Pharmacology

Pain treatment researchers have discovered thousands of new peptide toxins hidden deep within the venom of just one type of Queensland cone snail. The scientists hope the new molecules will be promising leads for new drugs to treat pain and cancer.
It must be nice to have a job with so much free time on your hands that you can do just about anything, regardless of merit, and not only get away with it, but, rather, be rewarded for it.

Our dear friends, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), perhaps the most scientifically flawed organization out there (and this is no small accomplishment) have decided to take on the (all of a sudden) life and death issue of children drawing with crayons.

Hope you were sitting down when you heard about this.

This non-issue arises from a report, entitled “EWG Tests Find Asbestos in Kids’ crayons, Crime Scene Kits— Even trace exposures to lethal asbestos fibers can cause cancer, other diseases.”
A common arthritis drug may also be an effective way to help treat patients with blood cancers—at one thousandth the cost of another drug that works the same way.

Myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN) cause an overproduction of blood cells resulting in symptoms that include night sweats, itching, and tiredness. MPNs are most often diagnosed in people in their 50s and 60s. Current treatment is limited to aspirin, removal of excess blood, and mild chemotherapy. 
What have I been doing for the last twoweeks, you ask? I’ve been waiting for news on the antibiotic front.  The G7 came out with a completely lame statement that has no specific commitments.  They suggest they meet together again to share ideas for “best practices.”  What we really need is money.  But again, no one wants to talk about that. 
This isn't the Dr. Oz show or some nutrition site selling Vitamin D supplements or whatever the big Superfood/Miracle Vegetable craze is this week, 'miracle' is a bit of a dirty word in science. But when it fits, you have to use it.

And Hepatitis C may have gotten its miracle. 

It's not well known, Hepatitis C does not have the PR of diseases like AIDS, but 3 million people have it, many of them Baby Boomers. Some got it of their own volition, using skin poppers or needles for drugs, but hygiene was a different beast 50 years ago and it was also possible to get it just by going to the dentist.

Researchers have successfully stopped cocaine and alcohol addiction in experiments using a drug already approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat high blood pressure. If the treatment is proven effective in humans, it would be the first of its kind -- one that could help prevent relapses by erasing the unconscious memories that underlie addiction.

Scientists once believed that drug addiction was simply a physical craving: Drug addicts who became sober and then later relapsed merely lacked willpower. But that view has gradually shifted since the 1970s.


And I thought *my* job was fun. 

I regularly get to ridicule an incredible variety and quantity of nonsense that poses as science and medicine. Some of it borders on hilarious. 

On the other hand, making this stuff up is probably just as much fun, and maybe even more lucrative. There might even be an office pool: "Yo, Autumn Flower. I managed to get four old ladies to hide under the bed last week. Hand over the bitcoins."

And the competition must be fierce. In the absence of some kind of incentive, I cannot imagine any other way to get people to come up with a constant and creative (waste)stream of entertaining, yet marginally believable content. 

Doctors often misdiagnose zinc deficiency, and seem to be unaware of the impact of excess zinc on the body, according to a small audit of clinical practice.

Zinc is an essential trace element that is required in daily quantities of 5.5 to 9.5 mg for men, and 4 to 7 mg for women. But zinc supplements are usually only available in formulations of 45 or 50 mg. The US recommended tolerable limit is 40 mg/day.


Ever wonder how much it costs to develop a new drug? The independent, non-profit research group, The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, estimates US$2.6 billion, almost double the centre’s previous estimate a decade ago. But how accurate is this figure?
The return of diphtheria in Spain after nearly three decades highlights the challenges posed by infectious diseases that had been mostly eliminated from Europe.

Falling vaccination rates, complex population movements, and the disappearance of international health practices perceived as redundant, all contribute to the emergence and spread of infectious diseases that were thought forgotten.

At the same time, such public health crises throw light on the delicate relationship between state and citizens, and competing concepts of responsibility for health.