Wednesday, 13 March 2019

On the benefits of cold showers to the immune system - Final Assessment

Four months ago I changed my daily routine tremendously by adding a morning shock strategy to my physical system. After four months of not missing out on my procedures and with disciplined dedication in using myself as subject to my tests, I have finally achieved a point where I can compile an adequate interpretation. Nevertheless, due to limited time and measuring tools/practices, the ASTONISHING results obtained can only be considered anecdotal. However, even if they were entirely placebo, the matter of fact is that I have COMPLETELY resolved three big limitations my Sjogren's Syndrome was still upsetting me with.

What am I talking about?

Remember when back in November 2018 I wrote the very first post on how a daily cold shower therapy had improved tremendously on my energy levels (that due to my Sjogren's was to an extent debilitating and impacted on my quality of life), especially after 6 PM? If you don't, please check the original post HERE. In reality, Sjogren's Syndrome patients state tiredness/fatigue, nausea and reduced alertness has three of the commonest symptoms affecting their daily performance. For me, personally, alertness has never been a problem. However, for a person like myself that has always played football and exercised to a great level, the limitations imposed by Sjogren's on my energy levels were tremendously. Add to that the fact that I am the father of two very young children who extract from me the fuel my reservoir must contain to actively participate in their growth, education and well-being. 

After reading and watching so much about the Wim Hoff Method, I designed my own strategy soon after consulting additional literature on immune system modulation, by means of shock thermal therapy. The initial results vaguely reported this last November 2018 were impressive, as my strategy had resulted perfectly. Driven by such incredible results, I decided to go the extra mile and defined a more dedicated program that helped me achieve even more incredible ones.

What was the objective?

My uttermost objective was to reduce or eliminate tiredness and fatigue I was reporting on a daily basis, especially after 6 PM and that were occurring regardless of my metabolic discipline and dietary constraints.

In what consisted my personal program?

One must know itself and understand to what limits one's body can be taken without generating iatrogenic effects that can be detrimental to one's health, and that might also contradict the improvement desired. In that sense, for about two/three weeks in November 2019 I had been following the Wim Hoff Method by applying his breathing methodology followed by a warm shower (with the duration of 5 minutes) and finally a shocking cold shower for no longer than 25 seconds (in the first three days), 60 seconds (in the following 3 days) and then 90 seconds thereafter. Even though some of the literature states the duration of the applied cold shower does not impact in the outcome [1], I had my doubts. In that sense I decided to gradually increase length of exposure to cold as it would also allow me to stay committed and learn with my own limitations, as I gained experience. 

By then, and after three weeks I was a rejuvenated man. No kidding!!! I felt extremely energetic on a daily basis and the intense fatigue and tiredness I was going through in the evening was no more.

My current personal program:

However, I wanted to be sure that the extremely impressive results I had gone through weren't just a hype of the moment. So I decided to carry this program for an additional 3 months in order to better understand its impact. In addition, because the breathing part wasn't something I could be so dedicated to, on a daily basis, due to domestic and work obligations that regularly force me to very limited available time, I decided to abandon the breathing part and focus entirely on the cold shower therapy. Thus, I simplified the protocol to something that can be applied by any Sjogren's patient at home; nevertheless please bear this disclaimer in mind, it is important to be aware of your medical condition (especially cardiovascular issues) and to be sure that at all times you are either supervised or help's at reach, especially at an initial stage. I do not advocate what I have achieved, as medical treatment. This is a personal discovery that HAS CHANGED MY LIFE!

Everyday I take a warm shower for about four minutes (with soap and all that jazz involved). Right after I take a freezing cold shower for an additional two minutes by starting gradually by my feet, going up the legs, then hips, torso and head. It takes me 30 seconds to get to the head. That basically means all my body will be completely 'touched' by freezing cold water for at least 90 seconds thereafter.

And that's it!

Achieved Results:

Now the best part! I haven't had any tiredness, fatigue OR NAUSEA (yes, you read right!, as I was affected by intense nausea every single evening of my days since diagnosed with Sjogren's or even a little before that). NOTHING! I MEAN ZERO... FOR REAL!!!! Never again have I experienced that sense of incredibly intense will to just stop. I feel invigorated, rejuvenated and am currently attending two fitness classes a week at my local gym (aerobics on Mondays and fitness pump on Thursday) with the duration of 1 hour each. Do you think I get tired after these? No way, I want more and more and more. And this has been the trend for the past 3 months.

Nausea was a constant issue back in 2018. Never again had I any concerns about it. I haven't missed a single day of my cold shower therapy and nausea has just vanished from my life. I hope never to come back.

Final Observations:

We're all different people and maybe my Sjogren's is not as harsh and tough as someone else's, however I did my research and found the solution for my energy problem. If clinicians consider it placebo, which I pretty much doubt as I presented enough scientific literature last time to validate this methodology,... So be it. If placebo works for me, it is in its own nature a great remedy for an issue that can be quite debilitating. With this very simple approach I corrected my own systems and improved so much that I can't believe why I hadn't tried it myself way earlier.

The number of available articles on hydrotherapy is incredibly good for you to go out there and do your own literature research. But I found a wonderful article (I honestly advise you to read it) that debates on the impact of water immersion under different temperatures [2] where one of the cited articles states that "regular winter swimming significantly decreased tension, fatigue, memory, and mood negative state points with the duration of swimming period; significantly increased vigor-activity scores; relieved pain who suffered from rheumatism, fibromyalgia, or asthma; and improved general well-being in swimmers" [3]. 

Mooventhan and Nivethitha (2014) also debate partially something that might possibly explain why it is important to shower the whole body, especially letting the water pour from above the waste line. In this article, two additional articles are cited when the authors state that "Walking in water at umbilical level increases the activity of erector spinae and activates rectus femoris" [4, 5], respectively the back muscles that extend the vertebral column and the thigh/hip inter-crossed muscles. So I think that if you also have the chance to do it at a pool , there might be some additional benefits there. Bear in mind muscle physiology is not my immediate science, I must say. Nonetheless, what we observe here is muscle stimulation, and that is primordial for achieving increased energy levels and better mobility.

In terms of having made nausea absent from my life, this was an unexpected plus from my experiment. But one that I am so happy to have mastered now :) I actually found some information that can indicate a reasoning behind cold showers eliminating nausea in Sjogren's. My suspicion is that it has immediately to do with the endocrine system, but until I find scientific consubstantiation I prefer not to come up with theories that could be simply wrong or distracting from the actual reason.

Any limitations?

Regardless of improvements on energy levels, having eliminated fatigue and tiredness altogether, and made nausea disappear from my life, literature out there states that cold shower therapies do not induce modifications of inflammatory and hematological markers. I do not immediately hold the screening tools to validate that, but at least I'll have a punctual opportunity to see that, as well as any other Sjogren's patient, during annual check-ups.

I hope this article does indeed help you regain control of your life has it has done with mine.

Cheers

The Toxicologist Today

[1] Buijze, G. A., Sierevelt, I. N., van der Heijden, B. C. J. M. et al (2016). "The effect of cold showering on health,  and work:  A randomized Controlled Trial". PLOS ONE, 13(8), pp. 1-15.

[2] Mooventhan, A., Nivethitha, L. (2014). "Scientific Evidence-Based Effects of Hydrotherapy on Various Systems of the Body". N AM J Med Sci, 6(5), pp. 199-209.

[3] Huttunen, P., Kokko, L., Ylijukuri, V. (2004). "Winter swimming improves general well-being". Int J Circumpolar Health, 63(2), pp. 140-144.

[4] Bleakley, C. M., Davison, G. W. (2010). "What is the biochemical and physiological rationale for using cold-water immersion in sports recovery? A systematic review". Br J Sports Med, 44, pp. 179–187.

[5] Bleakley, C., McDonough, S., Gardner, E., Baxter, G. D., Hopkins, J. T., Davison, G. W. (2012). "Cold-water immersion (cryotherapy) for preventing and treating muscle soreness after exercise". Cochrane Database Syst Rev

Post image by Alexei Scutari on Unsplash.

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Limonene in vaporisers and e-cigarettes might induce health problems

I gave it a million thoughts before I even started imagining this post. Believe me, it was one of the hardest I wrote so far, and not because of the science on it, but because of the lack of science available on it!!! 

Even though there are million pages out there on the dangers associated to the use of limonene, as you already know, I'm not one willing to duplicate or replicate anyone else's work, especially if already presented with excellent content. 

I then decided to do it a tad different, and when I realised I wasn't writing a post on the toxicity of limonene anymore, I was writing a post on a very specific putative danger associated to its inhalation via e-cigarette/vaporiser.

But before progressing any further and for the sake of contextualisation, it is imperative to draw a few preliminary lines on the whole topic. For that matter I'll use some direct questions in order to make scientific sense of the info readily available on limonene. 

What is limonene?

Limonene, also known as Alpha-Limonene, Alpha-Limonène, Dipentene, D-Limonene, D-Limonène, L-Limonene, L-Limonène, Limonène, Limoneno, R-Limonene, R-Limonène, S-Limonene [1] is a low toxicity volatile organic chemical compound that can be found in the peels of citrus fruits, among other plants.

What is limonene used for?

The different industries realised that limonene has many applications. This compound has been used, for example, in the pharmaceutical industry in products that require improved skin penetration [2], in weight loss drugs and supplements [3], extensively used in immunooncology research [4, 5], in the food industry as flavouring [6], in house cleaning products due to its scent. In this sense the volatile nature of this product is often related to certain hazards, but if you need to know more I advise you to read this source [7] containing a great easy-to-understand summary on the dangers of inhalation of limonene, and consequently, formaldehyde. You don't know what formaldehyde is? Well, it is a product that in the specific case of the example we are hereby analysing, is generated by the reaction between ozone and limonene. If we consider that limonene is extensively used in air sprays or as a solvent, then we must also consider the large amounts of formaldehyde (a strong carcinogenic, irritant and corrosive substance) [8] that is being inhaled by people all over the globe. However, specialists at the World Health Organisation consider these to be of trace levels, and thus, irrelevant health-wise.

On the dangers associated to inhaling limonene... for fun... or out of habit:

Now imagine if you are one of those people that have replaced sucking on a cigarette (a terrible unhealthy habit I mastered from the age of 17 to the age of 27) by sucking on a device known as Electronic Cigarette (some with crazy shapes like dragons or butterflies). Many of those daily recreational users of electronic cigarettes or vaporizers tend to claim these are a safe option. But in reality there is still insufficient data to claim these devices and their contents are safe for human use. From the Herbert Gilbert's idea of an electronic cigarette back in 1967, to the first modern e-cigarette by the Chinese Hon Lik company in the year 2000, very little research on short-, long-term use inhalation of the numerous constituents of these inhaling solutions has been presented to public eye. No one can immediately state that electronic cigarettes and vaporisers are safe or less unhealthy a habit in comparison to the murderous predecessor cigarette.

I found an article that 'supports' the idea that people randomly vaporising my face (when I'm out there on the streets) is enough a reason to go bonkers and mentally imagine slapping that sh*t out of their faces. I never do it, but the rabid Dwayne Johnson in me clearly wants to come out seeking vengeance. The article I tell you about is the Clapp and Jaspers (2017) [9] where the authors produced a great review linking e-cigarettes to asthma. Something the public should be reflecting on. In their article they go on about, among other very important aspects, the possible impact of the potent TRPA1 agonist role of common electronic cigarette's/vaporiser's flavouring agents... such as LIMONENE (the one that offers that lemony scent). Meaning that these agents promote a strong pulmonary reflex response that might be involved in contributing to exacerbation of asthma, but is also related to exacerbation of oral lichen planus (a chronic inflammatory condition affecting oral mucous membranes [10]). In itself, oral lichen planus is not seen as a serious condition... until we realise that there is a 1% risk of developing into an oral cancer [11]. That's 1 in 100, 10 in a thousand, and so on and so forth.

In summary, there is so much more to know and research about these vaporisers that until we can actually assume full understanding of the impact of such agents on human health, a lot of studies must be adequately conducted. My question is, if so little was known about the short- and log-term use of these substances, how come were they so easily made legal for human consumption as inhalers? And if we go a bit deeper, most of the knowledge gathered so far, that actually excuses the use of substances like limonene in vaporisers and e-cigarettes, is based on single exposures... someone forgot to look into the combinatorial effects. A simple example is the one aforementioned: Limonene + Ozone = Formaldehyde!

*** 

[1] Limonene, WebMD, [https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1105/limonene], last visited on the 2nd of March 2019, last update unknown.

[2] Almirall, M. ,  Montaña, J. ,  Escribano, E. ,  Obach, R. ,  Berrozpe, J. D. (1996). "Effect of d-limonene, alpha-pinene and cineole on in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol". Europe PMC, 46(7), pp. 676-680.

[3] Brudnak, M. A. (2002). "Weight-loss drugs and supplements: are there safer alternatives?". Medical Hypotheses, 58(1), pp. 28-33.

[4] Rodrigues, B. S., Ávila, R. I., Benfica, P. L., et al (2018). "4-Fluorobenzaldehyde limonene-based thiosemicarbazone induces apoptosis in PC-3 human prostate cancer cells", Life Sciences, 203, pp. 141-149.

[5] Yu, X., Lin, H., Wang, Y. et al (2018). "d-limonene exhibits antitumor activity by inducing autophagy and apoptosis in lung cancer". OncoTargets and Therapy, 11, pp. 1833–1847.

[6] Guneser, O., Demirkol, A., Yuceer, Y. K. (2017) "Production of flavor compounds from olive mill waste by Rhizopus oryzae and Candida tropicalis". Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 48(2), pp. 275–285.

[7] What is limonene, cleansmart, [http://www.ukcpi.org/features/limonene], last visited on the 2nd of March 2019, last update unknown.

[8] Medical Management Guidelines for Formaldehyde, Agency for Toxic Substances, last visited on the 2nd of March 2019, last update on the 21st of October 2014.

[9] Clapp, P. W., and Jaspers, I. (2017). "Electronic Cigarettes: Their Constituents and Potential Links to Asthma". Current allergy and asthma reports, 17(11), pp. 79-101. 

[10] Shan, D., Long, H., Lai, W. 2017). "TRPA1 may contribute to the exacerbation of oral lichen planus through Koebner phenomenon". Oral diseases, Letter to the Editor.

[11] Oral Lichen Planus, British Asociation of Dermatologists, [http://www.bad.org.uk/shared/get-file.ashx?id=111&itemtype=document], last visited on the 2nd of March 2019, last update on May 2016.

Post image by Finn Gross Maurer on Unsplash.

***

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

http://www.ukcpi.org/features/limonene

https://www.who.int/ipcs/publications/cicad/en/cicad05.pdf?ua=1

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-35281338

https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/search/a?dbs+hsdb:@term+@DOCNO+1809

https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/projects/outputs/every-breath-we-take-lifelong-impact-air-pollution

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

'The Laws of Thermodynamics' and the 'Contagion' of Entertainment Science

I am always trying to find great ways of communicating science. In my humble opinion that is the determinant factor in understanding the disengagement of people from medical treatments, from scientific advances and from all the science that surround us from all sides, but that many still consider appanage of few. 

Entertainment-wise, 'The Big Bang Theory' TV series has indeed done a lot for the way science became popularised; but at the same time produced an even more stressed idea that science is geeky, perpetrated by weird people lacking social skills, carriers of uncool styles, that intelligence can be softly erotic but also the distant zenith of boring minds with Utopian intellects.

Entertainment companies have discovered a long time back that science and its associated enticing powers can be popular and sell - Super heroes are the archaic exploited symbols of such branch. Nevertheless, no one has so far, in my opinion, yet decrypted the adequate miraculous formula to teach complex science subjects to bored young minds. In my personal perspective, the issue does not reside immediately in merely simplifying the topics and/or stupefying the vehicles of information. Many people tried different approaches and I will not derail here with corollaries and theorems. There are far more qualified people to explore and develop the educational abyss. What I do know is that after so many years with so many students failing so many scientific topics, one can't constantly complain that maths, chemistry, physics are far too complex for the basic minds of our students.

I consider that the basic mistake in teaching science, a mistake that ends up detaching young talented people from science, and consequently boring their minds to 'intellectual and emotional death', is the fact that science is not made real, quotidian and reachable. When one is 'forced' to learn something for the sake of a compulsory curriculum, one will immediately seek a mirroring of said science in his/her own life. A young rebel mind as the common young mind is (and should always be) will criticise the learning objects seeking validation of its realistic nature, day-to-day presence in life and above all, the power one has to manipulate, integrate or apply said science, to a certain extent.

What Serious Games and digital educational applications are unfortunately taking Eras to attain, movies have the capacity to perform successfully with a few adequately prepared actors/actresses, intrepidly written scripts and enticing turning points. - So difficult To Objectify!, some might cry, as for the entertainment industry the synergy between audience and digested product should be an easy experience for both parts. 

I couldn't agree more... But that might have changed when Mateo Gil delivered "The Laws of Thermodynamics" in 2018. 

Mateo delivered a ready-to-eat movie embedded with passionate thermodynamics, a physics topic on its won unreachable for most of us humans, let alone bored young minds. But he did it with such charm, with such appeal by intelligently using a circle of quotidian relationships whose characters are themselves reachable and readable in any of our lives. There's a beautiful model, there's a geeky researcher, a thriving lawyer and the guy still today I can't remember exactly what he did professionally apart from spending hours surfacing on the Internet looking for fit girls (that also very quotidian)... but I know he actively participates in all our lives as the one flirtatious person we all heard of and... well... envy, criticise or simply admire!!!

The explanation of how thermodynamics rules our lives, and is ruled by our lives and associated interactions, is so well displayed and explored that all together make me wonder! Why don't we have more intelligent directors talking about these hyper-intelligent subjects and bringing them down for the common people??? Mateo Gil brought it down with uncanny perfection.

You know, one thing is to be a common person, other thing is to be fed common ideas. 'The Laws of Thermodynamics' is a wonderful essay on physics and the incredible educational power that movies hold within and latent. A power yet to be appropriately unveiled by the mainstream cinema. 

It is easy to make movies such as Steven Soderbergh's 2011 'Contagion'. The desirable ingredients are all there, i.e., powerful unknown undecipherable organism, chaos, disease, death, direct causal relationships and the military intervention. Another thing is to deliver a much tougher abstract idea in the shape of lecture; an idea that due to its magic will 'force' one to be attentively watching to the very last minute. 

The Contagion of Entertainment Science is yet to happen, but we can feel its aura unbuttoning. I for one believe that movies and docuseries can deliver the most tremendous power to the masses - the successfully informational/educational simplified perceiving of complex things.

Monday, 28 January 2019

How to know if a pharmaceutical product is authentic (in the EU)?

It is typical for the Big Pharma to undergo certain regulatory updates aiming the betterment of the pharmacovigilance and quality processes. It's all for the sake of respecting and protecting the end-user. Serialisation is a big part of the whole grand scheme of things and is to know further developments this coming 9th of February 2019. This is the day the European Union will put into place two levels of requirements that will help verify the authenticity of a product, by 1) demanding all marketed pharmaceuticals to contain a unique identifier, thus enabling the verification of its authenticity and the authenticity of its associated parts; 2)  demanding an anti-tampering physical system to make sure the product has never been compromised.

But what is this Serialisation everyone is talking about these days? Serialisation is a sort of tracking system to assure pharmaceutical companies, healthcare professionals and patients that the products in their hands can be trusted. For that matter a series of unique identifiers (almost like a person's national citizen card) are produced, recorded and tracked so authenticity can always be checked and verified. Serialisation protects not only the end-customer, but also the profile of the pharmaceutical company as it shows that the company is in control of the different stages of the manufacturing and distribution processes, authenticity-wise.

How does serialisation work? In very simplistic terms, all pharmaceutical products contain a coding that work as their identification details. The product code is an assigned number that identifies a specific strength, dosage form, and formulation for a particular product/company. These codes are made of unique identifiers (code numbers) that can be found affixed on the saleable unit of any pharmaceutical product, and also at any underlying levels of packaging (cases, pallets, pouches, etc). The numbers and the way they are displayed can differ slightly from place to place (geographically speaking) due to different regulations. However, for some areas there is standardised referencing, e.g., the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) standard. The GTIN standard, when properly assigned, is globally unique and assigned to a product at the stock keeping unit level, meaning NO OTHER PRODUCT ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD CAN EVER BE ASSIGNED THAT SAME GTIN. 

Is serialisation coding always the same? Some companies have chosen additional nomenclatures or reference numbers. For example, some use what is known as National Trade Item Number (NTIN). In addition, the National Healthcare Reimbursement Number (NHRN or NN for short) is used in a number  of countries to facilitate the reimbursement process. In the packaging and in the subsequent levels of product, any displayed Serial Number (SN) must relate to the particular unit (GTIN/NTIN) and also to a particular lot. In that sense, the serial number is a very specific identifier, related to all four components that make of serialisation a very useful scheme for one to be always sure that the product is reliable in its authenticity.


In summary, typically, units can have the human readable serialised code, the 2D bar code and an anti-tampering tape to ensure the product is fully controlled. The requirements now for the EU market is that hospitals, pharmacies and other medicines dispensers are responsible for scanning the data matrix on the pack and waiting for a confirmation of its authenticity before releasing the product to a patient. So pharmaceutical companies must check the components mentioned above and if they don't match up this will trigger what is known as a Level 5 alert, also known as Potential Falsification Alert. In case a compromised and/or non-authentic product is discovered, the information must be transferred to the National Competent Authorities for a serious investigation to be carried on, and the product must be immediately quarantined.

Let me know if this post was clear in helping you understand what serialisation is and how it does help protect you as a patient/end-user.

Cheers

Image 1 kindly taken from CrestSolutions, [http://www.crestsolutions.ie/serialisation-pharma-turkey].

Image 2 kindly taken from The Pharmaceutical Journal, [https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/news-and-analysis/news/mhra-says-falsified-medicines-directive-could-cost-500m-over-ten-years/20205213.article?firstPass=false]. 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Adna's Lab Tutorial #2 - 'The Power of Uracil'



Remember the Serious Games I created with my company SciBoard Games for anyone to learn about DNA manipulation and genetics? Well, it's fully available for free by clicking on the link at the very bottom of this post. Starting today and for the coming month I will be posting a series of tutorials for you to learn how to play this simple, easy and extremely realistic and enticing game:

This is a great example of how powerful card can determine so much of the progression of a game.
(0:12) Player initiates the game as he/she was the one to get the methionine (ATG codon sequence) first.
(
0:56) Another good strike with the agarose gel pulling some cards to the deck. Playing bases to one's chain is always a good move as the first player getting to the final first is the winner. But one can be a winner with few points (using little reactions and enzymes) or with lots of points (by combining so many reactions and enzymes that the opponent will flip). It's all about strategy, and that's what happened next...
(
01:21) RNA (uracil) is played onto the opponent's chain thus contaminating it. The opponent won't be able to progress if such contamination is not removed. From now on it is a fight against time to get rid of this uracil or just watch the opponent slide victorious to the finish line!
(
01:31) Now check how great a game the 'SciBoard' player is pulling with some really nice temperature cards played on the chain so the temperature can be manipulated according to his/her interest. With some cards you pull down a few levels, with other cards you pull up a few more until you get that nice temperature that will do the trick of your preferred enzyme! Bear in mind the game always start at 25C as this is conventionally accepted as the room temperature!
(
03:23) The losing player plays a really nice card 'Ultra-Violet Light' that can be counteracted by only two cards, the 'Goggles' card that will protect against light with mutational effects, or messing the whole working bench with a lot of 'Detergent' to clean away the trouble and eliminate the mess!
(
04:12) The SciBoard player really wants to humiliate his/her opponent and decides to start playing some powerful temperature cards. The one used in this instance is the 'Thermal Cycler' that allows one to select the final temperature of the reaction.... only this time a response came in handy in the shape of a mess cleaner!
(
05:01) But he/she didn't give up. Some 'Dry Ice' and a 'Thermal Block' and the reaction temperature is right on the spot for a good enzyme to be played in.
(
07:27) Here is a restriction enzyme with a sequence that can be found in the chain... But wait, the winning player is cutting his/her own chain?!!!! Why is that? That's because he/she is winning as the opponent is still stuck trying to get rid of the 'Uracil' contamination. The winning player then sees that his/her chain can be cut, does so, wins some more points, plays some more bases and reaches the finishing line whilst the opponent is still trying to snail his/her way out of that contamination. Smart move! This video really demonstrates how contamination of DNA by RNA can be terrible for your game strategy!



Adna's Lab Tutorial Video #1 - 'The Buffer/Enzyme combination'



Remember the Serious Games I created with my company SciBoard Games for anyone to learn about DNA manipulation and genetics? Well, it's fully available for free by clicking on the link at the very bottom of this post. Starting today and for the coming month I will be posting a series of tutorials for you to learn how to play this simple, easy and extremely realistic and enticing game:

The game started as usual with the ATG codon (methionine at the initiation site) setting the mood for the starting player (0:39).
Then another powerful card, the agarose gel to 'extract' and add additional bases to one's deck (1:46).
A tremendously clever strategy applied with the contamination of the opponent's chain by playing a bit of RNA (uracil card) in the mixture (
2:29)!!!
How would the affected player get rid of that? Well he/she was also clever and counter-attacked with the deletion card (
2:50) removing the contamination quite quickly; but it's not always like that as the number of cards of each type are limited and holding a proper strategy is crucial.
It can be tricky for a player to get rid of contamination in due course whilst the opponent's chain grow longer and longer. It is important to constantly be checking the enzymes cards (1:!8) (
2:04) (02:43) (03:35) for recognising cutting sequences in the opponent's chain.
Also very relevant to check what buffers are available as they need to match the enzyme colour to use. This is all about strategy. This time one of the players got caught up in that blue buffer, the only one he/she had whilst not blue enzyme was readily available (
03:53) (04:54).
When the chains were approximately the same length and the finish line was so close, the losing player did not have any good reactions or enzymes to play, then resorting to just adding more bases to his/her own chain (
05:09).
It wasn't enough as the opponent simply walked his/her way to the finish line just by playing a few cards more (
05:18) and winning the game with few points but the victory satisfaction.
Remember, the more bases, reactions and enzymes you use, the more points you get. These don't even have to be played on your own chain! The great thing about Adna's lab is that it isn't about luck, it is about acquired knowledge and trying possible combinations to get points, even if you have to cut your own chain! Now let us know if you found this tutorial video helpful.


DOWNLOAD HERE

Monday, 14 January 2019

Practical tips for stain removal

Happy New Year! I know it's been long since I found proper time to update the blog, but writing a book and working hard to progress with my career whilst caring for two children is not an easy task. Have I said that many times before??? Apologies :DDDDD. Having said that I am preparing a series of very interesting articles that I'll be posting throughout January and February 2019. I leave you with a few 'spoilers', though. There'll be an article on Nematomorpha, on blockchain and antimicrobial drug resistance, on limonene air sprays, on inflammation, on Sjogren's syndrome (this one you cannot miss as I'm the Guinea Pig in the experiment), one on anti-psychotics and a chronicle/essay on the job market/immigration (I know I always said I avoid any political stance in this blog but there's a moment we have to discur on what is being done to humanity when it does affect us all). As you see, it is a wonderful time for visiting The Toxicologist Today and this couple of months will deliver incredible information for those with genuine interest in science.

But because I do not want you to leave empty-handed I thought of making use of information that, back in Portugal, at around Christmas-Time-meets-New-Year is given to farmers by a periodical (annual, I guess, can't really say :/) agricultural newspaper. This time I found that they were publishing incredibly useful info concerning...


BEST PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STAIN REMOVAL

[Disclaimer - I was not able to verify any of the tips the table contains and that the authors shared with the public. Some mixtures might produce noxious gases, damage surfaces, be flammable or cause harm if not handled correctly; therefore I recommend common-sense and caution if you happen to decide on trying any of the tips at your own risk. Instead of expecting me to go double check the science behind these approximately 50 different tips, why don't you just individually ask me to do the ones you are really interested in. Because time is money and we all need it, when you send in your request, please also visit the different ads that you can find within the blog as they help me maintain the blog alive!!!].

Stain To Remove
From Surface
With Removal Product
How to do it
Plaster
Floor
Vinegar
Eliminate plaster debris by scrubbing the surface with a cloth soaked in vinegar
Fat
Suede
Ether
Scrub with a cloth soaked in ether
Fat
Leather
Turpentine
Scrub with a cloth soaked in essence of turpentine
Fat
Tile
Ammonia
Scrub with a sponge soaked in ammonia and hot water
Fat
Ceramics
Ammonia
Eliminate stain with cotton soaked in ammonia
Fat
Wool
Turpentine
Scrub with a sponge moist in turpentine
Fat
Cotton
Petrol
Dissolve stain with a cloth soaked in a lighter’s petrol, then wash and rinse
Fat
Synthetic fabrics
Ether
Dissolve stain with ether, then wash and rinse
Fat
Marble
Petrol
Rub stain with gasoline and rinse
Damp
Fabrics
Ammonia
Rinse with ammonia dissolved in water (one spoon per litre)
Damp
Delicate fabrics
Milk
Soak with milk and rub, then wash
Damp
Resistant Fabrics
Lemon
After humidifying with some water, apply a boiled mixture of lemon juice and talcum powder
Iodine
Fabrics
Alcohol
Dissolve the stain with alcohol and rinse with water and ammonia
Mud
Marble
Hydrogen Peroxide
Soak with hydrogen peroxide until stain disappears
Mercury solution
Fabrics
Alcohol
Dilute stain in alcohol and rinse
Mould
Tile
Bleach
Apply bleach until stain disappears
Mould
Ceramics
Bleach
Eliminate stain with cotton soaked in bleach
Nicotine
Fabrics
Alcohol
Dilute stain with alcohol and rinse, but before make sure you try it on a hidden part of the fabrics so to check effect on colours
Oil
Cotton
Purified Petrol
If the stain is a recent one, powder with talcum to absorb the fat. Then rub the stain with a cloth soaked in purified petrol (from a lighter, for example) and wash with water and soap
Oil
Linen
Purified Petrol
If the stain is a recent one, powder with talcum to absorb the fat. Then rub the stain with a cloth soaked in purified petrol (from a lighter, for example) and wash with water and soap
Oil
Linen
Turpentine
If the stain is a recent one, powder with talcum to absorb the fat. Then rub the stain with a cloth soaked in turpentine and wash with water and soap
Oil
Synthetic Fabrics
Turpentine
Dilute stain with ether and then wash with normal detergent
Oil
Silk
Ammonia
If stain does not require dry cleaning, just add water with a spoon of ammonia to the washing up
Oil
Carpet
Trichloroethene
If the stain is a recent one, powder with talcum to absorb the fat. Then rub the stain with a cloth soaked in trichloroethene and wash with a carpet-washing shampoo
Oil
Paper
Talcum
Powder with talcum and apply a hot-ironed blotting paper
Oil
Washable paint surface
Ammonia
Dilute a spoon of ammonia with another one of detergent in a litre of water and scrub with a cloth. Then rinse with clean water.
Oil
Leather
Rub with
Rub with ether-soaked cotton, then apply cream or wax to hydrate and shine up
Oil
Waxed wood
Turpentine
Rub with a turpentine-soaked cloth then apply cream or wax to hydrate and shine up
Oil
Varnished wood
Petrol
If the stain does not go with detergent and ammonia, clean with petrol
Oil
Alabaster
Turpentine
Apply talcum to absorb as much fat as possible, then rub with a turpentine-soaked cotton and apply silicon wax to hydrate and shine up
Oil
Marble
Turpentine
Apply talcum to absorb as much fat as possible, then rub with a turpentine-soaked cotton and apply silicon wax to hydrate and shine up
Egg
Silver
Lemon
Remove the black stains egg leaves on silver surfaces by scrubbing with the half of a lemon
Egg
White Fabrics
Hydrogen peroxide
Wash with cold water using a spoon of hydrogen peroxide per litre of water
Egg
Coloured Fabrics
Ammonia
Wash with cold water using a spoon of hydrogen peroxide per litre of water
Egg
Pavement/Flooring
Ammonia
Add ammonia to water mixed with a floor-washing product
Oxide
Iron
Coke drink
Dip it in Coke soda, then use a soft abrasive,  and then brighten up with oil
Oxide
Iron
Soya oil
Mix soya oil with burned wood ashes and rub with a woollen cloth
Oxide
Iron
Petrol
Leave it in a mixture of petrol and oil, and then rub with a gentle abrasive
Oxide
Ceramics
Oxalic acid
Eliminate the stain  by rubbing with an oxalic acid-soaked cotton
Oxide
Ceramics
Vinegar
Soak with vinegar and non-refined salt
Oxide
Copper
Vinegar
Clean with a soft abrasive cloth soaked in a mixture of vinegar and non-refined salt
Oxide
Copper
Bleach
For deep-sitting stains ‘cook’ the object on a mixture of water and bleach
Oxide
Marble
Vinegar
Rub with vinegar-soaked pumice-stone
Oxide
Fabrics
Lemon
Rub the stains with lemon and add salt

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