Friday, January 26, 2007
Lots of good news for what's bad for you today. Mice with a model condition for Multiple Sclerosis showed a significant reduction in symptoms when exposed to carbon monoxide. It's not clear if the researchers tested for side effects here (there must have been a few!), and certainly the method used in mice would be lethal to humans, but it's an interesting step. It seems to work by blocking free radical production, but I wonder why then high doses of, say, vitamin C isn't effective as well. Hmm.
Patients with an rare, deadly form of cancer - acute promyelocytic leukemia - seem to do very well on a combination of radiation and chemo with arsenic trioxide. I wonder if old lace helps?
And finally, a new way to quit smoking: brain damage!!! Neuroscientists found that many patients with damage to the insula spontaneously lose the urge to smoke. The thing is that not all of them do, and it's not clear why. Also, discussion of surgical smoking-cessation techniques is frankly a bit scary: yes, smoking is amazingly bad for you, and yes it's hard to quit, but the risks (not to mention the costs!) of any kind of brain surgery is way too much to even consider, I think.