Beyond pharmacy blog
All posts from: January 2014
Oxytocin is a powerful neuropeptide hormone secreted by the posterior pituitary gland. It acts mainly as a neuromodulator in the brain. It plays an important role in social bonding and intimacy among mammals, and is released during and after childbirth, having an influence on maternal bonding.
Alan Lloyd Hodgkin was born on 5 February 1914 in Banbury, Oxfordshire, into a family of Quakers. He won a scholarship to Trinity College, Cambridge, to study zoology, chemistry and mathematics, graduating in 1936.
Although the benefits of physical activity are well known, the metabolic changes producing these benefits are less clear. However, researchers at the Harvard Medical School have recently demonstrated that a protein, PGC-1a (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha), regulates metabolic genes in muscle and contributes to the response of muscle to exercise.
Having researched the topic of dietary fibre fermentation in the gut more than 25 years ago, I was interested in a new Swiss study showing that fermented fibre might protect against asthma. The rationale is that gut bacteria ferment soluble fibre from foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans and lentils to produce short chain fatty acids.
If you are interested in growing potatoes you may be aware that National Potato Day falls on 26 January. If you are a member of a gardening club or rent an allotment, you may be involved in a local potato event, most of which seem to be designed to celebrate the variety of potatoes available in Britain as well as encouraging people to grow their own vegetables.
During a holiday in Italy, my wife and I dined in a trattoria where a salt grinder containing Himalayan rock salt had been placed on the table. We learnt from the label that the salt had been formed two million years ago, before the Himalayas were pushed up from the ocean.
You may know the expression “a drug on the market”, meaning a commodity that is no longer in demand and therefore unsellable. But why “drug”?
More than 300 years ago William Congreve wrote: “Musick hath Charms to soothe a savage Breast.” In recent years the medical world has begun to appreciate that listening to music can help patients in stressful healthcare situations. There is now a quarterly peer-reviewed journal called Music and Medicine, which offers “an integrative forum for clinical practice and research related to musical interventions and applications of clinical music strategies in medicine”. Although ...
In my Christmas miscellany article about the medicinal uses of urine and its constituents (PJ 2013;291:658), I mentioned that the urea used in products for skin conditions is now synthesised rather than obtained from biological sources.
By Bystander Kenwood House, on the edge of London’s Hampstead Heath, was reopened by English Heritage a few weeks ago after a two-year restoration programme costing £6m. The house is well known for its collection of paintings by artists such as Vermeer, Van Dyck, Gainsborough, Rembrandt, Hals, Turner and Landseer.
By Bystander An odd pioneer of neonatology was a New York physician called Martin Couney who used an extraordinary ploy to provide care for premature babies.
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