Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Inflationary Theory Model

I've never seen or felt Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Physics Tycoon, as a comedian, or a funny guy to say the least. After watching the revival of the old Carl Sagan's Cosmos on Netflix, I honestly think he did a great job as a dynamic presenter... but still not funny.

However, living on the rays of the success The Big Bang Theory brought to all 'pimply' scientists, physicists and science nerds are nowadays a must for any scientific encounter or public engagement that really want to sound intelligent, genius or exquisite.

It is easy for Physicists because they work on matters that put the finger on a lively wound. But that doesn't take the merit from their capacity to astonish us tremendously when it comes to their mathematical geniuses.

Nevertheless, the reason I chose this video for the Toxic Humour label is because it is quite frankly, amazingly and surprisingly... funny! Neil really brought up the effects of deGrasse in this participation :P

And to a certain extent I relate to this supposedly fictional theory of us being the higher power science experiment... I really do.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Candidiasis and Sjogren's

Two things that really piss me off and work my nerves: lazy people that send corporate emails signing only with their first name's initial (guys, honestly, C can be both for Charlie as for Cu... Cummings, so how do you prefer to be called?), and Candidiasis. Yeah, you read right, Candidiasis.  For those less alert Candidiasis has been with us humans for a long time now, and it is dead annoying.

Be it in the shape of an oral thrush, vaginal thrush or the typical Athlete's foot, these fungal infections manifested by the overwhelming presence of the organism Candida albicans, is a resilient sucking microorganism. This fungus does not have segregationist issues, it just goes for anyone and everybody as you see in the accompanying picture. Baby bottoms, men's toenails, woman's vaginal canal, mouths, feet, knees, tongues, it just predates from everywhere if it is given the chance.

Like Interstellar so well portraits in the big screen, one day our beautiful world as a result of our incredible selfishness and stupidity will allow these hyper-collaborative hyphae to forage and eliminate everything as it passes through.

For those affected with certain autoimmune issues, like Sjogren's syndrome patients, candidiasis is a daily battle and one that usually the organism just rubs off their shoulders. Easy-peasy, they win, no biggie!

If you read the fantastic 1980's article by Jones et al [1], you immediately understand that the prevalence of Candida albicans in the intraoral moiety in Sjogren's syndrome is not a joke. Even though the sample population is short I can assure you that it is so significant that it can be almost immediately extrapolated further. 

Because Sjogren's syndrome is marked by a connective tissue disorder, the establishment of Candida albicans associated to low salivary pools (no mechanical flush of the fungus) and the absence of secretory immunoglobulin IgA (the major antibody present in saliva) provides the appropriate environment for proliferation. Jones et al observed that in comparison to healthy controls the ratio of infection density could reach to more than 4-fold higher in areas such as the anterior and posterior tongue, floor of mouth, right cheek, anterior palate, upper denture, right commisure, lower denture, anterior labial sulcus, posterior palate and left commisure.

Add all that to the fact that this fungus is azole-resistant, meaning that antifungal resistance for them is a joke, they 'thrive' on it! Affected individuals have then to resort to domestic remedies because the pharmaceutical weaponry is not making it for them. Some resort to diets rich in apple cider vinegar, coconut oil, cruciferous, ginger, etc etc etc... and remove sugar all together. That arrests the growth of the fungus. Some apply peeled onion to the affected areas which personally I can assume it relieves the hitching for a few days, but does not erase the problem. What can actually reduce the prevalence of Candida albicans is a strict rigid responsible and disciplined attitude where all the bad foods become prohibited and the good ones are for compulsory ingestion. 

Because I don't like to get my hands on stuff that is already excellent, quality-wise, I am not going to write down what you have to do, other people have one it already in the shape of a book I just bought. But I'll tell you where you can find a source of information that will definitely help you in this process - The Candida Diet [2].

Good luck and let me know if you made it. I'm definitely going to try it out. Now, I gotta go scratch my toe :P

[1] Tapper-Jones, L., Aldred, M., Walker, D. M. (1980). "Prevalence and intraoral distribution of Candida albicans in Sjogren's syndrome". Journal of Clinical Pathology, 33, pp. 282-287.

[2] 10 foods that will fight your Candida, The Candida Diet, [https://www.thecandidadiet.com/candida-fighting-foods/], last visited on the 28th September 2017, last update unknown. 

Friday, 1 September 2017

First cancer 'living drug' gets go-ahead

KymriahImage copyrightNOVARTIS
"The US has approved the first treatment to redesign a patient's own immune system so it attacks cancer.
The regulator - the US Food and Drug Administration - said its decision was a "historic" moment and medicine was now "entering a new frontier".
The company Novartis is charging $475,000 (£367,000) for the "living drug" therapy, which leaves 83% of people free of a type of blood cancer.
Doctors in the UK said the announcement was an exciting step forward.
The living drug is tailor-made to each patient, unlike conventional therapies such as surgery or chemotherapy.
It is called CAR-T and is made by extracting white blood cells from the patient's blood.
The cells are then genetically reprogrammed to seek out and kill cancer.
The cancer-killers are then put back inside the patient and once they find their target they multiply.

'Enormously exciting'

Dr Scott Gottlieb, from the FDA, said: "We're entering a new frontier in medical innovation with the ability to reprogram a patient's own cells to attack a deadly cancer.
"New technologies such as gene and cell therapies hold out the potential to transform medicine and create an inflection point in our ability to treat and even cure many intractable illnesses."
The therapy, which will be marketed as Kymriah, works against acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
Most patients respond to normal therapy and Kymriah has been approved for when those treatments fail.
Dr Stephan Grupp, who treated the first child with CAR-T at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, said the new approach was "enormously exciting".
"We've never seen anything like this before," he added.
That first patient had been near to death, but has now been cancer-free for more than five years.
Out of 63 patients treated with CAR-T therapy, 83% were in complete remission within three months and long-term data is still being collected.
However, the therapy is not without risks.
It can cause potentially life-threatening cytokine release syndrome from the rapid proliferation of the CAR-T cells in the body. This can be controlled with drugs.

New era

But the potential of CAR-T technology goes beyond one type of cancer.
Dr David Maloney, medical director of cellular immunotherapy at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said the FDA's decision was a "milestone".
He added: "We believe this is just the first of what will soon be many new immunotherapy-based treatments for a variety of cancers.
CAR-T technology has shown most promise against different blood-based cancers.
However, it has struggled against "solid tumours" such as lung cancer or melanoma.
Dr Prakash Satwani, a paediatric oncologist at Columbia University Medical, said: "The results haven't been that great when you compare it with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, but I'm sure the technology will get better in the near future."
Boosting the immune system is already a cornerstone of modern cancer treatment.
A range of drugs that "take the brakes off" the immune system to allow it to attack cancer more freely have already been adopted around the world.
CAR-T technology, which goes a step further and redesigns the immune system, is at a much earlier stage.
Prof Peter Johnson, the chief clinician at the charity Cancer Research UK, said: "The first genetically modified cell therapy to be approved by the FDA is an exciting step forward.
"We still have a lot to learn about how to use it safely and who might benefit from it, so it is important to recognise this is just a first step."
  • 30 August 2017

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

I've just sponsored Victoria Evans. What about you?

"Hello everyone, 
So this year I have set myself the monumental challenge of running a half marathon! Anyone who knows me will know this is a huge deal given that my default setting is sofa sitting with chocolate and pizza to hand. I am brushing off my running shoes to start training and raise some cash for a good cause! 
Cancer is a disease that I am sure we have all had touch our lives and I am no exception. I have family and close friends who have been affected and have heard so many inspirational stories from incredibly brave people. So this is why I am running for Cancer Research, I want to contribute something to this great cause while doing something completely out of my comfort zone to make a mark.
I have started training and so far it has been hard work, but nothing worth doing is ever easy! Please sponsor me & help me keep going! 
Thank you
Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving - they'll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to the charity. So it's the most efficient way to donate - saving time and cutting costs for the charity."

Monday, 28 August 2017

There might be blood, guts and brain damage... or maybe not

Maybe, just maybe, there's a staged fight and all was already set for the script. Who knows?, that's impossible to tell. What's easy to tell is that they are now millionaires, if they weren't before already ... and that the videos of them partying leaves a trace of opulence, a degree of shallowness and in my personal opinion, a reinforced need for better days to the world we live in. Why? If only people invested that much money and energy in educating the masses, maybe we wouldn't be foraging Mars for an inter-spatial way out of a doomed planet.

But I had promised a post summarising exactly what happens to one's brain after a full blow to one's head in a boxing fight. However, as I stated many times before in the past, there is no point in producing information when such information is already available at a decent-to-excellent level for free, in the web.

The website MIC Network Incorporated shared with their audience on the 4th of May 2015 a post by Max Plenke (is that his real name or he just found it funny to address himself as close to Max Planck as possible) that goes through what I intended to cover on this very same post. The post image they used shows Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao (I guess, I've seen these two like three times on TV news for a brief minute or so).

But so you don't have to read integrally their good piece of investigation journalism, allow me to summarise what is shared by them in a few bullet-points, adding to the affirmations a few articles that can help you understand the biological aspect of the injuries provoked when one is hit:

- Flash of light, brief blackness, blurred vision depending on the severity of the strike [1];

- "Coup" and "contre-coup" of the brain (where the brain travels back and forth against and from the skull barrier) [2] [3];

- Average punch force that in the case of Olympic fighters is enough to break bricks, and would definitely break the bone wasn't it for the mobility of the human head and neck [4];

- Short-term and long-term alterations to a non-rehabilitated brain (should rest for a year) that can result in impaired judgement, personality changes, chronic traumatic encefalopathy (e.g., Parkinson's- and Alzheimer's-like lesions to the brain) [5]. These are also linked to behavioural changes towards a more violent pattern as the article so well reports. 

[1] Doggart, J. H. (1955). "The impact of boxing upon the visual apparatus". AMA Arch Opthalmology, 54(2), pp. 161-169.

[2] Williams, D. J. and Tannenberg, A. E. G. (1996). "Dementia pugilistica in an alcoholic achodronplastic dwarf". Pathology, 28(1), pp. 102-104. 

[3] Handratta, V., Hsu, E., Vento, J., Yang, C., Tanev, K. (2010). "Neuroimaging findings and grain-behavioral correlates in a former boxer with chronic traumaticbrain injury". Neurocase - The Neural Basis of Cognition, 16(2), pp. 125-134. 

[4] Walilko, T. J., Viano, D. C., Bir, C. A. (2005). "Biomechanics of the head for Olympic boxer punches to the face". British Journal of Sports Medicine, 39(10), pp. 710-720.

[5] Mendez, M. F. (1995). "The neuropsychiatric aspects of boxing". The International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, 25(3), pp. 249-262.

Post image obtained from MIC, This is what happens when you get punched in the head, [https://mic.com/articles/117340/this-is-what-happens-to-your-brain-when-you-get-punched-in-the-head#.Hv70b35jT].

Friday, 25 August 2017

There might be blood, guts and brain damage...

But hopefully everything will end like it started, a circus frenzy of two 'killing machines' disputing their egos amidst a boxing ground.

It's Mayweather versus McGregor 

and while everyone is putting their wagers and balancing their bets for the right winner, I will be doing something different. The Toxicologist Today will be offering a public service by analysing the typical brain damage that is caused when one is full blown to the head with a flying fist from a professional boxer. In my opinion there's way too much violence in the world for us to be promoting another dis-entertainment like the fight that is to come. Therefore, my best approach is to just sit down, compile the list of damage and subsequent permanent alterations to the tissue matter and brain functionalities, and let the best of them rise as the flying Phoenix while the other one will be suffering the toughest humiliation of his career. Here's the countdown to the fight, the post will come the day after they sort out their manhood in that boxing ring.

Post picture kindly taken from freaking news.com

Did you know that...

What's new in the news today for my little science maggots out there? I've been reading some crazy stuff, and I'm sure you're also informed of the hot links popping on the left side column down there. I'll just review the most spicy topics so you don't have to filter it out. A bit of a starter for your science feast if you wish to deepen any more of these interesting topics. 

In the U.S. federal health officials say that "while most children are getting their first dose of HPV vaccine, many aren't completing the full vaccination schedule, the officials said". As you may know the human papillomavirus is sex-transmitted, infects approximately 14 million Americans and is responsible for cancers. In women these express as "cervical, vaginal and vulvar cancers". In man, penile. "It can also cause anal cancer, throat cancer and genital warts in both men and women, according to the CDC". More on the matter here.

Here is a curious one and a subject I really want to know a bit more about. The American Chemical Society reported a few days back that the coffee ring produced when "water evaporates from around the edge of a droplet, pulling water outwards from the middle and leaving a characteristic mark around the edge" says a lot about the quality of said water. After collecting droplets of these rings they were able to look into the residue left after evaporation and analysing it under a magnifying glass. The discoveries made point towards future low cost water analysis by common people. That is because the little particles that are left behind when supported by a special software can provide a sort of fingerprint of the droplets, tell more of the quality of the water itself. Makes me wonder why they bring about the ring effect anyway, seems totally unnecessary for the protocol. Read more about it here.

Want to do something good for the future of your children? Print this letter and send it to your representatives. The reason being that by 2050 antibiotic resistance is expected to kill more than cancer. Not enough is being made in the world of research and prevention in what concerns the development of antimicrobial drug resistance. There's not much I need to tell because after you read this open letter you will be even more familiar with the drama that is brewing and the chaos that there is to come. Act now for the sake of everyone. Read more about it here.

Finally, I don't know much about podcasts, but I know that their becoming a frequent thing on blogs. I might try one myself one of these days just to see if my audience appreciates my sexy tone as I babble about medicines, science and the like! For now, have a taste of what this Toxicology podcast looks like. Produced by The Poison Review and covering the opioid crisis (for some odd stupid reason heroine is making a totally unpredictable comeback), here.