Natesto®. What Else? (drug-naming study)

January 3rd, 2019
If you’re a manufacturer of medicines, thinking up a suitably snappy name for (2S)-1-[(2S)-6-amino-2-{[(1S)-1-carboxy-3-phenylpropyl]amino}hexanoyl]pyrrolidine-2-carboxylic acid [generic name Lisinopril] might not be an easy task.
And, according to a recent paper in the journal Names : A Journal of Onomastics, Volume 66, Issue 2, 2018, picking the ‘wrong’ name can make a huge difference to your sales figures.

“Considering the huge amount of money devoted to the marketing of new drugs, drug sponsors cannot take the risk of releasing a drug that will not sell. As seen with the contrasting stories of the two brands of lisinopril, both launched in the late 1980s: “ICI Pharmaceuticals called its lisinopril Zestril. Its competitors marketed the same molecule as Carace. Whereas Zestril became one of the medical world’s most successful brands, Carace sank pretty much without trace.”

The author of the study, Dr Pascaline Faure, who is a director of the Département d’Anglais Médical de la Faculté de Médecine Pierre et Marie Curie (Pitié-Salpêtrière/Saint-Antoine), France, points out that although the US regulatory body, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ‘recommended’ that “unsubstantial beneficial” connotations in names should be banned, manufacturers continue to concoct imaginative new tradenames in the hope that they will encourage sales.*

“In our study, we have shown that the commonly used letters X and Z are giving way to A and O endings so as to attract Romance languages speaking clients and conquer other markets such as the Latin American and the European markets. We have demonstrated that this trend matches a less recent ploy in food and automotive marketing. We focused on the “Vowel/Consonant+lexeme” matrix that is found almost exclusively in the drug industry because it permits to create a name shorter in writing – an advantage for prescribers. Although the FDA recommended that “unsubstantial beneficial” connotations be banned, we have uncovered the presence of promotional affixes as well as hidden emotional contents that are meant to be persuasive.”

See: ‘Natesto®. What Else? New Trends in Drug Naming’
* Bonus Assignment [optional] : Are the names designed to appeal to patients, or doctors (or both)?
Note: Bearing in mind that the patent on Lisinopril has long since expired, patients should be able to buy a chemically identical generic version of Lisinopril at a lower price than a branded version – but for those who insist on a named brand, there are quite a few on offer –  here is a partial list :
Acebitor®, Acemin®, Acepril®, Acerdil®, Acetan®, Acinopril®, Adco-Zetomax®, Adicanil®, Agimexpharm®, Agimlisin®, Alapril®, Albigone®, Axelvin®, Biopril®, Bpmed®, Cardiostad®, Cipril®, Cotensil-GMP®, Dapril®, Dikepril®, Diroton®, Diyiluo®, Doneka®, Dosteril®, Doxapril®, Ecapril®, Enlisin®, Eucor®, Fisopril®, Forsine®, Gamalizin®, Genopril®, Glopril®, Gnostoval®, Hipril®, Hyporil®, Icoran®, Ikapril®, Inhitril®, Interpril®, Iricil®, Irumed®, Laaven®, Leruze®, Likenil®, Linipril®, Linopril®, Linoxal®, Linvas®, Lipril®, Liscard®, Lisdene®, Lisi-Hennig®, Lisidigal®, Lisigamma®, Lisigen®, Lisihexal®, LisiHEXAL®, LisiJenson®, Lisinal®, Lisino®, Lisinocor®, Lisinoratio®, Lisinospes®, Lisinovil®, Lisipril®, Lisiprol®, Lisiren®, Lisitril®, Lisodinol®, Lisodura®, Lisopress®, Lisopril®, Lisoril®, Lispril®, Listril®, Lithium-Chlorid®, Lizinopril®, Lizopril®, Lizro®, Lokopool®, Longes®, Lopril®, Loril®, Lysin®, Maxipril®, Nafordyl®, Neopril®, Nivant®, Noperten®, Nopril®, Noprisil®, Odace®, Omace®, Optimon®, Perenal®, Pressamea®, Pressuril®, Prinivil®, Quadrica®, Ranolip®, Ranopril®, Rilace®, Safepril®, Sinopren®, Sinopril®, Sinopryl®, Skopryl®, Stril®, Tensikey®, Tensinop®, Tensiphar®, Tensopril®, Tersif-MD®, Thriusedon®, Tivirlon®, Tonolysin®, Tonotensil®, Vastril®, Vercol®, Veroxil®, Vitopril®, Yi-Mai-Ou®, Yijikang®, Z-Bec®, Zesger®, Zestan®, Zestril®, Zinopril®. [source]
[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]

The prevalence of prestigious

January 2nd, 2019

When you read news reports about science or medicine, you can amuse yourself by noticing how often the word “prestigious” crops up.


You might notice which news organizations make frequent use of the word. You might notice which science-related or medical-related institutions (or whatever) are called “prestigious.”
You might ask yourself which of those news reports use the word because it gives information, and which use the word because it fills space and seems, well, prestigious.

Perry Mason and the Selection and Use of Puppets in Counseling

January 1st, 2019

Perry Mason, noted Los Angeles attorney, is the central character in a series of novels, and then movies and radio programs and TV programs, created by Erle Stanley Gardner. Perry Mason—a different and non-fictional Perry Mason—is co-author of a scholarly study on the selection and use of puppets in counseling. Here is the cover of a novel about the more famous, fictional Perry Mason:


The puppet study is: “The Selection and Use of Puppets in Counseling,” Professional School Counseling, Richard B. Carter, and Perry S. Mason, vol. 1, no. 5, 1998, pp. 50-53.

Perry S. Mason, Jr., was a professor of chemistry, from 1969-2008, at Lubbock Christian University, Texas, and was also a minister. If your interests incline toward chemistry, you might also enjoy reading one of Perry S. Mason’s studies that does not involve puppets:
A Quantitative Study of Reagents and Procedures for the Synthesis of Trimethylsilyl Derivatives,” Perry S. Mason Edgar D. Smith, Journal of Chromatographic Science, vol. 4, no. 11, 1 November 1966, pp. 398–400.

The fictional Perry Mason’s adventures became so popular that people jokingly, and sometimes not so jokingly, worried about “Perry Mason Syndrome“—a supposedly widespread belief that what happened in real courtrooms was as dramatic, as exciting, as sure to have an improbable last-minute twist that produced a happy ending, as what happened in the novels, films, radio and TV programs.
Here’s a thrilling scene in one of the Perry Mason TV episodes. The villain in this episode is played by actor Leonard Nimoy, who later appeared in a TV series about improbable voyages to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before:

BONUS: A scholarly paper on still a different topic, written by yet another Perry Mason: “Illustrations of the Early Treatment of Depreciation,” Perry Mason, The Accounting Review, vol. 8, no. 3, September, 1933, pp. 209-218.
 

Virtual Reality ‘Teabagging’ – an 'unlaughing' matter for hardcore gamers (study)

December 31st, 2018

First popularized within Halo 2 multiplayer competitive matches, teabagging is a controversial practice where the player’s avatar repeatedly crouches over a defeated player’s ‘body’ in order to simulate rubbing his or her genitals over the avatar’s body” [our hyperlink]

By way of a recent essay for the academic journal Games and Culture, the first (and quite probably as yet the only) critical scholarship study of Virtual Reality Teabagging is provided by Brian Hunt Myers, who a doctoral student at the Department of Communication, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA, US.
He informs that some ‘hardcore’ First Person Shooter (FPS) enthusiasts are often not amused by such practices – quoting a comment from a player :

“I think teabagging represents a lower level of FPS play. Time spent teabagging a player could otherwise be used to reach the next objective, defend the area, or go on the offense once more. Many times a second or two counts, so the player engaged in teabagging isn’t thinking of the big picture.”

Thus, when confronted with VR teabagging, it’s not uncommon, says the author, for ‘serious’ players to resort to ‘unlaughter’.

“Unlaughter is more than just the absence of laughter but is instead the conscious withholding of laughter in response to an invitation or demand to laugh.”

In conclusion, he adds, however :

“Alongside the derisive sneer or the silence of unlaughter, then, I optimistically assert that perhaps another kind of laughter exists, one that is gentler and more receptive. If nothing else, the example of teabagging demonstrates that those moments of laughter are not beyond the realm of possibility and that allowing for those moments can offer critical inquiry resources for new alliances and reparative practices.”

See: ‘Friends With Benefits : Plausible Optimism and the Practice of Teabagging in Video Games’ which is awaiting publication in a future issue of the journal Games and Culture. (A full copy may be found here courtesy of the University of Massachusetts Amherst.)
Note: For an overview of real-world (as opposed to virtual-world) ‘teabagging’ see John Waters’ 1998 film Pecker.
Also See: Teabagging in the Name of Science
[ Research research by Martin Gardiner ]

Whithering commentary about misconduct

December 30th, 2018

Whither, oh why, do some researchers misconduct themselves professionally, and what is to be done about it? This study wants you to wonder about that:
Whither research integrity? Plagiarism, self-plagiarism and coercive citation in an age of research assessment,” Ben R. MartinResearch Policy, Volume 42, Issue 5, June 2013, Pages 1005-1014. The author laments:
“This extended editorial asks whether peer-review is continuing to operate effectively in policing research misconduct in the academic world. It explores the mounting problems encountered by editors of journals such as Research Policy (RP) in dealing with research misconduct.”
 

Whithering commentary about misconduct

December 29th, 2018

Whither, oh why, do some researchers misconduct themselves professionally, and what is to be done about it? This study wants you to wonder about that:
Whither research integrity? Plagiarism, self-plagiarism and coercive citation in an age of research assessment,” Ben R. MartinResearch Policy, Volume 42, Issue 5, June 2013, Pages 1005-1014. The author laments:
“This extended editorial asks whether peer-review is continuing to operate effectively in policing research misconduct in the academic world. It explores the mounting problems encountered by editors of journals such as Research Policy (RP) in dealing with research misconduct.”
 

When were World Standards Day 2018?

December 29th, 2018

This year, 2018, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 14.
In Canada, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 4.
In the USA, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 18.
This staggered celebration is pretty much standard practice, and has been for many years.


People were moved to create a video celebration of World Standards Day 2018:

 

When were World Standards Day 2018?

December 28th, 2018

This year, 2018, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 14.
In Canada, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 4.
In the USA, World Standards Day was celebrated on October 18.
This staggered celebration is pretty much standard practice, and has been for many years.


People were moved to create a video celebration of World Standards Day 2018:

 

The rat-catcher's art

December 3rd, 2009

England’s professional rat-catching community produced at least two instructive books during the Victorian years.
Studies in the Art of Rat-Catching, by Henry C Barclay, went on sale in London in 1896. Avowedly educational, it’s also a rambling entertainment that finishes up with this jolly sentiment: “I have heard from half a dozen head-masters of schools that they find the art of rat-catching is so distasteful to their scholars, and so much above their intellect, and so fatiguing an exercise to the youthful mind, that they feel obliged to abandon the study of it and replace it once more by those easier and pleasanter subjects, Latin and Greek”. Two years later, Ike Matthews, in Manchester, published his Full Revelations of a Professional Rat-Catcher after 25 Years’ Experience….

So begins this week’s Improbable Research column in The Guardian.

Gift U

December 1st, 2009

Savor the product description for this item that’s on sale via Amazon.com:
“Radioactive sample of uranium ore. Useful for testing Geiger Counters. License exempt. Uranium ore sample sizes vary. Shipped in labeled metal container as shown. Shipping Information: We are always in compliance
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