Posts Tagged ‘drugs’

As many of us try to get fitter in this Olympic summer, Panorama investigates the sports products that promise to boost your performance. Are those pricey trainers worth the money? Can sports drinks really help you work out for longer? Are protein shakes any more effective at honing the physique than ordinary food?

With exclusive access to the findings from a unique study by the British Medical Journal and Oxford University, reporter Shelley Jofre tests the science behind the bold advertising claims made by some of sport’s biggest brands.

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Interesting BBC article about the future of the drug discovery industry.

“Half a century ago, in the drug industry’s golden era, we were bestowed with countless pills to lower blood pressure, control blood sugar and get rid of infections. But today it costs about $1bn to bring a new medicine to market, a process that can take 15 years.”

“You can hear more on Radio 4: The end of drug discovery?, Tuesday 22 May at 20:00 BST. The programme is repeated on Sunday 27 May at 17:00 BST.”

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Dr Michael Ashenden, one of the world’s foremost experts on blood doping and the Athlete’s Biological Passport, is resigning from an expert body on biological passports in sport because he is being “muzzled”. He claims the imposition of a new confidentiality clause in his contract was an attempt to silence him. The newly created Athlete Passport Management Unit, based at the Swiss Laboratory for Doping Analyses in Lausanne comes in for particular criticism for writing in legally binding contracts to stop their experts from speaking out. Dr Ashenden’s outburst could prove embarrassing on the eve of the Olympics as information from the athlete’s biological passport will also play a significant role in anti-doping at the London Olympics, with the profiles of athletes, swimmers and cyclists and rowers being monitored.

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Photograph of cluttered lab bench with bottles of chemicals, droppers, etc.The UK Clinical Research Network provides an online database of clinical trials in the United Kingdom.  This database includes information about the condition being treated, the intervention being investigated, and the lead investigator.  This database might be useful for drugs development students and those researching clinical interventsions.  It is not aimed at the general public – information about clinical trials for people affected by medical conditions can be found on websites from relevant charities and support groups, e.g., Cancer Research UK’s Trials and Research site.

The US government maintains a similar site covering clinical trials both in the US and worldwide.

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Learn.Genetics delivers educational materials on genetics, bioscience and health topics. They are designed to be used by students, teachers and members of the public. The materials meet selected US education standards for science and health. Learn.Genetics website is one of the most widely-disseminated education sites in the world. It is an activity-rich approach to science.

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Professor David Cowan, speaking at the British Science Festival in Bradford, has spoken of a new test to detect autologous blood doping among sport cheats. This is the practice of transfusing the athlete’s own blood back in to their body before an event in order to enhance their performance. To date, autologous blood doping has been undetectable. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) have succeeded in developing a test based on differences in blood cell surface antigens, which led to a successful case against a cyclist at the Athens Olympics, but this has limited applicability. Prof Cowan’s work would widen detectability and greatly reduce the number of offenders.

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This month’s Cafe Scientifique event will be a talk by Dr Aleks Marek on “The end of antibiotics?”.  This will take place at The Victorian Bar, Tron Theatre, Trongate, Glasgow.

More info below, or you can contact Mandy MacLean 

“Since Lister and Semmelweis in the nineteenth century the idea of ‘hospital acquired infection’ has become increasingly recognised and understood, although we have come a long way from spraying theatres with carbolic acid. In recent years however the number of superbugs seems to be growing, as MRSA and multi-antibiotic resistant gut bacteria such as NDM-1 threaten us with untreatable infections. Are we winning or losing the fight?  Are we reaching the end of the antibiotic era? What other strategies, not involving antibiotics, can we to use to combat infections ?

With the press also increasingly painting a picture of NHS hospitals as filthy places to pick up infections, what can be done to improve matters and can we try to ‘engineer out the infections’? This event is part of the Wellcome Trust’s Dirt Season

Dr Aleks Marek is a speciality registrar in microbiology at the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow.”

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Photo of pills spilling from containerMost medicines work by binding to specific proteins.  The Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC) is a public-private partnership working on determining the structures of proteins of medical relevance.  These proteins could be potential targets for new drugs. 

Protein structures are recorded in the SGC database, which is freely available online.

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Health Sciences

The Scottish Health Survey: Topic Report: The Glasgow Effect

Report investigating the “Glasgow Effect” – higher levels of mortality and poor health are found in Glasgow, which cannot be explained by socio-economic circumstances.

Health in Scotland 2009 Time for Change: Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer

Annual Report of the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland 2009.  Covers life expectancy, health inequalities, problem drug use, pandemic flu, the anthrax outbreak amongst drug users and other health-care topics.

Higher Education

Capturing the Overall Economic Impacts of HEIs

University of Strathclyde investigation into the overall impact of Higher Education in Scotland.

Educating the next generation of scientists [link goes to PDF]

UK government report about the Department of Education’s efforts to get more school pupils taking maths and science to A-Level.

Environmental Sciences

Rural Funding: Opportunities Guide

Guide listing organisations for communities looking to access funding

A Low Carbon Economic Strategy for Scotland: Scotland – A Low Carbon Society

“The Low Carbon Economic Strategy (LCES) is an integral part of the Government’s Economic Strategy to secure sustainable economic growth, and a key component of the broader approach to meet Scotland’s climate change targets and secure the transition to a low carbon economy in Scotland.”

Carbon Assessment of the 2011-12 Draft Budget

As part of its aim of becoming a low carbon government, and to comply with the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009, the Scottish Government has published this report assessing the carbon impact of the 2011-12 draft budget.

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ChEMBL logoThe European Bioinformatics Institute have recently launched ChEMBL, a database containing information about the properties and activities of drugs and drug-like small molecules and their targets.  It covers how small molecules bind to their targets, how these compounds affect cells and organisms, and information on the molecules’ absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity.

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