AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: Dialysis

Pesticides Possibly Killing Farmers

Men farming dry, lowlands throughout Central America, Sri Lanka, India, and Egypt are suffering from the epidemic of the disease CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease, a.k.a. CKD).  CKD is usually experienced by those who suffer from diabetes and hypertension, yet these farmers have neither. Researchers are at a loss for what could be the specific common denominator causing this widespread effect. The world is just starting to understand the extent of people affected by this disease. For example, in Sir Lanka, around 2.9 million people are expected to be at high risk of developing deadly CDK. As CNN reports,  “the Sri Lankan government has had enough of the mystery, convening experts from around the world…to find answers, in collaboration with the World Health Organization”. Stanford nephrologist Shuchi Anand, MD, is one scientist who is trying to do something about it. She has founded a working group through the university in order to further research on CDK as a disease, its definition, and the exact cause. Research has determined that it could be possibly an environmental factor that is causing this particular group of men to develop this deadly disease. However, agrochemicals, vegetation, infectious agents and heat stress are all possibilities. While there is no real answer to this mystery yet, the Sri Lanka government has taken matters into their own hands by banning one pesticide and adding labor laws to limit heat exposure. Anand urges governments and the general population to consider that immediate action might not be the best course until there is more research. I believe that Anand is wrong in this account. All possible action must be taken immediately as this is an issue that is affecting many of the working class in these developing countries, and because of disputes between labor and management, it is an issue that has long been ignored. These responses must also be balanced with continuous in-depth research which continues to elaborate on all possible causes.

Tylenol, the Magical Fix-It-All…Till It Kills You

Photo taken by Josh Lowensohn

We all do it. Headache? Tylenol. Arm hurts? Tylenol. Cramps? Tylenol. Headache hurts too much to bare? Hmm, I think I’ll take three pills instead of the recommended two pills. Um, last I checked, these “recommended” dosages should be enough to alleviate whatever pain or discomfort we’re feeling, and I’m pretty sure if it hurts that badly, you should go see a doctor–just a little piece of advice.  It seems to me that “popin’ pills” is just what we all do these days. Well..I’d stop. Especially id you want to live, but if you want to slowly begin killing yourself…

In an article written by Amanda Chan for the Huffington Post, it is revealed that “a new study suggests that acetaminophen can add up over several days and lead to an overdose.”  Oops. How many times have you done that? I know I have…a few too many times.

So what’s so bad about this gradual overdose? According to the study published by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, staggered overdose patterns are associated with adverse outcomes following acetaminophen overdose. Patients with this overdoes have a higher risk of developing multiorgan failure including brain or liver problems, as well as needing kidney dialysis. A study done by at the University of Pennsylvania, it was found that Acetaminophen was the most commonly reported toxic ingestion in the United States in 2005.

In a recent interview with BBC News, Dr. Kenneth Simpson, a member of the team in the Scottish Liver Transplantation Unit at the University of Edinburgh said “They haven’t taken the sort of single-moment, one-off massive overdoses taken by people who try to commit suicide, but over time the damage builds up, and the effect can be fatal.”

The National Institutes of Health reaffirm the data that overdosing on acetaminophen is one of the most common causes of poisoning around the world. In an effort to reduce the risk of unintentionally overdosing, the manufacturers of Tylenol have reduced the recommended dosage.

Basically, next you contemplate taking one too many Tylenols, think of it as an actual drug, which it is…you could potentially be killing yourself. Just a thought.

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