Archive | August, 2019

Central Michigan University study: Plant-based fire retardants may offer a less toxic way to tame flames

28 Aug

Green Sciences Policy Institute provided an overview of retardants:

Flame retardant chemicals are used in commercial and consumer products (like furniture and building insulation) to meet flammability standards. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do:
• Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon.
• Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.
For these types of flame retardants:
• Some are associated with health and environmental concerns
• Many are inadequately tested for safety
• They provide questionable fire safety benefits as used in some products
Major uses
The major uses of flame retardant chemicals by volume in the U.S. are:
• Electronics
• Building insulation
• Polyurethane foam
• Wire and cable
Properties of Concern
Organohalogen and organophosphorous flame retardants often have one or more of the following properties of concern. Chemicals with all these properties are considered Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and present significant risks to human health and environment. https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

See, University of Massachusetts – Amherst study: New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment https://drwilda.com/tag/tetrabromobisphenol-a/

Maria Temming of Science News reported in Plant-based fire retardants may offer a less toxic way to tame flames:

Flame retardants are going green.
Using compounds from plants, researchers are concocting a new generation of flame retardants, which one day could replace the fire-quenching chemicals added by manufacturers to furniture, electronics and other consumer products.
Many traditional synthetic flame retardants have come under fire for being linked to health problems like thyroid disruption and cancer (SN: 3/16/19, p. 14). And flame retardants that leach out of trash in landfills can persist in the environment for a long time (SN: 4/24/10, p. 12).
The scientists have not yet performed toxicity tests on the new plant-based creations. But “in general, things derived from plants are much less toxic … they’re usually degradable,” says Bob Howell, an organic chemist and polymer scientist at Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.
Howell’s team presented the work August 26 in San Diego at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.
The raw ingredients for these plant-based flame retardants were gallic acid — found in nuts and tea leaves — and a substance in buckwheat called 3,5-Dihydroxybenzoic acid. Treating these compounds with a chemical called phosphoryl chloride converted them into flame-retardant chemicals named phosphorus esters. Since these plant-based ingredients are common, and the chemical treatment process is straightforward, it should be relatively easy to manufacture these flame retardants on a large scale, Howell says.
Howell and colleagues tested the flame retardants in a resin used to make electronics, cars and planes. Compared with chips of pure resin, the resin laced with flame retardant took longer to go up in flames. And “it doesn’t burn for very long, once you get it going,” Howell says. Treated chips were snuffed out in less than 10 seconds, whereas untreated chips blazed until no resin remained. The experiments did not compare the plant-based flame retardants with traditional fire-resistant substances…. https://www.sciencenews.org/article/plant-based-fire-retardants-may-offer-less-toxic-way-tame-flames

Here is the press release from the American Chemical Society:

AUGUST 26, 2019

Flame retardants—from plants

by American Chemical Society

Flame retardants are present in thousands of everyday items, from clothing to furniture to electronics. Although these substances can help prevent fire-related injuries and deaths, they could have harmful effects on human health and the environment. Of particular concern are those known as organohalogens, which are derived from petroleum. Today, scientists report potentially less toxic, biodegradable flame retardants from an unlikely source: plants.
The researchers will present their results at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
“The best flame-retardant chemicals have been organohalogen compounds, particularly brominated aromatics,” says Bob Howell, Ph.D., the project’s principal investigator. “The problem is, when you throw items away, and they go into a landfill, these substances can leach into the environment.”
Most organohalogen flame retardants are very stable. Microorganisms in the soil or water can’t degrade them, so they persist for many years in the environment, working their way up the food chain. In addition, some of the compounds can migrate out of items to which they are added, such as electronics, and enter household dust. Although the health effects of ingesting or breathing organohalogen flame retardants are largely unknown, some studies suggest they could be harmful, prompting California to ban the substances in children’s products, mattresses and upholstered furniture in 2018.
“A number of flame retardants are no longer available because of toxicity concerns, so there is a real need to find new materials that, one, are nontoxic and don’t persist, and two, don’t rely upon petroleum,” Howell says. His solution was to identify compounds from plants that could easily be converted into flame retardants by adding phosphorous atoms, which are known to quench flames. “We’re making compounds that are based on renewable biosources,” he says. “Very often they are nontoxic; some are even food ingredients. And they’re biodegradable—organisms are accustomed to digesting them.”
To make their plant-derived compounds, Howell and colleagues at the Center for Applications in Polymer Science at Central Michigan University began with two substances: gallic acid, commonly found in fruits, nuts and leaves; and 3,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid from buckwheat. Using a fairly simple chemical reaction, the researchers converted hydroxyl groups on these compounds to flame-retardant phosphorous esters. Then, the team added the various phosphorous esters individually to samples of an epoxy resin, a polymer often used in electronics, automobiles and aircraft, and examined the different esters’ properties with several tests.
In one of these tests, the researchers showed that the new flame retardants could strongly reduce the peak heat release rate of the epoxy resin, which reflects the intensity of the flame and how quickly it is going to spread. The plant-derived substances performed as well as many organohalogen flame retardants on the market. “As a matter of fact, they may be better,” Howell says. “Because gallic acid has three hydroxyl groups within the same molecule that can be converted to phosphorous esters, you don’t have to use as much of the additive, which reduces cost.”
The researchers also studied how the new compounds quench flames, finding that the level of oxygenation at the phosphorous atom determined the mode of action. Compounds with a high level of oxygenation (phosphates) decomposed to a substance that promoted char formation on the polymer surface, starving the flame of fuel. In contrast, compounds with a low level of oxygenation (phosphonates) decomposed to species that scavenged combustion-promoting radicals.
Howell’s team hasn’t yet performed toxicity tests, but he says that other groups have done such studies on similar compounds. “In general, phosphorous compounds are much less harmful than the corresponding organohalogens,” he notes. In addition, the plant-derived substances are not as volatile and are less likely to migrate from items into household dust. Howell hopes that the new flame retardants will attract the attention of a company that could help bring them to market, he says.
________________________________________
Explore further
Debate on banning organohalogen flame retardants heats up

More information: Phosphorus flame retardants from crop plant phenolic acids, the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2019 National Meeting & Exposition.
Abstract
While polymeric materials have had an enormously positive impact on the development of modern society, for most applications they must be flame-retarded. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, most notably by introduction of a suitable additive during processing. Traditionally, organohalogen compounds, particularly brominated aromatics, have been effective, affordable, popular gas-phase flame retardants. However, these compounds readily migrate from a polymer matrix into which they have been incorporated, persist in the environment, tend to bioaccumulate and may pose risks to human health. For this reason, the use of these compounds is coming under increasing regulatory pressure worldwide. Phosphorus compounds derived from renewable biosources provide attractive alternatives to these traditional organohalogen flame retardants. Precursors to biobased organophosphorus flame retardants are generally nontoxic and readily available at modest cost. Phenolics are ubiquitous in nature and may be isolated from numerous plants. Gallic acid (3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoic acid) is a constituent many edible plants, nuts and legumes. 3,5-Dihydroxybenzoic acid may be found in several plants, principally buckwheat. Both of these compounds may serve as the base for the generation of a series of phosphorus esters, both phosphonate and phosphate, that display good flame retardancy in DGEBA epoxy.
Provided by American Chemical Society https://phys.org/news/2019-08-flame-retardantsfrom.html
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists risks in Fact Sheet: Assessing Risks from Flame Retardants https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants

Resources:

COMPOUND SUMMARY – Tetrabromobisphenol A https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tetrabromobisphenol-A

Is the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a reproductive or developmental toxicant?
Date:
February 18, 2015
Source:
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Summary:
Two studies examined the effects of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) at oral doses of 10,100 or 1000 mg/kg bw/day over the course of 2 generations on growth as well as behavioral, neurological and neuropathologic functions in offspring. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218092044.htm
Global Tetrabromobisphenol-A Market is Evolving with Chemicals and Materials Industry in 2019 | Get Strategic Insights. https://theindustryforecast.com/2019/07/24/global-tetrabromobisphenol-a-insights-market-sp/

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Medical University of South Carolina study: How gonorrhea develops resistance to antibiotics

25 Aug

Medline summarized sexually transmitted diseases (STD):

Summary
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including
• Chlamydia
• Genital herpes
• Gonorrhea
• HIV/AIDS
• HPV
• Syphilis
• Trichomoniasis
Most STDs affect both men and women, but in many cases the health problems they cause can be more severe for women. If a pregnant woman has an STD, it can cause serious health problems for the baby.
Antibiotics can treat STDs caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. There is no cure for STDs caused by a virus, but medicines can often help with the symptoms and keep the disease under control.
Correct usage of latex condoms greatly reduces, but does not completely eliminate, the risk of catching or spreading STDs. The most reliable way to avoid infection is to not have anal, vaginal, or oral sex.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://medlineplus.gov/sexuallytransmitteddiseases.html

Helen Adams reported in Skyrocketing STDs have doctors urging sexually active young people to be tested:

MUSC Health obstetrician and gynecologist Jessica Tarleton has seen a lot in her role as a reproductive infectious disease specialist, but even she is stunned by new STD statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “A lot of these infections are in young people, very young people.”
This week, the CDC reported there were almost 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in the United States last year….
• Chlamydia is the most common, with more than 1.7 million cases last year.
• Gonorrhea diagnoses rose 67 percent between 2013 and 2017, hitting 555,608 last year.
• Syphilis jumped 76 percent during that same time period, hitting 30,644 cases last year.

Here’s why getting tested matters. A lot of people who have STDs don’t have any symptoms or don’t realize their rashes and other issues are linked to STDs. So if they don’t get tested regularly, the disease can progress. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause infertility in women if left untreated. Syphilis can cause neurological problems in both women and men, Tarleton says. And it can do more than that.

“One of the things that’s most upsetting to me is the rate of syphilis we’re seeing in pregnant women, because that can have severe effects on the fetus and baby. Babies can have congenital birth defects, some bone malformations, blindness and deafness. Sometimes it can lead to miscarriage or fetal death in utero. This can happen in moms who don’t know they have it.”

The good news is, all three STDs are treatable with antibiotics, although there is concern that gonorrhea is becoming antibiotic resistant.

So what’s going on? Why is the U.S. seeing a surge in STDs to the point that it’s being called a public health crisis?

Tarleton says part of the problem is some of the people at risk of getting STDs, young people, don’t know enough to worry about them. “Our teenagers are kind of going out unequipped to protect themselves from getting these infections.”

Other factors causing the rise in STDs, cited in a national discussion this week at the CDC’s 2018 STD Prevention Conference, include:

• A lack of funding for prevention programs.
• The opioid epidemic, which is causing some women to trade sex for drugs.
• Methamphetamines and other drugs, which are linked to forced sex, sex for money and sex with people who inject drugs.
• Doctors and patients who are reluctant to talk about STDs….

Tarleton says the best way to prevent STDs is to use condoms. “Condoms are still a very effective way of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections. And we want people to take seriously the need for screening and treatment of themselves and their sexual partners. I don’t think the message has been getting out, and it’s becoming a bigger and bigger problem.”
https://web.musc.edu/about/news-center/2018/08/31/skyrocketing-stds-have-doctors-urging-sexually-active-young-people-to-be-tested

Resources:

Your Guide to Sexually Transmitted Diseases                                            https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/sexual-health-stds#1

Sexually Transmitted Diseases                                                     https://www.drugs.com/cg/sexually-transmitted-diseases.html

Symptoms and Signs of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Privacy & Trust Info
Doctor’s Notes on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) https://www.emedicinehealth.com/sexually_transmitted_diseases/symptom.htm

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)                                        https://www.cdc.gov/std/default.htm

Science Daily reported in How gonorrhea develops resistance to antibiotics:

Steadily and relentlessly, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea has slipped past medicine’s defenses, acquiring resistance to once-reliable drugs, including penicillin, tetracycline, and ciprofloxacin. These former stalwarts are no longer used to treat the sexually transmitted disease.
In 2010, after some strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium responsible for gonorrhea, began showing resistance to one of the last remaining classes of antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending “dual therapy,” meaning that doctors now prescribe two drugs at the same time to fight gonorrhea. Currently, those two drugs are ceftriaxone, a member of the cephalosporin class of antibiotics, and azithromycin.
With fears increasing that gonorrhea could breach these last defenses, the work of researchers like crystallographer Christopher Davies, Ph.D., is crucial.
“We’re looking at a molecular level at the events that have got everybody worried out there in the clinics,” said Davies, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and director of the MUSC Center for Structural Biology.
Davies’ team has just published a paper showing how cephalosporins bind and inactivate a gonococcal protein dubbed penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2). Led by postdoctoral fellow Avinash Singh, Ph.D., the researchers showed the protein undergoes key structural changes, including twisting and rolling of a loop to bind the antibiotic, that enhance the reaction with cephalosporins. Without these changes, the protein would react much more slowly with the antibiotic.
Davies explained that all antibiotics work by targeting essential functions in a particular bug. Cephalosporins work by attacking the bacterial cell wall.
Normally, PBP2 moves along the bacterial cell’s cytoplasmic membrane, reaching out into the space between the cytoplasmic membrane and the outer membrane, looking for peptides to bind to. The protein joins peptides together to create a mesh — just like an onion bag at the grocery store, Davies said. But antibiotics jump in to bind to the protein before it can get to a peptide.
“The protein is walking around the membrane layer as normal, but its active site is blocked by antibiotic, so all those potential interactions with the peptide substrate are fruitless,” Davies said.
With the protein out of commission and not building the mesh, holes start to appear in the cell wall. Cytoplasm starts to leak out, and the cell bursts and dies, Davies said.
Yet the resistant strains, which have been identified in Japan, France, Spain and most recently in Canada, evade the lethal action of cephalosporins by preventing the antibiotic from binding to the protein target. How they achieve this is a major focus of Davies’ research.
There are 60-some mutations on the PBP2 protein in the resistant strains of gonorrhea. Davies’ team has identified six mutations that are at the root of the resistance and is looking at how the mutations change the way the protein reacts to antibiotics…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190823140704.htm

Citation:

How gonorrhea develops resistance to antibiotics
Date: August 23, 2019
Source: Medical University of South Carolina
Summary:
As public health officials worry about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea, researchers are tracing how antibiotics bind to a gonococcal protein, information that can help lead to new antimicrobials.

Journal Reference:
Avinash Singh, Joshua Tomberg, Robert A Nicholas, Christopher Davies. Recognition of the β-lactam Carboxylate Triggers Acylation of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Penicillin-Binding Protein 2. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2019; jbc.RA119.009942 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.009942

Here is the press release from Medical University of South Carolina:

Researcher works to understand how gonorrhea develops resistance to antibiotics

Leslie Cantu

August 23, 2019

Steadily and relentlessly, the bacterium that causes gonorrhea has slipped past medicine’s defenses, acquiring resistance to once-reliable drugs, including penicillin, tetracycline and ciprofloxacin. These former stalwarts are no longer used to treat the sexually transmitted disease.
In 2010, after some strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae, the bacterium responsible for gonorrhea, began showing resistance to one of the last remaining classes of antibiotics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending “dual therapy,” meaning that doctors now prescribe two drugs at the same time to fight gonorrhea. Currently, those two drugs are ceftriaxone, a member of the cephalosporin class of antibiotics, and azithromycin.

With fears increasing that gonorrhea could breach these last defenses, the work of researchers like crystallographer Christopher Davies, Ph.D., is crucial.

“We’re looking at a molecular level at the events that have got everybody worried out there in the clinics,” said Davies, a professor in the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and director of the MUSC Center for Structural Biology.

Davies’ team has just published a paper showing how cephalosporins bind and inactivate a gonococcal protein dubbed penicillin-binding protein 2 (PBP2). Led by postdoctoral fellow Avinash Singh, Ph.D., the researchers showed the protein undergoes key structural changes, including twisting and rolling of a loop to bind the antibiotic, that enhance the reaction with cephalosporins. Without these changes, the protein would react much more slowly with the antibiotic.

Davies explained that all antibiotics work by targeting essential functions in a particular bug. Cephalosporins work by attacking the bacterial cell wall.

Normally, PBP2 moves along the bacterial cell’s cytoplasmic membrane, reaching out into the space between the cytoplasmic membrane and the outer membrane, looking for peptides to bind to. The protein joins peptides together to create a mesh – just like an onion bag at the grocery store, Davies said. But antibiotics jump in to bind to the protein before it can get to a peptide.

“The protein is walking around the membrane layer as normal, but its active site is blocked by antibiotic, so all those potential interactions with the peptide substrate are fruitless,” Davies said.

With the protein out of commission and not building the mesh, holes start to appear in the cell wall. Cytoplasm starts to leak out, and the cell bursts and dies, Davies said.

Yet the resistant strains, which have been identified in Japan, France, Spain and most recently in Canada, evade the lethal action of cephalosporins by preventing the antibiotic from binding to the protein target. How they achieve this is a major focus of Davies’ research.
There are 60-some mutations on the PBP2 protein in the resistant strains of gonorrhea. Davies’ team has identified six mutations that are at the root of the resistance and is looking at how the mutations change the way the protein reacts to antibiotics.

Once researchers understand how the mutations are preventing antibiotics from doing their work, new drugs can be developed, Davies said. Knowing which mutations are important may also allow a diagnostic test to be developed to tell doctors whether a particular patient has a resistant strain and, therefore, which drugs to prescribe.

Davies said it appears that the mutations restrict the protein’s flexibility, preventing the structural changes needed to bind the antibiotic. That triggers a new mystery. If those movements are critical to its job of binding to peptides and building the mesh that keeps the cell wall intact, how can the mutations block the antibiotic but still allow the normal reaction? “This is the most fascinating aspect of our research,” Davies said.

“It’s an essential function, so the mutations can’t change the protein too much. It must be able to discriminate. Discriminating against an antibiotic while still retaining the normal binding and reaction with their substrate is a delicate balancing act they have to negotiate,” he said.

This balancing act might be the reason that antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea hasn’t spread as quickly as anticipated.

“There’s a fitness cost. They don’t function quite as well as their susceptible counterparts, and it’s probably for that reason they’re not spreading as fast as people feared they would,” Davies said.

Although the resistant-type gonorrhea isn’t spreading as quickly as public health officials feared, there have been increases in the number of cases of susceptible gonorrhea, as well as other sexually transmitted diseases.

Gonorrhea diagnoses increased by 67% between 2013 and 2017, according to the CDC.

“We expect gonorrhea will eventually wear down our last highly effective antibiotic, and additional treatment options are urgently needed,” said Gail Bolan, M.D., director of the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention, when it released those figures.

South Carolina has the fourth highest rate of gonorrhea in the U.S., according to an analysis of CDC numbers by Health Testing Centers, a lab testing service.
MUSC infectious disease specialist Eric Meissner, M.D., Ph.D., said it’s not entirely clear why the rates of STDs are increasing.

“We know that there are proven interventions that individuals can use, including regular use of condoms, that markedly reduce the odds of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease. So the rise in STD rates suggests there’s a need for more public health interventions and education,” he said.

Although gonorrhea isn’t fatal, it can cause lifelong problems if left untreated, including infertility and susceptibility to other sexually transmitted diseases, like HIV.

“An important thing for people to know is you can have gonorrhea and not have symptoms, so you can’t rely upon the absence of symptoms alone to provide reassurance that you or your sexual partner do not have gonorrhea,” Meissner said. “Sexually active people at risk for gonorrhea exposure should get regular testing”.

Meanwhile, Davies and his team are continuing their work in the lab. The next step is understanding how the protein can still perform its normal essential function while eluding the antibiotics. The group has some ideas that it will put to the test, he said.

Meissner said antibiotic resistance is concerning to doctors in the clinic.

“Even though the specific strain Dr. Davies is studying is rare, it is important to note that the emergence of resistance in gonorrhea is a real concern,” Meissner said.

About the Author
Leslie Cantu
Keywords: Research
Contact Us 843-792-2300 https://web.musc.edu/about/news-center/2019/08/23/antibiotic-resistant-gonorrhea-research

The Mayo Clinic summarized treatment for STDs:

Diagnosis
Tests
If your sexual history and current signs and symptoms suggest that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or a sexually transmitted infection (STI), laboratory tests can identify the cause and detect coinfections you might also have.
• Blood tests. Blood tests can confirm the diagnosis of HIV or later stages of syphilis.
• Urine samples. Some STIs can be confirmed with a urine sample.
• Fluid samples. If you have open genital sores, your doctor may test fluid and samples from the sores to diagnose the type of infection.
Screening
Testing for a disease in someone who doesn’t have symptoms is called screening. Most of the time, STI screening is not a routine part of health care, but there are exceptions:
• Everyone. The one STI screening test suggested for everyone ages 13 to 64 is a blood or saliva test for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS. Experts recommend that people at high risk have an HIV test every year.
• Everyone born between 1945 and 1965. There’s a high incidence of hepatitis C in people born between 1945 and 1965. Since the disease often causes no symptoms until it’s advanced, experts recommend that everyone in that age group be screened for hepatitis C.
• Pregnant women. All pregnant women will generally be screened for HIV, hepatitis B, chlamydia and syphilis at their first prenatal visit. Gonorrhea and hepatitis C screening tests are recommended at least once during pregnancy for women at high risk of these infections.
• Women age 21 and older. The Pap test screens for cervical abnormalities, including inflammation, precancerous changes and cancer, which is often caused by certain strains of human papillomavirus (HPV). Experts recommend that women have a Pap test every three years starting at age 21. After age 30, experts recommend women have an HPV DNA test and a Pap test every five years. A Pap test every three years is also acceptable.
• Women under age 25 who are sexually active. Experts recommend that all sexually active women under age 25 be tested for chlamydia infection. The chlamydia test uses a sample of urine or vaginal fluid you can collect yourself.
Some experts recommend repeating the chlamydia test three months after you’ve had a positive test and been treated. Reinfection by an untreated or undertreated partner is common, so you need the second test to confirm that the infection is cured. You can catch chlamydia multiple times, so get retested if you have a new partner.
Screening for gonorrhea is also recommended in sexually active women under age 25.
• Men who have sex with men. Compared with other groups, men who have sex with men run a higher risk of acquiring STIs. Many public health groups recommend annual or more-frequent STI screening for these men. Regular tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia and gonorrhea are particularly important. Evaluation for hepatitis B also may be recommended.
• People with HIV. If you have HIV, it dramatically raises your risk of catching other STIs. Experts recommend immediate testing for syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes after being diagnosed with HIV. They also recommend that people with HIV be screened for hepatitis C.
Women with HIV may develop aggressive cervical cancer, so experts recommend they have a Pap test within a year of being diagnosed with HIV, and then again six months later.
• People who have a new partner. Before having vaginal or anal intercourse with new partners, be sure you’ve both been tested for STIs. However, routine testing for genital herpes isn’t recommended unless you have symptoms.
It’s also possible to be infected with an STI yet still test negative, particularly if you’ve recently been infected.
More Information
• STD testing
• Complete blood count (CBC)
• HIV testing
Show More
Treatment
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) caused by bacteria are generally easier to treat. Viral infections can be managed but not always cured. If you are pregnant and have an STI, getting treatment right away can prevent or reduce the risk of your baby becoming infected.
Treatment for STIs usually consists of one of the following, depending on the infection:
• Antibiotics. Antibiotics, often in a single dose, can cure many sexually transmitted bacterial and parasitic infections, including gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia and trichomoniasis. Typically, you’ll be treated for gonorrhea and chlamydia at the same time because the two infections often appear together.
Once you start antibiotic treatment, it’s necessary to follow through. If you don’t think you’ll be able to take medication as prescribed, tell your doctor. A shorter, simpler course of treatment may be available.
In addition, it’s important to abstain from sex until seven days after you’ve completed antibiotic treatment and any sores have healed. Experts also suggest women be retested in about three months because there’s high chance of reinfection.
• Antiviral drugs. If you have herpes or HIV, you’ll be prescribed an antiviral drug. You’ll have fewer herpes recurrences if you take daily suppressive therapy with a prescription antiviral drug. However, it’s still possible to give your partner herpes.
Antiviral drugs can keep HIV infection in check for many years. But you will still carry the virus and can still transmit it, though the risk is lower.
The sooner you start treatment, the more effective it is. If you take your medications exactly as directed, it’s possible to reduce your virus count so low that it can hardly be detected.
If you’ve had an STI, ask your doctor how long after treatment you need to be retested. Getting retested will ensure that the treatment worked and that you haven’t been reinfected.
Partner notification and preventive treatment
If tests show that you have an STI, your sex partners — including your current partners and any other partners you’ve had over the last three months to one year — need to be informed so that they can get tested. If they’re infected, they can then be treated.
Each state has different requirements, but most states require that certain STIs be reported to the local or state health department. Public health departments often employ trained disease intervention specialists who can help notify partners and refer people for treatment…. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351246

Resources:

What are the treatments for sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted infections (STDs/STIs)? https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/stds/conditioninfo/treatments

Treatments for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)                   https://www.webmd.com/sexual-conditions/guide/std-treatments#1

IF YOU ARE AT RISK FOR A SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASE OR FEEL YOU HAVE ALREADY CONTRACTED AN STD – SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION.

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Amsterdam study: MRI scans show how ADHD medication affects brain structure in children

19 Aug

The National Institute of Mental Health defined ADHD:

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Overview
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a brain disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
• Inattention means a person wanders off task, lacks persistence, has difficulty sustaining focus, and is disorganized; and these problems are not due to defiance or lack of comprehension.
• Hyperactivity means a person seems to move about constantly, including in situations in which it is not appropriate; or excessively fidgets, taps, or talks. In adults, it may be extreme restlessness or wearing others out with constant activity.
• Impulsivity means a person makes hasty actions that occur in the moment without first thinking about them and that may have high potential for harm; or a desire for immediate rewards or inability to delay gratification. An impulsive person may be socially intrusive and excessively interrupt others or make important decisions without considering the long-term consequences.
Signs and Symptoms
Inattention and hyperactivity/impulsivity are the key behaviors of ADHD. Some people with ADHD only have problems with one of the behaviors, while others have both inattention and hyperactivity-impulsivity. Most children have the combined type of ADHD.
In preschool, the most common ADHD symptom is hyperactivity.
It is normal to have some inattention, unfocused motor activity and impulsivity, but for people with ADHD, these behaviors:
• are more severe
• occur more often
• interfere with or reduce the quality of how they functions socially, at school, or in a job…. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

Resources:

What Is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder?                                         https://wb.md/2NvF1Dx

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml#part_145450

What Is ADHD?                                                                                   https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/adhd/what-is-adhd

What is ADHD? https://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Resource_Centers/ADHD_Resource_Center/ADHD_A_Guide_for_Families/What_is_ADHD.aspx

Lois Zoppi, BA Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor) reported in the Medical Life Sciences News article, MRI scans show how ADHD medication affects brain structure in children:

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) affects an increasing number of people worldwide, with an estimated 6.1 million children were living with ADHD in 2016, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health.
Now, MRI scans have revealed that children taking the common medication methylphenidate experience alterations in the distribution of white matter in the brain. This has led to the researchers warning doctors not to over-prescribe the medication and only use it when it is absolutely necessary, as the long-term effects of the medication are not yet known.
Methylphenidate is a stimulant medication commonly prescribed for ADHD and works by blocking norepinephrine and dopamine transporters. Deficits in the prefrontal cortex are associated with ADHD symptoms, and increased dopamine and norepinephrine levels in the prefrontal cortex may have beneficial effects on the condition.
White matter is tissue found in the deepest part of the brain and facilitates quick thinking, learning, co-ordination between different parts of the brain, and the ability to walk and balance. The effects of methylphenidate on white matter, and by extension brain development, is not fully understood….
To chart any changes seen in the participants’ brains, they all underwent an MRI scan one week before their treatment began, and one week after their treatment stopped. Changes were found in the left hemisphere of the brain, with approximately double the rate of fractional anisotropy (nerve fiber density, size, and myelination).
The results suggest that the brain is susceptible to structural changes while it is still developing during childhood and adolescence, with the authors writing:
“The adolescent brain is a rapidly developing system maintaining high levels of plasticity. For instance, the maturation and development of white matter continues well into adulthood.”
“The results show that ADHD medications can have different effects on the development of brain structure in children versus adults. In adult men with ADHD, and both boys and adult men receiving placebo, changes in FA [fractional anisotropy] measures were not present, suggesting that the effects of methyphenidate on brain white matter are modulated by age,” Reneman said.
Reneman warned that they “do not yet know whether these effects are reversible or not and whether they are related to functional or behavioral changes over a longer period of time.”
“What our data already underscores is that the use of ADHD medications in children must be carefully considered until more is known about the long-term consequences of prescribing methylphenidate at a young age,” she said.
The study highlights the key results it produced through its experiments.
“In boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), four months of treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) was associated with increased white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) after 16 weeks.
“In adult men with ADHD and in both boys and adult men receiving placebo, changes in FA measures were not present, suggesting that the effects of MPH on brain white matter are modulated by age….” https://www.news-medical.net/news/20190815/MRI-scans-show-how-ADHD-medication-affects-brain-structure-in-children.aspx

Citation

Journal reference:
Bouziane, C., et al. (2019). White Matter by Diffusion MRI Following Methylphenidate Treatment: A Randomized Control Trial in Males with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. RSNA Radiology. https://doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2019182528.

Here is the abstract and key results:

Original ResearchFree Access
Neuroradiology
White Matter by Diffusion MRI Following Methylphenidate Treatment: A Randomized Control Trial in Males with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Cheima Bouziane*, Olena G. Filatova*, Anouk Schrantee, Matthan W. A. Caan, Frans M. Vos, Liesbeth Reneman
* C.B. and O.G.F. contributed equally to this work.
Author Affiliations
Published Online:Aug 13 2019https://doi.org/10.1148/radiol.2019182528
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Abstract
Background
Methylphenidate (MPH) is highly effective in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, not much is known about its effect on the development of human brain white matter (WM).
Purpose
To determine whether MPH modulates WM microstructure in an age-dependent fashion in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial (Effects of Psychotropic Medication on Brain Development–Methylphenidate, or ePOD-MPH) among ADHD referral centers between October 13, 2011, and June 15, 2015, by using diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI).
Materials and Methods
In this prospective study (NTR3103 and NL34509.000.10), 50 stimulant treatment–naive boys and 49 young adult men diagnosed with ADHD (all types) according to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition criteria were randomized to undergo treatment with MPH or placebo for 16 weeks. Before and 1 week after treatment cessation, study participants underwent MRI, including DTI. The outcome measure was change in fractional anisotropy (FA), which was assessed in three regions of interest (ROIs), as well as in a voxel-based analysis in brain WM. Data were analyzed by using intention-to-treat linear mixed models for ROI analysis and a permutation-based method for voxel-based analysis with family-wise error correction.
Results
Fifty boys (n = 25 MPH group, n = 25 placebo group; age range, 10–12 years) and 48 men (n = 24 MPH group, n = 24 placebo group; age range, 23–40 years) were included. ROI analysis of FA yielded no main effect of time in any of the conditions. However, voxel-based analysis revealed significant (P < .05) time-by-medication-by-age interaction effects in several association tracts of the left hemisphere, as well as in the lateral aspect of the truncus of the corpus callosum, due to greater increase in FA (standardized effect size, 5.25) in MPH-treated boys. Similar changes were not present in boys receiving a placebo, nor in adult men.
Conclusion
Four months of treatment with methylphenidate affects specific tracts in brain white matter in boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. These effects seem to be age dependent, because they were not observed in adults treated with methylphenidate.
© RSNA, 2019
Online supplemental material is available for this article.
Download as PowerPointOpen in Image Viewer
Summary
This randomized clinical trial on the influence of methylphenidate on brain development using diffusion-tensor MRI found fractional anisotropy to increase in specific brain areas of boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder but not in young adult men or boys receiving a placebo.
Key Results
• ■ In boys with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), 4 months of treatment with methylphenidate (MPH) was associated with increased white matter fractional anisotropy (FA) after 16 weeks (standardized effect size of 5.25 at whole-brain voxel-based analysis)
• ■ In adult men with ADHD and in both boys and adult men receiving placebo, changes in FA measures were not present, suggesting that the effects of MPH on brain white matter are modulated by age.
https://pubs.rsna.org/doi/10.1148/radiol.2019182528

If you suspect that your child might have ADHD, you should seek an evaluation from a competent professional who has knowledge of this specialized area of medical practice.

Reference Links:

Edge Foundation ADHD Coaching Study Executive Summary
http://edgefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Edge-Foundation-ADHD-Coaching-Research-Report.pdf

Edge Foundation ADHD Coaching Study Full Report
http://edgefoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/Edge-Foundation-ADHD-Coaching-Research-Report.pdf

ADHD and College Success: A free guide
http://www.edgefoundation.org/howedgehelps/add-2.html

ADHD and Executive Functioning
http://edgefoundation.org/blog/2010/10/08/the-role-of-adhd-and-your-brains-executive-functions/

Executive Function, ADHD and Academic Outcomes
http://www.helpforld.com/efacoutcomes.pdf

Related:
Louisiana study: Fit children score higher on standardized tests
https://drwilda.com/2012/05/08/louisiana-study-fit-children-score-higher-on-standardized-tests/

Studies: ADHD drugs don’t necessarily improve academic performance
https://drwilda.com/2013/07/14/studies-adhd-drugs-dont-necessarily-improve-academic-performance/

ADHD coaching to improve a child’s education outcome
https://drwilda.com/2012/03/31/adhd-coaching-to-improve-a-childs-education-outcome/

An ADHD related disorder: ‘Sluggish Cognitive Tempo’
https://drwilda.com/2014/04/12/an-adhd-related-disorder-sluggish-cognitive-tempo/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

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Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com

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http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

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University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine study: Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone

11 Aug

The staff of Mayo Clinic wrote an excellent synopsis about Deep brain stimulation:

Overview
Deep brain stimulation involves implanting electrodes within certain areas of your brain. These electrodes produce electrical impulses that regulate abnormal impulses. Or the electrical impulses can affect certain cells and chemicals within the brain.
The amount of stimulation in deep brain stimulation is controlled by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in your upper chest. A wire that travels under your skin connects this device to the electrodes in your brain.
Deep brain stimulation is approved to treat a number of conditions, such as:
• Dystonia
• Epilepsy
• Essential tremor
• Obsessive-compulsive disorder
• Parkinson’s disease
Deep brain stimulation is also being studied as a potential treatment for:
• Addiction
• Chronic pain
• Cluster headache
• Dementia
• Depression (major)
• Huntington’s disease
• Multiple sclerosis
• Stroke recovery
• Tourette syndrome
• Traumatic brain injury
Why it’s done
Deep brain stimulation is an established treatment for people with movement disorders, such as essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and dystonia, and psychiatric conditions, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder. It’s also approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration to reduce seizures in difficult-to-treat epilepsy.
This treatment is reserved for people who aren’t able to get control of their symptoms with medications…. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/deep-brain-stimulation/about/pac-20384562

Resources:

What is deep brain stimulation?                 https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/deep-brain-stimulation

Wireless communication with implanted medical devices using the conductive properties of the body https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4156009/

Science Daily reported the University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine study, Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone:

A team of scientists in Korea and the United States have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone.
Researchers, publishing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, believe the device can speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.
The device, using Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and powerful bluetooth low-energy, can target specific neurons of interest using drug and light for prolonged periods.
“The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before,” said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and University of Colorado Boulder.
Qazi said this technology significantly overshadows conventional methods used by neuroscientists, which usually involve rigid metal tubes and optical fibers to deliver drugs and light. Apart from limiting the subject’s movement due to the physical connections with bulky equipment, their relatively rigid structure causes lesion in soft brain tissue over time, therefore making them not suitable for long-term implantation. Though some efforts have been put to partly mitigate adverse tissue response by incorporating soft probes and wireless platforms, the previous solutions were limited by their inability to deliver drugs for long periods of time as well as their bulky and complex control setups.
To achieve chronic wireless drug delivery, scientists had to solve the critical challenge of exhaustion and evaporation of drugs. Researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the University of Washington in Seattle collaborated to invent a neural device with a replaceable drug cartridge, which could allow neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits for several months without worrying about running out of drugs.
These ‘plug-n-play’ drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe (thickness of a human hair), which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs (smaller than a grain of salt), for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.
Controlled with an elegant and simple user interface on a smartphone, neuroscientists can easily trigger any specific combination or precise sequencing of light and drug deliveries in any implanted target animal without need to be physically inside the laboratory. Using these wireless neural devices, researchers could also easily setup fully automated animal studies where behaviour of one animal could positively or negatively affect behaviour in other animals by conditional triggering of light and/or drug delivery.
“This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering,” said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. “We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications.”
Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.
“It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behaviour, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behaviour in various ways,” he said. “We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction, and emotional disorders….” https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190805143525.htm

Citation:

Scientists can now manipulate brain cells using smartphone
Date: August 5, 2019
Source: University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine
Summary:
A team of scientists have invented a device that can control neural circuits using a tiny brain implant controlled by a smartphone. The device could speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.

Journal Reference:
Raza Qazi, Adrian M. Gomez, Daniel C. Castro, Zhanan Zou, Joo Yong Sim, Yanyu Xiong, Jonas Abdo, Choong Yeon Kim, Avery Anderson, Frederik Lohner, Sang-Hyuk Byun, Byung Chul Lee, Kyung-In Jang, Jianliang Xiao, Michael R. Bruchas, Jae-Woong Jeong. Wireless optofluidic brain probes for chronic neuropharmacology and photostimulation. Nature Biomedical Engineering, 2019; DOI: 10.1038/s41551-019-0432-1

Here is the press release from the University of Washington:

NEWS RELEASE

August 5, 2019

For immediate release

Scientists manipulate brain cells using a smartphone

A soft neural implant, capable of delivering multiple drugs and color lights, might speed research on diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression and pain.

MEDIA CONTACT:
Bobbi Nodell, bnodell@uw.edu, 206.543.7129
Email Facebook Twitter Share

A team of scientists in South Korea and the United States have invented a device that can control neural circuits by using a tiny brain implant managedby a smartphone.
Publishing in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the researchers said the soft neural implant is the first wireless neural device capable of delivering multiple drugs and color lights. The device could speed up efforts to uncover brain diseases, such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, addiction, depression, and pain.
“The wireless neural device enables chronic chemical and optical neuromodulation that has never been achieved before,” said lead author Raza Qazi, a researcher with the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and University of Colorado Boulder.
Co-author Michael Bruchas, a professor of anesthesiology and pain medicine and pharmacology at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said this technology will help researchers in many ways.
“It allows us to better dissect the neural circuit basis of behavior, and how specific neuromodulators in the brain tune behavior in various ways,” he said. “We are also eager to use the device for complex pharmacological studies, which could help us develop new therapeutics for pain, addiction and emotional disorders.”
The device uses Lego-like replaceable drug cartridges and powerful bluetooth low-energy to deliver drugs and light to specific neurons of interest.
Resarchers said this technology significantly overshadows conventional neuroscience methods, which usually involve rigid metal tubes and optical fibers. Apart from limiting the subject’s movement due to the physical connections with bulky equipment, their relatively rigid structure causes lesion in soft brain tissue over time, therefore making them not suitable for long-term implantation. Though some efforts have partly mitigate adverse tissue response by incorporating soft probes and wireless platforms, the previous solutions were limited by their inability to deliver drugs for long periods of time as well as their bulky and complex control setups.
To achieve chronic wireless drug delivery, scientists had to solve the critical challenge of exhaustion and evaporation of drugs. The researchers collaborated to invent the neural device, which could allow neuroscientists to study the same brain circuits for several months without worrying about running out of drugs.
These “plug and play” drug cartridges were assembled into a brain implant for mice with a soft and ultrathin probe, the thickness of a human hair, which consisted of microfluidic channels and tiny LEDs, smaller than a grain of salt, for unlimited drug doses and light delivery.
Controlled with an elegant, simple user interface on a smartphone, the device can easily trigger any specific combination or precise sequencing of light and drug deliveries in any implanted target animal without need to be inside the laboratory. Using these wireless neural devices, researchers could also easily setup fully automated animal studies where behavior of one animal could positively or negatively affect behaviour in other animals by conditional triggering of light and/or drug delivery.
“This revolutionary device is the fruit of advanced electronics design and powerful micro and nanoscale engineering,” said Jae-Woong Jeong, a professor of electrical engineering at KAIST. “We are interested in further developing this technology to make a brain implant for clinical applications.”
The researchers at the Jeong group at KAIST, South Korea, develop soft electronics for wearable and implantable devices. The neuroscientists at the Bruchas Lab in Seattle study brain circuits that control stress, depression, addiction, pain and other neuropsychiatric disorders. This collaborative effort among engineers and neuroscientists over three years and tens of design iterations led to the successful validation of this brain implant in freely moving mice.
This work was supported by grants from the National Research Foundation of Korea, the National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and Mallinckrodt Professorship.

Resources:

Deep Brain Stimulation                                                   https://www.aans.org/Patients/Neurosurgical-Conditions-and-Treatments/Deep-Brain-Stimulation

Ethical Issues in Deep Brain Stimulation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3096836/

Deep Brain Stimulation for Mental Illnesses Raises Ethical Concerns https://leapsmag.com/deep-brain-stimulation-mental-illnesses-raises-ethical-concerns/

Ethical Considerations in Deep Brain Stimulation Treatment https://pjb.mycpanel2.princeton.edu/wp/index.php/2016/03/09/ethical-considerations-in-deep-brain-stimulation-treatment/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

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COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University of Massachusetts – Amherst study: New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment

8 Aug

Science Direct reported in Tetrabromobisphenol A:

Abstract
Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is one of the most prevalent flame retardants, and is used in plastic paints, synthetic textiles, and electrical devices. Despite the fact that TBBPA is excreted quickly from the body, it is detected in human plasma and milk. Owing to the structural resemblance to thyroid hormones (THs), the thyroid disruption activities of TBBPA have been investigated over the past two decades. Possible action sites are plasma TH binding protein and TH receptors. In experimental animal models, TBBPA exposure induces a decrease in plasma TH levels and a delay of TH-induced metamorphosis in animals. In studies using cell lines, TBBPA shows weak agonist and antagonist activities. These in vitro and in vivo bioassays may be powerful tools for detecting the thyroid system disruption activity of TBBPA. Although recent findings suggest diverse biological effects of TBBPA on the thyroid, reproductive, and immune systems, there is still controversy regarding these effects…. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/tetrabromobisphenol-a and https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B978012801028000249X
Scientists are researching the effects of Tetrabromobisphenol A.

Green Sciences Policy Institute provided an overview of retardants:

Flame retardant chemicals are used in commercial and consumer products (like furniture and building insulation) to meet flammability standards. Not all flame retardants present concerns, but the following types often do:
• Halogenated flame retardants (also known as organohalogen flame retardants) containing chlorine or bromine bonded to carbon.
• Organophosphorous flame retardants containing phosphorous bonded to carbon.
For these types of flame retardants:
• Some are associated with health and environmental concerns
• Many are inadequately tested for safety
• They provide questionable fire safety benefits as used in some products
Major uses
The major uses of flame retardant chemicals by volume in the U.S. are:
• Electronics
• Building insulation
• Polyurethane foam
• Wire and cable
Properties of Concern
Organohalogen and organophosphorous flame retardants often have one or more of the following properties of concern. Chemicals with all these properties are considered Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and present significant risks to human health and environment. https://greensciencepolicy.org/topics/flame-retardants/

University of Massachusetts Amherst reported a process to degrade flame retardant.

Science Daily reported in New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment:

A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisohenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade, says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology….
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers….
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190808115102.htm

Citation:

New process discovered to completely degrade flame retardant in the environment
New research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
Date: August 8, 2019
Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Summary:
A team of environmental scientists has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.

Journal Reference:
Jun Wu, Jian Zhao, Jun Hou, Raymond Jianxiong Zeng, Baoshan Xing. Degradation of Tetrabromobisphenol A by Sulfidated Nanoscale Zerovalent Iron in a Dynamic Two-Step Anoxic/Oxic Process. Environmental Science & Technology, 2019; 53 (14): 8105 DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b06834

Here is the press release from UMass Amherst:

New Process Discovered to Completely Degrade Flame Retardant in the Environment
UMass Amherst research has potential application to remediate other difficult-to-degrade pollutants
August 8, 2019
Contact: Jun Wu 413-210-2729
AMHERST, Mass. – A team of environmental scientists from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and China has for the first time used a dynamic, two-step process to completely degrade a common flame-retardant chemical, rendering the persistent global pollutant nontoxic.
This new process breaks down tetrabromobisophenol A (TBBPA) to harmless carbon dioxide and water. The discovery highlights the potential of using a special material, sulfidated nanoscale zerovalent iron (S-nZVI), in water treatment systems and in the natural environment to break down not only TBBPA but other organic refractory compounds that are difficult to degrade,says Jun Wu, a visiting Ph.D. student at UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge College of Agriculture and lead author of the paper published in Environmental Science & Technology.
“This is the first research about this dynamic, oxic/anoxic process,” Wu says. “Usually, reduction or oxidation alone is used to remove TBBPA, facilitated by S-nZVI. We combined reduction and oxidation together to degrade it completely.”
Wu emphasizes that “the technique is technically simple and environmentally friendly. That is a key point to its application.”
The research is featured on the cover of ES&T, which is widely respected for publishing papers in the environmental disciplines that are both significant and original.
“This research can lead to a decrease in the potential risk of TBBPA to the environment and human health,” says Wu, who began the research at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. At UMass Amherst, Wu works in the pioneering lab of Baoshan Xing, professor of environmental and soil chemistry, corresponding author of the new study and one of the world’s most highly cited researchers.
“Our research shows a feasible and environmentally friendly process to completely degrade refractory brominated flame retardants in a combined oxic and anoxic system,” Xing says. “This is important for getting rid of these harmful compounds from the environment, thus reducing the exposure and risk.”
Among the most common flame retardants that hinder combustion and slow the spread of fire, TBBPA is added to manufactured materials, including computer circuit boards and other electrical devices, papers, textiles and plastics.
Associated with a variety of health concerns, including cancer and hormone disruption, TBBPA has been widely detected in the environment, as well as in animals and human milk and plasma.
Although Wu and Xing’s research breaks new ground in the efforts to develop safe and effective processes to remediate groundwater and soil contaminated with TBBPA, they say more research is needed to learn how to best apply the process.
Their research was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Hatch Program.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lists risks in Fact Sheet: Assessing Risks from Flame Retardants https://www.epa.gov/assessing-and-managing-chemicals-under-tsca/fact-sheet-assessing-risks-flame-retardants

Resources:
COMPOUND SUMMARY – Tetrabromobisphenol A https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Tetrabromobisphenol-A

Is the flame retardant, tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA), a reproductive or developmental toxicant?
Date:
February 18, 2015
Source:
Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment
Summary:
Two studies examined the effects of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) at oral doses of 10,100 or 1000 mg/kg bw/day over the course of 2 generations on growth as well as behavioral, neurological and neuropathologic functions in offspring. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/02/150218092044.htm

Global Tetrabromobisphenol-A Market is Evolving with Chemicals and Materials Industry in 2019 | Get Strategic Insights. https://theindustryforecast.com/2019/07/24/global-tetrabromobisphenol-a-insights-market-sp/

Where information leads to Hope. © Dr. Wilda.com

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Blogs by Dr. Wilda:

COMMENTS FROM AN OLD FART©
http://drwildaoldfart.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda Reviews ©
http://drwildareviews.wordpress.com/

Dr. Wilda ©
https://drwilda.com/

University College London study: People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed

3 Aug

Harvard Health wrote in Chocolate: Pros and cons of this sweet treat:

The reality is that ingredients in cocoa can be healthy, but the high-calorie chocolate bars that contain it aren’t necessarily good for you. Cocoa comes from roasted cacao seeds. It’s high in plant compounds called cocoa flavonoids, which have been shown in studies to have beneficial effects on heart disease risks, as well as on blood flow to the brain. Chocolate is the candy that’s made by adding sugar, milk, and other ingredients to cocoa powder. Those ingredients also add fat and sugar, which counteract some of cocoa’s health benefits.
Cocoa and heart health
The flavonoids in cocoa—specifically catechin, epicatechin, and procyanidins—are thought to help the cardiovascular system by lowering cholesterol, reducing inflammation, and preventing blood clots. When Dr. Ding and his colleagues analyzed the results of 24 studies on the effects of cocoa flavonoids on heart risks, they found that flavonoids reduced blood pressure and unhealthy LDL cholesterol, increased healthy HDL cholesterol, improved blood flow, and lowered insulin resistance (a condition in which the body doesn’t use insulin effectively, which is associated with type 2 diabetes and heart disease).
So far, researchers have only confirmed cocoa’s short-term benefits on heart risks—not the outcomes of lowering those risks. In other words, cocoa flavonoids may counteract the high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and other factors that contribute to a heart attack, but whether they actually prevent one from happening isn’t yet known. “In terms of actual direct heart attack prevention, the jury’s still out,” Dr. Ding says.
Cocoa on the brain
Scientists are also discovering that cocoa may be healthy for the brain. Another team of researchers at Harvard Medical School found that older adults who drank two cups of cocoa a day for 30 days had improved blood flow to parts of their brain needed for memory and thinking.
Another study, this one published in the journal Hypertension in 2012, offers even more direct evidence of cocoa flavonoids’ effects on the brain. Researchers in Italy found that older adults with mild cognitive impairment (mild problems with memory and thinking skills that increase the risk for dementia) who drank high-flavonoid cocoa performed better on tests of mental function and speaking ability than those who drank low-flavonoid cocoa. These studies don’t prove that cocoa can prevent dementia or other kinds of mental decline, but it does appear to play some brain-protective role.
Best cocoa sources
The average dose of flavonoids in the studies Dr. Ding reviewed was 400 milligrams a day. “The problem is, that’s about the equivalent of eight bars of dark chocolate or 30 bars of milk chocolate,” he says. “When you eat these actual chocolate bars, all the calories and sugar come with them.”
To get the health advantages of cocoa flavonoids without the fat and calories, you can buy a more concentrated cocoa product. Some cocoa supplements on the market contain up to 250 milligrams of cocoa flavonoids per serving…. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/chocolate-pros-and-cons-of-this-sweet-treat

University College London published a study about the effects of dark chocolate on those suffering depression.

Science Daily reported in People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed:

Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms…. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190802145458.htm

Citation:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
Date: August 2, 2019
Source: University College London
Summary:
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
Journal Reference:
Sarah E. Jackson, Lee Smith, Joseph Firth, Igor Grabovac, Pinar Soysal, Ai Koyanagi, Liang Hu, Brendon Stubbs, Jacopo Demurtas, Nicola Veronese, Xiangzhu Zhu, Lin Yang. Is there a relationship between chocolate consumption and symptoms of depression? A cross‐sectional survey of 13,626 US adults. Depression and Anxiety, 2019; DOI: 10.1002/da.22950

Here is the press release from University College London:

People who eat dark chocolate less likely to be depressed
2 August 2019
Eating dark chocolate may positively affect mood and relieve depressive symptoms, finds a new UCL-led study looking at whether different types of chocolate are associated with mood disorders.
The study, published in Depression and Anxiety, is the first to examine the association with depression according to the type of chocolate consumed.
Researchers from UCL worked in collaboration with scientists from the University of Calgary and Alberta Health Services Canada and assessed data from 13,626 adults from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Participants’ chocolate consumption was assessed against their scores on the Patient Health Questionnaire, which assesses depressive symptoms.
In the cross-sectional study, a range of other factors including height, weight, marital status, ethnicity, education, household income, physical activity, smoking and chronic health problems were also taken into account to ensure the study only measured chocolate’s effect on depressive symptoms.
After adjusting for these factors, it was found that individuals who reported eating any dark chocolate in two 24-hour periods had 70 per cent lower odds of reporting clinically relevant depressive symptoms than those who reported not eating chocolate at all. The 25 per cent of chocolate consumers who ate the most chocolate (of any kind, not just dark) were also less likely to report depressive symptoms than those who didn’t eat chocolate at all. However researchers found no significant link between any non‐dark chocolate consumption and clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
Depression affects more than 300 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation, and is the leading global cause of disability.
Lead author Dr Sarah Jackson (UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health Care) said: “This study provides some evidence that consumption of chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, may be associated with reduced odds of clinically relevant depressive symptoms.
“However further research is required to clarify the direction of causation – it could be the case that depression causes people to lose their interest in eating chocolate, or there could be other factors that make people both less likely to eat dark chocolate and to be depressed.
“Should a causal relationship demonstrating a protective effect of chocolate consumption on depressive symptoms be established, the biological mechanism needs to be understood to determine the type and amount of chocolate consumption for optimal depression prevention and management.”
Chocolate is widely reported to have mood‐enhancing properties and several mechanisms for a relationship between chocolate and mood have been proposed.
Principally, chocolate contains a number of psychoactive ingredients which produce a feeling of euphoria similar to that of cannabinoid, found in cannabis. It also contains phenylethylamine, a neuromodulator which is believed to be important for regulating people’s moods.
Experimental evidence also suggests that mood improvements only take place if the chocolate is palatable and pleasant to eat, which suggests that the experience of enjoying chocolate is an important factor, not just the ingredients present.
While the above is true of all types of chocolate, dark chocolate has a higher concentration of flavonoids, antioxidant chemicals which have been shown to improve inflammatory profiles, which have been shown to play a role in the onset of depression.
Links
• The full paper in Depression and Anxiety
• Dr Sarah Jackson’s academic profile
• UCL Behavioural Science and Health
• UCL Epidemiology & Health Care
• UCL Population Health Sciences
• UCL School of Life and Medical Sciences
• Media coverage
Image
Photo by LongitudeLatitude from Flickr
Media contact
Jake Hawkes
Tel: +44 (0)20 3108 8581
Email: j.hawkes [at] ucl.ac.uk
https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2019/aug/people-who-eat-dark-chocolate-less-likely-be-depressed

Dr. Richard Foxx, MD wrote in Can There Really Be Too Much of a Good Thing?

Believe it or not, it is possible to have too much of a good thing—even when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices. Some of the pillars of health, including diet and exercise, can create health problems if they’re overdone. Yes, you really can exercise too much and eat too much of a good thing!
The truth is that we’re always learning more and more about what’s good for us and what isn’t. Furthermore, science is constantly pulling things back and forth in the realm of health. For example, one day,you hear that coffee and eggs are bad for you; the next day, they’re good for your health. But at the end of the day, both coffee and eggs are good for you—if they’re consumed in moderation. Once again, the old adage rings true: “everything in moderation…”

When it comes to health, remember the importance of moderation. Enjoy life, be sensible, and you’ll be rewarded! https://www.doctorshealthpress.com/general-health/healthy-lifestyle-tips-moderation-key-to-healthy-living/

Everything in moderation opines Dr. Wilda.

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