Short items

Silicone implant scare

Implants at the centre of the breast cancer scares contain a ’near criminal’ cocktail of chemicals, according to a leading toxicologist. After chemical analysis, the PIP implants were found to be made of industrial silicones instead of medical grade silicone. The implants are also extremely fragile as a protective coating used to prevent splitting was not applied. 
Daily Mail, 3 January 2012 

Soluble microchip

Lloyds pharmacy in the UK is to sell pills containing edible microchips. The chips will monitor drug use, as well as bodily functions, and transmit the information to a monitoring patch. The ’intelligent medicine’ is intended to boost compliance with drug regimes, as well as monitoring chronic conditions. However, there are privacy concerns. 
The Financial Times, 16 January 2012 

Silkworms spin spider silk

Scientists have genetically modified silkworms to spin composite fibres made of their own silk and the silk used in the draglines of the golden orb spider. The Bombyx mori silkworms used in the research have a proven track record in manufacturing industrial silk, suggesting a solution for the long search to scale up spider silk production. Spider silk is stronger than steel but is five times less dense. 
The Independent, 3 January 2012  

Drug dosing needs beefing up

A group of doctors and scientists has called for the dosing guidelines for children to be revisited, as the rise in overweight and obese children may mean that they are not getting an efficacious dose of a drug. In particular, antibiotics may be being under used, which could lead to antibiotic resistance developing as the bacteria are not fully eradicated. The average weight of a 10-year old has risen 7kg from the 1960 average of 30kg, when the dosing guidelines were written. 
The Guardian, 16 December 2011