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  • August 14, 2015
  • 06:21 AM
  • 155 views

Six Surprising Facts About Energy Drinks

by Agnese Mariotti in United Academics

Energy drinks boost your adrenaline, but not without health risks.... Read more »

Higgins, J., Tuttle, T., & Higgins, C. (2010) Energy Beverages: Content and Safety. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 85(11), 1033-1041. DOI: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0381  

  • August 14, 2015
  • 04:25 AM
  • 172 views

Coenzyme Q10 and NADH supplementation for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome continued

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

In a previous post on this blog I briefly discussed the research paper from Jesus Castro-Marrero and colleagues [1] suggesting that "oral CoQ10 [Coenzyme Q10] (200 mg/day) plus NADH [nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH)] (20 mg/day) supplementation" might be something useful for some people diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).Enter then a new paper from Castro-Marrero and colleagues [2] (open-access available here) building on the original findings by suggesting that "CoQ10 plus NADH supplementation for 8 weeks is safe and potentially effective in reducing max HR [maximum heart rate] during a cycle ergometer test and also on fatigue in CFS." The max HR by the way, is a measure of cardiovascular function as part of exercise performance. A cycle ergometer test is all about testing parameters such as max HR using a stationary bicycle."A proof-of-concept, 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted" whereby either CoQ10 plus NADH was given (n=39) or a placebo (n=34) over the study period. Baseline and end of study max HR was tested alongside self-reported changes to "fatigue, pain and sleep problems" based on scoring using the Fatigue Impact Scale (FIS) among other things.Based on an intention-to-treat (ITT) analytical strategy, authors reported that: "statistically significant differences were observed in CoQ10 + NADH group during the study, with a reduction in max HR after 8 weeks of treatment compared with baseline max HR." That being said, when comparing max HR from baseline to 8 weeks between the groups (CoQ10+NADH vs placebo), no statistically significant group differences were noted despite a trend towards greater max HR reduction in the experimental group. Insofar as other biological parameters also measured over the course of the study period ("VO2, VCO2, maximal workload, respiratory quotient and arm systolic and diastolic blood pressure") no significant differences were noted between baseline and end of study.Fatigue scores showed a similar trend in terms of intra- and inter-group comparisons. So, for the CoQ10+NADH group, comparisons between baseline, week 4 and week 8 scores suggested significant reductions in total FIS scores. When it came to comparisons with the placebo group however, no significant differences were reported (indeed, the placebo group also showed a reduction in FIS total scores at least between baseline and week 4). The authors suggest that a lack of study power might have contributed to the lack of significant effects when comparing the experimental and placebo groups.These are interesting results and from an intra-group perspective (comparing across different testing occasions) suggest that there may be more to see from this preparation on this patient group. Bearing in mind the emphasis on actually looking at physiological parameters such as max HR and as the authors note: "the use of strict inclusion criteria based on 1994 CDC case definition ensures that the participants were appropriately selected and without confounding comorbidities" further research is indicated to further assess such claims and determine specific biological mechanisms pertinent to any effect.Music: Ike & Tina Turner - River Deep Mountain High.----------[1] Castro-Marrero J. et al. Does oral Coenzyme Q10 plus NADH supplementation improve fatigue and biochemical parameters in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome? Antioxid Redox Signal. 2014 Nov 11.[2] Castro-Marrero J. et al. Effect of coenzyme Q10 plus nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide supplementation on maximum heart rate after exercise testing in chronic fatigue syndrome - A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. Clin Nutr. 2015 Jul 17. pii: S0261-5614(15)00189-2.----------Castro-Marrero J, Sáez-Francàs N, Segundo MJ, Calvo N, Faro M, Aliste L, Fernández de Sevilla T, & Alegre J (2015). Effect of coenzyme Q10 plus nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide supplementation on maximum heart rate after exercise testing in chronic fatigue syndrome - A randomized, controlled, double-blind trial. Clinical nutrition (Edinburgh, Scotland) PMID: 26212172... Read more »

  • August 13, 2015
  • 10:06 PM
  • 118 views

Radiation of Internal Mammary Nodes May Have Small Breast Cancer Survival Benefit

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD Head of Department, Radiation Oncology ESTRO President Radboud university medical center The Netherlands   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Poortmans: Based on the former hypothesis that breast … Continue reading →
The post Radiation of Internal Mammary Nodes May Have Small Breast Cancer Survival Benefit appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Philip M.P. Poortmans PhD MD. (2015) Radiation of Internal Mammary Nodes May Have Small Breast Cancer Survival Benefit. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 09:45 PM
  • 96 views

Compromised Antimicrobial Response Tied to Infections in Diabetes

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Wesley M. Williams, PhD Cell molecular biologist Department of Biological Sciences Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Williams: Individuals with uncontrolled … Continue reading →
The post Compromised Antimicrobial Response Tied to Infections in Diabetes appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Wesley M. Williams, PhD. (2015) Compromised Antimicrobial Response Tied to Infections in Diabetes. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 09:33 PM
  • 97 views

Abnormal Lung Microbiome Linked To Severe Asthma

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yvonne J. Huang, MD Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine University of Michigan Health System Ann Arbor, MI  48109-5642   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Huang: Asthma is a disease … Continue reading →
The post Abnormal Lung Microbiome Linked To Severe Asthma appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Yvonne J. Huang, MD. (2015) Abnormal Lung Microbiome Linked To Severe Asthma. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 09:21 PM
  • 96 views

Insulin Resistance Linked To Poor Verbal Fluency in Women

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Ekblad, MD, researcher Turku PET Centre Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Ekblad: The background for our study is that the metabolic syndrome and diabetes have been … Continue reading →
The post Insulin Resistance Linked To Poor Verbal Fluency in Women appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Laura Ekblad, MD, researcher. (2015) Insulin Resistance Linked To Poor Verbal Fluency in Women. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 08:38 PM
  • 90 views

Simple Scoring System Stratifies Colon Cancer Risk in Adults

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Thomas F. Imperiale, MD Indiana University Medical Center Regenstrief Institute Indianapolis, IN 46202   Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Imperiale: The background is that colorectal cancer (CRC) screening is effective and cost-effective, but … Continue reading →
The post Simple Scoring System Stratifies Colon Cancer Risk in Adults appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Thomas F. Imperiale, MD. (2015) Simple Scoring System Stratifies Colon Cancer Risk in Adults. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 07:00 PM
  • 91 views

Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Save Money and Resources

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Noam Y. Kirson, Ph.D.  Vice President Analysis Group, Inc. Economic, Financial, and Strategy Consulting Boston, MA 02199 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kirson: Developments in diagnostic technology … Continue reading →
The post Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Save Money and Resources appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Noah Kirsom. (2015) Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease Can Save Money and Resources. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 05:37 PM
  • 99 views

Panel Testing Identifies More Management-Changing Genes Than BRAC1/2 Alone

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School Program Director, Breast Medical Oncology Co-Leader, Breast Cancer Program MGH Research Scholar MGH Cancer Center Boston, MA 02114 Medical Research: What is the background for this … Continue reading →
The post Panel Testing Identifies More Management-Changing Genes Than BRAC1/2 Alone appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Leif W. Ellisen, M.D., Ph.D. (2015) Panel Testing Identifies More Management-Changing Genes Than BRAC1/2 Alone. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 05:12 PM
  • 78 views

Fresh Donor Eggs Result In More Live Births Than Frozen

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Vitaly A Kushnir MD The Center for Human Reproduction New York, NY 10021 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Kushnir: In January 2013, the American Society for Reproductive … Continue reading →
The post Fresh Donor Eggs Result In More Live Births Than Frozen appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Vitaly A Kushnir MD. (2015) Fresh Donor Eggs Result In More Live Births Than Frozen. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 13, 2015
  • 02:52 PM
  • 145 views

Scientists discover what controls waking up and going to sleep

by Dr. Jekyll in Lunatic Laboratories

Fifteen years ago, an odd mutant fruit fly caught the attention and curiosity of Dr. Ravi Allada, a circadian rhythms expert at Northwestern University, leading the neuroscientist to recently discover how an animal’s biological clock wakes it up in the morning and puts it to sleep at night. The clock’s mechanism, it turns out, is much like a light switch.... Read more »

Flourakis, M., Kula-Eversole, E., Hutchison, A., Han, T., Aranda, K., Moose, D., White, K., Dinner, A., Lear, B., Ren, D.... (2015) A Conserved Bicycle Model for Circadian Clock Control of Membrane Excitability. Cell, 162(4), 836-848. DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2015.07.036  

  • August 13, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 110 views

Allergy Medications Are Nothing to Sneeze At

by Julia van Rensburg in The 'Scope

Sorting through the confusing array of allergy medications by learning how they work.... Read more »

Ariano R, Berto P, Tracci D, Incorvaia C, & Frati F. (2006) Pharmacoeconomics of allergen immunotherapy compared with symptomatic drug treatment in patients with allergic rhinitis and asthma. Allergy and asthma proceedings : the official journal of regional and state allergy societies, 27(2), 159-63. PMID: 16724637  

Wallace DV, Dykewicz MS, Bernstein DI, Blessing-Moore J, Cox L, Khan DA, Lang DM, Nicklas RA, Oppenheimer J, Portnoy JM.... (2008) The diagnosis and management of rhinitis: an updated practice parameter. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, 122(2 Suppl). PMID: 18662584  

Sur DK, & Scandale S. (2010) Treatment of allergic rhinitis. American family physician, 81(12), 1440-6. PMID: 20540482  

  • August 13, 2015
  • 02:53 AM
  • 138 views

Psychiatric comorbidity accompanying irritable bowel syndrome

by Paul Whiteley in Questioning Answers

OK, a few choice words to start: the National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD), nationwide cohort study, large participant numbers.That's right. Yet again Taiwan continues to give when it comes to research based on that very useful national health insurance program. Regular readers will already know that I'm a fan of this resource. This time around the results come in the form of the paper published by Yao-Tung Lee and colleagues [1] (open-access) who suggested that: "Clinicians should pay particular attention to psychiatric comorbidities in IBS [irritable bowel syndrome] patients."Based on an analysis of nearly 5000 people diagnosed with IBS - a chronic condition affecting the digestive system "defined according to the ICD-9-CM code 564.1" and only including patients "who were diagnosed by gastroenterologists and had at least two consensus IBS diagnoses" - researchers set about looking at whether IBS may be associated with an elevated risk of various psychiatric disorders. A matched non-IBS control group was also examined (n=18,756) to determine whether various psychiatric diagnoses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder were over-represented in the IBS cohort.Lo and behold, after some statistical analysis there was some indication of a greater frequency of psychiatric disorder diagnosed in the IBS group. Following the IBS group for quite a few years "the most common subsequent psychiatric disorders were depressive disorder (239 patients), anxiety disorder (205 patients), and sleep disorder (153 patients)." The incidence rates for these conditions and bipolar disorder were "all significantly higher for the IBS cohort than for the comparison cohort." The bottom line: "the incidences of subsequent depressive disorder, sleep disorder, anxiety disorder, and bipolar disorder were significantly higher in the IBS cohort than in the control cohort. However, the incidence of schizophrenia was statistically nonsignificant in either cohort."Whilst this is interesting data, it is not necessarily new news that IBS might be also associated with psychological / psychiatric issues. The paper by Fond et al [2] for example, said as much with their conclusion: "Patients with IBS had significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression than healthy controls." The strength of the Lee data is however in the power (size) and case ascertainment methods used by the NHIRD.The precise hows and whys of a possible relationship between IBS and psychiatric disorder are still a little up in the air. One could entertain the possibility that the discomfort and pain brought about by IBS might affect a person psychologically speaking perhaps making them more prone to presenting with something surpassing clinical diagnostic thresholds. Thinking back to some recent discussions on the power of placebo with IBS mentioned (see here) one can similarly see 'the mind at work' as corroborating something of a psychology - somatic link.That being said I'm also drawn to the idea that this data might be more fodder for a gut-brain link on a more biological level, that quite a few people are talking about these days. Y'know, the idea that what goes in our deepest, darkest recesses from a bacterial, immunological and barrier perspective (the next triad) might have something on an effect on the grey-pink matter floating around in our skull and onwards things like behaviour. The discussion paper from Collins [3] kinda sums things up from the suggested point of view that those trillions of wee beasties that call our gut home might be perturbed (dysbiotic) in cases of IBS and could be implicated in both gut and psychiatric expressions of IBS. The idea that gut barrier function might also be 'out' when it comes to IBS (yes, the leaky gut) has also been banded around the peer-review arena in the past [4]. There is quite a bit more to do on mechanisms but for now just realising that the effects of IBS might go so much further than the gut is an important sentiment.Music: Talking Heads - Once In A Lifetime.----------[1] Lee Y-T. et al. Risk of Psychiatric Disorders following Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study. PLoS ONE. 2015; 10(7): e0133283.[2] Fond G. et al. Anxiety and depression comorbidities in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS): a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2014 Dec;264(8):651-60.[3] Collins SM. et al. A role for the gut microbiota in IBS. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014 Aug;11(8):497-505.[4] Gecse K. et al. Leaky gut in patients with diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome and inactive ulcerative colitis. Digestion. 2012;85(1):40-6.----------Lee YT, Hu LY, Shen CC, Huang MW, Tsai SJ, Yang AC, Hu CK, Perng CL, Huang YS, & Hung JH (2015). Risk of Psychiatric Disorders following Irritable Bowel Syndrome: A Nationwide Population-Based Cohort Study. PloS one, 10 (7) PMID: 26222511... Read more »

  • August 12, 2015
  • 08:02 PM
  • 50 views

Dementia Patients on Cholinesterase Inhibitors Risk Substantial Weight Loss

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Meera Sheffrin MD Geriatrics Fellow Division of Geriatrics | Department of Medicine San Francisco VA Medical Center University of California, San Francisco Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. … Continue reading →
The post Dementia Patients on Cholinesterase Inhibitors Risk Substantial Weight Loss appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Meera Sheffrin MD. (2015) Dementia Patients on Cholinesterase Inhibitors Risk Substantial Weight Loss. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 12, 2015
  • 04:51 PM
  • 41 views

Penn Developed Sarcoidosis Score Reliably Measures Disease Activity

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Misha A. Rosenbach, MD Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania Assistant Professor of Dermatology in Medicine Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. … Continue reading →
The post Penn Developed Sarcoidosis Score Reliably Measures Disease Activity appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Misha A. Rosenbach, MD. (2015) Penn Developed Sarcoidosis Score Reliably Measures Disease Activity. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 12, 2015
  • 04:44 PM
  • 42 views

C- Section May Raise Attention Deficit Risk in Neonates

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Scott A. Adler, Ph.D. Associate Professor Coordinator Developmental Science Graduate Program Dept. of Psychology & Centre for Vision Research Visual and Cognitive Development Project York University Toronto, Ontario Canada   Medical Research: What is the background for … Continue reading →
The post C- Section May Raise Attention Deficit Risk in Neonates appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Scott A. Adler, Ph.D. (2015) C- Section May Raise Attention Deficit Risk in Neonates. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 12, 2015
  • 04:30 PM
  • 43 views

Synthetic Cannabinoids Put Teenagers at Cardiac Risk

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Bradley C. Clark, MD Pediatric Cardiology Fellow – 3rd Year Division of Cardiology Children’s National Health System Washington, DC 20010 Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Dr. Clark: After consulting on … Continue reading →
The post Synthetic Cannabinoids Put Teenagers at Cardiac Risk appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Bradley C. Clark, MD. (2015) Synthetic Cannabinoids Put Teenagers at Cardiac Risk. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 12, 2015
  • 04:19 PM
  • 47 views

Liver Inflammation During Pregnancy Linked To Later Life Cancer, Cardiac and Autoimmune Disease

by Marie Benz in MedicalResearch.com

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Hanns-Ulrich Marschall Professor of clinical hepatology Wallenberg Laboratory Sahlgrenska Academy Göteborg, Sweden Medical Research: What is the background for this study? Dr. Marschall: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, or ICP, is the most common liver disease during … Continue reading →
The post Liver Inflammation During Pregnancy Linked To Later Life Cancer, Cardiac and Autoimmune Disease appeared first on MedicalResearch.com Medical Research Interviews and News.
... Read more »

Prof. Hanns-Ulrich Marschall. (2015) Liver Inflammation During Pregnancy Linked To Later Life Cancer, Cardiac and Autoimmune Disease. MedicalResearch.com. info:/

  • August 12, 2015
  • 01:07 PM
  • 113 views

Sometimes a drug is just a specific bit of animal flesh

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Although now obsolete, the use of crudely processed hunks of flesh cut out of dead animals in the treatment of various diseases was widespread in the past. These fleshy parts, usually glands or organs, contain hormones and vitamins necessary for good health that at the time had either not yet been isolated or were difficult/expensive to isolate and use as drugs. They were prepared and administered in several ways: pulverized and snorted, purified somewhat and injected, or cooked up and eaten. Unfortunately, the presence of certain proteins along with the desired hormone or vitamin often brought about unexpected harmful effects. Let's take a look at some of these crude drugs.Antidiuretic hormone via livestock pituitary glandsAntidiuretic hormone (ADH) (aka arginine vasopressin) is a chain of nine amino acids produced in the brain and released into the bloodstream as required. It acts on the kidneys to reduce urine production (a diuretic, such as caffeine or alcohol, does the opposite). This ability makes ADH an effective treatment for pee-related conditions such as diabetes insipidus (producing way too much urine, sometimes due to the brain not making enough ADH), bedwetting, and nocturia (having to wake up at night to pee, which can contribute to insomnia and sleep deprivation).In the early 20th century, ADH (known as pitressin at the time) was administered by snorting ground up pig and/or cow brain, specifically the hypothalamus and/or posterior lobe of the pituitary gland where the hormone is synthesized and released. These brain bits were cut out, dried using acetone, and ground into a fine powder. This powder was then diluted with an inert soluble powder (e.g. lactose) to produce a snuff.Pituitary gland (orange dangly thing) at the base of the brain (Source)At the time of its use, snorting (nasal insufflation) was deemed the best way to get ADH into the bloodstream (it's absorbed through the lining of the inside of the nose). It was easier and more pleasant than injections of purified ADH (needles hurt, y'all), and the hormone was broken down by stomach acid if ingested. Patients would typically take the snuff two to four times daily to treat whatever pee problem was ailing them.However, it was subsequently observed that snorting a bunch of ground up animal brain wasn't particularly good for your lungs. After being inhaled, if the snuff was fine enough some of the smaller particles could make their way into the deepest parts of the lung, where they would sometimes function as antigens and cause the immune system to mount a harmful inflammatory response. The widespread lung inflammation resulting from the repetitive inhalation of an external antigen is known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis or extrinsic allergic alveolitis, and is typically seen among people exposed to certain airborne substances at work (e.g. dust from mouldy plant matter or chemicals such as isocyanates). The resulting syndrome is usually named after the type of work being done (e.g. farmer's lung, tobacco worker's lung). In this particular case, it came to be called pituitary snuff-taker's lung. Inflammation takes kind of a salting the earth approach to ridding the body of an antigen, so there is usually collateral damage. As the lung becomes damaged, scar tissue is formed. This tissue, being stiff and thickened, makes breathing more difficult, and it usually doesn't go away.Pituitary snuff was apparently mostly used as a short-term treatment for bedwetting in children. It was taken for substantially longer periods by patients with diabetes insipidus, and it was in these patients that pituitary snuff-taker's lung usually occurred.Growth hormone via human pituitary glandsIn 1909, an Austrian doctor by the name of Bernhard Aschner demonstrated that removing the pituitary gland from a dog resulted in a smaller dog (dwarfism). Just over a decade later, Herbert Evans and Joseph Long at Berkeley produced gigantic rats by injecting them with extracts of the anterior pituitary gland. These changes were eventually determined to be the result of messing with the amount of growth hormone (aka somatotropin) in an animal.Guinea pig making too much growth hormone, flanked by parents (Source)Growth hormone consists of 191 amino acids and is produced and released in the front part of the pituitary gland. It does useful things like increase lean mass and bone density, and is used to treat conditions where growth is stunted in childhood (e.g. Prader-Willi syndrome) as well as in situations where adults develop a deficiency in the hormone due to a pituitary tumour. It's also used by some athletes (and actors) to boost their performance.Prior to us figuring out how to get bacteria to synthesize a recombinant form of the hormone in the 1980s, its only source was the pituitary glands of human cadavers. As detailed by Maurice Raben, one of the first researchers to use cadaver-derived growth hormone to treat pituitary dwarfism, the hormone was extracted according to the following procedure: (1) use tweezers to peel the tough covering from each gland, (2) dry the unpeeled glands, (3) chop the glands up in a blender, (4) grind the resulting bits into a fine powder using a flour mill, and finally (5) use glacial acetic acid and several solvents to selectively recover growth hormone (removing other hormones found in the pituitary). The final product wasn't completely pure, but it seemed to do the job. Due to the relatively small amount of growth hormone in your average pituitary gland and the much larger amount required to treat people (often over several years), Raben's lab reportedly processed around thirty thousand pituitaries each year, which were obtained from 16 different countries.While the vast majority of human pituitaries are safe to use, it has been estimated that about one in ten thousand dead people have something called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD). It's caused by weirdly folded proteins that can be transmitted between people and act to alter the structure of the brain, resulting in dementia and other neurological symptoms. At some point it was noticed that patients receiving injections of growth hormone derived from human pituitaries had an unreasonably high likelihood of developing CJD. In particular, the disease was found in many patients under the age of 40, even though it's generally super rare in this age group. We've moved on from human cadavers to tanks of bacteria as our source of growth hormone, so this route of CJD transmission is thankfully toast.Thyroid hormones via livestock thyroid glandsThe thyroid gland is basically a bloody butterfly affixed to the front of your windpipe. It produces two iodine-containing hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine) that stimulate the production and breakdown of various substances within the body. They're pretty important, such that not having enough of them (hypothyroidism) can delay growth and intellectual development in children and cause a suite of frustrating symptoms (e.g. fatigue, feeling cold all the time, constipation, swelling, weight gain) in adults.... Read more »

DeArmond SJ, & Prusiner SB. (1995) Etiology and pathogenesis of prion diseases. The American Journal of Pathology, 146(4), 785-811. PMID: 7717447  

  • August 12, 2015
  • 08:15 AM
  • 129 views

When A Twin Vanishes

by Mark Lasbury in As Many Exceptions As Rules

The things that can happen to twins in the womb before they can be born are bizarre. Some get absorbed by their sibling and some just vanish. Two conjoined twins might grow differently and one may becomes a parasite – one boy just had a second face coming out of his chest that could smile, blink and cry. Even scarier - many of you are harboring a twin right now.... Read more »

Navaei AA, Habibi Z, Moradi E, & Nejat F. (2015) Parasitic rachipagus twins; report of two cases. Child's nervous system : ChNS : official journal of the International Society for Pediatric Neurosurgery, 31(6), 1001-3. PMID: 25715843  

Daga, B., Chaudhary, V., Ingle, A., Dhamangaokar, V., Jadhav, D., & Kulkarni, P. (2009) Double fetus-in-fetu: CT scan diagnosis in an adult. Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging, 19(3), 216. DOI: 10.4103/0971-3026.54890  

Zahed, L., Oreibi, G., Darwiche, N., & Mitri, F. (2004) Potential trisomy 21 misdiagnosis by amniocentesis due to a resorbed twin. Prenatal Diagnosis, 24(12), 1013-1013. DOI: 10.1002/pd.918  

Lakhoo, K., Ringo, Y., Sillo, T., & Drake, D. (2012) Parasitic twin within spina bifida. African Journal of Paediatric Surgery, 9(3), 240. DOI: 10.4103/0189-6725.104728  

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