The looming superbug crisis: Politics, profit, and Big Pharma

Here's how we stop a health crisis before it wreaks havoc on us.

  • Alexander Fleming discovered a fungus that produced a chemical that could stop nearly every bacteria in its path.
  • The 1950s are known as the Golden Era of Antibiotic Development. However, today, there is a looming superbug crisis because bacteria has mutated whilst we've focused on treating other diseases, such as cancer and heart disease.
  • Many companies in the pharmaceutical industry don't want to take on the expensive risk of finding another antibiotic drug. However, a potential superbug crisis may compel us to use tax-break and patent policies to incentivize them to do so.
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How psychedelics work: Fire the conductor, let the orchestra play

Michael Pollan explains what goes on during the mental fireworks of a psychedelic experience.

  • If your ego had a "location" in the brain, it would be the default mode network, where much of your self-critical mind chatter happens. Taking psychedelics down-regulates this brain network.
  • Researchers describe the effect of psychedelics as "letting the brain off its leash", or firing the conductor to let the orchestra play. Without the default mode network acting as a dictator, areas of the brain that don't normally interact meet, producing phenomena like hallucinations and synesthesia.
  • An overactive ego may be what punishes those of us plagued with anxiety, addiction and mental health disorders. Psychedelics can have a beneficial effect by temporarily killing the ego, jogging the brain out of negative thinking patterns.
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Mind-altering drugs: The magical history of LSD and mushrooms

Why did government officials stop psychedelics from reaching mainstream culture?

  • In the '60s drugs escape the lab and become a very important ingredient In the creation of the counterculture. Timothy Leary, a psychologist at Harvard in 1960, has something to do with this.
  • In Cambridge, he starts the Harvard Psilocybin Project which focuses its research into learning more about this promising drug. Because of its medicinal properties, and apparent positive effect on mental health, Leary believed that everyone should use acid, or psilocybin.
  • Richard Nixon called Leary the most dangerous man in America. He felt that LSD and other drugs were sapping the will of American boys to fight in Vietnam.
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FDA approves ketamine-like nasal spray for depression

The quick-acting drug could usher in a new era of treatment for depression.

Flickr robin_24
  • The drug is closely related to the anesthetic ketamine, and it's likely to be covered by many insurance plans.
  • It's to be used in addition with antidepressants, and only by patients who've tried two antidepressants and still don't feel better.
  • Intravenous ketamine treatments are already available in the U.S., but they're not approved by the FDA.
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Politics & Current Affairs

What if you were immune to chronic pain? Vaccines could make it happen.

Scientists are developing vaccines for migraines and sciatica (back pain) – a win in the war against the overprescription of opioid drugs.

  • Alzheimer's disease and unintentional deaths (like opioid overdoses and suicides) have been driving down U.S. longevity statistics for three consecutive years – a trend not seen since the Spanish flu pandemic.
  • Our current approach to treating chronic pain is drug-based, but a vaccine-based approach can cut addiction out of the equation.
  • You can vaccinate against pain! Scientists are developing vaccines for migraines and sciatica, which will lower the need for opioids, be cheaper, and make drug non-compliance a non-issue.
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