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Posts Tagged "pharmaceuticals"

Food Matters

Breaking Food Down

Original Image U. Huddersfield.

What is food? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary entry says “Something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies.” How beautiful. That statement captures much of the emotion and feeling surrounding food, yet it’s only part of the full definition. So where does food begin? As with most big questions, it depends who you ask. Let’s start down the reductive [...]

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Guest Blog

Beyond Resveratrol: The Anti-Aging NAD Fad

Aging cells. Old human fibroblasts showing their mitochondria in large branched networks (red), their nuclear DNA (blue) and sites of DNA damage (green). (Image: Glyn Nelson/Flickr)

Whenever I see my 10-year-old daughter brimming over with so much energy that she jumps up in the middle of supper to run around the table, I think to myself, “those young mitochondria.” Mitochondria are our cells’ energy dynamos. Descended from bacteria that colonized other cells about 2 billion years, they get flaky as we [...]

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Guest Blog

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: America’s Greatest Health Risk of 2015?

Micrograph of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. The liver has a prominent (centrilobular) macrovesicular steatosis (white/clear round/oval spaces) and mild fibrosis (green). The hepatocytes stain red.  Macrovesicular steatosis is lipid accumulation that is so large it distorts the cell's nucleus. (Credit: Nephron/Wikimedia Commons)

Today, up to 25 percent of people in the U.S. are living with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to the American Liver Foundation. NAFLD is a medical condition associated with obesity that can eventually lead to other liver conditions or even liver failure. In less than a decade, NAFLD will likely become the number [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

The Growing Economic Burden of Depression in the U.S.

Credit: Luis Sarabia/Flickr

Depression in America costs society $210 billion per year, according to the newest data available, yet only 40 percent of this sum is associated with depression itself. My colleagues and I have found that most of the costs of depression are for related mental illnesses, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as [...]

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Observations

Psychedelic Chemist and “Godfather of Ecstasy” Alexander Shulgin Dies at 88

Credit: Wikimedia commons

Alexander Shulgin, chemist and renowned psychonaut who acquainted the world with the drug MDMA – or Ecstasy – died Monday evening at his home in Lafayette, Calif. after a battle with liver cancer. Shulgin spent much of his life synthesizing and experimenting with hundreds of psychedelic drugs, which he believed would give people a better [...]

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Observations

The Quest: Get the Lowdown on the Pills You’re Popping

Looking up information about prescription medications used to mean thumbing through the pages of the big blue Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR), or more recently, searching the PDR website. But for a really comprehensive search that includes extensive clinical trial data, you can’t beat DailyMed, another one of the authoritative-and-free-to-use offerings from the National Library of [...]

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Observations

Glaxo Decision Precedes Obamacare Rollout

Pill bottles

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline’s announcement on December 16 that it will cease paying doctors to promote its products took the medical community by surprise, but the plan appears to have been in the works for some time. Employing doctors to promote brand-name drugs at conferences has been an industry standard for decades, and many researchers and [...]

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Observations

Growth Factor: How Bacterial Infections Persist through Antibiotics [Video]

bacteria persists with antibiotics by growing

Some strains of nasty bacterial infections, such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), come loaded with resistance to antibiotics built right into their genes. But certain infections seem to acquire an ability to persist in the face of drugs that should knock them out—without developing the genetic hallmarks of antibiotic resistance. For decades, researchers have thought [...]

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Observations

Pharmacies Dispense Meds Even after Docs Stop Prescription

discontinued medication prescriptions pharmacy doctor

When doctors take patients off of a prescription medicine, it is often for a good reason. But pharmacists don’t always get the memo. A new study finds that more than 1 in 100 discontinued prescriptions were filled by the pharmacy anyway, putting some patients at serious risk. In the U.S., pharmacists filled more than 3.7 [...]

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Observations

Super-Toxic Snake Venom Could Yield New Painkillers

black mamba snake venom pain killer

A bite from the black mamba snake (Dendroaspis polylepis) can kill an adult human within 20 minutes. But mixed in with that toxic venom is a new natural class of compound that could be used to help develop new painkillers. Named “mambalgins,” these peptides block acute and inflammatory pain in mice as well as morphine [...]

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Observations

Use of Avastin for Breast Cancer Nixed by FDA

fda logo

The multi-billion-dollar cancer drug Avastin is no longer an approved treatment for breast cancer treatment, per a long-anticipated announcement made Friday by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Avastin (bevacizumab, sold by Genentech/Roche) has been on the market since 2004 as a treatment for colon cancer. Following its lukewarm approval in 2008 for use [...]

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Observations

How much money was your doctor paid by a drug company?

doctors collect money from pharmaceutical companies

It’s no secret that many doctors get paid by pharmaceutical companies to talk to other docs—about general conditions, research trends or specific drugs—or to provide expertise for company research. But what has long been undisclosed is the amount of money that these drugmakers were giving physicians for their time. Thanks in part to some high-profile [...]

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Observations

New anti-obesity drug dismissed by FDA panel

diet drugs that have been rejected by the fda

The troubled path of diet drugs continues to look challenging, especially after a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) panel recommended Thursday that the agency not approve a new anti-obesity medication—the second of three to come up for evaluation this year. The new drug, called lorcaserin, acts on the brain’s serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in [...]

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Observations

Halted Alzheimer’s drug trials renew questions about causes of the disease

amyloid beta plaques which are a target for alzheimer

Two clinical trials of a potential Alzheimer’s drug were halted this week, highlighting circulating skepticism about the hypothesis that amyloid beta plaque is a major factor in the disease’s genesis. The pulled drug, semagacestat (made by pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly & Co.), was being tested in trials that enrolled more than 2,600 Alzheimer’s patients with [...]

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Talking back

Early Trial of Doctor’s Office Test to Predict Dementia Before First Symptoms

Until very recently, the only way to provide a firm diagnosis of Alzheimer’s was through a brain autopsy. Things are starting to change. Brain imaging and spinal taps have now started to look for the plaques and tangles that are the hallmarks of the neurodegenerative disease in living patients. These techniques are now being tested [...]

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Talking back

From Club to Clinic: Physicians Push Off-Label Ketamine as Rapid Depression Treatment, Part 1

New types of drugs for schizophrenia, depression and other psychiatric disorders are few and far between—and a number of companies have scaled back or dropped development of this class of pharmaceuticals. One exception stands out. Ketamine, the anesthetic and illegal club drug, is now being repurposed as the first rapid-acting antidepressant drug and has been [...]

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Talking back

The Grand Challenge of Schizophrenia Drugs

A milestone for Big Neuroscience came Wednesday with the publication in Nature of a study on the way genes switch on across the whole human brain. Whole brain is all the vogue. Neuroscientists have devoted inordinate energy in recent years to publicize  the need for, not only gene maps, but for a full wiring diagram [...]

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