Tag Archives | medical research

Being A Guinea Pig

Guinea pig injectionI’m getting ready to go to the bank and cash my check and have so many hundred dollar bills that I won’t be able to close my wallet. So what have a been doing for the
last 11 days?

Just hanging out in a dorm like setting, listening to music, browsing the internet. Checking out DVD’s, playing a little pool(which I suck at) a little ping pong. Flirting with nurses.

I am a human Guinea pig. I am being paid to participate in a clinical research trial as a test subject. I’d love to tell you that I am now hallucinating, drooling, talking to myself and covered with hives from all the adverse side effects,but that’s actually not the case.

I feel really good and well rested actually. I’ve had no stress and plenty of time to catch up on my sleep and then some. Its so easy it seems like it must be some kind of scam.… Read the rest

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Mounting Research Shows Marijuana Fights Cancer

Will the jaws of future generations drop in amazement when they learn that marijuana was banned in our society as a criminal substance? Via the Daily Beast:

Mounting evidence shows ‘cannabinoids’ in marijuana slow cancer growth, inhibit formation of new blood cells that feed a tumor, and help manage pain, fatigue, nausea, and other side effects. [This] offers hope of a non-toxic therapy that could treat aggressive forms of cancer without any of the painful side effects of chemotherapy.

Cristina Sanchez, a young biologist at Complutense University in Madrid, was studying cell metabolism when she noticed something peculiar. She had been screening brain cancer cells [and realized] the cancer cells died each time they were exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the principal psychoactive ingredient of marijuana.

Sanchez had stumbled upon the anti-cancer properties of THC. Subsequent peer-reviewed studies in several countries would show that THC and other marijuana-derived compounds, known as “cannabinoids,” are effective not only for cancer-symptom management (nausea, pain, loss of appetite, fatigue), they also confer a direct antitumoral effect.

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Asian Disease Likened To New AIDS

Photo: justinwdavis (CC)

The “new AIDS” is one scary headline. Marilynn Marchione reports for AP via Yahoo News:

Researchers have identified a mysterious new disease that has left scores of people in Asia and some in the United States with AIDS-like symptoms even though they are not infected with HIV.

The patients’ immune systems become damaged, leaving them unable to fend off germs as healthy people do. What triggers this isn’t known, but the disease does not seem to be contagious.

This is another kind of acquired immune deficiency that is not inherited and occurs in adults, but doesn’t spread the way AIDS does through a virus, said Dr. Sarah Browne, a scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

She helped lead the study with researchers in Thailand and Taiwan where most of the cases have been found since 2004. Their report is in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine.

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Frozen Brain Bank Thaws, Setting Back Autism Research Ten Years

Yech, just imagine cleaning up this mess. Via the Guardian:

A freezer malfunction at a Harvard-affiliated hospital has damaged a third of the world’s largest donated brain tissue for autism research. In all, 93 donated brains were damaged.

A spokeswoman for Autism Speaks said it was too early to assess the impact of the loss, discovered last month at the McLean hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, but one scientist predicted it could set research on the disorder back by as much as a decade.

Two investigations are under way to determine how the freezer failure happened. While foul play was not being ruled out, it is unlikely because the collection was located in a locked room within a secure building accessible by one of two keys held by security staff and brain bank staff.

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U.S. Army Abandons Human ‘Guinea Pig’ Experimental Drug Patients

The fact that the United States government has experimented with new drugs on military recruits is well known, but the fact that it has consistently failed to take care of the damaged patients should be causing outrage. David S. Martin reports for CNN:

The moment 18-year-old Army Pvt. Tim Josephs arrived at Edgewood Arsenal in 1968, he knew there was something different about the place.

“It just did not look like a military base, more like a hospital,” recalled Josephs, a Pittsburgh native. Josephs had volunteered for a two-month assignment at Edgewood, in Maryland, lured by three-day weekends closer to home.

“It was like a plum assignment,” Josephs said. “The idea was they would test new Army field jackets, clothing, weapons and things of that nature, but no mention of drugs or chemicals.”…

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Bacon Shown To Increase Cancer Risk By 19%

320px-NCI_baconYet another item to scratch off the menu (and the same goes for other processed meats, to perhaps no disinformation reader’s surprise). From the Press Association via The Guardian:

Eating two rashers of bacon a day can increase the risk of pancreatic cancer by 19% and the risk goes up if a person eats more, experts have said.

Eating 50g of processed meat every day – the equivalent to one sausage or two rashers of bacon – increases the risk by 19%, compared to people who do not eat processed meat at all.

For people consuming double this amount of processed meat (100g), the increased risk jumps to 38%, and is 57% for those eating 150g a day. But experts cautioned that the overall risk of pancreatic cancer was relatively low – in the UK, the lifetime risk of developing the disease is one in 77 for men and one in 79 for women.

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Smart Contact Lenses To Monitor Your Health And Treat Disease

This is so Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol! From CBS Pittsburgh:

Forty-million Americans wear contact lenses. In the not so distant future, contacts may do a lot more than just help you see.

What if the lenses could look inside of you to diagnose, monitor and even treat disease? Sound far-fetched? Well, it may not be too far away.

The new generation of contact lenses is being called “smart lenses,” and they are packed with circuits, sensors and wireless technology – all designed to keep an eye on your health.

“There’s a possibility to develop a really, really important new tool for medicine,” said Babak Parviz, PH.D., the developer of the Smart Lens.

A team of researchers at the University of Washington built and are testing the smart lens. They believe it could one day replace the standard blood test…

[continues at CBS Pittsburgh]… Read the rest

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Why Placebos Work

CebocapShirley S. Wang reports on the increasing clinical use of placebos for the Wall Street Journal:

Say “placebo effect” and most people think of the boost they may get from a sugar pill simply because they believe it will work. But more and more research suggests there is more than a fleeting boost to be gained from placebos.

A particular mind-set or belief about one’s body or health may lead to improvements in disease symptoms as well as changes in appetite, brain chemicals and even vision, several recent studies have found, highlighting how fundamentally the mind and body are connected.

It doesn’t seem to matter whether people know they are getting a placebo and not a “real” treatment. One study demonstrated a strong placebo effect in subjects who were told they were getting a sugar pill with no active ingredient.

Placebo treatments are sometimes used in some clinical practices. In a 2008 survey of nearly 700 internists and rheumatologists published in the British Medical Journal, about half said they prescribe placebos on a regular basis.

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Gene Found That Controls Chronic Pain

800px-Back-decompressionPopping pain killers may not be the answer, not if you can isolate and alter the gene which regulates chronic pain. Via Reuters:

British scientists have identified a gene responsible for regulating chronic pain, called HCN2, and say their discovery should help drug researchers in their search for more effective, targeted pain-killing medicines.

“Our research lays the groundwork for the development of new drugs to treat chronic pain by blocking HCN2.”

Scientists from Cambridge University said that if drugs could be designed to block the protein produced by the gene, they could treat a type of pain known as neuropathic pain, which is linked to nerve damage and often very difficult to control with currently available drugs.

“Individuals suffering from neuropathic pain often have little or no respite because of the lack of effective medications,” said Peter McNaughton of Cambridge’s pharmacology department, who led the study.

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If Exercise Were A Cancer Drug, It Would Be A Blockbuster

Personal trainer monitoring a client's movement during a fitball exerciseBut we all know that Big Pharma won’t let doctors prescribe exercise for their very profitable customers patients. Report from Medical News Today:

If exercise were a cancer drug, it would be a blockbuster, appears to be the conclusion of a new review on the benefits of physical activity to people surviving and living beyond cancer. In a report released today, 8 August, the leading UK charity Macmillan Cancer Support, firmly sweeps aside the tradition that cancer patients should “rest up” and “take it easy”, and urges doctors and nurses to prescribe physical activity to patients “at all stages of cancer from initial diagnosis through to the later stages”. However, despite the emergence of this evidence, many health professionals are failing to tell their cancer patients about the benefits of exercise, they added.

Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, told the press that the evidence in the report, whose short title is “Move More”, shows how important physical activity is to recovery from cancer, yet “very little attention to its benefits is given by health professionals or by those commissioning health services”.

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