Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Journal: The Yale journal of biology and medicine


The opioid overdose epidemic is a major threat to the public’s health, resulting in the development and implementation of a variety of strategies to reduce fatal overdose [1-3]. Many strategies are focused on primary prevention and increased access to effective treatment, although the past decade has seen an exponential increase in harm reduction initiatives. To maximize identification of opportunities for intervention, initiatives focusing on prevention, access to effective treatment, and harm reduction are examined independently, although considerable overlap exists. Particular attention is given to harm reduction approaches, as increased public and political will have facilitated widespread implementation of several initiatives, including increased distribution of naloxone and policy changes designed to increase bystander assistance during a witnessed overdose [4-7].

Concepts: Public health, Naloxone, Reducing agent


This perspective describes three new policies passed at the November 2020 Special Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates. These policies (1) denounce racism as a public health threat; (2) call for the elimination of race as a proxy for ancestry, genetics, and biology in medical education, research, and clinical practice; and (3) decry racial essentialism in medicine. We also explore the social and institutional context leading to the passage of these policies, which speak directly to the harmful legacy of racism in America, and its insidious impact on the healthcare system.


Objective: Scientific research on how consumption of whole, natural Cannabis flower affects low mood and behavioral motivations more generally is largely nonexistent, and few studies to date have measured how common and commercially available Cannabis flower used in vivo may affect the experience of “depression” in real-time. Methods: We observed 1,819 people who completed 5,876 cannabis self-administration sessions using the ReleafApp™ between 06/07/2016 and 07/08/2019, with the goal of measuring real-time effects of consuming Cannabis flower for treating symptoms of depression. Results: On average, 95.8% of users experienced symptom relief following consumption with an average symptom intensity reduction of -3.76 points on a 0-10 visual analogue scale (SD = 2.64, d = 1.71, p <.001). Symptom relief did not differ by labeled plant phenotypes ("C. indica," "C. sativa," or "hybrid") or combustion method. Across cannabinoid levels, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels were the strongest independent predictors of symptom relief, while cannabidiol (CBD) levels, instead, were generally unrelated to real-time changes in symptom intensity levels. Cannabis use was associated with some negative side effects that correspond to increased depression (e.g. feeling unmotivated) in up to 20% of users, as well as positive side effects that correspond to decreased depression (e.g. feeling happy, optimistic, peaceful, or relaxed) in up to 64% of users. Conclusions: The findings suggest that, at least in the short term, the vast majority of patients that use cannabis experience antidepressant effects, although the magnitude of the effect and extent of side effect experiences vary with chemotypic properties of the plant.


Podcasts have become increasingly popular tools for medical education in recent years. Only requiring a computer or smart phone, podcasts are readily accessible to healthcare professionals, helping to disseminate medical information quickly and creating a wide community of listeners. With numerous medical podcasts available and limited spare time, it can be challenging for a healthcare professional to identify the most high-yield podcast. This perspectives piece describes the role of podcasts in medical education before sharing five in-depth recommendations from Yale School of Nursing and Yale School of Medicine students and faculty. These five podcasts are: The Curbsiders Internal Medicine Podcast, Flip the Script, The Clinical Problem Solvers, 2 Docs Talk, and Key Literature in Medical Education (KeyLIME) Podcast. Each podcast summary includes its average length, the episode frequency, the intended audience, a brief description, a representative episode, and quotes from interviews with the podcast hosts.


Marijuana use among women is highly prevalent, but the societal conversation on marijuana rarely focuses on how marijuana affects female reproduction and endocrinology. This article reviews the current scientific literature regarding marijuana use and hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian (HPO) axis regulation, ovarian hormone production, the menstrual cycle, and fertility. Evidence suggests that marijuana can reduce female fertility by disrupting hypothalamic release of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), leading to reduced estrogen and progesterone production and anovulatory menstrual cycles. Tolerance to these effects has been shown in rhesus monkeys, but the effects of chronic marijuana use on human female reproduction are largely unknown. Marijuana-induced analgesia, drug reinforcement properties, tolerance, and dependence are influenced by ovarian hormones, with estrogen generally increasing and progesterone decreasing sensitivity to marijuana. Carefully controlled regulation of the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is required for successful reproduction, and the exogenous cannabinoids in marijuana may disrupt the delicate balance of the ECS in the female reproductive system.

Concepts: Menopause, Estrogen, Reproductive system, Menstrual cycle, Endometrium, Progesterone, Puberty, Ovulation


Recent developments in sequencing methods and bioinformatics analysis tools have greatly enabled the culture-independent analysis of complex microbial communities associated with environmental samples, plants, and animals. This has led to a spectacular increase in the number of studies on both membership and functionalities of these hitherto invisible worlds, in particular those of the human microbiome. The wide variety in available microbiome tools and platforms can be overwhelming, and making sound conclusions from scientific research can be challenging. Here, I will review 1) the methodological and analytic hoops a good microbiome study has to jump through, including DNA extraction and choice of bioinformatics tools, 2) the hopes this field has generated for diseases such as autism and inflammatory bowel diseases, and 3) some of the hypes that it has created, e.g., by confusing correlation and causation, and the recent pseudoscientific commercialization of microbiome research.

Concepts: Inflammation, DNA, Scientific method, Bioinformatics, Bacteria, Science, Ulcerative colitis, Inflammatory bowel disease


In this review, we briefly summarize much of the existing literature on gender-related concerns and autism spectrum disorders (ASD), drawing attention to critical shortcomings in our current understanding and potential clinical implications. Some authors have concluded that gender identity disorder (GID), or gender dysphoria (GD), is more common in individuals with ASD, providing a range of potential explanations. However, existing literature is quantitatively limited, and our capacity to draw conclusions is further complicated by conceptual challenges regarding how gender identity is best understood. Discourses that emphasize gender as a component of identity formation are gaining prominence and seem particularly salient when applied to ASD. Individuals with ASD should enjoy equal rights with regard to treatment for gender dysphoria. Clinicians may be able to assist individuals in understanding this aspect of their identity by broadening the social frame and facilitating an exploration of gender roles.

Concepts: Gender, Autism, Gender role, Gender identity, Transgender, Identity, Homosexuality, Gender identity disorder


Despite the burgeoning scholarship on transgender health and health care, the literature on transgender reproduction and reproductive medicine remains limited. In this narrative literature review, we examine recently published studies focused on the pregnancy and birth experiences of transgender men to provide an overview of the literature’s major contributions and illuminate the gaps that exist within this research. Our review reveals that transgender men face substantial obstacles to achieving pregnancy and significant challenges during pregnancy and birth, which are informed by institutionalized cisnormativity embedded within medical norms and practices. This article demonstrates the importance of better understanding transgender men’s reproductive health care needs in order to improve the quality of pregnancy-related health care delivery to this population. Our findings also provide insight for researchers, health care providers, and educators seeking to create and enhance gender-affirming medical education and training.


Undoubtedly, the discovery of penicillin is one of the greatest milestones in modern medicine. 2016 marks the 75th anniversary of the first systemic administration of penicillin in humans, and is therefore an occasion to reflect upon the extraordinary impact that penicillin has had on the lives of millions of people since. This perspective presents a historical account of the discovery of the wonder drug, describes the biological nature of penicillin, and considers lessons that can be learned from the golden era of antibiotic research, which took place between the 1940s and 1960s. Looking back at the history of penicillin might help us to relive this journey to find new treatments and antimicrobial agents. This is particularly relevant today as the emergence of multiple drug resistant bacteria poses a global threat, and joint efforts are needed to combat the rise and spread of resistance.

Concepts: Medicine, Bacteria, Evolution, Microbiology, Antibiotic resistance, Antibiotic, Penicillin, Drug resistance


Marijuana has been shown to lower intraocular pressure (IOP) but with limited duration of action and numerous adverse effects. Use of marijuana to lower IOP as a means of glaucoma treatment would require frequent use throughout the day, leading to significant adverse effects, possible progression toward Cannabis Use Disorder (CUD), and/or withdrawal symptoms. The treatment of glaucoma based on the cannabis plant or drugs based on the cannabinoid molecule should be considered carefully before being prescribed. Considerations should include the adverse physical and psychological adverse effects, including substance abuse. Currently, the deleterious effects of marijuana outweigh the benefits of its IOP-lowering capacity in most glaucoma patients. Under extremely rare circumstances, a few categories of glaucoma patients may be potential candidates for treatment with medical marijuana. Further studies on alternate routes and more focused means of cannabinoid molecule delivery to the eye for glaucoma treatment are needed.

Concepts: Intraocular pressure, Drug addiction, Addiction, Cannabis, Recreational drug use, Cannabis sativa