Degas, van Gogh and Picasso swore it enhanced their creativity but thujone, the compound widely believed responsible for absinthe’s mind-altering effects, is not really a factor, according to a new study.
In the most comprehensive analysis of old bottles of original absinthe, a team of scientists from Europe and the United States have concluded the culprit was plain and simple: Alcohol.
Although consumed diluted with water, absinthe contained about 70 percent alcohol, giving it a 140-proof wallop. Most gin, vodka, and whiskey are 80 – 100-proof and contain 40-50 percent alcohol or ethanol.
Women who have used Fosamax are nearly twice as likely to develop the most common kind of chronically irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) than are those who have never used it, according to research from Group Health and the University of Washington published in the April 28 Archives of Internal Medicine.
Merck markets Fosamax, the most widely used drug treatment for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, explained study leader Susan Heckbert, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology and scientific investigator in the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit at the University of Washington. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first generic versions (called alendronate) in February.
A widely used class of diabetes medications appears to be associated with an increased risk for fractures, according to a report in the April 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
“The insulin-sensitizing thiazolidinediones are a relatively new and effective class of oral antidiabetic agents that have gained wide use in clinical conditions characterized by insulin resistance,” the authors write as background information in the article. Two drugs in this category, pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, account for 21 percent of oral diabetes medications prescribed in the United States and 5 percent of those in Europe. Recent studies have suggested that these therapies may have unfavorable effects on bone, resulting in slower bone formation and faster bone loss.
Young women who took the commonly used epilepsy drug phenytoin for one year showed significant bone loss compared to women taking other epilepsy drugs, according to a study published in the April 29, 2008, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Researchers tested the bone health of 93 women with epilepsy who were between the ages of 18 and 40 and were taking the epilepsy drugs phenytoin, carbamazepine, lamotrigine or valproate. Bone mineral density was measured at the spine and two areas of the hip, (the femoral neck and total hip) at the beginning of the study and one year later. Researchers also evaluated each woman’s nutrition and physical activity, along with other factors that affect bone health.
Depending on which variant of a certain gene a woman has, a coffee consumption rate of at least two-three cups a day can either reduce the total risk of developing breast cancer or delay the onset of cancer. This is shown in new research from Lund University and Malmö University in Sweden.
The effect of coffee is related to estrogens, female sex hormones. Certain metabolic products of these hormones are known to be carcinogenic, and various components of coffee can alter the metabolism so that a woman acquires a better configuration of various estrogens. What’s more, coffee contains caffeine, which also hampers the growth of cancer cells.
Mice given caffeine equivalent to a human drinking six to eight cups of coffee a day were protected from developing experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the animal model for the human disease Multiple Sclerosis (MS), according to researchers at Cornell University.
Caffeine is a well-known adenosine receptor blocker, and the researchers believe results show the importance of this molecule in permitting the infiltration of immune cells into the central nervous system of patients with MS.
Dr. Jeffrey H. Mills, a postdoctoral associate in the laboratory of Dr. Margaret S. Bynoe, presented the findings at Experimental Biology 2008 on April 7. The presentation was part of the scientific programs of the American Society of Immunologists.
Taking daily recommended dosages of ibuprofen and acetaminophen caused a substantially greater increase over placebo in the amount of quadriceps muscle mass and muscle strength gained during three months of regular weight lifting, in a study by physiologists at the Human Performance Laboratory, Ball State University.
Dr. Chad Carroll, a postdoctoral fellow working with Dr. Todd Trappe, reported study results at Experimental Biology 2008 in San Diego on April 6. His presentation was part of the scientific program of the American Physiological Society (APS).
Thirty-six men and women, between 60 and 78 years of age (average age 65), were randomly assigned to daily dosages of either ibuprofen (such as that in Advil), acetaminophen (such as that in Tylenol), or a placebo. The dosages were identical to those recommended by the manufacturers and were selected to most closely mimic what chronic users of these medicines were likely to be taking. Neither the volunteers nor the scientists knew who was receiving which treatment until the end of the study.
Who knew you could cure disease by getting down in the mud?
Scientists in Arizona report that minerals from clay could form the basis of a new generation of inexpensive, highly-effective antimicrobials for fighting MRSA infections that are moving out of health care settings and into the community. These “superbugs” are increasingly resistant to multiple antibiotics and cause thousands of deaths each year.
Unlike conventional antibiotics that are often administered by injection or pills, the so-called “healing clays” could be used as rub-on creams or ointments to keep MRSA infections from spreading, the researchers say. The clays also show promise against a wide range of other harmful bacteria, including those that cause skin infections and food poisoning, the scientists add. Their study, one of the first to explore the antimicrobial activity of natural clays in detail, was presented today at the 235th national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
Selenium is a trace element used in proteins, in the form of the twenty-first naturally occurring amino acid (selenocysteine).
Selenium supplementation, for example in mineral tablets, might not be that beneficial for the majority of people according to researchers writing in Genome Biology.
Although this trace element is essential in the diet of humans, it seems that we have lost some of the need for selenium, which occurs in proteins and is transported in blood plasma, when our evolutionary ancestors left the oceans and evolved into mammals.
"Awake", a film starring Hayden Christenson and Jessica Alba, is a psychological thriller about a horrifying phenomenon called "anesthetic awareness" where a patient's failed anesthesia leaves him fully conscious but physically paralyzed.
How common is it? Research shows that between one and three in every 1,000 patients experience some form of wakefulness during operations.
Some may not remember a period of consciousness during an operation – anesthetic drugs can interfere with recall – but they may still suffer subsequent psychological difficulties. In some cases patients aren't given enough of the sedative element of an anesthetic to keep them asleep.