Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial

Research on MDMA, the pure form of the drug ecstasy, will be the focus of a two-part programme called Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial to be shown on Channel 4 tonight and tomorrow night. The study examines how the resting brain responds to MDMA and is led by David Nutt, Edmond J Safra Professor of Neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London, and Professor Val Curran from University College London.

From the Channel 4 website: ‘In a UK television first, Jon Snow and Dr Christian Jessen present two shows following volunteers as they take MDMA, the pure form of ecstasy, as part of a groundbreaking scientific study.’

Ecstasy to treat post-traumatic stress disorder?

BBC Radio 4’s Life Scientific programme features Professor David Nutt [Medicine] talking about his research on MDMA, the pure form of the drug ecstasy (Tuesday, 18th October)

‘Prof David Nutt explains why the drug ecstasy or MDMA is being studied in clinical research and how it could be useful for treating post-traumatic stress disorder by controlling intrusive, traumatic memories. Professor Nutt is a psychiatrist and one of the country’s leading experts on the effects of drugs on the brain. He was sacked in 2009 as the government’s chief drugs adviser after criticising its decision to reclassify cannabis. Hear the full interview with David Nutt on Radio 4’s Life Scientific’

Diabetes warning for people of Asian, African and Caribbean descent

Results of a major study of diabetes and ethnicity were reported on the BBC News website:

‘British people of South Asian, African or African Caribbean descent are significantly more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than their European counterparts, researchers have warned. Half had developed the disease by the age of 80 in a study of 4,200 people living in London – approximately twice the figure for Europeans. The researchers said the rates were “astonishingly high”. The findings were published in the journal Diabetes Care.’

Hay fever vaccine: New method could be ‘cheaper and better’

The BBC news website features a report on a possible new strategy for tackling hayfever.

‘Sneezing through summer with a runny nose could become a thing of the past if researchers in London are successful at developing a new hay fever vaccine. The researchers, at Imperial College London and King’s College London, say their “targeted” approach could lead to a cheaper and more effective vaccine. In tests, they have injected into a layer of skin on patients they think is a “hotline” to the immune system. Allergy UK said it was a very exciting development.’