Predicting how drugs interact and driving flies to drink
Predicting how drugs interact to produce side effects
Scientists have come up with a new way to anticipate previously hard to predict drug side effects.
During their development, most drugs are tested in isolation, meaning a patient only takes one drug at one time.
But, in the clinic, most patients end up being prescribed mixtures of different drugs at once to treat a range of diseases.
And predicting how these mixtures might lead to side effects has always been extremely difficult.
But now, writing in Science Translational Medicine, researchers at Stanford University have used data from four million patients to design a statistical system that can spot when potential problems might arise, including between combinations of drugs in routine current use.
Tatonetti NP et al (2012), Sci Transl Med, 4, 125, Data-Driven Prediction of Drug Effects and Interactions
A new uranium compound has been produced which could help mop up nuclear waste
A new form of uranium could make radioactive waste easier to reprocess in the future.
Generating electricity from nuclear power inevitably produces radioactive materials that need recycling or long term storage. At the moment the estimated cost of clearing up just the UK's accumulating stock of nuclear waste is 70 billion pounds
But now, Edinburgh University chemist Polly Arnold and her colleagues, writing in the journal Nature Chemistry have discovered a new way to make clusters of uranium which may make these valuable radioactive materials easier to recycle.
Arnold PL et al (2012), Nature Chemistry, 4, 221-227, Strongly coupled binuclear uranium-oxo complexes from uranyl oxo rearrangement and reductive silylation
Treating manic depression by increasing the strength and length of the body
Scientists have uncovered how the drug lithium, which can help sufferers of bipolar disorder, or manic depression, as it is also known, actually works.
Lithium has been one of the main treatments for bipolar disorder for the last 60 years. But exactly how it works has remained a mystery.
Now, writing in PloS One and using cells cultured from mice, scientists have shown that lithium achieves its therapeutic effects by strengthening the body's circadian clock, which it does by switching off a signalling enzyme called glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta. In people with mood disorders this enzyme has been shown to be overactive.
The discovery could have implications for other neurological disorders.
Jian Li et al., (2012) PloS One Lithium Impacts on the Amplitude and Period of the Molecular Circadian Clockwork. e33292. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033292
Fruit flies deprived of sex turn to alcohol
Flies deprived of sex turn to alcohol, scientists have shown this week.
One group of male flies were offered multiple mating opportunities. A second group were repeatedly rejected by a group of already sexually satisfied females.
Provided with a choice of foods that either did or didn't contain alcohol, the flies that had been repeatedly rejected were much more likely to opt for the booze soaked dish.
That study was published in the journal Science.
G. Shohat-Ophir, et al., (2012) Science, 335, 6074: 1351-1355. Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila.