Chemistry

Terra Sigillata

Category archives for Chemistry

This issue was brought up by my fellow blogger, Joseph at Corpus Callosum, following an article in yesterday’s LA Times. For those not familiar with the concept or countries other than the US where laws may differ, generic drugs are those with the same active chemical as the originally-approved “brand name” drug. The original drug…

Yesterday, we received tomorrow’s issue of the New England Journal of Medicine and, yet again, I nearly walked into a tree coming back from the mailbox. This (abstract, full text), folks, is a fascinating medical detective story rivaled only by (and similar to) the discovery that Parkinson’s disease could be caused by contaminant from a…

Bisphenol A (BPA) is currently one of the major lightning rods for controversy in consumer products and public health research. The compound is used in the manufacture of plastic bottles, polycarbonate (PC) in particular, as well as in the lining of many food and beverage cans. The compound has been recognized since the 1930s as…

Rise Up: Blogroll Amnesty Day

Yesterday was the 1st anniversary of Blogroll Amnesty Day, originally proposed by a reasonably prominent blogger who used the occasion to relieve himself of guilt when purging his blogroll and building back up only a list of those he reads regularly. I learned via my new homies, PhysioProf and DrugMonkey that Jon Swift and Skippy…

Readers and colleagues often ask why scientists care to blog, especially given increasing time demands and decreasing research funding. For me, the blog is an opportunity to have discussions with colleagues from diverse research areas all around the world. Quite often, I learn something quite new that I would not normally encounter in my chosen…

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé! Yes, the 15th of November has arrived as have thousands of cases of a fresh, fruity wine, the Beaujolais Nouveaux. Grapes that were on the vine just a few short months ago have been heroically converted into a wine that has traditionally been rushed to Paris, and around the world,…

At least it’s not more lead…

My wife just reminded me that PharmKid wanted us to buy her Aqua Dots a week or two ago. The WSJ Health Blog nicely summarizes a New York Times article on the recall of the toy beads because their ingestion releases the CNS suppressant, GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), from a precursor present in the bead adhesive. Yes,…

Getting a Rise Out of Helium

Sci/Med blogging is an interesting pastime. You can spend a tremendous amount of time writing a post and get two comments and 30 total viewers, or you can write a brief post about your daughter asking where helium comes from and get many more commenters and nearly a thousand viewers. Clearly, the five-year-old is a…

In a post the other day, we noted that the semi-synthetic natural product, ixabepilone, approved for advanced breast cancer was derived from a soil bacterium. Colleague PharmCanuck reminded us that the soil is not a new source for drugs: the anthracyclines, daunorubicin and doxorubicin, are derived from a strain of Streptomyces found growing on a…

So, PharmK’er and I were at the originator of the chicken sandwich and she wanted a balloon. She then asked why said balloon was floating. Dad was safe in explaining how helium is lighter than the nitrogen-oxygen-carbon dioxide mixture we breathe. Then came the killer: “Daddy, where does the helium come from to fill the…