In 2014, the National Institutes of Health established guidelines for preclinical experimental design. These guidelines were designed to encourage researchers to adopt best practices, such as randomization and the inclusion of both male and female lab animals. Many thought this might result in a more radical change in favor of equal research on males and females. A report in May of 2017 showed that the best-practice guidelines were not widely being adhered to. Researchers reviewed 4,000 papers published from 2006 to 2016 in five journals under the umbrella of the American Heart Association: Circulation, Circulation Research, Hypertension, Stroke, and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. They were comparing the preclinical design against four criteria related to the MIH guidelines of 2014. The analysis showed that male animals were still being used about the same in pre-clinical trials or were increasing. Of the five journals reviewed, Stroke provided the best record of compliance. I am hopeful that is a start.
Wednesday, July 8, 2020
Tuesday, July 7, 2020
A neuroscientist at the University of Colorado School of Medicine I Aurora, Colorado, was doing studies with mice. So the story goes, she was surprised to notice that the brains of some female mice who had Down Syndrome (a defect involving chromosome 21), evidenced some unexpected abnormalities. She already knew that the brains of trisomic male mice (with Down Syndrome) showed changes in their hippocampus related to protein levels. These female mice, however, showed the most serious changes in their cerebellums. Mice and rats have similarities to the human brain. Therefore, findings in these rodents often lead to potential correlations with human brains. Gardener has been quoted as saying, “If we find that males or females are differing not only in their baseline impairment, but in their response to drugs, we need to know that. We could be missing a big piece of information that could lead to better or different clinical trials.” So, if male mice had changes in their hippocampus (the brain’s search engine), and female mice had more significant changes in their cerebellum, this potentially could have implications for humans with Down Syndrome. More tomorrow.
Monday, July 6, 2020
The national plea for equality has made me think about equality in a new way. Recently, I had a bad reaction to a medication. My nephew, in graduate school, did some research and discovered that it had only been tested on males—so how it would impact females was unknown. I think that is inequality for women regardless of their skin tones. What do you know about this? Equality needs to be recognized for all races and skin tones—AND I think it is a much larger problem than that . . . Please comment.
It has been traditional to use male subjects (whether mouse, rat, monkey, or human) because, as one male researcher told me, the fluctuations of hormones in a female would clutter up the conclusions. I responded by saying that this was precisely the reason females need to be used as research subjects at least equally with males (by later adulthood females tend to outnumber males). How do medications and treatments impact a female with her fluctuations of hormones, as he put it? Very differently if anecdotal reports are representative. More tomorrow.
Friday, July 3, 2020
Growing up, what I learned about Russia came from the music of Russian composers that I played in my study of music and stories about Siberia. And the Tzar’s amazing Fabergé Easter eggs. Oh yes, and a few movies like “Dr. Zhivago.”
These are few Russian proverbs.
- Absentmindedness is searching for the horse you are riding
- A fly cannot enter a closed mouth
- Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness it
- If you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one
- If you don't have time to do it right you must have time to do it over
- Take your thoughts to bed with you, for the morning is wiser than the evening
Thursday, July 2, 2020
Although once believed to be a very rare condition, it may be very underdiagnosed, especially as the ingestion of carb-heavy foods such as pizza, bread, pasta, beer, ice cream, and other desserts seems to be increasing in many industrial countries. Individuals with diabetes may be at higher risk for developing Auto-Brewery Syndrome. What can be done? Reduce the amount of surgery desserts and carbs that are ingested. Consult a physician to obtain testing for fungi or yeast in the system and for a possible prescription of antifungals. See a health-care professional for blood-alcohol level testing when symptoms arise. Eat a heavy meal of carbs one night, and by next day you likely will be showing symptoms of alcohol intoxication if you have ABS.. Sometimes probiotics are taken to help grow the health bacteria in a person’s microbiome. Bottom line: if someone you know is exhibiting symptoms of drunkenness and you can find no evidence of alcohol ingestion, he or she just might have an active brewery operating in their gastrointestinal track and will likely need medical help cleaning up that mess.
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
What happens when carbohydrates ferment in the small intestine (and sometimes in other parts of the body)? The result is the production of intoxicating quantities of ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol. Bottom line: The ethanol is absorbed in the small intestine, causing an increase in blood alcohol concentrations that produce the effects of intoxication without the consumption of exogenous (from the outside) alcohol. As levels of ethanol increase, the individuals exhibit behaviors common to alcohol intoxication. This can include slurred speech, difficulty walking, headaches, drowsiness lack of mental acuity, vomiting, and so on. The individual may protest that “I ingested no alcohol!” Unfortunately, people may not believe that because the person looks and acts ‘drunk.’ More tomorrow.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
Gastrointestinal dysbiosis is a term that refers to a condition in which there is an imbalance of the beneficial microorganisms (e.g., bacteria) versus the harmful microorganisms within one’s intestines. This can occur when individuals are prescribed antibiotics, because they are not very discriminating when it comes to killing bacteria. Sometimes antibiotics can be life-saving. Taking them when it is not absolutely necessary, can contribute to this imbalance. Couple that with a typically high intake of simple carbohydrates (especially sugary desserts) and the presence of yeasts such as Candida Albicans floating around in the intestines—and you have the recipe for Auto-Brewery Syndrome. This condition is characterized by the fermentation of ingested carbohydrates in the gastrointestinal tract of the body with the help of specific types of bacteria and/or fungi (yeasts). More tomorrow.