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  • March 18, 2012
  • 07:28 PM

“Bath Salts” and Ecstasy Implicated in Kidney Injuries

by Dirk Hanson in Addiction Inbox

“A potentially life-threatening situation.”
Earlier this month, state officials became alarmed by a cluster of puzzling health problems that had suddenly popped up in Casper, Wyoming, population 55,000. Three young people had been hospitalized with kidney injuries, and dozens of others were allegedly suffering from vomiting and back pain after smoking or snorting an herbal product sold as “blueberry spice.” The Poison Review reported that the outbreak was presently under investigation b........ Read more »

Adebamiro, A., & Perazella, M. (2012) Recurrent Acute Kidney Injury Following Bath Salts Intoxication. American Journal of Kidney Diseases, 59(2), 273-275. DOI: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.10.012  

  • March 15, 2012
  • 10:31 PM

Caramel Color Carcinogens -- Bring Back Crystal Pepsi Part 2

by DJ Busby in Astronasty

Recently in the news, 4-MEI in cola's caramel coloring includes a carcinogen. I explain the severity, and follow it up with my proposal for the resurrection of Crystal Pepsi.... Read more »

National Toxicology Program (NTP, 2007). (2007) Chemical Meeting The Criteria For Listing As Causing Cancer Via The Authoritative Bodies Mechanism: 4-Methylimidazole. NTP Technical Report Series. info:other/NIH: 07-4471

  • February 27, 2012
  • 09:23 AM

Risk Factors for Accidental Overdose Death

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The recent accidental overdose deaths of Whitney Houston and other celebrities highlights the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.  I have previous highlighted some recent important clinical research studies in prescription drug abuse including:The Epidemiology of Prescription Opioid AbusePathways to Prescription Opioid OverdosePrescription Opioid Overdose ToxicologyNow there is a recent study that examines some of the risk factors for accidental overdose death.  This study by B........ Read more »

  • February 22, 2012
  • 09:00 AM

Mass sociogenic illness initially reported as carbon monoxide poisoning

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Here is a report of a mass delusion that seems to have been compounded by the use of the Masimo RAD-57 non-invasive CO monitor. CO (Carbon monOxide) is a significant cause of poisoning in the US, but not relevant in this case. The RAD-57 incorrectly identified CO poisoning in half a dozen people who do not appear to have had any exposure to CO.... Read more »

Nordt, S., Minns, A., Carstairs, S., Kreshak, A., Campbell, C., Tomaszweski, C., Hayden, S., Clark, R., Joshua, A., & Ly, B. (2012) Mass Sociogenic Illness Initially Reported as Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. The Journal of Emergency Medicine, 42(2), 159-161. DOI: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2011.01.028  

  • February 21, 2012
  • 07:10 PM

Accuracy of Noninvasive Multiwave Pulse Oximetry Compared With Carboxyhemoglobin From Blood Gas Analysis in Unselected Emergency Department Patients

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

The Masimo RAD-57 non-invasive CO monitor is promoted as an accurate way to identify patients at risk of life-threatening complications of CO poisoning. CO (Carbon monOxide) is a significant cause of poisoning in the US, with hundreds of fatalities each year.

Masimo claims that their RAD-57 is able to accurately measure blood levels of CO without any complicated lab equipment. If it works, the RAD-57 might save some lives. Unfortunately, the research that has not been funded by Masimo does no........ Read more »

  • February 13, 2012
  • 07:00 AM

Drinking Alcohol makes you pee more – but how much?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Too much tipple and you’ll know about it the next day. The dreaded hangover – headaches, fatigue and nausea are normal Sunday morning sensations for many a Saturday night reveller. Dehydration is frequently said to be the reason for hangover symptoms – and some swear that a pint of tap water before bed thwarts any alcohol-induced … Continue reading »... Read more »

Strauss, M., Rosenbaum, J., & Nelson, W. (1950) THE EFFECT OF ALCOHOL ON THE RENAL EXCRETION OF WATER AND ELECTROLYTE 1. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 29(8), 1053-1058. DOI: 10.1172/JCI102336  

  • January 20, 2012
  • 10:19 PM

Lead Poisoning in Rome - The Skeletal Evidence

by Kristina Killgrove in Powered By Osteons

A friend alerted me to today's IO9 post, "The First Artificial Sweetener Poisoned Lots of Romans."  It's a (very) brief look at some of the uses of lead (Pb) in the Roman world, including the hoary hypothesis that rampant lead poisoning led to the downfall of Rome - you know, along with gonorrhea, Christianity, slavery, and the kitchen sink.

Roman Lead Artifacts (clockwise from top left) -

curse tablet, shot, pipe, ingots, jewelry

The fact the Romans loved their lead........ Read more »

Aufderheide, A., Rapp, G., Wittmers, L., Wallgren, J., Macchiarelli, R., Fornaciari, G., Mallegni, F., & Corruccini, R. (1992) Lead exposure in italy: 800 BC-700 AD. International Journal of Anthropology, 7(2), 9-15. DOI: 10.1007/BF02444992  

J. Montgomery, J. Evans, S. Chenery, V. Pashley, & K. Killgrove. (2010) 'Gleaming, white, and deadly': using lead to track human exposure and geographic origins in the Roman period in Britain. Roman Diasporas, Journal of Roman Archaeology, 199-226. info:/

  • January 5, 2012
  • 02:29 PM

Pathways to Prescription Opioid Overdose

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

The majority of initial prescriptions for opioid analgesics in acute pain management occur without development of a pattern of misuse or abuse.However, in some individuals, opioid prescriptions produce a pathway for misuse, abuse and risk of opioid overdose death.  In two previous posts, I have outlined the epidemiology of opioid overdose death and the toxicology of these compounds.Risk factors for the development of prescription opioid drugs have not been extensively studied.  However........ Read more »

Paulozzi, L., Kilbourne, E., Shah, N., Nolte, K., Desai, H., Landen, M., Harvey, W., & Loring, L. (2011) A History of Being Prescribed Controlled Substances and Risk of Drug Overdose Death. Pain Medicine. DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-4637.2011.01260.x  

  • January 4, 2012
  • 02:32 PM

Prescription Opioid Overdose Toxicology

by William Yates, M.D. in Brain Posts

My previous post examined the epidemiology of rise in opioid abuse and opioid overdose deaths in the U.S.  The number of these deaths has increased fourfold in the last decade and appears to be higher in states with higher rates of prescriptions for the opioid drug class.Members of the prescribed opioid compounds includes the following generic (Trade name) drugs in the U.S.:MethadoneOxycodone (Oxycontin/Percodan)Hydromorphone (Vicodin/Lortab)Meperidine (Demerol)Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)Codei........ Read more »

  • December 31, 2011
  • 02:19 PM

New Year’s Special: How Soon is Too Soon for an Alcohol Breath Test?

by Arielle D. Ross in Salamander Hours

As I mentioned in the latest “Top 3 Science links” post, for most of North America, New Year’s Eve signifies two things: a fresh start and/or alcohol. Sadly, the latter means that some of us will make bad decisions tonight, … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • December 12, 2011
  • 01:00 PM

Does Epinephrine Improve Survival from Cardiac Arrest

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Even though epinephrine (adrenaline) is used automatically in cardiac arrest, and there is evidence that epinephrine helps to produce a pulse (ROSC – Return Of Spontaneous Circulation), there is no evidence that epinephrine improves the only survival statistic that matters – discharge from the hospital with a brain that still works. There were so many deviations from assignment protocol in their 2009 study,[1] that the authors decided to examine the results based on what treatment pa........ Read more »

  • December 1, 2011
  • 11:30 AM

Droperidol, QT prolongation, and sudden death - what is the evidence - Part I

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

The FDA relies on surrogate endpoints. Surrogate endpoints are great for making it seem that we know more than we actually do know. When there is not enough information, surrogate end points are a way of saying, "If this belief is true, and this other belief is also true, then Treatment Z is safe (or dangerous), or saves X number of lives per year (or kills X number of patients who otherwise would have been expected to live)."... Read more »

Kao LW, Kirk MA, Evers SJ, & Rosenfeld SH. (2003) Droperidol, QT prolongation, and sudden death: what is the evidence?. Annals of emergency medicine, 41(4), 546-58. PMID: 12658255  

  • November 17, 2011
  • 12:15 PM

Estrogen and Progesterone in Waterways

by ABK in Environment and Health

In the last post, I was speculating about how estrogens from effluent might end up in way water ways and end up increasing the incidence of prostate cancer. I wondered if the problem (if it there is anything more than a chance association) might be progesterone from birth control pills rather than estrogen. Progesterone is markedly non-soluble in water so it seemed unlikely at first thought. Poking around a little, progesterone might end up in sewage effluent after all. The three studies bel........ Read more »

  • November 16, 2011
  • 12:45 PM

Response to a friend on significance of Triclosan in drinking water

by ABK in Environment and Health

Sorry Friend. That was a poor response to your question about the significance of Triclosan following news of the chemical as an androgen blocker in water. Triclosan is a thyroid disruptor and according to recent reports, an androgen blocker. As an anti-androgen, exposure could be important to male fetuses, since it could potentially interfere with development of the genito-urinary system, which could mean birth defects like hypospadias, small phallus, or non-obvious problems like changes in nu........ Read more »

  • November 14, 2011
  • 08:02 AM

K2 Synthetic Marijuana: Heart Attacks, Suicides, and Surveillance

by David J Kroll in Terra Sigillata

Sixteen-year-old boys having heart attacks. Blog reports of deaths and suicides. And a little known chemistry and public health resource mobilized to identify “legal highs.” The chemical and biological phenomenon that is “synthetic marijuana” continued to develop over the last week as we learn more about these products from the medical and public health communities. [...]... Read more »

  • October 13, 2011
  • 07:30 AM

Propofol and the Michael Jackson Effect

by Rogue Medic in Rogue Medic

Why do we allow one unusual, dramatically publicized case affect our expectations?

Because we don't stop and think for ourselves.... Read more »

Senula, G., Sacchetti, A., Moore, S., & Cortese, T. (2010) Impact of addition of propofol to ED formulary. The American Journal of Emergency Medicine, 28(8), 880-883. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajem.2009.04.035  

  • July 13, 2011
  • 07:58 AM

CDK Forks

by egonw in Chem-bla-ics

Forking is an important part of Open Source development, and forking is good. Of course, forks should interact too, and genes from one fork should merge back into another fork. Forks are probably also a good indication for the success of a project: if a project is forked, it means it is significant. On the other hand, it can also mean that the main project is too hard to work with. Maybe the CDK is that. Indeed, it's easier to not have your code peer-reviewed, and just fork. That is freedom. (........ Read more »

  • June 22, 2011
  • 08:18 AM

Zombie science roundup

by Iddo Friedberg in Byte Size Biology

  I am fascinated with zombies. Always have been, but even more so since I took an interest in microbiology. The zombie apocalypse is the best known and best chronicled viral infection which hasn’t happened. But it could happen any day, so stock up on non-perishable food, medical supplies, water purification tablets, chainsaws, machetes, baseball [...]... Read more »

  • June 12, 2011
  • 01:36 AM

Radiation and Sex Odds

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

Disclaimer: Living near a nuclear power plant is not the answer to increasing the odds of you men out there fathering a baby boy, the boy you so eagerly want to teach how to spit and play baseball. While it may seem that way, the effects of ionizing radiation reach far beyond disturbing sex odds. In February of this year, a study revealed a cause-and-effect relationship between ionizing radiation and disturbed sex odds, in other words a higher number of male infants born compared to females.... Read more »

  • June 9, 2011
  • 10:35 PM

FDA 'Steps up' for Nanotechnology

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

In a memorandum issued by the White House today (June 9th, 2011) the US government set in place more rigorous standards for the regulation and oversight of nanomaterials. According to the U.S. memorandum, federal agencies must increasingly seek out and develop information about the potential effects of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. ... Read more »

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