Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Prevention is best, but sometimes people get sick, and we need to cure them. Depression is a tricky disease to treat, in that all patients respond differently to treatments, and comorbitites (having other diseases at the same time) are very common. One common comorbitity is smoking: depressed patients smoke more, making them more likely to get physically ill as well. It seems that one reason for this is that nicotine may lessen depression symptoms. A small number of nonsmoking depression patients were given nicotine patches, and showed more improvement than controls. The study is tiny, but could suggest big results later.
Another increasingly common (and debilitating) disease is adult-onset (type 2) diabetes. Research has already suggested a possible cure for Type 1 Diabetes using pancreatic autotransplantation, but Us researchers have now found that they may be able to cure Type 2 Diabetes in a similar way. This is very exciting news!
Sometimes a cure is there, but hard to take. Hepatits C is treated with a vicious combo of drugs - interferon and ribavirin - that cause such side effects that patients often don't comply, leaving their livers to be destroyed by the virus. Some patients from a UCSF center smoked pot during their treatments, and they were not only better able to comply, but it's possible that the pot even helped treatment! This is a bit of a no-brainer, mostly: we know pot's good for nausea, anorexia, and depression - if it wasn't for stupid politics, doctors would give it to these patients as a matter of course. But, it's nice to have (even) more evidence!