New study finds that fracking chemicals could harm the immune system

May 2, 2018 by  
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A recent study adds to concerns over hydraulic fracturing by revealing links between exposure to fracking chemicals and damage to the immune systems of mice in utero. The study found that the mice offspring’s immune systems reacted abnormally to allergens and the flu, and the exposure lowered their ability to ward off diseases. Study lead Paige Lawrence of the University of Rochester Medical Center said in a statement , “This discovery opens up new avenues of research to identify, and someday prevent, possible adverse health effects in people living near fracking sites.” Millions of gallons of water laced with chemicals are pumped underground during fracking, to fracture rock and release fossil fuels . But many are worried that the chemicals in fracking water could contaminate groundwater , and multiple studies have reported higher disease rates in residents of fracking-dense areas. Asthma attacks and acute lymphocytic leukemia are among the ailments reported. The study, published this month in Toxicological Sciences , offers “the first evidence that chemicals found in ground water near fracking sites can impair the immune system.” Related: Interactive map reveals site of fracking accidents across the US Of around 200 chemicals found in groundwater in fracking-dense areas, 23 chemicals have been connected to reproductive and developmental defects in mice. University of Missouri School of Medicine associate professor and co-author Susan Nagel classified them as endocrine disrupters. The team added these 23 to drinking water for pregnant mice in amounts similar to what has been uncovered in groundwater close to fracking locations. They discovered offspring, especially female offspring, “had abnormal immune responses to several types of diseases later on, including an allergic disease and a type of flu. What was most striking: these mice were especially susceptible to a disease that mimics multiple sclerosis, developing symptoms significantly earlier than mice that were not exposed to the chemicals.” The study may only apply to mice at this point, but the team plans to continue their research. Lawrence said, “Our goal is to figure out if these chemicals in our water impact human health, but we first need to know what specific aspects of health to look at, so this was a good place to start.” + University of Rochester Medical Center + Toxicological Sciences Via Futurity Images via Depositphotos and greensefa on Flickr

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New study finds that fracking chemicals could harm the immune system

Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men

November 1, 2016 by  
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It seems every time we think we know all the terrifying health effects of the Zika virus , new research shows it’s even worse than previously believed. A new study from the University of Washington, published in the journal Nature , has found that mice infected with Zika experience shrunken testicles, low testosterone, and low sperm counts — and so far, no one is sure if it could have the same effect in humans. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSGPi-vB768 Dr. Michael Diamond, co-author of the study, told The Telegraph , “While our study was in mice, and with the caveat that we don’t yet know whether Zika has the same effect in men, it does suggest that men might face low testosterone levels and low sperm counts after Zika infection, affecting their fertility. We don’t know for certain if the damage is irreversible, but I expect so, because the cells that hold the internal structure in place have been infected and destroyed.” The most worrying implication of this new study is the fact that many affected men may not realize the disease has left them infertile until years later. There have already been reports of men with the disease experiencing pelvic pain and bloody urine – symptoms Zika shares in common with other sexually transmitted infections. While doctors have been aware the virus can pass through the reproductive organs , this is the first time researchers have suggested that process might be damaging. Related: Experimental Zika vaccine to be tested on humans for the first time This is the first study of its kind linking Zika to male infertility. In the past, it was believed to be mostly dangerous to pregnant women , whose children were at risk of severe birth defects like microcephaly. In rare cases, the mosquito-transmitted infection could also cause Guillain-Barre syndrome, a condition which can lead to paralysis and death. Men potentially exposed to the disease are currently being told to use condoms for six months, and women in Zika-affected areas are being told to delay pregnancy if possible. + Nature Via The Telegraph Images via Wikimedia Commons and University of Washington

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Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men

5 ways bacteria can be used to help better the environment

September 28, 2011 by  
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Mohit Sharma: Bacteria Not all bacteria are harmful!! Whenever anyone mentions the word bacteria, all we can think about the diseases that are associated with them. True that bacterium can be harmful and can cause many diseases like tetanus, typhoid, leprosy and cholera. But, not all of the bacteria are harmful and dangerous for humans. Some of the bacteria have been used for benefit of mankind as well. Let us look at five ways in which these microbes help the environment. 1. Cleaning oil spills Oil Spills Some bacteria eat them up as food!! Some type of bacteria are very helpful in cleaning up oil spills. Crude oil is one of the rich sources of food for bacteria. Also, when an area is filled with a large amount of hydrocarbons (in the form of oil spills, that is crude oil) and is supplied with nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, it becomes breeding ground for bacteria. Once they clean up the spilled oil these bacteria die a natural death and do not cause any harm to the natural environment. Bacteria have been effective oil zappers in many oil spills like deep water horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico and Delaware oil spill in Pennsylvania. 2. Cleaning pollution and generating electricity Shewanella a bacteria that creates electricity!! For a long time scientists have been independently researching to find bacteria that can help in cleaning up pollution and bacteria that can generate electricity. Now they have found some bacteria that can do the both at the same time. A bacterium known as Desulfitobacteria can simultaneously breakdown pollutants like Printed Circuit Boards and produce electricity. Another bacterium known as Shewanella which grows in low oxygen environment of deep seas has the capability to produce electricity. These bacteria have the capability to produce continuous electricity provided they are constantly being fed. 3. Metabolizing methane into methanol Methanotrophs bacteria that metabolizes Methane!! One of the biggest problems our planet is facing today is the problem of global warming. It is caused due to emission of greenhouse gases from various processes and activities like burning of fuel for power generation, transportation, etc. One of the major gases responsible for global warming is methane. Scientists have been researching an effective way to metabolize methane and reduce its quantity in atmosphere. They have been able to find that certain types of bacteria metabolize methane in presence of heavy metals like copper and convert it into methane. These bacteria have three advantages. Firstly they remove methane from atmosphere, secondly the help in reducing the quantity of harmful heavy metals which can cause harm to humans and thirdly the methanol produced can be used as a fuel. Bacteria that metabolize methane are known as methanotrophs. It has been suggested that they can be used by venting methane gas emissions through filters which contain methanotrophs, and the methanol produced can be stored in a container attached for future use. 4. Converting newspaper to biofuel Nespapers they could be your next biofuel!! With threat of running out of fossil fuel for energy consumption, this could be answer to world’s energy needs. A particular type of bacteria known as TU-103, was discovered at Tulane University, New Orleans (by David Miller, associate professor). This bacteria converts cellulose into butanol. Cellulose is most widely available organic material in the world. It can be found practically everywhere from paper, glass, leaves, corns, to bagasse, a fibrous leftover material in production of sugar from sugarcane. This discovery can have several ramifications. It could help in reducing the cost required to produce biofuels, it can take pressure of farmers and arable lands where crops are produce specifically to produce biofuels, it can decompose a lot of waste material hence lesser landfill space would be required and the harmful emissions produced from butanol are less as compared to petrol or gasoline. 5. Treating depression and anxiety Depressed? take a dose of probiotic bacteria today!! Bacteria have been living inside us symbiotically and assisting us in many vital functions ranging from dental health to digestion. These bacteria are known as probiotic bacteria. Recently researchers at McMaster University in Canada have found another useful function of these bacteria. They fed a group of mice with a type of bacteria known as Lactobacillus rhamnosus JB-1 and another group just broth. Later they found that the mice who had ingested JB-1 bacteria showed fewer anxiety, depression and stress related behaviors and had a significantly lower level of stress-induced hormone, corticosterone than the mice who were fed only broth. This could be a foundation stone to a new kind of treatment for psychic disorders.

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5 ways bacteria can be used to help better the environment

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