Pesticides are widely used in agricultural production to prevent or control pests, diseases, weeds, and other plant pathogens in an effort to reduce or eliminate yield losses and maintain high product quality. Although pesticides are developed through very strict regulation processes to function with reasonable certainty and minimal impact on human health and the environment, serious concerns have been raised about health risks resulting from occupational exposure and from residues in food and drinking water. Occupational exposure to pesticides often occurs in the case of agricultural workers in open fields and greenhouses, workers in the pesticide industry, and exterminators of house pests. Exposure of the general population to pesticides occurs primarily through eating food and drinking water contaminated with pesticide residues, whereas substantial exposure can also occur in or around the home. Regarding the adverse effects on the environment (water, soil and air contamination from leaching, runoff, and spray drift, as well as the detrimental effects on wildlife, fish, plants, and other non-target organisms), many of these effects depend on the toxicity of the pesticide, the measures taken during its application, the dosage applied, the adsorption on soil colloids, the weather conditions prevailing after application, and how long the pesticide persists in the environment. Therefore, the risk assessment of the impact of pesticides either on human health or on the environment is not an easy and particularly accurate process because of differences in the periods and levels of exposure, the types of pesticides used (regarding toxicity and persistence), and the environmental characteristics of the areas where pesticides are usually applied. Also, the number of the criteria used and the method of their implementation to assess the adverse effects of pesticides on human health could affect risk assessment and would possibly affect the characterization of the already approved pesticides and the approval of the new compounds in the near future. Thus, new tools or techniques with greater reliability than those already existing are needed to predict the potential hazards of pesticides and thus contribute to reduction of the adverse effects on human health and the environment. On the other hand, the implementation of alternative cropping systems that are less dependent on pesticides, the development of new pesticides with novel modes of action and improved safety profiles, and the improvement of the already used pesticide formulations towards safer formulations (e. g., microcapsule suspensions) could reduce the adverse effects of farming and particularly the toxic effects of pesticides. In addition, the use of appropriate and well-maintained spraying equipment along with taking all precautions that are required in all stages of pesticide handling could minimize human exposure to pesticides and their potential adverse effects on the environment.
Malnutrition is a debilitating and highly prevalent condition in the acute hospital setting, with Australian and international studies reporting rates of approximately 40%. Malnutrition is associated with many adverse outcomes including depression of the immune system, impaired wound healing, muscle wasting, longer lengths of hospital stay, higher treatment costs and increased mortality. Referral rates for dietetic assessment and treatment of malnourished patients have proven to be suboptimal, thereby increasing the likelihood of developing such aforementioned complications. Nutrition risk screening using a validated tool is a simple technique to rapidly identify patients at risk of malnutrition, and provides a basis for prompt dietetic referrals. In Australia, nutrition screening upon hospital admission is not mandatory, which is of concern knowing that malnutrition remains under-reported and often poorly documented. Unidentified malnutrition not only heightens the risk of adverse complications for patients, but can potentially result in foregone reimbursements to the hospital through casemix-based funding schemes. It is strongly recommended that mandatory nutrition screening be widely adopted in line with published best-practice guidelines to effectively target and reduce the incidence of hospital malnutrition.
Water is essential to life, but many people do not have access to clean and safe drinking water and many die of waterborne bacterial infections. In this review a general characterization of the most important bacterial diseases transmitted through water-cholera, typhoid fever and bacillary dysentery-is presented, focusing on the biology and ecology of the causal agents and on the diseases` characteristics and their life cycles in the environment. The importance of pathogenic Escherichia coli strains and emerging pathogens in drinking water-transmitted diseases is also briefly discussed. Microbiological water analysis is mainly based on the concept of fecal indicator bacteria. The main bacteria present in human and animal feces (focusing on their behavior in their hosts and in the environment) and the most important fecal indicator bacteria are presented and discussed (focusing on the advantages and limitations of their use as markers). Important sources of bacterial fecal pollution of environmental waters are also briefly indicated. In the last topic it is discussed which indicators of fecal pollution should be used in current drinking water microbiological analysis. It was concluded that safe drinking water for all is one of the major challenges of the 21st century and that microbiological control of drinking water should be the norm everywhere. Routine basic microbiological analysis of drinking water should be carried out by assaying the presence of Escherichia coli by culture methods. Whenever financial resources are available, fecal coliform determinations should be complemented with the quantification of enterococci. More studies are needed in order to check if ammonia is reliable for a preliminary screening for emergency fecal pollution outbreaks. Financial resources should be devoted to a better understanding of the ecology and behavior of human and animal fecal bacteria in environmental waters.
Social Networking Sites (SNSs) are virtual communities where users can create individual public profiles, interact with real-life friends, and meet other people based on shared interests. They are seen as a 'global consumer phenomenon' with an exponential rise in usage within the last few years. Anecdotal case study evidence suggests that 'addiction' to social networks on the Internet may be a potential mental health problem for some users. However, the contemporary scientific literature addressing the addictive qualities of social networks on the Internet is scarce. Therefore, this literature review is intended to provide empirical and conceptual insight into the emerging phenomenon of addiction to SNSs by: (1) outlining SNS usage patterns, (2) examining motivations for SNS usage, (3) examining personalities of SNS users, (4) examining negative consequences of SNS usage, (5) exploring potential SNS addiction, and (6) exploring SNS addiction specificity and comorbidity. The findings indicate that SNSs are predominantly used for social purposes, mostly related to the maintenance of established offline networks. Moreover, extraverts appear to use social networking sites for social enhancement, whereas introverts use it for social compensation, each of which appears to be related to greater usage, as does low conscientiousness and high narcissism. Negative correlates of SNS usage include the decrease in real life social community participation and academic achievement, as well as relationship problems, each of which may be indicative of potential addiction.
Neighborhood walkability can influence physical activity. We evaluated the validity of Walk Score (R) for assessing neighborhood walkability based on GIS (objective) indicators of neighborhood walkability with addresses from four US metropolitan areas with several street network buffer distances (i.e., 400-, 800-, and 1,600-meters). Address data come from the YMCA-Harvard After School Food and Fitness Project, an obesity prevention intervention involving children aged 5-11 years and their families participating in YMCA-administered, after-school programs located in four geographically diverse metropolitan areas in the US (n = 733). GIS data were used to measure multiple objective indicators of neighborhood walkability. Walk Scores were also obtained for the participant's residential addresses. Spearman correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators were calculated as well as Spearman correlations accounting for spatial autocorrelation. There were many significant moderate correlations between Walk Scores and the GIS neighborhood walkability indicators such as density of retail destinations and intersection density (p < 0.05). The magnitude varied by the GIS indicator of neighborhood walkability. Correlations generally became stronger with a larger spatial scale, and there were some geographic differences. Walk Score (R) is free and publicly available for public health researchers and practitioners. Results from our study suggest that Walk Score (R) is a valid measure of estimating certain aspects of neighborhood walkability, particularly at the 1600-meter buffer. As such, our study confirms and extends the generalizability of previous findings demonstrating that Walk Score is a valid measure of estimating neighborhood walkability in multiple geographic locations and at multiple spatial scales.
Antimony toxicity occurs either due to occupational exposure or during therapy. Occupational exposure may cause respiratory irritation, pneumoconiosis, antimony spots on the skin and gastrointestinal symptoms. In addition antimony trioxide is possibly carcinogenic to humans. Improvements in working conditions have remarkably decreased the incidence of antimony toxicity in the workplace. As a therapeutic, antimony has been mostly used for the treatment of leishmaniasis and schistosomiasis. The major toxic side-effects of antimonials as a result of therapy are cardiotoxicity (similar to 9% of patients) and pancreatitis, which is seen commonly in HIV and visceral leishmaniasis co-infections. Quality control of each batch of drugs produced and regular monitoring for toxicity is required when antimonials are used therapeutically.
Levels of Zn, Cu, Cd, As, and Pb in the kidney, Liver, Gills and Heart of African cat fish (Clarias gariepinus) from the Ogun River in Ogun State located close to six major industries in the South Western part of Nigeria, were determined using Bulk Scientific Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer. Fishes were also collected from Government owned fish farm in Agodi, Ibadan which was considered a reference site. The activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione S-transferase (GST), glutathione (GSH) concentration and malondialdehyde (MDA) formation were also determined. The trend of accumulation of the metals in the organs is as follows: Heart - Zn > Cu > Pb > As > Cd; Gills - Zn > Cu > Pb > Cd > As; Kidney - Zn > Cu > Pb > As > Cd; Liver - Zn > Cu > Pb > As > Cd. The order of concentration of the metals in the organs is as follows: Arsenite - Kidney > Liver > Gills > Heart; Zinc - Gills > Liver > Kidney > Heart; Lead- Liver > Kidney > Gills > Heart; Copper- Kidney > Liver > Gills > Heart; Cadmium > Liver > Gills > Kidney > Heart. The levels of heavy metals ranged between 0.25- 8.96 ppm in the heart, 0.69- 19.05 ppm in the kidneys, 2.10-19.75 ppm in the liver and 1.95-20.35 ppm in the gills. SOD activity increased by 61% in the liver, 50% in the kidney and in the heart by 28 % while a significant decrease (44%) was observed in the gill of Clarias gariepinus from Ogun river compared to that Agodi fish farm (P<0.001). On the contrary there was 46%, 41%, 50% and 19% decrease in CAT activity in the liver, kidney, gills and heart respectively. The levels of GST activities in the liver, kidney and heart of Clarias gariepinus from Ogun river increased by 62%, 72% and 37% respectively (P<0.001) whereas there was a significant decrease (41%) in the gills (P<0.05) compared to that from the Agodi fish farm. GSH concentration increased by 81%, 83% and 53% in the liver, kidney and heart respectively but decreased by 44% in the gills. MDA levels of Clarias gariepinus were significantly (P<0.001) elevated in the liver, kidney, gills and heart by 177%, 102%, 168% and 71% respectively compared to that from Agodi fish farm. Overall, the results demonstrate that alteration in the antioxidant enzymes, glutathione system and induction of lipid peroxidation reflects the presence of heavy metals which may cause oxidative stress in the Clarias gariepinus from Ogun River. The study therefore provides a rational use of biomarkers of oxidative stress in biomonitoring of aquatic pollution.
Compared to several other metal ions with similar chemical properties, zinc is relatively harmless. Only exposure to high doses has toxic effects, making acute zinc intoxication a rare event. In addition to acute intoxication, long-term, high-dose zinc supplementation interferes with the uptake of copper. Hence, many of its toxic effects are in fact due to copper deficiency. While systemic homeostasis and efficient regulatory mechanisms on the cellular level generally prevent the uptake of cytotoxic doses of exogenous zinc, endogenous zinc plays a significant role in cytotoxic events in single cells. Here, zinc influences apoptosis by acting on several molecular regulators of programmed cell death, including caspases and proteins from the Bcl and Bax families. One organ where zinc is prominently involved in cell death is the brain, and cytotoxicity in consequence of ischemia or trauma involves the accumulation of free zinc. Rather than being a toxic metal ion, zinc is an essential trace element. Whereas intoxication by excessive exposure is rare, zinc deficiency is widespread and has a detrimental impact on growth, neuronal development, and immunity, and in severe cases its consequences are lethal. Zinc deficiency caused by malnutrition and foods with low bioavailability, aging, certain diseases, or deregulated homeostasis is a far more common risk to human health than intoxication.
Microglia are resident cells of the brain involved in regulatory processes critical for development, maintenance of the neural environment, injury and repair. They belong to the monocytic-macrophage lineage and serve as brain immune cells to orchestrate innate immune responses; however, they are distinct from other tissue macrophages due to their relatively quiescent phenotype and tight regulation by the CNS microenvironment. Microglia actively survey the surrounding parenchyma and respond rapidly to changes such that any disruption to neural architecture or function can contribute to the loss in regulation of the microglia phenotype. In many models of neurodegeneration and neurotoxicity, early events of synaptic degeneration and neuronal loss are accompanied by an inflammatory response including activation of microglia, perivascular monocytes, and recruitment of leukocytes. In culture, microglia have been shown to be capable of releasing several potentially cytotoxic substances, such as reactive oxygen intermediates, nitric oxide, proteases, arachidonic acid derivatives, excitatory amino acids, and cytokines; however, they also produce various neurotrophic factors and quench damage from free radicals and excitotoxins. As the primary source for pro-inflammatory cytokines, microglia are implicated as pivotal mediators of neuroinflammation and can induce or modulate a broad spectrum of cellular responses. Neuroinflammation should be considered as a balanced network of processes whereby subtle modifications can shift the cells toward disparate outcomes. For any evaluation of neuroinflammation and microglial responses, within the framework of neurotoxicity or degeneration, one key question in determining the consequence of neuroinflammation is whether the response is an initiating event or the consequence of tissue damage. As examples of environmental exposure-related neuroinflammation in the literature, we provide an evaluation of data on manganese and diesel exhaust particles.
Chelation therapy is the preferred medical treatment for reducing the toxic effects of metals. Chelating agents are capable of binding to toxic metal ions to form complex structures which are easily excreted from the body removing them from intracellular or extracellular spaces. 2,3-Dimercaprol has long been the mainstay of chelation therapy for lead or arsenic poisoning, however its serious side effects have led researchers to develop less toxic analogues. Hydrophilic chelators like meso-2,3-dimercaptosuccinic acid effectively promote renal metal excretion, but their ability to access intracellular metals is weak. Newer strategies to address these drawbacks like combination therapy (use of structurally different chelating agents) or co-administration of antioxidants have been reported recently. In this review we provide an update of the existing chelating agents and the various strategies available for the treatment of heavy metals and metalloid intoxications.