Pharmacology

Hippies on LSD in the 1960s described it as a 'dream state' and a new study finds that is a pretty accurate description.

Researchers recently examined the brain effects of the psychedelic chemical in magic mushrooms, called psilocybin, using data from brain scans of volunteers who had been injected with the drug. The results were that brains display a similar pattern of activity during a mind-expanding drug trip as it does during dreams.
Recent meta-analyses of the efficacy of second-generation antidepressants for youth have concluded that they possess anadvantage over placebo in terms of clinician-rated depressive symptoms, but no meta-analysis has included measures of quality of life, global mental health, self-esteem, or autonomy. Prior meta-analyses also did not include self-reports of depressive symptoms.

A recent article published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics reviewed the literature to understand the effects of antidepressant drugs on well-being in children and adolescents.

Taking the street drug Ecstasy could lead to a potentially fatal weakening and rupture of the spinal cord artery, according to a new paper.

Posterior spinal artery aneurysms - a blood-filled swelling of the spinal cord artery, caused by a weakening and distension of the vessel wall - are rare, with only 12 cases reported to date. But all of them caused spinal bleeding which affected the function of the spinal cord.


The argument for making marijuana legal despite its health risks is that so many people use it anyway that it creates a society of casual criminals at best - maybe they are getting a bogus prescription for 'pain' or glaucoma or inventing some way it helps them. And at worst it makes criminals rich and puts users at risk because the quality is unmonitored and perhaps even dangerous.


It's unclear why there is a natural medicine craze in the modern era. Real medicine was invented because natural medicine didn't help people. If natural medicine survived double-blind clinical trials, it became regular medicine.


Antihistamines, which help reduce watery eyes and runny noses during allergy season, might also help ward off tumors too. A new report suggests that antihistamines may have significant anti-cancer properties as they interfere with the function of a type of cell that is known to reduce the body's ability to fight tumors - myeloid derived suppressor cells.


Scientists working to make gene therapy a reality say they have figured out how to bypass a blood stem cell's natural defenses and efficiently insert disease-fighting genes into the cell's genome.

The drug rapamycin, which is commonly used to slow cancer growth and prevent organ rejection, enables delivery of a therapeutic dose of genes to blood stem cells while preserving stem cell function. The findings in Blood could lead to more effective and affordable long-term treatments for blood cell disorders in which mutations in the DNA cause abnormal cell functions, such as in leukemia and sickle cell anemia.


We all have bad days.

Sometimes "bad" is a woefully insufficient adjective. Ask Dr. Mehmet Oz (henceforth known as The Lizard of Oz). He had a really bad day this week, courtesy of Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). 

She is not someone you want as an enemy. She tricked The Lizard into testifying before  the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

A new analysis by Karolinska Institutet in Sweden found that drug therapy for ADHD does not entail an increased risk of suicide attempts or suicide. 

Other studies have found  that ADHD drug treatment would increase the occurrence of suicidal thoughts but the authors of the new paper in BMJ say those studies were too small scale and/or methodologically unsound, which make the results uncertain. For the new paper, the authors used national patient registers to identify all patients in Sweden diagnosed with ADHD between 1960 and 1996; a total of 37,936 individuals. These people were then followed over the period 2006-2009, in terms of drug treatment and events that could be linked to suicide attempts and suicide. 


In the many hypotheses surrounding autism, one posits it is the consequence of abnormal cell communication.

Researchers at the U.C. San Diego recently did a study using a drug from 1916, suramin, which was approved for treating sleeping sickness. The findings in Translational Psychiatry were that it
restored normal cellular signaling in a mouse model of autism, reversing symptoms of the neurological disorder in animals that were the human biological age equivalent of 30 years old.