Testing It Up » December 2011

Monthly Archives: December 2011

Alcohol Testing Substance Abuse

Consumption of Too Much Alcohol Linked to Unsafe Sex

Published by:

The consumption of too much alcohol has been linked to a behavior that is also deemed as a health risk: unsafe sex, which is known to be the most common cause of HIV infection.

The study was led by Jurgen Rehm, director of social and epidemiological research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Ontario, Canada. It indicated that the more alcohol is consumed by the study participants, the more willing they became to engage in unsafe sex.

It was found that for each 0.1 milligrams per milliliter increase in blood alcohol level, there was a corresponding 5 percent increase in one’s likelihood to engage in unsafe sex.

Rehm made the following comment in a journal news release: “Drinking has a causal effect on the likelihood to engage in unsafe sex, and thus should be included as a major factor in preventive efforts for HIV… This result also helps explain why people at risk often show this behavior despite better knowledge: Alcohol is influencing their decision processes.”

The study is published in the January issue of the journal Addiction.

Substance Abuse

Synthetic Marijuana Now Banned in Chicago!

Published by:

December 14 marks the start of the ban against synthetic marijuana in Chicago, as indicated in an announcement made by Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Ald. Edward Burke on Tuesday.

With the implementation of the ban, those who are caught selling synthetic marijuana products may face a fine of $1,000 and may stand to lose their business licenses.

Burke shared: “The Chicago ordinance will close the legal loophole that’s permitted these dangerous products to remain on store shelves,” adding further that the ban, which was approved last month by the City Council, was proposed by Ald. JoAnn Thompson.

Attorney General Madigan, on the other hand, said that starting January 1, a state-wide law that will make it a felony to possess or sell synthetic marijuana will take effect in Illinois. Aside from synthetic marijuana, the state also bans synthetic cocaine (such as bath salts), and Ald. Burke has revealed his intention to propose that these substances be banned in Chicago as well.

Early Disease Detection

Elderly Adults Continue to Undergo Cancer Screening

Published by:

A study published in an issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine reveal that despite associated risks, many elderly Americans continue to undergo cancer screening procedures.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force does not recommend routine screening for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer for patients aged 75 and older. For cervical cancer, the Task Force does not recommend screening for patients aged 65 and older.

Keith Bellizzi, an assistant professor of human development and family studies at the University of Connecticut in Storrs, and lead researcher for the study, shared: “In an era of escalating health care utilization and expenditures in the United States, identifying areas for cost containment while concurrently improving quality of care in our health care system is increasingly paramount.”

The challenge, Bellizzi shares, may be how to determine the segments of the older adult population where there is a need for continued screening, and those segments “with limited life expectancy, poor health status and concommitant health conditions that would likely not benefit from screening.”

The researchers found that people over the age of 75 were more likely to undergo screening for breast cancer, colorectal cancer, and prostate cancer, when accompanied by a doctor’s recommendation. Men and women who received college educations were also more likely to undergo screening, while those who do not have a high school diploma were least likely to get screened.

Dr. Louise Walter, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, the author of an accompanying journal editorial, shared: “What you really want to do is encourage individualized decisions… There are lots of very healthy people that have long life expectancy, and cancer increases as you get older, so it makes sense to get screened.”

Alcohol Testing Substance Abuse

Texas Cities Call for DUI Blood Tests During Holiday Season

Published by:

An increasing number of cities and counties across Texas are demanding that drunk drivers who refuse to submit to Breathalyzer tests be subjected to blood alcohol tests.

The policy has been christened “no refusal” by law enforcement officials, as it prevents drivers from refusing to provide evidence that they are drunk.

The blood-test policy was initially a procedure used in a handful of jurisdictions in Texas, but has since evolved into an initiative that is employed by police across the state, especially during weekends and holidays where there is an increase in incidents of drunk driving.

With this no-refusal initiative, the process is streamlined as magistrate judges are on standby at such locations as police stations, ready to issue a search warrant when necessary. Once the warrant is granted, nurses and other medical professionals are also on standby to draw blood, and police have the authority to strap a suspect to a chair for the procedure, if they need to do so.

Montgomery County prosecutor Warren Diepraam shared: “With no refusal, you don’t have to go tromp down to the police station and then to a judge’s house and then to a hospital, because you have everyone in one central location.”

The county implements a no-refusal policy from Thanksgiving all the way through to New Year’s.

Police in El Paso shared that having the mandatory blood alcohol test policy in place actually encourages people to simply go for the less painful option and blow into a Breathalyzer.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Woman Busted for False Cancer Claims to Raise Money

Published by:

A 42-year-old mother of two has been arrested for falsely claiming to be suffering from cancer and raising money for her supposed treatments.

Martha Nicholas claimed to have been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer when she was still in her 20s. Because of her supposed conditions, several fundraisers have been held for her benefit, in order to help defray expenses associated with her treatments.

In July, she was said to have shared with a group of supporters that “each night, I wonder if it will be the last.” She also mentioned during an interview for a Relay for Life event last summer that she was able to raise over $10,000 selling necklaces and orange t-shirts with the slogan “Cancer Sucks.”

Nicholas, however, did not have cancer.

Capt. Michael J. Trice of the Hanover County Sheriff’s office shared: “Our investigation revealed no evidence of any cancer treatment at any medical facility that had been publicly identified by Martha Nicholas during her many public appearances and testimonials… Investigators also found evidence of individuals that had given money to Martha Nicholas due to her proclaimed medical condition.”

Nicholas was arrested on Thursday and charged with two counts of obtaining money by false pretenses.

A supporter was quoted as saying: “I refuse to believe it, because I think no one makes this up.” Nicholas’ two children, aged 10 and 13, also think that their mother actually had cancer.

Sam Simpson, attorney for Nicholas, denied that his client was swindling anyone. He told ABC News: “This was not a scam to rip people off… There is an illness. It’s a mental illness, and I can’t say more about this.”

Health & Wellness

How to Manage Your Cold From Home

Published by:

Are you or someone in your family dealing with a case of the sniffles? Relief may not be all that hard to find, as there are things in your pantry and your refrigerator that will help you address cold symptoms.

WebMD shares a few tips, among them the very basic recommendation to drink a lot of fluids. Drinking fluids helps break up congestion; water or juice will help keep the throat moist, and prevents dehydration. The following beverages are great to have when you are nursing a cold: water, sports drinks, herbal teas, fruit drinks, or ginger ale. A steaming, comforting bowl of chicken soup works well too!

Not all fluids, however, achieve the same effect. Steer clear caffeine-laden drinks, such as coffee and cola, as these may have the opposite result and cause dehydration.

Another way to break up congestion is to irrigate the nose with a salt water rinse. While there are commercial saline sprays available, the rinse can also be easily made at home. A popular recipe consists of mixing ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in 8 ounces of warm water. Rinsing with salt water, aside from breaking up congestion, also helps remove virus particles and bacteria from the nose.

One may also think of a case of the colds as an opportunity to slow it down, so put all your work-related cares and worries on hold and focus on you, and on getting better, for a day or two. Keep yourself warm and rested; this will help your body direct its energy towards recuperating.

Substance Abuse

House Bans Synthetic Drugs!

Published by:

In a 317-98 vote, the House has decided to ban synthetic drugs, or drugs that mimic the effects of marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines.

The ban also covers chemical compounds that are found in the synthetic drugs that are being marketed as “bath salts” or “plant food” and under such brand names as K2 and Spice. While these substances have been banned in some states, they are still being sold legally in others.

There are at least 40 states that have already passed laws that criminalize synthetic drugs, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, and the bill may potentially lead to federal prosecution and longer prison terms for distributing small amounts of synthetic drugs.

Rep. Charlie Dent of Pennsylvania explained that his legislation will add the chemical compounds that affect the brain in the same way that THC does to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California, however, said that the addition of a certain drug to Schedule I will make the drug difficult to obtain, “not only for illegal purposes but for researchers who wish to study its pharmaceutical and medical potential.”

Dent shared further that “there’s been a sharp increase in the number of new reports detailing horrific stories of individuals high on synthetic drugs” in the past year. One such example involved a case in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where a priest was stabbed by a man who was high on bath salts.

Rep. Frank Pallone of New Jersey pointed out the serious side effects that may arise from using these designer drugs, such as convulsions, anxiety attacks, and dangerously elevated heart rates.

Celebrity Substance Abuse Real Drug Stories Substance Abuse

“Learn From Your Mistakes” – Lindsay Lohan

Published by:

A lot has happened since the world fell in love with a young actress with cute freckles, playing both twin sisters who were scheming to bring their parents back together in Disney’s The Parent Trap. Nowadays, Lindsay Lohan’s image is a far cry from those adorable characters, having faced issues with alcohol and drug use.

In a recent interview, though, Lindsay Lohan owned up to her shortcomings, and said that she has learned from them.

Reuters Canada shared excerpts from the interview, which were released on Saturday. The interview accompanies a 10-page spread with Playboy magazine, which also features her on the cover.

The issue hit the Playboy website on Saturday as well, while the magazines will be available on newsstands on December 16. Hugh Hefner shared that the release date of the issue featuring Lindsay has been moved up, after photos from the spread were leaked online.

In her interview, Lindsay said that she would have done certain things differently in recent years, a period that saw the former child actress get arrested for drunk driving, drug possession, and theft.

She said: “Looking back, I probably would have listened to and taken more advice from the people whom I admire and would have followed through with it more… During the past five years, I’ve learned that time flies faster than you think, and because you only live once you have to learn from your mistakes, live your dreams and be accountable.”

The magazine features Lindsay as a blond, channeling the 1953 photo spread of the iconic Marilyn Monroe.

Health & Wellness Home Health Hazards

Eating Raw Cookie Dough: Not a Good Idea – CDC

Published by:

It may be fun to sneak a bite or two of raw cookie dough while mom is out in the garden picking flowers, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns that doing so is not such a good idea.

In a report released on December 9, the CDC issued a warning against the dangers associated with eating raw cookie dough. Among the things that the study was able to determine is a strong link between consuming ready-to-bake cookie dough and illness.

The study involved 77 patients with illnesses, from March 16, 2009 to July 8, 2009, from 30 states. Of this population, 35 were hospitalized, and 10 developed hemolytic-uremic syndrome, although none of them died. It was determined that out of 35 patients, 33 had consumed ready-to-bake commercial pre-packaged cookie dough.

The study suggested further that consumers need to educated better about the risk of food poisoning when they eat raw, prepackaged cookie dough. In addition, it may be beneficial if manufacturers recognize how people seem to love munching on raw cookie dough, and develop ready-to-bake commercial pre-packaged cookie dough that is safe to eat even when raw.

An investigation into the findings associated the dangers of eating raw cookie dough with raw flour. Flour and flour-based mixes can be contaminated with low levels of salmonella, and have been linked to salmonella outbreaks. The dangers of eating raw cookie dough were previously linked to an outbreak of E.Coli in 2009.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), according to the report, has been advised that several cookie dough makers may have switched to heat-treated flour. The report appeared in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Weed Wars: Five-Year-Old Takes Medical Marijuana

Published by:

It would have been an abominable thought given a different set of facts and circumstances, but in an episode of Discovery Channel’s controversial reality show “Weed Wars,” having a five-year-old boy take marijuana seemed justifiable, if not necessary.

Huffington Post shared details regarding the episode, which showed a father administering medical marijuana to his five-year-old son, in his quest to find a treatment that will ease the boy’s seizures.

Jason, the father, has tried to do everything he could to ease the hour-long seizures that his son Jayden has been suffering from since he was four months old. He was unable to find relief for his son in traditional medicine, and turned to Harborside Health Center, a medical marijuana dispensary in Oakland, for help for his son.

Jason was shown orally giving a tincture of medical cannabinoid (CBD) to Jayden, who offered little resistance. The CBD tincture was non-intoxicating, so Jayden should not have felt any side effects, such as being high. Jason shared: “I’m not trying to get my son high. I’m trying to cure my son’s seizures.”

The episode is expected to draw terse reactions from medical marijuana critics.

Steve DeAngelo, CEO of Harborside Health Center, shared: “We want to make it safe, seemly and responsible… If we can’t demonstrate professionalism and legitimacy, we’re never going to fain the trust of our citizens. And without that trust, we’re never going to get to where we need to go.”