Pharmacology

Commonly used pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccines do not appear to be effective for preventing pneumonia, found a study by a team of researchers from Switzerland and the United Kingdom writing in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

In many industrialized countries, polysaccharide pneumococcal vaccines (PPVs) are currently recommended to help prevent pneumococcal disease in people aged 65 and over and for younger people with increased risk due to conditions like HIV. Studies have shown conflicting results regarding the efficacy of PPV. 
An extract from grape seeds forces laboratory leukemia cells to commit cell suicide, according to researchers from the University of Kentucky. They found that within 24 hours, 76 percent of leukemia cells had died after being exposed to the extract.



The investigators, who report their findings in the January 1, 2009, issue of Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, also teased apart the cell signaling pathway associated with use of grape seed extract that led to cell death, or apoptosis. They found that the extract activates JNK, a protein that regulates the apoptotic pathway.


Using tiny gold particles and infrared light, researchers have developed a drug-delivery system that allows multiple drugs to be released in a controlled fashion.  Such a system could one day be used to provide more control when battling diseases commonly treated with more than one drug, according to the researchers.

Delivery devices already exist that can release two drugs, but the timing of the release must be built into the device — it cannot be controlled from outside the body. The new system is controlled externally and theoretically could deliver up to three or four drugs. 

The new technique takes advantage of the fact that when gold nanoparticles are exposed to infrared light, they melt and release drug payloads attached to their surfaces. 
Contact with nature has long been believed to increase positive feelings, reduce stress and provide distraction from the pain associated with hospital stays and researchers now say they have confirmed the beneficial effects of plants and flowers for patients recovering from abdominal surgery. A recent study by Seong-Hyun Park and Richard H. Mattson, researchers from the Department of Horticulture, Recreation and Forestry at Kansas State University, provides evidence that contact with plants is directly beneficial to a hospital patient's health. Using various medical and psychological measurements, the study set out to evaluate if plants in hospital rooms have therapeutic influences.
University of Cincinnati researchers say they have discovered a new therapy for transplant patients; targeting the antibody-producing plasma cells that can cause organ rejection.  Steve Woodle, MD, and colleagues found that a cancer drug. bortezomib, that is used to treat multiple myeloma, or cancer of the plasma cells, is also effective in treating rejection episodes caused by antibodies that target transplanted kidneys and reversing rejection episodes that did not respond to standard therapies.

B-lymphocytes, or B cells, play a large role in the humoral immune response by making immune proteins that attack transplanted organs.
People can make their own salicylic acid (SA), the principal metabolite of aspirin. SA that gives aspirin its famous action on pain, fever, and inflammation is now looking like a star in its own "class" of bioregulators.
Fish oil protects against deaths from heart problems, but doesn't provide a clear benefit in heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias), according a study published on bmj.com today.

Consuming oily fish at least two to four times a week is recommended for patients after a heart attack. But the evidence for the protective effect of fish oil supplements is based on one large trial from over 10 years ago. More recent trials have showed no beneficial effect of fish oil on patient outcomes.

Since its discovery in the 18th century, cocaine has been a scourge of western society. Strongly stimulating human reward centers in low doses, cocaine is extremely addictive and can be fatal in high doses.

But this potent compound did not evolve to ensnare humans in addiction, it is a powerful insect neurotoxin, protecting coca bushes from munching insects - without rewarding them.

A study headed by researchers from the University of Barcelona (UB) shows that caffeine has a greater effect on men than women, and that these effects start just 10 minutes after it is drunk. In addition, contrary to what was previously thought, it has also been shown that decaffeinated coffee also produces an increased state of alertness. 

“Numerous studies have demonstrated the stimulant effects of caffeine, but none of these have looked at their effects in terms of the consumer’s gender,” Ana Adan, lead author of the study and a researcher in the Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology Department of the UB, tells SINC. 
Good quality extra-virgin olive oil contains health-relevant chemicals, 'phytochemicals', that can trigger cancer cell death. New research published in the open access journal BMC Cancer sheds more light on the suspected association between olive oil-rich Mediterranean diets and reductions in breast cancer risk.