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The Body Scientific

Opioid treatment in Litchfield County

Fourth in a series about addiction

 

Cell biologists like to study problems where we have experimental control; thus, petri dishes of growing nerve cells or identical white mice. The results of such experiments are useful, but basic scientists are laboratory creatures. Outside the lab, where diverse people need to be treated, good experimental controls are rare and saving lives is complicated, we can be like New Yorkers lost in the woods.  

Old vaccines and new vaccines explained

I am a strict constructionist on the necessity of vaccines. Since Edward Jenner produced a vaccine for smallpox in 1799, millions, perhaps billions of lives have been saved by vaccines. The search for new vaccines will never end because infectious organisms constantly evolve. Influenza viruses evolve to escape last year’s immune defenses. We have yet to master HIV with a vaccine. 

Old vaccines, and the search for new vaccines

I am a strict constructionist on the necessity of vaccines. Since Edward Jenner produced a vaccine for smallpox in 1799, millions, perhaps billions of lives have been saved by vaccines. The search for new vaccines will never end because infectious organisms constantly evolve. Influenza viruses evolve to escape last year’s immune defenses. We have yet to master HIV with a vaccine. 

Treating opioid abuse: costly research is well worth it

We like every catastrophe to have a single cause because a villain, especially one that had been identified, is a satisfying thing. In the case of opioid use disorder, one villain is Purdue Pharma, makers of OxyContin, a powerful pain reliever and euphoric that the company claimed was not addictive. It is addictive, but so are   enormous profits. Purdue is getting its slow-drip punishment, in the form of massive lawsuits, and it faces insolvency.

What biology tells us about addiction

Second of a series on opioids

 

What biology tells us about our bodies and addiction

Second of a series on opioids

 

First, there was opium

The first in a series on opioid addiction

 

How do opioids relieve pain, cause euphoria and lead to an addiction that refuses to take “no” for an answer? How is it that in 2017, 72,000 Americans died of opioid drug overdose? What is the chemistry behind this catastrophe? Is there any hope of controlling it?

What biology tells us about addiction

Second of a series on opioids

 

First, there was opium

The first in a series on opioid addiction

 

How do opioids relieve pain, cause euphoria and lead to an addiction that refuses to take “no” for an answer? How is it that in 2017, 72,000 Americans died of opioid drug overdose? What is the chemistry behind this catastrophe? Is there any hope of controlling it?