfamil may still be affected. Shares of Mead Johnson Nutrition Co., manufacturer of Enfamil Newborn, also closed 5 percent lower on Friday, on top of the 10 percent drop it experienced when news of its link to an infant’s death broke out.

Dr. Robert Tauxe, deputy director of the division of food-borne, water-borne, and environmental diseases of the CDC, shared that while other formulas may also be involved, “at this point, no formula samples have yielded Cronobacter.”

Siobhan DeLancey, spokeswoman for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), shared that an analysis of samples of unopened and opened baby formula containers and water, from the Cornett home, as well as the mixture of formula and water, is being conducted by the agency.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Health & Wellness Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Blair Witch Actress Recounts Experience as Medical Marijuana Grower

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Heather Donahue, one of the stars in the indie horror film The Blair Witch Project, will be releasing a book, and it is not about the film that became one of the most popular horror flicks of all time.

A feature on the Daily Mail shares how Donahue eventually became disillusioned with Hollywood. She decided to switch careers, and eventually put her green thumb to use by growing medical marijuana. She recounts all these in the book GrowGirl: How My Life After The Blair Witch Project Went To Pot.

Donahue herself was prescribed with medical marijuana in 2007, for the treatment of PMS. In an interview in the Philadelphia Inquirer where she was asked whether she smoked marijuana a week out of a month, she said: “It’s a very flexible medicine.”

After the realization that as she grew older, better movie offers were not coming along, Donahue followed her boyfriend to Nuggettown, and grew pot for medical purposes. She made the transformation from a fast-paced life in Los Angeles to becoming a country girl. She has always been an avid gardener, however, so the adjustment was not that difficult.

After a friend was busted by federal authorities, she decided to stop growing pot and to write about her experience.

Despite having been a pot grower, she is, however, torn about the question of marijuana legalization. Donahue shared the following on her website: “Cannabis has been intertwined with human culture for thousands of years… It’s here to stay as medicine, as an industry, and as a component of the culture. The idea that such a hearty, useful plant could be legislated out of existence seems pretty foolish.”

Alcohol Testing Substance Abuse

Keeping a Hangover at Bay Over the Holidays

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Holiday parties are usually a great excuse to indulge a little bit more than usual. The thing is, it may be all fun and games while the party is in full swing, but when morning comes and the hangover sets in, it dawns on you that things ain’t all that swell.

A hangover is described as the reaction of the body when it is poisoned with too much alcohol. Its symptoms include having a pounding headache, fatigue, cotton mouth, uneasy stomach, and a weakened immune system.

It is not true, however, that only those who binge drink can suffer from a hangover the morning after. On the contrary, even a just a couple of drinks can trigger hangover symptoms, depending on your body’s composition. It would help if you have water in between beers or hard drinks, in order to keep you hydrated and reduce the aggregate amount of alcohol that you consume.

It also helps to hit the alcohol circuit on a full stomach. Fatty foods can slow down the body’s absorption of alcohol, so it may be in your best interest to go for pizza or steak before partying (or make sure that you hit the buffet table first before drinking) if you would like to escape having a hangover.

So what do you do after a night of partying and getting drunk? Steer clear of anything with caffeine, and sip water and sports drinks to keep you hydrated and replace lost electrolytes, especially if you experienced vomiting.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Cameron Douglas Gets More Jail Time for Drug Possession in Jail

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Cameron Douglas, 33, son of actor Michael Douglas, was sentenced to four ½ more years in jail for possession of drugs while already serving a jail sentence. The elder Douglas was not in court for his son’s sentencing, but his estranged wife, Cameron’s mother Diandra, was present, and was seen weeping as she left the court.

The young Douglas was jailed in April of last year, and was already serving five years for drug trafficking. Before being given additional years behind bars, Cameron reportedly told the court: “I am ashamed.”

Aside from the additional jail time, Judge Richard Berman fined Douglas $4,000, and branded him “reckless, disruptive and non-compliant.” Douglas was also banned from receiving family visits for two years, and was required to undergo drug treatment.

Despite pleading with the judge for leniency, the sentence handed down by Berman was twice as long as that requested for by prosecutors. Berman also told Douglas that he had “blown the biggest opportunity of his life.”

Early in the week, Cameron had sent the judge a letter, where he asked for “the opportunity to build myself and gain the tools I need to shape my future.” He wrote further: “I feel so strongly, for the first time in my life, that I am truly ripe for positive reform and real achievement.”

Cameron Douglas’ hearing was held at a court in Manhattan. His mother was photographed leaving the court in tears, and being comforted by a friend.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Infant’s Death Triggers Recall of Baby Formula by Wal-Mart

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The death of a 10-day-old infant in Missouri has triggered a recall of infant formula by Wal-Mart. The batch of the formula involved, Enfamil, has been pulled from Wal-Mart stores nationwide. The one given to the infant had been bought from a Wal-Mart in Lebanon, Missouri.

The lot number of the batch is ZP1K7G.Wal-Mart said that the size and lot number of the formula that may have caused the infant to get sick – 12.5-ounce cans of Enfamil Newborn powder – has been pulled from all of its more than 3,000 stores across the country.

The infant succumbed to a rare bacterial infection after the purchase of the infant formula. Mead Johnson Nutrition, the manufacturer of Enfamil, shared that authorities are running tests to find out whether the formula itself was the cause of the infant’s death, or other factors, such as the water used to make the formula.

Chris Perille, a spokesman for Mead Johnson Nutrition, shared: “We are highly confident in the safety and quality of our products — and the rigorous testing we put them through.”

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Diana Gee, on the other hand, gave the following statement: “We extend our deepest condolences to this baby boy’s family as they try to come to grips with their loss… As soon as we heard what happened, we immediately reached out to the manufacturer of the formula and to the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide any information we may have to help with the investigation.”

Pregnancy & Fertility

Free Sperm Donor Gets Flak from FDA

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A man from the San Francisco Bay area, who has been donating sperm to women who would like to have children for free, has drawn criticism from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as from doctors.

36-year-old Trent Arsenault of Fremont has a website through which he meets women that he donates sperm to. He has since fathered 14 children, with four more on the way.

The FDA, however, has sent Arsenault a letter telling him to stop what he is doing, as he does not follow FDA requirements for getting tested for sexually-transmitted diseases prior to making a sperm donation. The FDA reportedly described, in that letter, the service that Arsenault provides as a business. Arsenault, however, begs to differ. “This is not a business or a clinic,” he said. “It’s just people partnering up to have a baby out of compassion.”

According to Arsenault, a minister’s son, his motivation for doing what he does is to be able to help people who would like to have children, but who cannot afford conventional sperm banks. Arsenault shared: “I always had known through people praying at church that there’s fertility issues… I thought it would just be a neat way of service to help the community.”

Bioethicist Arthur Caplan of the University of Pennsylvania, however, said: “There’s a danger of accidental incest or inbreeding if you’re the father of 14 children and a habitual sperm donor… nobody should be involved as a sperm donor on that level. It’s not safe.”

Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

Former Addict Pays It Forward, Now Helps Others Face Their Issues

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He was once in their shoes, and knew exactly what they were going through. Antonio Lambert, 41, is not someone whose past people would want to emulate, but his experiences and what he has been able to overcome now help other addicts and people with mental health issues overcome their own problems.

The New York Times shares Lambert’s story, as well as the relatively controversial practice of having former patients of the mental health care system work as counselors. While doctors and case workers have questioned how effective this practice is, a recent study indicates that peer support in mental health cases has benefits.

One such example of the success of peer support is Lambert, an ex-convict who was diagnosed with mood disorder with drug addiction, but has since turned his life around. He is becoming a prominent peer trainer, and gives classes in Delaware and across the country.

What he does now, however, is a far cry from who he was as a young man. Aside from substance abuse, he also had a violent past. By the age of 21, when others would be celebrating their first sip of alcohol, Lambert was sentenced to 22 years for malicious wounding with a firearm, among other charges.

Based on studies conducted by mental health researchers, who have tested the effect of peers in various settings over the past ten years, “specialized” peers (those who have a history that is similar to that of their clients), they are able to reduce the rate of psychiatric hospitalizations, and increase the use of such programs as Alcoholics Anonymous, when appropriate.

Early Disease Detection

North Korean Leader Kim Jong Il dies

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North Korea has been plunged into mourning as their leader, Kim Jong Il, passed away at the age of 69. He reportedly died on December 17, although his death was not announced to the world by the North Korean government until December 19.

Kim Jong Il came into power in 1994, after his father, Kim Il-sung, died of a heart attack. He was described in a feature on the Detroit Free Press as a “chain-smoking recluse.”

Kim Jong Il had allegedly suffered from a number of health issues prior to his death. In 2008, he reportedly suffered a stroke, and he is said to be suffering from pancreatic cancer, diabetes, and heart disease as well.

He is, however, portrayed as someone who is in good health, and recent photos and videos from a trip to Russia and China, as well as trips around North Korea, showed him as “relatively vigorous.” He was said to have died from a heart attack.

There were also reports, however, that Kim Jong Il had allegedly died of diabetes in late 2003, and that he has been replaced since then by stand-ins who have been employed as a protective measure against assassination attempts. That claim was made in an August 2008 issue of the Japanese news weekly Shukan Gendai, by Professor Toshimitsu Shigemura of Waseda University.

In his book, The True Character of Kim Jong-il, Shigemura alleged that Japanese and South Korean intelligence sources had revealed that the North Korean leader’s diabetes had gotten worse by early 2000, and that he had been confined to a wheelchair until his supposed “death” in 2003.

The remains of the late leader lie in state at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang.

Drug Testing

Debate on Drug Testing for Welfare Recipients Rages On

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The proposal to make drug testing mandatory for welfare recipients continues to be the subject of debate among politicians.

Those who are opposed to the idea are pointing out that testing of welfare recipients constitutes inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. Among those who have reservations about the proposal is John Kasich, governor of Ohio, who said: “You’ve got to balance the taxpayers off about what’s the common sense thing to do with the right thing to do, the compassionate thing to do… What’s the right thing for the kids?”

At a question and answer session following a speech before a conference of Ohio county commissioners and engineers, the governor said that the children of parents who fail drug tests, and will therefore be denied welfare benefits, should be considered. He was quoted as saying, “There are a lot of people hurting out there, and I’m not sure this is the time to start saying to them, ‘If you want to get something, you’ve got to go through these hoops.’”

The governor also listed privacy laws that could block testing, as well as whether those who fail should be sent to rehab, as other concerns that ought to be considered when talking about testing welfare recipients for drugs.

Michelle Tope, director of the Tuscarawas County Department of Job & Family Services in New Philadelphia, on the other hand, gave the following opinion: “There are many implications that the average person doesn’t think about. If a parent fails a test for marijuana, for example, and that means they lose the income and can no longer maintain the child in their home. If the child has to be removed into foster care, that’s a trauma inflicted on the child. Our system can’t accommodate the potential volume of placements.”