Daily Archives: March 5, 2015

Kelly PNAS “Human-Caused Climate Change Leads to War in Syria” Study Not Significant

Even if we assume the analysis of “climate change” and the war in Syria presented by Kelly et al (here), the authors claim the upward trend is “marginally significant (P < 0.14)”. Quite to the contrary, a 1 in 7 probability that chance produced the results does not rise to the level of statistical credibility. In short, the analysis presented does not support the claims being made. The study authors should have known better.

Further, it is impossible for climate and changes in climate to not have at least some role (major or minor) in armed conflicts worldwide.


Ethics, Morality, and Conflicting Interests

This paper caught my eye. It sounds very noble. But government funding can result in very much the same abuse.

Baur X, Budnik LT, Ruff K, Egilman DS, Lemen RA, Soskolne CL. Ethics, morality, and conflicting interests: how questionable professional integrity in some scientists supports global corporate influence in public health. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. 2015 Mar 2.

Clinical and public health research, education, and medical practice are vulnerable to influence by corporate interests driven by the for-profit motive. Developments over the last 10 years have shown that transparency and self-reporting of corporate ties do not always mitigate bias. In this article, we provide examples of how sound scientific reasoning and evidence-gathering are undermined through compromised scientific enquiry resulting in misleading science, decision-making, and policy intervention. Various medical disciplines provide reference literature essential for informing public, environmental, and occupational health policy. Published literature impacts clinical and laboratory methods, the validity of respective clinical guidelines, and the development and implementation of public health regulations. Said literature is also used in expert testimony related to resolving tort actions on work-related illnesses and environmental risks. We call for increased sensitivity, full transparency, and the implementation of effective ethical and professional praxis rules at all relevant regulatory levels to rout out inappropriate corporate influence in science. This is needed because influencing the integrity of scientists who engage in such activities cannot be depended upon.

Click here for paper (fee).

Effect of Sodium Fluoride on Human Cells

He H, Wang H, Jiao Y, Ma C, Zhang H, Zhou Z. Effect of Sodium Fluoride on the Proliferation and Gene Differential Expression in Human RPMI8226 Cells. Biological Trace Element Research. 2015 Mar 1.

Although fluoride is known to reduce the incidence of caries, chronic excessive fluoride exposure can impair human health, even resulting in fluorosis. Now the underlying mechanisms of fluoride-induced toxicity are not fully understood. So, we conducted this study with the purpose of investigating the effect of sodium fluoride (NaF) in human RPMI8226 cells. In this experiment, human RPMI8226 cells were cultured with varied doses of fluoride (10, 20, 40, 80, 160, 320 μM). After 48 h exposure, the change of cell viability was examined by CCK-8 assay, and also the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of relevant genes was assessed by QRT-PCR. Compared to the control group, fluoride exposure increased the human RPMI8226 cells viability at relatively lower levels (10-160 μM); however, when the concentration reached to 320 μM, the cell proliferation was significantly inhibited (p < 0.05). In addition, the genes mRNA expression, including ANKRD1, CRSP6, KLF2, SBNO2, ZNF649, FANCM, PDGFA, RNF152, CDK10, and CETN2 changed in a concentration-dependent manner and increased with fluoride exposure concentration. The results suggest that overexposure to fluoride (160-320 μM) can induce cytotoxicity and regulate relevant genes expression. Our findings provide novel insights into the mechanisms of action of fluoride-induced toxicity.

Click here for article (fee).

Glyphosate Use and Loss in a Residential Area

Tang T, Boënne W, Desmet N, Seuntjens P, Bronders J, van Griensven A. Quantification and characterization of glyphosate use and loss in a residential area. The Science of the total environment. 2015 Feb 26;517C:207-214. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.02.040.

Urban runoff can be a significant source of pesticides in urban streams. However, quantification of this source has been difficult because pesticide use by urban residents (e.g., on pavements or in gardens) is often unknown, particularly at the scale of a residential catchment. Proper quantification and characterization of pesticide loss via urban runoff require sound information on the use and occurrence of pesticides at hydrologically-relevant spatial scales, involving various hydrological conditions. We conducted a monitoring study in a residential area (9.5ha, Flanders, Belgium) to investigate the use and loss of a widely-used herbicide (glyphosate) and its major degradation product (aminomethylphosphonic acid, AMPA). The study covered 13 rainfall events over 67days. Overall, less than 0.5% of glyphosate applied was recovered from the storm drain outflow in the catchment. Maximum detected concentrations were 6.1μg/L and 5.8μg/L for glyphosate and AMPA, respectively, both of which are below the predicted no-effect concentration for surface water proposed by the Flemish environmental agency (10μg/L), but are above the EU drinking water standard (0.1μg/L). The measured concentrations and percentage loss rates can be attributed partially to the strong sorption capacity of glyphosate and low runoff potential in the study area. However, glyphosate loss varied considerably among rainfall events and event load of glyphosate mass was mainly controlled by rainfall amount, according to further statistical analyses. To obtain urban pesticide management insights, robust tools are required to investigate the loss and occurrence of pesticides influenced by various factors, particularly the hydrological and spatial factors.

Click here for paper (fee).


Effect of Transmembrane Pressure on Ultrafiltration Virus Rejection

Elizabeth Arkhangelsky, Vitaly Gitis. Effect of transmembrane pressure on rejection of viruses by ultrafiltration membranes. Separation and Purification Technology Volume 62, Issue 3, 22 September 2008, Pages 619–628

Although partial penetration of ultrafiltration membranes by viruses and bacteria is well documented, there is no satisfactory explanation for the phenomenon. The current study seeks a possible explanation by studying the retention of viruses at different transmembrane pressures (TMPs). In contrast to previous predictions, higher TMPs lead to reduced virus retention levels. Based on indirect evidences it is proposed that the penetration occurs because of the formation during operation, rather than the initial presence, of abnormally large pores. It is therefore suggested that since pore enlargement is induced by high TMPs, high virus retention levels can be obtained only at low TMP values.

The paper is here (fee).