Pharmacology

Want to avoid a baby mama without getting surgery or enduring condoms that are too small?  Men may soon have the same choice as women when it comes to birth control.

A male contraceptive pill has been talked about for decades, but so far none has been successfully created despite strong demand. Recent surveys found that about 70 percent of men would be willing to take a birth control pill if it were available.

A new study says such a birth control pill for men, without side effects, may soon be ready.  Working on mice, the team found that a compound called JQ1 acts as an inhibitor to sperm production and also sperm mobility. 

Women who have breast cancer and are treated with two chemotherapy drugs, anthracycline and trastuzumab, may experience more cardiac problems like heart failure than shown in previous studies, according to a new Cancer Research Network study by Group Health researchers and others in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Despite extensive regulations and preventative efforts, lead poisoning, which can damage the brain, kidneys, and nervous and reproductive systems, still occurs in the United States.  Babies are also at risk. Fetal exposure to lead can adversely affect neurodevelopment, decrease fetal growth, and increase the risk for premature birth and miscarriage. 

With the Supreme Court decision to uphold mandatory health insurance purchasing under the Affordable Care Act, it's going to get more expensive. But for thousands of years people were able to go into the woods and get health care for free, so all is not lost. Maybe they can even get a rebate for using nature.

Natural remedies may not be as effective as their synthetic pharmacological cousins but a Harvard post-doc says there may be economic benefits people could receive by relying on such traditional cures.  If that feels like 'ketchup is a vegetable' sweet lemons rationalization, you are not alone.

When it comes to new legislation, sometimes what you see is not all you get. Just ask Nancy Pelosi, the House Minority Leader who two years ago uttered the now infamous words, “We have to pass the [Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act] so that you can find out what is in it….” Whether or not you support the president's healthcare reform initiatives, the implementation of any vast, complex legislation can result in unintended consequences.

Drug addicts are outraged by recent changes to the formula of frequently abused prescription painkiller OxyContin which makes it harder to inhale.

So they are taking their business to heroin.

For nearly three years, psychiatrists have been collecting information from patients entering treatment for drug abuse and more than 2,500 patients from 150 treatment centers in 39 states have answered survey questions about their drug use with a particular focus on the reformulation of OxyContin.

Surveys. Of drug addicts. Calibrate accordingly.
Silymarin is an extract of milk thistle. Millions of people use this herbal remedy to treat chronic liver disease but it doesn't do much for patients, according to a new study.

Milk thistle fruit extracts have been widely used by patients in treating liver disease based on previous evidence showing that it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and potentially anti-viral properties so the new study set out to assess true efficacy in a group of hepatitis C patients who were previously unsuccessfully treated with interferon-based therapy – the standard anti-viral method used to treat the disease. 
Science 2.0 fave Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson recently sent a funny thing across his Twitter feed:
Q: What do you call Alternative Medicine that survives double-blind laboratory tests?
A: Regular Medicine.
And that's the crux of the issue, isn't it?  There's no Big Pharm conspiracy against homeopathy, for example. What multi-national conglomerate wouldn't love to slosh some magic water in a bottle and sell it for 10 bucks or more?  It just doesn't work.
A new study has assessed the effectiveness of two somatostatin vaccinations, JH17 and JH18, in reducing weight gain and increasing weight loss in mice.

Somatostatin is a peptide hormone which inhibits the action of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), both of which increase metabolism and result in weight loss. Vaccination with modified somatostatin caused the body to generate antibodies to somatostatin, effectively removing this inhibition without directly interfering with the growth hormones and subsequently increasing energy expenditure and weight loss.
Plant compounds from a South African daffodil may be used to treat depression, according to a University of Copenhagen study, where they tested those substance in a laboratory model of the blood-brain barrier.

Substances from the South African plant species Crinum and Cyrtanthus – akin to snowdrops and daffodils, respectively – have characteristics that enable them to negotiate the defensive blood-brain barrier, a key challenge in all new drug development.

Obviously you should not run out and start eating daffodils just yet.  The lab test does not show which compounds can be used in drug development.