Pharmacology

Where is Mel Brooks when you need him?

Ever since Chipotle's self-righteous claim (which isn't even true) that the company was removing GM ingredients from its food because "it doesn't align with [the company's] position," just about everything conceivable went wrong.  It's now a bit of a novelty to find a news day when they haven't poisoned someone.
Though opiods are getting all of the government attention, and the substitute fentanyl all of the attention in media, they are not the only substances putting people at risk. Kratom has gotten some media attention, but among users, psilocybin-containing 'magic mushrooms' are a bigger worry, with more than 10 percent in a recent survey believing their worst 'bad trip' had put themselves or others in harm's way, and a substantial majority called their most distressing episode one of the top 10 biggest challenges of their lives.
Ineffective drugs are generally a bad idea - natural medicine, osteopathy and homeopathy are not considered medicine because they can't demonstrate efficacy, and chemotherapy drugs are expensive so the standard is higher.

But when it comes to the devastating brain tumor called glioblastoma multiforme, some patients have benefited from treatment with a class of chemotherapy drugs that two previous large clinical trials indicated was ineffective against the disease. The chemotherapy drugs block the growth of new blood vessels in the tumor and the patients lived an average of about one year longer than those who were given other classes of chemotherapy drugs.
When the oddly-named Baby Boom generation (the "boom" happened in 1946, after soldiers returned from World War II, it wasn't an entire generation) were young, it was the age of "Reefer Madness", with kids involved in manslaughter, suicide, and a whole bunch else thanks to marijuana.
Though any potential benefits of marijuana are unknown - claims are anecdotal and no different than the claims about kratom or acupuncture - a group is contending that it can nonetheless help with the other popular buzz term of 2016: Opioid addiction. 

But there is a caveat. The determination in Clinical Psychology Review was made by a systematic review. If homeopaths want to show that homeopathy works, they simply do a review of homeopathy papers. That doesn't mean it works and so another review won't do much to assuage fears that marijuana addiction is trading one problem for another - in this case, toxic chemicals inhaled in smoke for pain relief that may not be evident.
Though DSM-5 is considered nothing more than a glossary by the National Institute of Mental Health, it continues to be used as a diagnostic tool by clinical practitioners. As a result, Psychiatric disturbances are all too often diagnosed as schizophrenia. ‘Personalized medicine’ may offer the solution.

The symptoms that we define as ‘schizophrenia’ are among the most serious that can befall a person. In the international literature schizophrenia is no longer regarded as a single illness, but as a group of separate conditions, some of which have yet to be defined. A public debate has grown up on this issue, and there are a number of people who support the statement that 'schizophrenia' doesn't actually exist.'

Vitamin D levels have been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer - but the source is a systematic review of just seven studies, so no one outside mainstream media and supplement salespeople promote panic about it.

The story of phosphoethanolamine (PHOS) in Brazil, which set off a widely publicized scientific debacle about the dangers of taking unproven compounds as medicines, shows once again that just because some miracle cure is touted in a foreign country doesn't make it real.

This fact is in defiance of anti-science groups convinced of an FDA/Big Pharma conspiracy against cures, but America remains the gold standard for legitimacy, and with good reason. While cancer patients and their advocates may find the process of cancer drug discovery to be opaque or frustrating, the authors of the policy paper argue that the process is an essential part of clinical research.

51 members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed a letter to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) urging the federal agency to halt an emergency push to ban the analgesic herb kratom by as early as tomorrow. 

Researchers have clarified important mechanisms involved in the formation of neural circuits in the brain, and discovered that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive substance also found in cannabis, causes disruption of neural circuits within the cortex.