Chocolate is the most widely and frequently craved food. People readily admit to being ‘addicted to chocolate’ or willingly label themselves as ‘chocoholics’. A popular explanation for this is that chocolate contains mood-enhancing (psychoactive) ingredients that give it special appeal.
Evidence and logic, however, find little support for this. Substances present in chocolate which have been highlighted as potentially pharmacologically significant include serotonin, tryptophan, phenylethylamine, tyramine and cannabinoids. However, many of these compounds exist in higher concentrations in other foods with less appeal than chocolate.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) today called on Gilead Sciences and Merck to immediately register and distribute the three-in-one, once daily lifesaving HIV treatment, Atripla, in developing countries.
When Atripla first received approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in July of 2006, advocates like AHF applauded the production of a single, once-a-day drug as a landmark step in treating HIV. However, since its approval, little progress has been made in expanding the availability of the treatment in the developing world, where only 28% of those in need of treatment were able to access it as of December 2006.
"This treatment is a standard therapy in the United States.
Studies with rats have revealed the potential in an entirely new class of antidepressants that take effect after only days of treatment versus the weeks required for current drugs.
The researchers, Guillaume Lucas and colleagues, said that they hope their findings will spur development of such new antidepressant drugs so that clinical testing can begin quickly.
Depression can be treated by enhancing the action of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. Such neurotransmitters are the chemical signals that one neuron launches at another to trigger a nerve impulse in the target neuron.
A study by researchers at the University of Southampton has shown evidence of increased levels of hyperactivity in young children consuming mixtures of some artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate.
The possibility of food colors and preservatives affecting children's behavior has long been an unresolved question for parents. This significant new research by a team from the University of Southampton's Schools of Psychology and Medicine provides a clear demonstration that changes in behavior can be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children.
According to new research at the University of Virginia Health System, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), an anti-oxidant commonly used in nutritional and body-building supplements, can form a red blood cell-derived molecule that makes blood vessels think they are not getting enough oxygen. This leads to pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), a serious condition characterized by high blood pressure in the arteries that carry blood to the lungs.
“NAC fools the body into thinking that it has an oxygen shortage,” said Dr. Ben Gaston, UVa Children’s Hospital pediatrician and researcher who led the study. “We found that an NAC product formed by red blood cells, know as a nitrosothiol, bypasses the normal regulation of oxygen sensing.
The largest-ever study of treatments for diabetes has shown that a fixed combination of perindopril and indapamide also reduces the risks of heart and kidney disease.
One of the study leaders, Professor Stephen MacMahon from The George Institute for International Health in Australia, said, "these results represent an important step forward in health care for the millions of people with diabetes worldwide. This treatment reduced the likelihood of dying from the complications of diabetes by almost one-fifth, with virtually no side-effects.”
Globally, there are approximately 250 million people with diabetes, most of whom will eventually be killed or disabled by the complications of their condition. The most common cause of death in people with diabetes is heart disease.
For bees, anyway. People are out of luck.
A research team led by the University of Illinois has identified an odorant receptor that allows male drones to find a queen in flight. The receptor, on the male antennae, can detect an available queen up to 60 meters away. This is the first time an odorant receptor has been linked to a specific pheromone in honey bees.
The “queen substance,” or “queen retinue pheromone,” was first identified decades ago, but scientists have only recently begun to understand its structure and role in the hive. The pheromone is a primary source of the queen’s authority. It is made up of eight components, one of which, 9-oxo-2-decenoic acid (9-ODA), attracts the drones during mating flights.
Ivermectin, the standard drug for treating river blindness (onchocerciasis), is causing genetic changes in the parasite that causes the disease, according to a new study by Roger Prichard (McGill University, Canada) and colleagues, published on August 30, 2007 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases. These genetic changes have previously been linked with parasites becoming resistant to ivermectin.
Scientists have discovered that a lipid known to protect the heart from inflammation and to cause skin allergic reactions also reduces inflammation of the kidneys. The discovery could help devise new ways of treating inflammatory kidney diseases.
The lipid, called sphingosylphosphorylcholine (SPC), has been shown to cause an increase in urine production in the kidneys and an abnormal accumulation of salt in the urine. But how SPC works in the kidneys is not completely understood.
Andrea Huwiler and colleagues examined the various proteins activated by SPC in kidney cells and showed for the first time that SPC triggers proteins known to reduce inflammation.
Four-Agents Decoction ( Si Wu Tang) is composed of dry roots of four plants native to China: prepared Radix Rehmanniae praeparata (Soe Dee Huang), Radix Paeoniae Alba (Bai Sau), Radix Angelicae Sinensis (Dang Guay), and Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong (Tsuan Chyong).
This formula is originally listed in the Prescriptions of People’s Welfare Pharmacy (in Chinese) as a remedy for nourishing the blood and has been used as a basic formula in traditional Chinese medicine for treating women’s illnesses since the Song dynasty (twelfth century).