Tuesday, August 24, 2010

how i MET your mother

We were given wavers to sign because the school will conduct random drug testing. I have no qualms about it because I've never really been a fan of drug abuse, so it will be okay if I'll be randomly checked. I won't feel like it would invade my privacy or something. I sign the paper right away and I thought that this would help my fellow youth who are struggling with addiction; they would be one step closer to rehabilitating themselves.

The 60s era is most famous for The Beatles and of course, its hippie lifestyle. Ever heard of "Flower Power"? Or "The Summer of Love" perhaps? If not, oh my, you're missing a lot on your pop-culture history.

Anyway, if you watch a lot of History Channel, they say that it is during the 60s when drug abuse and drug overdose are most common. The drugs are freely available if you ask the right person or if you know the right persons. The hippies love to experiment on different kinds of hallucinogenic drugs. It is during this era that the motto "Drugs, sex and rock and roll" was coined. That is why a lot has been documented and said about the 60s.

Why am I writing about these nice-to-know facts about the 60s? Because I'm going to delve on Metamphetamine Testing.

The initial test would be nonspecific which would allow a rapid yes or no answer. If the patient tested positive, the testing will move on to a confirmatory test which is the GC/MS.
The most effective way to test for metamphetamines is by Gas Chromatography/ Mass Spectrometry.

Urine is the specimen of choice instead of serum because you can detect both the parent drug and the metabolites in the urine.

The specimen is extracted and to maximize the ability to detect substances, the extract is concentrated. The sample is injected into the system.

On the basis of the GC trace, identification of specific materials can be made but confirmation is still required.

A second injection is done into the chromatograph and the eluted fractions are then routed through a mass spectrometer.

Fragmentation of the molecules in each peak takes place and the charged particles pass through the magnetic field.

The data obtained from the fragmentation analysis is stored in a computer and processed for maximum information.

However, there are precautions that must be observed especially when obtaining a sample. The confidentiality of COC must be highly observed. And the ASC must make sure that the patient to be tested does not alter his urine in anyway, otherwise it would be a waste of time, money and effort to test for something that is not correct from the start.

*Hippies pics came from HERE, HERE and HERE.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

To Test or not to Test: That is the Question

Drug testing needs the permission of the person who is to be tested. Some companies, however, conduct on-the-spot drug testing on their employees to ensure that they are drug-free. Drug testing has its own fair share of ethical dilemma. It is sometimes done on the spot to avoid any discrepancies that may be done by a guilty party being tested, but at the same time, it also entails invasion of privacy.

People who have been subjected to testing without their consent might feel like they were subjected to a ruse and they may feel that they somehow lost their rights to their own body (or their own body secretions, technically).

As for me, should the government decide to do random drug testing to high schools, colleges, and universities, that is fine by me. Especially to those who are still in high school, they are still considered minors. And we all know that if you are a minor, you have very little right to decide for yourself because the grown-ups think you're not capable of big decisions yet.

Randomly testing high school and college students would be a nice try in trying to eliminate the cancer of society. And if some high school and college students would end up positive, there might still be time to rehabilitate them and make them a functional part of the society once again.

But as the people being subjected to random tests get older, things might get complicated especially in the legal matter. Adults or employees might know a thing or two about the constitution and they might waive their rights for privacy, ensuing a legal battle.

But for me, it is a good way of saving people who cannot save themselves. If I were to be subjected to random drug testing, I would gladly comply because I know I'm clean. I personally think that people who have violent reactions to random drug testing are the ones who use them.

Drug testing before admission would be something I would agree on. As long as the price for the test, which would be without a doubt added to the tuition fee, is rational and not too expensive.

I also think that drug testing before admission to schools could avoid invading the privacy of the person by letting them or their parents, if under aged, sign wavers. Discrepancies could be avoided by the medical technologist who will supervise the chain of custody of the specimen.

Students who would test positive for drugs could be helped by admitting them to rehabilitation centers. All in all, the system would be a great way of helping kids on drugs get back on track.

The caricatures came from HERE and HERE

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

In a Relationship with Jack Daniels and it’s Complicated

Toxic. How come everybody says that word all the time now? There are even ID laces promoting the word. One of my friends, who is not in the medical field, asked me that question one time. She asked me why health professionals always utter that word. I told her I didn’t really know how it is for other health care professionals because surely, I won’t be able to answer for them now could I? One word and it becomes a lot of things because of the different interpretation of people.

For me, toxic is like the feeling that you get when you’ve boozed up and stayed up late for far too long with an eight o’clock class the following day and a pre-quiz you didn’t know about.

Hello mighty, potent hangover. I’ve been expecting you.

So as you drag yourself off from your bed, with your blanket clinging onto you, as if holding on and not wanting you to leave, you glance at your clock and you rejoice to know that you woke up in the nick of time with thirty minutes left to spare because your alarm clock gave up on you. Oh thank God for small favors. You go to the bathroom with your eyes still half-closed wondering if you’re dreaming that you’re taking a bath, just as you were dreaming about it fifteen minutes ago.

And just as you emerge from the bathroom all toned, tanned, fit and ready, your clock delivers you the bad news that you’ve used up your precious twenty minutes and you’re not even in your uniform yet.

And as you walk towards school, hastily thumbing through your notes in case there’s a pre-test (well, there are always pre-tests, who are you kidding?) you keep having that grim premonition that once you enter the room, heads will start rolling. And that particular head is yours.

And as you take the exam paper from your professor who keeps on eyeing you with that particular look that practically screams “Why are you late?”
You bite your lip so you won’t have to blurt out “Well, ma’am, I’ve experienced a form of toxicity these past ten hours of my life, beginning with

1)the booze-chugging-from-the-tower session
2)the I’m-throwing-up-in-an-unknown-bathroom scene
3)my-friend’s-driving-sucks-it-makes-me-dizzy-just-get-me-home episode

And of course…

4) that magical feeling that you get when you’re lying on your own bed and your breath is free from the after taste of vomit and your hair doesn’t smell like sisig anymore. You hit the pillow at one in the morning then you close your eyes for practically fifteen minutes and it’s already 7 AM.

And it all ends with…

5)when you read the paper and you realize you’ve read the wrong notes and your head is heavy as if there’s an elephant sitting on it.”

If that ain’t toxicity, then I don’t know what is.

Thankfully, in every form of toxicity there is a solution. Thanks to my friend, who is now a registered pharmacist, she told me an anecdote about those drunks who drive and meet accidents along the way and are incoherent when rushed to the emergency room.

When she told me about this drug, I was like “Are you kidding me? This is like the philosopher’s stone of all drinkers. It’s like the Mecca of people who hate hangovers.”

Being the good friend that she is, she introduced me to Neurobion. She assured me that it’s safe because it’s a vitamin B complex. And it’s cheap too, the wonder drug won’t cost you a fortune.

When my friends and I tried it, we drank hard liquors and we were the last ones standing in the group. As long as you won’t participate in a one-on-one session drinking a whole bottle of Jack Daniels in one night, you’ll be peachy in the morning and you won’t need another tablet.

But just because you drank the super drug doesn’t mean you’re body is that of Superman. Drinking the vitamin means you will not get the usual symptoms of drunkenness: dizziness, crooked line of walking, swaying when walking, and hangover. But you will vomit though, it’s your body’s way of telling you to STOP, that it has had enough. The vitamin won’t protect your liver and kidneys from destruction though.

So we must all keep in mind that drinking frequently has never done good to anyone and it never will.

Whether you love Johnny or Jack, we must love our bodies first and foremost.
And that is how I apply toxicology in my life.

**The photo is mine, thank you very much. No need for sources.**

steroid hormones

I googled the test and I've had difficulty in finding it online. I didn't find it on Calbreath as well. After some time, I decided to tweak the keywords that I entered into google and I found the website of a laboratory offering urinary steroid hormone test. So bear with my limited sources, this is the best that the internet can do :)

Urinary steroid hormones are tested using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry.

Here's a list of adrenal steroids that are tested:

5-Dehydroepiandrosterone, Cortisone, Cortisol, Pregnenolone, Aldosterone, Etiocholanolone, Adrosterone, Creatinine, Pregnanetriol, Tetrahydrocortisone, Tetrahydrocortisol, Allo-Tetrahydrocortisol, Tetrahydrocorticosterone, Allo-Tetrahydrocorticosterone

And here are the sex hormones tested:

5-Dehydroepiandrosteron, Estrone, Estradiol, Estriol, Pregnenediol, Testosterone, Etiocholanolone, Androsterone, Creatinine, Pregnanetriol

The clinical applications of the following hormones are:

Cortisol and Cortisone
Addison's disease
Adrenal fatigue (pre and post ACTH)
Synthetic corticosteroid toxicity
Altered expression of 11-ß-hydroxy steroid dehydrogenases
Hypertension (salt-sensitive)
Apparent mineralocorticoid excess
Emotional stress
Bio-Identical hormone replacement
Cushing's syndrome

Estrogens and Pregnanediol
Bio-Identical hormone replacement
Liver detoxification
Estrogen "dominance"

Decreased libido
Bio-Identical hormone replacement

Mineralocorticoid excess

The Specimen
Steroid hormones can be tested using saliva and blood but because my topic is limited, we’ll focus on another specimen of choice: the urine.
Urinary tests are considered to reflect the secretory activity of the endocrine glands. Although the excretion of urine, with the hormones, metabolites, or of both, does not account for the total amount of hormone secreted by the gland, it usually represents an approximate proportion of the amount secreted during the period of urine collection.

For more info about the test click HERE.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Body is a Wonderland

All about endocrine glands.

Where can I find these guys anyway?
So, I researched to find out more about them. :)

We start off with the pituitary gland.
This gland is found at the base of the brain. And the hormones it secretes are the following:
-Growth hormone(GH)
-Growth Hormone Releasing Hormone (GHRH)
-Growth Hormone Inhibiting Hormone (GHIH)
-Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
-Thyrotropin-Releasing Hormone (TRH)
-Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH
-Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH)
-Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
-Luteinizing hormone (LH)

Next comes the hypothalamus, this part of the brain serves as the control and relay center of the endocrine system. It is responsible for releasing hormones that suppress or stimulate the release of hormones in the pituitary gland. A hormone which suppresses the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland, which is called somatostatin, is also released from the hypothalamus. The pineal gland, can be found on the diencephalon. It works in tandem with the hypothalamus. The hormone it secretes is melatonin.

Another endocrine gland which can be found on the anterior portion of the throat is the thyroid gland. The thyroid hormone it secretes includes thyroxine (T4) as well as triiodothyronine (T3).

The parathyroid hormone (PTH) is secreted by the parathyroid glands which can be found on the dorsal aspect of the thyroid gland.

The pancreas, which acts as an exocrine and an endocrine gland, is in the abdomen near the stomach. The alpha (α) cells release glucagon while insulin is released by the beta (β) cells.

The thymus gland is located in the upper thorax, across the trachea and bronchi. It secretes the hormone thymosin and T-lymphocytes.

The adrenal glands secrete adrenalin and noradrenalin in it's adrenal medulla portion while the adrenal cortex portion secretes the hormone corticosteroid. The thymus is located in between the sternum and the heart.

The gonads which secrete the sex hormones have two different locations depending on the sex of the person. In females, the ovaries located in the pelvic cavity release estrogen and progesterone. While in males, the testes produce testosterone.

For more on endocrine glands, check out these related articles:
The Endocrine Glands are the 3rd Line of Defense Against Disease
The Hypothalamus and Pituitary Glands

**source: Human Physiology: From cells to systems by Lauralee Sherwood
**The picture came from HERE