Site of interest on the World Wide Web–edited by David Siderovski and Susan Siderovski

Scrip by SNP?


What lies in store for the practice of pharmacy? Will we have prescriptions tailored to an individual’s collection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs)(, thus avoiding adverse drug events? In MI’s interview with Palmer Taylor (pp 6–10 of this issue), the inaugural dean of UCSD’s new School of Pharmacy( contemplates training future pharmacists to run microarrays ( their patrons’ DNA. To get to that point, we’ll first need an extensive understanding of which SNPs translate into differential responses to therapeutic agents. One person helping to build this future is Sean Mooney, currently at Stanford University and curator of MutDB (, a functionally annotated mutationdatabase of the human genome. While still described as an “alpha” version of the database, MutDB already houses AnnoSNP, an extensive repository of human genes with known variations mapped to promoter, intron, or exon, as well as the AutoSNP server that employs comparative genomics to predict whether gene mutations are of functional importance to the encoded protein.

Schizophrenia Support

Several excellent Web sites provide information about schizophrenia. The National Library of Medicine maintains a clearinghouse of relevant sites and current news within its MEDLINEplusWeb site ( While the National Institute of Mental Health ( coordinates and funds much of the basic research into schizophrenia in the U.S., a private Montreal philanthropic agency with a particular commitment to schizophrenia research, The EJLB Foundation (, funds young investigators across North America under its yearly Scholar Research Programme, first established in 1995. For families coping with schizophrenia, the non-profit Schizophrenia Homepage ( provides an Internet focal point for education, research, and discussions on the subject. The online resources are extensive and provide not only personal stories of coping with the disease, but also advice for handling issues of medication noncompliance, depression, and suicide. Additionally, extensive back-issue archives of a periodic “Schizophrenia Update” newsletter are available by e-mail subscription.

Java on the Brain

Some of us really need that morning “cuppa” to get our brains in gear. In fact, using caffeine to help military personnel stay sharp hasn’t escaped the purview of the Institute of Medicine ( But can caffeine be dangerous to your mental health? In a recent article from eMedicine (, R. Gregory Lande from the University of South Carolina surveys the four caffeine-induced psychiatric disorders formally described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV; Roland Griffiths and Geoffrey Mumford of Johns Hopkins University pose the provocative question of whether caffeine should be considered a drug of abuse ( Will your local java hangout need to add a new warning on their coffee-cup lids next to the “Contents Hot” label?

Medicine and Madison Avenue

Mind-altering? Addictive? Ain’t nothin’ some good ol’-fashioned marketing spin couldn’t cure! For a historical perspective on the complex relationship between medicine and advertising, check out the Medicine and Madison Avenue Web site ( created by the National Humanities Center and the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History. Housed in the “Digital Scriptorium” of Duke University, the MMA project has created a timeline, spanning 1840 to the present day, outlining milestones in medical discoveries, disease trends, and regulatory controls on drugs and medical advertising. Most informative, however, is their collection of nearly 600 health-related advertisements, hawking everything from cough and cold remedies, laxatives, vitamins and tonics, to household cleaning products and baby food, as culled from newspapers and magazines published in the first half of the 20th Century. Once you read some of the more hilarious clippings, you’ll see where The Onion ( gets its inspiration for their faux historical ads!

If you have suggestions of Web sites that would be of interest to the readership of Molecular In(ter)ventions, or would like to advertise your own, please contact David Siderovski (dsiderov{at}

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