Gotta love science!
Just been listening to some old ABC Science Online Great Moments in Science podcasts… and there were some interesting stories/facts.
Firstly, on the 8th August episode, there was the explanation as to how astronauts in space are not actually in zero gravity, and weight approximately 90% of what they would weigh if on the surface of the Earth. Instead, they are in constant ‘free fall’ as they are moving around the earth so quickly.
The next episode (12th August), talks about the life cycle of head lice… good to hear lice can’t be transferred by the ‘slightest bodily contact’, as is commonly believed. The next three episodes talk about the true ‘shroud’ of Christ… so I naturally skipped them!
Next (16th & 23rd September), Dr. Karl talks about Cholera, and how cholera was the disease the ‘begins where other diseases end’, and was extremely effective in killing its victims, and not being quick about it. Interesting to me as a biology student is the method that Cholera works, which is to prevent the passive mechanism by which the body absorbs water, by which water is diffused down a concentration gradient through the lining of the gut. Since the victim is dehydrated, you’d think they just drink some water, but this won’t help. As was rediscovered over forty years ago, if you add some salts and minerals to the water… this will force the water out of the gut, and into the bloodstream, meaning that the victim will most likely survive.Sad thing is that it took one or two wars to get an effective treatment method.
And, finally, brining me up to date for the moment, is the 30th of September episode. And discusses the fact that medicines do not work for everyone, or, according to the quote ‘medicine for the masses not for everyone’. And to back up this statement, Dr Karl gives five reasons:
- Nothing that humans have every made is perfect
- Drug testing is not perfect either
- Many diseases have one name, but different strains, symptoms and causes
- So many different environmental values, such as age, gender, diet, other medications, etc.
- And most importantly? Genetic differences. As a result, there are differences in how a drug enters the circulation, how it is transported, how it is distributed around the body, etc.
As a result, pharmaceuticals are nowhere near 100% effective (aka not perfect), and the possibility of tailoring drugs to a specific patients DNA in the future is a promising one.