Forever Young

Marine animals could hold the key to looking young

Sea urchins could hold the key to youth

Sea urchins could hold the key to youth

Sea cucumbers and sea urchins are able to change the elasticity of collagen within their bodies, and could hold the key to maintaining a youthful appearance, according to scientists at Queen Mary, University of London.

The researchers investigated the genes of marine creatures such as sea urchins and sea cucumbers, known as echinoderms. They found the genes for “messenger molecules” known as peptides, which are released by cells and tell other cells in their bodies what to do.

The study was published online in the journals PLOS One and General and Comparative Endocrinology.

Project leader Professor Maurice Elphick, from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, said: “Probably the most exciting discovery from our research was finding genes encoding peptides that cause rapid stiffening or softening of collagen in the body wall of sea cucumbers.

“Although sea urchins and sea cucumbers may not look much like us, we are actually quite closely related to them. As we get older, changes in collagen cause wrinkling of our skin, so if we can find out how peptides cause the body wall of a sea cucumber to quickly become stiff or soft then our research might lead to new ways to keeping skin looking young and healthy.”

The scientists analyzed the DNA sequences of thousands of genes in the purple sea urchin Strongylocentrotus purpuratus and the edible sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus and specifically searched for genes encoding peptide messenger molecules. Rapid advances in technology used to sequence genes made the research possible.

“When the human genome was sequenced over a decade ago it cost millions of pounds – now all of the genes in an animal can be sequenced for just a few thousand pounds,” Professor Elphick said.

“We also found that sea urchins have a peptide that is very similar to calcitonin, a hormone that regulates our bones to make sure that they remain strong,” Professor Elphick said.

“So it will be fascinating to find out if calcitonin-type peptides have a similar sort of role in spiny-skinned creatures like sea urchins.”

“These types of advances in basic science are fascinating in their own right but they are also important because they underpin the medical breakthroughs that lead to improvement in the quality of people’s lives.”

Attribution: Real Clear Science

Ban Football?

by: the Common Constitutionalist

I was listening to Rush Limbaugh’s radio program a month or two ago. He was discussing the NFL, football in general, concussions and other injuries. The crux of his monologue was his claim that, due to injuries, within a decade or two, there will be no more football.

People called in to his program saying he was crazy. The NFL, after all, is not only wildly popular, but a veritable money-making machine for all involved. No one in their right mind would ever try to put the brakes on that gravy train.

As Rush often says, “Don’t doubt me”.

Well, I for one, do not doubt him. His track record is very good. He claims to know liberals better than they know themselves. As he puts it rather ingloriously, “I know liberals as well as I know my own glorious naked body”. Scary thought, I know.  Try not to dwell on that.

Liberals are really quite predictable. They are all Nannies at heart. They don’t think, they feel. They feel somehow better equipped to solve the worlds problems than us conservatives, that “something” always must be done. Liberals are also the kings of the knee-jerk reaction and contradiction.

If they see something they don’t like, unlike a conservative, who can simply avoid it, the liberal must stop it, ban it or shut it down.

Of course the liberal must employ the government to do their bidding. The government is the only entity large enough and with enough authority to demand society cease whatever behavior or product the liberal finds so offensive.

It always happens the same way. It begins small with a “concerned citizen” suggesting to a local politician that something should be regulating. The politician, seeing a golden opportunity, provides a knee-jerk law or regulation. Maybe not enough motorists are wearing seatbelts, or helmets, or car seats. Second hand smoke, salt, sugar, trans fats are all killing us. “Do it for the children”, they exclaim. If it saves just one life, it will be worth it (except for abortion). Herein also lies the contradiction, or paradox. One example is cigarette smoking. The liberal desperately needs the tax revenue from smokers to fund their silly government programs but yet they call for regulations virtually banning the product.

Then “science” or “medicine” is employed, proving the “concerned citizen” right. It could be faux-science (global warming), but that matters not. As long as it advances the agenda and the agenda is always for our own good. Liberals care more than we do, so we couldn’t very well be left to fend for ourselves. What do we think this is, a free society?

Before you know it, there has been a state law passed, regulating this or that and finally an overarching federal law.

It’s always the same tune, just with different lyrics.

That brings us full circle, back to football. Even I was surprised how fast this has progressed.

When Limbaugh predicts something, it usually takes years for society to catch up.

Don’t Doubt Him!

(I live in New Hampshire, so don’t doubt me when I say, Dover is a liberal stronghold. I don’t know what their “Nannies per capita” are, but it’s up there.)

DOVER, N.H. (AP) — A proposal to drop football at one New Hampshire school district has surprised and upset many residents.

The idea was suggested at a Dover School Board meeting Monday night by board member Paul Butler, a retired physician.

Butler said the potential for concussions is too great of a risk. He said concussions on developing brains can have a long-lasting impact, including the possibility of brain damage, depression and dementia.

Butler said he knows stopping the game isn’t popular.

“I suspect it’s going to take a long time. This might be the first volley. It took a long time for people to wear bicycle helmets. It took a long time for people to stop smoking,” he said.

The board later released a statement that Butler’s comments were his reaction to various studies he’s read and is not the opinion of the board itself. It said termination of the high school football program isn’t on the agenda at this time.

Dover Athletic Director Peter Wotton said safer tackling is being coached and players are being supervised by doctors.

“Any sport is a target, because it feel like anytime you put kids in motion — there is an inherent risk to playing sports and taking part in athletics, and for some reason the target is on football. I don’t think it should be on anything,” he said.

Wotton said girls basketball ranked higher in concussions in 2011.

A new law in New Hampshire is aimed at protecting student athletes from concussions and other head injuries. Under the law, coaches and other athletic officials who suspect that an athlete has suffered a concussion will be required to remove him or her from play immediately, and the athlete will have to get written authorization from a health care provider and a parent before returning.

Information about such injuries also will be distributed to all youth athletes each year, and parents will have to sign forms indicating they had read the information before the start of practice or competition.

And so it begins. Don’t Doubt Him!

Power of Kawaii

One thing the internet has  shown us, it is that few  people can resist looking at images of cute animals.

Now new research has  revealed that looking at cute images of baby animals doesn’t just make you feel  warm and fuzzy inside, but can actually improve your work performance and help  you concentrate.

The study comes from  researchers at Hiroshima University. In Japanese, the word ‘kawaii’ means cute,  and so the report is rather appropriately entitled ‘Power of Kawaii’.

The subjects were told the  pictures, which they viewed during a ‘break’ in the tasks, were for a separate  experiment.

In the Operation  experiment, the participants who were shown images of puppies and kittens  performed their tasks better after the break than those who looked at cats and  dogs. Performance scores improved by 44%. They also took their time. The time it  took to complete the task increased by 12%.

‘This finding suggests that  viewing cute images makes participants behave more deliberately and perform  tasks with greater time and care,’ said the researchers, according to the  published paper.

Similar jumps in  performance were seen in the numbers experiment, suggesting that looking at cute  images increases attentiveness even when the task at hand is unlikely to raise  feelings of empathy.

The group that saw kitten  and puppies were more accurate, improving their scores by about 16%. They were  also faster, increasing the number of random numerical sequences they got  through by about 13%. There was no change among groups that saw cats and dogs,  and food images.

‘Kawaii things not only  make us happier, but also affect our behavior,’ wrote the researchers, led by  cognitive psychologist Hiroshi Nittono. ‘This study shows that viewing cute  things improves subsequent performance in tasks that require behavioral  carefulness, possibly by narrowing the breadth of attentional  focus.’

The study’s authors write  that in the future cute objects could be used as a way to trigger emotions ‘to  induce careful behavioral tendencies in specific situations, such as driving and  office work.’

Melts in Your Mouth or in Your Hand

MEDFORD/SOMERVILLE, Mass.–Tiny, fully biocompatible electronic devices that are able to dissolve harmlessly into their surroundings after functioning for a precise amount of time have been created by a research team led by biomedical engineers at Tufts University in collaboration with researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dubbed “transient electronics,” the new class of silk-silicon devices promises a generation of medical implants that never need surgical removal, as well as environmental monitors and consumer electronics that can become compost rather than trash.

“These devices are the polar opposite of conventional electronics whose integrated circuits are designed for long-term physical and electronic stability,” says Fiorenzo Omenetto, professor of biomedical engineering at Tufts School of Engineering and a senior and corresponding author on the paper “A Physically Transient Form of Silicon Electronics” published in the September 28, 2012, issue of Science.

“Transient electronics offer robust performance comparable to current devices but they will fully resorb into their environment at a prescribed time—ranging from minutes to years, depending on the application,” Omenetto explains. “Imagine the environmental benefits if cell phones, for example, could just dissolve instead of languishing in landfills for years.”

The futuristic devices incorporate the stuff of conventional integrated circuits — silicon and magnesium — but in an ultrathin form that is then encapsulated in silk protein.

“While silicon may appear to be impermeable, eventually it dissolves in water,” says Omenetto. The challenge, he notes, is to make the electrical components dissolve in minutes rather than eons.

Researchers led by UIUC’s John Rogers — the other senior and corresponding author — are pioneers in the engineering of ultrathin flexible electronic components.   Only a few tens of nanometers thick, these tiny circuits, from transistors to interconnects, readily dissolve in a small amount of water, or body fluid, and are harmlessly resorbed, or assimilated. Controlling materials at these scales makes it possible to fine-tune how long it takes the devices to dissolve.

Device dissolution is further controlled by sheets of silk protein in which the electronics are supported and encapsulated.   Extracted from silkworm cocoons, silk protein is one of the strongest, most robust materials known. It’s also fully biodegradable and biofriendly and is already used for some medical applications.   Omenetto and his Tufts colleagues have discovered how to adjust the properties of silk so that it degrades at a wide range of intervals.

The researchers successfully demonstrated the new platform by testing a thermal device designed to monitor and prevent post-surgical infection (demonstrated in a rat model) and also created a 64 pixel digital camera.

Collaborating with Omenetto from Tufts Department of Biomedical Engineering were Hu Tao, research assistant professor and co-first author on the paper; Mark A. Brenckle, doctoral student; Bruce Panilaitis, program administrator; Miaomiao Yang, doctoral student; and David L. Kaplan, Stern Family Professor of Engineering and department chair. In addition to Tufts and UIUC, co-authors on the paper also came from Seoul National University, Northwestern University, Dalian University of Technology (China), Nano Terra (Boston), and the University of Arizona.

In the future, the researchers envision more complex devices that could be adjustable in real time or responsive to changes in their environment, such as chemistry, light or pressure.

The work was supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research Multi University Research Initiative program, the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health under award EB002520 and the U.S. Department of Energy.

Attribution: Real Clear Science

Obamacare is Coming! Hide Your Wallets!

These are the Top 5 Worst Taxes ‘Obamacare’ Will Impose in 2013

from:  at The Blaze

The Grover Norquist-founded Americans for Tax Reform, a 501(c)(4) lobbying group that opposes “all tax increases as a matter of principle,” on Friday released a list of what, they say, are the top five worst taxes The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. “Obamacare”) will impose on Americans in 2013.

Here they are [all block quotes via the report]:

The ‘Obamacare’ Medical Device Tax

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $20 Billion

Medical device manufacturers employ 409,000 people in 12,000 plants across the country. Obamacare imposes a new 2.3 percent excise tax on gross sales — even if the company does not earn a profit in a given year. In addition to killing small business jobs and impacting research and development budgets, this will increase the cost of your health care — making everything from pacemakers to prosthetics more expensive.

The ‘Obamacare’ ‘Special Needs Kids Tax’

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $13 Billion

The 30-35 million American who use a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) at work to pay for their family’s basic medical needs will face a new government cap of $2,500 (currently the accounts are unlimited under federal law, though employers are allowed to set a cap).

There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children.  There are several million families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education. This Obamacare tax provision will limit the options available to these families.

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The ‘Obamacare’ Surtax on Investment Income

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $123 Billion

This is a new, 3.8 percentage point surtax on investment income earned in households making at least $250,000 ($200,000 single).  This would result in the following top tax rates on investment income:

The table above also incorporates the scheduled hike in the capital gains rate from 15 to 20 percent, and the scheduled hike in dividends rate from 15 to 39.6 percent.

The ‘Obamacare’ ‘Haircut’ for Medical Itemized Deductions

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $15.2 Billion

Currently, those Americans facing high medical expenses are allowed a deduction to the extent that those expenses exceed 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI).  This tax increase imposes a threshold of 10 percent of AGI. By limiting this deduction, Obamacare widens the net of taxable income for the sickest Americans.  This tax provision will most harm near retirees and those with modest incomes but high medical bills.

The ‘Obamacare’ Medicare Payroll Tax Hike

Americans For Tax Reform Releases a List of the Top 5 Worst Taxes Obamacare Will Impose in 2013Tax Increase: $86.8 Billion

The Medicare payroll tax is currently 2.9 percent on all wages and self-employment profits.  Under this tax hike, wages and profits exceeding $200,000 ($250,000 in the case of married couples) will face a 3.8 percent rate instead. This is a direct marginal income tax hike on small business owners, who are liable for self-employment tax in most cases. The table below compares current law vs. the Obamacare Medicare Payroll Tax Hike:

A Slice of Water

You’ve likely heard of or seen swordsmen who can expertly and accurately slice through all kinds of objects, but scientists are now taking precision-cutting to the next level of awesome.

Researchers at Arizona State University, in cooperation with colleagues at Youngstown State University, have perfected the subtle science of slicing water droplets in half. They detailed their exploits in a study just published in the online open-access journal PLoS ONE.

The scientists accomplished the feat using superhydrophobic (extremely water-resistant) knives and cutting surfaces. The knives were composed of polyethylene and zinc and dipped in solutions of silver nitrate and another superhydrophobic solution abbreviated HDFT (its systematic name is far too long to fit on one line). Cutting surfaces were simply composed of Teflon.

Even with their water-resistant knives and cutting boards, the researchers had to be incredibly meticulous when actually slicing the H2O. They delicately cut through water droplets ranging in size from 15 to 70 µL, utilizing wire loops to keep the droplets stationary. Their meticulous efforts produced no satellite drops, nor did they result in any “catastrophic rupture” of the water droplets.

The researchers envision their knives and methods potentially being employed in biomolecular research settings where scientists have to efficiently separate proteins or other components in very small liquid samples.

Attribution: Real Clear Science, The New Scientist

Remember When?

Researchers discover technique to erase newly formed memories

Erasing memories has long been a staple of sci-fi films, but researchers now believe they have made a breakthrough in making the process reality.

The groundbreaking research at Uppsala University in Sweden could lead to radical new treatments for sufferers of anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders.

It shows for the first time that newly formed emotional memories can be erased from the human brain.

Men in Black famously used memory erasing gadgets - now scientists believe they can actually erase short term memories.

Men in Black famously used memory erasing gadgets – now scientists believe they can actually erase short term memories.

This is shown by researchers from Uppsala University in a new study now being published by the academic journal Science.

‘These findings may be a breakthrough in research on memory and fear. Ultimately the new findings may lead to improved treatment methods for the millions of people in the world who suffer from anxiety issues like phobias, post-traumatic stress, and panic attacks,’ says Thomas Ågren, who led the study.

When a person learns something, a lasting long-term memory is created with the aid of a process of consolidation, which is based on the formation of proteins in the brain.

When we remember something, the memory becomes unstable for a while and is then restabilized by another consolidation process.

‘In other words, it can be said that we are not remembering what originally happened, but rather what we remembered the last time we thought about what happened,’ the researchers say.

By disrupting the reconsolidation process, the team found they can change what was remembered.

In the study the researchers showed subjects a neutral picture and simultaneously administered an electric shock.

In this way the picture came to elicit fear in the subjects which meant a fear memory had been formed.

In order to activate this fear memory, the picture was then shown without any accompanying shock.

For one experimental group the reconsolidation process was disrupted with the aid of repeated presentations of the picture.

For a control group, the reconsolidation process was allowed to complete before the subjects were shown the same repeated presentations of the picture.

In subjects that were not allowed to reconsolidate the fear memory, the fear they previously associated with the picture dissipated, and the memory was rendered neutral.

At the same time, using a MR-scanner, the researchers were able to show that the traces of that memory also disappeared from the part of the brain that normally stores fearful memories, the nuclear group of amygdala in the temporal lobe.

Attribution: Daily Mail

It’s Alive!

by: Sam Shead

Experiments with echoes of Frankenstein suggest electricity could one day be used to regenerate tissue and regrow lost limbs.

Scientists believe electric currents and fields hold the key to major advances in tissue engineering.

In the distant future they may even help people with severed limbs, such as victims of industrial accidents or soldiers, to grow new arms and legs.

 
Electric currents and fields could one day be used to grow tissue for soldiers with severed limbs
Electric currents and fields could one day be used to grow tissue for soldiers with severed limbs

Electrical stimulus has already shown some success in stimulating sensory nerve regrowth in people with damaged spinal cords.

There is also evidence that bio-electric fields play a role in regenerating lost fingertips, especially in children.

But the importance of electricity in wound healing and tissue repair has been largely overlooked because of its association with Victorian quackery and Frankenstein, according to Dr Ann Rajnicek.

‘Electricity is key; its something that has been under-appreciated,’ she said. ‘But people still think of Frankenstein and the Victorian age. Even when you try to sell the idea to a research funding agency, they say ‘oh no, I’m not sure about that’.’

In Mary Shelley’s novel, electricity provides the spark that brings Frankenstein’s monster to life. 

The idea of using electricity for tissue engineering has been dismissed due to the connotations it holds with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein novel.

 
The creature created by Frankenstein later went on to be called Frankenstein itself
The creature created by Frankenstein later went on to be called Frankenstein itself
 

During the Victorian era, when the novel was written, electricity and its biological effects gripped the public imagination.

Electrical devices were built that were supposed to treat all manner of ills, from depression to kidney disease and impotence.

Macabre stage experiments were also common in which the dead were apparently brought to life using electricity to make limbs jerk or teeth chatter, said Dr Rajnicek.

In a show conducted in Glasgow in 1818, the corpse of a man hung for murder suddenly sat up, causing members of the audience to flee in terror. One man fainted.

Dr Rajnicek’s research at the University of Aberdeen has demonstrated the effect of electricity on flatworms rather than human corpses.

‘We’re using flatworms that multiply asexually by spontaneous fission,’ she said. ‘The worm snaps itself in two like an elastic band so you have one end missing a head and other missing a tail.

Geckos have the ability to regrow their tails with a surplus of stem cells that migrate towards parts of the body that need healing

‘Each half reforms, and this is something that has perplexed scientists for hundreds of years. How does a tail know it needs a head or a head know it needs a tail?

‘We believe the natural electrical field that’s associated with the wounding process acts like a compass to tell cells where to migrate. You get a field that points towards the wound and directs cells there.

‘We’ve also found that there’s a gradient – the electrical field is positive but at the very tip of the head of the worm its much less positive, so the animal has natural electrical polarity. We think the stem cells are being directed to build either a head or tail because one end is more positive and the other end is more negative.’

When a flatworm is cut, electricity leaks out of the wound – and the same thing occurs in all other animals, including humans, said Dr Rajnicek. ‘The skin [is] like a battery,’ she said.

 
Earmouse: Scientists managed to graft a lab grown human-like ear onto the back of a mouse
Earmouse: MIT Scientists managed to graft a lab grown human-like ear onto the back of a mouse in 1995

In animals that regenerate limbs, such as flatworms and amphibians, the leakage produces an electrical potential that causes cells at the ‘stump’ to regress to an embryonic state. They can then mature into different kinds of new regenerated cells.

By reversing the polarity of the electric field at the wound site, Dr Rajnicek was able to produce worms with heads where their tails should be, and vice-versa. Manipulating the field led to worms with two heads or two tails.

The scientists know there is much more to the story because flatworms are not completely simple creatures. They have complex nervous systems with two parallel nerve cords and a brain, eyes, a gut, and around 40 different cell types.

‘We are still at the early stages, but we want to look at the genes that are switched on or off by the presence or absence of this field,’ said Dr Rajnicek, who gave a presentation on her work at the British Science Festival at the University of Aberdeen.

There is evidence that the leakage of electricity from wounds aids healing in humans, she added.

In the 1980s, researchers studied cases of children who regrew the tips of their fingers after having them sliced off in car doors.

They found that younger children healed better, and also leaked the most current from their wounds. When the wounds were sutured and sealed up, it prevented regeneration.

Another case in 2008 involved American Lee Spievak who chopped half an inch off the end of a finger in the propeller of a model aeroplane. The finger tip was lost, but Mr Spievak treated himself with a powder obtained from a tissue engineering lab at the University of Pennsylvania where his brother worked. The media described the regrowth of his finger tip as a ‘medical miracle’.

Mr Spievak put his recovery down to the powder, prepared from pigs bladder cells, which he called “pixie dust”. Dr Rajnicek believes growth factors in the powder may have worked in conjunction with the electrical effect of the open wound.

Covering up open wounds might help prevent infection, but could also hinder recovery, she suggested.

She added that early work had already shown that manipulating electricity can help repair damaged spinal cords.

A team from the University of North Texas improved sensory nerve function in 10 patients using electrical stimulus, although no effect was seen on motor function.

‘We’re not saying electricity is the only thing that matters, but it is one piece of the puzzle that has been neglected,’ said Dr Rajnicek.

Work it Out

It sounds like a couch potato’s dream: two-and-a-half minutes of exercise could be just as good as a 90-minute run.

Research suggests that short, sharp bursts of exercise are better at warding off heart disease than much longer – but less strenuous – sessions.

Academic Stuart Gray asked a group of men aged between 18 and 35 to either do high-intensity sprints on an exercise bike or walk for half an hour on a treadmill.

Those on the exercise bike pedalled as hard as they could for 30 seconds, rested for up to four minutes and then repeated the pattern four times.

This meant that, in all, they did two and a half minutes of exercise strenuous enough to make them sweat and leave them out of breath.

The others walked at the sort of brisk pace recommended in health guidelines.

A day later, they came back into the lab and ate a fatty breakfast and lunch consisting of bread, mayonnaise and cheese.

Their blood was then tested to see how quickly the levels of fat in their blood fell – as fat lingering in the blood after eating is known to trigger the first in a series of steps that can lead to clogging of the arteries and heart disease.

The results revealed that walking cut fat by 11 per cent, compared with not doing any exercise.

'Less strenuous': The other group of men were asked to walk for half an hour on a treadmillBut the short sharp bursts of exercise cut it by 33 per cent – the sort of effect expected from a 90-minute run.

Dr Gray, of Aberdeen University, told the British Science Festival that short bursts of intensive exercise may somehow spur the liver into taking in more fat from the blood, before storing it or burning it off.

He said that, while the high intensity training ‘won’t necessarily’ improve strength, it does boost endurance. He added that the short duration of the exercise was ‘highly important as time is often cited as the main barrier to taking part in exercise’.

The need to rest between the high-intensity activity means the whole routine took around 20 minutes – and it has to be done regularly.

Dr Gray said: ‘Although moderate intensity, longer sessions of exercise can help protect the body against cardio-vascular disease, the findings of our study showed that higher-intensity shorter intervals of exercise might be a more effective method to improve health and reduce the time commitment to exercise.’

 Attribution: Mail Online

Cures What Ails Ya

It’s not a drug known for its benefits to health. In fact, if you were caught with this class A substance and claimed it was for ‘medicinal purposes’ you’d probably be laughed at all the way to the police station.

But, bizarrely, cocaine – and other drugs like morphine – were routinely used in remedies for coughs, colds and toothaches as a cure-all magic ingredient in the Victorian era.

Long before the drugs were criminalized – and prior to the regulation of both medicine and advertising – the substances were frequently touted as effective treatments for illnesses as serious as cancer and liver disease.

 
Inappropriate: An advert for cocaine toothache drops, marketed at children, which cost just 15 cents in 1885 
 
An advert for Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup, a patent medicine of the late 19th century which contained morphine, and was used as a cure for teething troubles in infants
 advert for Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, a patent medicine of the late 19th century which contained morphine, and was used as a cure for teething troubles in infants

These bizarre posters reveal the lethal medical concoctions containing cocaine and opium once unwittingly consumed by millions.

The quack cure advertisements – often depicting children – claimed to heal a long list of illnesses.

But the miracle cures were often loaded with substances such as cocaine, morphine and alcohol – all of which have been proven to be detrimental to our health in large doses.

Seems we’ve come a long way.

Up in smoke: An advert produced by Minnesota Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in 1895 claiming its cigars don't damage health because they are pure and scientific  An advert produced by Minnesota Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in 1895 claiming its cigars don’t damage health because they are pure and scientific
 
 
 
An advert from 1900s for Vin Mariani, French tonic wine made from coca leaves, a source of cocaine
A drug advert from 1891 for a kidney and liver cure from US drug company Warner
An advert from 1900s for Vin Mariani (upper), French tonic wine made from coca leaves, a source of cocaine. Pictured (lower) is a drug advert from 1891 for a kidney and liver cure from US drug company Warner.
 

Dr Seth Arnold's Cough Killer, which contained morphine, from the late 1800s was claimed to cure coughs, asthma, pneumonia, malaria and many other diseases

Dr Seth Arnold’s Cough Killer, which contained morphine, from the late 1800s was claimed to cure coughs, asthma, pneumonia, malaria and many other diseases

All the products were once readily available over the counter and millions rushed to snap them up around the world in the late 1800s.

One advert for Ozone paper urges buyers to ignite its special paper and inhale the smoke to cure their asthma and bronchitis.

While Dr Seth Arnold’s Cough Killer’s campaign showed a young girl clutching a puppy – but contained high levels of Morphine.

Another ad dating back to 1885 advertised its ‘instantaneous cure’ for toothache – using cocaine.

 
Purely ridiculous: These products from the early 1900s were advertised as a 'blood purifier' to treat cancer
Purely ridiculous: These products from the early 1900s were advertised as a ‘blood purifier’ to treat cancer
 
 
 
An advert from 1895 selling a product that makes you fat, something seen as the sign of good health before regulation was introduced
An advertisement for an anti-fat remedy, patented by the Botanic Medicine Company, Buffalo, New York, in 1878
 Weighty issue: An advert, (upper), from 1895 selling a product that makes you fat – something seen as the sign of good health- and one for weight loss,(lower), in 1878
 
An advert for Mrs Winslow's Soothing Syrup for children from the late 19th century, which contained morphine
 advert for Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup for children from the late 19th century, which contained morphine

Stephen Jackson, a quack cure and medicine historian, said: ‘There were a lot of medicines before the 1900s that incorporated cocaine and alcohol, simply because they were cheap components.

‘Since nobody tested them to see if they lived up to their wild claims, companies could say and claim anything they wanted to.

‘They invested a tremendous amount of money in advertising and the public was pretty gullible. People made a tremendous amount of money around the world hawking this stuff.

‘They used a lot of alcohol in products for kidney and liver problems for example, which is the last thing you want in that situation.

Dr Scott's Electric Flesh Brush, featured in this 1881 advert, is a concept still used today. Millions use body brushes to improve circulation and skin conditionDr Scott’s Electric Flesh Brush, featured in this 1881 advert, is a concept still used today. Millions use body brushes to improve circulation and skin condition
 
 
An advert from 1912 claiming to offer treatment for female diseases and piles, which consisted mainly of cocoa butter
An advert from 1912 claiming to offer treatment for female diseases and piles, which consisted mainly of cocoa butter
 An advert from 1912 (upper) claiming to offer treatment for female diseases and piles, which consisted mainly of cocoa butter. A breast enlargement advert (lower) dating from the early 1900s
 
This tubular device claimed to cure erectile dysfunction in the 1900s. The Vital Power massager created a vacuum via a crank that supposedly increased blood flow to the penis
This tubular device claimed to cure erectile dysfunction in the 1900s. The Vital Power massager created a vacuum via a crank that supposedly increased blood flow to the penis

Shock tactics: This advertisement from 1889 shows a product that supplied patients with a continuous current of low intensity electricity for a range of health remedies

Shock tactics: This advertisement from 1889 shows a product that supplied patients with a continuous current of low intensity electricity for a range of health remedies

 
 
Vintage health clinic advertisement in a newspaper dating from the early 1900's for Dr. Flint, Chicago Rupture Specialist, an unproven proprietary or patent medicine
Vintage health clinic advertisement in a newspaper dating from the early 1900’s for Dr. Flint, Chicago Rupture Specialist, an unproven proprietary or patent medicine
 
Attribution: Daily Mail