2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

Congratulations to our contributing author Frances H. Arnold, of the California Institute of Technology, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with George P. Smith, of the University of Missouri, and Gregory P. Winter, of the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. Dr. Arnold received half of it “for the directed evolution of enzymes” and Drs. Smith and Winter shared the other half “for the phage display of peptides and antibodies.”

We’ve made this article freely available to celebrate her achievement:

Synthetic Gene Circuits: Design with Directed Evolution, E.L. Haseltine and F.H. Arnold, 2007 Annual Review of Biophysics and Biomolecular Structure

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The Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Volume 57

Check out the full tables of content for Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Volume 57.

I have an ongoing fascination with articles that examine how real clinicians work and relate to patients. So it’s no surprise that I would up rereading the article Lavoie et al.’s “Changing Provider Behavior in the Context of Chronic Disease Management: Focus on Clinical Inertia.” It focuses specifically on chronic diseases. It’s a tremendously interesting and sometimes frustrating article. See for example this paragraph on treatment of asthma:

Despite the availability of guidelines for the treatment of asthma and robust evidence that following guideline recommendations improves outcomes, provider adherence to CPGs to manage asthma is poor. For example, a retrospective study of asthma care delivered to 345 patients at a tertiary adult emergency department (ED) in Canada reported 69.6% overall compliance with guidelines . Controller (i.e., inhaled corticosteroid) use was prescribed in only one-third of children and adults in the ED and on discharge. Studies have also shown that in the nonacute care setting, few physicians prescribe ongoing daily controller medication or written self-management plans, even in adults and children with a recent acute care visit for asthma. Moreover, even when they are prescribed, the cumulative duration of available prescriptions coversless than 50% of the follow-up period.”

In other cheerful news there is the article, “Will There Be a Cure for Ebola?”, by Cardile et al. It provides this answer in the introduction: “Identification of a cure, therefore, may be approached from the perspective of prevention, treatment, or eradication. Only smallpox and rinderpest have been eradicated from nature. The prospect of EBOV eradication is untenable at this time, given our incomplete understanding of potential reservoir hosts and subsequent initial transmission from reservoir hosts to humans.” However, the control and prevention of the disease is looking more promising.”


Coleman’s article “The Discovery of Suvorexant, the First Orexin Receptor Drug for Insomnia” provides some good news for those who suffer from insomnia, “Unlike GABAA receptor modulators, DORAs promote both non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and REM sleep, do not disrupt sleep stage–specific quantitative electroencephalogram spectral profiles, and allow somnolence indistinct from normal sleep. The preservation of cognitive performance and the ability to arouse to salient stimuli after DORA administration suggest further advantages over historical therapies.”

Let’s head into the weekend with a happy article about relaxation and the relationship between the brain’s stress and reward circuits. Say Volkow’s wonderfully titled article “Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Endocannabinoids and Cannabis at the Intersection of Stress and Reward.” I was intrigued by the introduction to this article: “The search for a state of mental relaxation and well-being is one of the factors driving the widespread consumption of cannabis. The most frequently abused illicit substance worldwide, cannabis is consumed regularly by about 2.4% of the world population (approximately 181 million people in 2013).” This is a really interesting look at how cannabis interacts with our stress and reward centers and why it works to relax some people.


Suzanne K. Moses is Annual Reviews’ Senior Electronic Content Coordinator. For 15+ years, she has played a central role in the publication of Annual Reviews’ online articles. Not a single page is posted online without first being proofed and quality checked by Suzanne.