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Scott BeersRSS Feed of this column.

BS Chemistry from University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with minor in Biology (1984). PhD in Medicinal Chemistry from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1988. Post doctoral work at the University... Read More »

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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.
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.
In my back yard I have three bluebird houses and a Koi pond which over the years have brought my family and I countless hours of calm, natural serenity. Over the last few years however I have noticed a few disturbing trends including the total absence of frogs in my pond and few, if any bluebirds.

I wondered if this was a local phenomenon or something more global… According to Yale Environment 360, Over the years 1989-2014 entomologists set up insect traps over the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

As of June 5th there have been 24 confirmed cases of dengue fever and 18 cases of chikungunya according to health officials, in the state of Florida.

http://www.medicaldaily.com/dengue-and-chikungunya-viruses-pose-imminent-threat-outbreak-florida-summer-286550

Dr. Karl Kruszelnicki has described a very interesting case of a cancer patient named Daniel. Daniel was a fit man in his mid 30's and was diagnosed with malignant melanoma. Within two months it had spread to his lymph nodes and within one year had sprouted secondary cancers in his lungs and liver. During this time Daniel could no longer play basketball and lost over 30 pounds. The cancer then spread to his right hip causing severe pain. The consulting doctor decided to treat the hip pain (tumor) with a high dose of radiation hoping that the damage to the tumor would provide pain relief. The doctor then booked a 3-month follow up appointment not really expecting Daniel to be alive. Three months later, Daniel not only showed up but had gained 11 pounds and was pain free.
The May 26th 2014 issue of Chemical&Engineering News reported on a promising drug with a future to be determined by the courts.

Cancer researcher Wafik S. El-Deiry of Pennsylvania State University and Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and colleagues found TIC10 in a search of a free National Cancer Institute database and pinpointed its anticancer activity.

They found that the compound stimulates gene expression of a tumor suppressor protein called TRAIL. TIC10 stands for TRAIL-inducing compound 10.

The Penn State group patented the compound with the top structure:


See U.S. 8673923.