September 24, 2003
[alcohol] Never Again — anatomy of a hangover … ‘Alcohol is an evil blunderbuss of a drug. Any other drug, like frusemide, or amphetamine, is taken in a teeny pill, where each molecule runs to its little receptor to exert its effect. Which is not to say that either of them are safer. But when you drink, as I did last night, a 40% alcohol drink such as whisky, then 40% of what you ingest is pure drug. In the case of a litre bottle, which two of us unwisely made a pretty good stab at polishing off between us, that’s more than a Coke can of pure drug. It doesn’t go to a neat little receptor site. It enters every cell in your body and stops it working properly, and just happens to hit the GABA cells in your brain first, rendering the subject, for want of a better word, pissed.’ [Related: Hangover Cures from H2G2]
August 24, 2003
[language] Doctor Slang is a Dying Art — Amusing article about the acronyms doctors use to describe their patients … ‘The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).’ [via My 2p]
August 11, 2003
[size] Do Penis Enlargement Pills Work? — a brave blogger intends to find out and report back … ‘I took two pills yesterday (after lunch and after dinner). I noticed a “tingly” sensation in my penis when I got my first post-pill erection last night. It was quite strange, like I could feel the blood filling it up.’ [via Kottke’s Remaindered Links]
April 27, 2003
[health] Confessions of a Ten-a-Day Man — William Leith looks at the painkilling industry in the UK … ‘Imagine this as a business proposition. You buy a cardboard tub of fluffy white powder for around £100. Then you turn the powder into a quarter of a million pills, which you sell at 10p per pill. Every cardboard tub you buy makes you a profit of £24,900. The powder is pure ibuprofen. The pills are painkillers. The company is Boots, which owns a subsidiary called Crookes Healthcare, which manufactures Nurofen. Sounds good, doesn’t it?’
April 24, 2003
[blogs] It’s A Zoo Out There — on-the-spot blog of a young Doctor in Singapore dealing with SARS … ‘I just feel very vulnerable right now, but what to do. I dread the day when I take my temperature and it is high…’ [via Guardian Weblog | Related: SARS Watch Blog]
March 17, 2003
[sars] SARS resources and comments — disturbing on-the-spot account from Hong Kong of the new lethal pneumonia called SARS … ‘Note that ICU staff are not going home to their families. As a physician, I find that observation chilling.’ [via Boing Boing]
December 18, 2002
[drink] Hangover Cures — from H2G2‘Hair of the Dog — A tot of alcohol in the morning. For some particularly nasty hangovers, this can be useful, although the bad news is that the effect is only temporary. The liver attacks poisons in a certain order, with ethanol first. Once all the ethanol has been broken down, it starts on the methanol, which releases formic acid into your system and makes you feel bad. Hitting the liver with another dose of ethanol causes it to stop processing methanol and start on the new threat, but the methanol will have to be processed sometime so you are only postponing the hangover until later.’
July 28, 2002
[booze] The Puzzling Red Wine Headache [login as: linkmachinego/linkmachinego] — this link is for Vaughan‘It may be caused by “compounds found in the skins of grapes and they are either naturally occurring or produced through fermentation,” Dr. Freitag said. He would postulate no further. “It’s not as if there are hundreds of thousands of dollars for funding” studies to determine the cause, Dr. Freitag said. There is actually a stigma to studying the subject. “I’ve entertained the idea of looking for grants to study this and I’ve been told, `Don’t go there, it’s bad P.R.,’ ” Dr. Freitag said.’ [via Follow Me Here]
July 19, 2002
[science] Strange Blood — Wired Magazine takes a look at artificial Blood. ‘…we’re in South Africa, where the human immunodeficiency virus has slipped into the veins of at least 4.5 million people. That’s 10 percent of the population. Some estimates put it much higher, at 25, 30, or even 40 percent, and all studies agree that the numbers are climbing, making this country among the hardest hit anywhere. The result, in addition to the obvious misery and death, is a blood shortage of huge proportions. Necessity breeds invention, however, and it can also cut through snares of bureaucracy. As Cappy’s pale, anemic body is wheeled into intensive care, Levien tells the nurses there to “hang a bag of aitchbock.” That’s H-B-O-C, for hemoglobin-based oxygen carrier – the generic term for Hemopure, a therapeutic substance made by Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical firm Biopure and approved for use nowhere in the world except South Africa. This is artificial blood, and it’s clean and pure and fresh from the tap – never touched by human hands or human pathogens. To collect Hemopure for an injured South African, you don’t need donor drives or questionnaires or tourniquets or risk. All you need is a head of cattle.’
October 17, 2001
[big questions] Why is Snot Green? … From Notes and Queries. ‘I agree with Dr Powell that is is the enzymes in neutrophils that give snot its green colour. However, I thought this was due to another powerful antimicrobial agent, peroxidase. Incidentally, this is the same enzyme that gives wasabi its green colour – a lovely thought for the next time you’re in Yo Sushi!’
August 1, 2001
[medicine] ickle tackles painkillers … and allows me to dispose of this link I’ve had sitting in my “Must Blog” Folder for ages… the history of aspirin — Rise of the 1p wonder. ‘The trouble for the drug firms is that so many of them make aspirin, and it is so cheap to produce, they make no profit from it. Instead, they are intensively trying to develop so-called ‘super-aspirins’ which are more powerful and can be patented to ensure that they make money. ‘If something is found as a successor to aspirin, it is likely to be expensive. The market is huge – a goldmine,’ said Elwood. But the reason the drug companies don’t like the common aspirin is why patients and doctors do. It’s almost as cheap as chalk – about 1p a pill – and tackles all the big killers: heart disease, stroke and cancer.’
April 22, 2001
[drink] The Ultimate Hangover Cure‘3 Nurofen 1 vitamin C tablet 1 Alka Seltzer 1 can Coca-Cola (not diet) 1 greasy breakfast from office canteen. The next day trying to recover from the effect of some stealthy margaritas, I tried it and it worked a treat; the vitamin C made me feel healthy, the Alka Seltzer with all the buzzing and fizzing perked me up; the breakfast – important to remember the baked beans – filled me up and the Coke… well. I’ve never really known what Coke does but it always feels good the day after the night before. The cardinal rule of hangover cures is that they all include a can of Coke. That is my basic recommendation. But for something with a bit of kick and a more rapid result, the Adam Edwards Hangover Cure is the Exocet missile of remedies; tried, tested, recommended.’
February 12, 2001
[aids] Excellent website with lots of information on the controversial / disturbing theory that AIDS origins lie in a early polio vaccines contaminated with viruses from chimpanzee kidneys. [Related Links: Scientists rule out polio link to Aids]
January 28, 2001
[nasty] What is Botox? ‘Produced by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum , Botox – or Botulinum toxin, to give it its full name – is a nerve impulse ‘blocker’, a medication used to temporarily paralyse muscle function. This has been useful in the treatment of illnesses such as MS and cerebral palsy, but more recently has been used to cure that plague of affluent Western civilisation: wrinkles.’
October 29, 2000
[steve bell] Missed this on Friday — Mad Cows take a bite out of Gummer and Major
September 13, 2000
[aids] Heretic! Scientists argue over whether AIDS was caused by western virologists developing polio vacines in the 1950s… ‘Since The River was published Hooper has had his integrity questioned throughout. His powerful critics have accused him of being a “madman”, “a tenth-rate journalist”, a “conspiracy theorist”, of having “more time than sense”, and of being “speculative”. His accuracy has been questioned as well as his journalistic methods and motives. John Moore, professor of microbiology and immunology at Cornell University, has accused him of “twisting and manipulating” facts, of being paid by his “crony Hamilton to write about his pet theory”.’ [BBC Report: Scientists rule out polio link to Aids]
July 22, 2000
[illness] newsUnlimited profiles Malaria. ‘Malaria, or rather P. falciparum , which infects both humans and mosquitoes, is such a fearsome adversary partly because of its protean life-cycle, which makes it seem like some mythical beast. The “thing” in the movie Alien shocked audiences when it burst out of its original pod in one form and then destroyed poor John Hurt’s stomach when incarnated in another. This Plasmodium goes through no fewer than five such transformations in its brief life.’
June 24, 2000
[allergies] newsUnlimited on Nut Allergies — one in 200 children in Britain are allergic to nuts and the number is growing. Nobody knows why… ‘Even if he eats the most minuscule amount, even if he simply inhales the papery dust that puffs out of tens of thousands of packets of peanuts in pubs up and down the country every day, he may become dangerously ill. First, his lips swell like party balloons, then a rash of knobbly hives flush up over his body; his skin goes blotchy, then he might start wheezing and coughing. His tongue might start swelling, his tubes may become constricted – he may start to suffocate and his blood pressure might plummet. He may collapse, lose consciousness and die.’
May 30, 2000
[weird science] newsUnlimited reports that the first hand transplant patient has done a runner. “A criminal past is no bar to being a medical pioneer. What frustrates Owen, Hakim, Dubernard and the other doctors involved is their patient’s unpredictability, the mystery of his whereabouts and his conviction that he knows what is best for his hand.”
May 16, 2000
[interview] An interview with John Diamond [Text-Only] in the Observer. Diamond’s columns can be found at The Times Website. [Originally, I’d decided not to link to the John Diamond interview but it stuck in my mind for a couple of days, a friend mentioned it to me and I suddenly realised that columnists in newspapers and webloggers probably have a lot in common…]