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November 19th marks the passing of John Vane. Vane was a British biochemist who spent his career studying prostaglandins. Prostaglandins are compounds that regulate many different functions in the body. Vane developed a test called the dynamic bioassay that identified and measured the substances that make up blood and other fluids of the body. Using this test, he discovered prostaglandins are produced by several tissues and organs and their effect was short ranged, typically affecting the area near where they were produced. One of the experiments he performed found that aspirin inhibited the production of prostaglandin that causes inflammation. This demonstrated definite physiological evidence to support the use of aspirin as an anti-inflammatory medicine. This discovery would also earn him a third of the 1983 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

He also discovered another prostaglandin called prostacyclin that was important to the process of blood coagulation. Prostacyclin is used to prevent blood clotting during surgeries and also to dissolve blood clots that may cause heart attacks and strokes. Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.


April 8, 2014 at 1:13 pm
(1) Connie S. P. says:

If your blood pressure is high from stress and you happen to get a nose
bleed, what are the risks?.

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