Pharmacology

A nationwide survey indicates that heroin users are attracted to heroin not only for the high, but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers.


The therapeutic potential of marijuana and pure cannabidiol (CBD), an active substance in the cannabis plant, for neurologic conditions is debatable - though so far the debate has mostly been anecdotes against science.

A series of articles published in Epilepsia examine the potential use of medical marijuana and CBD in treating severe forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome.


Counterfeit medicines have skyrocketed in recent years and the gullibility of the public has been bolstered by conspiracy theories about profits by pharmaceutical companies - they believe that every country must be making the same products free, or at least subsidizing it to get costs down. A $1 Viagra pill is believable if you want to believe.


A large study may upend our understanding of vitamin E, a vital antioxidant, and ties the increasing consumption of supposedly healthy vitamin E-rich oils such as canola, soybean and corn  to the rising incidence of lung inflammation and, possibly, asthma. 

The different health effects of vitamin E depend on its form. The form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol in the ubiquitous soybean, corn and canola oils is associated with decreased lung function in humans, the study reports. The other form of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is found in olive and sunflower oils, does the opposite. It's associated with better lung function. 


Is life great or what?

We have all kinds of wonderful choices available to us. Yankees or Mets (better still, neither), Frosted Flakes or Cap'n Crunch, Homeland or The Walking Dead. Awesome. 

And now we get to choose between an old artificial sweetener that was perfectly safe and a new one that is perfectly safer. 

For more than 30 years, aspartame (aka NutraSweet), has been the target of conspiracy crazies and those who profit from the crazies. Speaking of whom, supplement mogul Crazy Joe Mercola calls aspartame "By far the most dangerous substance added to most foods today." 

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, according to a large survey of smokers in England.

The results were adjusted for a wide range of factors that might influence success at quitting, including age, nicotine dependence, previous quit attempts, and whether quitting was gradual or abrupt.


New research does not support claims that fluoridating water adversely affects children's mental development and adult IQ.

The researchers were testing the claim that exposure to levels of fluoride used in community water fluoridation is toxic to the developing brain and can cause IQ deficits.  The data used in the American Journal of Public Health article used data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study, which   has followed nearly all aspects of the health and development of around 1,000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-1973 up to age 38.  


There was a time, not too long ago, that I was not doing science.  Because I remember that time, I also remember how completely ignorant I was of science. 

This is no more apparent than the science of cannabinoids, i.e., the stuff in marijuana.  My only knowledge of cannabinoids was that marijuana got you high and cured every disease.  Having spent five years researching THC, I learned that there was a much richer, deeper story than that. 

The venom from marine cone snails, used to immobilize prey, contains numerous peptides called conotoxins, some of which can act as painkillers in mammals.

A recent study provides new insight into the mechanisms by which one conotoxin, Vc1.1, inhibits pain. The findings help explain the analgesic powers of this naturally occurring toxin and could eventually lead to the development of synthetic forms of Vc1.1 to treat certain types of neuropathic pain in humans.


A study of Italians who consume a diet rich in resveratrol — the compound found in red wine, dark chocolate and berries — finds they live no longer than and are just as likely to develop cardiovascular disease or cancer as those who eat a regular diet.