SGU Science Pic Of The Week: Loperamide Crystals
What you see here is not a supernova. It’s not even a piece of art by one of those painters who just randomly splashes paint on a canvas.
This is a loperamide crystal.
Loperamide is a drug that nobody wants to think about until we need it, and then it’s our best friend. Its function is to slow down the movement of the intestine so that anything in there hangs around longer instead of rushing to the exit door. This gives our body a chance to absorb more of the water in our gut instead of being expelled in a most distasteful way. In case it’s not painfully obvious by now, loperamide is the active ingredient in anti-diarrheal drugs.
The image itself is a false-coloured scanning electron micrograph taken by Annie Cavanagh and David McCarthy. It was a finalist in the Wellcome Image Awards of 2012.
So the next time you take this drug and you’re on the can cursing the bad shrimp you ate, remember the beauty of the drug that’s working hard to firm-up your feces.