Pharmacology

In America, a person who cuts your hair for $8 has to be licensed and obey minimum safety standards, but dietary supplements, which accounted for more than half the Class 1 drugs recalled by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from 2004-12 (meaning they contained substances that could cause serious health problems or even death) are stuffed full of  unapproved medicinal ingredients, including steroids,  a new study from St. Michael's Hospital has found.

The majority of those recalled supplements were bodybuilding, weight loss or sexual enhancement products, said the study's lead author, Dr. Ziv Harel, and almost one-quarter of the substances are manufactured outside of the United States, he said in the paper.


Research has established that caffeine interferes with processes in cancer cells that control DNA repair, a finding that has generated interest in using the stimulant as a chemotherapy treatment, but given the toxic nature of caffeine at high doses, researchers from the University of Alberta have instead taken advantage of caffeine's lethal effects on cancer cells identify genes and pathways responsible for DNA repair.

The research team found that fruit flies with a mutant gene called melanoma antigen gene, or MAGE, appeared normal when fed a regular diet but died when fed food supplemented with caffeine. On closer inspection, they found the mutant flies' cells were super-sensitive to caffeine, with the drug triggering "cell suicide" - apoptosis. 


One group writing in the European Heart Journal found that digoxin increases mortality in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Another group just found that it did not and published in the same journal.

They used the same data.


Chlorogenic acids, natural substances extracted from unroasted coffee beans, can help control the elevated blood sugar levels and body weight that underpin type 2 diabetes. 


Antidepressants are commonly prescribed for depression but their efficacy is questionable -   many people don't experience symptom relief.

The National Institute of Mental Health's STAR*D study, the largest and longest study ever conducted to evaluate depression treatment, may have a better way;  identifying predictors of antidepressant response. f


Consumption of extra virgin olive oil has been linked to reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its benefit may lie in one component of olive oil that helps shuttle the abnormal AD proteins out of the brain.


A new paper in Molecular Pharmacology describes how 'reverse pharmacology', enabled by Heptares Therapeutics StaR(R) technology, can be applied to and accelerate GPCR-based drug discovery.

The paper utilized the study of isolated GPCRs locked in conformations that correspond to agonist or antagonist pharmacology, and the elucidation of their respective 3D structures. These StaRs and structures can be used to select and design compounds with specific pharmacologies, such as inverse agonist, partial agonist or full agonist, based on their ability to bind differentially to the agonist and antagonist StaRs. For example a full agonist will preferentially bind to the agonist StaR. 


Coffee may help lower your risk of having a stroke, especially if it is a regular part of your diet, according to research published in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Green tea also, though it's unclear how green tea affects stroke risks. A compound group known as catechins may provide some protection. Catechins have an antioxidant anti-inflammatory effect, increasing plasma antioxidant capacity and anti-thrombogenic effects.  Some chemicals in coffee include chlorogenic acid, thus cutting stroke risks by lowering the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.


A culture that digs up dead female corpses to bury with single deceased men has unsurprisingly embraced probiotics. Starting in the 1990s,  the fast-growing yogurt, supplement, pharma and feed sectors are expected to reach $5 billion despite any benefit. 

 There are several hundred kinds of nutritional foods and ingredients containing probiotics currently sold in the Chinese market, such as fermented milk (yogurt), fermented cheese or cream, fermented soy milk, probiotics supplement and pharma products. 


Researchers have reported the results of a 10-year, double-blind randomized controlled trial in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and  found that the infants of mothers who were given 600 milligrams of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA during pregnancy weighed more at birth and were less likely to be very low birth weight and born before 34 weeks gestation than infants of mothers who were given a placebo.

This result greatly strengthens the case for using the dietary supplement during pregnancy. A follow-up of this sample of infants is ongoing to determine whether prenatal DHA nutritional supplementation will benefit children's intelligence and school readiness.