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  • January 20, 2017
  • 05:19 AM
  • 395 views

RCC: Updates on Guidelines for Adjuvant Therapy and new drug combination

by Joana Guedes in BHD Research Blog

The European Association of Urology (EAU) Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC) guidelines panel has recently updated its recommendation on adjuvant therapy with sunitinib in non-metastatic RCC after surgical tumour removal (Bex et al., 2016). These clinical guidelines provide urologists with evidence-based information and recommendations for the management of RCC and the panel includes urological surgeons, oncologists, pathologists, radiologists and patient advocates. Based on the conflicting results of t........ Read more »

  • July 18, 2016
  • 07:26 AM
  • 646 views

The Internet asks me about smelly things

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Whenever I'm working on a new post, I like to take a bit of time to check in on the stats for this blog. I'm particularly interested in what people are typing into their search engines to find their way here. For whatever reason, a post I wrote about what poisons smell like is very popular among users of the Internet. I'm taking this as a sign that people like to read about smells, so I thought I'd look into a couple of odour-related search queries via which people have found this blog.'type of ........ Read more »

Sell CS. (2006) On the unpredictability of odor. Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 45(38), 6254-6261. PMID: 16983730  

  • July 14, 2016
  • 01:27 PM
  • 800 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Cocaine edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

This is the fifth and final post in a series on strange substances accidentally or intentionally added to street drugs. When you're done here, check out the posts on alcohol, meth, opioids, and pot/LSD.If a drug is being sold illegally, chances are its sellers have added crap to it in order to make more money. Cocaine is no exception to this deception. Substances added to nose candy because they resemble the drug but otherwise don't mimic or influence its effects include talc powder, flour, corn........ Read more »

  • June 23, 2016
  • 08:55 AM
  • 507 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Pot/LSD edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

This is the fourth post in a series on strange substances accidentally or intentionally added to street drugs. When you're done here, check out the posts on alcohol, meth, opioids, and cocaine.In the autumn of 2007, hospitals near Leipzig, Germany admitted 29 people after they inadvertently smoked weed contaminated with lead. Yep, some dealer or grower decided it was a good idea to drop a bunch of small lead particles into the marijuana they were selling, presumably to increase its weight (lead ........ Read more »

Busse F, Omidi L, Timper K, Leichtle A, Windgassen M, Kluge E, & Stumvoll M. (2008) Lead poisoning due to adulterated marijuana. The New England Journal of Medicine, 358(15), 1641-1642. PMID: 18403778  

  • June 21, 2016
  • 08:17 AM
  • 788 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Opioid edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

This is the third post in a series on strange substances accidentally or intentionally added to street drugs. When you're done here, check out the posts on alcohol and meth.Opioids are drugs that affect the human body by binding to a group of related proteins conveniently known as opioid receptors. By connecting to these receptors in a certain manner, they convince receptor-bearing cells in the brain, spinal cord, and intestine to do useful things like reduce the sensation of pain (while making ........ Read more »

Brett M, Hallas G, & Mpamugo O. (2004) Wound botulism in the UK and Ireland. . Journal of Medical Microbiology, 53(6), 555-561. DOI: 10.1099/jmm.0.05379-0  

  • June 15, 2016
  • 10:18 AM
  • 723 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Meth edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

As Breaking Bad has taught us, the clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine is a very dangerous undertaking. It involves the use of many harmful substances, which depending on the synthesis method include highly corrosive acids and bases, cancer-causing benzene, brain-damaging mercury and lead, jaw-wrecking phosphorus, and blood-breaking sodium cyanide. Blending these various substances together can produce noxious fumes, making gas masks and chemical suits a necessity if you want to avoid get........ Read more »

Cole C, Jones L, McVeigh J, Kicman A, Syed Q, & Bellis M. (2011) Adulterants in illicit drugs: A review of empirical evidence. Drug Testing and Analysis, 3(2), 89-96. PMID: 21322119  

  • June 8, 2016
  • 07:22 AM
  • 689 views

Weird stuff found in recreational drugs: Alcohol edition

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Today's post is the first in a series I'm going to write about extra ingredients found in illicit recreational drugs. One of the major issues with street drugs is their manufacture and distribution is often poorly regulated. This means they can accidentally become contaminated with all sorts of toxic substances during production. Additionally, a wide range of chemical compounds, some of them harmful, may be intentionally added to dilute a drug (like a bar watering down their drinks to make more ........ Read more »

Holstege CP, Ferguson JD, Wolf CE, Baer AB, & Poklis A. (2004) Analysis of moonshine for contaminants. Journal of Toxicology. Clinical Toxicology, 42(5), 597-601. PMID: 15462151  

  • June 6, 2016
  • 10:34 AM
  • 776 views

Burning seaweed to make glass and avoid a lumpy neck

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Seaweed is one of those tricky biological groups, as membership isn't just about being a close relative. It typically includes plant-like organisms found among several types of algae - green, brown, and red - and depending on who you're talking to also includes masses of cyanobacteria (which are distant relatives of algae). Functionally, all seaweeds enjoy growing in salty water and use the sun to manufacture sugary meals for themselves. Their need for sun means they are found in sunlit coastal ........ Read more »

  • May 18, 2016
  • 07:28 AM
  • 722 views

Why antibiotics in ointments differ from those in pills

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

There are many ways to get a drug into a person. Two common approaches are to swallow a small soluble solid or inject a liquid into a vein, causing it to be transported throughout the body to wherever it is needed.Topical medications are those applied to a body surface, be it skin, eyeballs, or the insides of your lungs. This is usually done to deliver the drug to the particular place requiring repair (e.g. eye drops for an eye infection) while minimizing the amount of drug ending up in other pa........ Read more »

  • April 28, 2016
  • 09:33 AM
  • 832 views

Breathing Bordeaux is entirely different from drinking it!

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

It was the summer of 1882, and grape farmers in the Médoc region of southwest France (north of Bordeaux, on the Atlantic coast) had a problem.Schoolchildren (or university students, or just anyone travelling the roads along which the grapevines grew, depending on what source you're reading) were pilfering their grapes. To try and ward them off, some farmers decided to dissolve some slaked lime and copper sulfate in water and spray it on their grapevines closest to the roads. The idea was... Read more »

  • April 14, 2016
  • 07:50 AM
  • 896 views

Tales from the pharmaceutical minor leagues

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

When a drug company first gets its hands on a potential new drug, it will usually assign it a code name. Later on, as the drug works its way through trials designed to make sure it does something useful (e.g. reduce blood pressure) without causing serious harm (e.g. liver failure), it's given a catchier moniker like fluoxetine or atorvastatin. If the trials are a success, and the government is happy with how they were carried out, the drug can be brought to market. Most drugs don't make it. A go........ Read more »

  • April 8, 2016
  • 09:56 AM
  • 762 views

The Antibacterial Resistance Threat: Are We Heading Toward a Post-Antibiotic Era?

by EE Giorgi in CHIMERAS

Source: PEW Charitable TrustsThe above graphic, from the Antibiotic Resistance Project by the PEW charitable trusts, summarizes how alarming the emergence of drug resistant bacterial strains has gotten over the past few decades. According to data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), every year 2 million Americans acquire drug-resistant infections [1], in other words infections that do not respond to treatment with ordinary antibiotics. Not only do drug-resistant infections require muc........ Read more »

Hollis, A., & Ahmed, Z. (2013) Preserving Antibiotics, Rationally. New England Journal of Medicine, 369(26), 2474-2476. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1311479  

Cherednichenko, G., Zhang, R., Bannister, R., Timofeyev, V., Li, N., Fritsch, E., Feng, W., Barrientos, G., Schebb, N., Hammock, B.... (2012) Triclosan impairs excitation-contraction coupling and Ca2 dynamics in striated muscle. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(35), 14158-14163. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1211314109  

Van Boeckel, T., Brower, C., Gilbert, M., Grenfell, B., Levin, S., Robinson, T., Teillant, A., & Laxminarayan, R. (2015) Global trends in antimicrobial use in food animals. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(18), 5649-5654. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1503141112  

  • March 31, 2016
  • 10:40 AM
  • 929 views

Extracting goo from corpses to better understand them

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

It's goo week here at Rosin Cerate. So far we've looked at forms of natural springtime goo. For today's post, it's on to a much darker and less life-affirming goo. We're going to take a peek at the viscous fluids you can extract from a corpse to determine where/when/how it became a corpse and other useful forensic information.... Read more »

Deking J, Hargrove VM, & Molina DK. (2014) Synovial fluid: An alternative toxicologic specimen?. The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, 35(2), 154-6. PMID: 24781403  

  • March 22, 2016
  • 03:40 PM
  • 711 views

Parsley, prohibition, and machine gun oil: A sorrowful history of tricresyl phosphate poisoning

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Some poisons are better known than others.Arsenic, for example, is famous for its participation in many a murder and suicide from the Middle Ages through to the mid-19th century (after which it became easier to detect and more difficult to acquire). Even to this day, the malicious metalloid remains in the public eye as a contaminant of groundwater in parts of South Asia and of soil in old orchards.A decidedly more obscure poison is a gooey industrial derivative of coal tar (leftovers from conver........ Read more »

  • March 17, 2016
  • 03:40 PM
  • 1,008 views

Green fungi for a certain March-based holiday

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

In honour of St. Patrick's Day, here are a couple of neat green fungi. I was going to do plants, but there are just so many to choose from. Ha ha.... Read more »

Santi L, Maggioli C, Mastroroberto M, Tufoni M, Napoli L, & Caraceni P. (2012) Acute liver failure caused by Amanita phalloides poisoning. International Journal of Hepatology. DOI: 10.1155/2012/487480  

Schuster A, & Schmoll M. (2010) Biology and biotechnology of Trichoderma. Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, 87(3), 787-799. DOI: 10.1007/s00253-010-2632-1  

  • March 14, 2016
  • 01:59 PM
  • 648 views

How machines used to resurface ice rinks can also resurface your lungs

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

In a previous post, I discussed how the introduction of the automobile also introduced a bunch of new ways for people to hurt themselves. Similarly, an injury known as ice hockey lung didn't exist until a key advance was made in the world of ice sports: motorized ice resurfacing machines. Otherwise known as Zambonis (the same way Kleenex is a catch-all term for different brands of tissue paper), they were developed in the 1940s as a means of quickly and efficiently restoring ice sheets carved up........ Read more »

Brat K, Merta Z, Plutinsky M, Skrickova J, & Stanek M. (2013) Ice hockey lung - a case of mass nitrogen dioxide poisoning in the Czech Republic. Canadian Respiratory Journal, 20(6), 100-103. PMID: 24032121  

  • March 7, 2016
  • 10:05 AM
  • 883 views

Making booze feel bad

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Alcohol-sensitizing drugs are used to ruin the experience of consuming alcohol. This can be helpful for people seeking treatment for alcohol dependence, but otherwise sounds absolutely terrible. After consuming an adult beverage, alcohol is absorbed into your bloodstream and carried to your liver. There, it is set upon by two enzymes. The first, alcohol dehydrogenase, converts alcohol into acetaldehyde. The second enzyme, aldehyde dehydrogenase, converts the acetaldehyde into acetic acid (the st........ Read more »

  • March 1, 2016
  • 12:26 PM
  • 876 views

How bacteria and fungi can poison the air

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

One of the main reasons we study how bacteria and fungi work is to minimize their negative effects on our health. These effects usually stem from being munched on (in other words, an infection) and/or being damaged by a toxic substance (being poisoned). While poisonings due to bacteria and fungi predominantly occur either in association with infections (e.g. diphtheria and tetanus) or via eating contaminated food (e.g. botulinum toxin and aflatoxins) or a misidentified mushroom (e.g. amatoxins),........ Read more »

Nogué S, Pou R, Fernández J, & Sanz-Gallén P. (2011) Fatal hydrogen sulphide poisoning in unconfined spaces. Occupational Medicine, 61(3), 212-214. PMID: 21467246  

  • February 25, 2016
  • 01:53 PM
  • 991 views

How coconuts bring harm and healing

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Curries, macaroons, piña coladas...where would we be without the captivating culinary contributions of the coconut?... Read more »

Campbell-Falck D, Thomas T, Falck TM, Tutuo N, & Clem K. (2000) The intravenous use of coconut water. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 18(1), 108-111. PMID: 10674546  

Mulford JS, Oberli H, & Tovosia S. (2001) Coconut palm-related injuries in the Pacific Islands. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 71(1), 32-34. PMID: 11167595  

  • February 18, 2016
  • 10:52 AM
  • 971 views

The secret pharmacological life of the humble avocado

by Rosin Cerate in Rosin Cerate

Guacamole, while delicious, is actually fairly destructive. This is thanks in part to a compound called persin, which is present in the fruit and leaves of the avocado tree (Persea americana). Persin is an acetogenin (a type of polyketide) made via the same biochemical pathways the avocado plant uses to make its delicious fatty acids. In fact, it closely resembles linoleic acid, an essential omega-6 fatty acid.Avocado fruits in their natural setting (Source)For some reason, persin is usuall........ Read more »

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