medicine

The Scientific Activist

Category archives for medicine

As mentioned here previously, the stimulus package passed in February includes funds to encourage evidence-based medicine. Some uninformed critics will claim that this is some big government conspiracy to exert socialized control over private medicine. But, truly, encouraging a firmer empirical basis in all aspects of medicine–through more studies, government guidelines, and just improved common…

Through the results of widespread experimentation of the… well… let’s say “non-scientific” variety, it’s pretty well known that marijuana has the side effect of making the user very hungry. This is one of the many physiological effects of the active ingredient THC (?9-tetrahydrocannabinol). More relevantly, however, THC and other cannabinoids are actively being investigated for…

The winners of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine have been announced, and the prize has been awarded for early discoveries that have subsequently led to vaccines or treatments of two widespread virus-caused diseases. Half of the prize was awarded to Harald zur Hausen “for his discovery of human papilloma viruses causing cervical…

Yesterday, The New York Times reported on the latest prominent medical doctor to be outed for not reporting the vast sums of money he was receiving from drug companies: One of the nation’s most influential psychiatrists earned more than $2.8 million in consulting arrangements with drug makers from 2000 to 2007, failed to report at…

Death of a Pioneer

Legendary heart surgeon Michael DeBakey passed away Friday night at the age of 99. From the Houston Chronicle: Medical statesman, chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine, and a surgeon at The Methodist Hospital since 1949, DeBakey trained thousands of surgeons over several generations, achieving legendary status decades before his death. During his career, he…

Molecule of the Day has a post up about isotopically-enriched food that caught my eye for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the idea is wildly outrageous, and, secondly, this is something that actually gets joked about quite a bit in an NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) lab. Any given element can come in various isotopes, which…

The New York Times reported yesterday that “scientists find new receptor for HIV,” referring to a paper published online in Nature Immunology on Sunday by Arthos et al. This is basically correct, although it would be more accurate to call the new receptor a co-receptor, since the infection of a cell with HIV still depends…

A few interesting items have recently come up in the news and in the scientific literature about various methods for preventing the transmission of HIV. First up is a study (1) published in PLoS Medicine this week that demonstrated the effectiveness of a combination of antiretroviral drugs in preventing viral transmission in a monkey model…

Stem Cells from Down Under

Two weeks ago, on November 15th, researchers reported in the Journal of Translational Medicine (see citation below) that they had successfully isolated and characterized stem cells from menstrual blood. The researchers, Meng et al., were able to differentiate these cells–called Endometrial Regenerative Cells (ERCs)–into nine distinct cell types, and the stem cells displayed other encouraging…

A Choice We Shouldn’t Have to Make

On Monday, Mike the Mad Biologist posted about the sheer idiocy of “choice-based health care,” which seems to be so en vogue today in the Republican party and elsewhere. He writes: One of the most ridiculous ideas to come down the pike is the notion that most people, who are woefully ignorant of medicine and…