Pharmacology

Niacin has been a mainstay cholesterol therapy for 50 years but it should no longer be prescribed for most patients due to potential increased risk of death, dangerous side effects and no benefit in reducing heart attacks and strokes, according to an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.


Researchers have created a combination drug that controls both tumor growth and metastasis. By combining a COX-2 inhibitor, similar to Celebrex, and an epoxide hydrolase (sEH) inhibitor, the drug controls angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), limiting a tumor's ability to grow and spread.

Both COX and sEH enzymes control lipid signaling, which has long been associated with inflammation, cell migration, proliferation, hypertension and other processes. COX inhibitors block production of inflammatory and pain-inducing lipids, while sEH inhibitors preserve anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory and analgesic compounds. Separate COX and sEH inhibitors were previously found to work together in reducing inflammation and neuropathic pain.


Mice exposed to arsenic in drinking water developed lung cancer in a new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health have found. 

In the study, researchers gave mice orders of magnitude acceptable limits of arsenic in water - 5X the EPA maximun, 50X and 500X. The reason they used so much is because mice need to be exposed to greater concentrations of arsenic in drinking water than humans to achieve the same biological dose and similar health effects.  Arsenic in public drinking water cannot exceed 10 parts per billion (ppb) by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. Private wells, from which millions of people get their drinking water, don't have a specified standard because arsenic is found in nature. 


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.