Tag Archives | medical science

Are Alzheimer’s and Diabetes the Same Disease?

There’s a compelling link between obesity and Alzheimer’s disease, reports New Scientist:

Having type 2 diabetes may mean you are already on the path to Alzheimer’s. This startling claim comes from a study linking the two diseases more intimately than ever before. There is some good news: the same research also offers a way to reverse memory problems associated with diabetes – albeit in rats – which may hint at a new treatment for Alzheimer’s.

 More details This image shows a PiB-PET scan of a patient with Alzheimer's disease on the left and an elderly person with normal memory on the right. Areas of red and yellow show high concentrations of PiB in the brain and suggest high amounts of amyloid deposits in these areas. Credit: Klunkwe (CC)

This image shows a PiB-PET scan of a patient with Alzheimer’s disease on the left and an elderly person with normal memory on the right. Areas of red and yellow show high concentrations of PiB in the brain and suggest high amounts of amyloid deposits in these areas. Credit: Klunkwe (CC)


“Perhaps you should use Alzheimer’s drugs at the diabetes stage to prevent cognitive impairment in the first place,” says Ewan McNay from the University at Albany in New York.

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Big Pharma Wants Mutants – Their DNA Could Be Worth Billions

Mystique - X-MenIf you’re a mutant I fear for you: the drug companies want your DNA and will do anything to get it, per BloombergBusiness:

Steven Pete can put his hand on a hot stove or step on a piece of glass and not feel a thing, all because of a quirk in his genes. Only a few dozen people in the world share Pete’s congenital insensitivity to pain. Drug companies see riches in his rare mutation. They also have their eye on people like Timothy Dreyer, 25, who has bones so dense he could walk away from accidents that would leave others with broken limbs. About 100 people have sclerosteosis, Dreyer’s condition.

Both men’s apparent superpowers come from exceedingly uncommon deviations in their DNA. They are genetic outliers, coveted by drug companies Amgen, Genentech, and others in search of drugs for some of the industry’s biggest, most lucrative markets.

Their genes also have caused the two men enormous suffering.

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Marijuana Can Heal Broken Bones

Here’s another reason to request a medical marijuana prescription: broken bones. The Times of Israel reports on a new study by Tel Aviv University scientists finding that cannabis speeds healing of fractures and may be used to treat bone-related diseases:

Break a bone? Your doctor may soon provide you with an unexpected prescription – marijuana.

California medial marijuana

Researchers at Tel Aviv University have discovered that a component of marijuana “significantly helps heal bone fractures,” university officials announced Thursday.

The study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that the non-psychotropic cannabidiol, or CBD, considerably sped up the healing process of rats’ broken leg bones. Those benefits were also present, even when the molecule was separated from THC, the major psychoactive component of cannabis.

Dr. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv’s Bone Research Laboratory and the late Prof. Itai Bab of Hebrew University’s Bone Laboratory discovered the connection between our bodies’ cannabinoid receptors and the stimulation of bone growth, which may be used for future research into the use of marijuana to treat not only broken bones but also osteoporosis and other skeletal diseases.

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Lancet Editor: ‘The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.’

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, the Lancet.

Dr. Richard Horton, Editor in Chief, the Lancet.

The Lancet is one of – if the not the – most prestigious medical science journals, so when its editor-in-chief writes that “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue,” you know that something’s rotten in Denmark. Collective Evolution reports on Richard Horton’s pronouncement:

In the past few years more professionals have come forward to share a truth that, for many people, proves difficult to swallow. One such authority is Dr. Richard Horton, the current editor-in-chief of the Lancet – considered to be one of the most well respected peer-reviewed medical journals in the world.

Dr. Horton recently published a statement declaring that a lot of published research is in fact unreliable at best, if not completely false.

“The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.

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Science Seeks to Unlock Marijuana’s Secrets

Hampton Sides (surely a pseudonym?) investigates the science behind marijuana’s magnificent properties, for National Geographic:

There’s nothing new about cannabis, of course. It’s been around humankind pretty much forever.

Prozac Makes Better Christians but Marijuana Makes Better Brownies

wackystuff (CC)


In Siberia charred seeds have been found inside burial mounds dating back to 3000 B.C. The Chinese were using cannabis as a medicine thousands of years ago. Marijuana is deeply American too—as American as George Washington, who grew hemp at Mount Vernon. For most of the country’s history, cannabis was legal, commonly found in tinctures and extracts.

Then came Reefer Madness. Marijuana, the Assassin of Youth. The Killer Weed. The Gateway Drug. For nearly 70 years the plant went into hiding, and medical research largely stopped. In 1970 the federal government made it even harder to study marijuana, classifying it as a Schedule I drug—a dangerous substance with no valid medical purpose and a high potential for abuse, in the same category as heroin.

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Anglo-Saxon antibiotics are just the start – it’s time to start bioprospecting in the past

That old Anglo-Saxon remedy reported yesterday has got people “bioprospecting” the past according to the Guardian:

Bioprospecting – the search for new drugs and commercial products from the natural world – is big business, and has recently turned towards the search for new antibiotics. The collaboration at the University of Nottingham between a microbiologist and an Anglo-Saxon scholar may show the way for a new kind of bioprospecting, one that looks to the past, rather than the present, for future therapies and cures.

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Leech. Photo by Karl Ragnar Gjertsen (CC)


Antibiotics: hidden cures

I’ve already posted my historical hints for discovering a new antibiotic, but perhaps we’d have developed one sooner if twentieth century historians paid more attention to past publications. From the 1870s onwards a series of scientists noted that Penicillium fungus seemed to inhibit the growth of bacteria, and in 1875 John Tyndall presented evidence to the Royal Society that the Penicilliumfungus had an antibacterial action.

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First Full Body Transplant Two Years Away

Anatomical Male Figure Showing Heart, Lungs, and Main Arteries.jpg An Italian doctor plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body using procedures he believes will soon be ready, per the Guardian:

A surgeon says full-body transplants could become a reality in just two years.

Sergio Canavero, a doctor in Turin, Italy, has drawn up plans to graft a living person’s head on to a donor body and claims the procedures needed to carry out the operation are not far off.

Canavero hopes to assemble a team to explore the radical surgery in a project he is due to launch at a meeting for neurological surgeons in Maryland this June.

He has claimed for years that medical science has advanced to the point that a full body transplant is plausible, but the proposal has caused raised eyebrows, horror and profound disbelief in other surgeons.

The Italian doctor, who recently published a broad outline of how the surgery could be performed, told New Scientist magazine that he wanted to use body transplants to prolong the lives of people affected by terminal diseases.

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Google Making Human Skin

Google is making human skin as part of research into “wristband that can detect cancer,” reports the Independent:

Google has been making synthetic human skin as part of work to create a wristband that can detect cancer, impending heart attacks and other diseases.

Scientists in the life sciences division of Google X laboratories in California needed to create arms that were as realistic as possible to test the technology.

Dr Andrew Conrad said the system, which is still in the early stages of development, would detect cancer cells when they first appear by using nanoparticles that “search” the body for disease.

It would theoretically allow diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear, enabling early intervention to reduce the fatality rate of illnesses.

“We’re trying to change medicine from being episodic and reactive, like going to the doctor saying ‘my arm hurts’, to being proactive and preventative,” he told The Atlantic.

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BPA and ‘BPA-Free’ Alternative Linked to Fetal Brain Changes

If you saw our documentary about bottled water Tapped, you’ll know that BPA is not the only toxic chemical in plastics. The Los Angeles Times reports on a new study linking Bisphenol A and the so-called BPA-Free alternative, Bisphenol S, to changes in the brain of fetuses:

Fetal exposure to Bisphenol A, as well as to the widely marketed alternative Bisphenol S, may cause “real and measurable” changes in the development of a brain region that plays a key role in fear, impulse-control, obesity and early puberty.

Dopamine pathways.svg
A 2008 review concluded that BPA mimics estrogenic activity and affects various dopaminergic processes to enhance mesolimbic dopamine activity resulting in hyperactivityattention deficits, and a heightened sensitivity to drugs of abuse.[123]

Canadian researchers have found in animal studies that low-level exposure to either Bisphenol A (BPA) or Bisphenol S (BPS) during the equivalent to a human fetus’ second trimester altered the timetable and rate at which neurons inside the brain’s hypothalamus developed.

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Transcendence: RU Sirius & Jay Cornell on Transhumanism

TranscendenceR.U. Sirius and Jay Cornell are the authors of Transcendence: The Disinformation Encyclopedia of Transhumanism and the Singularity. Transhumanism has been a hot but divisive topic on disinformation, so we felt there was a need to foster greater understanding of just what transhumanism is, and is not, hence the format of the book is an A-Z encyclopedia.

We asked Jay and R.U. to answer a few questions about the book and the topic in general:

RU, you have long been associated with the transhumanism movement; can you tell us how you got hooked and what your personal interest in transhumanism is?

RU: In a sense, I go way back to the 1970s, although I wasn’t familiar with the term transhumanism then. I think the only person using it at that time was a guy named F.M. Esfandiary. I was, if you will, turned on and tuned in by Timothy Leary and his cohort in conscious evolution Robert Anton Wilson.… Read the rest

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