Treating hidden causes of disease results in miraculous healing.

Holistic practitioners understand that healing from diseases can occur when hidden causes are identified and treated. Top hidden causes of illness include heavy metals, hidden dental infections, food sensitivities and infectious agents such as parasites.

hidden causes

Heavy metal poisoning is widespread

Primary sources of the toxic heavy metals mercury and aluminum include vaccines, dental fillings, cookware, cosmetics and food. These metals are associated with autism, autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer and mental illness.

A urine chelation challenge test can accurately diagnose dangerous levels of heavy metals. Initial screening for heavy metals can be done with hair analysis testing. The prescription drug DMSA is commonly used to remove heavy metals, either in drug or IV form. This drug can be combined with homeopathic and herbal treatments. Practitioners also treat heavy metals with herbal treatments, juicing and other dietary approaches.

Dental infections, including root canals and cavitations, are linked with illness

Hidden dental infections have been linked to mental illness, cancer, heart disease and autoimmune disorders.

Because root canals do not provide a complete sealant, anaerobic bacteria are allowed to travel throughout one’s body, wreaking havoc. If one’s immune system weakens, these bacteria can be the tipping point to serious illness. To learn more about the dangers of modern dentistry, see

Another less commonly understood source of hidden dental infections are cavitations. Cavitations are infections that occur in the jaw bone with no obvious outward signs or symptoms. Cavitations typically occur at the site of molar extractions if the bone does not heal completely. They can also occur with no extraction of teeth. Healing occurs when a qualified oral surgeon or holistic dentist goes in and cleans out the area. Testing of the site by swabbing and sending to a lab will confirm the presence of multiple bacteria and the infection. Holistic dentists and alternative physicians can test for cavitations.

Food sensitivities are widespread

Gluten, dairy, egg and peanut allergies have become commonplace. One explanation for dairy sensitivities is the denaturing of milk and dairy food products. The pasteurization of dairy destroys enzymes needed for digestion. Studies show that 90 percent of individuals unable to digest pasteurized milk are able to drink real raw milk which contains the lactase enzyme intact.

One way of testing for food sensitivities is to remove common allergens for several weeks to see if symptoms improve. IgG blood sensitivity tests are another assessment tool. Specialized gluten sensitivity tests are also available.

Once food sensitivities are identified, removing these foods from one’s diet for several months or permanently can enhance healing from illness.

Standard stool testing misses majority of hidden parasites

Parasites are a more common source of hidden disease than the medical community and the average person realizes. Parasites are believed to be common in third world countries, but in reality hidden parasites are present everywhere. They can be spread easily through foods, pets and the air. Stool testing can diagnose some parasites but misses the majority of those which hide in every organ in the body including the liver, lungs and brain. If parasites are suspected, holistic physicians treat them with prescription medications and herbal treatments.


There are several hidden causes of disease, all of which are generally ignored by conventionally trained physicians. If one’s symptoms are not improving with the use of allopathic medicine, it is worthwhile to explore hidden causes with a holistically trained practitioner. Sources for alternative practitioners can be found here: and

Sources for this article include:


Melatonin could help prevent growth of breast cancer tumors.

New research from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit suggests that breast cancer rates may be increasing due to lack of melatonin production in today’s sleep deprived, light stimulated generation.

Melatonin, produced in the brain’s pineal gland, is a hormone that plays a harmonic role in the body, modulating sleep patterns, circadian rhythms, and seasonal functions. Melatonin production is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. With all the gadgets, screens, and lights flashing in the eyes of people today, melatonin production can be restricted. Furthermore, the pineal gland is being calcified by environmental toxins like waste fluoride, which is intentionally added to many of today’s water sources.


Known as the third eye, the pineal gland is about the size of a grain of rice and is located in the epithalamus, tucked in a groove between the two hemispheres near the center of the brain. As an endocrine gland, the third eye is responsible for producing melatonin. This process is easily obstructed today, since the pineal gland is becoming more calcified and hardened by fluoride. Televisions, handheld devices, and computer screens keep a steady flow of artificial light going into many people’s eyes, keeping melatonin production down. A long list of pharmaceutical anti depressants, beta blockers, and blood pressure meds also bring down melatonin levels.

Research shows the importance for people to open their third eye

According to researchers from Detroit, melatonin production could help prevent the growth of breast cancer tumors, highlighting the importance of having a healthy, well functioning pineal gland.
Published online in the jounral PloS One, the study finds that melatonin can stop tumor growth and is capable of blocking the formation of new blood vessels in ER-negative breast cancer models.

Co-author Adarsh Shankar was astounded by the study, “These early stage research results with the melatonin drug in a triple-negative breast cancer animal models achieved in our lab has not been seen anywhere else. He continues, “The key finding of the study is that we now know that we can trace this drug and its effect on tumor growth, which opens the door for more research on this topic.”

This research may lead us to discover that constant light stimulation from computers and handheld devices keep the brain from producing melatonin – in turn, increasing the risk of certain cancers.

Individuals wanting to open their third eye will seek to shift away from light emitting devices, allowing melatonin production to return in them while they also find ways to detoxify their pineal gland. This will definitely include filtration of fluoride from drinking water.

Melatonin production inhibits breast cancer growth, study

The Detroit researchers put melatonin to the test against ER-negative breast cancer in vitro and evaluated the hormone’s effect on angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels.

For 21 nights melatonin was administered to a group of mice implanted with human breast cancer cells. The pharmacological melatonin was delivered one hour before dark as the tissues are more sensitive to the hormone’s effects at this time.

Using single photon emission computed tomography, the researchers evaluated the size of the human breast cancer tissue in the mice each week. The analysis was completed after twenty one nights.

The melatonin treated mice didn’t lose any weight and showed excessive energy and movement, with no signs of irritability or aggressive behavior, compared to the control group.

In the control group, given no melatonin, tumor volume increased significantly as the formation of new blood vessels grew the cancer. The melatonin group showed no angiogenesis.

In human cell models the results were replicated, showing that melatonin can reduce ER-negative breast cancer cell viability in vitro.

Antidepressants lower the level of melatonin the body, destroying a person’s sleep pattern, circadian rhythm, and cancer prevention

One of the side effects of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors is that these drugs can cause low levels of melatonin in humans. In fact, melatonin fights antidepressants. Studies show that melatonin conflicts with antidepressants desipramine and fluoxetine (Prozac), showing how these drugs wrack the human circadian rhythm, sleep pattern, and natural healing balance. Even beta blockers and blood pressure medications like methoxamine (Vasoxyl) and clonidine (Catopres) conflict with melatonin. These following calcium blocking pharmaceuticals have been found to hurt the pineal gland’s natural production of melatonin as well: Nifedipine (Procardia),Amlodipine (Norvasc), Verapamil (Calan, Isoptin), Diltiazem (Cardizem), Felodipine (Plendil), Nisoldipine (Sular), Bepridil (Vascor).

This research shows the importance of the pineal gland, the production of melatonin, clean un-fluoridated drinking water, and independence from screens, antidepressants, and other melatonin blocking drugs.

Sources for this article include

MIT Team Develops Urine Test for Cancer.

  • Scientists at MIT say they have developed a simple, cheap paper test that could be used to improve cancerdiagnosis rates and help people get treated earlier. The diagnostic, which works much like a pregnancy test, reportedly could reveal within minutes, based on a urine sample, whether a person has cancer. This approach has helped detect infectious diseases, and the new technology allows noncommunicable diseases to be detected using the same strategy.

    MIT Team Develops Urine Test for Cancer

    The technique, developed by MIT professor and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator Sangeeta Bhatia, Ph.D., relies on nanoparticles that interact with tumor proteases, each of which can trigger release of hundreds of biomarkers that are then detectable in a patient’s urine.

    “When we invented this new class of synthetic biomarker, we used a highly specialized instrument to do the analysis,” said Dr. Bhatia. “For the developing world, we thought it would be exciting to adapt it instead to a paper test that could be performed on unprocessed samples in a rural setting, without the need for any specialized equipment. The simple readout could even be transmitted to a remote caregiver by a picture on a mobile phone.”

    Dr. Bhatia, who is also a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, is the senior author of a paper (“Point-of-care diagnostics for noncommunicable diseases using synthetic urinary biomarkers and paper microfluidics”) describing the particles in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    In 2012, Dr. Bhatia and colleagues introduced the concept of a synthetic biomarker technology to amplify signals from tumor proteins that would be hard to detect on their own. These proteins, known as matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), help cancer cells escape their original locations by cutting through proteins of the extracellular matrix, which normally holds cells in place.

    The MIT nanoparticles are coated with peptides targeted by different MMPs. These particles congregate at tumor sites, where MMPs cleave hundreds of peptides, which accumulate in the kidneys and are excreted in the urine.

    In the original version of the technology, these peptides were detected using a mass spectrometer. However, these instruments are not readily available in the developing world, so the researchers adapted the particles so they could be analyzed on paper, using a lateral flow assay.

    “We describe the design of exogenous agents that serve as synthetic biomarkers for NCDs [noncommunicable diseases] by producing urinary signals that can be quantified by a companion paper test. These synthetic biomarkers are composed of nanoparticles conjugated to ligand-encoded reporters via protease-sensitive peptide substrates,” wrote the investigators. “Upon delivery, the nanoparticles passively target diseased sites…where up-regulated proteases cleave the peptide substrates and release reporters that are cleared into urine. The reporters are engineered for detection by sandwich immunoassays, and we demonstrate their quantification directly from unmodified urine.”

    In tests in mice, the researchers were able to accurately identify colon tumors as well as blood clots. Dr. Bhatia says these tests represent the first step toward a diagnostic device that could someday be useful in human patients.

Soon, free global Wi-Fi service from outer space?

A US company is planning to build an ‘Outernet’ — a global network of cube satellites broadcasting internet data to all the people on the planet — for free. The idea is to offer free internet access to all people, regardless of location, bypassing filtering or other means of censorship, according to the New York based non-profit organization , Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF).

MDIF proposes that hundreds of cube satellites be built and launched to create a constellation of sorts in the sky, allowing anyone with a phone or computer to access Internet data sent to the satellites by several hundred ground stations.

The organization claims that 40% of the people in the world today are still not able to connect to the internet — and it’s not just because of restrictive governments such as North Korea — it’s also due to the high cost of bringing service to remote areas, ‘’ reported.

An Outernet would allow people from Siberia to parts of the western US to remote islands or villages in Africa to receive the same news as those in New York or Tokyo.

The Outernet would be one-way — data would flow from feeders to the satellites which would broadcast to all below. MDIF plans to add the ability to transmit from anywhere as well as soon as funds become available.

MDIF has acknowledged that building such a network would not be cheap. Such satellites typically run $100,000 to $300,000 to build and launch. The timeline for the project calls for deploying the initial cubesats as early as next summer.

New record set for data-transfer speeds.

Researchers at IBM have set a new record for data transmission over a multimode optical fiber, a type of cable that is typically used to connect nearby computers within a single building or on a campus. The achievement demonstrated that the standard, existing technology for sending data over short distances should be able to meet the growing needs of servers, data centers and supercomputers through the end of this decade, the researchers said. Sending data at a rate of 64 gigabits per second (Gb/s) over a cable 57 meters long using a type of laser called a vertical-cavity surface-emitting laser (VCSEL), the researchers achieved a rate that was about 14 percent faster than the previous record and about 2.5 times faster than the capabilities of today’s typical commercial technology.

To send the data, the researchers used standard non-return-to-zero (NRZ) modulation. “Others have thought that this modulation wouldn’t allow for transfer rates much faster than 32 Gb/s,” said researcher Dan Kuchta of the IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York. Many researchers thought that achieving higher transmission rates would require turning to more complex types of modulation, such as pulse-amplitude modulation-4 (PAM-4).

“What we’re showing is that that’s not the case at all,” Kuchta said. Because he and his colleagues achieved fast speeds even with NRZ modulation, he added, “this technology has at least one or two more generations of product life in it.”

Kuchta will describe these results at the 2014 OFC Conference and Exposition being held March 9-13 in San Francisco.

To achieve such high speeds, the researchers used the VCSEL lasers developed at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and custom silicon-germanium chips developed at IBM Research. “The receiver chip is a unique design that simultaneously achieves speeds and sensitivities well beyond today’s commercial offerings,” Kuchta explained. “The driver chip incorporates transmit equalization, which widens the bandwidth of the optical link. While this method has been widely used in electrical communication, it hasn’t yet caught on in optical communication,” he said.

“Researchers typically rely on a rule of thumb that says the usable data-transfer rate is about 1.7 times the bandwidth,” Kuchta explained. “That means that with the VCSEL laser, which has a bandwidth of about 26 GHz, the rate would be only about 44 Gb/s.”

“What we’re doing with equalization is we’re breaking the historical rule of thumb,” Kuchta said.

The fast speeds only worked for a distance of 57 meters, so this technology isn’t designed for sending data across continents. Instead, it’s most suitable for transmitting data within a building, he said. About 80 percent of the cables at and most, if not all, of the cables used for typical supercomputers are less than 50 meters long.

Sun Erupts with Huge X-Class Flare, Biggest of 2014.

Solar maximum may be starting to wane, but the sun has no intention on slipping into the stellar doldrums quietly. At 7:50 p.m. EST on Monday (00:50 UTC, Feb. 25), a sunspot emerging from the southeastern limb of our nearest star unleashed its magnetic fury, exploding with an X5-class flare.

X-class solar flares are the most powerful classification of flare and, if pointing toward Earth, can cause radiation storms and impact our planet’s upper atmosphere, interfering with satellites and global communications. In this case, however, the flare erupted perpendicular to the direction of Earth, so its impact will be minimal. But it did give space observatories quite a fireworks display.

In the sequence of images above from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, the fairly quiescent sun suddenly erupts with a flash, leaving a magnetic tangle in its wake. The loops of magnetism and superheated plasma extend from the solar surface reaching high into the multimillion degree solar atmosphere (known as the corona). It is this region where space weather is spawned, generating rapid flows of charged particles (known as the solar wind), crackling with solar flares and sometimes blasting coronal mass ejections (CMEs) into interplanetary space.

Monday’s flare is the most powerful flare of 2014 and was generated by active region (AR) 1990. Interestingly, the same active region has been responsible for considerable activity during previous rotations across the surface of the sun and this third time, as noted by Tony Phillips at, is showing promise for an uptick in flaring activity.

Although this latest X-class flare is impressive, it still occurred during a solar cycle that has been very lackluster. Solar cycles occur approximately every 11 years and reach a peak in magnetic activity during solar maximum. The amount of activity is measured by the number of sunspots that can be observed on the solar disk. Sun spots are caused by magnetic field lines erupting through the solar photosphere (the solar ‘surface’) — therefore, the greater the magnetic activity, the higher the number of sunspots.

Recent activity on the sun has prompted space weather forecasters to predict that the sun may see an increase in activity through 2014, creating a “double peak” solar maximum. But even if this does happen, the current cycle (Solar Cycle 24) is the weakest humanity has observed since Solar Cycle 14, which had a maximum sunspot count of 64.2 in February 1906. The sunspot maximum (so far) occurred last summer, hitting a peak of 67.

The underlying reasons behind the variability in activity of our sun are still not fully understood, proving that even our nearest star can be a mystery.

System that automatically fills the gaps in programmers’ code improved.

Since he was a graduate student, Armando Solar-Lezama, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, has been working on a programming language called Sketch, which allows programmers to simply omit some of the computational details of their code. Sketch then automatically fills in the gaps.

If it’s fleshed out and made more user-friendly, Sketch could ultimately make life easier for software developers. But in the meantime, it’s proving its worth as the basis for other tools that exploit the mechanics of “program synthesis,” or automatic program generation. Recent projects at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory that have built on Sketch include a system for automatically grading programming assignments for classes, a system that converts hand-drawn diagrams into code, and a system that produces SQL database queries from code written in Java.

At this year’s Verification, Model Checking, and Abstract Interpretation Conference, Solar-Lezama and a group of his students—grad students Rohit Singh, Rishabh Singh, and Zhilei Zu, along with MIT senior Rebecca Krosnick—described a new elaboration on Sketch that, in many cases, enables it to handle complex synthesis tasks much more efficiently. The researchers tested the new version of Sketch on several existing applications, including the automated grading system. In cases where the previous version would “time out,” or take so long to reach a solution that it simply gave up, the new version was able to correct students’ code in milliseconds.

Sketch treats program synthesis as a search problem. The idea is to evaluate a huge range of possible variations on the same basic program and find one that meets criteria specified by the programmer. If the program being evaluated is too complex, the search space balloons to a prohibitively large size. In their new paper, the researchers find a way to shrink that search space.

Chain of command

“When you’re trying to synthesize a larger piece of code, you’re relying on other functions, other subparts of the code,” Rishabh Singh explains. “If it just so happens that your system only depends on certain properties of the subparts, you should be able to express that somehow in a high-level language. Once you are able to specify that only certain properties are required, then you are able to successfully synthesize the larger code.”

For instance, Singh explains, suppose that one of the subparts of the code is a routine for finding the square root of a number, and a higher-level function relies on the results of that computation. If the previous version of Sketch were trying to evaluate variations of the high-level function, for each variation, it would also have to evaluate variations of the square-root function. Since finding square roots is a complex process, that would make the search prohibitively time-consuming.

With the new version of Sketch, however, the programmer can simply specify conditions that the square-root function has to meet: The output multiplied by itself must equal the input. Now, Sketch can satisfy itself that the square-root function it comes up with meets that criterion and move on to the higher-level function. It doesn’t need to re-evaluate the square-root function at every pass.

In fact, this places a slightly greater onus on the programmer, who now has to reason about the criteria that each low-level function must meet. But it allows Sketch to handle much more complicated problems.

Immediate prospects

Solar-Lezama concedes that it will take a good deal of work before Sketch is useful to commercial . “The application as a tool-building infrastructure, using it to build higher-level systems on top of it, we’ve demonstrated very convincingly by building a variety of systems that do things that couldn’t be done before,” he says.

He has, however, conducted usability studies with Sketch, recruiting MIT undergraduates with only a semester’s worth of programming experience to test it. In all cases, he says, the students successfully used Sketch to produce working code. But in many cases, the missing code took an unacceptably long time to synthesize, because of the way the students had described the problem.

“It still requires a level of expertise and understanding about the underlying technology in order for it not to blow up,” Solar-Lezama says. “As far as the more ambitious goal of everybody dumping C and using Sketch instead, we’d still have to push quite a bit.”

As Rajeev Alur, a professor in the Department of Computer and Information Science at the University of Pennsylvania, explains, the new paper draws on principles from the field of “formal verification,” which, Alur says, investigates methods for “checking the correctness of programs using automated reasoning.”

“In verification, people have always used modular reasoning as a technique to make it scale to more interesting systems,” Alur says. “What this paper does is take some of those ideas and meshes them nicely with the synthesis routines they have in Sketch.”

Alur acknowledges that “having a general software developer use [Sketch], maybe that’s not realistic in the foreseeable time.” But, he says, “even now it could be used in very specific, specialized tasks. If you’re trying to optimize some piece of code for some reason, instead of doing all that fine-tuning of the manually, now a system like Sketch could do it.”

Low Vitamin C Linked to Intracerebral Hemorrhage.

A new study finds a link between vitamin C depletion and increased risk for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).

In a case–control study, researchers found vitamin C depletion was more common among ICH cases than matched controls.

“This original study suggests that a low plasma vitamin C concentration is a risk for spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhages,” lead researcher Stephane Vannier, MD, a neurologist at Pontchaillou University Hospital, Rennes, France, told Medscape Medical News.

“This link is probably associated with the role of vitamin C in blood pressure regulation and collagen biosynthesis,” although other factors may also play a role, said Dr. Vannier.

These findings, he added, provide the rationale for clinical trials to test the efficacy of vitamin C supplementation in preventing hemorrhagic stroke and minimizing infectious or cutaneous complications in those sustaining an ICH.

The study will be released at the upcoming 66th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Risk Factors for ICH

The prospective case–control study included 135 participants, whose mean plasma vitamin C concentration was 45.8 µmol/L. Of these participants, 41% had a normal vitamin C status (more than 38 µmol/L), 45% showed some depletion (11 to 38 µmol/L), and 14% were deficient (less than 11 µmol/L).

The vitamin C concentration was significantly lower in the 65 participants who had experienced a spontaneous ICH than in the 65 healthy controls, said Dr. Vannier. However, he and his research colleagues have not yet calculated an odds risk.

The study found that strong risk factors for deep ICH were hypertension ( P = .008), alcohol consumption ( P = .023), and being overweight ( P = .038). The researchers also noted that patients with a lobar ICH were significantly older than those with a deep ICH.

As well as increasing the risk for infection by altering the immune response, vitamin C deficiency has many other health implications. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an effective antioxidant and might counter the oxidative stress that plays a role in the etiology of high blood pressure. Dr. Vannier noted that most hypertensive patients in the study were vitamin C depleted.

Not getting enough vitamin C may increase risks for atherosclerosis and heart disease, as well as hypertension.

“Vitamin C decreases blood pressure, which may partly explain the association between fruit and vegetable intake and mortality from stroke,” said Dr. Vanier. “Moreover, ascorbic acid contributes to collagen biosynthesis and regulation, including that of basal membrane vessel type IV collagen. Depletion is responsible for unstable and dysfunctional collagen with loss of organ support properties, which may lead to hemorrhages.”

Boosting Vitamin C Intake

The study authors made several other important observations. For example, length of stay in the neurology care unit was significantly shorter (9.8 days) for patients with normal vitamin C status than for those with vitamin C depletion (18.2 days).

The longer hospital stay may be the result of complication-related infections in patients with a vitamin C deficiency, said Dr. Vannier. Or, those with vitamin C depletion may be dealing with skin disorders, such as ulcerations, pressure ulcers, and delayed healing of existing lesions.

“Larger studies are needed to explore these relationships and hypotheses, but it seems that we should be treating vitamin C deficiency with ascorbic acid supplementation and increased fruit and vegetable intake to limit infectious and cutaneous complications,” said Dr. Vannier.

Environmental factors are probably also involved in the relationship between vitamin C deficiency and ICH, but more studies are needed in this area, too, said Dr. Vannier.

Experts recommend 120 mg of vitamin C daily, according to Dr. Vannier. Although a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables should provide adequate levels, patients might try boosting their intake of foods rich in the vitamin, such as raw peppers (any kind), which contain about 200 mg/100 g; fresh orange juice, which has about 60 mg per 100 g; black currants; or parsley.

At this point, experts don’t recommend vitamin C supplementation if there is no deficiency, said Dr. Vannier.

The vitamin C–ICH connection is not far-fetched, the researchers note. Hemorrhagic syndrome and occasionally ICH were among the clinical manifestations of scurvy, a devastating disease of vitamin C deficiency that plagued sailors of bygone years who didn’t have access to fresh fruit and vegetables.

Researchers crack the genetic secret of mosquito resistance to DDT and ITNs

Researchers from LSTM have found that a single genetic mutation causes resistance to DDT and pyrethroids (an insecticide class used in mosquito nets). With the continuing rise of resistance the research, published in the journal Genome Biology, is key as scientists say that this knowledge could help improve malaria control strategies.

The researchers, led by Dr Charles Wondji, used a wide range of methods to narrow down how the resistance works, finding a single mutation in the GSTe2 gene, which makes insects break down DDT so it’s no longer toxic. They have also shown that this gene makes insects resistant to raising the concern that GSTe2 gene could protect mosquitoes against the major insecticides used in public health.

Mosquitoes (Anopheles funestus) are vectors of malaria, and most strategies for combating the spread of the disease focus on control of mosquito populations using insecticides. The spread of could hold back efforts to prevent the disease. The authors say that knowing how resistance works will help to develop tests, and stop these from spreading amongst mosquito populations.

Charles Wondji said: ‘We found a population of mosquitoes fully resistant to DDT (no mortality when they were treated with DDT) but also to pyrethroids. So we wanted to elucidate the molecular basis of that resistance in the population and design a field applicable diagnostic assay for its monitoring.’

They took mosquitoes from Pahou in Benin, which were resistant to DDT and pyrethroids, and mosquitoes from a laboratory fully susceptible strain and did a genome wide comparison study. They identified the GSTe2 gene as being upregulated – producing a lot of protein – in Benin mosquitoes.

They found that a single mutation (L119F) changed a non-resistant version of the GSTe2 gene to a DDT resistant version. They designed a DNA-based diagnostic test for this type of resistance (metabolic resistance) and confirmed that this mutation was found in mosquitoes from other areas of the world with DDT resistance but was completely absent in regions without. X-ray crystallography of the protein coded by the gene illustrated exactly how the mutation conferred resistance, by opening up the ‘active site’ where DDT molecules bind to the protein, so more can be broken down. This means that the mosquito can survive by breaking down the poison into non-toxic substances.

They also introduced the gene into fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and found they became resistant to DDT and pyrethroids compared to controls, confirming that just this single mutation is enough to make resistant to both DDT and permethrin.

Wondji says: ‘For the first time, we have been able to identify a molecular marker for metabolic resistance (the type of resistance most likely to lead to control failure) in a mosquito population and to design a DNA-based diagnostic assay. Such tools will allow control programs to detect and track resistance at an early stage in the field, which is an essential requirement to successfully tackle the growing problem of in vector control. This significant progress opens the door for us to do this with other forms of as well and in other vector species.’