Beyond pharmacy blog
All posts from: September 2010
Most female snails excrete a substance in their mucous trails that enables males to follow them in order to find a partner for mating. However, scientists at the University of Gothenburg have shown that females of the rough periwinkle (Littorina saxatilis) have stopped labelling their mucous trails, thereby concealing their gender identity.
Associating the use of antibiotics primarily with modern medicine, I was intrigued to read a newspaper article which suggested that one of the ancient populations of Nubia had regularly consumed tetracycline, most likely imbibing it in their beer.
Having an interest in unusual fruits, I recently spotted some research about fruits from the Basella alba plant that could provide a new source of natural colour and antioxidants.
When I was a newly registered pharmacist, my wife and I bought a house on the edge of London, not far from my first pharmacy management job. Our subsequent careers kept us in the capital, and we have lived in the same house ever since. Indeed, last week we celebrated 40 years there.
I love weird words. One I came across recently is “palinode” (or “palinody”), which describes a poem in which the author retracts a view or sentiment expressed in a previous poem. It originates from the Greek palin (again) and oide (song).
As a teenager I often spent my school holidays and weekends earning a few shillings by picking fruit and vegetables at a market garden in the Vale of Evesham in Worcestershire.One day I went to collect my pay at the owner’s cottage as usual and found him cradling an earthenware jar filled, he said, with a new batch of “meth”, the local shortened form of metheglin.
Thomas Phaer (c1510–1560) was a lawyer, physician, author, poet and member of Parliament who also found time to write the Tudor equivalent of Benjamin Spock’s indispensable guide to parenthood.
The scuba diving enthusiasts among you will probably be familiar with Jollop, which, I am told, is a brand of lubricant used to ease one’s entry into a drysuit or wetsuit.
Most pharmacists must be aware of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s motto, “Habenda ratio valetudinis”, which is usually translated loosely as “We must look after our health” (or, more accurately, as “taking account of health”).
Back in 2004 I read an article about a UK study that had found traces of drugs such as analgesics, antibiotics and antidepressants in both sewage water and drinking water.
I recently had the opportunity to visit 2010’s summer exhibition at the University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library.
Carle Wilhelm Scheele, the 18th century Swedish pharmaceutical chemist, was given the nickname “Hard-luck Scheele” by Isaac Asimov because he made a number of chemical discoveries before others who were given the credit. But perhaps Scheele’s worst bit of luck came when the chemicals he used in his experiments eventually killed him.
A blind, cave-dwelling amphibian could hold the secret to ageing, according to research published in the Royal Society’s journal, Biology Letters. The olm, Proteus anguinus, can live for up to 100 years, despite defying most existing explanations of the physiology of ageing.
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