ISLAMABAD: Chronic exposure to a common food additive found in everything from chewing gum to bread can decrease the ability of small intestine cells to absorb nutrients and act as a barrier to pathogens, warns a study.
Ingestion of the compound, known as titanium dioxide, is nearly unavoidable. It can enter the digestive system through toothpaste, as titanium dioxide is used to create abrasion needed for cleaning. The oxide is also used in some chocolates to give it a smooth texture.
“Titanium oxide is a common food additive and people have been eating a lot of it for a long time — don’t worry, it won’t kill you! But we were interested in some of the subtle effects, and we think people should know about them,” said one of the authors of the study, Gretchen Mahler, Assistant Professor at Binghamton University, State University of New York. For the study, the researchers exposed a small intestinal cell culture model to the physiological equivalent of a meal’s worth of titanium oxide nanoparticles — 30 nanometers across — over four hours (acute exposure), or three meal’s worth over five days, Medical Xpress reported.
Acute exposures did not have much effect, but chronic exposure diminished the absorptive projections on the surface of intestinal cells called microvilli. With fewer microvilli, the intestinal barrier was weakened, metabolism slowed and some nutrients — iron, zinc, and fatty acids, specifically were more difficult to absorb. Enzyme functions were negatively affected, while inflammation signals increased, the study said. “To avoid foods rich in titanium oxide nanoparticles you should avoid processed foods, and especially candy. That is where you see a lot of nanoparticles,”
EOC notifies two more cases of polio
ISLAMABAD: The National Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) for Polio Eradication has notified two new polio cases from Gadap, Karachi, and Khyber tribal district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
This brings the total number of polio cases in the country to six this year, however, the virus has failed to cause any clinical paralysis to both the children. The first case of polio was confirmed in a 42-month-old female child from Gadap, Karachi, and the other case in a 55-month old female child from Khyber tribal district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The lab detected Poliovirus from their stool samples on October 1 and September 30 respectively. Fortunately, both the girls had received multiple doses of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) which boosted their immunity and protected them from a life-long paralysis. “The polio virus has been continuously found in the sewage waters of Peshawar and Karachi for the last 12 months,” said Babar Bin Atta, the Prime Minister’s Focal Person for Polio Eradication.
“The programme will continue to focus on clearing these two remaining reservoirs from the virus with full force,” he remarked. “Multiple vaccine doses gave the children the immunity boost to fight off the polio virus attack. They have no residual weaknesses and will live like normal children,” said Dr. Rana Safdar, National Coordinator for Polio Eradication while appreciating the vigilant health workers who picked these cases with atypical clinical presentations.
“That is why it’s important for every under five-year-old child to be vaccinated in every round, so immunity levels are high enough to fight off the virus in its entirety,” he said. Earlier this year, three polio cases were reported from Dukki District in Balochistan province, while one case was reported from the Charsadda district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
Being fully vaccinated in routine and door to door campaigns, the Charsadda child had also escaped paralysis. The wild poliovirus case numbers in Pakistan are the lowest ever and the immunity gaps continue to fall. However, despite this historic progress, Mr. Bin Atta said: “We cannot afford any let up in our efforts because as long as the virus is being detected anywhere in the country, no child is absolutely safe.” Multiple doses of polio vaccine are required for a child to be fully protected – each additional dose further strengthens a child’s immunity level against polio.
Contrarily, every missed child provides a place for the polio virus to hide. “Any child with low immunity will be where the virus will find refuge. We need to ensure all our children have received all of their routine immunizations and are vaccinated, with two drops, every time the vaccine is offered,” Mr. Bin Atta added. “Parents who do not ensure vaccination of their children are risking health and lives of their own children as well as others around them. It is thus the responsibility of communities to help to identify and vaccinating such children,” said Mr. Bin Atta. “We are closest ever to the goal of polio eradication. But to achieve it, we must all come together as a nation to ensure that every child is vaccinated. This is the only way we can collectively ensure that we rid polio from our land” he remarked.
Long-term exposure to ozone adversely affects human health
ISLAMABAD: A new study has utilized a novel method to estimate long-term ozone exposure to quantify the health burden from long-term ozone exposure in three major regions of the world.
The research, conducted at the Duke University estimated that 266,000 (confidence interval: 186,000-338,000) premature mortalities across Europe, the USA, and China in 2015 were attributable to long-term exposure to ozone (O3). The findings are published in the Journal of Environmental Research Letters.
Karl Seltzer, study’s lead author said, “Then there is strong epidemiological and toxicological evidence linking ambient ozone exposure to adverse health effects. “Historically, much of the previous research focused on the short-term impacts. We utilized results from the growing body of evidence that links long-term O3 exposure and increased cause-specific premature mortalities, particularly from respiratory diseases,” Seltzer added.
For the study, the researchers used 2015 data from ground-based monitoring networks in the USA, Europe, and China to estimate long-term O3 exposure. They then calculated premature mortalities using exposure-response relationships from two American Cancer Society (ACS) cancer prevention studies.
Seltzer added, “Global estimates of O3 exposure are often made using state-of-the-art chemical transport models (CTMs). However, we based our study on observed air quality data, because it has several advantages over CTM modeling approaches.” Interestingly, the team’s observationally-derived data shows smaller human-health impacts when compared to prior modeling results. Explaining this, Seltzer explained that this difference is due to small biases in modeled results. These small biases are subsequently amplified by non-linear exposure-response curves. This highlights the importance of accurately estimating long-term O3 exposure in health impact assessments. The overall findings from this study have important implications for policy makers and the public, for several reasons.”
First, health impacts attributable to long-term O3 exposure are higher when using the newest ACS CPS-II cohort analysis. Plus, the impacts are expanded further if the association between long-term O3 exposure and cardiovascular mortality is indeed shown to be causal and included in the total health burden estimates.
Second, results from the newest ACS CPS-II cohort analysis suggest that O3 exposure should be considered year-round. This is particularly relevant for the three regions included in this analysis, where the seasonal cycle and regional distributions of O3 have shifted over the last few decades.” Finally, these results also highlighted the importance of accurately estimating O3 exposure and the consequences of high exposure bias in estimating impacts for health assessments.
Children with good memories are better liars
ISLAMABAD: Children who benefit from a good memory are much better at covering up lies, University of Sheffield researchers have discovered.
Experts found a link between verbal memory and covering up lies following a study which investigated the role of working memory in verbal deception amongst children.
The study saw six to seven-year-old children presented with the opportunity to do something they were instructed not to -peek at the final answers on the back of a card during a trivia game, Medical Xpress reported.
A hidden camera and correct answers to the question, which was based on the name of a fictitious cartoon character, enabled the researchers to identify who had peeked, despite denials.
Further questioning, including about the color of the answer on the cards, allowed researchers to identify who was a good liar, by lying to both entrapment questions; or a bad liar, by lying about one or none of the entrapment questions.
During the experiment, researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and North Florida then measured two elements: verbal and visuospatial working memory in the children.
Results showed that the good liars performed better in the verbal working memory test in both processing and recall, compared to the bad liars.
The link between lying and verbal memory is thought to stem from the fact that covering lies involves keeping track of lots of verbal information. As a result, kids who possessed better memories and could keep track of lots of information were able to successfully make and maintain a cover story for their lie.
In contrast, there was no difference in visuospatial working scores between good and bad liars. The researchers suspect this is because lying usually doesn’t involve keeping track of images, so visuospatial information is less important.