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Beyond pharmacy blog

All posts from: January 2014

Making use of electric spider webs

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 29 Jan 2014

Oxytocin — the “hug hormone”

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 29 Jan 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.

Hodgkin and action potential

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 29 Jan 2014

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.

Is this protein molecule behind the benefits of physical exercise?

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 22 Jan 2014

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.

Dietary fibre and the lungs

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 22 Jan 2014

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.

Medicinal uses of the potato

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 22 Jan 2014

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.

Just in time

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 15 Jan 2014

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.

Market value

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 15 Jan 2014

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”?  

Charms to soothe a savage breast

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 15 Jan 2014

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 ...

Father of organic chemistry

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 15 Jan 2014

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.

House with a history

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 8 Jan 2014

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.  

Fairground attraction

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 8 Jan 2014

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.

How marketeers rebranded borage

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 8 Jan 2014

By Bystander

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