Old Comics Zen

February 25th, 2005 | researchmaterial

For the love of God, somebody stop me.

The Return Of Psychedelic Medicine

February 25th, 2005 | researchmaterial

John Halpern clearly remembers what made him change his mind about psychedelic drugs. It was the early 1990s and the young medical student at a hospital in Brooklyn, New York, was getting frustrated that he could not do more to help the alcoholics and addicts in his care. He sounded off to an older psychiatrist, who mentioned that LSD and related drugs had once been considered promising treatments for addiction. “I was so fascinated that I did all this research,” Halpern recalls. “I was reading all these papers from the 60s and going, whoa, wait a minute! How come nobody’s talking about this?”

More than a decade later, Halpern is now an associate director of substance abuse research at Harvard University’s McLean Hospital and is at the forefront of a revival of research into psychedelic medicine. He recently received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to give late-stage cancer patients the psychedelic drug MDMA, also known as ecstasy. He is also laying the groundwork for testing LSD as a treatment for dreaded super-migraines known as cluster headaches.

And Halpern is not alone. Clinical trials of psychedelic drugs are planned or under way at numerous centres around the world for conditions ranging from anxiety to alcoholism. It may not be long before doctors are legally prescribing hallucinogens for the first time in decades…

Hydroelectric Dams = Filthy CO2 Pumps

February 25th, 2005 | researchmaterial

Contrary to popular belief, hydroelectric power can seriously damage the climate. Proposed changes to the way countries’ climate budgets are calculated aim to take greenhouse gas emissions from hydropower reservoirs into account, but some experts worry that they will not go far enough.

The green image of hydro power as a benign alternative to fossil fuels is false, says Eric Duchemin, a consultant for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Everyone thinks hydro is very clean, but this is not the case,” he says.

Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels…