Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

The Medical Benefits of Carbon Monoxide

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the my-garage-is-my-laboratory dept.

Medicine 177

tugfoigel writes with this excerpt from the Boston Globe: "For more than a century, carbon monoxide has been known as a deadly toxin. In an 1839 story, Edgar Allan Poe wrote of 'miraculous lustre of the eye' and 'nervous agitation' in what some believe are descriptions of carbon monoxide poisoning, and today, cigarette cartons warn of its health dangers. But a growing body of research, much of it by local scientists, is revealing a paradox: the gas often called a silent killer could also be a medical treatment. It seems like a radical contradiction, but animal studies show that in small, extremely controlled doses the gas has benefits in everything from infections to organ transplantation."

cancel ×

177 comments

I've seen this story before! (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778565)

NO!

Re:I've seen this story before! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778637)

NO is nitric oxide, not carbon monoxide.

Re:I've seen this story before! (0, Offtopic)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778691)

</WHOOSH>

(pls mod GP funny, kthx)

Re:I've seen this story before! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779503)

N2O is what makes things funny, not NO.

Re:I've seen this story before! (0, Flamebait)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779293)

This story describes part of the Democrat's government health insurance plan, which includes mandatory euthanasia for all people over 65.

Carbon monoxide in old ghetto homes (1)

t3chn0n3rd (1490333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779701)

Just a reccomendation if you live in an older house or apartment. You might go to the hardware store and buy a CO detector for about 20 dollars. I think some of the older furnaces have CO in them when you first turn them on. This may be true even in newer homes and apartments.

Gee whiz! (5, Insightful)

mcsnee (103033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778575)

Something that is bad for us in high doses may be beneficial in low doses?! Next they'll be telling us that exposure to radiation and toxins can help cure cancer, or that the same stuff that rusts away unprotected steel and iron is actually necessary for animal life!

Re:Gee whiz! (3, Funny)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778597)

See, homeopathy works.

Re:Gee whiz! (2, Insightful)

imsabbel (611519) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778621)

expicitely no.
Homeopathy means not low dosage, but NO dosage.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778713)

Modern homeopathy works with doses of nitrogen monoxide? In my youth we just used plain water!

Re:Gee whiz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779007)

Actually, the very definition of homeopathy is low dosage.
Though, in today's world, it's often used to mean using natural and medicine together and addressing all avenues.. AND misunderstood by most to mean another word for natural-only.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779069)

The definition of homeopathy is that the harm of a given compound is inversely related to its concentration, and once you reduce the concentration far enough, it starts having therapeutic effects. So, most homeopathic "drugs" are something like 1 ppm of a compound in water. This does not count as a "dose" by any stretch of the imagination, as 1 ppm is probably less than what's already present in your body as trace compounds.

Re:Gee whiz! (5, Informative)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779203)

Actually, Homeopathy [wikipedia.org] often dilutes [wikipedia.org] the "dose" until it is improbable that there is a single molecule of the original substance remaining

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

Eudial (590661) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778683)

It isn't really homeopathy. The doses are larger than that.

Like, you have a headache and take a painkiller and it goes away. If you on the other hand take 17 bottles of painkiller, you die. In this case, 1 pill was good, and 17 bottles was bad. .01% of a pill wouldn't do anything.

Re:Gee whiz! (2, Insightful)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778805)

Mod parent down to the depths of Hell.

Homeopathy DOES NOT WORK. And this is not homeopathy. Homeopathy is wrong for two reasons--one, it postulates that chemicals/herbs/medicines that cause a symptom will cure that symptom, and second, it postulates that water or whatever solvent they use will retain the "memory" of that chemical/herb/medicine, even if it is diluted to the point of receiving even one molecule of solute is statistically improbable. And they think the greater the dilution, the greater the effect! I wonder what all the homeopathic dinosaur urine we're drinking is doing to us!

Homeopathy is bizarre quackery. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Re:Gee whiz! (2, Informative)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778833)

I know homeopathy is bull-crap, i was going for funny based on the parent of the post in question, not flamebait

Re:Gee whiz! (2, Interesting)

Artraze (600366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779091)

Actually, homeopathic remedies are surprisingly effective, and compete strongly with even the newest drugs. The story was posted here just recently:
Slashdot: Placebos Are Getting More Effective [slashdot.org]

Just because they're bogus science, not real medicine, etc. doesn't mean they don't work. The placebo effect can be very strong, and homeopathy causes in quite a lot of people. Take doesn't make it a replacement for real medicine, of course, but that doesn't mean it does not work.

Re:Gee whiz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779231)

do you have to also be ignorant and believe that homeopathy works to get the placebo effect or does it also work on those that think it's a scam?

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779365)

Actually, I'd say it does mean it doesn't work.

If the sugar pill with 0.00001% of some drug has the same effect as a plain old sugar pill, clearly you should just buy some damn sugar pills.

Or drink water upside down, or have someone scare you. Anything good for hiccups tends to be equally good at anything else with which placebo's are effective.

Re:Gee whiz! (0)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779689)

It doesn't work, as it's not the actual chemical compounds that have efficacy. Medicinal and surgical treatments are usually compared to placebo to determine efficacy, and homeopathy having the efficacy of placebo indicates it, in fact, is not working.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779485)

I personally think homeopathy is bull. But why is the above post modded troll? How is it a troll? It's an opinion. Modding someone down because of a difference of opinion means you are either intolerant or have a hidden agenda to push. Why is any post not pro pharma is always modded down?

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779721)

No it doesn't. There is no detectable trace of whatever it is supposed to be in their potions, and they are no better than placebos in proper double blind trials.

Radical! (0)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778619)

SRSLY?? What a totally radical contradiction!

Re:Gee whiz! (5, Insightful)

xTantrum (919048) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778655)

seriously people this isn't that "paradoxical". Chem 101. As (arsenic) is also deadly but its also an essential biological trace element. Its about moderation.

Sometimes i can't believe i still surf this place.

Re:Gee whiz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778755)

Excuse me...
Your sarcasm-o-meter seems to be broken.

Or are you responding to the article and not your parent poster?

Re:Gee whiz! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778761)

I can't believe you still use the word 'surf'.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779707)

Indeed, while we weren't looking they built a bridge over the water. It's called trolling now.

Re:Gee whiz! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779585)

As (arsenic) is also deadly but its also an essential biological trace element. Its about moderation.

That may be true, but there are clearly some very dangerous chemicals like nitroglycerin that couldn't possibly have any medical uses.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778671)

A senator has already argued the radiation point. It was part of a Nuclear Power initiative he was doing.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778721)

"You mean there was no deep fat? No steak or cream pies or... hot fudge?
Those were thought to be unhealthy... precisely the opposite of what we now know to be true.
Incredible.
"

(Woody Allen, Sleeper, 1973)

Re:Gee whiz! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779061)

Studies have found that low level exposure to ionizing radiation helps prevent cancer (that is people who work around stuff that nukes them a bit suffer from less cancer statistically). However those who breathe in radioactive materials have higher rates of cancer.

The theory is that the radiation stimulates our immune system to identify and destroy damaged cells.

Re:Gee whiz! (1)

Metasquares (555685) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779391)

Hormesis [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Gee whiz! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779323)

Too true. Even DHMO has many benefits if used responsibly.

(Not an industry shill, just a pragmatist posting anonymously to avoid harassment from anti-DHMO zealots).

Consider this... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778579)

In Soviet Russia, carbon monoxidizes you....

In other news... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778581)

... local scientists discover another paradox - although large doses of aspirin can kill, in small doses it can actually be used as a medicine.

(Replace aspirin with other drug for preference)

Digitalis, eh? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778587)

So, basically, CO is a bit like digitalis, in that it's a deadly poison that has medical uses?

Re:Digitalis, eh? (2, Insightful)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778841)

or tylenol, botulinum toxin, carboplatin, warfarin and many others. Just because a chemical is deadly toxic at some level doesn't mean it can't be useful at lower concentrations.

Re:Digitalis, eh? (5, Funny)

gyrogeerloose (849181) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779039)

Take iron, for instance. It's an essential trace mineral but drop an anvil on your foot and you're in a world of hurt...

not a paradox (4, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778591)

Almost anything is lethal in large doses, and many things are fatal in even small doses. Those same things are often of some benefit in very small doses. For instance, Botulinum toxin. We use small and weakened versions of virus to immunize ourselves. Most medicines can kill children who ingest a moderate overdose. A little alcohol can be antiseptic, which is why many places in the world used to drink with their food, but too much alcohol is lethal.

Re:not a paradox (1)

HasHPIT (1582373) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778643)

Indeed this is true for almost any substance.
Theres almost always a window between "no effect" and "toxic effect" in which "benefitial" would be the word used to describe the effect.

Re:not a paradox (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778749)

Even things that are harmful in small doses can be good overall. That's the basic idea behind antiseptics. They're basically poisons; they'll kill off a few of your cells and all of the bacteria in an area. You can afford the loss of a few cells because you can grow new ones, but bacteria can't, and if they grew they'd do more damage to you than the loss of a few cells on the surface of an injury.

Re:not a paradox (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779709)

"benefitial" would be the word

I don't think "benefitial" will ever be a word.

Re:not a paradox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779259)

Almost anything is lethal in large doses

Very true, even for substances you wouldn't normally think of. See Water Intoxication [wikipedia.org]

Spooky! (1)

BigBadBus (653823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778635)

There seems to be some anecdotal evidence that CO exposure may affect the senses to such an extent that people experience "spooky" or ghostly behaviour. Certainly, this occurred when one family was exposed, and their spooky hallucinations ceased when CO poisoning was diagnosed, and the source removed. There a little more here [paullee.com]

All things are poison... (5, Informative)

notdotcom.com (1021409) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778639)

Paracelsus, sometimes called the father of toxicology, wrote:

        German: Alle Ding' sind Gift, und nichts ohn' Gift; allein die Dosis macht, daß ein Ding kein Gift ist.
        "All things are poison and nothing is without poison, only the dose permits something not to be poisonous."

That is to say, substances often considered toxic can be benign or beneficial in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily benign substance can be deadly if over-consumed. Even water can be deadly if overconsumed.

(Ripped right from Wikipedia [ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracelsus [wikipedia.org] ] )

So, 500 years ago, this would have been news?

Re:All things are poison... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778799)

That quote was the first thing that came to my mind when I read the article ;)

Re:All things are poison... (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778861)

It wasn't news to us that poisons can have benefits at low concentrations, it was the fact that Carbon Monoxide in particular may have uses beyond the ones we already know about like vaso-dilation and anti-inflammatory effects. That would certainly be news to us 500 years ago.

Re:All things are poison... (1)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778897)

That is to say, substances often considered toxic can be benign or beneficial in small doses, and conversely an ordinarily benign substance can be deadly if over-consumed. Even water can be deadly if overconsumed.

Hence my vigilant crusade to educate everyone I encounter about the dangers of DHMO [dhmo.org] , and the carelessness given to its widespread use in virtually everything.

Re:All things are poison... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779283)

you aren't wrong in your current mindset but you are missing the point: a substance which we did not previously thought any small dosage to be helpful in any way is now seen as being potentially helpful!

Cigarettes (2, Insightful)

jellybear (96058) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778645)

Can cigarettes be good for you in small doses then?

Re:Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778703)

Yes, if you smoke them with a filter that only lets carbon monoxide go through.

Re:Cigarettes (1, Insightful)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778753)

Can cigarettes be good for you in small doses then?

Nicotine is a stimulant. If you consider a stimulant's effects "good for you" (for example, if they help you perform better on an exam), then cigarettes in small doses could be good for you.

In a word no (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778763)

Can cigarettes be good for you in small doses then?

Cigarettes also contain carcinogens and carcinogens have no real safe levels. They may publish recommended levels but even trace amounts of carcinogens can cause cancers. Even levels considered safe in the environment can cause cancer. Will you get cancer smoking one cigarette a week, probably not. How about one a day may be not. How about one an hour? Probably. The odds are low for one a week and somewhat higher for one a day but they are never zero. The whole point is it worth the risk? I've had friends and family die from lung cancer that were smokers so trust me it's a terrible way to die. We may all die of cancer due to unavoidable effects of modern life but I saw a friend that died from smoking at 43 and it wasn't pretty and he left a young child behind. Some things may be worth some risk but smoking isn't one of them.

Re:In a word no (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779127)

Carcinogens have no real safe levels to the EPA and FDA. Because we still don't know enough about the biochemistry behind tumorigenesis, it's impossible to give an absolute measurement of "safe levels." That's why the government regulators say "there is no safe level," because they don't know what is and isn't safe.

I agree with you about smoking being stupid and dangerous, but really, your post is a bunch of emotional knee-jerk nonsense. People who want to smoke will smoke. Are you now going to tell everyone that they should stop driving because the risk of being horribly mutilated or killed is never zero unless you're not driving?

Re:In a word no (1)

moz25 (262020) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779207)

Are you really sure you agree that smoking is stupid and dangerous?

Perhaps you are a smoker?

You guys should really stop with the far-fetched car analogies: comparing an addictive drug to a useful transportation tool is just stupid.

Re:In a word no (1)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779755)

Google smoking and schizophrenia. For certain conditions the benefits of smoking may far outweigh the risk of cancer down the road. It's like driving in that sense; it makes sense for me to use a car to go to work because, while I could die, it's relatively safe and the benefits outweigh the risks. That analysis may be flopped for someone's 89 year old myopic grandmother's use of a car to get to bingo when her church group could get her there. Take if further, and some "normal" people may find that the beneficial feeling that they get from smoking is worth the risk to them. As long as I don't have to pay for their cancer treatment (eg tax them so they pre-pay for their future medical bills), it should be up to the individual what risks they want to take. And I am and have always been a non-smoker.

Re:In a word no (1)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779491)

Can cigarettes be good for you in small doses then?

Cigarettes also contain carcinogens and carcinogens have no real safe levels.

If carcinogens have no real safe levels, what possible definition are you using for "safe"?

You realize that the word "safe" does not mean 100% completely impossible of causing any harm, right?

Re:Cigarettes (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778795)

Maybe not cigarettes, but tobacco sure. Heroin also has huge medical benefits, but we can't touch that, can we?

Re:Cigarettes (1)

StellarFury (1058280) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779133)

It's called morphine, jackass.

Re:Cigarettes (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779247)

Morphine is little more than low grade heroin, with lots of harmful impurities. Heroin is clean and safe.

Re:Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779409)

Err? Morphine and Heroin are related but different opioids, and neither has to carry any impurities.

Re:Cigarettes (2, Interesting)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779523)

Morphine is little more than low grade heroin, with lots of harmful impurities. Heroin is clean and safe.

Morphine is one molecule, heroin is another, similar molecule that is more efficient in the body.

Neither contains any impurities by definition. Things advertised as such may contain impurities. But both are specific molecules and nothing else.

Obviously the risk of a drug being contaminated with impurities can be greatly increased by the government's treatment of the regulation of that drug.

Re:Cigarettes (4, Informative)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779505)

Maybe not cigarettes, but tobacco sure. Heroin also has huge medical benefits, but we can't touch that, can we?

In much of the world, heroin is recognized as being a safe and effective pain killer. It is used regularly in hospitals in the UK.

The reason heroin is an effective recreational drug is due to its safety compared to other opiates.

The situation is similar (although much more extreme) with methamphetamine. Enough caffeine to keep you awake for a week would have a high chance of killing you outright.

Considering the low cost of making heroin from morphine, the use of morphine instead is essentially a deliberate waste in order to satisfy political considerations.

Re:Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29778809)

No, but you should stick a banana in your exhaust pipe to test it. I don't mean your asshole, I mean the tailpipe of your car.

Re:Cigarettes (1)

Gerafix (1028986) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778849)

You can get the nicotine without the cigarette and the smoke etc. It's called an electric cigarette, use your Google-Fu, grasshopper.

Re:Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779009)

It's not the nicotine......it's the smoke, it's the smoo-oo-oo-ooke, the smoo-oo-oo-ooke.

I mean, if you took that banana and rolled it and smoked it...............

Re:Cigarettes (1)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779543)

You can get the nicotine without the cigarette and the smoke etc. It's called an electric cigarette, use your Google-Fu, grasshopper.

Governments often make this difficult to distribute/obtain because the device can be considered a "drug delivery device", while nicotine incidentally contained in tobacco is not always legally considered a drug.

Still, nicotine is not the sole psychoactive chemical in nicotine, readily apparent if you compare the effects of tobacco to vaporized pure nicotine.

Re:Cigarettes (1)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779551)

Still, nicotine is not the sole psychoactive chemical in nicotine, readily apparent if you compare the effects of tobacco to vaporized pure nicotine.

Oops, Nicotine is not the sole psychoactive chemical in tobacco.

Oddly I'd consider this an obvious typo that doesn't need correction, but there's already too much confusion here about the difference between a molecule and a plant that produces that molecule.

Re:Cigarettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779087)

Perhaps; the main problem with cigarettes is keeping the dose small. Forget not that there is therapeutic value in heroin, but it's heavily regulated because the patient will become addicted and seek more, almost inevitably to a point where they exceed their own limits and kick the bucket.

Re:Cigarettes (2, Interesting)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779477)

Can cigarettes be good for you in small doses then?

"cigarette" is not exactly drug. If you look at the component chemicals, there certainly are drugs in there that have differing effects in small doses. Nicotine has many effects, certainly some of which could have medical relevance.

It's rare that a drug is "good for you". The criteria is improving one condition without undue risk of causing/worsening others.

A person who smokes cigarettes for anxiety could easily be coming out on the positive end of things, if the anxiety was so severe as to risk the life of the patient. While there are usually drugs that are more effective, government restrictions on these drugs can be quite a significant influence on patients receiving care.

If cigarettes cure a person's anxiety, possibly a safer version can be created by extracting the nicotine. But this increases the risk of being arrested and contracting HIV due to repeated prison anal rape.

All medications are a balance of risk.

You also get synergistic benefit if you... (3, Funny)

jeffb (2.718) (1189693) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778701)

...coadminister with tetraethyl lead.

all medical treatments have this paradox (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778707)

"is revealing a paradox: the gas often called a silent killer could also be a medical treatment."

Not much of a paradox. Every medical treatment suffers the exact same paradox. Morphine - great pain killer. Too much and it silently kills you. Anesthesias are the same. Cancer chemo treatments come very close to killing you, a small overdose may do it. Too much tylenol? Liver disease. Too much advil? Kidney problems.

Re:all medical treatments have this paradox (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779177)

Hell, even too much water can poison you.

Re:all medical treatments have this paradox (1)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779441)

"is revealing a paradox: the gas often called a silent killer could also be a medical treatment."

Not much of a paradox. Every medical treatment suffers the exact same paradox. Morphine - great pain killer. Too much and it silently kills you. Anesthesias are the same. Cancer chemo treatments come very close to killing you, a small overdose may do it. Too much tylenol? Liver disease. Too much advil? Kidney problems.

Tylenol is in the same ballpark as the chemo drugs, as opposed to morphine. Double a normal (but high) dose of tylenol and you can destroy your liver. Tylenol is actually added to other drugs in the US in order to punish patients who choose to take a higher dosage of the medication actually needed.

One of the most evil things the US government does is adding a poison to medicines in order to destroy the liver of someone who takes "too much". The "too much" amount is likely to be a perfectly safe amount and could even be prescribed. And patients are not adequately warned what the dangers are of the medications they're given, or that certain components were added solely to have a fatal punitive effect.

Why try to make a drug? (0)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778773)

That will make carbon monoxide in your body when the gas is readily available. Carbon monoxide might be beneficial but why not make a pill that makes nitrous oxide in your blood so the dentist doesn't have to pull out the mask. There is probably a lot more money to make off the pill. A wiff of bottled carbon monoxide won't cost an arm and leg.

Re:Why try to make a drug? (0)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779053)

That will make carbon monoxide in your body when the gas is readily available. Carbon monoxide might be beneficial but why not make a pill that makes nitrous oxide in your blood so the dentist doesn't have to pull out the mask.

Because metabolism isn't as simple as "insert chemical X, get chemical Y". It's more like "insert chemical X, get chemicals Y and Z, with Z concentrated in the liver and heart and Y going all over the place, except when it hits the kidneys it turns into chemical Q".

Note: I am not a chemist, or biologist, or taxidermist.

Re:Why try to make a drug? (1)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779353)

Yah but they are giving the rats a pill that hasn't been invented yet. They are giving them gas so your point is moot.

Re:Why try to make a drug? (1)

clandonald (1652847) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779435)

Do the Pharma companies own this website? All it takes is to post the words "drug and money" and it is instantly modded down.

Sweet! (2, Funny)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778815)

Take that you health freaks! I chainsmoke like a chimney, so enjoy your tofu and cancer!!

Rotten eggs and laughing gas (1)

DaveCDalton (1658835) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778865)

Reminds me of the same business with Hydrogen Sulfide and Nitric Oxide... The former being found to increase the lifespan and health of nematodes and also to prevent organ rejection and cell death after traumatic injury. The latter was developed into non-inhaled treatments that act on the vascular system... Viagra for instance. That's a long way from rotten eggs and laughing gas. http://www.physorg.com/news115924695.html [physorg.com] http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ars.2009.2882 [liebertonline.com]

Re:Rotten eggs and laughing gas (2, Interesting)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779745)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lYN_lXU9PA&feature=PlayList&p=557A85F6897EC8FC&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6 [youtube.com]

this video seems off topic but he does make an insightful comment about Hydrogen Sulfide being used with cold to slow down metabolism.

Really now? (0)

Thyamine (531612) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778893)

Do we need all the hype? Can't we have a story that just explains the details without the OMGWTF slipping in? Wow, water in huge quantities is dangerous? Drowning? OMG. But I can drink it too? CRAZY. *sigh*

More proof that Oxygen Kills! (2, Insightful)

Jonah Hex (651948) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778919)

I wonder how this gels with the research into the dangers of giving oxygen when resuscitating people from death. I have a feeling we'll be seeing the new standard procedure in what gasses to give change radically over the next few years. HEX

Yeah, well (1)

oldhack (1037484) | more than 4 years ago | (#29778925)

The basic principle of the modern medicine is to modulate the poison to kill the ailment without killing the patient, no?

Small enough or a precise amount? (3, Funny)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779023)

Would not be the only beneficial peak [xkcd.com] around.

coffee (1)

Sam36 (1065410) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779047)

They say coffee is good for you too

kind of a no-brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779079)

For pretty much anything, the difference between "medication" and "poison" is dose. How is that surprising? Put someone in a room full of CO and they die? What do you think will happen if you choose any random life-saving pharmaceutical and tell someone to take a whole bottle of it?

Most all posions (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779157)

Have their medicinal values. Most medicines become poisonous at a certain level too, so there is some symmetry to it all.

Re:Most all posions (1)

BlueParrot (965239) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779553)

Most all posions have their medicinal values. Most medicines become poisonous at a certain level too, so there is some symmetry to it all.

This may or may not be true for chemical and biological toxins ( I'm not qualified to tell ), but it is certainly not true for radioactive elements. In fact with the exceptions of a few isotopes used for radiation therapy ( like Iodine ) and some tracers used for PET scans, almost all isotopes with a significant activity are bad for you. There are some theories that very minor radioactive doses can be helpful in triggering the immune system, but these are speculative hypotheses at best, and with a few notable exceptions radioactive exposure can quite clearly be said to be undesirable. I doubt you will ever find medical use of strong alpha emitters like Polonium or Americium as an example. They may be useful for other things related to medicine ( like powering a pacemaker or calibrating equipment ) but I doubt you will ever see a good reason to administer them directly to patients.

CO being useful for transplants was already known (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29779265)

This documentary [imdb.com] explains how CO can be used to help obtain organs for transplantation.

Toxicology 101 (2, Insightful)

niko9 (315647) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779453)

As any toxicologist will tell you: Dosage is everything.

moderation is the key to everything (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779509)

Water will kill you if you drink too much of it. So it's not much of a surprise that supposed bad things can be beneficial when used sensibly.

Hrmm (3, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779599)

From TFA:

But given the deeply entrenched fear of carbon monoxide as a toxin, he said it is unlikely that the gas would be directly given as a therapy to many people. Instead, research into the mechanism by which carbon monoxide works could allow scientists to design a drug that could act in the same way.

REALLY? Because CO has a scary reputation we'd rather give patients a new expensive patented drug that we think works just like CO rather than just give them a well controlled dose of a well understood, inexpensive, and easily available gas?

No wonder nobody can afford health care.

Mod way up (2, Insightful)

wurp (51446) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779679)

Congress & the prez are talking about bad incentives in the health care system. IMO this is one of the most obvious wrong incentives: the fact that there is no research into and marketing for cheap, widely available remedies, because you can't get a government-sponsored monopoly on them.

Transplantation?! (1)

Jason Hildebrand (103827) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779629)

"Transplantation" sounds like a Bushism [wikipedia.org] to me. "Transplant" is already a noun, thank you very much.

How is that a contradiction? (3, Informative)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779645)

Radiation is generally bad for you, but we use it as a medical treatment.

Pick your favorite medical prescription, now eat 10 lbs of it. Oh look it's bad for you.

Re:How is that a contradiction? (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779727)

Take water and eat 10lbs of it. You could get hospitalized or worse.

Re:How is that a contradiction? (2, Insightful)

treat (84622) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779865)

Take water and eat 10lbs of it. You could get hospitalized or worse.

Or this could be the amount you need to drink in a day to be healthy, if you're physically active in hot weather.

I'm convinced (1)

labnet (457441) | more than 4 years ago | (#29779733)

Finally! I don't need to switch my A/C to recycle on the way to work.
Just suck in the fumes and feel health benefits baby!!

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...