History I

January 19, 2009

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Alrighty, I’ll bite, sort of, on drug abuse policy issues. I’m triggered by a recent comment responding to a guest post over at the blog of some dude who’s famous mostly as the brother of one of our most insightful commenters around here. Before I get to my ish, you might find the dueling Drug War perspectives of the aforementioned guest poster, Radley Balko (agin’ it), and David Freddoso (fer it) over on Culture 11 interesting.

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Now that his comments are functioning and you can go over and slap him on the back, I want to note that PalMD has brought his White Coat Underground blog to ScienceBlogs.com. You will recall that he has been blogging over at the Sb denialism blog for most of the past year and has been doing a stellar and prolific job of it.
So why the hyperbolic title?

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Having just recently posted on the bust of an Ecstasy / MDMA lab based in a house, you might assume that I would be thinking a little more deeply about the whole illicit manufacturing process for MDMA. (In reading the article that launched that post, I’ll remind you, I learned that pill press operations are a whole lot smaller scale that I might have predicted.) You would be wrong, because I find myself fascinated to read a recent article detailing the effect of the illicit MDMA trade on the trees and fauna of wilderness regions of Cambodia.

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I can’t believe this meme died and never came back. It’s pretty geek-alicious. Since there have been quite a few new scienc-y blogs launched in the interim, I thought I’d tag some folks with this.
I originally posted this one Nov 16, 2007 on the old blog. You might also be interested in the PhysioProf Conundrum.

David Ng of World’s Fair launches yet another meme, this one to establish your own scientific eponym. A few interesting offerings include the Teammate Desirability Factor, Stemwedel Index, Higgins-Levinthal Dictum, Gorton’s Law and Sciencewoman’s Law. You will note that these are faux equation heavy measures since, of course, you need to be “quantitative” to be a RealScientist. Gack.
In this post I am happy to present the DrugMonkey Scale as metric to evaluate the degree to which one is outraged upon reading blog entries or commentary supplied by readers. Feel free to use it on this blog and elsewhere :-).

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The January 2009 edition of the CSR Peer Review Notes is up. It covers many of the upcoming changes to grant review which we’ve noted here on the blog. These will start with the May/June rounds of review.
One bit I hadn’t noticed before will be the provision of two options to serve as an appointed member of a study section.

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In a post on the death of Heath Ledger a year ago I talked about the frustration of not being able to review the toxicity panels from his body tissues after the autopsy. In the end, the medical examiner report just said something along the lines of “in my professional opinion it was the combination of drugs which did him in”. Which one might interpret as meaning the tox panels did not identify an apparently lethal level of any one particular drug (or its metabolites). But as an interested party, I would like to see the numbers. Because in my view they would reinforce the message. Whether it be a drug interaction or a loss of tolerance (or for that matter a tolerance issue) that is associated with a highly public drug toxicity case, it is an opportunity to help people to understand basic pharmacological concepts as they apply to recreational drug use. Another sad case is in the news this month and once again, the data would be exceptionally helpful.
An Australian woman died after allegedly taking two ecstasy tablets.

Neville and Gerry Bebendorf, both high school teachers, are left to mourn their eldest daughter, whom Mrs Bebendorf described as “a beautiful, fragile person who touched many hearts”.
“Rosie was cruelly treated by unscrupulous people who took advantage of her vulnerability and generosity,” she said.
“If any good is to come of this, it may serve as a warning to young people never to start taking drugs.”

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MT4 Programming Note

January 12, 2009

You have probably noticed a few problems with the ongoing (yes) upgrade of the site’s blogging apparatus. Most pertinently to my readers, the comments are continually borked. My apologies. It isn’t you, it’s us. Etc.
TechLordz are working busily to fix things as the SciBlog’sters are practically soiling themselves with angst over the various hiccups and new bugs features of the new system.

A rash of ADHD diagnoses…

January 12, 2009

We have a bit of a running joke in my neck of the woods which stems from a newspaper report many years ago detailing a high rate of diagnoses for ADHD in a local high school. The surprising part was the rather upscale demographic of the high school. Of course, once one became aware that having a diagnosis of ADHD or some other mental/behavioral disability permitted all sorts of extra attention and breaks to be extended to the school kid in question, the suspicious mind was satisfied.
Well of course. If darling kid is not performing above average, there must be SomethingWrongzOhNOes! Get some drugs, quick! (and, oh btw, let him get extra tutoring and untimed tests and some other stuff as well).
Today’s tip is from The Common Man who points to this AP article.

Baseball authorized nearly 8 percent of its players to use drugs for ADHD last season, which allowed them to take otherwise banned stimulants.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates 3 percent to 5 percent of children have ADHD, according to its Web site [ED-link].

Just eight TUEs were granted for illnesses other than ADHD: three for hypertension, three for hypogonadism, one for post-concussion syndrome and one for metabolic myopathy. The 114 overall TUEs was up from 111 the previous year.</small

Lord knows MLB players would never use amphetamine class psychomotor stimulants to improve play. Nor could there be any reason to seek a legal exemption to use stimulants. That would be just cynical talk.
Maybe they should just switch to benzothiazepines.
small caveat, ADHD rates are 2-3 times higher in boys than in girls (this cites NIH info for the summary). Given that pro ballplayers are all male we need to think of this 8% rate in that context.

We're Back!

January 11, 2009

The ScienceBlogs back-end Movable Type software upgrade has been completed. Go EAGLES!!!11!!111!


January 9, 2009

The 2007 WADA list has caffeine in the “2007 Monitoring Program” but it is not a “Prohibited Substance”. The 2007 US AntiDopingAgency (USADA) list seems to directly quote the WADA list on stimulants, so ditto. It used to be one of the threshold substances (under 12 micrograms/ml of urine and you were OK) but was delisted as of Jan 1, 2004.

HA! I just noticed this draft from 11/30/07! Dang if I can remember where I was going with it, just a stub and all. Reminded me about something over at Zuska’s diggity dogs. Caffeine really is a drug. Gee ya think?

no longer quite the n00b scicurious recently had something about adenosine and caffeine so I’ll just point you there for the science.

one of PalMD’s podcasts ( I think it was #2 or #4 but I could be wrong) talked about the wonders of coffee and how medicine can’t really find much to worry about. Sure, save the addiction part.

Anyway, I’ll just snap this up in case it jogs my memory of what I was thinking about. Probably some papers on cycling performance I guess….

oooooooo. pretty.

January 9, 2009


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Blog Jones

January 9, 2009

Unless you’ve been living under a rock* you will be aware of the upcoming SB blackout. Well, freeze-down might be a better term. We’ll still be here** but everything will be static. No posting, no commenting.
You might think this would be an opportune time for the Science Blogsters to take a little TO, catch up on real life business, maybe write a paper or something. You’d be wrong.
So after you have finished perusing the blogs on our blogroll (no, really, go click on three you haven’t ever looked at) and found all the low profile gems out there like Lou and Thomas and Matt, here’s a little hint.
Apparently the lions will be laying down with the lambs over at PhysioProf. That’s right, rumour has it that Greg Laden hissowndamnself may make an appearance. I think they’re just pulling my leg but perhaps the Oracular one as well. It is not the Rapture***.
The final strategy to get you through your unbearable longing is to snoop around the About pages and sidebars of your favorite bloggers to locate their original, pre-assimilation blogsites. DrugMonkey on WordPress, for example. If I have anything new, it’ll prolly show up there.
See you in the brave new world of SB on Movable Type 4.
*read only this blog under the Science Blogs banner
**promiseth the tech OverLordzzz
***I really, really, really hope…..? Gulp.

The Great Sb Freeze Out

January 9, 2009

As noted all over Teh ScienceBlogs, there will be a little technical difficulty starting, oh, in a minute or two. Actually, I think the comments are borked already. So consider this a welcome to the old blog for my newer readers, poke around in the archives because there is some stuff that I haven’t bothered to repost.

Go back to the early days and see how unbelievably polite PhysioProf was as a commenter. What a sneaky bastard!

Check out the original fight with Ms. Phd and her disgruntle-minions!

Watch me piss off a subGlamour Editor!

Even more grant geekery!

A correspondent recently expressed some confusion over the source of recreationally abused MDMA (“Ecstasy”; 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) because of an awareness that it typically is obtained and used as tablets. This person was under the impression that perhaps street Ecstasy was a diversion of a licit product (see ketamine). Not so.
EcstasyKitchenLab.jpgA recent Daily Telegraph report from New South Wales in Australia supplies an excellent example.

HUNDREDS of thousands of ecstasy tablets destined for the Christmas party market have been seized by police after a $12 million drug kitchen was uncovered in a suburban house.

mmm. Doesn’t this operation look sanitary? The report indicates a kilo of powder was found in the vacuum cleaner. Wonder if that went right back into the pill press….yuck. Wait, wait, where’s my idea book…“do rat feces enhance the subjective effects of oral MDMA in a dose dependent manner?”. Hmm, the ol’ IRB might have a little problem with this one…

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