Pharmacology

An exciting new class of potential inhibitors of both Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease has been isolated from coffee.

Dr. Donald Weaver, co-director of the Kembril Brain Institute in Toronto, Canada explains: “The consumption of coffee seems to have a correlation to a decreased risk of developing Alzeimer’s disease and/or Parkinson’s disease”.

Their investigations have recently been reported in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. Among the results: Three types of coffee were investigated: caffeinated dark roast, caffeinated light roast, and decaffeinated dark roast.
In 2016, a Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) vaccine candidate named the RSV F Vaccine failed in Phase III trials, which could have been a crippling blow for Novavax, but they may be on the road to recovery.

Companies have to have Phase III trials before they can get approval. Phase I proves safety and dosing while Phase II shows it is better than a placebo and Phase III is intended to show it either works better than existing treatments or has fewer side effects. That's all after numerical models and animal studies. Since FDA essentially doubled the costs to get drug approval in the early 2000s only the most promising drug advances to Phase III. perhaps 1 in 5,000 that look good on a computer. It simply isn't worth the cost otherwise.  
Alcohol is a drug which needs no introduction given its (multi)age-old impact on humanity.

One crucial question is “what makes some people crave alcohol in excess acutely ie a single sitting and/or chronically over time”? Scientists have long known that the answer involves the neurotransmitter dopamine in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain.

Recently Mark Brodie, Professor of Physiology and BioPhysics at the University of Illinois at Chicago published an interesting article in the journal Neuropharmacology. His research focused on the potassium channel KCNK13 which is found inside the membrane of dopaminergic neurons in the VTA.
Tafamidis meglumine (trade name: Vyndaqel®) was approved in November 2011 for the treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis in adults, a rare disorder ("orphan disease") caused by a defective gene and is associated with progressive nerve damage. Now it has been shown to improve survival and reduce hospitalizations for transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, a rare heart condition, according to research presented at ESC Congress 2018 and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
If you want to map opioid prescription use, you can do it, right down to Congressional district. The highest rates are in the southeastern U.S., Appalachia and the rural west, all areas where there is more manual labor, according to an analysis in American Journal of Public Health.

The authors believe this could help policy makers at the federal and state level better target intervention and prevention strategies, though statistics have shown prescription use is not the problem, illegal recreational use is.

Diagnoses of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) skyrocketed in the 1990s, leading to concern that teachers wanted all kids to be automatons in classrooms and too many older parents were concerned about kids just being kids.

Advocates are claiming medical marijuana can help to fight the opioid epidemic but data show the opposite. Rather than being at lower risk, people who use medical marijuana may be at higher risk for non-medical prescription drug use.
Much of medical marijuana usage was always recreational and a new study in the Journal of Addiction Medicine finds that people who use medical marijuana have higher rates of prescription drug use - including pain relievers.

Does Use of Medical Marijuana Increase or Decrease Prescription Drug Use?

Though less than a dozen school children will be slain by a gun in any given year, American society is mobilized with marches and media against firearms. Meanwhile, on average 55,000 Americans will die from the flu, which has a vaccine. In states like California, anti-vaccine sentiment ran so high on the coast that the state had to pass a law forcing parents to comply or not have their kids enrolled. Some schools in Marin county had fewer than 30 percent of children vaccinated. Philosophical exemptions just by families in the wealthiest parts of California exceeded the number of religious exemptions nationwide - by 1000 percent.
When the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention drastically lowered the 'blood sugar' level, the HbA1C test, to 5.7 percent for a potential precursor to disease labeled "prediabetes" the rest of the world jeered. In China, that would mean 500 million people worried they have a disease. In America, it would mean 80 million more potential patients. When it came to data, less than 5 percent of those with that A1C level would ever go on to develop type 2 diabetes...in their entire lives.
Though unusually ethically suspect supplement merchants have been marketing kratom, an analgesic made from the leaves of a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms, significant safety concerns exist.

And it turns out kratom itself is an opioid, finds an FDA study.