Kratom, the Herb of Last Resort for Recovering Addicts, Is in Legal Trouble

Three times a day, every day, for around a year, Tim Weaver would slide a tablespoon of kratom into his mouth. He’d let the bitter, grassy flavor of the powder seep into his tongue, gulp a glass of water to swallow it, then gulp more to wash the fine particles from between his teeth. Within an hour, the panicky feelings and achiness that accompanied Weaver’s opiate withdrawal would recede. “I was able live again and not just feel like I wanted to crumple up in a ball,” Weaver said. And as time went on, he relied less and less on the plant until he didn’t need to use kratom at all.

Source: Kratom, the Herb of Last Resort for Recovering Addicts, Is in Legal Trouble

According to an importer, climate and soil in the US are not ideal for cultivating mitragynine speciosa at scale.  But a greenhouse should work.

Brains of People With Schizophrenia Try to Repair Themselves: Study

Schizophrenia is a mysterious, misunderstood mental illness without a full cure. However, researchers from the United Kingdom and China may have found a clue that could help to understand it better.

Source: Brains of People With Schizophrenia Try to Repair Themselves: Study

The human brain produces 500,000 to 1,000,000 new brain cells daily, which has been known for years. These cells migrate throughout the brain and repair damaged areas by replacing lost cells. There’s a hypothesis on the etiology of schizophrenia and all of the autism spectrum disorders is neurotoxicity from the stress hormone cortisol during early pregnancy, when cortisol is known to pass the placental barrier and when important neural modules are developing, or not.

Scientists Find Cure For Type 2 Diabetes in Rodents, Don’t Know How it Works

The cure for type 2 diabetes may be all in your head, a new study in rats and mice suggests.

With a single shot to the brain, researchers can rid rodents of all symptoms of the disease for months. The injection, a relatively low dose of a tissue growth factor protein called fibroblast growth factor 1 (FGF1), appears to reset powerful neural networks that can control the amount of sugar in the blood.

Source: Scientists find cure for type 2 diabetes in rodents, don’t know how it works

Oh sure. When some guy in a lab coat injects something into a rodent’s brain it’s call “science”. When try to inject something into a bear’s arm I get banned from the zoo and arrested for having heroin.

Antibiotics’ Side-Effects Include Immune Disease and Fewer Brain Cells

In some situations, antibiotics are lifesavers. In others, however, they do more harm than good. For instance, when antibiotics are used too much or for the wrong illnesses, the drugs only end up killing helpful microbes and spawning drug-resistant superbugs. To figure out the proper times to use antibiotics, doctors need to carefully weigh the risks and benefits of each situation. But, sadly, that calculation is extremely tricky—if not impossible—because scientists still aren’t sure what all of the risks are.

Source: Antibiotics’ side-effects include immune disease and fewer brain cells

Live a dirtier life! Maybe those dishes only need washing once a week?

Definitely go through your soaps and throw out the anti bacterial ones. Those were stupid from day one and even more so now that the media is finally catching up.

For Treatment-Resistant Depression, Magic Mushroom Drug Holds Promise

Mushrooms turn out to be power-ups in real life, too.

Psilocybin, the psychedelic compound in ‘magic’ mushrooms, may be an effective way to treat depression in patients that have seen no benefit from other, standard forms of treatment, early results suggest.

In a pilot study involving just 12 people with treatment-resistant depression, two doses of the mushroom compound cleared symptoms in eight participants—67 percent—after one week. After three months and no other doses, seven participants still reported reduced depressive symptoms, including five—42 percent—who reported complete remission of their depression.

Source: For treatment-resistant depression, magic mushroom drug holds promise

I wish the sample size was bigger, to lend more validity to the study.  But you have to start small.  Going big at the start could result to lots of lawsuits.

How cognitive biases contribute to people refusing the flu vaccine

If someone receives the flu vaccine, there’s a better chance they’ll get through flu season without getting sick. But because the flu vaccine isn’t 100 percent effective, they might still end up infected despite the vaccine. To most observers, these two possible outcomes are “not equally salient,” write Frederick Chen and Ryan Stevens, two economists with an interest in vaccine refusal.

Source: How cognitive biases contribute to people refusing the flu vaccine

One other reason why people complain about the flu vaccine is that they don’t know what flu is. Influenza is a respiratory disease. It causes fever, coughing, sneezing, pneumonia. Flu doesn’t cause vomiting. If you’re vomiting, you don’t have flu. If you get the flu vaccine, and you end up with ” lotsa barfin'”, the flu vaccine didn’t fail, you got some other virus.

Why do people think that flu causes vomiting? For one thing, because of articles like this one, which is illustrated by an apparently-vomiting dog. So this article is actually helping drive some of the anti-flu-vaccine attitude, because the photo editor couldn’t be bothered to find an appropriate stock photo.

America’s Most Common Drug Ingredient Could Be Making You Less Empathetic

Every week, a quarter of Americans take a painkiller that could be dampening our collective feelings of empathy. In a paper published online this week, scientists claim that acetaminophen, Tylenol’s main ingredient, makes people more likely to think that other people’s pain isn’t a big deal.

Source: America’s Most Common Drug Ingredient Could Be Making You Less Empathetic

Whatever! 😉

Problematic Drug Has a Byproduct That Makes It a Great Antidepressant

Clinical depression is a devastating disease that is made worse by the lack of effective treatment. Several drugs can treat the disease, but they take months to become effective, often cause side effects, and only work in a subset of the patient population. Treatment often begins with an extended period of trial and error, sometimes taking more than a year.

Ketamine provides a shortcut. The drug can often lift symptoms of depression in under 24 hours, and the effects persist for roughly a week after a single administration. So why isn’t everybody using it?

Source: Problematic drug has a byproduct that makes it a great antidepressant

Tweaked formulations of ketamine would be a great thing. We use it routinely for procedural sedation and less frequently as an adjunctive analgesic, but I could see HNK having a valid ED role in psychiatric emergencies. If I had a patient with refractory depression, why not give them a single IV dose to relieve their symptoms while awaiting psychiatric evaluation? I give pain medication to people with appendicitis while awaiting surgical cure, and this seems analogous.