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Alcohol Testing Health & Wellness Substance Abuse

Drinking Young Could Affect Risk of Developing Alcoholism Through Genes

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underage drinking

Drinking early has been found to have an effect on the genes related to alcoholism, increasing the likelihood of the subject developing a serious drinking problem later in life. Using twins, a researcher in Australia analyzed the affects of early drinking on heritable genes. When these subjects began drinking at an early age it increased the likelihood of their developing alcoholism by as much as 90% among the youngest drinkers. Those who drank at older ages were not affected in this way. While genetic changes occurred for the younger subjects for the older subjects factors like environment were much more likely to influence them in their drinking habits. The reason for this age difference having different effects isn’t clear but if a younger drinking age is responsible for changing genetic traits related to alcoholism as the study shows then it does become even more important to prevent such habits from developing at a young age.

The twins in the study were between the ages of 24 and 36 at the time of interview but some of the subjects reported drinking ages as young as 5 or 6. Those who were 15 or younger when they began drinking were more likely to develop drinking problems than those who were older. Twins offered the researchers an opportunity to study behavioral differences in two people with the exact same DNA. Differences in things like drinking between the pair are concluded to be caused by environmental factors for this reason.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

New Links Between Virus That Causes Leukemia in Animals and Prostate Cancer

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Acute_leukemia-ALLAccording to U.S. researchers a virus that has been found to cause leukemia and tumors in animals may play a part in prostate cancer in humans. Xenotropic murin leukemia virus related virus (also known as XMRV) was found in about 27% of prostate cancer cases( 233 active cases and 101 benign controls were studied), especially those with particularly aggressive tumors. It’s hoped that these findings could help with the development of a new vaccine or more effective treatment method based on the link.

Viruses like HPV have been found to cause certain cancers in recent years, making it possible for drug makers to develop vaccines to inoculate against the virus and thus prevent cancer.   If these findings prove to be true it could help vaccines and preventative medicines to reduce and in time perhaps eliminate some forms of cancer.

Prostate cancer kills 254,000 men a year and is the second most deadly form of cancer in men worldwide.

XMRV is a retrovirus which means that it introduces it’s genetic map into the framework of any cells it contaminates. This in turn either kills or makes the cell cancerous. If the way it infects the human body can be found and prevented some forms of prostate cancer could be averted.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Sugar May Feed Tumors

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sugarNew research on how tumor cells grow from sugar may help scientists to prevent tumors from developing and aid in better treating and understanding diseases like diabetes.  While the fact that tumor cells feed off of sugar has been known since the 1920s little has been found out about how the process works since the discovery. These new findings give researchers insight into how tumors develop and now a way to stop or reduce the rate of growth through reducing levels of an amino acid called glutamine in the body. When this amino acid is reduced in the cell it causes the cell to effectively “short-circuit” stopping any growth from occurring. Researchers will next explore the effects of the protein MondoA and the gene TXNIP on glucose uptake in cells utilizing animal models.  If this process can be better understood then it may be possible to use it to create an effective treatment for cancer.

Substance Abuse

ADHD Stimulant Abuse on the Rise in Teens

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ADHD abuse

According to researchers ADHD drugs (amphetamines specifically) are increasingly abused by teens. This has given rise to a 76% increase in Emergency room cases of poison from the drug in teens, a statistic that is much higher than even that of illegal substance abuse in teens and prescription drug abuse in general. Out of those calls recorded 42% of calls dealing with poison from abusing these drugs were of a serious nature, causing moderate to major effects and in some cases death.

Teens usual use prescription drugs to get better sleep, treat anxiety, and help them with concentration. All of these uses occurring under the mistaken idea that they are safer to use than illegal street drugs. Abuse of these prescriptions has gone up with the more common use of amphetamines for ADHD treatment. It’s also thought that these incidences are more commonly reported because those who use amphetamines are more likely to feel sick from using the drug.

Health & Wellness

Can My Pets Get Sick of Swine Flu?

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Is it possible for your pet dog or cat to get sick of the swine flu? That is a question that bothers many homeowners because pets are less discriminating than their owners regarding what they touch. They can attack anything out of mere curiosity without knowing that it is contaminated.

However, pet owners should not worry because the swine flu virus has yet to cross the genetic barriers that prevent dogs and cats from becoming infected. The swine flu virus can only make dogs and cats sick if it has enough genetic material from canine flu virus or the feline flu virus.

Still, it does not hurt to exercise caution so that you or a member of your family does not get sick. You can do this by washing your hands right after handling your pet. Also, if you see signs that your pet is sick, you should take your pet immediately to your vet.

For full version of this article, please visit “Can My Pets Get Sick of Swine Flu?“.

Health & Wellness

Three Main Differences between Swine Flu and Bird Flu

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This year’s swine flu pandemic has caused a lot of fear and worry among people across the world. And yet, some of the flu cases that were reported this year were caused not by the swine flu virus but by the bird flu virus. Such developments have caused people to use the terms “swine flu” and “bird flu” interchangeably, without realizing that these two diseases are distinct from each other.

There are many differences between swine flu and bird flu. One such difference is that swine flu is more prevalent in the North American continents while bird flu is more felt in Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe. Another difference is that the swine flu virus has a genetic makeup that is different from the bird flu virus. Lastly, the bird flu virus is considered to be more virulent than the swine flu virus, largely because humans have not yet developed the antibodies needed to fight against it.

For full version of this article, please visit “Three Main Differences between Swine Flu and Bird Flu“.

Early Disease Detection Health & Wellness

Scientists Find a Chemical Which Destroys Cancer Stem Cells in Mice

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mice cancer

Researchers have found a compound which destroys certain stem cells that are thought to cause recurrence in cancer after treatment. There is already a large collection of research which proves these stem cells play a part in rebuilding cancer after treatment is thought to have killed the initial tumor.  The stronger tumors associated with these stem cells include those caused by cancers such as breast, lung and prostate cancers among others.

Studying these cells has been a problem however, because they don’t grow as well outside of the human body.  Through a process called epithelial-to-mesynchymal transition researchers of this study were able to produce and test stem cells against thousands of chemical compounds that have been effective against breast cancer. Salinomycin, the compound in question, destroyed lab generated and naturally occurring cancer stem cells, reducing them by a 100 fold and breast tumor re-growth in the mice tested. More research will need to be done before the effects of the compound can be confirmed as effective for humans as they have been for the mice. It’s also hoped that the reason why the chemical is effective can be resolved during further study.

Health & Wellness

Rare Mutation Found Which Requires Less Sleep for People

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A very rare mutation has been found in a mother and daughter which allows them to feel fully rested from 6 hours sleep which may offer new insight into the way sleep affects our health.  According to the National Institute of Health the average adult requires 7-9 hours of sleep every night to maintain good health.  Getting less sleep than is necessary on a regular basis leaves the subject open to developing health problems such as memory impairment and a weakened immune system.  Chronic insomnia is estimated to affect as many as 30 million in the U.S. alone and is only one of several sleep disorders that affect millions more in America.

Researchers have long sought a gene that could help resolve these problems. In 2001 University of California, San Francisco researchers discovered a mutation that affected carriers’ sleep patterns, causing them to go to sleep at 7:30p.m. and wake up at 3 a.m. This same team discovered the mother (age 69 years) and daughter(age 44)  with a shorter sleep pattern which causes them to go to bed around 10 p.m. and awaken at 4 or 4:30 a.m. with no side effects. This gene, called DEC2, affects the circadian rhythm. When fruit flies and mice were bred with the same gene they too began to require less sleep and for the mice it meant a much quicker recovery form a lack of sleep.

San Francisco Drug Screening

Health & Wellness

FDA Warns Against Using Supplements That Claim to Act as Steroids

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The FDA has posted a public health advisory warning against use of any supplements that claim to contain steroids or steroid like materials. This report came five days after a raid of American Cellular Labs in California looking for proof that the company sells actual steroids under the guise of supplements. Products that were under investigation are: MASS Xtreme, TREN-Xtreme and six others. Over the last two years five reports have been made related to these drugs and more from other companies citing liver damage. These reports prompted the investigation along with concerns that high school athletes, who are not generally required to undergo steroid testing, may be using them.

Such supplements are readily available in malls and retail outlets across the country which spreads their use and side effects across a wide area of consumers. Steroids and other drugs that are intended to build muscle mass aren’t the only supplements that should require this level of caution. Many supplements make health benefit claims that are simply unfounded and are often outright lies to market the product. Caution should always be used when taking any sort of supplement for health reasons whether it’s for mental or physical results. Discuss the supplements you’re looking into with your doctor before using them, it could lower your risk for side effects and improve your knowledge of the product.

Pregnancy & Fertility

Are Home Pregnancy Tests Always Accurate?

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1087_medOne question that women always ask themselves when using a home pregnancy test is if they are always accurate. You are more likely to get a false negative reading than a false positive reading when you are using a home test for pregnancy. A positive reading with a home test almost always means that you are pregnant.

Women who get a false negative reading often do not follow the directions for the test or take the test too soon. The PH levels have to get to a certain level where they will be picked up in the urine in order for a home pregnancy test to determine if you are pregnant. In some tests, it takes a week after you have missed your period before this can be determined through the test. In other tests, pregnancy can be determined a number of days after a missed period. Many women who get a false negative will take the test a few days after they have had intercourse to see if they are pregnant which can mean a false reading.

In some cases, a woman may be pregnant but may miscarry. This can lead to a positive reading, after which the woman gets her period. In cases where there is a positive reading, a woman should always see a doctor who can make the clinical diagnosis based upon an examination. In just about all cases when a woman finds that she is pregnant through a home pregnancy test, she will find that the doctor will concur with the results.

If you take a home pregnancy test and get a false reading and still do not get your period, you should take another test. There are some cases where stress can affect the cycle, especially in young women and this is generally not a cause for concern.