Atomic Time Machine

This day, 6th August, marks the anniversary when in 1945, the first, and to date only, nuclear weapons were used in war. A uranium bomb nicknamed Little Boy, exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima and three days later a plutonium bomb nicknamed Fat Man detonated close to Nagasaki. By the end of that yearContinue reading “Atomic Time Machine”

An historical scandal

This blog post is a little different to my pharmacological posts, because instead I want to recount a little history of science. It’s a story of tragedy, scandal, blackmail and a delicious happy ending. Yesterday, 26th July, marked the anniversary when, in 1895, Marie Sklodowska married Pierre Curie (their wedding photograph is shown on theContinue reading “An historical scandal”

Hangover cure – I’m sceptical

  If, like me, you’re a fan of P. G. Wodehouse, then you might know the short story, “Jeeves Takes Charge”. Bertie Wooster has had one-over-the-eight the night before and is complaining of a hangover. Jeeves presents him with “a little preparation of my own invention” and upon drinking it down, Bertie is instantly revived.Continue reading “Hangover cure – I’m sceptical”

Weight loss drugs of a new class

I once attended a pharmacology conference at McCormick Place in Chicago. It’s a huge conference centre and navigating its many halls is daunting for someone like me who has no sense of direction. Ambling towards the lecture theatre I wandered through the exhibition hall festooned with donut stands, pretzel stalls, breakfast burritos, waffles and pancakes.Continue reading “Weight loss drugs of a new class”

Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a term used to describe several inflammatory conditions affecting joints. As is so often the case with medical history, the name was derived from observed symptoms but subsequently it was found these were the result of a plethora of different causes. Today, “arthritis” covers around 100 different conditions associated with joint disease. RheumatoidContinue reading “Osteoarthritis”

Homeopathy Awareness Week

It’s world homeopathy awareness week and so I thought I would oblige and make people aware of one of the most prevalent and pernicious forms of alternative medicine in existence. There are many who steadfastly believe in homeopathy even though the foundations not only have no basis in reality, they are really quite bizarre. PreparationContinue reading “Homeopathy Awareness Week”

Controversial Alzheimer’s drug

Last year a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s arrived on the scene called aducanumab, trade name Aduhelm, made by Biogen in Cambridge Massachusetts. It’s claimed this drug is different to its predecessors because it targets the causative biology of the disease – but it’s not without some controversy. To explain, let’s first look at whatContinue reading “Controversial Alzheimer’s drug”

The world’s most expensive drug is not a drug

Reports have appeared in the media recently headlining “the world’s most expensive drug” The subject of these headlines is Libmeldy, but the media seems obsessed with its cost, rather than what Libmeldy actually is. And, by the way, Libmeldy is no more a drug than my bird-watching binoculars are the James Web Space Telescope, butContinue reading “The world’s most expensive drug is not a drug”

Covid-19 and the brain

A common symptom of Covid-19 is anosmia (loss of the ability to smell) which suggested to some that the virus could get into the brain. More recent evidence seems to bear this out, although there is still a lot of speculation. I once attended a lecture by Martin Rees, the UK’s Astronomer Royal, who astonished theContinue reading “Covid-19 and the brain”