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The dangers of biohacking 'experiments'- and how it could harm your health

http://theconversation.com/the-dangers-of-biohacking-experiments-and-how-it-could-harm-your-health-100542

theconversation.com

The dangers of biohacking 'experiments'- and how it could harm your health
Biohacking or "do it yourself" biology has been on the rise in recent years - it now even has various organised conferences. Following a recent VICE news documentary about a start-up company called Ascendance Biomedical - who are self-testing drugs - biohacking has had further exposure outside of its circle of devout followers.

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Biohacking - “do it yourself” biology

Biohacking is an open innovation and social movement that seeks to further enhance the ability of the human body. This includes humans trying to get cyborg like features, achieve hyper human senses, and also seek out new medicines and cures for disease via the promotion of self-experimentation.

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Biohacking drugs

Common reasons for biohacking drugs are that there are not enough cures, that drug prices are too high, and that participating in biohacking is taking a stand against the establishment – primarily Big Pharma.

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The dangers

Trying to discover drugs through biohacking compromises on quality scientific research.

The drugs usually skip key toxicity tests before being administered to patients and in doing so seriously jeopardises the safety of those involved. Without rigorous pre-clinical testing in the laboratory, it is very difficult to predict how that drug will fully interact with the complexity of the human body.

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However, studies show that a placebo doesn't trick the brain - the brain reacts differently to a drug than a placebo. A 2004 study showed that the expectation of pain relief causes the brain's relief system to activate.

Placebos in research

Placebos are often used in clinical drug trials to determine how well a potential medicine will work.

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  • When a patient takes a placebo and experiences adverse side effects, it's called a nocebo effect. Patients taking active drugs have also been known to have side effects that can't be directly attributed to the drug.

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DNA-testing is done by millions of people all over the world to analyze their DNA and find out where they originate.

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Many who have done a DNA home test begin to question their family heritage and wonder if they might have been misled. However, taking DNA tests from different companies reveal wildly varying results. There are a few reasons for this: 

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...practice yoga, making it one of the most popular forms of exercise.

Yoga and other forms of exercise

Although the research on yoga is still weak, based on the available findings, Yoga is probably just as good for your health as many other forms of exercise. 

It seems particularly promising for improving lower back pain and — crucially — reducing inflammation in the body.

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There is no certainty whether some forms of yoga are better than others, whether yoga should be prescribed to people for various health conditions, and how yoga compares with other forms of exercise. 

There's also no good evidence behind many of the supposed health benefits of yoga, like flushing out toxins and stimulating digestion.