Pharmacology

Healthy young adults who don't consume caffeine regularly experienced greater rise in resting blood pressure after consumption of a commercially available energy drink than those who had a placebo drink, according to a Mayo Clinic study.

The researchers alternately gave a can of a commercially available energy drink or a placebo drink to 25 healthy young adults, age 19 to 40, and assessed changes in heart rate and blood pressure.  Blood pressure and heart rate were recorded before and then 30 minutes after energy drink/placebo drink consumption, and were also compared between caffeine-naive participants (less than 160 mg of caffeine per day, a cup of coffee) and regular caffeine users (more than a cup of coffee equivalent of of caffeine per day). 
Guanabenz is an FDA-approved drug for high blood pressure but a new study also finds that it prevents myelin loss and alleviates clinical symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in animal models.

The drug appears to enhance an innate cellular mechanism that protects myelin-producing cells against inflammatory stress. Multiple sclerosis is characterized by an abnormal immune response that leads to inflammation in the brain and the destruction of myelin - a fatty sheath that protects and insulates nerve fibers. MS is thought to affect more than 2.3 million people worldwide and has no known cure.
Damage to the spinal cord is often permanent because injured nerve cells fail to regenerate due to scar tissue of their long nerve fibers.

Nerve cells are wire-like conductors that transmit and receive signals in the form of electrical impulses. This function can be impaired by accidents or disease. Whether or not the affected nerves can recover largely depends on their location: for instance nerve cells in the limbs, torso and nose can regenerate to some degree and regain some or all of their function. 
I like to think of myself as a researcher who focuses on both pain and addiction. Honestly, I may never have an actual career in academic science because there is only a 1 in 5 chance of that happening. I always wanted to teach, but realize there is a slim chance of that ever happening, especially since the University system has been turned into a complete joke by administrators. That is why I like the idea of Science 2.0 and blogging because I can provide knowledge, as if teaching, in a short missive. I apologize for the recent spate of pieces, but I have been busy studying yawning in rats. That’s right Tom Coburn, yawning in rats!

In 2015, it doesn't need to be said for anyone over the age of 40, but for young people still newer to Miracle Vegetable and Scare Journalism claims that get pumped out in diet books, mainstream media articles and television medicine on a regular basis, here it goes: don't latch onto supplement fads.
A reformulation of OxyContin made it harder to abuse and that has curtailed the drug's illicit use but some 25 percent of drug abusers entering rehab still find a way - or at least said they still abused the prescription painkiller on surveys despite package labeling that emphasizes its abuse-deterrent properties.

Scholars surveying almost 11,000 drug users at 150 drug-treatment facilities in 48 states found that an abuse-deterrent formulation of the prescription drug OxyContin was successful in getting abusers and addicts to stop using the drug, but only to a point - and then others switched to something else anyway.
cisplatin

This year marks the 50th anniversary of cisplatin’s accidental discovery as an anti-cancer drug. Despite its horrible side effects, and the ability of cancers to become resistant to it, the drug remains as relevant now as it was when it first reached the market.

And the good news is that the drug can, and is, being made better. New formulations are being designed to make it more effective and less toxic.

Drug discovery is an expensive, bureaucracy-laced process. Due to more restrictions requiring a lot more trials, drug discovery is an average 14 year process costing $2 billion and only 1 out of 5,000 drugs will get approved and out to the market. It's easy to imagine why once a company knows the product is not viable or safe, it is abandoned.


Hot off the presses: The FDA just approved the first biosimilar drug in the United States. Sandoz's Zarxio is used to boost the production of certain white blood cells in patients who are undergoing cancer chemotherapy, and are immunocompromised. Sarxio will compete with Amgen's Neupogen, which has been used for this purpose since its approval in 1991. 

An experimental compound known as GC-1 causes loss of weight and fat in mice in lab tests. The drug speeds up metabolism, or burning off, of fat cells, by activating the receptors for thyroid hormone, which play a role in regulating metabolism - the body's conversion of food into energy. Thyroid hormone receptors also help with adaptive thermogenesis, in which the body converts excess energy (calories and fat) to heat.

Until recently, there was no evidence that human adults had  energy-burning, "good" brown fat. It was only known that animals and human infants did  but now it is known that human adults do have brown fat, but it appears to lose its calorie-burning activity over time.