Block that beta!

Who saw this coming? Not I:

A new study finds that carvedilol, a drug typically used to treat high blood pressure, can protect against the sun-induced cell damage that leads to skin cancer. Researchers serendipitously discovered the beta blocker’s cancer-fighting properties after making an error in the lab.

Sherry Liang, a graduate student at the Western University of Health Sciences College of Pharmacy, will present the new findings at the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics annual meeting during the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting, to be held April 22-26 in Chicago.

“What began as an experimental error led to a very interesting scientific discovery,” said Ying Huang, PhD, coleader of the research team with Bradley T. Andresen, PhD. “Our research could lead to the development of a class of new cancer-preventive agents.”

Carvedilol’s cancer-fighting properties were discovered when a former graduate student in Huang’s lab was studying whether carvedilol and similar beta blockers might increase cancer risk. The student inadvertently tested carvedilol’s anticancer effect rather than its ability to promote cancer, finding that carvedilol surprisingly showed some protective effects against skin cancer.

Which is pure serendipity, given the drug’s primary function, warding off congestive heart failure.

Better yet, carvedilol — always trust drugs that end with “lol” — is out of patent and now swims with the $4 generics. (Former trade name: “Coreg.”)

Indeed inspired

Sarah Sloan MacLeod’s first claim to fame, five years ago, was a YouTube complaint about slut-shaming. She was 13 or so at the time.

I’ve continued to follow her, because she’s never, ever done anything uninteresting, at least in my semi-humble opinion. And this threw me, just because I didn’t expect it:

She usually puts out new videos on her YouTube channel on Wednesdays.

Possible downtime

I don’t know for certain there will be downtime, but I’ve just had a Virtual Private Server provisioned — 1 GB of RAM, versus 360 MB on my old shared plan, and 30 GB of disk space — and I have no idea how long it will take to move everything. (I estimate I have used about 2 GB of disk.) This will cost me an extra fifty bucks a year, which is probably trivial in the grand scheme of things.)

Of course, good old WordPress.com will continue to function normally, if I have to pass on any further news.

And we’re down

I mean, I knew it was coming, but still:

We will be working to improve service on your MySQL server this Wednesday, March 22nd, starting at 2PM PDT. This maintenance is estimated to take up to 2-3 hours to complete with a total of roughly 2 hours of downtime. Databases will not be available during this 2 hour period.

As part of this improvement, we will be upgrading your MySQL server to improve stability as well as patching it for potential vulnerabilities. There should be no data loss, but connectivity will be affected by this maintenance, and changes to your databases should not be made until the maintenance is complete.

And what’s two hours, anyway?

Why It’s Good To Be Naked In Public

Not that you’d want to go to the grocery store that way, but there’s a lot to be said for being comfortable in your own skin.

sarah kim bonner

Version 2I got a real naked education when I moved to Europe. I wouldn’t say Canadians are prudish but, in our unfailing commitment to be polite, being naked in change rooms, sporting events, the beach… it just isn’t…nice. In Europe, the social climate of nakedness is totally different and, I’ve realized, it’s good to be naked in public.

Naked is Normal

My first naked experience was going to watch a bike race in Holland. I unavoidably saw countless very, very white bums as riders changed in the street post-race. That experience turned out to be normal at sporting events in France and Spain too. On the beaches,  I saw women of all ages and shapes (natural and man-made) frolic and sunbathe topless without anyone batting an eyelash. At the physio or chiropractor wherever I was living, I was the weirdo who wanted to keep my shorts on. I was so shocked at first. I couldn’t believe how…

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