Archive for January, 2011

Smoking and Obesity Shorten Life Expectancy in the US

The life expectancy of most citizens at age 50 has increased, but it is noticeably slower compared to other countries like Australia, Japan, and 21 other countries, as released in reports from the National Research Council, an arm of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

shorter life expectancyThe US is spending more on health care than any other country, and this slowing pace of life expectancy is alarming. Samuel H. Preston, a professor of demography at the University of Pennsylvania says that “We determined the most likely source of our shortfall is cigarette smoking, particularly the heavy amount of smoking done by American women. Obesity also appears to be important, but we are less certain of its role. We are the heaviest country in the Western world.”

Women in the US has a rate of 33.1 years at a life expectancy of 50 years, while in Japan, Australia, Switzerland, and Sweden,  it’s at 35.5 on the average.

Americans smoked heavier than their Japanese and European counterparts fifty years ago, and this is why it has affected life expectancy rates in the US today. The effect of smoking on mortality rates takes 30 years to be seen, and as fewer men are smoking in the US for the last 20 years, the life expectancy of men might improve in the coming decades. In the case of women, their smoking peaked later than in men; this would naturally translate to more alarming statistics for the coming years.

Obesity’s role in the life expectancy rate isn’t as clear yet. Some researchers are putting it responsible for one-fifth to one-third of the life expectancy gap between the US and other developed countries. Obesity can also level off the gained years in reduced smoking, reports say. However, recent data gathered shows that the epidemic on obesity is declining and death associated with such conditions will be decreased.

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Marijuana Soda: The Next Four Loko?

Amidst reports of alcohol poisoning and accidental deaths, Four Loko has dramatically dwindled in the black market. A new form of drink has risen from Four Loko’s ashes: pot-laced soda.

marijuana sodaCalifornia-based businessman Clay Developer introduced a line of cannabis soft drinks that will soon be available in medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado on February and in California this coming spring. The drink will be sold in 12-ounce bottles that will come in three varieties – Doc Weed, Orange Kush, and Canna Cola – all containing 35 to 65 milligrams of THC or tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

Data from the World Health Organization, a typical marijuana joint may contain 5 to 150 mg of THC and only about 2 or 3 mg is required to give the user a pleasurable high. Heavy users in Jamaica though consume 420 mg of THC per day. This translated to the Canna Cola containing 10 to 30 times the required amount of THC to get ordinary users a high. Incidentally, Canna Cola is marketed as a mid-morning snack for a Rastafarian.

Joshua Lile, a pharmacologist in the department of behavioral science at the University of Kentucky specializing in drug addiction, confirmed that the dosage in Canna Cola is much higher, even higher than those found in marijuana joints. Lile, in his interview for Life’s Little Mysteries, stated that “When you ingest THC orally, it’s much more potent than when you smoke it.  Active metabolites such as 11-hydroxy-delta-9 THC get produced in the liver and intestines when you metabolize the drug and these add to the effects it has on the brain.”

There are studies that have used 30 mg orally administered THC; comparing the 35-65 mg in Canna Cola, it really is a high dose for a beverage.

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“Two and a Half Men” Series on Hold; Charlie Sheen Enters Rehab

A day after he was hospitalized for partying and drinking for a solid 36 hours, actor Charlie Sheen has entered rehab to fix himself. His publicist confirmed this on Friday. This puts his “Two and a Half Men” series on hold as his home network CBS supports him on his plans. The comedy series is one of the highest rated in the United States.

two and a half men“Charlie Sheen has voluntarily entered an undisclosed rehabilitation center today. He is most grateful to all who have expressed their concern,” the actor’s spokesman Stan Rosenfield told Reuters. Rosenfield also said that Sheen is asking for privacy and that there will be no other information to be released in connection with what the actor is going through.

Sheen is now 45 years old and is one of the highest paid television actors in the US. He earns an estimated $27.5 million a year for playing the role of a womanizing bachelor in his “Two and a Half Men” series. The show is said to have 15 million viewers weekly.

Last Thursday, he was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital after severe attacks of abdominal pains. He left the hospital late Thursday and was planning to return to the set of his TV show scheduled to resume on Tuesday. CBS, Warner Bros. Television, and executive producer Chuck Lorre has decided to put on hold Sheen’s comedy show. They had this statement released: “We are profoundly concerned for his health and well-being, and support his decision.”

Sheen’s personal issues have dominated the headlines in the past year. He had a stint on a rehab facility, admitted a penchant for prostitutes and porn stars, and reportedly attacked his wife in 2009. CBS entertainment chief Nina Tassler has told journalists earlier this month that the network is very concerned about Sheen’s personal life. The actor is said to be always at his best behavior while at work.

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Drug Testing for TANF Recipients

Missouri lawmakers are again considering drug testing for the beneficiaries of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The state legislature is considering the bill for a second session in a row. Previously, the bill cleared the house but failed in the senate’s last session. Last Wednesday, the house gave it a second stamp of approval.

drug testingAt present, 112,000 people are under the TANF welfare system. If the bill on drug testing among beneficiaries gets approved by the state and pushes through, some 90,000 people will be tested for drugs.

The Missouri Hotel has been the home of Lisa Dehaven’s family. They were lucky enough to get a slot with 200 families on the waiting list. The Dehaven family became homeless when they moved to Springfield last year. The shelter became their only option for a home, and the TANF the only source of income for her and her husband and their two kids.

Lisa lost the $349 a month allowance when her husband found part time employment four months ago. She no longer qualifies for the type of assistance. This is why she supports the drug testing among TANF recipients. She, like others who have used the program, agrees — free up the funds for those who deserve them.

Missouri lawmakers were at first hesitant, but they signed on afterwards. Other critics of the bill fear that putting stipulations on the TANF will have a chain effect. They say it’s not going to do anything good. But Dehaven and other concerned citizens say that there are a lot of people using the cash benefit for the wrong things.

Representative Lampe says if the bill becomes law, adult recipients of the TANF who test positive for drugs will not be receiving the money, yet their children will still get support. The representative hopes for some changes and amendments on the bill to be presented by the legislation.

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Miley Cyrus Voted Worst Celebrity Influence of 2010

Miley Cyrus did it again! For a second year in a row, the 18-year-old singer-actress has topped the poll for AOL’s (Just So You Know). Nine- to fifteen-year-olds made up almost 60% of the whole 99,000 votes.

Miley CyrusWhat’s happening to the former Disney star? In her Hannah Montana days, kids of all ages adored her, and even formed a fan base that launched her to stardom. Now, she seems to go on the same path that Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan did.

A controversial video in 2010 showed the star inhaling smoke from a bong. This was posted on the internet and greatly influenced the voting population to give her the dubious honor. Those who have seen the footage of Miley were simply aghast with what she’s doing with herself. One user who commented on the video says: “Just because it is legal, doesn’t mean it’s good for you! Like beer, and smoking cigarettes. Those ARE LEGAL but people die from them every day. She’s just not making the right choice.”

Another comment came from Chelsea12Chel which says; “Really girlfriend you are setting a really BAD example for your fans. They looked up to you. And I wanted them to look up to you because you are awesome and a really pretty girl. But now I am going to have to set down and think about them looking up to you.”

Other stars vying for the dis-honor were Demi Lovato and Lindsay Lohan, who both entered rehab last year, ‘Teen Mom’ star Amber Portwood, Kanye West and ‘Gossip Girl’ star Chace Crawford who was arrested for possession of marijuana.

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Positive Drug Test on Grizzlies’ Mayo Makes Trading Difficult

Memphis Grizzlies’ reserve shooting guard O.J. Mayo has been suspended by the NBA for ten games after registering a positive drug test for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). This drug is said to be a natural steroid hormone produced by the adrenalin glands and the gonads.

O.J. MayoIn 2009, the same drug was found on Rashard Lewis’ system and he too was given the same ten-day suspension. Both players, Lewis and Mayo, had the same excuse of taking over-the-counter supplements without knowing that the supplements contained DHEA.

This now puts the burden on the Memphis team as they will surely be having a hard time finding Mayo a new home. They have been trying to get rid of Mayo and had encountered problems finding another team to trade him to even without his testing positive for the DHEA drug. Now, the toll on the team is as big as ever. Looking into Mayo’s performance for this season, he was benched, got into a fight with Tony Allen, and now adds drug abuse on his already tarnished record. This could be the point where Mayo hits rock bottom.

This present obstacle could mean something good for the teams interested in acquiring Mayo, and a not so perfect scenario for the Grizzlies. In the situation that Mayo is currently in, most teams would not be desperate enough to meet the apparently high asking price of the Grizzlies for the disgruntled guard. One thing’s for sure though, they can’t keep Mayo around for too long. With the playoff spot still very much in contention, they could not afford to let Mayo drag them into a sinking vortex that would spell doomsday for the whole team.

As of now, the Memphis team has limited choices. They could depend on Chris Wallace, but then again Wallace has had his own woes when it comes to the games.

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