Pharmacology

Ayahuasca, known by various names by different indigenous groups in South America, is a generic term commonly associated with preparations of the mildly psychoactive vine Banisteriopsis caapi.

Ayahuasca literally translates from the Quechua language of the North Andes as “soul vine” or “vine of the dead” and has traditionally been consumed by indigenous communities such as the Aruák, Chocó, Jívaro, Pano, and Tukano across the upper reaches of the Amazon River system in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru.

Over the last few decades, medicine has witnessed a sea change in attitudes toward chronic pain, and particularly toward opioids. While these changes were intended to bring relief to many, they have also fed an epidemic of prescription opioid and heroin abuse.

Curbing abuse is a challenge spilling over into the 2016 political campaigns. Amid calls for better addiction treatment and prescription monitoring, it might be time for doctors to rethink how to treat chronic pain.

Recreational marijuana use is now legal in four states and "medical" marijuana in 23 states. Research on legalization policies has focused largely on direct impact - how they impact marijuana access and use. What is little discussed is that marijuana increases alcohol use.

Alcohol is the world's  most popular drug, the majority of adults in the U.S. imbibe to varying degrees and drinking accounts for almost one-third of driving fatalities annually. If you like pretend money estimates, it is claimed that alcohol use cost $223.5 billion in 2006 alone.


Palbociclib, a new oral drug with efficacy in combating breast cancer both alone and in combination with endocrine therapy, also has potential to combat other types of cancer, according to a literature review and additional research in JAMA Oncology.

Palbociclib targets the rapid division of tumor cells by inhibiting the activity of the enzymes CDK4 and CDK6, which propel cell division and increase in number in most cancers. It is the first CDK4/6 inhibitor to be approved for the treatment of breast cancer.


Supplement fads come and go and the most recent one to take the U.S. by storm has been to list vitamin D as both cause and cure of just about everything - and make some money selling vitamin supplements. It takes a while for science to catch up to spurious correlations and a recent study of elderly men found no evidence that obstructive sleep apnea increased in severity (or prevalence) as a result of vitamin D deficiency, despite what Joe Mercola or other health frauds are claiming this week.

The researchers also found no evidence to support a link between vitamin D deficiency and increased risk of OSA in non-obese study participants.


An article describes the first published case of confusional state in a healthy 14-year-old girl attributed to excessive consumption of over-the-counter cough medicine that contained codeine. Codeine is a widely prescribed painkiller, but it can also be purchased over the counter in preparations of cold/cough remedies.   


Biologists have found used to characterize new antibiotics can screen natural products quickly for compounds capable of controlling antibiotic resistant bacteria. Antibiotic resistance is increasing at an alarming rate. The Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, a publication established to produce an analysis of the global problems of antimicrobial resistance, recently predicted that by 2050, the worldwide toll from drug resistant bacterial infections could reach 10 million deaths per year, more than cancer (8.2 million) and diabetes (1.5 million) combined. 


Add green tea to the growing list of substances that activists will soon be calling an endocrine disruptor; a study has found that, rather than bring health benefits, as Big Tea proclaims, excessive consumption adversely affects development and reproduction in fruit fly populations.

Derived from the plant Camellia sinensis, green tea is popular worldwide for its purported brain and heart health and anticancer properties.
Nutraceuticals such as green tea, are popular among groups that distrust agricultural, medical, and energy science, but they are unregulated. 


Some doctors may recommend that patients with the flu take acetaminophen, or paracetemol, to relieve their symptoms; however, a new randomized clinical trial found no benefits to the over-the-counter medication in terms of fighting the influenza virus or reducing patients' temperature or other symptoms.

The trial included adults between 18 and 65 years of age with confirmed influenza infections who were treated with the maximum recommended dose of paracetamol or placebo for five days. Participants were monitored for up to 14 days.


In a study into the prevention of HIV transmission, people who took the antiretroviral drug Truvada were 86% less likely to contract the disease than those who took a placebo, report the researchers who led the study.