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  • Clinical Trials

    Statins and Multiple Sclerosis

    I recently mentioned the non-cholesterol effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins,) so I thought I’d follow up on that with a discussion of the recent news (Nature, Nov. 7) that they could be beneficial for multiple sclerosis. The mechanism of MS is clear, up to a point. (I know, everything is clear, up to a… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Left and Right, Revisited

    I’ve posted a correction in my original post below. And I’ve also located the paper that got me thinking about the whole thing. These folks knocked out a protein that’s needed for nodal cilia to form in the embryo – what they got were nonviable mouse embryos that were left/right randomized. The flow produced by… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    Y’all Are Going to Think I’m Nuts, But. . .

    . . .here’s a question that has bothered me: How do we know our right from our left? No, really. The more I’ve learned (and internalized) about chirality, the more tricky this question gets. (Until you’ve thought about handedness and non-superimposibility for a while, these things just seem natural, of course. You have to train… Read More
  • Drug Industry History

    Thalidomide in the Mirror

    Whenever the topic of drug safety trials comes up, there’s likely to be a mention of thalidomide, and rightly so. As with any such event, you find various levels of knowledge among different people, even among those who believe that they have the real information. Stipulating that we’re ignoring the (substantial) fraction of the public… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Mismeasure for Mismeasure

    While I’m on the subject, there’s another problem with employee rankings, one that doesn’t just apply to research organizations. I first came across a statement of it while reading Bill James, who showed how it applies to baseball teams when they decide whether to bring in some veteran player to hold down a position or… Read More
  • Business and Markets

    Measure for Measure

    As a follow-up to my post about over-quantification, I should really mention one of the things that managers in research organizations would most love to measure: their employees. How good are they? How productive are they? How do they rank, from one to thirty-eight? The problem is, there’s no good way to measure any of… Read More
  • Patents and IP

    Generic Prilosec – the Sequel

    The sequel to the Prilosec (omeprazole) patent case (see the October 13 post) is an interesting one. The only company to prevail against AstraZeneca’s patents on their tablet coating was a small one, Schwarz Pharma. At the time, I said “Now it’ll depend on whether Schwarz can actually get the stuff on the market.” One… Read More
  • General Scientific News

    The Good Old Days of Really Bad Teeth, Revisited

    I was happy to see that Instapundit linked to my anti-Rosseau rant the other day. I hope it was therapeutic for everyone. I’ve received some interesting e-mail in response to it (none, yet, from any dentists.) There was one today from an archaeologist, though, who pointed out that the Indian populations who depending on corn… Read More
  • Patents and IP

    It’ll Be a While

    Merck has won the first round in its legal fight to protect their Fosamax (alendronate) patents (see my September 3 post.) On Monday, a U.S. District court found for Merck in the lawsuit filed by Teva. I haven’t seen the decision, so I’m not sure if the ruling directly addressed Merck’s method-of-treatment claims for the… Read More
  • Cancer

    Pneumonia, of All Things

    There seems to be something odd going on with Iressa, AstraZeneca’s great oncology hope. In Japan (the only place where it’s on the market,) there’s been an unusually high incidence of interstitial pneumonia among its patients. The FDA has scheduled a December meeting, almost certainly to talk about this situation and how it affec… Read More
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