Animalia · Bio · Vital-Edible-Health

Anti-anxiety drug found in rivers makes fish more aggressive

Tiny amounts of a common anti-anxiety medication — which ends up in wastewater after patients pass it into their urine — significantly alters fish behaviour, according to a new study. The drug makes timid fish bold, antisocial and voracious, researchers have found.

Oxazepam belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines, the most widely prescribed anxiety drugs, and is thought to be highly stable in aquatic environments. It acts by enhancing neuron signals that damp down the brain’s activity, helping patients to relax.

An article in Science this week now places the drug on a growing list of pharmaceutical products that escape wastewater treatment unscathed and may be affecting freshwater communities1. A chemical found in contraceptive pills, known as 17-β-estradiol, and the antidepressant drug fluoxetine (Prozac) have been shown to alter behaviour in the fathead minnow (Pimephales promelas), and the popular anti-inflammatory drug ibuprofen reduces courtship behaviour in male zebrafish (Danio rerio).

Excerpt from an article written by Heidi Ledford at Nature. Continue HERE

Book-Text-Read-Zines · Human-ities · Vital-Edible-Health

Buying Time: ‘The Cost of Hope’

As Bennett writes in her memoir, “The Cost of Hope,” the shadow was looked at. It was rescanned, removed and sent to a lab. It was diagnosed twice — first as “collecting duct” cancer, then as “papillary” cancer (doctors still disagree over what it was) — and treated with drugs bearing price tags of $200 per daily pill and $109,440 for four one-hour intravenous drips. It also spread to Foley’s lungs, and in December 2007, it took his life. He was 67. The bill for his seven years of treatment totaled $618,616.

Bennett is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and an executive editor at Bloomberg News (this book grew out of an article she wrote for Bloomberg). Her memoir is equal parts marriage confessional and skilled investigative report. It’s a story of the sometimes amusing, sometimes baffling relationship and hectic but rewarding life she shared with Foley for over two decades. It’s also the fascinating account of an illness — its origins, composition and progression — and of the cost (mental, physical and financial) of trying to treat it via the complicated, frustrating, outrageously expensive American health care system.

Excerpt of an article written by CATHI HANAUER, NYT. Continue HERE

Design · Digital Media · Performativity · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

“Your name is a bar code.” Meet ROBOT-Rx, The Robot Pharmacist Doling Out 350 Million Doses Per Year


Meet ROBOT-Rx, the automated medication dispensing system. Made by medical technologies supplier McKesson Corp, ROBOT-Rx is like the vending machine of the future, except it hands out drugs instead of candybars. And it might surprise you to know that over a third of medium and large hospital pharmacies in the US are already using ROBOT-Rx to fill 350 million medication doses each year.

The robot automates every step – except prescription, humans still do that, for the time being. But storage, selection, return, restock, and record-keeping are all carried out by ROBOT-Rx. And as you might imagine, ROBOT-Rx doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, filling medications with a 99.9 percent accuracy, according to the company. Pharmacists reduce their need to double-check orders by 90 percent, missing medications are reduced by 92 percent, and inventory is lower. In the end, ROBOT-Rx saves the hospital 54 percent on medication costs.

This text is an excerpt of an article written by Peter Murray, at Singularity Hub. Continue HERE

Key Benefits, according to McKesson:

– Increases medication filling accuracy to 99.9%
– Cuts pharmacist checking labor by 90%
– Reduces technician labor by 72%
– Cuts missing medications by 92%
– Trims inventory by 10-20%
– Lowers expired medication costs by 54%.

“Key Benefits” and Images via McKesson

Bio · Science · Vital-Edible-Health

More Drugs than Stars in the Universe Await Discovery

Think a trip to the pharmacy is overwhelming? Try this: One million billion billion billion billion billion billion. That’s a 1 with 60 zeroes after it. That’s the number of potential new medicines that could still be made, according to a new study. It may be more than the number of stars in the universe.

Despite decades of advances in small-molecule medicine, scientists have synthesized “barely one tenth of 1 percent” of the potential drug cocktails that could exist, Swiss researchers say. Most drugs are small molecules, so they can bind to cells or cross cell walls, interacting with the body’s natural processes. A huge molecule could also work to deliver drugs, toting smaller molecules inside it, but the vast majority of medicines are small molecules, because they are small enough to bind with cells and there are plenty of them. Some 67 million such compounds have already been identified, according to the American Chemical Society.

Excerpt from an article written by Rebecca Boyle, Popular Science. Continue HERE

Bio · Design · Human-ities · Science · Technology · Vital-Edible-Health

Device May Inject a Variety of Drugs Without Using Needles

MIT researchers have engineered a device that delivers a tiny, high-pressure jet of medicine through the skin without the use of a hypodermic needle. The device can be programmed to deliver a range of doses to various depths — an improvement over similar jet-injection systems that are now commercially available.

Read article via Science Daily

Human-ities · Science · Technology · Theory

Brain Damage – 83 ways to stupefy intelligence

Are we hurting our noggins? Internationally, are there social customs, diseases, pollutants, school policies, parental choices, drugs, diets and philosophies that cause, or are correlated with, decreased intelligence?

Here are fourscore-and-a-trio of the mind-mangling menaces. A preponderance of the fearsome factors have undergone scientific scrutiny, with statistics filed in the massive archives of pubmed.gov.

Prenatal – Damaged before you’re delivered

Cousin Marriages – “Consanguineous” marriages between cousins or relatives more than triples the rate of mental retardation. One study shows an average IQ drop of 7 points; another reveals a loss of 11.2 points.

Avoiding PreNatal Diagnosis –
Fetal Screening can determine if fetuses have birth defects or genetic diseases that cause cognitive damage. Recommended for older parents and those carrying genes of genetic disorders.

Prenatal Iodine Deficiency – The World Health Organization says iodine deficiency is the “single greatest preventable cause of mental retardation.” Average deduction is 10-17 IQ points.

Prenatal Folic Acid Deficiency – Infants with neural tube defects suffer a loss of 15 IQ points.

Prenatal Choline Deficiency – Can wreck spatial memory and hippocampal plasticity in adulthood.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (Heavy Alcohol Exposure) – Children afflicted with fetal alcohol syndrome have an average IQ of 75.

Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure –
Gestating women who imbibe two alcoholic drinks per day hamper their child’s IQ with a 7-point loss.

Pesticide Exposure – Prenatal (and postnatal) exposure to organophosphate pesticides can cause a deficit of 7.0 IQ points.

Prenatal Cigarette Exposure –
Loss of IQ is reported as 3.3, 6.2, and 15 points in various studies.

Prenatal Hydrocarbons (Smog) Exposure –
Two studies showed IQ losses of 4.31 and 3.8 points.

Prenatal Cocaine Exposure – Boys exposed to cocaine had lower IQs at 4, 6, and 9 years of age.

Prenatal Methamphetamine Exposure – Meth exposure leads to weakened verbal memory, and damage to visual motor integration, attention, and long-term spatial memory.

Embryonic Malnutrition – Multiple infants sharing a womb are at risk of suboptimal nutrition. Lighter twins have verbal IQ that’s 7.5 points lower than heavier twins.

Maternal Stress – Children exposed to high cortisol levels in the womb, caused by maternal stress, suffer an average verbal IQ loss of 3.83 points.

Prenatal Valproate Exposure –
Embryos exposed to Valproate have IQ scores up to 9 points lower than children exposed to other anti-epileptic medications.

Prenatal Excess Mercury Exposure –
Reports vary, but one study concluded that excessive prenatal intake of mercury in fish costs children 1.5 points in IQ.

Prenatal Radiation Exposure – Embryos exposed to radiation had more speech-language disorders, emotional disorders, and borderline IQ.

Premature Birth –
Babies delivered before 40 weeks have smaller heads and an IQ 4.9 points lower than infants delivered after 40+ weeks.

Breech Birth – Males born via breech birth have a 7-point lower IQ than boys who were born in cephalic presentation.

Compiled by Hank Pellissier. Continue at The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies