The Anonymous Widower

Is County Lines Just Another Gig Economy?

County Lines is to me just an efficient way to satisfy a need., like Uber or Deliveroo!

It is just another branch of the gig economy!

Who knows, what will be delivered in this way after the inevitable no-deal Brexit?

February 19, 2019 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Overdoses Kill As Many As Vietnam

This is the headline on an article in The Times.

This is the first paragraph.

The US suffered its largest ever increase in drug overdose deaths last year, with as many Americans dying because of illegal drugs as were killed in the entire Vietnam War.

59,200 Americans died in the twenty years of the Vietnam War.

June 8, 2017 Posted by | World | , | Leave a comment

Snot Wars

There is no other title for a post about this article on the BBC, which is entitled Antibiotic resistance: ‘Snot wars’ study yields new class of drugs.

The research has been done at the University of Tübingen, which is one of Germany’s classical universities. Wikipedia says this.

Tübingen is one of five classical “university towns” in Germany; the other four being Marburg, Göttingen, Freiburg and Heidelberg.

It certainly sounds to me that ideas for this research, possibly started after a good academic dinner with lots of food and alcohol, if classical German universities are anything like our’s.

After all the idea has been literally up researchers noses for years.

These last two paragraphs of the BBC report describes how the antibiotic-like action was possibly created in the human body.

Prof Kim Lewis and Dr Philip Strandwitz, from the antimicrobial discovery centre at Northeastern University in the US, commented: “It may seem surprising that a member of the human microbiota – the community of bacteria that inhabits the body – produces an antibiotic.

“However, the microbiota is composed of more than a thousand species, many of which compete for space and nutrients, and the selective pressure to eliminate bacterial neighbours is high.”

So why hasn’t this new class of antibiotics been found before?

Could it be that medical research is too much about Loadsamoney and Big Pharma, rather than about ideas, seriously out-of-the-box thinking and dilligent research?

Brains are a lot easier to throw at a problem, than money. Except that good brains are much more difficult to find than good money.

 

July 28, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Warfarin And Lansoprazole

As I said in this post called Fasciitis In My Foot, I’ve got fasciitis in my right foot.

It wasn’t going away so my doctor prescribed 500mg. of Naproxen, night and morning, together with 30mg of Lansoprazole first thing, as I’m on Warfarin.

Normally, I take 4mg. of Warfarin a day, but when I am on other drugs, I test my INR regularly to make sure the drugs aren’t affecting my levels.

After a few days, my INR had gone up from its normal level of around 2.3-2.7 to around 4. So obviously, the new drug combination was raising my INR.

I solved the problem and brought the level of Warfarin down to 3mg. After a few days, my INR had returned to around 2.5.

That was a few weeks ago, but the fasciitis has refused to go away, so I am now back on the Naproxen/Lansoprazole combination, but with only 250mg. of the Naproxen.

My INR has jumped in the same way, but as before reducing the Warfarin dose to 3mg. has brought it back to normal.

I am drawn to two conclusions.

  • The Lansoprazole raises my INR,
  • Regular self-testing of your INR usually picks up problems.

This is very much a repeat of my experiences of taking Terbinafine, which I wrote about Interaction Between Warfarin And Terbinafine. Although that drug dropped the INR.

 

December 29, 2015 Posted by | World | , | 1 Comment

Disappearing Balances

One of my old school friends came round last night for a drink and a chat. At one point, I used my letter balance to weigh something.

My All-Purpose Balance

My All-Purpose Balance

They said, that at the University, where he works, they have given up on expensive weighing machines and now use cheap letter balances, as the students nick them, to weigh out their drugs.

Such is University life these days!

August 30, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Is Drug Packaging Distinctive Enough?

I take quiet a few medicinal drugs. Every day, I test my INR and then put the drugs for the next twenty-four hours in an old black 35 mm. film canister, which fits neatly into the bag I generally carry or a pocket of my coat.

When I go away for a few days, I put the required drugs plus a few for luck, in a white film container, which I then transfer to the black one every morning.

Look at these two pictures of two strips of drugs.

One is Spirolactone and the other is 1 mg. Warfarin. When I went to Glasgow because I was in a hurry, I took two Warfarin instead of two Spirolactone. It didn’t matter in this case, but for others similar mistakes could be more serious. A contributory factor in this mistake, was that Boots have started to give me a differently packaged brand of the Warfarin.

The top side of the drug packaging should be distinctive. I think too, that the old brand of Warfarin had the writing on the back in the same colour as the drug. i.e. brown in this case. The new one is just an anonymous black.

August 10, 2014 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Interaction Between Warfarin And Terbinafine

A few weeks ago I was prescribed a course of oral Terbinafine to clear up a fungal infection. It seemed to work well, except that there is still some of the tinea in my toe-nails.

But over the time, I was taking the drug, I have felt that my INR was constantly wanting to slip downwards towards and below two.

Luckily I test my INR daily, and use a simple control algorithm to calculate my Warfarin dose. Normally, it is 4 mg, but if it goes below 2.3, I increase it to 5 mg, and if it goes above 2.8, I reduce it to 3 mg. So the algorithm got me taking a lot of 5 mg doses as opposed to the usual4 mg.

Only since I finished the course of Terbinafine has the INR stabilised around 2.5, which is my target value.

I didn’t at first see any link until everything settled after the course finished.  But I decided today to type “Warfarin Terbinafine interaction” into Google. I found this paper from the BMJ entitled Drug points: Serious interaction between warfarin and oral terbinafine.

I think this minor incident shows the value of regular INR testing! Because I was testing daily, as the INR started to drop, my algorithm told me to increase the dose to 5 mg.  In fact my average dose has gone up from 4 to 4.5 mg. in the period that I was taking the Terbinafine.

So there was no harm done at all!

April 25, 2014 Posted by | Health | , , , | 2 Comments

A Worrying Report On CFCs And HCFCs

It is being reported that mysterious CFC and HCFC gases have been found in the atmosphere. Here’s the first part of the report.

Scientists have identified four new man-made gases that are contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Two of the gases are accumulating at a rate that is causing concern among researchers.

Worries over the growing ozone hole have seen the production of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases restricted since the mid 1980s.

I have no theory about how these gases got there, as I’m no chemist or environmental scientist.

But I do feel that there are an awful lot of unnecessary drug inhalers powered by HCFCs used in the world.

I don’t mean unnecessary from the medical point of view, although in the 1990s, there were some amazing anomalies in the prescribing of these devices.

Some years ago, I backed a company that went on to produce an inhaler, that used no compressed gases, no batteries or any other noxious or environmentally-unfriendly substance.

It was so impressive that we were brought up at the Montreal Protocol talks, where some delegates tried to get the banning of HCFCs as well. They failed as some countries and Big Pharma didn’t want a ban.

So what happened to our device?

We sold it to Bohringer Ingelheim for a lot of money and it is described on this website.

March 11, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Do We Sometimes Push Technology Too Far?

I like proven technology, as often some of the things done fifty years or so ago, may not have been very good at the time, but somehow over time they have proved themselves to be reliable and economic.

The classioc is the Inter City 125 train, introduced as a stop-gap in 1976. But it is only one of a number of classic designs, that just never get replaced.

A personal old idea that affects me is Warfarin, which I take every day to thin my blood and stop myself having another stroke. There are more modern drugs, but I’ve heard cardilogists say that now is not the time to change, as we don’t know enough about the side effects of new drugs yet.

And that is the crux of the matter!  When anything has been used for years, we have a vast knowledge base to make sure, that it doesn’t bite us or even worse.

So I was rather pleased to see this report that says the new Airbus A350 will use more traditional batteries than the Boeing 787. Before you use new technology in something as critical as an airliner, you must prove it as thoroughly as possible.

The problem with proving aircraft parts as compared to that of says cars, buses or trains, is that the aircraft leaves the ground and does other things land-based machines don’t.

I remember, my next door neighbour in London, when I was a child, a Mr. Gibbon, saying that if Ford wanted to test a new truck axle, they’d fit a few in trucks and give them to a contractor, who was known to break anything.  If he couldn’t break any,then it was probably a better axle. But you can’t give aircraft to bad airlines and let them do the testing!

What worries me about these plane batteries, is how many other new ideas are incorporated, that haven’t been completely tested?  Aviation is littered with mistakes, where new designs have failed.

On the other hand, look at this wing of the baby Airbus 319/320/321, on which I flew to Stockholm.

Airbus A320 Wing

Airbus A320 Wing

Go back twenty years or so and the design of a wing would be similar, but you can see developments like the wing-tips, that make the wings more efficient, have now become commonplace.

June 16, 2013 Posted by | Transport, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

More Spanish Practices

This story from the Daily Mail, asks if it is the biggest scandal in doping history. Even Andy Murray is laying into the row, as the first paragraphs say.

Andy Murray last night hit out at a Spanish judge who ordered evidence relating to one of the biggest doping rings in history to be destroyed.

Britain’s No 1 tennis player called the decision to dump more than 200 blood bags from stars in a number of sports as ‘the biggest  cover-up in sports history’ and said it was a ‘joke’.

Sometimes you think that there is one law for Spain and one law for everybody else.

May 1, 2013 Posted by | News, Sport | , , | Leave a comment