Pharmacology

Young men who use cannabis may be putting their fertility at risk by inadvertently affecting the size and shape of their sperm according to research published today (Thursday 5 June 2014).

In the world's largest study to investigate how common lifestyle factors influence the size and shape of sperm (referred to as sperm morphology), a research team from the Universities of Sheffield and Manchester also found that sperm size and shape was worse in samples ejaculated in the summer months but was better in men who had abstained from sexual activity for more than six days.

However, other common lifestyle factors reported by men, including smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, appeared to have little effect.


Anti-depressants are having a bad decade. They've been increasingly implicated in acts of violence - it used to be that if a person had been treated by multiple therapists, society had done its part, and now society wonders if over-medicating and creating too many psychological labels are the problem rather than the solution.

Now antidepressants are increasingly linked to obesity. 

A new study in mice has shown that a previously developed male hormonal (testosterone) oral contraceptive method is unable to stop the production and / or the release of sperm.  


A nationwide survey indicates that heroin users are attracted to heroin not only for the high, but because it is less expensive and easier to get than prescription painkillers.


The therapeutic potential of marijuana and pure cannabidiol (CBD), an active substance in the cannabis plant, for neurologic conditions is debatable - though so far the debate has mostly been anecdotes against science.

A series of articles published in Epilepsia examine the potential use of medical marijuana and CBD in treating severe forms of epilepsy such as Dravet syndrome.


Counterfeit medicines have skyrocketed in recent years and the gullibility of the public has been bolstered by conspiracy theories about profits by pharmaceutical companies - they believe that every country must be making the same products free, or at least subsidizing it to get costs down. A $1 Viagra pill is believable if you want to believe.


A large study may upend our understanding of vitamin E, a vital antioxidant, and ties the increasing consumption of supposedly healthy vitamin E-rich oils such as canola, soybean and corn  to the rising incidence of lung inflammation and, possibly, asthma. 

The different health effects of vitamin E depend on its form. The form of Vitamin E called gamma-tocopherol in the ubiquitous soybean, corn and canola oils is associated with decreased lung function in humans, the study reports. The other form of Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol, which is found in olive and sunflower oils, does the opposite. It's associated with better lung function. 


Is life great or what?

We have all kinds of wonderful choices available to us. Yankees or Mets (better still, neither), Frosted Flakes or Cap'n Crunch, Homeland or The Walking Dead. Awesome. 

And now we get to choose between an old artificial sweetener that was perfectly safe and a new one that is perfectly safer. 

For more than 30 years, aspartame (aka NutraSweet), has been the target of conspiracy crazies and those who profit from the crazies. Speaking of whom, supplement mogul Crazy Joe Mercola calls aspartame "By far the most dangerous substance added to most foods today." 

People attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum, according to a large survey of smokers in England.

The results were adjusted for a wide range of factors that might influence success at quitting, including age, nicotine dependence, previous quit attempts, and whether quitting was gradual or abrupt.


New research does not support claims that fluoridating water adversely affects children's mental development and adult IQ.

The researchers were testing the claim that exposure to levels of fluoride used in community water fluoridation is toxic to the developing brain and can cause IQ deficits.  The data used in the American Journal of Public Health article used data from the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Study, which   has followed nearly all aspects of the health and development of around 1,000 people born in Dunedin in 1972-1973 up to age 38.