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Posts Tagged "drugs"

Cross-Check

Doubts about psychedelics from Albert Hofmann, LSD’s discoverer

Albert Hofmann

Psychedelics are back! As readers of Scientific American know, scientists have recently reported that psychedelics show promise for treating disorders such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety in terminal cancer patients. This weekend, researchers and other enthusiasts are gathering in New York City for a two-day celebration, "Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics," sponsored by the [...]

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Extinction Countdown

Indian Vultures Are Dying for Some Good News

white rumped vulture

When a species experiences catastrophic population declines as high as 99.9 percent, any bit of good news is cause for celebration—even if the news isn’t exactly great. India’s vultures now have some. The birds were almost completely wiped out by a veterinary drug called diclofenac, but a new study finds that the number of deaths [...]

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Guest Blog

5 Ways to Thwart Illegal Drug Dealing Online

eBay headquarters in San Jose, California. (CoolCeasar via Flickr(

Recent reports from ABC News and the UK’s Mail on Sunday suggest eBay is providing a platform for sellers engaged in an illegal prescription drug trade. An ecommerce pioneer now ranked number 250 on the Forbes magazine rankings of the largest public companies on Earth, eBay’s corporate success doesn’t appear to translate into sufficient success [...]

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Guest Blog

The Potential of LSD, Heroin, Marijuana and Other Controlled Substances in Brain Research

no drugs sign

Imagine being an astronomer in a world where the telescope was banned. This effectively happened in the 1600s when, for over 100 years, the Catholic Church prohibited access to knowledge of the heavens in a vain attempt to stop scientists proving that the earth was not the center of the universe.  ‘Surely similar censorship could [...]

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Guest Blog

For Diabetics, Healthy Habits Trump Medicine

syringe sticking up from a pile of granulated fine sugar

Against the backdrop of a government shutdown precipitated by healthcare issues and the rollout of the insurance exchanges mandated by the Affordable Care Act, a conference called Diabetes + Innovation 2013 took place in Washington, D.C. earlier this month. The gathering, organized by The Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School, focused on prevention and [...]

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Guest Blog

Overprescribing the Healthy Elderly: Why Funding Research and Drug Safety Is Paramount

My frail, 92-year-old mother was prescribed 80 mgs of the cholesterol-lowering drug, or statin, simvastatin for years. She fell four times in the last four years of her life: the last fall was the least forgiving. Doctors diagnosed her with rhabdomyolysis, a life-threatening condition, and acute kidney failure; she was dead within 8 weeks. Source: [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Fat Tuesday: Feed the Addict

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/31/CocaColaGlassBottle.jpg/194px-CocaColaGlassBottle.jpg

When the substantia nigra is super charged by food restriction, or drugs, or both, you become super motivated to seek out more food, or more drugs… whatever floats the substantia nigra’s boat.

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MIND Guest Blog

Creativity, Madness and Drugs

This blog appears in the In-Depth Report Genius, Suicide and Mental Illness: Insights into a Deep Connection San Diego—Would we have Poe’s Raven today if the tormented author had taken lithium to suppress his bipolar illness? Not likely, considering the high frequency of psychiatric illnesses among writers and artists, concluded psychiatrist Kay Jamison of Johns [...]

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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

Why Do Antidepressants Take So Long to Work?

Kate wanted to die. She remembers the moment the psychiatrist said “the antidepressant isn’t going to work right away. Can you promise to be here next week and not kill yourself?” “I told her no,” Kate says. “I couldn’t promise my doctor I’d make it a week. That’s how bad my life had to be [...]

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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

1 in 5 Rx’s for Seniors Is Inappropriate

senior elderly prescription inappropriate

Take two of these—or should that be three? Or one? Congress recently took steps to improve the safety of children’s drugs. Now, a new study finds that those on the other end of the age spectrum also frequently receive medication that may put their health at risk. Approximately 20 percent of prescriptions that primary care [...]

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Observations

Better Living Through Chemistry: Making Sudafed from Meth

April is coming and, with its approach, the latest publication from one of the most prolific synthetic chemists anywhere has just appeared. Forget esoteric technologies like small hairpin RNAs. With this entry into the literature, chemists finally have something useful to work on again. Their expertise and ingenuity can pragmatically address a specific instance of [...]

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Observations

Smoke and Mirrors: Driving While High on Marijuana Doubles One’s Chances of a Serious Car Crash

pot smoking

Booze is behind an estimated 2.1 million car accidents each year in the U.S.—which cause almost 11,000 traffic fatalities annually. But many drug users have claimed that a few puffs of pot before getting behind the wheel are perfectly harmless. A new study, however, shows that drivers who smoke marijuana within a few hours of [...]

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Observations

Missing Medical Data Could Harm Patients

doctor and book

Big clinical trials—to test new drugs or procedures—generate reams of important data about safety and efficacy. Only a fraction of that information sees the light of day, a publishing practice that could put patients at risk, according to a special report published this week in the British Medical Journal (BMJ). Even though scientific and medical [...]

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Observations

Health Care Needs (More) Reform: Cancer Drugs Show How Markets Remain out of Whack

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/9/97/Druppelcilinder_%281%29.JPG/240px-Druppelcilinder_%281%29.JPG

The market for at least one class of vital drug seems to have gone haywire. Certain types of generic cancer drugs are really hard to find. In August, of the 34 generic cancer drugs available to patients, there were 14 that could only be found with great difficulty. “If you are a pediatric oncologist, you [...]

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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

Your love is my drug: How passion sparks the same painkilling pathways as drugs

people in love feel less pain, works like painkiller drugs

Who says love hurts? New research shows that strong romantic feelings actually ease physical pain via the same neural pathways as powerful drugs. By simply gazing at a picture of their beloved, undergraduates in a recent study were able to substantially reduce their experience of pain. The effect occurs thanks to a boost in the [...]

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Talking back

A New Idea for Treating Alzheimer’s

If it’s good for the heart, it could also be good for the neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, cells that make up the main items on the brain’s parts list. The heart-brain adage comes from epidemiological studies that show that people with cardiovascular risk factors such as high-blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels, may be more [...]

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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

Fooling Brain Defenses to Deliver an Alzheimer’s Drug

The blood-brain barrier is the Berlin Wall of human anatomy and physiology. Its closely packed cells shield neurons and the like from toxins and pathogens, while letting pass glucose and other essential chemicals for brain metabolism (caffeine?). For years, pharmaceutical companies and academic researchers have engaged in halting efforts to traverse this imposing blockade in [...]

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Talking back

2 Hydrogens and 1 Oxygen–a Recipe for Cognitive Enhancement?

Bioethicists have engaged in endless hand wringing in recent years about whether substances that purportedly allow us to remember and process information more efficiently should be available to everyone, not just kids with ADHD. If you can make your brain work better in some way that doesn’t entail poring over a pre-calculus text for hours, [...]

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Talking back

FDA Enlists Big Data to Track Down Pharma Fraud

Predictive analytics—lumped under the faddish banner of Big Data—is the high-profile set of techniques that tame numeric deluges to deduce that a new epidemic is starting to break or that a last-minute steal of an airfare has just popped up. The best uses for Big D may be yet to come, though. The FDA just [...]

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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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