Pharmacology

Can you artificially strengthen a marital bond? 

Scientists at the Bonn University Medical Center found that if oxytocin is administered to men and if they are shown pictures of their partner, the bonding hormone stimulates the reward center in the brain, increass the attractiveness of the partner, and strengthens monogamy. 


Though more and more women are given antidepressant medication while they are pregnant and there have been more diagnosed cases of autism, there is no connection between the use of antidepressant medication - SSRIs - during the course of pregnancy and the risk of having a child with autism.


Diabetics who received prescribed heart medications by mail were less likely to visit the emergency room than patients who picked up prescriptions in person, according to a new Kaiser Permanente study published in the American Journal of Managed Care which examined 17,217 adult Kaiser Permanente members with diabetes who were first prescribed heart medications in 2006 and followed them for 3 years.

This study is the first to examine the potential impacts of mail order pharmacy on patient safety and utilization, and explores the concern of patients experiencing adverse outcomes because they do not meet face-to-face with a pharmacist.


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.