Drugs for Cocaines makes the sex a Not.

Here’s an example of why it’s a good idea to convey information in a language you’re facile with rather than a random one.

72.28 per cent of drug addict men admit to have consumed drugs to be able to have sexual relations and most of them (58%) choose cocaine to this purpose, the narcotic which increases the most sexual incapacitation.
On the other hand, only 37.50% drug addict women consume drugs to this purpose, and when they do, they resort to cocaine (37%), speed ball (25%) and alcohol (25%).
Those are the conclusions of a study carried out by Professors of the department of Personality, Evaluation and Psychological Treatment, where they have analysed the connection between drug consumption and sexual performance. They took a poll of 120 characters (104 male and 16 female drug addicts), aged between 17 and 23 years old and with an average age of 32.25, who were administered a poll together with the Addictive Behaviour Questionnaire, a test which assesses consumption seriousness.

Cocaine and alcohol to lose inhibition

Another conclusion of the work carried out at the UGR is that 50.98% of men use drugs to have sexual relations, as against 43.75% of women. This category also shows the differences by sexes, as men who consume drugs to lose their inhibition use alcohol and cocaine almost in the same proportion (43 and 37%, respectively), whereas in the case of women it is alcohol, with 72%, the most common substance.
The research work has been carried out by Professors Pablo Vallejo Medina , Miguel Pérez Garc?and Juan Carlos Sierra , who insist that, in the light of the results obtained, men present a paradoxical fact, “as cocaine, which is the most commonly used drug as an enhancer factor of sexuality, is also the most incapacitating drug at a sexual level”.
According to researchers, this fact could be due to that drug addicts use cocaine in order to increase their sexual power and performance which, as has been proved by authors such as Cregel and Mark, only happens when consumed in low doses and in the short term. Such conditions would be difficult to keep, as consumers, due to the habit and the dependence would tend to increase both the doses and the consumption time, seriously harming the sexual function.

It’s obviously difficult to figure out just what the hell’s going on here. Apparently, whether of not participants noted in this report were drug addicts was determined by a simple questionnaire alone. Also, there seems to be no control group, so there’s no indication of how these numbers relate to the percentage of non-addicted men and women who have used drugs or alcohol to loosen up for sex. I am going to venture that this figure approaches unity, even for pure masturbators. So in summary, this “study” suggests that altered consciousness and nooky are correlated to some extent. Who knew? It also implies that snorting a little coke (but only a little!) might make my next roll in the hay more pleasurable.
But the study, even if a wreck of bad research methods, isn’t as troubling as the article about it. This is the first time Ive been tempted to quote something in Comic Sans that doesn’t relate to a religious or conspiracy-theory idea. Based on where the study was done, I’m guessing that the person who wrote the piece speaks Spanish first and foremost. That’s fine, and my Spanish is worse than the author’s English, but when a medical news aggregator is willing to post things just as they’re received, it opens the door to quality-control issues a purveyor of this kind of information probably doesn’t want to invite. I’m half-wondering if I shouldn’t write up a nonsensical report of a fictional study concerning some lurid topic (ideas welcome) and e-mail it to the news-medical.com folks just to see if they’ll post it. I may have to unsubscribe to this particular feed, or only continue reading it so I can generate pointless and critical blog posts about the garbage I find there.

Male contraceptive injection being tested (where else?) Down Under

A male contraceptive injection that works by shutting down spermatogenesis is being tested in Sydney and nine other centers worldwide.
Consisting of a mixture of testosterone and progestin, the injection has been shown in previous research to suppress sperm production in 95% of men, but this is apparently the first “real-life” trial. Testosterone levels themselves remain unaffected, but the pituitary is tricked into not releasing significant amounts of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormone. (Considering that God plainly made men and women incalculably different, the extent to which their reproductive structures and physiological processes are analogous is downright eerie.)
One injection is good for about two months. I don’t know how much it’ll cost when it hits the market, but when it does, I bet the number of men who lie and say they’re on it will far outpace the number who actually do get the shots (and as directed, not once or twice a year or so).
The ANZAC Research Institute, an Australia-based aging center, has more info.

“Cello scrotum” a 35-year-old hoax

Virginia Hughes reports:

In 1974, British doctor Elaine Murphy and her husband, John, sent the first-ever description of ‘cello scrotum’ to the elite British Medical Journal. The journal accepted the letter, and published it in the 11 May issue of that year. Just one problem: the Murphys totally made it up! LOLZ!

Damn. Now I am not sure how much credibility to give related, less well documented disorders such as “harmonica anus,” “xylophone perineum,” “kettle drum nipples,” and “bassoon clitoris.”

Medtronic seeking distance runners for “Global Heroes” program

Medtronic is recruiting runners who benefit from medical technology to participate in its fourth annual Medtronic Global Heroes program. Up to 25 runners will be selected to receive a paid entry and travel expenses for themselves and a guest to the Twin Cities Marathon on October 4 or its companion 10-mile race. The deadline for applications is March 31.
In addition, the Medtronic Foundation will donate $1,000 to a select non-profit patient organization that educates and supports people who have the Global Hero’s medical condition.
To qualify, runners must currently be using a medical device to treat heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, spinal disorders, or neurological, gastroenterology and urological disorders. Eligible medical devices include any pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), any spinal device, any neurological device, any insulin pump, or any heart valve.

Medtronic seeking distance runners for “Global Heroes” program

Medtronic is recruiting runners who benefit from medical technology to participate in its fourth annual Medtronic Global Heroes program. Up to 25 runners will be selected to receive a paid entry and travel expenses for themselves and a guest to the Twin Cities Marathon on October 4 or its companion 10-mile race. The deadline for applications is March 31.
In addition, the Medtronic Foundation will donate $1,000 to a select non-profit patient organization that educates and supports people who have the Global Hero’s medical condition.
To qualify, runners must currently be using a medical device to treat heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain, spinal disorders, or neurological, gastroenterology and urological disorders. Eligible medical devices include any pacemaker or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), any spinal device, any neurological device, any insulin pump, or any heart valve.

Stem-cell restrictions to go away–but how?

Barack Obama has mace it clear that legislation passed almost eight years ago to assuage religious luddites is not going to hild very far into his presidential term. As the NY Times reports, the question now is whether Bush’s veto will be overridden by presidential decree, which would expedite things, or by a trip through a highly supportive Congress, which would take longer, but establish lasting policy.
Of course I’m pleased that Obama is energetically pro-ESCR. But this is the kind of ignorant babbling that irks the hell out of me:

Continue reading “Stem-cell restrictions to go away–but how?”

Don’t try this at home

Wow.

Alone in her one-room cabin high in the mountains of southern Mexico, Ines Ramirez Perez felt the pounding pains of a child insistent on entering the world.
Three years earlier, she had given birth to a dead baby girl. As her labour intensified, so did her concern for this unborn child.
The sun had set hours ago. The nearest clinic was 80km away over rough roads, and her husband, her only assistant during a half-dozen previous births, was drinking at a cantina. She had no phone and neither did the cantina.
So at midnight, after 12 hours of constant pain, the petite, 40-year-old mother of six sat down on a low wooden bench. She took several gulps from a bottle of rubbing alcohol, grabbed a 15-cm knife and began to cut…

Don’t try this at home

Wow.

Alone in her one-room cabin high in the mountains of southern Mexico, Ines Ramirez Perez felt the pounding pains of a child insistent on entering the world.
Three years earlier, she had given birth to a dead baby girl. As her labour intensified, so did her concern for this unborn child.
The sun had set hours ago. The nearest clinic was 80km away over rough roads, and her husband, her only assistant during a half-dozen previous births, was drinking at a cantina. She had no phone and neither did the cantina.
So at midnight, after 12 hours of constant pain, the petite, 40-year-old mother of six sat down on a low wooden bench. She took several gulps from a bottle of rubbing alcohol, grabbed a 15-cm knife and began to cut…

Researchers find link between sleeplessness and heart disease

A study published in yesterday’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that people who are chronically short on sleep are much more likely to develop coronary artery calcifications than others.
A team of researchers at the University of Chicago tracked 495 participants in an ongoing study, the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA). When they were 15 years into CARDIA, the subjects, who wee all 35 to 47 years old and free of coronary artery disease, filled out sleep questionnaires and kept a log of their hours in bed. At night, they wore motion-sensing devices on their wrists to help determine how much they actually slept.
Five years later, 27 percent of those who were sleeping less than five hours a night had developed coronary artery calcification for the first time, while only 6 percent of those who were sleeping seven hours or more had developed it. Among those who were sleeping between five and seven hours a night, 11 percent had developed coronary artery calcification.
After accounting for potential confounding and mediating variables such as age, sex, race, education, apnea risk, smoking status, blood lipids, blood pressure, body mass index, diabetes, inflammatory markers, alcohol consumption, depression, hostility, self-reported medical conditions), the researchers determined that one hour more of sleep per night was associated with a 33 percent decrease in the odds of calcification, comparable to the heart benefit gained by lowering one’s systolic blood pressure by 17 millimeters of mercury.
These findings are obviously significant, but do not necessarily indicate a causal relationship. It seems likely, in fact, that a third factor, which no doubt falls into the catch-all category of “stress,” is responsible for both decreased sleep and the onset of CAD in some people.
I used to get up early or stay up late to fit in a run, so in those days I was probably canceling my risk factors out. Now, having entered the 35-to-47 age bracket while exercising less and becoming more of an insomniac, I might be a great candidate for coronary-artery calcification. If so, this is not the kind of thing that keeps me up at night.

Substance-abuse rehabilitation programs: moving toward evidence-based treatments

Most people know someone who has “been through rehab” have a general sense of what the game is about: a stay of a month or so in a dedicated facility in the company of other addicts and alcoholics, introduction to “The Twelve Steps,” and a recommendation to follow up after discharge with Alcoholics (or Narcotics) Anonymous meetings, individual or group counseling, and–if required by a judge, employer, or state licensing board–regular urine testing.
What many do not know, despite frequently confronting first-hand the return to using by friends or family members, is that in the end, the vast majority people who go through these programs go back to drinking and drugging just as energetically and destructively as before, if not worse.
Now, some states–most notably Oregon–are taking a hard look at the traditional rehab model along with the fact that $15 billion in government funds was spent last year on treating four million people, and demanding that treatment centers not only become more accountable in terms of post-treatment follow-up of those who use their services, but also adapt their standard treatments–usually meted out by certified drug and alcohol counselors in the absence of medical doctors and consisting largely of videos, lectures, and confrontation-based group talk sessions–in accordance with what research has deemed most effective.

Continue reading “Substance-abuse rehabilitation programs: moving toward evidence-based treatments”

Substance-abuse rehabilitation programs: moving toward evidence-based treatments

Most people know someone who has “been through rehab” have a general sense of what the game is about: a stay of a month or so in a dedicated facility in the company of other addicts and alcoholics, introduction to “The Twelve Steps,” and a recommendation to follow up after discharge with Alcoholics (or Narcotics) Anonymous meetings, individual or group counseling, and–if required by a judge, employer, or state licensing board–regular urine testing.
What many do not know, despite frequently confronting first-hand the return to using by friends or family members, is that in the end, the vast majority people who go through these programs go back to drinking and drugging just as energetically and destructively as before, if not worse.
Now, some states–most notably Oregon–are taking a hard look at the traditional rehab model along with the fact that $15 billion in government funds was spent last year on treating four million people, and demanding that treatment centers not only become more accountable in terms of post-treatment follow-up of those who use their services, but also adapt their standard treatments–usually meted out by certified drug and alcohol counselors in the absence of medical doctors and consisting largely of videos, lectures, and confrontation-based group talk sessions–in accordance with what research has deemed most effective.

Continue reading “Substance-abuse rehabilitation programs: moving toward evidence-based treatments”

Richard Dawkins interviews Michael Baum

You probably know who Dawkins is. Baum is Professor Emeritus of Surgery at University College London, and and in the interview the two men discuss the validity of complimentary and alternative medical therapies. Suffice it to say that Dr. Baum, who sounds so remarkably similar to Dawkins that minimizing the video window offers the illusion of Dawkins talking to himself–is skeptical.
The video below is just under ten minutes long and is the first in a six-part series; the others can be found here.

Continue reading “Richard Dawkins interviews Michael Baum”

Prozac, the anti-cancer drug?

It’s common for cancer patients to be prescribed antidepressants as a means of helping them cope with an obviously traumatic diagnosis. But researchers in Israel have found that the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor Prozac (generic name fluoxetine) can increase the effectiveness of a common anti-cancer agent, doxorubicin, by tenfold.

A study [Dr. Dan Peer of the Department of Cell Research and Immunology at Tel Aviv University] and his colleagues recently completed validates that Prozac dramatically enhances the effectiveness of a widely used anti-cancer drug.
“The good news is that the medical community won’t have to wait – Prozac can be used for this purpose right away,” says Dr. Peer, noting that doctors in the U.S. already prescribe it to treat depression in chemotherapy patients.
“Prozac is a very interesting non-specific blocker of cancer resistance,” says Dr. Peer, whose study focused on colon cancer and the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin.
In their laboratory experiments, the Tel Aviv University scientists led by graduate student Mirit Argov together with Prof. Rimona Margalit, found that Prozac enhanced doxorubicin’s efficacy more than 1,000%. Prozac, in effect, worked to block the cancer drug from leaving the interior of the cancer cell and poisoning the healthy non-cancerous cells that surrounded it.
In animal models, a mild doxorubicin-fluoxetine treatment combination slowed down tumor progression significantly. These results suggest that pairing Prozac with chemotherapeutic drugs to curb drug resistance warrants further clinical study, says Dr. Peer.

It would be interesting to have more information on the exact mechanism of action involved here. At first I assumed that fluoxetine had been found to slow hepatic metabolism of doxorubicin or something like that, but it appears that fluoxetine’s “wingman” effects on the anticancer agent are indeed direct.
The study results will be published in Cancer Letters.

Prozac, the anti-cancer drug?

It’s common for cancer patients to be prescribed antidepressants as a means of helping them cope with an obviously traumatic diagnosis. But researchers in Israel have found that the selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor Prozac (generic name fluoxetine) can increase the effectiveness of a common anti-cancer agent, doxorubicin, by tenfold.

A study [Dr. Dan Peer of the Department of Cell Research and Immunology at Tel Aviv University] and his colleagues recently completed validates that Prozac dramatically enhances the effectiveness of a widely used anti-cancer drug.
“The good news is that the medical community won’t have to wait – Prozac can be used for this purpose right away,” says Dr. Peer, noting that doctors in the U.S. already prescribe it to treat depression in chemotherapy patients.
“Prozac is a very interesting non-specific blocker of cancer resistance,” says Dr. Peer, whose study focused on colon cancer and the anti-cancer drug doxorubicin.
In their laboratory experiments, the Tel Aviv University scientists led by graduate student Mirit Argov together with Prof. Rimona Margalit, found that Prozac enhanced doxorubicin’s efficacy more than 1,000%. Prozac, in effect, worked to block the cancer drug from leaving the interior of the cancer cell and poisoning the healthy non-cancerous cells that surrounded it.
In animal models, a mild doxorubicin-fluoxetine treatment combination slowed down tumor progression significantly. These results suggest that pairing Prozac with chemotherapeutic drugs to curb drug resistance warrants further clinical study, says Dr. Peer.

It would be interesting to have more information on the exact mechanism of action involved here. At first I assumed that fluoxetine had been found to slow hepatic metabolism of doxorubicin or something like that, but it appears that fluoxetine’s “wingman” effects on the anticancer agent are indeed direct.
The study results will be published in Cancer Letters.

Is homemade eggnog safe?

About 1 in every 20,000 eggs is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. That may not sound like a lot until you consider that 200 million eggs are consumed daily in the United States; this would make about 1,000 of them tainted, although only a small fraction of these contain a sufficient bacterial load to cause serious symptoms in humans.
It’s long been speculated that the amount of rum and bourbon in a typical concoction is sufficient to kill of enough bacteria to prevent food poisoning, thereby paving the way for splitting hangovers, massive credit-card debt, and the stress of dysfunctional-family gatherings to generate the bulk of physical discomfort during the Holiday season. Recently, microbiologist Vince Fischetti of The Rockefeller University ran some tests in his lab to figure out whether this is true. The results:

Continue reading “Is homemade eggnog safe?”

Science picks its “Breakthrough of the Year”: cellular reprogramming

Science, the journal published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has made its annual selection of the top ten scientific breakthroughs of the year. Its choice for 2008 is cellular reprogramming, a biochemical process through which DNA sequences introduced to a cell’s genome in effect turn the cell’s biological clock backward, reverting it to an embryonic, totipotent state and offering clues as to how cells “decide” their own ultimate fate.
The key research (free subscription required) this year involved taking cells from patients suffering from a variety of diseases–among them ALS, Down syndrome, muscular dystrophy, and Type I diabetes mellitus, conditions difficult or impossible to study with animal models–and reprogramming them into stem cells.

Continue readingScience picks its “Breakthrough of the Year”: cellular reprogramming”

Winter is hard on not only heating bills, but the heart

A 15-year study that looked at hospital admissions in three California regions for cardiovascular diseases and stroke suggests that even relatively small drops in temperature are correlated with more admissions for acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, and stroke. Similar findings have been seen in Europe and Asia.
Doctors at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California (the home of Google) make the following suggestions:

Continue reading “Winter is hard on not only heating bills, but the heart”

Winter is hard on not only heating bills, but the heart

A 15-year study that looked at hospital admissions in three California regions for cardiovascular diseases and stroke suggests that even relatively small drops in temperature are correlated with more admissions for acute myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, congestive heart failure, and stroke. Similar findings have been seen in Europe and Asia.
Doctors at El Camino Hospital in Mountain View, California (the home of Google) make the following suggestions:

Continue reading “Winter is hard on not only heating bills, but the heart”