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Posts tagged with "Toxicology"

  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    Osmium Tetroxide, Of All Things

    This morning brings the news, via ABC, that the recently discovered bomb plot in London involved a quantity of osmium tetroxide. That’s a surprise. I know the reagent well, but it’s not what anyone would call a common chemical, despite the news story above that calls it “easily obtained.” It’s quite odd that someone co… Read More
  • Autism

    A Mechanism for Thimerosal

    There’s some fresh news in the (quite possibly endless) debate about the vaccine preservative thimerosal. The Institute of Medicine is working on another report, due in several months. Their last report, in 2001, found no evidence to support a link, but didn’t dismiss the possibility, either. I’ve written about this topic before.… Read More
  • Drug Assays

    How Drugs Die

    Everyone in the industry would like to do something about the failure rate of drugs in clinical trials. It would be far better to have not spent the time and money on these candidates, and the regret just increases as you move further down the process. A Phase I failure is painful; a Phase III… Read More
  • Alzheimer's Disease

    Back on the Air

    After a (reasonably) refreshing holiday break, Lagniappe is back. Thanks to everyone who kept doggedly hitting this site during the last few days – I admire your persistance. I notice from my site’s counter that I get a small but steady flow of Google hits for various miracle cures. I said some nasty things about… Read More
  • Autism

    Clearance Sale

    While I’m on the subject, I’ll mention some details that will be familiar to my fellow medicinal chemists. The body has a lot of mechanisms to deal with foreign substances. We assume that all our drugs are going to be handled by them, one way or another, and we just try to keep the stuff… Read More
  • Autism


    One reason that I have doubts about thimerosal as a cause of autism goes back to mechanism of action. Are there any specific compounds that are know to cause specific neurological problems? (There are plenty that cause more diffuse symptoms, often motor-related, such as tardive dyskinesia.) Well, there’s one prominent example: MPTP, known to… Read More
  • Chem/Bio Warfare

    And While We’re On the Subject – Mercury?

    There’s another report this morning of an arrest of a suspected Chechen terrorist, who was carrying what’s described as 18 pounds of mercury in a champagne bottle. “”Such an amount of mercury would poison a very large number of people,” said a spokesman for the Moscow police. Would it? The amount is right – 18… Read More
  • Toxicology

    The Ames Test and the Real World

    Back to the question: what does the Ames test tell us? One thing it does is something that all toxicological tests do – that, as Paracelsus put it, “the dose makes the poison.” There’s hardly a more important tox principle than that. You can get a lot of things to show positive for mutagenicity if… Read More
  • Toxicology

    The Ames Test

    One hears a lot about the Ames test (as a measure of carcinogenicity and other Bad Things.) It’s sometimes held up by animal-rights types as a model of the sort of testing that could be done if, presumably, we weren’t all so much into torturing the lesser species. I thought a look at the test… Read More
  • "Me Too" Drugs

    Our Buddies at the FDA

    Another question I’ve had posed to me is whether the FDA standards for drug approval are too tight (no one who writes to me seems to worry that they might be too loose, although you can find groups who’d argue just that.) Overall, I don’t think so. There are really two sets of standards, for… Read More