Saturday, October 10, 2009

Could this be considered a recall? Contaminated cocaine

I know it's in the best interest of public health, but I can't help but admit I was taken aback to be reading headlines, such as:
Cocaine cut with antibiotic could cause life-threatening infection: health unit
Peterborough health warns about contaminated cocaine causing deadly infections

It is a serious issue though, my surprise notwithstanding. According to public health officials, some cocaine dealers have been cutting their cocaine with a veterinary antibiotic powder to make it go farther. The antibiotic, levamisole, is used to treat infections from worms in animals, but is also said to make the effects of cocaine more intense for the user.

This isn't limited to Canada though. In August, it was widely reported that celebrity disc jockey Adam Goldstein (DJ AM) had been found dead from an overdose of drugs, including cocaine. It turns out that the cocaine he had taken had been cut with levamisole.

Officials say that in Canada, about 10% of seized cocaine contains levamisole, in the U.S. - 30%.

Symptoms to watch for if you've used cocaine and may be affected by the antibiotic are:

  • high fever
  • chills
  • swollen glands
  • painful oral or anal sores
  • skin abscesses
  • rapidly occurring lung infection

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Having fun over at Healthbolt

I enjoy writing for all my blogs and most of my writing clients, but I have to say that writing Healthbolt is an absolute blast! I keep finding the coolest things to write about that weren't really appropriate for my regular health blogs.

What kind of topics? Did you know that someone made a teddy bear out of a placenta (Placenta Teddy Bear – Yup, Heard It All Now)? And that researchers are working on a vaccine for cocaine addiction (A Cocaine Vaccine?). I also have a bunch of posts scheduled right up until almost the end of November. It's really amazing what's out there.

If you like quirky news, come on over and check out Healthbolt - I'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Medical Inventors - do you ever wonder about them?

Not long ago, I was watching a piece on the television show 60 Minutes and it was about the inventor of the medical respirator, Dr. Forrest Bird. Many years ago, I worked in an intensive care unit and the respirators were often called "birds." I never stopped to wonder why, but now it makes sense.

Today, I was reading the news and I noticed that the inventor of ultrasound to detect cancerous tumors has died (Medical Inventor, Dr. John J. Wild Dies).

When I was watching the piece on Dr. Bird, I began to realize that we have so much around us that affects our life every day, yet most of us likely don't know how they came to be. I realize that some people don't really care, but I think many are like me and like to learn how certain inventions came about.

I've had many ultrasounds, for pregnancies and for illnesses that needed ruling out or diagnosing. When I think back to how the technology was invented, I can't imagine having such a vision of how something could work and then working for years on getting it to function the way you think it should. I mean, I think we all dream of something that we think would be the next greatest invention, but how many of us follow up on it?

If you get a chance to watch the Dr. Bird segment, I recommend it. It's eye opening (to me) to actually see someone who has made such an impact on human life around the world.