Hepatitis A

Hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver, comes in three forms A, B, and C. A is on our B list as it is unique among the picornaviruses (single-stranded RNA viruses) to be foodborne. Forms B and C are transmitted by illegal drug use and unsafe sexual practices, and are not on our B list. Hepatitis A is the most common form of hepatitis, with some 25,000 cases reported annually the actual incidence is believed to be 10 times higher because of underreporting. It is a highly infections virus,...

Yersinosis

Although Yersinia enterocolitica causes some 100,000 infections a year, it appears to have a preference for children, who develop fever, abdominal pain, and bloody diarrhea up to a week after exposure. Preparation of raw pork intestines, chitterlings, is a prime source of acquiring the bug, and infants can become infected when their nannies handle chitterlings and fail to wash their hands before attending to the baby. Eating raw and undercooked pork is the major risk factor, abetted by oysters,...

Campylobacter Infection

That stubby little bacterium is the most common cause of bacterial gastroenteritis in the Western world, and responsible for over 2 million illness in the United States annually. Although micro-biologists encountered campylobacter long years ago, only relatively recently has it been tagged as responsible for scads of foodborne illnesses via three prime routes. Researchers at the University of Wales College of Medicine and the Public Health Laboratory Service...

References

S., Factors in the emergence of infectious diseases, Emerg. Infect. Dis. 1(1) 7-15 (1995). 2. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Review of State and Federal Disease Surveillance Efforts, U.S. Gov't. Accountability Office, GAO-04-877, Washington, DC, Sept. 2004. 3. Sick birds smuggled on Austrian flight, Wall StreetJournal D3 (Oct. 26, 2004). 4. McNeil, D. G., Jr., Mecca pilgrims may be spreading polio, experts say, New York Times. (Jan. 11, 2005). 5. Kahn, L. H., Viral trade and global...

Chronic Wasting Disease

Hundreds of pounds of venison, the sweet-tasting meat of deer and elk, packed into frozen-food lockers is a hunter- s dream. Unfortunately chronic wasting disease (CWD) a scrapielike prion infection, has cast a pall over thousands of square miles throughout the midwestern states, and up into Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, where thousands of hunters track the tasty cervids, and where thousands of game farms and ranchers raise additional hundreds of thousands, the question is being raised as...

Ruminant Meat

The United States and Canada have banned feeding ruminant meat and bone-meal to other cattle, and have removed high-risk tissues from meat for human consumption. These are important steps to prevent the spread of BSE. To detect prohibited material in cattle feed, the FDA uses a feed microscopy test, which checks samples under a microscope for the presence of animal tissue, hair, and or bone particles. Currently the FDA is evaluating a more sensitive test, the polymerase chain reaction, which...

Prion Diseases Proteins Gone Awry

So we begin with proteins, the molecules that do the body ' s heavy lifting, making possible all activity. But proteins begin with amino acids. According to instruction written in gene DNA, cells synthesize proteins from 20 essential amino acids, the building blocks, each with its own size, shape, and properties. With 20, the variety of combinations can be almost but not quite infinite. Nevertheless, there are over 100,000 different proteins, each consisting of from 50-5000 amino acid...

Chronic Disease Microbiology Possible Emergence

Illness has been an intimate part of life for as long Homo sapiens sapiens walked the earth. We have wondered why. Hippocrates wondered, and believed that how and where people lived determined their state of health. For him, health or illness was the result of environmental risk factors. He was pursua-sive 46 Whoever wishes to investigate medicine properly, should proceed thus in the first place to consider the seasons of the year, and what effect each of them produces (for they are not at all...

Atlantic Storm

In the meantime nations must prepare for the worst, which raises at least two questions What would countries do if faced with bioweapon attacks on their cities, and how would they deal with a rapidly spreading epidemic In January 2005, a tabletop exercise codenamed Atlantic Storm simulated a smallpox attack on countries of the transatlantic community. Atlantic storm was the brainchild and presentation of the Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the Center for...

Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention

In 1975, in response to concerns of many governments, the Biological and Toxic Weapons Convention (BTWC) came into being as the most important tool against the use and development of biological weapons. Nevertheless, since 1975, there have been confirmed cases of states breaching the Convention. As of 2004, efforts to strengthen the BTWC by a supplementary legally binding protocol have failed. The BTWC was set up to regulate the behavior of its signatories. But a number of countries now believe...

Protection of Agriculture and the Food Supply

In his October 2001 executive order establishing the Office of Homeland Security, President Bush added agriculture and the food industries to the list of critical infrastructure sectors requiring protection, and acknowledged that the agriculture sector and the food supply are vulnerable to bioterrorists. The Secretaries of both Agriculture and Health and Human Services have publicly recognized that the US food supply is susceptible to deliberate contamination. Attacks could be directed at...

Plague

On August 2, 1996, a young man, age 18, with fever, pain, diarrhea, and tenderness in his left groin, was seen at a local outpatient clinic in Flagstaff, Arizona. He was treated with a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory medication and sent home. The next day he had difficulty breathing and collapsed while taking a shower. Brought to a hospital emergency room, he was pronounced dead on arrival. On August 8, cultures of blood samples taken in the emergency department were positive for Yersinia pestis,...

Tularemia

Tularemia, from Tulare County, California, where the disease was first described, is another bacterial zoonosis, induced by Francisella tularensis, one of the most virulent bacterial pathogens known. As few as 10 organisms are needed to incite illness, but it is not contagious 29 . We humans are incidentally infected as a result of hunting, trapping, butchering, and eating infected animals, as well as inhaling aerosolized organisms while farming. Mosquito and tick bites and consumption of...

Anthrax

Robert Stevens was the first to die from the anthrax attack of September 2001. Robert Stevens worked at The Sun' a publication of the AMI Publishing Company of Boca Raton, Florida. AMI also publishes the National Enquirer tabloid, and was one of the six media companies that received anthrax-spore-containing letters 23 . The anthrax attack occurred over several weeks beginning on September 18. Letters containing anthrax spores were mailed to six media offices, including the major networks, and...

Backward Glance for Perspective

Biological terrorism began with hurling of diseased animal and human cadavers, clothing, bedding, over city walls or into wells to contaminate water supplies, in attempts to subdue an enemy city. The spread of infections disease along with the sixteenth century age of exploration resulted in untold numbers of deaths. It's estimated that the arrival of smallpox in Mexico with the Spanish Conquistadors reduced the Aztec population by 10-15 million, effectively ending the Aztec civilization 19 ....

Bioterrorism

We ' ve discussed the good that microbes do their activities that make life livable and often pleasurable, and with emerging infections we ' ve taken on the bad with their potential for widespread illness, but lacking malicious intent. The ugly comes from malignant human mischief loosing microbes that can inflict devastating illness and death that for the most part are rarely, if ever, encountered are not of public concern or, in the case of smallpox, a noxious disease reincarnate, that has...

West Nile Encephalitis

West Nile fell from the sky and out of the trees as sickened birds succumbed to this new interloper from Africa and the Middle East. Those crows, sparrows, blackbirds, and blue jays in Manhattan's trees, loaded with virus particles, had provided yet another winged messenger, Culex pipiens, a mosquito, with fulfilling virus-containing blood meals. But Culex - with options, bird or human blood, prefers human blood when available. So, now full of West Nile virus, Culex seeks a human meal. When...

Viruses among Us

We literally live among and contact millions of virus particles daily. Measles, mumps, and chickenpox have been a fact of life of every generation ' s children and with the current clutch of emerging infectious diseases, all viral, it is evident that we remain vulnerable. Similarly, however, the fact that for the most part colds last but a week, that most of us recover from a bout of the flu, and that recovery from exotic infections such as West Nile, SARS, and avian flu is the norm, must also...

Fecal Oral Transmission

Traveler's diarrhea, the Inca half-step, Montezuma's revenge, salmonella, and staphylococci food poisoning, typhoid fever, all travel by means of the fecal-oral route, which requires fecal material in food or water, contributed by a symptomatic or asymptomatic individual, be ingested, and within hours an explosion occurs as the body, in its wise attemps to expel toxins produced by the ingested organisms. Almost everyone is susceptible. Immunity plays no part in these episodes. Parenteral...

Direct Contact

The hemorrhagic fevers are excellent examples of direct contact transmission. Susceptible, healthy individuals need but touch secretions or excretions, blood, saliva, urine or feces of an ill individual to pick up the microbe. Its inordinate mortality rate bespeaks uncommon virulence, and minscule immunity within the host. Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV AIDS, gonorrhea, and syphilis are also members of this highly select route of transmission. Mucous membrane-mucous membrane is the...

Airborne Transmission

Air is not an appropriate growth medium for any pathogen. A pathogen in the air had to come from someone or somewhere food, water, soil, an animal, or a human. In the air a pathogen is riding a magic carpet a dried mucus carpet a dry fecal flake or dust particle, and can be inhaled into human lungs. Some pathogens are hardier than others. Mycobacterium tuberculosis can remain desiccated for months after expulsion from an infected individual and remain viable, infecting new individuals once...

The Good The Bad And The Ugly

That bad news sells, is a universal truth. Yet, as we have just seen, life without microbes is neither possible nor pleasurable. Recall, too, that only one infectious disease contributes to the leading causes of death. But few revel in that knowledge. Headlines are grabbed and fear generated by the few troublesome germs of the unseen world. Our global village is currently beset by a series of microbial threats dubbed emerging infections, abetted by a seditious menace, bioterrorism. Both require...

Supplemental Oxygen

Although oxygen therapy does not fall within the purview of NCCAM, it is worth a moment's consideration as it dramatizes the fraud and nonsense that permeates the marketplace, and attests to the fact that caveat emptor not only remains alive and well, but is essential. Of course, oxygen does support life and is required full time. But is more better Does anyone need more anyone not tapping on death's door Rose Creek Health Products, Inc., of Kettle Falls, Washington, thinks so. According to...

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is a method of treating disease devised by a German physician Samuel Hahnemann (1755-1843), in which small amounts of a drug that in healthy people produces symptoms similar to those of the disease being treated. Actually, two principles underlie homeopathy the law of similars and the law of infinitesimals. The law of similars maintains that plant, animal, or mineral substances, when given in large quantities to healthy individuals, produce symptoms of disease, but that much smaller...

Iridology

A widely held belief assumes that many diseases can be diagnosed by looking at the iris of the eye. For some, iridology is considered a critical diagnostic supplement to a medical history and conventional physical examination. Consequently, a physician at the University of Limburg, Maastrict, The Netherlands, sought to validate iridology by having iridologists diagnose gallbladder disease 58 . The object was to determine whether skilled iridologists could distinguish between people with and...

Intercessory Prayer

Shortly after September 11, 2001, when the United States was staggered by the destruction of the World Trade Center, and prayer was everywhere, The New York Times reported that Columbia University researchers had demonstrated that infertile women who were prayed for by Christian prayer groups (who did not know the infertile women) had a doubling of their pregnancy rate, compared to women who were not prayed for a 100 increase. The infertile women who were prayed for had no idea that groups were...

Therapeutic Touch

A controlled, double-blind test of a therapeutic touch practitioner's claims to be able to feel a signal or fluid in a nearby person was recently conducted in France 54 . The Observatoire Zetetique, a nonprofit organization of French skeptics, supervised the test. The protocol required that the practitioner try to determine the presence of a person behind a folding screen covered by an opaque cloth. The practitioner would have 100 attempts with the same person 50 with her present, and 50 with...

Energy Therapy

Therapies involving putative energy fields are based on the belief that we humans are permeated by a subtle form of energy a vital energy or life force (elan vital), which goes by different names in different cultures gi, in traditional chinese medicine ki, in the Japanese kampo system doshas, in ayurvedic medicine and elsewhere as prana, etheric energy, fohat, orgone (hypothesized by Wilhelm Reich and supposedly emanating from all organic material and that supposedly can be captured in a...

Mind Body Therapy

Mind-body practices traffics with the assumed interactions among the brain, body, and behavior, and the ways in which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors may (can ) affect health. As the NCCAM makes evident, It regards as fundamental an approach that respects and enhances each person's capacity for self-knowledge and self-care, and emphasizes techniques grounded in this approach. With this underpinning, its practices believed to affect health include relaxation,...

Alternative Medical Practices The Promise and the Peril

If there is one universal desire, it is to be well. No one wants to be sick, especially with a chronic disease for which current traditional, mainstream medicine may not have preventive or curative medication. But people need must have hope, and if traditional practitioners can ' t provide it, people will go elsewhere, for as Shakespeare tells us, hope springs eternal, no matter how far-fetched or illogical the preferred therapy. Various surveys indicate that 30-50 of our adult population have...

Nutrigenomicsan Epigenetic Revolution

Is it what you eat, or possibly, you are what your grandmother ate Classical nutrition treats everyone as genetically similar. Molecular and genomic research assumes that the environment does not influence genetic expression. Nutrigenomics combines these concepts, maintaining that environment can and does influence genetic expression, but does not alter DNA sequences. Mutations are not involved. Shades of Lamark Jean Baptiste Lamark (1744-1829), a French biologist, suggested that useful...

The Younger Generation

Two recent surveys of university and high school students provide useful information about supplement use, and should be taken note of. For example, among a technical vocational high school population, which the researchers indicate is not representative of the American high school population, although the sports offered is similar, they found that supplement use is common 74 of the students used either traditional or nontraditional supplements vitamins and minerals were traditional, while...

Directto Consumer Marketing Circumventing the Supplement Marketplace

With its lax standards and poor government oversight notwithstanding, direct-to-consumer marketing seeks yet additional advantage and unfettered freedom. By going directly to potential consumers, supplement manufacturers need only extol their product's virtues. Side issues such as disclaimers can be ignored until someone blows the whistle, which is not very often. So, for example, Dr. Cherry's Pathway to Healing, a line of 19 condition-specific supplements, marketed through a weekly television...

Functional Foodsor Food as Medicine

Is our current knowledge of health being used to modify food My dictionary defines functional as the intended purpose of a thing in a specific role, as the function of food. Are all foods inherently functional More than likely, if we mean that foods provide nutrients and energy. But is this what the new functional foods are about If so, they needn' t bother as there are more than enough foods of every type and description to satisfy the most discriminating palate. Functional foods are meant to...

The Chinese Solution

American fascination with, and for Chinese herbs and medications, is difficult to decipher. The question as to what Chinese herbs have done for the Chinese is not a fanciful one. After all, neither the general health of the Chinese people nor their longevity approaches ours, and their infant mortality rates are more than 5 times ours. Perhaps it is that Chinese herbals have a history of thousands of years of safe and effective use. It is not unusual to read that Chinese medicinal texts hark...

Ephedra

Although this section is limited to an overview and sampling, ephedra, or ephedrine alkaloids, recently banned by the FDA, requires inclusion. The shrub Ephedra sinica, native to China and India, and known as ma huang, is the major source of the natural alkaloids t-ephedrine (1-phenyl-2-methyl amino - 1 - propanol) and d-pseudoephedrine. The plant contains as much as 1.5 of ephedrine. But it can readily be produced synthetically. Ephedrine is a bronchodilator and vasoconstrictor, similar to...

Lorenzos

The movie Lorenzo's Oil portrays Lorenzo Odone, a young boy with a rare, inherited (defective gene) disease, adrenomyeloneuropathy, which destroys the sheath covering nerve fibers. The disease, a buildup of long-chain fatty acids in the bloodstream, affects 1 or 2 of every 100,000 people in the United States. Lorenzo' s parents, Augusto and Micela Odone, concocted a cure, a mixture of oleic and erucic (fatty) acids that they believed would prevent the disease in healthy boys and delay further...

Pharmacokinetics

A morsel of food, any food, starts the process. Our teeth grind food into small particles, and the tongue compacts them into lumps, a bolus, while saliva containing the digestive enzyme amylase metabolizes any starch in the food. The smaller the chewed (masticated) particles, the faster chemical digestion occurs. Our tongue moves the bolus toward the back of the mouth to the throat, where throat muscles constrict, forcing the bolus into the esophagus. Muscle contraction (peristalsis) carries...

Vitamin E

Cardiovascular benefits have consistently been shown for vitamin E in observational, epidemiologic studies. Unfortunately, observational studies are the least dependable of the various epidemiologic investigations. Nevertheless, even the observational studies have shown only small to moderate benefits, and confounding can create interpretational bias. Researchers at Harvard University's School of Public Health reviewed and analyzed seven large-scale randomized clinical trials for effectiveness...

Perioperative Care and Herbal Supplements

Because of the widespread use of herbal supplements (read medications), especially among presurgical populations, members of the Department of Anesthesia, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, sought to determine whether herbal use could have a negative effect on perioperative patient care. Theirs was an in-depth review of published studies over the period 1996-2000, and their study was limited to eight herbs that potentially pose the greatest impact on patients undergoing...

Soy Proteins and Isoflavones

The sudden decline in estrogen levels after menopause coincides with decreases in bone mineral density and cognitive function, along with a rise in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein. Phytoestrogens, estrogen-like chemicals found in grains, fruits, soybeans, and peas, have been suggested as having a positive effect on the aging process with fewer adverse side effects. A recently published study sought to determine whether soy protein, an isoflavone anti-oxidant, improves cognitive...

Pcspes

Over the past several years PC-SPES (PC for prostate cancer SPES, Latin for hope) had become a potential prospect for treatment of prostate cancer, and sold as a dietary supplement for prostate health. Labeled as a mixture of seven chinese herbs plus Saw Palmetto, it gained wide popularity among prostate cancer patients. However, by 2001, reports of severe bleeding episodes, abnormal clotting times, and breast tenderness and enlargement, appeared in the literature. In 2002, the California...

ActraRxYilishen

In 1998, the FDA approved Viagra, a pill to treat male impotence. It also warned potential consumers not to use the drug in combination with nitrates to avoid sudden drops in blood pressure. Recently, the FDA warned against purchasing the nonprescription supplements Actra-Rx-Yilishen entering the United States from China, because they contain Viagra, and as they do not require a prescription, purchasers get no warning. Despite an all natural label, Actra-Rx-Yilishen capsules contain...

Ayurvedic Medications

Ayurvedic medicine originated in India some thousands of years ago, and relies heavily on herbal remedies. The Ayurveda is a collection of medical information in which disease is believed to be the consequence of an imbalance of the three elements vatta, pitta, and kapha. Vatta maintains the body's integrity and the proper functioning of its constituent elements. Pitta is the primary constituent having the functions of vision, digestion heat production, hunger, thirst, body softness and...

Neither Food Nor Drugs

Dietary supplements, functional foods, probiotics, herbals, botanicals, nutra-centicals is this food we're eating, or are we self-medicating That is not only the question but also the conundrum. What are we buying, and why are we buying We must have some idea because we're wiping the products off the shelves faster than they can be replaced. In 2004, dietary supplements were wisked off the shelves to the tune of 19.8 billion herbals and botanicals, 4.2 billion and functional foods, 22 billion....

Six Cities Yet Again

A follow-up to the Six Cities Study was reported in March 2006. Dr. Francine Laden and colleagues of the Harvard School of Public Health followed 8096 residents of the six cities, aged 25-74, from 1974 to 1998, and found that for each decrease of 1 g m3 of soot, less than PM2.5, rates of cardiovascular disease, and respiratory illness decreased by 3 , which translates to extending the lives of 75,000 people a year. This clearly supports the call for reducing the clean air standards well below...

Back to Six Cities

What did the Six Cities Study accomplish It's easy to say, a great deal. In fact, it was solely responsible for forcing major revisions of the EPA's Clean Air Act, and set a standard for evidence-based environmental decisionmaking. The study uncovered the fact that cardiopulmonary problems in children and adults were, and are, occurring at levels below existing standards and that minute PM was the most dangerous of all air pollutants. But gratification that comes with publication, after 16...

The Six Cities Study The Culprit Identified

In 1974, researchers from Harvard University's Schools of Public Health and Medicine mounted a sixteen- year prospective epiemiologic study to try to resolve a range of insufficiencies and lack of comparability in existing studies of the effects of air pollution on human health. The Six Cities Study, as it came to be called, consisted of two major elements the level of six primary pollutants suspended particulate matter, SO2. CO, NO2. photochemical oxidants, and hydrocarbons, and, to...

London Again

The highly inefficient burning of soft coal in open grates by the citizens of London was primarily responsible for the fog that blotted out their capital on December 5, 1952. The city, located on a gently sloping plain, is not hemmed in by hills, as are Donora and the Meuse Valley communities. The flow of air over London is not impeded by topographic barriers. But for 5 days a strong inversion and fog enveloped the city to such a degree that the ceiling was no more than 150 feat high. Within 12...

Donora Pennsylvania

The episode in Donora occurred during the last week of October 1948. On the morning of October 27, the air over Donora, 30 miles south of Pittsburgh in a highly industrialized valley along the Monongahela River, became very still and fog enveloped the city. The air was trapped, and it remained so for 4 days. In addition to sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons from the burning of coal for heating and electricity, the air contained the effluents from a large steel mill and a large...

The Meuse Valley

The Meuse Valley of Belgium, scene of some of the bloodiest battles of World War I, is a heavily industrialized area. Blast furnaces, glass factories, lime furnaces, and sulfuric acid and artificial fertilizer plants spew a variety of contaminant chemicals into the atmosphere. During the first week of December 1930, a thick fog blanketed most of Belgium. The air was especially stagnant in the river valleys, particularly along a 15-mile stretch of the Meuse. Three days after this abnormal...

The Great Outdoors

We now step outdoors for a portion of our 2 hours, to breathe deeply of the fresh air fresher air. Since 1989, when last considered, the air above our cities has become remarkably cleaner. And vigilant scientists and investigators have zeroed in on the true villains corrupting our air. But let us understand that air pollution is not a twentieth-century invention A young gentleman who had inked himself by accident, addressed me from the pavement and said, I am from Kenge and Carboy's, miss, of...

Indoor

We begin with indoor air as we spend most of our time indoors. That alone confers importance to indoor air. And, again, it's the numbers. I suspect that 93, 5, and 2 will come as a surprise and shock. It may be difficult to believe, but most of us spend 93 of our day a 24-hour day indoors 5 in transit (cars, buses, trains, planes), and, believe it or not, only 2 of our lives outdoors. You need only keep an accurate hourly log of your daily activities, from the time you arise in the morning to...

Environmental Issues Perceptions And Political Aspects

The problem is not just what we don't know, but what we don't know that ain't so. In the third edition of Our Precarious Habitat, almost two decades ago, I wrote that, In his Politics of Pollution, J. Clarence Davies, III, raised the question What is pollution The very definition of pollution, he said, hinges on politics. That immediately subverts objectivity and places scientists on precarious ground. Davies went on to note that pollution can not be defined with any scientific or mathematical...

Has The Future Arrived

Can there be total energy self-sufficiency In other words, can a country supply its heat and electricity needs by the renewable, domestic sources described above The idea has all the earmarks of fantasy. It' s just to good to be true. But and however it does appear to be happening in one country Iceland. Three renewable sources are working for Iceland geothermal, hydropower, and hydrogen fuel. Imported fossil fuel is on its way out. Currently, Iceland obtains hot water from its many geothermal...

Over The Horizon

While the world awaits hydrogen from diverse sources to refuel and drive it, clever scientists around the world are quietly working to glean the secrets of flower power. Just over the horizon, perhaps no more than a decade or two, yet another source of hydrogen energy will become available. Photosynthesis will have yielded up its mysteries. Photosynthesis, the most successful solar converting mechanism on earth, is a potential source of unlimited renewable energy. Artificial photosynthesis will...

Types of Fuel Cells

Fuel cells are categorized by the type of electrolyte they use a chemical that conducts charged ions from one electrode to another. In fact, the type of electrolyte determines the kind of chemical reactions that occur in the cell, the type of catalysts required, the temperature range in which the cell operates, Electric Gircuit (40 -60 Efficiency) Electric Gircuit (40 -60 Efficiency) and the fuel required. A number of fuel cells are under development, each with its specific advantages,...

Ho

Parts (a) and (b) illustrate the basic principle of a fuel cell. The cell consists of two electrodes sandwiched around an electrolyte. Oxygen passes over one electrode and hydrogen over the other, generating electricty, heat, and water. Hydrogen is sent into one side of a proton exchange membrane (PEM), which splits it into a proton and an electron. The hydrogen proton travels through the membrane Follow the arrows in part (b) , while the electron enters an electrical circuit,...

Fuel Cells

Is the venerable internal-combustion engine on the way out It's entirely possible, and it' s long overdue. But replace it with what Is there such a thing as a truly green car (Consider, for example, the GM model shown in Fig. 7.6) Fuel cells are widely believed to hold the key to pollution-free motor vehicles and longer-running electric devices. Fuel cells can provide energy for devices as small as a laptop computer, or as large as utility power stations, and just about anything in between,...

Biomass and Green Energy

The question as to what constitutes biomass has at least two responses the short answer is, all living things are biomass. All animals, plants, and we humans are the organic matter that characterizes biomass. The more specific, industrial response defines biomass as the organic matter produced by crops, roots, stems, seeds, and stalks, along with animal metabolic wastes, and refers to materials that do not go into food products, but do have alternative commercial uses. Again, the concern is for...

Beneath the Earths Crust

There's a lot of heat beneath our feet. Albeit at some depth. Our earth appears to have layers the crust, the topmost layer varies in thickness deeper than 40 miles in mountainous areas, and less than 3 miles deep under the oceans. Beneath the crust, the upper and lower mantles stretch 2100 miles toward the center, while the outer core plunges another 1300 miles, and the inner core extends yet another 700 miles to the ultimate center, for a total of 4000+ miles from the top of Mount Everest to...

Environmental Cancer and Cancer Clusters

The relationship leading causes of death and the environment was broached in Chapter 1, questioning whether any of the top dozen leading causes of death could be identified with an environmental risk factor. We now revisit this question, focusing on cancer, the country's second leading cause of death, but eliciting the greatest fear. The fact that cancer incidence has actually been declining for the past 20 years is lost on most people. For the public, cancer is seen as the leading cause of...

Asbestos

On October 20, 2005, a jury in California found Gurlock Sealing Technologies, of Palymyra, New York, and Kelly'Moore Paint Company, of San Carlos, California, jointly liable for Robert Treggett's malignant lung cancer. The jury recommended that Tregget receive a total of 36.6 million dollars. Mr. Tregget, 60, allegedly contracted his lung cancer through asbestos exposure on a U.S. Navy submarine and while remodeling a home. Tregget had chemotherapy and surgery to remove his right lung after...

Falling Water

The Greeks had a word for it kinetikos, which means of motion, and kinetic means relating to motion. Kinetic energy is the energy associated with motion. Flowing water contains energy that can be captured and used to do work. Waterwheels are considered the first rotor mechanism in which a force, water flowing over a large wheel, spins a shaft driving mills to grind grain, or moving water to irrigate fields. Water power is in fact the oldest and most highly developed of all renewable energy...

Nephritis and Nephrosis

Nephritis is an inflammation of the kidneys, and nephrotic syndrome is a collection of symptoms induced by a number of diseases. Allergies can do it drugs can do it, and perhaps a dozen ailments, including HIV AIDS, diabetes, and cancer can cause severe kidney impairment. Nephrosis is a severe loss of serum protein that can lead to a number of immunodeficiency disorders and death. Nephritis is usually the consequence of either a streptococcal infection or an adverse immune reaction. Children...

Lassa Fever

Lassa fever arrived in New Jersey in August 2004. The virus was carried by a businessman who had spent 4 months in Sierra Leone and Liberia before suffering fever, chills, sore throat, diarrhea, and backache. Two days later he left Sierra Leone, traveling by plane to London, then on to Newark, and by train home, where he was hospitalized in Trenton, NJ. After 4 days of unsuccessful diagnosis and treatment, Lassa fever was diagnosed. Before ribavirin, an experimental drug, could be used, the...

The World Trade Center

The dust and fumes from the catastrophic collapse of the World Trade Center released an estimated million tons of dust, smoke, fumes, and soot generated from pulverized concrete, metals, silica, and organic materials within the buildings, appeared to have wreaked havoc on the lungs of thousands of firefighters, police officers, and World Trade Center employees who were on site on 9 11, and days and weeks after. The unimaginable concentration of dust and particles were an ongoing concern for...

Populations Living in Naturally High Radiation Background Areas

In high natural radiation background areas of the world, as, for example, Brazil, India, China, and Iran, the radiation levels experienced by the local inhabitants are similar to or above the levels to which nuclear industry workers are exposed, as well as doses received by some residents of Three Mile Island. Studying these populations directly may eschew the need to extrapolate or estimate risks from high doses to those receiving lower doses. If in fact there is a linear relationship between...

Probiotics Was Methuselah a Bulgarian Its a Microbial World

We can't possibly live without them, but we've grown up believing that microbes, germs, the wee beasties, are bad, bad, bad, and being bad need expunging and eradication from every nook and cranny that we humans could conceivably contact. In fact, life without germs (from the Latin german, sprout or seed) is inconceivable, and, as we shall see, would be dull and boring. First, the big picture. All living things are organic, meaning that they we are composed of...

The Environment What Environment

We have traveled far and widely, considering and exploring the greatest threats to our well-being. We have seen, too, that we are healthier than ever before. Nevertheless, the threats are there and will remain, but in ever decreasing numbers if we seriously attend to them. To do so, to take appropriate preventive measures, we need to return to the question posed at the outset Which, if any, of the adverse conditions that threaten our lives can be attributed to the ambient environment, and what...

Botulism

Botulism toxin appears on everyone's short list of bioterrorist weapons. With good reason. Botulism toxin is an exquisitely toxic protein produced by strains of a group of organisms known as Clostridium botulinum. It is estimated that a single gram of the crystalline toxin, if properly distributed, could kill a million people. Given this estimate, botulinus toxin must be considered the world 's most poisonous substance. The clostridia are yet another group of spore-formers found in soils...

Genetically Modified Food Genetically Modified Organisms

Plasmid Cry Gene

As for the future, your task is not to foresee it, but to enable it. Antonie de Saint-Exupery, 1948, The Wisdom ofthe Sands In his chapter on orthobiosis, Metchnikoff Ref. 42 in Chapter 2 lauds Luther Burbank, an outstanding American botanist, for his improvement of useful plants. Burbank, he tells us, cultivated great numbers of fruit trees, flowers, and all kinds of plants, with the object of increasing their utility. He goes on to say that He has modified the nature of plants to such an...

Nimby

Walter Garms Kinetic

The International Wildlife Coalition, the Ocean Conservancy, The Humane Society, and The Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound, are unhappy. The folks on Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Island are not happy. Nimby, not in my backyard, has created an unlikely coalition of environmentalists and bent-out-of-shape residents from Cape Cod's Hyannis Port, all the way to Buzzards Bay. For years the Sierra Club and Greenpeace promoted wind power as a way to reduce or control the use of fossil fuels. But...

Cancer Clusters

Any community believing that it has an unusual number of cancer cases naturally looks for an environmental cause the soil, the water, the air. Since the beginning of human societies, disease any disease in a community always strikes more than one person. Consequently, clusters are to be expected, as the many AIDS cases in Kampala, and thyroid cancers in Belarus, Legionnaires' disease in Philadelphia, influenza in season, and the many outbreaks of bacterial food poisoning at picnics, all of...

Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Three B-29 Superfortress bombers appear over Hiroshima. At 8 15 a.m. the Enola Gay's bomb-bay doors open. Little Boy, The world's first uranium bomb, plunged earthward. Colonel Paul W. Tibbets turns his plane upward and away from the rising mushroom cloud. Major Charles W. Sweany, piloting the Great Artiste, dropped radiation measuring instru ments, then followed the Enola Gay. Within minutes, three-fifths of Hiroshima vanished. The pressure wave, fire, acute radiation,...

Three Mile Island

On March 27, 1979, Metropolitan Edison's Three Mile Island Nuclear Power Plant, near Middletown, Pennsylvania, was running at 97 full power. Like most of the 110 nuclear power plants in the United States, both TMI-1 and TMI-2, were pressurized-water reactors, as shown in Figures 6.3a and 6.3b. In Figure 6.3. a View of Three Mile Island with its twin cooling towers and reactor building off to the left courtesy of TMI b the major components of a pressurized-water reactor courtesy of the Nuclear...

Salmonellosis

Nontyphoidal salmonellosis, particularly induced by Salmonella enterididis, with 1.5 million new cases a year, is on the list perennially. Egg-associated salmonellosis is an ongoing public health problem. Contaminated eggs appear normal. Nevertheless, 12-72 hours after sucking up raw eggs, fever, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea occur as the body tries to expel the toxin produced by the organism. Symptoms can last up to a week, and the diarrhea can be severe enough to require...

Food Uncovered

You are entitled to your our own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. With a splitting headache, numb mouth, deafness in her left ear, and burning sensations shooting through her body, Wendy Bannerat lay curled quietly in the darkened confines of a bunk below deck of her 41-foot aluminum centerboard sloop Elan. Wendy was in terrible pain and needed expert medical help. But she and her husband Scott were anchored off Vaka'eitu, an island in the VaVa'u Group, Tonga in the far...

Love Canal Revisited

Love Canal is the mother of all dump sites. Its reputation as a notorious cancer and birth-defects-producing area has circled the globe. Is its reputation deserved Was it necessary for the media and environmentalists to create a cancer epidemic and public panic Was it really necessary for then Congressman Al Gore to refer to Love Canal as a very large cancer cesspool, or for Michael Brown, reporter for the Niagara Gazette and author of the infamous book The Poisoning of America by Toxic...

Asthma Triggers Are They Causal

Many studies have attempted to elucidate relationships between environmental exposures in early infancy and risk of allergic sensitization in later life. These studies are based on the theory that an individual's genetic predisposition to allergic disease is activated or enhanced by early allergen exposure. An allergic response is one in which components of the immune system react strongly to a normally inoffensive foreign substance. Some of us inherently have a greater-than-normal tendency to...

Microbes And Bacterial Infections

The microbes of the unseen world can be segregated into three lists. The A list includes the spoilers the B list, the sickeners and the C list, the benefactors, those that make our lives livable and enjoyable. The A list contains such members as the genuses Pseudamonas, Serratia, Aeromonas, Leuconostoc, Fusarium, Flavobacterium, Shewanella, and Microccus. On the B list we have Campylobacter, Listeria, Escherichia coli O157 H7, Yersinia, hepatitis A and C, Clostridium, Salmonella, Staphylococci,...

Listeriosis

Listeria and its illness, listeriosis, is another affiliate of the B group. Listeria monocytogenes is responsible for at least 2500 illnesses annually and 500 deaths. Pregnant women are not only at increased risk but are also 20 times more likely to become infected than women generally. In fact, 30 of all listeria infections occur during pregnancy. But it's the newborn infant that suffers the effects, not the mother. In addition, immunosuppressed individuals, especially those with AIDS, are 300...

St Johns Wort

John's Wort a wort is a bryophyte moss Hypericumperforatum is an herbal supplement widely used to treat depression. It is readily available without a prescription, and taken without medical supervision, a splendid example of self-medication. Yet a steady drumbeat of reports indicates that St. John's Wort is involved in dangerous drug interactions. A number of reports have suggested that it has an inductive metabolic effect on the cytochrome P450 CYP3A4 enzyme. St. John's Wort induces C4P34A...

Diabetes

In the sixth slot with 3 of total deaths, is diabetes mellitus literally, honey sweet diabetes , a group of diseases in which levels of the sugar glucose, are abnormally high because the pancreas fails to release adequate amounts of insulin, an enzyme that normally metabolizes glucose, maintaining steady levels. Diabetes shows itself in two main forms. Type 1 was until recently called insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus IDDM or juvenile-onset diabetes. Type 1 occurs when the body's immune...

Radioactive Isotopes

The oldest form uses the radiation emitted by a radioactive substance, such as cobalt-60 made by neutron bombardment of the natural isotope59 Co- or cesium-137 a naturally occurring isotope , which emits high-energy photons, gamma rays that can readily penetrate food. These photons do not produce neutrons, which means that nothing in their path can become radioactive. That's an essential key. Recall, too, that people who have radiation treatments for a medical condition and receive doses of...

Beneficent Greenhouse

Since the retreat of the last ice age, some 12,000 years ago, we have enjoyed the benevolence of a virtual greenhouse. A greenhouse or hothouse is a glass-enclosed structure devoted to the cultivation of flowers and plants usually out of season that's the key, out of season, because greenhouses are warm places, all year long. The glass of a greenhouse permits passage of the visible, shortwave radiation coming from the sun, but absorbs the reradiated longer infrared radiation, which warms the...

Background Isotopes and Half Lives

All atoms of an element, any element, have a fixed number of protons in their nuclei. This number is the element's atomic number examples hydrogen are 1 carbon, 6 oxygen, 8 sodium, 11 and uranium, 92. All elements also have neutrons in their nuclei, but some elements can have nuclei with more than one proton neutron grouping. These different groupings are called isotopes. For example, carbon has three isotopes one with 6 neutrons, one with 7, and one with 8. But their chemical characteristics...

Echinacea

For many, echinacea is the only thing for the common cold, less severe and of shorter duration. Black-eyed susan is one of the most common homegrown flowers of summer on the United States east coast. Everyone seems to have the coneflower, or purple coneflower, as it is often called. Apparently native American Indians used it for centuries. Extracts of Echinacea purpura are contained in the most popular supplements. Although people swear by it, the question remains, whether...

Smallpox

Smallpox comes with a legendary paternity. It was one of the most prevalent of all diseases it was a massive killer, and created wretched disfigurement. Its very name could petrify an entire community. But smallpox, as opposed to the great pox, syphilis, is no more. With the arrival of vaccinia virus vaccination and subsequent widespread immunization, along with the vigorous efforts of the World Health Organization, smallpox was declared eradicated from the world in 1979, the only microbial...

Toxic Reactions

Unlike allergic reactions, all humans are susceptible to toxic, poisonous substances. If a GM food contains toxic components greater than the natural range of its traditional twin, the GM food is unacceptable. To date, GM foods have proved to be no different from their conventional counterparts with respect to toxicity. In fact, in some instances there is more confidence in the safety of GM foods because naturally occurring toxins that are overlooked or brushed aside in conventional foods are...

Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are abnormal responses of the body's immune system to an otherwise safe food. Allergic reactions run the gamut from mild skin rashes and gastrointestinal upset to life-threatening anaphylactic shock. Although all food allergens are proteins, natural proteins are rarely allergenic. To avoid introducing or enhancing an allergen in an otherwise safe food, such as soybeans, which commonly contain allergens, a GM soybean must be tested and compared to conventional soybeans. Tests...