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Drugs


— Health and Wellbeing

Wearable electronic device could help smokers kick the habit

By - June 17, 2014 2 Pictures
Kicking the cigarette habit is no picnic. It’s a full-on resistance effort against an overwhelming craving. That’s why smokers sometimes need more than will power alone to quit. Now a new device has been developed to add extra ammunition to the fight in the form of the SmartStop, an electronic wearable from U.S.-based Chrono Therapeutics that takes nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) to a new level and adds behavioral support, thanks to the possibilities of digital, wireless technology. Read More
— Automotive

The UK’s new "zero tolerance" drug driving laws – what do they mean?

By - April 2, 2014 5 Pictures
The UK has put in place some of the strictest drug driving laws on the planet in an effort to get drug-impaired drivers off the roads. Breath screening and blood tests will be used to detect eight illicit drugs at "zero tolerance" levels, and eight further prescription drugs at levels that would begin to impair driving. Naturally, since the British government can’t be seen to encourage recreational drug use, these limits haven’t been put into a practical context. So we contacted several drug testing experts and a forensic pharmacologist to try to work out what they mean. And as it turns out, some drugs will make you illegal to drive long after their physical effects have worn off. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Fluorescent sensor indicates presence of date-rape drug within 30 seconds

By - March 27, 2014
Central to the dangers of so-called "date-rape" drugs is the fact that they are difficult to detect. Indeed, GHB, one of the most commonly-used of such drugs, is both colorless and odorless. A team of researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) has developed a fluorescent sensor which, when mixed with a drink containing GHB, changes color within 30 seconds, potentially alerting people soon after their drink has been tampered with. Read More
— Medical

ATHENA "desktop human" for drug and toxic agent screening gets a liver

By - March 26, 2014
A five-year, US$19 million multi-institutional effort is working on developing a "desktop human" that could reduce the need for animal testing in the development of new drugs. The "homo minitus" is a drug and toxicity analysis system that would comprise four human organ constructs interconnected to mimic the response of human organs. The project has now reported success in the development of its first organ construct, a human liver construct that responds to exposure to a toxic chemical much like a real liver. Read More
— Medical

Charged polymers unlock door to deliver nanoparticles to cancer cells

By - February 11, 2014
In recent years, we've seen various research efforts looking to specifically target cancer cells as a replacement for the shotgun approach employed by chemotherapy that also damages healthy cells. The trick is to develop a delivery vehicle that identifies and targets only cancer cells, while ignoring the healthy ones. Researchers have found charged polymers have this ability, opening the door for nanoparticles containing cancer-fighting drugs to deliver their payload directly to the cancer cells. Read More
— Science

Two-in-one nanoparticles exploit tumor cells to precisely deliver multiple drugs

By - January 9, 2014 3 Pictures
A common strategy for treating tumors is combining two or more drugs, which has the effect of decreasing toxicity and increasing the synergistic effects between the drugs. However, the efficacy of this kind of cocktail treatment suffers when the drugs require access to different parts of the cell, a bit like fighting a battle by depositing all your archers on the same spot as your infantrymen. By making use of nanoparticle-based carriers, researchers at North Carolina State University are able to transport multiple drugs into cancerous cells optimally and precisely, in maneuvers that any field commander would be proud of. Read More
— Science

Plant-based magnetic microswimmers to deliver drugs more precisely

By - December 23, 2013 2 Pictures
If you remember the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, you'll recall how miniaturized government agents traveled through blood vessels in a tiny submarine, in their attempt remove a blood clot from a scientist's brain. Synthetic nanomotors that can do the same job have been the subject of numerous research efforts and now University of California, San Diego (UCSD) researchers report that they've created powerful biodegradable "microswimmers" that can deliver drugs more precisely, derived from common plants like passion fruit and wild banana. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

New test predicts suicide risk in patients on antidepressants

By - December 18, 2013
The results of a years-long study with patients on antidepressants may help doctors predict one of the most severe side effects those medications can produce: treatment-emergent suicidal ideation (TESI). The condition is estimated to affect between four and 14 percent of patients, who typically present symptoms of TESI in the first weeks of treatment or following dosage adjustments. So far doctors haven’t had indicators to predict which patients are more likely to develop TESI, but a new test based on research carried out by the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich, Germany, could change that. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

Drugs to fix "misfolded" proteins could cure a range of diseases

By - December 9, 2013
Proteins adopt their functional three-dimensional structure by the folding of a linear chain of amino acids. Gene mutation can cause this folding process to go awry, resulting in "misfolded" proteins that are inactive or, in worse cases, exhibit modified or toxic functionality. This is the cause of a wide range of diseases, but researchers have developed a technique that fixes these misfolded proteins, allowing them to perform their intended function, thereby providing a potential cure for a number of diseases. Read More
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