Pharmacology

It has been 13 years since the publication of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) studies that examined the role of menopausal hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in prevention of cardiovascular disease. It can be argued that never before or since has a medical study generated such controversy by the media and scientific community.

To this day, the results are still being debated, reinterpreted and, in many cases, misinterpreted.

Most of us would choose to experience pleasure – however we may define it – as often as possible. The public health and criminal justice systems are set up by the government partly to shape how, when and where we find pleasure, so that we balance our enjoyment with working and paying taxes.

The more we learn about the problem of too much medicine and what’s driving it, the harder it seems to imagine effective solutions. Winding back unnecessary tests and treatments will require a raft of reforms across medical research, education and regulation.

But to enable those reforms to take root, we may need to cultivate a fundamental shift in our thinking about the limits of medicine.

It’s time to free ourselves from the dangerous fantasy that medical technology can deliver us from the realities of uncertainty, aging and death.

Loxo Oncology, Inc. and The University of Colorado Cancer Center today announced the publication of a research brief describing the first patient with a tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) fusion cancer enrolled in the Phase 1 dose escalation trial of LOXO-101, the only selective TRK inhibitor in clinical development. Additional contributors to the paper include the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health&Science University and Foundation Medicine, Inc. (Nasdaq:FMI).


A new study by researchers at the University of Bari Aldo Moro, Bari, Italy, Geriatric Unit&Laboratory of Gerontology and Geriatrics, IRCCS "Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza", San Giovanni Rotondo, Foggia, Italy, and Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Roma, Italy, estimates the association between change or constant habits in coffee consumption and the incidence of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), evaluating 1,445 individuals recruited from 5,632 subjects, aged 65-84 year old, from the Italian Longitudinal Study on Aging (ILSA), a population-based sample from eight Italian municipalities with a 3.5-year median follow-up. These findings are published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.


A class of hormonal drugs called aromatase inhibitors substantially reduce the risk of death in postmenopausal women with the most common type of breast cancer, a major study of more than 30,000 women shows.

The research underlines the importance of aromatase inhibitors in the treatment of oestrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer - and shows they reduce risk of death by significantly more than the older hormonal treatment tamoxifen.

The study published in The Lancet is relevant to postmenopausal women with ER-positive breast cancer, which accounts for over 80 per cent of cases which occur after the menopause. Each trial had used both aromatase inhibitors and tamoxifen at various times during the course of treatment.


“I saw a werewolf with a Chinese menu in his hand,

Walkin' through the streets of Soho in the rain,

He was lookin' for the place called Lee Ho Fooks,

Gonna get a big dish of beef chow mein.”

Warren Zevon, 1978


" I saw Joe Mercola with the New York Times in his hand,

Looking for some way to explain,

Taking a combination of antidepressants and common painkillers is associated with an increased risk of bleeding soon after starting treatment, finds a study in BMJ.

The researchers say their results may have been affected by other unmeasured or unknown factors and should be interpreted with caution. However, they suggest special attention is needed when patients use both these classes of drugs together.

Depression produces the greatest decrement in health of all common chronic conditions and depression in older people is an important public health problem.


New research finds that high vitamin C concentrations in the blood from the intake of fruit and vegetables are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and early death.

Fruit and vegetables are healthy, we all know that, and the new paper by scholars from the University of Copenhagen and Herlev and Gentofte Hospital says that the risk of cardiovascular disease and early death falls with a high intake of fruit and vegetables, and that this may be due to vitamin C. 


Pain treatment researchers have discovered thousands of new peptide toxins hidden deep within the venom of just one type of Queensland cone snail. The scientists hope the new molecules will be promising leads for new drugs to treat pain and cancer.