Pharmacology

The caffeine in a cup of coffee might help your small blood vessels work better, according to a paper presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013, which followed 27 healthy adults and showed that drinking a cup of caffeinated coffee significantly improved blood flow in a finger, which is a measure of how well the inner lining of the body's smaller blood vessels work.

Specifically, participants who drank a cup of caffeinated coffee had a 30 percent increase in blood flow over a 75-minute period compared to those who drank decaffeinated coffee.  


The chemotherapy drug called cyclophosphamide prevents graft-versus-host (GVHD) disease in people who receive bone marrow transplants. New experiments point to an immune system cell that evades the toxic effects of cyclophosphamide and protects patients from a lethal form of GVHD.

The findings could pave the way for improvements in preventing GVHD and rejection of transplanted bone marrow and new therapies to prevent or treat a relapse of the underlying cancer after a transplant.


In the many well-funded marketing claims of homeopaths and 'alternative' medicine claims, including a US government program that spends $120 million a year legitimizing treatments that don't work, what can easily get lost is data about what natural treatments do work.

The human brain is tricky but animal models at least provide some initial guidance. A new study presented  at Neuroscience 2013 found that enhanced extracts of spearmint and rosemary improved learning and memory.  The novel antioxidant-based ingredient was made from spearmint extract and two different doses of a similar antioxidant made from rosemary extract on mice that have age-related cognitive decline. 


A comprehensive analysis of more than 1 million hospital admissions has found that over 50 percent of non-surgical patients were prescribed 
opioid pain medications
 during their hospitalizations, often at very high doses, and that more than half of those exposed were still receiving these medications on the day they were discharged from the hospital.

Opioids are narcotic pain medications including morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl. In recent years, the problem of opioid addiction and overdoses has grown more acute, with updated figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reporting that the rate of fatal overdoses from opioids nearly quadrupled over the last decade, with estimates of more than 14,000 deaths from opioid overdoses annually.


Regular, moderate coffee consumption may decrease an individual's risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to research in a report published by the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee. 

More than 370 million people worldwide have diabetes making it one of the most significant health problems. To mark World Diabetes Day, 
the Institute for Scientific Information on Coffee
 released an updated report outlining the latest research on coffee and type 2 diabetes. 
The updated report is based on a report from the World Congress on Prevention of Diabetes, held in 2012 and is updated with the latest research from this field published over the past year. 

Key research findings include:


Trastuzumab and anthracyclines given concurrently are effective at treating HER-2-positive breast cancer but there is worry that this could lead to increased risk of cardiac toxicity.

New research shows these agents do not need to be given concurrently to achieve a high rate of complete pathological remission. The findings investigated the timing of trastuzumab administration with anthracycline and taxane chemotherapy.

The randomized phase III trial enrolled 280 women with operable HER-2 positive invasive breast cancer at 36 centers across the United States from September 2007 through December 2011.


Researchers in a new paper say that one way to gauge the extent of prescription opioid pain reliever abuse is to count the number of health care providers.


In recent years, approximately 4.4 million women in the U.S. have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and women of childbearing age having the highest number of diagnoses. 

A new study has found that physiological changes during pregnancy reduce the effects of lamotrigine, a drug commonly prescribed for people diagnosed with bipolar disorder, making women more vulnerable to recurring episodes. The new findings will help psychiatrists and physicians prevent bipolar manic and depressive symptoms during pregnancy, which are risky for the health of the mother and her unborn child.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a brain cancer that kills approximately 13,000 Americans a year. It is aggressive and incurable.

A research team has demonstrated delivery of a therapeutic delivered using nanotechnology that turns off a critical gene in this complex cancer, increasing survival rates significantly - in animals.

The drug is designed to target a specific cancer-causing gene in cells. The drug simply flips the switch of the troublesome oncogene to "off," silencing the gene, which knocks out the proteins that keep cancer cells immortal. 


Even brief usage of anabolic steroids may have long lasting, perhaps even permanent performance-enhancing effects, according to a new study.

It was previously believed that re-acquisition of muscle mass after periods of inactivity was due to motor learning. The new data from an investigation of  the effects of steroids on muscle re-acquisition in mice suggests that there is a cellular 'memory mechanism' within muscle of brief steroid users.

The team investigated the effects of steroids on muscle re-acquisition in mice and discovered greater muscle mass and more myonuclei, which are essential components for muscle fiber function, were apparent after returning to exercise.