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Medicine Science

The Medical Benefits of Carbon Monoxide 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-garage-is-my-laboratory dept.
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."
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The Medical Benefits of Carbon Monoxide

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  • by notdotcom.com (1021409) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @01:41PM (#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?

  • In a word no (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 17, 2009 @01:57PM (#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:Gee whiz! (Score:3, Informative)

    by wjh31 (1372867) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @02:08PM (#29778833) Homepage
    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! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Thinboy00 (1190815) <thinboy00 AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:09PM (#29779203) Journal

    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:Cigarettes (Score:5, Informative)

    by treat (84622) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @03:59PM (#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.

  • by nedlohs (1335013) on Saturday October 17, 2009 @04:24PM (#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.

  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Saturday October 17, 2009 @05:29PM (#29780047) Homepage

    A lot of you here are to young to remember the big boat station wagons that parents would pile full of stuff and kids and head off to places like Yellowstone and the like. Many of these had rear facing seats and power rear windows. The only problem was that if you let the window down a little, the car exhaust would be sucked into the car, especially near the rear facing seats where the kids were. Now many would think this is a problem, but parents of that day, after having to listen to the little brats giggling, and yelling would crack that rear window and let a little CO in to quiet the kids down. It worked, they went to sleep, and the only drawback was a few points off the ACT scores later in High School.

  • Re:Gee whiz! (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 18, 2009 @02:44AM (#29782359)

    Wtf is virii? Are just trying to broadcast your ignorance? If virus had a Latin-like plural, it would be viri. So not only do you choose the wrong way to pluralize virus, you even screw that up.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev

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