Medical Magic in Mushrooms?

Ingredients in magic mushrooms may have profound therapeutic potential in the treatment of psychological disorders, but under current UK law, it’s almost impossible to study them. We ask Professor David Nutt where scientists can get their hands on some…

The Placebo Effect: The mind’s ultimate deception

What is the placebo effect and could it resolve the antibiotic crisis? We explore the famed phenomenon that has mystified scientists since its discovery over 200 years ago.

2100: Time to break the habit

Matt Sargeant asks if addiction will still be a major societal problem by the 22nd Century, and whether pharmacology might have the answer

12 days of xmas: Drug discovery

Some festive fun. Jo Poole takes an imaginative look at how the twelve days of Christmas song relates to drug discovery from anti-depressants to paracetamol …

Playing God

Who really decides your medical treatment? The government wants it to be you, but are you really the best judge? Lies, damned lies, and statistics. A household catchphrase referring to the deceptive nature of statistical studies. People are easily seduced by science when it is presented as logic and reason. After all, numbers shouldn’t lie. […]

Silence Isn’t Golden

Failure to consult the public on a new drug-pricing policy may store up trouble for the future. Somewhere, in the depths of Whitehall, an elephant has taken up residence. This big, pink, imaginary elephant – let’s call her Nellie – is currently standing in a bustling project room, squeezed, I imagine, somewhere between a conference […]

The A(TG)C of You and Me

Should we all be sequencing our own genomes? It’s often said that “it’s what’s inside that counts”. From a medic’s point of view, past the external stigmata of disease, this is widely true. For a geneticist it is sacred. Genomes constitute an entire instruction manual for building an organism. They contain hidden heirlooms from our […]

A Win-Win Deal for Drugs?

In early December the coalition government launched its new Life Sciences Strategy, described by the Prime Minister as an attempt to improve patient care, foster innovation and catalyse the medical breakthroughs necessary for the industry to remain “a jewel in the crown of our economy”. While the UK’s economic crown is looking a little tarnished […]

Drug smuggling cells evade detection

Us humans are always looking for the easy way out. If we can get someone else to do our dirty work for us, so much the better, which is why drug dealers rely on mules to ship merchandise for them. One of the trickiest things to do in medical science is smuggling drugs or nanoprobes […]

Breast Cancer Relapse – Can we minimise the risk?

“Waiting those 14 hours was the most terrible experience of my life” says Parastou Khiaban. “When we saw her coming out of intensive care, that image will haunt me for the rest of my life.” Parastou’s mother was treated for breast cancer in 2009. The operation took fourteen hours. Complications left her in intensive care […]

Diamonds could be everyone’s best friend!

Despite what many students may firmly believe, money can’t buy you happiness, right? A lot of money can, however, buy you diamonds and although I’ve never been financially stable enough to test the theory, it seems that diamonds can make women very, very happy indeed. It also seems that the bigger the diamond, the happier […]

War on drugs based on misconception

The worldwide trade of illicit drugs is big business, affecting countries across the world; from production in Latin America and the Middle East, to consumption in Europe and the United States (and everywhere in between). At home, the saga of our own, outdated, drug legislation continues. Last week the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies […]

High Society Rules

Fifteen stops on the Piccadilly line did nothing to shake off the twinges of my subtle hangover. The bracing air on the short walk from King’s Cross to the Wellcome Collection picked me up a bit, and the calm, quiet exhibition space brought the world back into full focus. How appropriate that I was visiting […]

From the Editor – Crazy Kary Mullis

08/02/2006 Three years ago, after yet another Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) had failed and science seemed a never-ending series of repetitive frustrations, a friend lent me a book, Dancing Naked in the Mind Field, by Kary Mullis, inventor of PCR. Mullis, as it turns out, is one of those controversial figures of science. A distinguished […]