New Type of Alzheimer’s Drug May Prevent, Slow or Treat The Disease

Daniel Chain, Ph.D, the son of a Nobel Prize Winner and a distinguished neurobiologist himself, woke up one Sunday night 1996 and had a sudden inspiration– “Why not monocolonal antibodies?”

Chairman and chief executive officer of Manhattan-based Intellect Neurosciences, Dr.
Chain, a distinguished neurobiologist, was interested in finding a innovative medication
that can slow down, arrest and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease – a devastating condition afflicting 30 million people worldwide. Contrary to drugs currently on the market, which only treat symptoms, Dr. Chain’s aims was to create a new class of disease-modifying Alzheimer’s drugs that attack the underlying pathologies.

Monclonal Antibodies

Moncolonal antibodies are a type of protein made in the laboratory that can find and bind to a specific substance. Could a monoclonal antibody be developed that would latch on to amyloid, a dense deposit of protein found as plaques on the cells and nerves of Alzheimer’s patients at autopsy? There is no unanimous agreement that amyloid plaques are the cause of the condition but may be just a symptom or an extraneous factor.

Amyloid plaques were first noted by Dr. Louis Alzheimer’s in 1906 . The main constituent of the plaques is the Beta Amyloid protein which is comprised of fragments of a much larger protein called the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) implicated in regulating numerous physiological functions in the body. Beta Amyloid can accumulate for different reasons in the brain. The naturally sticky fragments form clumps that increase in number and density until eventually, the clumps deposit as insoluble plaques onto the surface of nerve cells. Are these plaques toxic? Are they beneficial? Do their roles change at different stages of the disease? As the plaques mature in the brain they trigger inflammation which damages the cells causing them to die.

Toxic Substance Floating In Brain Fluid

Dr. Chain now believes that there is a toxic substance floating around in brain fluid that is a precursor to amyloid clumps and plaques.

“Perhaps,” he reasons, “the plaques of hardened amyloid found on the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients may be the way the brain protects itself from the toxic amyloid precursor.”

Drug Companies At Work On The New Type of Drug
He says he decided to develop a method of harnessing certain monoclonal antibodies that he believes can be used to render the precursor harmless and thus prevent or improve Alzheimer’s destruction of the brain cells.

Dr. Chain was successful and he patented the technique he developed and called it Antesenilin. His invention is currently being used by several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies which have taken licenses to Dr. Chain’s patents from which Intellect Neurosciences stands to obtain royalties from sales if and when the drugs are approved by the FDA pending completion of clinical trials. The most advanced product, Bapineuzumab, is in Phase 3 trials involving several thousand Alzheimer’s patients world-wide. Bapineuzumab is being co-developed by Wyeth/Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Dr. Chain’s patents have already been granted in Europe, Japan, China and elsewhere

Dr. Chain points out there are two basic types of Alzheimer’s. One that occurs in 5 to 10 percent relatively early 40-50 and invariably have a genetic pre-disposition .carried in families .The other starts later about 65 years and up and has known and unknown causes.

He said the tests first conducted with Bapineuzumab, involved a small group about 250 patients: “They did not separate out those with the gene for the disease and those who developed it later in life. It did seem to indicate that those who developed it later in life were benefited by the drug but not those who carried the gene.”

A study involving several thousand people –separating the two types of Alzheimer’s—are now underway.

Bapineuzumab May Be On The Market Within Three Years

Dr. Chain said he hopes that within three years, Bapineuzumab will be on the market.

What about side-effects?

So far, he said, he, there is some edema—(swelling) –but it goes away and in lower doses it does not occur. at all.

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Can water pollution affect the genitals of both girls and boys?

There have been numerous articles lately in scientific journals about the average age of puberty decreasing in American girls. Richard H. Reindollar, M.D. – Professor and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire and his colleagues, for example, wrote on Endotext.org’s website, an international source of information for physicians, overall incidence of sexual precocity has been estimated to be 1:5,000 to 1:10,000 children. The female to male ratio is approximately 10:1

The classic definition of sexual precocity is the appearance of secondary sexual characteristics before the age of 8 years. The phenomenon was revealed in a study published in 1997 by a research team led by Dr. Herman-Giddens. Pediatricians around the country rated sexual maturation in 17,077 girls ages 3 to 12. The study’s conclusion was breasts and/or pubic hairs were far more common in 7- and 8-year-olds than medical textbooks had been reporting.

The scientists now studying premature sexual maturation in girls are mostly blaming it on children being overweight. The scientists point out fat releases hormones which could lead to premature puberty.

Dr. Frank Brio, the director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, was quoted in the NY Times as agreeing that overweight girls were more likely to have breast development but added it was possible that environmental chemicals were also playing a role.

“It’s certainly throwing up a warning flag,” Dr. Biro said. “I think we need to think about the stuff we’re exposing our bodies to and the bodies of our kids. This is a wake-up call, and I think we need to pay attention to it.”

What chemicals in the environment may affect hormones?

So-called Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDC’s) are chemicals that mimic the body’s natural hormones, according to JA. Katzenellenbogen, professor of chemistry at the University of Illinois, writing in Environmental health in 1995: “They are environmental agents that interfere with the production, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action or elimination of natural hormones in the body responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis and the regulation of developmental processes.”

There have been many reports about EDCs adversely affecting sperm production in male and causing birth defects in male fetuses. David Norris, PhD, an integrative physiology professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, for example, recently reported at the 92nd Endocrine Society’s meeting in San Francisco fish swimming in polluted waters may be the “canaries” alerting humans about endocrine disrupters. He says that even though the levels of the chemicals in waters fish swam in were very low, the substances proved to be endocrine disrupters.

How do EDCs Get In our Water?

One of the answers to EDCs in water may be our use of Personal Care Products. In 2008 a study carried out on behalf of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) claimed that 95 percent of the waterways in the San Francisco Bay area were contaminated with EDCs traced to personal care products.

In March 2009, still another study from the Baylor University showed that fish samples from US waterways are frequently contained residues of personal care products. Working with the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the Texas scientists reported they also detected low-level residues of several human medications.

Medicines in the water

While the study found the residue of several pharmaceutical and personal care products in fish tissue, it also demonstrated for the first time that fish from several locations across the country are exposed to multiple pharmaceutical and personal care products (PPCPs) in effluent-dominated waterways, according to Dr. Bryan Brooks, associate professor at Baylor University.

The US Environmental Agency (EPA) made a pledge in August 2008 to further investigate the effects PPCPs have on the nation’s waterways. The EPA-sponsored scientists tested for 36 different compounds in fish samples sourced at effluent-dominated waterways – 24 originating form medicines and 12 originating from personal care products. Of this total, the scientists found the residues of two compounds from personal care products and seven compounds commonly found in pharmaceutical products.

The two personal care compounds were galaxolide and tonalide, both fragrances that are used in a wide variety of soaps and other personal care products.

Feminized Male Fish

Although the scientists say the impact of all these compounds on the fish is not fully understood, the researchers stress there is documented evidence to suggest the contaminants lead to changes in behavioral patterns that influence fish survival.

Dr. Norris reported at the recent Endocrine Society meeting 18 out of the 19 wastewater samples that were examined contained trace levels of Bisphenol A. It is used in plastic baby bottles; food and beverage can linings and other products. The Centers for Disease Control estimated in 2004 that 95 percent of Americans have the chemical in their urine. A 2007 report from the US National Toxicology Program and the National Institutes of Health concluded Bisphenol A presents “some concern” about exposure of fetuses and children at current human exposure.

Future Generations May Be Affected

Are EDCs contributing to the early sexual development of girls?

Are EDCs leading to feminization of boys?

Dr. Norris warned at the recent Endocrine Society meeting: “The fish are a wake-up call. Our bodies and those of the much more sensitive human fetus are being exposed everyday to a variety of chemicals that are capable of altering not only our development and physiology but that of future generations as well.”

Resources: Chemicals Remaining after Wastewater Treatment Change the Gender of Fish

Released: 6/21/2010 12:15 PM EDT

Source: Endocrine Society

Arizona Department of Environmental Quality http://www.azdeq.gov/environ/water/wastewater/pharm.html

JA. Katzenellenbogen , Environmental health Health Perspect. 103 Suppl 7:99-101(1995)

NAILING DOWN HEALTHY NAILS

Fingernails in good shape are not only attractive, they tell a lot about your personal habits and they serve important functions. Most fingernails are rounded at the tip but manicurists usually make clients square tipped nails for added strength.

How fast nails grow

The average growth rate for nails is 0.1 mm each day but age, time of year, activity level, and heredity may affect them. Nails grow more rapidly in the summer than in the winter. Nails on a person’s dominant hand (right vs. left) grow faster, and men’s nails grow more quickly than women’s, except possibly during pregnancy and old age. Fingernails grow faster than toenails.

What Nail Reveal

“Normal nails should have a healthy pink skin or nail bed below them indicating a good blood supply, ” according to Richard K. Scher, MD, professor of dermatology at New York’s Columbia University and known nationally as “the Nail Doctor”. He says it is possible to diagnose or suspect conditions of medical importance by the appearance of nails. For example:

  • Indented “spoon nails”–in which the nails develop depressions— may be due to iron deficiency anemia.
  • Horizontal depressions may be signs of malnutrition, chemotherapy, or carpal tunnel syndrome (wrist condition becoming more frequent because of computer use.)
  • Pitted nails can indicate, depending upon the pattern, psoriasis, eczema or other immune system disorders.
  • Bright red nail beds can point to heart or blood problems.
  • Triangular moons may signify bone or kidney abnormalities.
  • Splinter hemorrhages can be due to high blood pressure, ulcers, rheumatoid arthritis but the most common cause is trauma.
  • Tan stained nails may be due to smoking

Brittle nails, however, are usually caused by lack of moisture, according to  Zoe Draelos, MD, a specialists in skin and nails at the Clinical Dermatology Center, High Point, NC, this can occur by exposing nails to nail polish remover, detergents and water. Draelos says nail polish can actually protect the nail plate from dehydration by inhibiting water vapor loss.

Advice About Caring For Your Nails

  1. Nails are not tools and should not be used as screwdrivers, scrapers or staple removers.

2. Protect your nails during housework or mechanical work by wearing gloves

3. Cuticles should not be over manipulated, or pushed back with wooden or metal instruments. If you do push the cuticles back overvigorously you weaken the nail matrix and open the space above it to chemicals, fungus and viruses.

4. Nail polish may be helpful in slowing down breakage but make sure the polish is free of toluene and formaldehyde   and use acetone free remover.

5. Do not grow your nails too long because this leads to nail trauma and weakens the nails

New Kind of Alzheimer’s Drug May Prevent or Treat The Disease

Daniel Chain,Ph.D, the son of a Nobel Prize Winner and a distinguished neurobiologist  himself, woke up one Sunday night 1996 and had a sudden inspiration– “Why not monocolonal antibodies?”

Chairman and chief executive officer of Manhattan-based Intellect Neurosciences, Dr. Chainwas interested in finding an innovative medication that can slow down, arrest and ultimately prevent Alzheimer’s disease – a devastating condition afflicting 30 million people worldwide. Contrary to current drugs on the market, which only treat symptoms, Dr. Chain’s aim was to create a new class of disease-modifying Alzheimer’s drugs that attack the underlying pathologies.

 Monclonal Antibodies

 Moncolonal antibodies are a type of protein made in the laboratory designed  to find and bind to a specific substance. Could a monoclonal antibody be developed that would latch on to amyloid, a dense deposit of protein found as plaques on the cells and nerves of Alzheimer’s patients at autopsy? There is no unanimous agreement that amyloid plaques are the cause of the condition but may be just a symptom or an extraneous factor.

Amyloid plaques were first noted by Dr. Louis Alzheimer’s in 1906 . The main constituent of the plaques is the Beta Amyloid protein which is comprised of fragments of a much larger protein called the Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) implicated in regulating numerous physiological functions in the body.  Beta Amyloid can accumulate for different reasons in the brain.  The naturally sticky fragments form clumps that increase in number and density until eventually, the clumps deposit as insoluble plaques onto the surface of nerve cells. Are these plaques toxic? Are they beneficial?  Do their roles change at different stages of the disease? As the plaques mature in the brain do they trigger inflammation which damages the cells causing them to die?

Toxic Substance Floating In Brain Fluid

 Dr. Chain now believes that there is a toxic substance floating around in brain fluid that is a precursor to amyloid clumps and plaques.

 “Perhaps,” he reasons, “the plaques of hardened amyloid found on the brain cells of Alzheimer’s patients may be the way the brain actually protects itself from the toxic amyloid precursor.”

Drug Companies At Work On The New Type of Drug

He says  he decided to develop a method of harnessing certain monoclonal antibodies that he believes can be used to render the precursor harmless and thus prevent or improve Alzheimer’s destruction of the brain cells.

Dr. Chain was successful and he patented the technique he developed for amyloid precursor seeking monoclonal antibodies. He calls it Antisenilin for anti-senility. His invention is currently being used by several of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies which have taken licenses to Dr. Chain’s patents from which Intellect Neurosciences stands to obtain royalties from sales if and when the drugs are approved by the FDA . The most advanced product, Bapineuzumab, is in Phase 3 clincal trials involving several thousand Alzheimer’s patients world-wide. Bapineuzumab is being co-developed by Wyeth/Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.  Dr. Chain’s patents have already been granted in Europe, Japan, China and elsewhere

Dr. Chain points out there are two basic types of Alzheimer’s. One that occurs in 5 to 10 percent relatively early at 40-50 years and invariably has a genetic pre-disposition carried in families. The other starts later– about 65 years and up –and has known and unknown causes.

He said the tests first conducted with bapineuzumab, involved a small group about 250 patients: “The researchers did not separate out those with the gene for the disease and those who developed Alzheimer’s later in life. Results did seem to indicate that those who developed it later in life were benefited by the drug but not those who carried the gene.”

Studies involving several thousand people –separating the two types of Alzheimer’s—are now underway.

Bapineuzumab May Be On The Market Within Three Years

Dr. Chain said he hopes that within three years, bapineuzumab will be on the market.

What about side-effects?

So far, he said, he, there is some edema—(swelling) –but it goes away and in lower doses it does not occur at all.

THE MYSTERIOUS SKIN DISEASE THAT IS OR ISN’T REAL


Do you have a mysterious condition? Has your health care professional, unable to diagnose it, told you your symptoms may be psychological?

Scientists and US government once said the following diseases were imaginary:

  • Agent Orange Syndrome. Between 1965 and 1970, the U.S. Air Force sprayed more than 40 million pounds of Agent Orange over 5 million acres of forest in Vietnam and Cambodia. The herbicide– 50/50 mixture of two herbicides, 2, 4-D and 2, 4, 5-T which formed the highly toxic compound dioxin—was later found to cause birth defects and such serious illnesses as cancer, adult-onset diabetes, liver failure, and chlor-acne.
  • Gulf War Syndrome.  A wide spectrum of illnesses and symptoms ranging from asthma to sexual dysfunction were reported by U.S. and U.S. allied soldiers who served in the Persian Gulf War in 1990–1991. There is still much debate over the origin and nature of Gulf War syndrome. The US Department of Defense has failed to establish a definite cause for the disorder. Veterans who have the illness experience a wide range of debilitating symptoms that elude a single diagnosis. Common symptoms include fatigue, trouble breathing, headaches, disturbed sleep, memory loss, and lack of concentration. Similar experiences among Gulf War veterans have been reported in the United Kingdom and Canada.
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A debilitating and complex disorder characterized by profound fatigue that is not improved by bed rest and that may be worsened by physical or mental activity. A variety of studies by CDC and others have shown that between 1 and 4 million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). They are seriously impaired, at least a quarter are unemployed or on disability because of CFS. The CDC says on it website: “The cause or causes of CFS have not been identified and no specific diagnostic tests are available.”

  • Fibromyalgia an increasingly recognized chronic pain illness which is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal aches, pain and stiffness, soft tissue tenderness, general fatigue and sleep disturbances. There are no blood tests or X-ray tests that help the doctor determine whether someone has fibromyalgia. These tests are done to exclude other possible diagnoses. Therefore, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia is made purely on clinical grounds based on the doctor’s history and physical examination.
  • 9/11 First Responders’ Illness. Doctors treating sickened ground zero workers offered Congress a detailed diagnosis six years after the destruction of the Trade Centers of the ailments affecting thousands but warned that there’s no way to determine how many more workers may become afflicted with life-threatening illnesses.  The First Responders’ ailments range from runny noses to laryngitis to lung disease. Scores have died, many from of a type of lung cancer.

I found the US Food and Drug Administration disbelieving parents who noticed sugar and artificial coloring agitated their children when I researched my books, A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives and A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients (Three Rivers Press). In 1982, a Consensus Development Panel of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded there was no scientific evidence to support the claim that additives or colorings cause hyperactivity. The British Food Standards Agency, however, disagrees and in 2007 revised its advice about certain artificial yellow and red colorings because the additives apparently cause hyperactivity in children.

When I wrote in A Consumer’s Dictionary of Household, Yard and Office Chemicals (ASJA Press), the idea that pesticides could cause farmers to be susceptible to the “shaking disease”, Parkinson’s, again government agencies were being skeptical. In April 2009, University of California researchers reported they found that residents who lived within 500 meters of fields sprayed with pesticides between 1974 and 1999 had a 75-percent increased risk for Parkinson’s.

In addition, people who were diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 60 or younger were found to have been at much higher risk because they had been exposed to the pesticides maneb or paraquat between 1974 and 1989—years when they would have been children, teens or young adults.

The patients who complained about the symptoms of these “non-diseases” were finally vindicated when researchers eventually discovered evidence of an organic basis for their complaints. Now another condition is being attributed to imagination or suggestibility—Morgellon’s Disease.

Mary Leitao, a Pennsylvania doctor’s wife, observed in 2001 her two-year-old son had developed sores under his lip. He began to complain of “bugs” bothering his skin. Leitao, who graduated with a BS in Biology, and worked for five years at Boston hospitals as a lab technician, visited eight different doctors who were unable to find any disease, allergy, or rare disorder about her son’s described symptoms. She was finally told she, herself, had a psychological problem.

Determined to find the answer, she established The Morgellons Research Foundation (MRF) in 2004 to raise awareness and funding for scientific research concerning the poorly understood condition which she claimed can be disfiguring and disabling. Leitao chose the name Morgellons from a description of an illness in the monograph A Letter to a Friend by Sir Thomas Browne in 1690. The doctor’s wife had hoped to receive information from researchers or physicians who might understand Morgellons. Instead thousands of others contacted her describing their mysterious skin ailments accompanied by neurological symptoms—fatigue, muscle and joint pain, and other manifestations.

The Morgellons Research Foundation and self-diagnosed Morgellons patients successfully lobbied members of Congress and the U.S. government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the proposed condition.

The CDC just recently set up a research program at Kaiser Permanente in California, US, to try to find an answer to whether “Morgellons” is a true disease. Persons who suffer from this condition, the CDC says, report a range of skin complaints including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads, fibers, or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; and/or skin rashes or sores. In addition to skin symptoms, some sufferers also report fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision. The CDC admits “At this time, scientists and doctors do not know what causes this condition.”

The CDC is a public health institution that is a part of the US federal government but does not provide healthcare or maintain a referral list of providers. CDC maintains a telephone number with a pre-recorded voicemail and an email account to which you can send inquiries. The agency is not able to provide individual responses to each inquiry. To learn more about the investigation, please refer to the following link: www.cdc.gov/unexplaineddermopathy/investigation.html. Email: morgellonssyndrome@cdc.gov or Phone: 404-718-1199 (Pre-recorded message with voicemail).http://www.cdc.gov/unexplaineddermopathy/

Right now, the US government is somewhat skeptical about Morgellons. As occurred with the conditions mentioned at the beginning of this article, the symptoms Leitao describes were first ascribed to psychological problems. Will the controversial Morgellon’s Disease also turn out to be a real syndrome when the cause or causes may be discovered or will it turn out, after all, just a figment of thousands of people’s imaginations?

Stay tuned!

BURPING COWS, SNAIL SKIN SMOOTHERS AND CHICKEN CHICKENS

Summer time and the living is not easy today so I thought I would give you some amusing information that I didn’t put in my Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives or my Consumer’s Dictionary Cosmetic Ingredients both published by Three Rivers/Crown.

You think you have intestinal gas, consider poor Bessie. When cows burp, the experts say, it is the equivalent to emissions from more than half a million cars on the road.

Stonyfield Farm—a US-based supplier of organic products like yogurt—began piloting a ‘Greener Cow’ effort last year. One of a number of groups researching the problem of burping, farting cows, Stonyfield is trying to reduce the output of greenhouse gasses such as methane from livestock.

Stonyfield says that it has fed cows at 15 Vermont Organic Valley farms with diets high in natural omega-3 sources like flax and grasses, a process it claims can cut saturated fats in milk and ‘re-balances’ a cow’s main stomach.

As a result of this diet plan, citing research from the University of Vermont, Stonyfield claims it has been able to reduce gas emissions from the cows by as much as 18 per cent.

And what about those slow motion creatures that secret not gas but serum? Andes Natural Skin Care says it has come up with a topical treatment using secretion from snails to treat acne as well as the disfiguring scars the lesions may cause. The company says its research shows that the snail serum has molecules, structures and cells that are very similar to the human skin. The serum is also a powerful antioxidant while also being regenerative to act on acne scars. According to Andes Natural Skin Care, the complex nature of the serum cannot be replicated under laboratory conditions, which is why the natural secretion of the snail has to be harvested in an organic manner.

If the tale of the snail doesn’t amuse you, how about chickens who are “chicken”?
When chickens are afraid, they release higher levels of hormone noradrenalin, according to research by the University of Bristol, England. The noradrenalin helps Campylobacter and Salmonella grow and spread more quickly. The results of their research, the Bristol investigators said, provides vital information to enable the control of infection in the production environment, making chicken safer and decreasing cases of food poisoning.

In my Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, I pointed out that pigs, which are very intelligent and aware become upset on their last ride to the slaughter house. The animals may be given Thorazine to calm then down. How do you make chicken less fearful when they are on their way to slaughter? Would Valium be of value? Will you be residually tranquilized when eating wings and drumsticks?

THE PROMISE AND PERIL OF NANOTECHNOLOGY

If you follow my blogs and books, you may know that I am fascinated by nanotechnology and at the same time astounded the general public almost completely ignores the promise and peril of these nearly invisible molecules. The lack of attention from consumers may be because they think it is science fiction or it is a technology that even the scientists and regulators don’t fully understand.

In the Seventh Edition of my Consumers’ Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients which will be published in October 2009 by Crown/Three Rivers Press, I write:

“What is nanotechnology and why is it important to cosmetic manufacturers despite the caution of scientists, government agencies and consumers? Nanotechnology is the ability to measure, see, manipulate and manufacture things usually between 1 and 100 nanometers. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; a human hair is roughly 100,000 nanometers wide. Some of the applications of the tiny substances are from practical to fantastic to potentially dangerous. Although the nanotechnology industry is just starting out, it is already booming. It is projected to capture 14% of the US $2.6 trillion global manufacturing market… In contrast, it made up less than 0.1% just three years ago. The nanoparticle size positively affects dispersibility, skin feel and transparency on the skin.
     Some critics of nanotechnology say that nanoparticles could easily be inhaled absorbed through the skin or build up in the environment. Others have likened the materials to asbestos, which is now known to cause lung cancer and other diseases. When nanoparticles in cosmetics penetrate the skin and move around the body what happens to them? No one knows because at this writing, they are untraceable.
     A recent report based on research from US scientists, for example, shows that nanoparticles used in certain sun cream formulations can affect mice brain cells by upsetting the chemical balance and potentially causing neurological damage. The Study, carried out by Bellina Veronesi of the US Environmental Protection Agency and published on the website Nature.com, looked at the affects of nano-sized Titania, now commonly used in sun cream formulations and often labeled titanium oxide…Although Veronesi stressed that the research does not necessarily imply that the Titania grains are harmful to the human body and other experts have aired caution over the interpretation of the findings, it does add to a growing body of research that suggests potential risks might exists when certain compounds are reduced to nano size.”
        “Dr. Andrew Maynard, science advisor to the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, is an internationally recognized expert on airborne particles. According to Maynard, aerosol sprays can produce breathable particles a few micrometers in size that can remain airborne for long periods of time and can reach the sensitive deep lung if inhaled. Once deposited, there is the possibility of chemicals or nanoparticles (if present) in the droplets causing damage.
    “David Rejeski, Director, Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies at the Woodrow Wilson International Center says “We are about to be inundated with hundreds, if not thousands, of new products but governments are not ready. Industry and trade groups are not prepared. A research strategy for addressing possible human health or environmental risks is not in place, and the public is not informed.”
    The Consumers Union wrote to the FDA asking that they require a full safety assessment on the use of nanoparticles in cosmetics, sunscreens and sunblocks, before a product is allowed to market. In addition, the group has called for the labeling of nanoparticles in products so that consumers can make an informed choice. “

In the Seventh Edition of my Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives which was published by Crown/Three Rivers in April 2009, I wrote, in part, of nanotechnology and food:

New developments, however, are never without warning. Many scientists and consumers are wary of nanotech food. For example, certain nanoparticles possess the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and can serve as carriers for other molecules. Information on the bioaccumulation and potential toxic effects of inhalation and/or ingestion of free engineered nanoparticles and their long-term implications for public health is needed. Nanoscale materials may also present new challenges in relation to exposure assessment, including measurement of nanoparticles in the body and in complex food composition.
    “Approval systems for food additives have not, in the past, taken much heed of the particle size of the additive. For nanoparticles, this is obviously an important aspect since nanoparticles may be handled differently in the body than their previously approved, macro counterparts. It is likely that the approach will vary from country to country. Most scientific committees that have reviewed the initial applications of nanotechnology conclude that while consumers are likely to benefit from this technology, new data and new measurement approaches may be needed to ensure that the safety of products using nanotechnology are properly assessed. Food industry experts predict that nanotechnology will have a significant impact on food products in a variety of ways both directly and indirectly. Most foodstuffs contain natural nanoscale particles. Nanotechnology-based products are increasingly being used to produce antimicrobial food contact materials commercially available as packaging or as coatings. Current research on such ‘smart’ surfaces is aimed at the development of surfaces that can detect bacterial contamination and react against bacterial growth.
Nanoscale materials may also present new challenges in relation to exposure assessment, including measurement of nanoparticles in the body and in complex food composition.”
     Cosmetics and food aren’t the only promise and perils linked to nanotechnology. Demand for nanotechnology medical products will grow by more than 17 percent annually to reach $53 billion in 2011, according to a recent report from The Freedonia Group. By 2016, new products such as nanodiagnostics, nanotech-based medical supplies and nanomedicines will drive demand to more than $110 billion, the report added.
    The advocates of nanohealthcare say the technology will enhance the quality and performance of diagnostic products. For example, nanosized antibodies labels and DNA probes will improve the speed, accuracy, capabilities and cost effectiveness of in laboratory diagnostic testing. Freedonia anticipated these performance advantages and the broadening range of nanodiagnostics will increase demand for these products
    The group predicted that the long-term impact of nanotechnology will include new medical supply and device coatings, as well as new medical implants. Fredonia Group predicted the greatest short-term healthcare advances due to nanotechnology will be in therapies and diagnostics for cancer and central nervous system disorders, The organization also predicted that many other major diseases, as well as injuries, will eventually be treated and detected with nanotechnology products.
     I will be writing more about how advances in nanotechnology will affect electronics and computing, medicine, cosmetics, foods, the military, energy. By 2020, $1 trillion worth of products could be nano-engineered in some way. They may be invaluable but who knows? There is no way, as yet, to find out what happens to these tiny particles in our bodies.