Archive for March, 2011

Marijuana May Aggravate Situation for MS Patients

According to Dr. Anthony Feinstein, who conducted studies on effects of marijuana to patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), medicinal marijuana does not work in cases of people who have nerve damaging autoimmune diseases.

medical marijuanaIn a study published last Monday, multiple sclerosis patients should avoid marijuana to keep their situation from being heavily aggravated. Although there are states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical treatments, it’s one that persons with the above mentioned illness should not welcome.

There have been tests that show those with MS did worse on psychological tests if they smoked marijuana. While marijuana might help those infected with other chronic diseases, and it may have treated symptoms and alleviated pain for some patients, it works negatively for those with MS. The study might not prove that marijuana can hasten mental decline, but Feinstein hopes it would be enough to discourage people from seeking this kind of therapy.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society puts 400,000 Americans with MS. Despite having about one in every six of them smoking marijuana, his study is considered a pioneer in taking into account the effect of the drug on patients. “There are just no data on the topic,” Feinstein, a psychiatrist at the University of Toronto, told Reuters Health.

To offer some insights on the matter, he and his colleagues made a research by having two groups of 25 patients each with MS, with one group allowed to use marijuana regularly while the other group remained non-users. All other factors controlled (age, stage of disease, etc.), their results showed that after 12 hours of marijuana therapy, almost two-thirds of the marijuana users were cognitively impaired and performed poorly on psychological tests. On the other group, only one-third of them had the same conditions.

Although Dr. Feinstein admits that reactions to treatments are still on an individual basis, he suggests that people with MS be prioritized in the continuing study of cannabis medical treatments before everything becomes too late.

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Smoking Pose Higher Risks of Malignancies for Liver Transplant Patients

It looks like there’s another reason to stop smoking — this time specifically for patients who have undergone liver transplants.

A report made by Spanish researchers will be published in the April issue of the Liver Transplantation, a journal from the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. According to the results of their study, liver transplant patients who stop smoking have lower risks of smoking-related malignancies (SRM) compared to patients who continue their smoking habit despite having undergone liver transplants.

smokingDr. J. Ignacio Herrera who led the team says that “smoking is related to some of the most frequent causes of post-transplant malignancy. We investigated whether the risks of developing malignancies was different in patients who ceased smoking than in patients who maintained smoking after transplantation.” This they found out by studying liver transplant patients who smoked after they had their procedures done, and those who ceased the activity after. They put risk factors on cancers of the lung, head and neck, kidney, and urinary tract after transplantation in their study.

Having controlled other factors in the population that they studied, it was found out that after an average of 7.5 years, 26 of the 339 liver transplant subjects had 29 smoking-related malignancies. When they analyzed their results further, smoking and higher age did not play any role in the development of SRMs for the general population. But when the group was identified into smoking and non-smoking participants, age and smoking clearly became a factor for SRM in the smoker’s side.

Dr. Herrero then advised that there should be programs for liver transplant patients and survivors to discourage them from smoking. He hopes that screening and intervention programs can somehow lessen the cases of cancer-related mortality in this specific group of patients. It’s about time they think twice before going into the dangerous habit.

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Bath Salts Now Considered Illegal in Virginia

Gov. Bob McDonell of Virginia has recently signed a bill that made bath salts illegal. All synthetic drugs are now prohibited in the state and bath salts, in particular, will no longer be available in convenience stores where it’s highly accessible especially for teenagers.

These substances give the same high as other illegal drugs do. Unknown to many, this drug could be fatal.

This is why a Christian Based Program called Eastern Appalachia Teen Challenge was formed to help save lives of young people who have become hooked on bath salts and other drugs. Most teenagers think that bath salts are safe to use and a better alternative than marijuana and alcohol. In the program, teens are guided to be able to recover from drug abuse or alcohol addictions, as well as eating disorders, through a methodology based on Christian values.

Lisa Cox, the director for the Teen Challenge Program, gives a clear picture of how they help troubled teenagers. “When they get here and they begin to sleep regularly and work out, they’re getting back into a routine of school and eating like they should be.  Getting encouragement and being able to talk about their problems,” Cox said according to wsls.com.

Since Gov. McDonnell signed the new rule, possessing even small amounts of bath salts could mean time in jail for those who are in Virginia. The state has taken this bold step in the hopes of discouraging people, especially teens, in engaging in activities involving the now prohibited substance. Possession of bath salts is now a misdemeanor act, distribution a felony, and manufacturing a violation that could mean 30 years in prison.

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Prescription Drug Abuse: Real and Alarming Threat

Approximately 16 million Americans, aged 12 years old and above, have taken prescription drugs in 2009 ranging from pain relievers, tranquilizers, sedatives, or stimulants which were all for non-medical purposes. This is the alarming truth that was released by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Substance abuse and Mental Health Administration) which shows that prescription medications can indeed be abused or has the potential to be abused.

prescription drugsWhy these prescription drugs are abused is often a result of misuse or non-compliance of instructions in the use of specific medications. The most vulnerable people, according to the report, are the elderly and teens. The elderly group registers the lowest rate of compliance on instructions given for their prescribed medications while teens can easily become hooked on painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

When these drugs are misused or abused, it could start an addiction. Being addicted to prescription drugs is no different to the addiction on illegal drugs. Both are dangerous and could be fatal for users, and could lead to withdrawal symptoms if nothing is done to correct it. The same medications or behavioral and psychological therapies apply to addicts who want to be free from their cravings or habits.

People should be careful then in handling prescribed medications. Changing of dosages or sharing of medicines with others promotes prescription drug abuse and addiction. It is recommended to see a doctor when symptoms persist despite being prescribed with medicines and to never offer these drugs to other people.

There are many types of prescription drugs that can be or are being abused, including painkillers, stimulants, depressants, barbiturates, and dextromethorphan.

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Whoopi Goldberg Was High During Her Oscar Acceptance Speech

The Academy Awards is noted for being the most prestigious award-giving ceremony in Hollywood. Celebrities from all walks of the entertainment world gather to celebrate and honor the most distinguished actors and actresses in the world.

Whoopi GoldbergBut in Whoopi Goldberg’s case, it’s the perfect time to be intoxicated with pot. A video has recently circulated in the internet showing the award-winning actress admitting that in her 1992 acceptance of the best actress award for the movie ‘Ghost,’ she was stoned.

In the TMZ clip, she was even caught saying smoking pot is one of her habits. Her mother would know when she was high when her eyes start glistening. This would eventually lead to long discussions and scolding courtesy of her mother.

The 55-year-old actress explains that she was very anxious at the time when the video was taped and that she needed to relax. So she smoked what was left of her “home grown,” since she never expected to win, anyway.

She got the surprise of her life when Denzel Washington suddenly called her name out as the recipient of the best actress award. Being intoxicated, she wasn’t even sure she would be able to go up the stage and receive her award. Despite her predicament, Whoopi says all she could think of at that time was “okay, up the stairs… around to the podium… there’s millions of people, pick up the statue, get the statue.”

This day, Goldberg has given a piece of advice on her latest scandal. With so many having access to the web and could easily watch her video, Goldberg says “I know you’re not supposed to admit that you smoke pot, but I don’t drink alcohol. Just because I do it doesn’t mean you should.”

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Nicotine Increases Blood Sugar Levels

An associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at the California State Polytechnic University has conducted a study on the impact of nicotine among diabetics. In a Health Day feature, Professor Xiao-Chuan Liu was able to found out, at least in lab set-ups, that nicotine indeed raises the blood sugar levels of diabetics.

cigarettesIt has been previously known that smoking is harmful to diabetics; even more harmful to them than those who do not have the disease. The study by Liu not only tackles cigarettes, but as well as nicotine replacement devices. These products should not be used for long periods of time as they can cause harmful effects in the long run too. The solution is to drop the smoking habit and get rid of nicotine in the system completely.

Proponents of the study added varied concentrations nicotine to red blood cells samples with equal levels of glucose for one to two days. Results would show that even small doses of nicotine increased sugar levels in the blood. These they found out by examining the hemoglobin A1C (HbA1C) levels in their set-ups. This test helps determine the percentage of red blood cells that have glucose molecules attached to them. Diabetics have to manage at least 7% or less to stay in control of their disease.

Results placed an 8.8% to an alarming 34.5% increase in blood-sugar levels after two days of nicotine treatments.

Although these records are limited to laboratory experiments and they are yet to be done on an actual human body, researchers still suggest that diabetics stop smoking. The use of nicotine replacement products should also be used in short-terms basis only as they will eventually become harmful if used for longer periods of time. As diabetics already have higher risks for cardiovascular diseases, they should not aggravate their situation by continuing their smoking habits.

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