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  • Birth of an Idea

    Close to the Vest

    Another line in one of the aforementioned Paul Orwin posts rang true for me. He was discussing some new ideas in antibacterial research, then brought himself up short as he got close to his own work: “In the highly competitive world of academic science, even a weblog is no place to divulge current research tidbits” Read More
  • Birth of an Idea

    Close To the Vest

    Another line in one of the aforementioned Paul Orwin posts rang true for me. He was discussing some new ideas in antibacterial research, then brought himself up short as he got close to his own work: “In the highly competitive world of academic science, even a weblog is no place to divulge current research tidbits” Read More
  • Aging and Lifespan

    Breathing and Aging

    I’ve written about the idea that aging is related to oxidative damage (most recently on June 3.) There’s a lot of support for it, and the documented life-extending properties of caloric restriction are thought by many to be tied into this hypothesis. CR has worked in (for example) fruit flies and rodents, and some slow-moving… 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
  • Animal Testing

    What to Do When the Rats Die on You

    I’ve had some e-mail asking if the diabetes drug I mentioned the other day is dead or not, and if not, why not. I don’t have any direct contacts in the companies involved, not that they’d tell me all about it even if I did, but I can make some informed guesses. They’ll illustrate what… Read More
  • Birth of an Idea

    Experimental Update

    For the six or eight of you who might be wondering, the experiments that I’ve been talking about on and off for a few months now are back on again. (To catch up newer readers, I’ve been irritating folks with breathless references to an idea I’ve had, that I can’t detail for proprietary reasons. It… Read More
  • Toxicology

    And Always Keep Ahold of Nurse, For Fear of Finding Something Worse

    Since the Coleridge quote went over well the other day, I thought I’d return to the line above (from Hilare Belloc) to talk about why things advance slowly in the tox field. It’s fear. Justifiable fear. When toxicologists find something that seems to work, they stick with it. They’re not easily convinced by the latest… Read More
  • Animal Testing

    Rats, For Fear of Worse

    I’ve had some mail asking a good (and Frequently Asked) question: how good are the alternatives to animal testing? How close are we to not dosing animals to get toxicology information? My short answer to the second question is, simultaneously, “A lot closer than we used to be” and “Not very close, for all that.” Read More
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