Development of a neural network model to predict the presence of fentanyl in community drug samples 🔓
Increasingly, Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy is being used as a harm reduction tool to provide people who use drugs real-time information about the contents of their substances. However, FTIR spectroscopy has been shown to have a high detection limit for fentanyl and interpretation of results by a technician can be subjective. This poses concern, given that some synthetic opioids can produce serious toxicity at sub-detectable levels. The objective of this study was to develop a neural network model to identify fentanyl and related analogues more accurately in drug samples compared to traditional analysis by technicians. It found that neural network models can accurately predict the presence of fentanyl and related analogues using FTIR data, including samples with low fentanyl concentrations. Integrating this tool within drug checking services utilizing FTIR spectroscopy has the potential to improve decision making to reduce the risk of overdose and other negative health outcomes.
Involvement of the Opioid Peptide Family in Cancer Progression 🔓
Opioids can exert an antitumoral effect or promote tumor growth and metastasis. No clinical studies have been performed concerning the antitumor action of opioid peptides/opioid-peptide receptor antagonists. This review updates findings related to opioid peptides (enkephalins, endorphins, and dynorphins) and their role in cancer development. Methionine-enkephalin (MET) is the most common opioid peptide studied in cancer. The authors determined that a systematic study on the role of these opioid peptides and their receptors in many types of cancers is urgently needed. This would include their role in tumor progression, the tumor microenvironment, and as tumor agents. Knowledge of which opioid receptors and signaling pathways are involved in cancer progression can better establish strategies for the future.
E-Cigarettes and Stroke Risk—Present Uncertainties and Future Directions
There are multiple toxins in e-cigarettes that could impact risk for stroke. However evidence about the role e-cigarettes play in stroke is lacking. Studies are needed that consider smoking status (current, former, never smokers), duration/frequency of use, and age. Additives and other toxins present also need consideration. This will help in evaluating the effects of these devices on subsequent stroke. Clearly a need exists for funding research able to address these and other concerns.