Protothecosis is an emerging environmental algal disease of humans, and animals caused by Prototheca species which are unicellular, saprophytic algae that does not produce chlorophyl. Human infections are primarily caused by Prototheca wickerhamii, where as animal disease is mainly due to Prototheca zopfii. The disease can occur in sporadic as well as in epidemic form.
Lichens are unusual creatures. A lichen is not a single organism the way most other living things are, but rather it is a combination of two organisms which live together intimately. Most of the lichen is composed of fungal filaments, but living among the filaments are algal cells, usually from a green alga or a cyanobacterium.
In many cases the fungus and the alga which together make the lichen may each be found living in nature without its partner, but many other lichens include a fungus which cannot survive on its own — it has become dependent on its algal partner for survival. In all cases though, the appearance of the fungus in the lichen is quite different from its morphology as a separately growing individual.
Lichens occur in one of four basic growth forms, as illustrated below:
- crustose – crust-like, growing tight against the substrate.
- squamulose – tightly clustered and slightly flattened pebble-like units.
- foliose – leaflike, with flat sheets of tissue not tightly bound.
- fruticose – free-standing branching tubes.
Despite the wide diversity of the basic growth forms, all lichens have a similar internal morphology. The bulk of the lichen’s body is formed from filaments of the fungal partner, and the relative density of these filaments defines the layers within the lichen.
At its outer surface, where it comes in contact with the environment, the filaments are packed tightly together to form the cortex. The dense cortex serves to keep out other organisms, and helps to reduce the intensity of light which may damage the alga cells.
The algal partner cells are distributed just below the cortex in a layer where the fungal filaments are not so dense. This is very similar to the arrangement in a plant leaf, where the photosynthetic cells are loosely packed to allow air circulation.
Below the algal layer is the medulla, a loosely woven layer of fungal filaments. In foliose lichens, there is a second cortex below the medulla, but in crustose and squamulose lichens, the medulla is in direct contact with the underlying substrate, to which the lichen is attached.
Introduction to Lichens
Definition of myocardium: the middle muscular layer of the heart wall.
We studied the pharmacology of l-methamphetamine, the less abused isomer, when used as a nasal decongestant.
12 subjects self-administered l-methamphetamine from a nonprescription inhaler at the recommended dose (16 inhalations over 6 hours) then at 2 and 4 (32 and 64 inhalations) times this dose. In a separate session intravenous phenylephrine (200 μg) and l-methamphetamine (5 mg) were given to define alpha agonist pharmacology and bioavailability. Physiological, cardiovascular, pharmacokinetic, and subjective effects were measured.
Plasma l-methamphetamine levels were often below the level of quantification so bioavailability was estimated by comparing urinary excretion of the intravenous and inhaled doses, yielding delivered dose estimates of 74.0 ± 56.1, 124.7 ± 106.6, and 268.1 ± 220.5 μg for ascending exposures (mean 4.2 ± 3.3 μg/inhalation). Physiological changes were minimal and not dose-dependent. Small decreases in stroke volume and cardiac output suggesting mild cardio-depression were seen.
Inhaled l-methamphetamine delivered from a non-prescription product produced minimal effects but may be a cardio-depressant.
Our body is a garden and we have left it untended for far too long.
The longer I study systems and biology the more I realize that our body is an upright mobile garden. We are the dust of the earth that got up to roam about the land. The rest of our family supports our existence and they do it from the luxury of the soil we once knew. But we were and we remain nomads; and so we came together to create this body, this upright garden that would support our mobile existence while satisfying our frontier spirit.
We are legion. For we are many. For we are made of dust and we will be one again.
Deficiency of B vitamins and folic acid in maternal diet is another commonly associated cause of cleft lip and palate in the new born.
Parents who are older than usual at the time of birth of their baby are at higher risk of having children with cleft lip and or palate.
A viral infection during pregnancy may also be associated with cleft lip and palate. Mothers who are obese have a higher chance of their child being born with a cleft. ~Source
B group vitamins including folic acid supplementation during pregnancy have been shown to be effective in preventing cleft lip and palate (CLP) in humans. ~Source
Exposure to benzodiazepines during pregnancy has been associated with a slightly increased risk of cleft palate in newborns. ~Source
Nicotinic Acid or Niacin is converted to NAM, which has benzodiazepine-like actions in the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) system. ~Source
Therefore…Benzodiazapine’s cause a B vitamin complex deficiency.
Summary: The 45-year-old male patient described in this case report had a classic case of pellagra. The patient was initially brought to a psychiatric hospital because of disorderly behavior. On admission the patient was unable to provide a history so he was given a provisional diagnosis of Psychosis Not Otherwise Specified. Despite having the cardinal symptoms of dermatitis, dementia and (three days after admission) diarrhea it took 20 days to confirm the diagnosis of pellagra. After initiation of appropriate treatment it took about six months for the patient to make a complete recovery.
Case Report – Status on admission.
A 45-year-old male was admitted in April 2011 after being found lying naked in the street talking to himself and cursing passers-by. He was unable to provide his name or home address so no information was available on his history.
On admission his vital signs were normal (temperature 36.5 °C; pulse, 80 bpm; respiratory rate, 20 times/minute; and blood pressure, 125/80 mmHg) and he had normal muscle strength and reflexes. There were no abnormalities in electrolytes, blood counts, blood glucose, lipid profile, or liver or kidney function tests. Urine and stool tests were normal. EKG, EEG and ultrasound of the liver, kidneys, pancreas and spleen found no abnormalities. The sole abnormality on physical examination was that the skin around his eyes and forehead were dark brown to black and his hands and forearms were covered with flaking skin.
Mental status examination on admission found that the patient was conscious but unable to answer questions correctly. He covered his head with a quilt during the examination for no obvious reason. He laughed to himself, manifested inappropriate emotions and appeared to lack insight into his condition. He had difficulty concentrating, had slowed reactions, and got a score of 20 on the Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE)—indicating moderate cognitive impairment.
“To be, or not to be, that is the question.” These words of Shakespeare can be applied to subclinical pellagra. Is it a disease? Is it a syndrome? Is it a deficiency? Is it an allergy? Questions like these are frequently asked by the public, the patient, and doctors too. I believe subclinical pellagra is part of the continuum of mental ill health. It starts with complaints of a minor nature, maybe some behavioral disturbances, and may extend on to the frank psychoses. It is a sounder diagnosis than adolescent behavior syndrome, minimal brain damage, and the like.
Definition: Subclinical pellagra is a syndrome characterized by perceptual changes involving all senses, special and/or proprioceptive. There is also an unusual sensitivity to refined carbohydrates. This combination leads to a variety of symptoms which blanket the field of medical complaints. The administration of niacin causes prompt disappearance of special sense dysfunctions, while proprioceptive sense changes are more slowly corrected with dietary and other measures.
The follow-up of an important number of patients during the last three decades has shown a substantial difference between the clinical description of pellagra in the 40’s (the triad: dermatitis, diarrhea, dementia) and its clinical aspects today: sun-exposed teguments revealing erythema and rapidly becoming pigmented and parchment like, dried, parched lips, angular stomatitis, lead like sclera fine cornea vascularization; gastro-intestinal disturbances: constipation, unjustified diarrhea, strange migratory abdominal feelings accompanied by ubiquitous dysesthesias.
Other characteristics of this form of disease are: unexpressive look, continuously concerned, thoughtful, anxious or frowning, labile mind, headaches, insomnia. Villager’s neurosis sometimes may be considered, in an appropriate clinical context, as a facet of nutritional deficiency. It is considered that the “classical” features of pellagra have changed due to: protein ingestion slightly below the lowest normal limit, decrease of strenuous physical activity and some associated diseases (frequently gastrointestinal disorders, chronic alcoholism).
Biofilm Related Disease – Biofilm formation represents a protected mode of growth that renders bacterial cells less susceptible to antimicrobials and to killing by host immune effector mechanisms and so enables the pathogens to survive in hostile environments and also to disperse and colonize new niches.
Biofilms: A microbial home – This essay provides a detailed insight into the properties and mechanisms of the development of abnormal condition, detection and removal of these microbial biofilms.
The pH of the Skin Surface and Its Impact on the Barrier Function – The ‘acid mantle’ of the stratum corneum seems to be important for both permeability barrier formation and cutaneous antimicrobial defense. The pH of the skin follows a sharp gradient across the stratum corneum, which is suspected to be important in controlling enzymatic activities and skin renewal. The skin pH is affected by a great number of endogenous factors, e.g. skin moisture, sweat, sebum, anatomic site, genetic predisposition and age.
Temperature and pH Affect the Production of Bacterial Biofilm – The human vagina has an average temperature of about 37.5 °C (99.5 °F) and a healthy pH range of between 3.8 and 4.5. A study looked at biofilm formation of a few different bacteria at 30°C and 37°C, and a pH of 5.5, 7.5 and 8.5.
Findings of the study
Bacterial strains studied were
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Vibrio cholerae
These bacteria are known to cause i) general infections in humans including skin and ear infections, ii) pneumonia, and iii) cholera. These bacteria are known to produce biofilms.
The impact of temperature on biofilm production
A decrease in biofilm production was observed at 37°C in eight of the tested strains, compared to production at 30°C. Biofilm production still existed at both temperatures. At normal human vaginal temperatures, biofilm activity exists.
Five of the strains tested had increased biofilm activity at 37°C compared to at 30°C.
The impact of pH on biofilm production
The increases in biofilm formation from a pH of 5.5 were sometimes up to 300 per cent. Increased pH (more alkaline) lead to higher biofilm production.
The results are clear – alkaline pH encourages biofilm formation.
Microscopic entities, microorganisms that drastically affect human health need to be thoroughly investigated. A biofilm is an architectural colony of microorganisms, within a matrix of extracellular polymeric substance that they produce. Biofilm contains microbial cells adherent to one-another and to a static surface (living or non-living). Bacterial biofilms are usually pathogenic in nature and can cause nosocomial infections. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed that among all microbial and chronic infections, 65% and 80%, respectively, are associated with biofilm formation.
The process of biofilm formation consists of many steps, starting with attachment to a living or non-living surface that will lead to formation of micro-colony, giving rise to three-dimensional structures and ending up, after maturation, with detachment. During formation of biofilm several species of bacteria communicate with one another, employing quorum sensing. In general, bacterial biofilms show resistance against human immune system, as well as against antibiotics. Health related concerns speak loud due to the biofilm potential to cause diseases, utilizing both device-related and non-device-related infections. In summary, the understanding of bacterial biofilm is important to manage and/or to eradicate biofilm-related diseases.