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  • May 11, 2014
  • 01:00 PM

Genetically Modified Food: Myth and Legend

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Vermont, not quite the armpit of the United States, but not a place I would live [personally speaking of course]. Still, looking at history Vermont was the first to ban […]... Read more »

  • May 10, 2014
  • 01:00 PM

Colony Collapse Disorder and Pesticides, Or Save the Bees!

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Bees, who needs them? They are scary, they sting and they seem to find magical ways into your securely locked home. I’m not bias, even though I run screaming like […]... Read more »

  • May 9, 2014
  • 08:45 AM

Berkeley Lab Develops Nanoscope to Probe Chemistry on the Molecular Scale

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

New technique uses infrared synchrotron light and atomic force microscopy to study batteries, cell membranes, stardust, and other complex systems on the nanoscale.

News release May 07, 2014 By Kate Greene Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory... Read more »

Bechtel, H., Muller, E., Olmon, R., Martin, M., & Raschke, M. (2014) Ultrabroadband infrared nanospectroscopic imaging. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1400502111  

  • May 8, 2014
  • 12:08 PM

Chemically Modified Wood Absorbs Spilled Oil

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new absorbing material from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) could be of assistance in future oil spill accidents. This chemically modified nanocellulose sponge absorbs the oil spill, remains floating on the surface and can then be recovered.... Read more »

  • May 7, 2014
  • 02:56 PM

Researchers Replace Lead With Tin in Promising Solar Cell

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Northwestern University researchers are the first to develop a new solar cell with good efficiency that uses tin instead of lead perovskite as the harvester of light. The low-cost, environmentally friendly solar cell can be made easily using “bench” chemistry—no fancy equipment or hazardous materials.... Read more »

  • May 7, 2014
  • 01:00 PM

Turning Back the Clock: Arteries

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

In what appears to be Fountain of Youth month here at Lunatic Laboratories, we have yet another way to turn back the clock, this time specifically for your arteries — […]... Read more »

Gioscia-Ryan Rachel A., LaRocca Thomas J., Sindler Amy L., Zigler Melanie C., Murphy Michael P., & Seals Douglas R. (2014) Mitochondria-targeted antioxidant (MitoQ) ameliorates age-related arterial endothelial dysfunction in mice. The Journal of Physiology. DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2013.268680  

  • May 6, 2014
  • 12:00 PM

Testosterone and your Heart: Don’t believe the hype

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Testosterone, the “big T”, you can’t turn on the TV without someone talking about it. In fact, despite the bad [and almost completely false] press about the effects of testosterone, the […]... Read more »

Corona G., Rastrelli G., Monami M., Guay A., Buvat J., Sforza A., Forti G., Mannucci E., & Maggi M. (2011) Hypogonadism as a risk factor for cardiovascular mortality in men: a meta-analytic study. European Journal of Endocrinology, 165(5), 687-701. DOI: 10.1530/EJE-11-0447  

  • May 6, 2014
  • 03:49 AM

Formulating low dose naltrexone into a cream

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

The opioid receptor antagonist naltrexone has been on the periphery of my autism research career for as long as I can remember. As unusual as it might sound, some of the early interpretations for example, on why installation of a gluten- and casein-free (GFCF) diet seemed to correlate with changes to behavioural presentation for some on the autism spectrum, relied heavily on the notion of opioid-excess [1] as a function of the proposed bioactivity of gluten and casein derived peptide species. This allied with a body of evidence more directly linking administration of naltrexone as affecting some peripheral facets observed in cases of autism [2] touched upon in a recent post (see here).No, not that type of cream... @ Herrick @ Wikipedia This line of thought of excess opioid activity being related to cases of autism has not been without its critics down the years [3]. Certainly I'd be the first to admit that a degree of naivety existed in terms of appreciating the complexity of autism (sorry, the autisms) in those early times. That being said, I'm not yet ready to consign the opioid-excess theory to the scientific trash-heap just yet, as one of the other parts of the theory - abnormal gut permeability (leaky gut) - enjoys some well deserved research attention (see here and see here).The connection made between autism, opioid-excess and naltrexone has also evolved as time as gone on. Accepting the anti-opioid power of naltrexone, there has at the same time been a shift in our understanding of naltrexone as also being an immunomodulating agent. I can't readily provide you with the full picture of how naltrexone affects immune function because there is still more to be done on this topic. What I can say is that (i) opioids can have effects on immune function [4] and (ii) anti-opioid drugs such as naltrexone also seem to have some effects on immune function [5].On the back of this very long introduction, I'm talking today about an interesting piece of work [6] which I had a very, very small part in, looking at the formulation of low doses of the drug naltrexone into a cream and some of the chemistry behind it. You'll note the addition of the words 'low dose' to naltrexone indicating an increasing body of evidence discussing, well, low doses of naltrexone (LDN), for all manner of health issues including Crohn's disease [7], fibromyalgia [8] and multiple sclerosis [9]. Indeed, I've mentioned this topic in an earlier blog post (see here).So what did we do and why did we do it?Well discussions about this project began some years back. Quite a few of the medications suggested for tackling facets of autism and other developmental conditions generally tend to rely on the oral route of administration i.e. swallowing pills. Whilst this is a good way of getting the active part of a drug into the body, there are a few issues surrounding this method including having the ability and desire to want to swallow a tablet or capsule and sticking to a regime of tablet swallowing often over quite a long period of time. Little things that people take for granted such as drinking water when swallowing a tablet might not necessarily be so implied for everyone. And then there are the various biological processes that any orally administered medication needs to go through before producing a therapeutic effect, even the possibility of an effect from those trillions of bacteria in our gut which call us home... In short, oral drug delivery is not necessarily always the best drug delivery route for everyone.As it happens, there are lots of other ways of getting medication into the body such as through the skin (transdermal) or under the tongue (sublingual) (and erm, other routes) provided you can formulate your medicine appropriately. We had quite a few discussions about what medicines were out there and how we could formulate them into something a little more versatile when it comes to administration. Naltrexone was an obvious candidate because it has quite a nice chemical structure and also, as I've discussed, there is growing interest in its usefulness for various different conditions not just for cases of autism.It was then a case of making a cream containing naltrexone which our collaborators are pretty good at doing based on their other work formulating things like transdermal patches [10]. Our part (the Royal 'We') involved testing said cream using our Q-ToF mass spectrometer for how well the cream performed in terms of releasing naltrexone and its metabolite 6-β-naltrexol. In short, it did pretty well: "It was concluded that the cream may be an effective formulation for the sustained transdermal delivery of LDN".On this occasion, we stopped short of actually testing the cream on real people with real conditions in terms of things like safety and effectiveness simply because clinical trials are a whole other ballgame. That being said, I'd like to think there might be other groups who would be willing to have a look at our formulation and perhaps take up the research gauntlet too (hint, hint).Music to close. Something lively I think, so how about Icona Pop and 'I Love It' (with a parental advisory for some of the lyrics...)----------[1] Shattock P. & Whiteley P. Biochemical aspects in autism spectrum disorders: updating the opioid-excess theory and presenting new opportunities for biomedical intervention. Expert Opin Ther Targets. 2002 Apr;6(2):175-83.[2] Elchaar GM. et al. Efficacy and safety of naltrexone use in pediatric patients with autistic disorder. Ann Pharmacother. 2006 Jun;40(6):1086-95.[3] Cass H. et al. Absence of urinary opioid peptides in children with autism. Arch Dis Child. 2008 Sep;93(9):745-50.[4] Zhang EY. et al. Depletion and recovery of lymphoid subsets following morphine administration. Br J Pharmacol. 2011 Dec;164(7):1829-44.[5] Boyadjieva NI. & Sarkar DK. Opioid-like activity of naltrexone on natural killer cell cytolytic activity and cytokine production in splenocytes: effects of alcohol. J Interferon Cytokine Res... Read more »

  • May 5, 2014
  • 05:42 PM

Switch From Ethanol to Gasoline Causes Ozone Levels to Drop 20%

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A Northwestern University study by an economist and a chemist reports that when fuel prices drove residents of São Paulo, Brazil, to mostly switch from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20 percent. At the same time, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up.... Read more »

  • May 5, 2014
  • 12:35 PM

New Method to Make Conductive Film for Solar Cells Cheaper

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) have succeeded in developing a method of producing transparent conductive oxide (TCO) films that is not only cheaper, but also simpler and more environmentally friendly.... Read more »

Hagendorfer, H., Lienau, K., Nishiwaki, S., Fella, C., Kranz, L., Uhl, A., Jaeger, D., Luo, L., Gretener, C., Buecheler, S.... (2014) Highly Transparent and Conductive ZnO: Al Thin Films from a Low Temperature Aqueous Solution Approach. Advanced Materials, 26(4), 632-636. DOI: 10.1002/adma.201303186  

  • May 4, 2014
  • 02:55 PM

Researchers Print Tiny, Efficient Multilayer Solar Cells

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign use a printing process to assemble tiny cells into multilayer stacks for extraordinary levels of photovoltaic conversion efficiency.... Read more »

  • May 1, 2014
  • 03:21 PM

Novel Gold-Based Superconductor Discovered

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at Japan’s National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS) have created a novel superconductor, SrAuSi3, which contains gold as a principal constituent element.... Read more »

Isobe, M., Yoshida, H., Kimoto, K., Arai, M., & Takayama-Muromachi, E. (2014) SrAuSi: A Noncentrosymmetric Superconductor . Chemistry of Materials, 26(6), 2155-2165. DOI: 10.1021/cm500032u  

  • May 1, 2014
  • 02:01 PM

Search for life on exoplanets more difficult than thought

by Perikis Livas in Chilon

A new study from the University of Toronto Scarborough suggests the search for life on planets outside our solar system may be more difficult than previously thought.

The study, authored by a team of international researchers led by UTSC Assistant Professor Hanno Rein from the Department of Physical and Environmental Science, finds the method used to detect biosignatures on such planets, known as exoplanets, can produce a false positive result.

News release Apr 29, 2014 By Don Campbell University of Toronto Scarborough... Read more »

  • April 30, 2014
  • 03:48 PM

Shaping Our Future - Thorium Energy

by J B Sheppard in Antisense Science

The technology for the fission of Thorium fuel has brooded unnoticed for almost 50 years, and yet this technology has the potential to grant energy independence for the entire planet with negligable impacts, truly the next major breakthrough in human society. ... Read more »

Peter McIntyre, Akhdiyor Sattarov. (2010) Accelerator-driven thorium-cycle fission: Green nuclear power for the new millenium. Beyond the standard models of particle physics, cosmology and astrophysics. DOI: 10.1142/9789814340861_0011  

  • April 30, 2014
  • 10:25 AM

Thin-Film Flexible Energy Storage Device Created

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Rice University lab creates a thin-film flexible battery for portable, wearable electronics.... Read more »

Yang, Y., Ruan, G., Xiang, C., Wang, G., & Tour, J. (2014) Flexible Three-Dimensional Nanoporous Metal-Based Energy Devices. Journal of the American Chemical Society, 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/ja501247f  

  • April 29, 2014
  • 06:32 PM

New cell on the block: dopants and improved efficiency in perovskite halide solar cells

by Jonathan Trinastic in Goodnight Earth

New research has found that doping perovskite halide solar cells with chlorine can improve efficiency due to lower recombination rates!... Read more »

Suarez, B., Gonzalez-Pedro, V., Ripolles, T., Sanchez, R., Otero, L., & Mora-Sero, I. (2014) Recombination Study of Combined Halides (Cl, Br, I) Perovskite Solar Cells. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 1628-1635. DOI: 10.1021/jz5006797  

  • April 29, 2014
  • 09:39 AM

Nature-Inspired Catalyst to Make Hydrogen Fuel Cells Cheaper

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

The first view of nature-inspired catalyst after ripping hydrogen apart provides insights for better, cheaper fuel cells.... Read more »

  • April 28, 2014
  • 02:37 PM

Nanoreporters Gather Intel on Oil Before Pumping

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

Scientists at Rice University have created a nanoscale detector that checks for and reports on the presence of hydrogen sulfide in crude oil and natural gas while they’re still in the ground.... Read more »

Hwang, C., Ruan, G., Wang, L., Zheng, H., Samuel, E., Xiang, C., Lu, W., Kasper, W., Huang, K., Peng, Z.... (2014) Carbon-Based Nanoreporters Designed for Subsurface Hydrogen Sulfide Detection. ACS Applied Materials , 2147483647. DOI: 10.1021/am5009584  

  • April 25, 2014
  • 09:11 AM

Material That Prevents Plastic From Aging to Benefit Energy Industry

by dailyfusion in The Daily Fusion

A new material that prevents plastic from aging has been developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Australia (CSIRO)—offering significant environmental and cost savings for the energy industry.... Read more »

Lau, C., Nguyen, P., Hill, M., Thornton, A., Konstas, K., Doherty, C., Mulder, R., Bourgeois, L., Liu, A., Sprouster, D.... (2014) Ending Aging in Super Glassy Polymer Membranes. Angewandte Chemie. DOI: 10.1002/ange.201402234  

  • April 24, 2014
  • 03:50 PM

Quantum Dots Open Way For Solar Windowpanes

by Whitney Campbell in Green Screen

Recently scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Milano-Bicocca showed how, some day with the same surface, we may be able to see the sun and glean it too. By redesigning a light-grabbing nanocrystal, these material researchers devised a technique that could change sheer Plexiglas sheets into large-area solar concentrators.1... Read more »

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