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Beyond pharmacy blog

All posts from: February 2009

Pause and effect in punctuation

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

Do you ever feel the need to use the interrobang or the irony mark in your writing? The interrobang combines the question (interrogation) mark and the exclamation mark (bang, in printers’ jargon) and is intended to combine the functions of the two.

Fanny Burney’s breast cancer

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

Fanny Burney was a much praised novelist, playwright and writer of journals and letters. The sprightly Fanny (1752–1840) moved in a cultured circle that included Samuel Johnson, David Garrick and Edmund Burke.

Yew — symbol of death and life

Posted by: Accola Thu, 26 Feb 2009

[img_assist|nid=160064|title=Common Yew (Callie Jones)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=144]Yew is any tree or shrub of the genus Taxus; the English yew is Taxus baccata, a tree with a dual personality. This evergreen can live for millennia.Characteristically it continues to grow by rooting its branches and forming a grove around itself.

How expensive fakes beat the cheap ones

Posted by: Prospector PJThu, 19 Feb 2009

All practising pharmacists are aware of the value of brand versus generic, or “expensive” versus “cheap” medication in patients’ perception of their efficacy. Analgesics are a prime example. Now researchers have quantified the effect by comparing an “expensive” placebo to a “cheap” one.

Guinea pigs, human and otherwise

Posted by: Prospector PJThu, 19 Feb 2009

Clinical trials are big business and some Americans claim to earn a living from volunteering. Anyone considering taking part in a trial might want to refer to the internet site Guinea Pigs Get Paid, which lists details of forthcoming clinical trials and offers advice for participants.

That’s snow business

Posted by: Prospector PJThu, 19 Feb 2009

[img_assist|nid=59609|title=Snowflakes (Callie Jones)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=141]Enough snow fell in Britain on 2 February 2009 for us all to make a quarter of a million snowballs each, according to mathematician Carol Vorderman. That is 3,840 billion kilos of the white stuff.

J. C. Reil, psychiatrist and visionary

Posted by: Glow-worm PJThu, 12 Feb 2009

The 250th anniversary of the birth of Johann Christian Reil, the German physician, physiologist and anatomist, falls on 20 February. He is one of the most famous medical theorists of all time, and his research into physiology and anatomy are well documented.

Rewriting cell membrane theory

Posted by: Glow-worm PJThu, 12 Feb 2009

Until recently, it was thought that all cells were surrounded by membranes containing molecules called phospholipids — oily compounds that contain phosphorus, as well as other basic biochemical nutrients including nitrogen.

The crocus — reasons to be cheerful

Posted by: Glow-worm PJThu, 12 Feb 2009

[img_assist|nid=49349|title=Crocus sativus|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=318]As we move towards springtime, green shoots of crocus plants are beginning to appear, ready to burst into bloom in a variety of colours. The crocus was first brought to England in the late 16th century by Jean Robin, curator of the Jardin du Roi in Paris.

Accurate or precise?

Posted by: Merlin PJThu, 5 Feb 2009

The question of accuracy or precision often confuses people — even some pharmacists.Accuracy is usually defined as the extent to which a measurement represents the true value of that which is being measured.

Finding an epitaph for an apothecary

Posted by: Merlin PJThu, 5 Feb 2009

Following his recent brush with the health care system, not to mention seeing off the Grim Reaper, Merlin has had occasional morbid thoughts as to what should appear on his tombstone.

A celebration of Charles Darwin’s bicentenary

Posted by: Merlin PJThu, 5 Feb 2009

[img_assist|nid=48568|title=Charles Darwin (Callie Jones)|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=200|height=283]The 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin falls on 12 February this year, and 2009 also sees the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s great work ‘On the origin of species’.

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