7 reasons why sugarcane juice should be your go-to drink this summer season

If summer seems to bog you down already, here’s your fix of hydration to keep you cool and energised.

  Picture courtesy: nutritionistclinic.blogspot.in

When it comes to keeping cool in the sweltering heat, nothing can beat a quick taste bud pleasing drink like the sugarcane juice. In a world full of exquisite smoothies and lavish cocktails, all sugarcane juice requires is a pinch of salt and a dash of lime, and you’re good to go.

Having a big glass of fresh sugarcane juice is not just yummy but highly refreshing. This superfluid could up your health levels in a jiffy and leave you recharged in the hot weather like nobody’s business.

Here are 7 reasons for you to be sipping on this wonder drink.

  1. Treats Jaundice: Sugarcane juice is extremely helpful for a person suffering from the jaundice as it provides instant recovery by maintaining the glucose levels in the body.
  2. Beats dehydration: It is packed with a high concentration of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron, and manganese, thus acting as a perfect drink to replenish lost electrolytes and water in one’s body.
  3. Fights cancer: Sugarcane can also work like a deterrent to fatal diseases including cancer, especially prostate and breast cancer.
  4. Increases muscle power: Sugarcane juice provides natural glucose to the body necessary for maintaining the muscle power.
  5. Helpful for curing diabetes: If you thought sugarcane juice is a bad choice just because you are suffering from diabetes, then you might want to re-think. Sugarcane has glucose but also boasts of a low glycaemic index (GI) making it the ideal energy drink for diabetics. However, it must be consumed in moderation.
  6. Leaves you with an acne free and glowing skin: Alpha hydroxy acids (or AHAs) that are present in sugarcane juice work on exfoliation and removing dead skin cells, allowing your skin to grow a new and healthy layer. You may just drink the juice or even applying it directly to a pesky pimple for instant treatment.
  7. Treats anaemia: Also called, ‘ganne ka ras’, sugarcane juice is very useful for people suffering from anaemia as it has good amount of iron which further enhances the haemoglobin (Hb) levels in the body.

Gut bacteria regulate nerve fibre insulation

Research suggests that gut bacteria may directly affect brain structure and function, offering new ways to treat multiple sclerosis and psychiatric conditions

Scanning electron micrograph showing E. coli bacteria. Image by PHOTO QUEST LTD/Science Photo Library/Corbis
Scanning electron micrograph showing E. coli bacteria.

Far from being silent partners that merely help to digest food, the bacteria in your gut may also be exerting subtle influences on your thoughts, moods, and behaviour. And according to a new study from researchers at University College Cork, your gut microbes might affect the structure and function of the brain in a more direct way, by regulating myelination, the process by which nerve fibres are insulated so that they can conduct impulses properly.

The surprising new findings, published today in the journal Translational Psychiatry, provide what is perhaps the strongest evidence yet that gut bacteria can have a direct physical effect on the brain, and suggest that it may one day be possible to treat debilitating demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, and even psychiatric disorders, by altering the composition of the gut’s microbial menagerie in some way or another.

Gut microbe research has exploded in the past 10 years, and in that time, it has become increasingly clear that there is a two-way line of communication betweengut bacteria and the brain. The human gut microbiome seems to play important roles in health and disease, and alterations in its composition have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s Disease, although the links still remain somewhat tenuous.

John Cryan and Gerard Clarke of the APC Microbiome Institute are particularly interested in how gut bacteria might influence the brain structures involved in anxiety-like behaviours. Last year, they published evidence that germ-free mice, which are completely devoid of gut bacteria, exhibit altered gene expression in the amygdala, a small, almond-shaped brain structure that is critical regulating emotions and social behaviour. The animals were reared in highly sterile conditions, so that bacteria cannot colonise their guts after birth – as a result certain genes involved in neuronal function appear to more active in their brains compared to those of normal mice.

Following up on these earlier findings, Cryan and Clarke decided to systematically analyse how gut microbes might affect the activity of genes in other parts of the brain. In their latest study, which was led by Ph.D. student Alan Hoban, the researchers used RNA sequencing technology to examine gene expression in the prefrontal cortex, which plays a key role in executive functions such as planning and decision-making, and also in processing emotional information, by exercising‘top-down’ control over the amygdala and other sub-cortical brain structures.

Using the same approach taken in their previous study, the researchers compared gene expression levels in the germ-free mice to that seen in normal animals. They identified approximately 90 genes that are differentially expressed in the germ-free animals and, to their surprise, they found that a handful of them are well known to be involved in myelination, and appear to be far more active in the prefrontal cortex of germ-free mice compared to that of normal animals. Some of the genes they identified encode proteins that form structural components of myelin, while others play a regulatory role in myelin formation.

Intrigued by their results, the researchers went on to dissect the animals’ brains, and used an electron microscope to examine tissue from the prefrontal cortex closely. This revealed that the differences in gene expression were associated with observable anatomical differences, with nerve fibres in the prefrontal cortex of the germ-free animals having thicker myelin sheaths than those in the normal animals.

Importantly, the researchers found that these effects were far bigger in male mice than than in females, and that they could be partly reversed by introducing gut bacteria into the germ-free mice after they had been weaned.

Myelin is a fatty substance which wraps itself around nerve fibres, preventing leakage of electrical current and facilitating the conductance of nervous impulse. In the brain, it is produced by specialised glial cells called oligodendrocytes, each of which has a small number of branches that form a flat sheet of myelin and wrap around a short segment of an axon. Individual axonal fibres are therefore ensheathed by short segments of myelin from many different oligodendrocytes. When a nerve cell fires, its electrical impulses jump between the gaps in the myelin sheath, and this hastens their propagation along the length of the fibre.

The process of myelination, by which myelin is formed and laid down around axons, is crucial for development and maturation of the brain. Duringadolescence, the brain undergoes a protracted period of heightened neural plasticity, during which large numbers of synapses are eliminated in the prefrontal cortex, and a wave of myelination sweeps across this part of the brain. These processes refine the circuitry in the prefrontal cortex, and increase its connectivity to other brain regions. The increased plasticity make adolescents more susceptible to risky behaviour and mental health conditions such as schizophrenia, however.

Myelination is also critical for normal, everyday functioning of the brain. Myelin increases a nerve fibre’s conduction velocity by up to a hundred times, and so when it breaks down, the consequences can be devastating. In multiple sclerosis, for example, break down of myelin in the brain and spinal cord can lead to difficulty with vision and movement, and in severe cases to complete blindness and paralysis.

“We’ve unlocked a process that puts the brakes on myelin formation in the prefrontal cortex,” says Cryan, “and to our knowledge this is the first study showing a clear relationship between the microbiome and myelination in the brain.” The new findings could, therefore, eventually lead to novel treatments for multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, based on prebiotics, probiotics, or even fecal transplants, all of which could potentially be used to adjust the exact composition of microbes in the gut.

Why We Should No Longer Terminate Resuscitations after 20 minutes

Over the years, there have been many proposals about how long EMS should continue CPR and when to decide that further resuscitation is futile.

A National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP) position statement in 2000 proposed that “an adequate effort” of CPR was 20 minutes, based on limited data, and this number has persisted in many protocols throughout the country,although the number isn’t repeated in more recent NAEMSP positions.2,3

The American Heart Association (AHA) 2015 Guidelines discuss the limited data on how long to continue resuscitation, and ultimately choose not to make any recommendation because of such insufficient data.4 This leaves open the question, “How long should we continue CPR when pulses don’t return?”

Although the maximum tolerated duration of CPR may not be known precisely, there are evidence-based guidelines for identifying patients for whom extended resuscitation is futile. The most carefully researched BLS and ALS termination of resuscitation algorithms were based on analysis of a large number of resuscitations in multiple Canadian EMS systems.5,6

For BLS-only resuscitation, termination of resuscitation is recommended for patients who:

  1. Aren’t witnessed to arrest by EMS;
  2. Never received a rescue shock; and
  3. Never have return of pulses prior to commencing transport.5

In multiple EMS systems with 3.1% overall survival to hospital discharge, 3/776 patients (0.4%) who met all three criteria survived to hospital discharge with good functional status.5

For ALS resuscitations, termination of resuscitation is recommended for patients who:

  1. Aren’t witnessed to arrest by EMS;
  2. Aren’t witnessed to collapse by bystanders;
  3. Have no bystander CPR;
  4. Never receive a rescue shock; and
  5. Never have return of pulses prior to commencing transport.7

There were no survivors among patients who met all five criteria in a cohort of patients with 5.1% overall survival to discharge.7

When ALS and BLS termination of resuscitation rules aren’t met, expected survival may be higher than for the overall cohort.6 For example, in a series of patients with 5.4% overall survival, patients where the BLS rule was negative (at least one of the three criteria wasn’t met) survived at a rate of 11.9%.

Among patients where the ALS rule was negative (at least one of the five criteria wasn’t met), survival was 7.9%. Therefore, it’s reasonable to continue CPR efforts in patients who don’t meet these rules.

Recent studies examined how total duration of resuscitation was related to the odds of favorable functional recovery. In a series of 1,014 patients in Pittsburgh who had an overall 11% survival to hospital discharge, 90% of the patients with good functional status (modified Rankin score 0–3) at hospital discharge had return of pulses within 16 minutes of the paramedics initiating CPR.8

Similarly, 90% of the patients with poor functional status at hospital discharge had return of pulses within 24 minutes of starting CPR. These data suggest that 90% of patients with good functional recovery have return of pulses with professional CPR < 20 minutes, but also imply that there are survivors with longer CPR durations.8

Supporting this implication, a Korean database found that EDs that have an institutional policy to continue CPR for only 20 minutes had lower survival (2.1%) than hospitals who continued CPR for 20–30 minutes (5.2%) or > 30 minutes (5.6%).9

How can we recognize the 10% of patients where efforts > 20 minutes are worthwhile? In many of these cases, the patient is “coming and going.” For example, a patient has brief responses to rescue shocks, but rapid re-fibrillation, resulting in many brief periods of circulation with lots of brief periods of CPR in between.

When the total number of shocks gets into double digits, that patient is trying hard not to die. Other patients have occasional pulses after vasopressors but then rapidly deteriorate to pulseless electrical activity. These patients have severe cardiogenic shock or other shock that may require mechanical support while the cause is treated.

In both of these situations, there’s some minimal or interrupted spontaneous circulation during the cardiac arrest, potentially prolonging the tolerance to CPR.


Waveform capnography is one tool to recognize the patient with preserved circulation during CPR. Excretion of CO2 requires good blood flow to the lungs and continued metabolism by the patient.

High end-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2) ( > 20 mmHg) during CPR is a sign of life just like continued electrical activity in the ECG. It’s reasonable to continue resuscitative efforts longer in a patient who’s excreting CO2during CPR.

Conversely, the 2015 AHA Guidelines suggest that failure to achieve EtCO2 > 10 mmHg after 20 minutes of CPR may be used to support termination of CPR.10

Because measurement of CO2 may have technical glitches, the Guidelines caution that this number should be used in conjunction with other clinical considerations and ideally measured via endotracheal tube.

Taken together with the termination of resuscitation algorithms, these data suggest a clinical approach for deciding how long to continue CPR that’s based on clinical features and clinical response specific to the patient, not a set time interval. (See Figure 1.)

2015 AHA Guidelines approach to continuing or stopping CPR

The probability that CPR and drugs alone will restore pulses declines over 20–25 minutes of resuscitation, and it would be desirable to have an alternative plan for patients who still show signs of life.


There are at least two other potential destinations for the patient who’s tolerating long CPR: extracorporeal cardiopulmonary life support (ECLS) and emergency angiography with ongoing CPR.

Both of these destinations require an integrated system dedicated to providing advanced care and with premeditated plans and criteria for invoking these pathways.

However, systems that implemented these approaches have demonstrated that select patients can have reliable rates of good outcomes after very prolonged CPR.

ECLS consists of cannulating large arteries and veins in order to start cardiopulmonary bypass. This procedure requires surgical expertise, perfusionists and an intensive care unit experienced with the care of these patients.

Once ECLS is instituted—a 30–45 minute procedure—the cardiopulmonary bypass machine has completely replaced cardiac activity. The patient can have other procedures to reverse the cause of cardiac arrest: coronary angiography, pulmonary embolectomy or other treatments.

Although ECLS is performed in many parts of Asia, availability remains limited in the United States. However, the number of programs capable of performing ECLS will probably increase over the next decade.

Nevertheless, ECLS will only be appropriate for highly selected patients who are both strong (i.e., young) enough to tolerate the procedure and who have potentially reversible causes of cardiac arrest. When ECLS is used, good functional recovery has been reported for patients with total CPR durations of 60–75 minutes or even durations of 80 minutes.11,12

For patients suspected to have cardiac arrest from acute coronary occlusion, another approach is to perform coronary angiography with ongoing CPR. Cardiac arrest can be refractory because there’s ongoing cardiac ischemia.


Mechanical CPR devices are now available to perform chest compressions in the tight spaces under the fluoroscopy arm of the cardiac catheterization suite.

Several centers have reported successful opening of a blocked coronary artery during CPR, allowing the patient to recover cardiac activity and do well.13

Total durations of CPR in these series of patients ranged from 45–240 minutes. Like ECLS, this resource-intensive approach needs to be premeditated by an institution as a heroic pathway for selected patients who are most likely to benefit. Transport of selected patients requiring prolonged CPR for ECLS or for angiography during CPR is physically difficult. Although the Guidelines don’t recommend mechanical CPR as routine replacement for high-quality manual CPR, the Guidelines acknowledge that mechanical CPR can play an important role in settings where it’s hard to perform high-quality CPR, which would include the back of a moving ambulance or during performance of advanced procedures.14


There are some patients for whom prolonged CPR is futile. The termination of resuscitation algorithms usually can identify these patients with less than 20 minutes of CPR. When these rules aren’t met, 90% of patients who will respond to conventional CPR do so within 16–24 minutes.

When preserved excretion of CO2 on waveform capnography, persistent cardiac electrical activity, or other clinical signs suggest that CPR is generating good blood flow in an individual patient, prolonged resuscitation still may result in good outcomes.

Developing programs and systems to deliver mechanical cardiac support for medically eligible patients when conventional CPR fails can result in good outcomes even after 60–80 minutes of CPR.

2015 AHA Guidelines recommendations on mechanical CPR

Mechanical CPR devices are proving to be valuable during prolonged resuscitations and where transport in a moving ambulance is involved.

Brain scans of microcephalic babies suggest Zika disrupts development.

Brain scans of 23 Brazilian infants with the birth defect microcephaly showed widespread and severe abnormalities suggesting that Zika may invade fetal nerve cells and disrupt brain development.

The findings, published on Wednesday in a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine, are based on a large trove of computed tomography, or CT images, done in infants whose mothers are believed to have had Zika infections during pregnancy.

Therapist Rozely Fontoura holds Juan Pedro, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

The study included researchers from Brazil’s Northeastern state of Pernambuco, such as Dr. Ana van der Linden of the Instituto de Medicina Integral, who were among the first to sound the alarm about increasing cases of microcephaly in Brazil thought to be linked with Zika infections.

Microcephaly is a typically rare birth defect marked by unusually small head size, signaling a problem with brain development. Brazil is investigating thousands of cases of microcephaly and has confirmed more than 940 cases to be related to Zika infections in the mothers.

Scientists in the study ran several tests on the mothers to try to rule out other possible causes of microcephaly, including toxoplasmosis, cytomegalovirus, parovirus, HIV and rubella. All were all negative. All of the mothers had symptoms during their pregnancies – such as fever and rash – that were consistent with Zika infections. Testing on spinal fluid from seven of the infants was positive for Zika antibodies.

The researchers did CT scans when the babies were between three days and five months old. All showed signs of brain calcification, which is suggestive of brain inflammation. Many of the babies had other abnormalities, including brain swelling, disruptions in brain folds, underdeveloped brain structures and abnormalities in myelin, which forms protective sheaths on nerve fibers.

Researchers said the findings were consistent with a study published last month testing lab dishes full of nerve stem cells similar to those in the brains of human fetuses. They showed that the Zika virus was able to easily infect these cells, stunting their growth.

Researchers said evidence from the brain scans suggests the abnormalities occurred from a disruption of brain development, rather than a destruction of brain cells.

According to the World Health Organization, there is a strong scientific consensus that Zika can cause microcephaly, although conclusive proof may take months or years.

A huge space explosion showered Earth with radioactive fallout

Researchers have discovered radioactive debris from a series of massive supernova explosions at the bottom of Earth’s largest oceans, dating back to between 3.2 and 1.7 million years ago – relatively recently, in astronomical terms.

Supernovae are huge explosions that occur when stars run out of fuel and collapse in on themselves, blasting heavy elements and radioactive isotopes across space. And the newly discovered fallout left behind on Earth suggests that around 3 million years ago, a rapid series of explosions occurred, lighting up the sky and bombarding our planet with debris – and potentially changing the climate.

“We were very surprised that there was debris clearly spread across 1.5 million years,” said lead researcher Anton Wallner from the Australian National University. “It suggests there were a series of supernovae, one after another.”

“It’s an interesting coincidence that they correspond with when Earth cooled and moved from the Pliocene into the Pleistocene period,” he adds.

Hints of this series of explosions were first found around a decade ago, when Wallner discovered traces of an isotope called iron-60 in samples taken from the Pacific Ocean floor.

Iron-60 is only produced in giant space explosions, and has a much shorter half-life than the stable iron-56 atoms found here on Earth. Intrigued as to how the iron-60 isotopes might have ended up there, Wallner has since been searching for traces of similar interstellar dust in 120 ocean-floor samples collected from around the world.

His team found that iron-60 was actually scattered across Earth in two distinct time periods: 6.5-8.7 million years ago, and 3.2-1.7 million years ago. This suggests that during those time periods, a nearby supernova (or supernovae) blasted us with debris.

And speaking of coincidences, the older explosion that occurred around 8 million years ago also coincided with a time of global faunal changes in the late Miocene period, adding more weight to the idea that supernovae might have an impact Earth’s conditions.

The researchers aren’t exactly sure how nearby supernovae could change the planet’s climate or affect life – the radiation blasted out would have been too weak to cause any direct biological damage or mass extinctions (just FYI, a supernova would need to be about 26 light-years away in order to do that).

But scientists have hypothesised for decades that supernovae could be influencing our planet, and one of the leading ideas is that the cosmic rays blasted out by the explosions could increase cloud cover or impact the climate by burning up in our ozone layer, which could explain some of the changes that happened around the same time.

“We don’t have any concrete evidence that any one event is tied to a supernovae,” University of Kansas astronomer Adrian Mellott, who wasn’t involved in the study, told Maddie Stone over at Gizmodo. “But the odds are, one or more are.”

While more research needs to be done to figure out the potential link, what’s even cooler is that the scientists calculated that the most recent series of supernovae would have occurred in an ageing star cluster around 326 light-years away at the time.

That means the explosions would have been small, but as bright as the Moon – so if we were around back then we would have actually been able to see them light up the sky as they happened. And that’s pretty incredible to imagine.

Survey of Glyphosate Residues in Honey, Corn and Soy Products

Food consumption is an important pathway of human exposure to pesticides and other chemical contaminants. Studies have shown that exposure to contaminants in food could pose a public health risk [1,2,3]. Contaminants can enter the food supply in various ways including direct pesticide application to food crops, indirect application through the air (from drift from aerial spraying of adjacent fields), through the soil (from direct application during previous growing seasons), through the water supply (from run-off from treated areas), or through food processing (from cross-contamination from shared processing equipment) [4,5].
Glyphosate (N-(phosphonomethyl) glycine) (Figure 1), commonly sold under Monsanto’s trade name Roundup®, is a non-selective herbicide that inhibits 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (ESPS) in the shikimic acid pathway present in plants, bacteria, and archae [6]. EPSP synthase is the rate limiting step in the synthesis of various aromatic acids; inhibition of this enzyme results in depletion of aromatic amino acids such as phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan [7]. Glyphosate trans locates readily in plants, making it effective for controlling perennial weeds and overwintering rhizomes and tubers. It is registered for pre planting or postharvest treatment on crops and on non-crop land [8]. Although humans do not posses the shikimic acid pathway, we are dependent upon ingested food and gut microbes, which provide essential nutrients, which do possess this pathway. Glyphosate has been patented as an antimicrobial by Monsanto Technology LLC [9], and has been shown to disrupt gut bacteria in animals [1012]. In humans, only a small amount (~2%) of ingested glyphosate is metabolized to amino methyl phosphonic acid (AMPA), the rest enters the blood stream and is eventually eliminated through the urine [13].
The use of glyphosate in agriculture has increased significantly with the introduction of transgenic crops such as Roundup-Ready®soybeans and corn, which enable farmers to directly apply low cost broad spectrum herbicide products to their fields without harming crops. In the United States, glyphosate is currently the most widely used herbicide, with 180 to 185 millions pounds applied in the agricultural sector during 2007, 5 to 8 million pounds used in homes and gardens, and 13-15 million pounds used in industrial, commercial and governmental weed control applications [13]. The dramatic increase in the use of glyphosate in agriculture and landscape maintenance is occurring not only in the US, but throughout the world. This high level of use has led to concerns about its effects on humans and the environment. Glyphosate has traditionally been considered to be nearly non-toxic to humans [14], and therefore not problematic if ingested in food sources; as a consequence, measurement of its presence in food is very scarce [15,16]. Challenge the assertion that glyphosate is harmless, arguing that this herbicide may be a key contributor to the obesity and autism epidemics in the United States, as well as a factor in several diseases and conditions including celiac disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, infertility, depression, and cancer.
Glyphosate analysis in environmental and biological matrices is problematic because of its small molecular size and structural similarity to many naturally occurring plant materials such as amino acids and secondary plant compounds. It is highly soluble in water, thereby making its extraction with solvents difficult and matrix effects highly prevalent. As a result, glyphosate isolation and quantification has posed a challenge to the analytical chemist. Numerous analytical procedures have been published in the literature for the detection of this highly polar and amphoteric molecule [17], including gas chromatography (GC), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and capillary electrophoresis (CE), often coupled with mass spectrometry (MS). The co-contaminants in environmental and biological matrixes render instrumental analysis costly and time-consuming. ELISA determination, however, has allowed for the rapid, selective and sensitive determination of glyphosate [1824].
The main objective of this survey was to obtain representative data on levels of glyphosate residues in honey, corn and pancake syrup, and soy based products, such as soy sauce, soy milk, and tofu, in products consumed by the general population in and around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The analytical program included the extraction of glyphosate from the various matrices and the subsequent determination of glyphosate residues by enzyme linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA).
Materials and Methods
Chemicals and reagents
Chemicals were of reagent grade and were purchased from Sigma Chemical Company, St. Louis MO, USA, except as indicated. Glyphosate (>98% purity), Chem Service, West Chester, PA, USA. Glyphosate micro titer plate ELISA, Abraxis PN 500086; Glyphosate sample diluent, PN 500082, Abraxis LLC, Warminster, PA, USA. Glyphosate stock solution was prepared in deionized water to 1.0 mg/ mL; spiking solutions were prepared from the working solution using deionized water.
Samples and sample preparation/extraction
In total, 153 representative samples were purchased from markets in the Philadelphia metropolitan area (69 honey, 26 corn and pancake syrup, 28 soy sauce, 11 soy milk, and 20 tofu products).
Honey, corn and pancake syrup samples: A 0.50 g aliquot of sample was weighed into a micro centrifuge tube and 0.50 mL of 1N HCl was added. The sample was mixed for 2 minutes using a vortex mixer, then diluted by adding 40 μL of the acid treated sample into 3.96 mL of glyphosate sample diluent and mixed using a vortex mixer. The sample was then analyzed in the ELISA. The sample preparation/ extraction described above produced a 1:200 sample dilution.
Soy sauce: A 0.10 mL aliquot of sample was transferred into a micro centrifuge tube and 0.90 mL of 1N HCl was added. The sample was mixed for 2 minutes using a vortex mixer, then diluted by adding 40 μL of the acid treated sample into 3.96 mL of glyphosate sample diluent and mixed using a vortex mixer. The sample was then analyzed in the ELISA. The sample preparation/extraction described above produced a 1:1000 sample dilution.
Soy milk: A 0.10 mL aliquot of sample was transferred into a micro centrifuge tube and 0.90 mL of 1N HCl was added. The sample was mixed for 2 minutes using a vortex mixer, and then centrifuged at 6,000 x g for 5 minutes. The sample was then diluted by adding 40 μL of the middle layer of the acid treated sample into 3.96 mL of glyphosate sample diluent and mixed using a vortex mixer. The sample was then analyzed in the ELISA. The sample preparation/extraction described above produced a 1:1000 sample dilution.
Tofu: A 1.0 g aliquot of sample was weighed into a 20 mL vial and 10.0 mL of 1N HCl was added. The sample was mixed for 2 minutes using a vortex mixer, and then allowed to separate for 2 minutes. Approximately 1 mL of the mixture was transferred into a micro centrifuge tube and centrifuged at 6,000 x g for 5 minutes. The sample was then diluted by adding 40 μL of the middle layer of the acid treated sample into 3.96 mL of glyphosate sample diluent and mixed using a vortex mixer. The sample was then analyzed in the ELISA. The sample preparation/extraction described above produced a 1:1000 sample dilution.
Determination of glyphosate in samples
The instructions provided in the ELISA kit user’s guide were followed, in brief, glyphosate calibrators provided in the kit and the samples to be tested are derivatized for ten minutes and then added, along with an antibody specific for glyphosate to micro titer wells coated with goat anti-rabbit antibody and incubated for thirty minutes with shaking. A glyphosate horseradish peroxidase (HRP) enzyme conjugate is then added. At this point a competitive reaction occurs between the glyphosate, in the calibrators or samples, and the enzyme labeled glyphosate for the antibody binding sites on the micro titer well. The reaction is allowed to continue for sixty minutes. After a washing step an enzyme substrate (hydrogen peroxide) and the chromogen (3,3′,5,5’-tetramethylbenzidine) are added. The enzyme-labeled glyphosate bound to the glyphosate antibody catalyzes the conversion of the substrate /chromogen mixture to a colored product. After an incubation period, the reaction is stopped and stabilized by the addition of diluted acid and read in a Molecular Devices micro titer plate reader (450 nm). Since the labeled glyphosate (conjugate) was in competition with the unlabeled glyphosate (sample) for the antibody sites, the color developed is inversely proportional to the concentration of glyphosate in the sample.
Data analysis
The evaluation of the assay was performed using Molecular Devices Soft max pro evaluation program (4-Parameter). The program calculates the mean absorbance value for each of the standards (Bi) and calculates the %Bi /B0 for each standard by dividing the mean absorbance value for each standard by the Zero Standard (Standard 0) mean absorbance (B0). The program then constructs a non-linear regression model of a standard curve by plotting the % Bi/B0 for each standard on the vertical linear (y) axis versus the corresponding glyphosate concentration on the horizontal logarithmic (x) axis. The % Bi/B0 for samples is interpolated using the standard curve yielding sample concentration levels of glyphosate from the standard curve. Correlation coefficients of the assays were >0.995 and standard deviation between standard replicate analysis were < 10%.
Validation, performance and quality control
Specificity had been previously determined (ELISA user’s guide), (Table 1). Recovery, limit of quantitation, range and limit of quantification were determined to test the validity of the dilution/ extraction procedures of each of the matrices used in combination with the glyphosate ELISA.
Results and Discussion
The method performance for glyphosate analysis was determined by conducting recovery tests on each of the matrices. To determine the accuracy of the glyphosate analysis for the sample matrices analyzed in this study, matrix samples that were glyphosate negative and positive (positive samples were not encountered with tofu, soy milk, pancake and corn syrup) were spiked as follows: 15, 40, 100, 200 and 400 ng/ mL (honey, pancake and corn syrup); 75, 200, 500, 1,000 and 4,000 ng/mL [soy sauce, soy milk and tofu (ng/g)]. Analysis was performed in duplicate for all unspiked and spiked samples at all levels. Average recovery obtained for glyphosate negative honey samples fortified with glyphosate was 119 %, (SD = 10). Average recovery for glyphosate positive honey (unspiked contained 44 ng/g glyphosate) after fortification was 116 % (SD = 10). Average recovery for negative soy sauce was 94% (SD = 5), and for positive fortified soy sauce (unspiked contained 417 ng/mL) was 86% (SD = 5). The limit of quantification and range of the method were determined for honey, pancake and corn syrup to be 15 to 800 ng/g; soy sauce, soy milk, and tofu 75 to 4,000 ng/ mL or ng/g, respectively.
In this study, the first sample matrix analyzed for the presence of glyphosate was honey; 69 samples were analyzed and classified into 18 groups depending on the country of origin listed on the bottles: (A) Brazil, (B) Canada, (C) China, (D) Germany, (E) Greece, (F) Hungary, (G) India, (H) Korea, (I) blend of Mexico, Brazil, and Uruguay, (J) New Zealand, (K) Spain, (L) Taiwan, (M) blend of Ukraine and Vietnam, (N) USA, (O) blend of USA and Argentina, (P) blend of USA, Argentina and Canada, (Q) blend of USA, South America, (R) unknown origin. The glyphosate concentrations obtained are shown in (Figure 2). Fortyone out of the sixty-nine honey samples analyzed, or fifty nine percent (59 %), had glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ (15 ng/g) with a concentration range between 17 and 163 ng/g and a mean of 64 ng/g.
The glyphosate concentration in honey grouped by flower (pollen) source is shown in (Figure 3). The pollen types listed on the bottles were: clover (12 samples), exotic (11 samples), wildflower (11 samples), unknown (35 samples). (Figure 4) depicts the concentration of glyphosate in honey samples grouped by growing method of source pollen: organic (11 samples) and traditional (58 samples); 5 of the 11 organic samples had glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ with a range of 26 to 93 ng/g and a mean of 50 ng /g. Of the fifty-eight non-organic honey samples, thirty-six samples, or sixty-two percent (62%), contained glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ, with a range of 17 to 163 ppb and a mean of 66 ppb.
(Figure 5) depicts the concentration of glyphosate in honey by country and whether the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) seeds is prohibited or permitted. The graph also shows where some minimum uses of GMO traits are allowed (Spain, and blend of Vietnam/Ukraine). The glyphosate concentration in honey originating in countries that do not allow or allow limited GMO traits (3 out of 14 samples above the LOQ) ranged from 26 to 41 ng/g with a mean of 31 ng /g. The glyphosate range for those countries that allow GMO (30 out of 43 samples above LOQ) was 21 to 163 ng/g with a mean of 71 ng /g. Samples of unknown origin (8 out of 12 samples above LOQ) ranged from 17 to 95 ng/g with a mean of 50 ng/g.
The second matrix group analyzed for glyphosate was soy sauce. The analysis consisted of 28 samples, (Figure 6). Ten out of 28 samples (36 %) had glyphosate concentrations above the method LOQ (75 ng/ mL) with a concentration range between 88 and 564 ng/mL and a mean of 242 ng /mL. (Figure 7) shows the concentration of glyphosate in soy sauce by method of soy bean growing (organic vs. traditional). The recent report from the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and the Beijing Union Hospital [20] reported an average glyphosate concentration in soy sauce of 133 ng/mL in samples that did not specify on the bottle whether or not the raw material was GM soybean. In our study, the small subset of organic labeled samples (three) was all below the limit of quantitation of the test.
Corn and pancake syrup (26 samples), soy milk (11 samples), and tofu (20 samples) tested were negative for glyphosate at the LOQ of the method (15 ng/g for pancake and corn syrup, and 75 ng/mL or ng/g for soy milk and tofu, respectively).
Studies on glyphosate residues in food are scarce. Among the few studies found was a recent report published on the incidence of glyphosate in soy sauce, conducted by the Chinese government [20]. Searches were conducted by the authors using various scientific databases on the concentration and incidence of glyphosate in honey, but these failed to provide any information. The honey samples analyzed in the present study show that 59 % of all samples contained glyphosate residues (ranging from 17 to 163 ng/g, mean 64 ng/g); the residue concentration does not seem to depend on pollen source or growing method, even organic honey contained glyphosate residues (5 out 11 samples, or 45 %, mean glyphosate concentration 50 ng/g). Comparing the concentration of glyphosate in honey by countries that use GMO extensively with countries that allow the use of some GMO traits and those that do not allow GMO, shows that, in general, glyphosate levels are lower in samples from countries that do not allow or allow limited use of some GMO traits, such as Spain and Vietnam/ Ukraine blend (mean 31 ng/g), compared to those countries that allow planting of GMO traits (71 ng/g). It should be noted, however, that some residues of glyphosate (although < 50 ng/g) were found in honeys originating from Germany and New Zealand, countries where no GMO planting is allowed.
The European Union has specific guidelines for the labeling of organic honey [25,26]. According to those guidelines, the location of apiaries is strictly controlled and states that “Nectar and pollen sources available over a three-kilometer radius around the apiary sites must consist essentially of organically produced crops or crops treated with low-environmental-impact methods. Apiaries must also be far enough away from any non-agricultural production source that could lead to contamination (e.g. urban centers, waste dumps, waste incinerators, etc.). Member States have the option of prohibiting the production of organic honey in certain regions or areas that do not meet these conditions. Organic honey must not contain chemicals residues (synthetic pesticides, etc.).” The United States has no such guidelines for the organic production of honey, but uses organic farming certification for honey labeling purposes; one reason is that it is practically impossible to regulate without testing all honey for residues since bees can fly up to 3 miles in search of nectar and it is difficult to be certain that they do not feed on nectar contaminated by crop spraying or industrial sources. In the EU, glyphosate residues in non-organic honey regulatory limits are 50 ng/g [27], the United States does not have a limit in honey. The limit in drinking water in the United States is 700 ng/mL; the reference dose is 1.75 mg/Kg/day; the One-Day Health Advisory level is 20 mg/L [28]. Also, it is widely known that like milk and olive oil, honey is one of the foods that is most commonly mislabeled and adulterated [29] providing yet another source of glyphosate contamination in honeys that, according to the bottle label, originated in non-GMO countries.
Bee colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a growing threat to the efficient production of food around the world. Honey bees pollinate nearly 130 species of plant life [30], such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seed crops. Honeybees are therefore indirectly responsible for an estimated one-third of the world food supply [31]. Although several factors are involved in CCD, including numerous pathogens and parasites, the extensive use of pesticides [32,33] such as neonicotinoids have provided evidence that these products are harmful to honey bees and have lead to a recent ban or restriction in the use of three neonicotoids by the European Union [34]. Although glyphosate is not acutely toxic to bees, it is chronically toxic to animals and is reported to disrupt the endocrine system [35,36] and a recent study indicates that honey bees exposed to increasing sub-lethal concentrations of glyphosate exhibit a decrease in acetyl cholinesterase (AChE) activity [37]. The high rate of glyphosate use creates the potential for wide-spread contamination of our food chain. Glyphosate is used throughout the bee foraging period in high amounts and is found in the air, water, and in plant parts frequented by bees, such as flowers and buds, potentially contaminating the nectar collected by bees from contaminated plants [38]. Based on its prevalence in the environment, as well as our findings in honey samples, we propose that future studies should be conducted to determine if glyphosate is in fact a contributing factor in CCD.
This study indicates the presence of glyphosate residues in honey and soy sauce, but not in pancake and corn syrups or soy based products such as soy milk and tofu. Forty one out of sixty nine (59%) honey samples analyzed contained glyphosate at a concentration above the method LOQ (15 ng/g) with a range between 17-163 ng/g and a mean of 64 ng/g. Ten out of twenty eight (36%) soy sauce samples contained glyphosate at a concentration above the method LOQ (75 ng/mL) with a range between 88-564 ng /mL and a mean of 242 ng /mL. Future studies should be conducted on many other food products to determine the extent of glyphosate residue contamination.

Taking the cadaver out of autopsies: 3D virtual human helps regional medical students

A state-of-the-art training device will allow regional medical students to undergo training for autopsies on a life-size virtual dissection table, removing the need for human cadavers.

The US-made Anatomage device, revealed on Tuesday by Flinders University, uses 3D technology to replicate every muscle, vein and bone in the human body.

Lecturer Sarah Boyd and the Anatomage table

Staff and students are able to view the body from every possible angle and peel back layers of skin and muscle with the simple flick of a finger.

Flinders University has purchased four of the tables, to be based in Adelaide, Mount Gambier, Darwin and Renmark, with videoconferencing technology linking between the sites allowing procedures to be viewed at all four campuses.

The male and female bodies featured in the Anatomage table are based on real people — a 26-year-old woman who died from stomach cancer, and a 33-year-old man who died from leukaemia, their bodies painstakingly dissected and replicated in three-dimensional view.

Technology overcomes tyranny of distance

Flinders University dean of medicine Paul Worley said the new technology would provide medical students with a more integrated understanding of human anatomy.

He said the new technology would be particularly beneficial for regional students, who would soon be able to participate in lessons delivered by experts in metropolitan areas.

“One of the tyrannies of distance is being isolated, in terms of who can be your teacher — but no longer,” Professor Worley said.

“In order to create the best doctors… [rural clinics] need access to the best information, and these Anatomage tables will mean that they can now have the very best access to anatomy at their fingertips.”

Rural Clinical School associate dean Jennene Greenhill said the Anatomage tables were at the cutting edge of medical science technology.

“There’s only about half a dozen of them in the rest of Australia,” Professor Greenhill said.

“This is the first time, we think, in the world where there’s been this networked approach, where we’re hoping to be able to link up with anatomy teaching in Adelaide and to be able to do research in anatomy teaching as well.

“Once students have done their first and second year anatomy courses … the anatomy then becomes theoretical … but this actually helps [the student] to revisit all of that anatomy in a more life-like way than they currently have been able to.”

Medical science moves with the times

At the university’s Rural Clinical School in Mount Gambier, Professor Lucie Walters said the new technology would help engage students much better than the requisite skeleton model in the corner of the room.

“This is a very cool piece of technology and it is great fun to play with,” she said.

“It captures the imagination of our students and makes them more excited about anatomy and learning anatomy than simply a book.”

Yorick Bonaparte the anatomy skeleton

Professor Walters said the decision for two people to donate their bodies to medical science would, in effect, provide a worldwide learning experience.

“In lots of different places around the world, people will be able to learn virtually from those donated bodies,” she said.

No matter how much medical sciences moves with the times, Professor Walters said there would always be the requisite skeleton model in the corner of most anatomy rooms.

At Mount Gambier, their model is nicknamed Yorick Bonaparte.

“We have the next generation of learners that are so much more IT-savvy than I ever was,” Professor Walters said.

“But I think we’ll always have a place for our Yorick.”

Grandmother becomes oldest woman to give birth to triplets

A 55-year-old grandmother is believed to have become the oldest woman in the UK to give birth to healthy triplets.

Sharon Cutts, a nurse, and her boyfriend Stuart Reyonlds, a factory worker, welcomed triplets Mason, Ryan and Lily into their family on 21 March.

The NHS does not offer IVF treatment to women over the age of 42, as the latest NHS figures show that those above 44 have a 1 per cent chance of having a live birth following the treatment.

The couple therefore decided to take out loans of £15,000 to pay to visist a specialist clinic in Cyprus for the procedure.

The doctor implanted four embryos inside Ms Cutts in order to maximise her chance of conceiving.

She told The Sun she was “crying with joy” when she and Stuart, 40, learned they were having triplets.

Ms Cutts added she then became concerned about whether she would cope.

But she told the newspaper: “I spent 11 years in the Navy and ran four marathons. I know how to look after myself.”

The nurse later encountered complications due to her age and doctors advised her to abort one of the babies.


However, Ms Cutts declined and gave birth to triplets after an 11-week stay in Nottingham University Hospital, each weighing between 4lbs and 5lbs. The average baby weighs around 7lbs.

The triplets have four siblings in Ms Cutts’ grown-up children from a previous relationship.

Ms Cutts said that the triplets therefore have “lots of playmates”.

Fertility expert Geeta Nargund told The Sun that bringing up triplets in middle age will be “challenging”.

She added that women over 50 have a higher risk of miscarriage, high blood pressure, and prolonged labour and stillbirth.

Elizabeth Duff, Senior Policy Adviser, at the parenting charity NCT, told The Independent: “We think parents’ commitment to their children and giving them the best care possible is more important than a mother or father’s age.

“An older woman’s pregnancy and childbirth may need more surveillance and  support from health professionals but there is no reason why the birth should not be successful. We wish the family well.”

First ‘HIV-to-HIV liver transplant’ performed by US doctors

US surgeons have successfully carried out the world’s first liver transplant between HIV-infected patients. The operation comes three years after the law prohibiting using organs from people with HIV was abolished.
© Reuters

Doctors at Johns Hopkins University announced the results of the operation, which took place about two weeks ago on Wednesday.

The deceased donor gave their liver and kidney to two different recipients with HIV. The liver was given to a patient who became infected with the AIDS virus more than 20 years ago. And the kidney was translated to a person who has been suffering from HIV for some 30 years.

“A couple of weeks ago we performed the first HIV-to-HIV liver transplant in the world, and the first HIV-to-HIV kidney transplant in the United States,” Dorry Segev, professor of surgery at Johns Hopkins Medicine, told a press conference.

“This is a very exciting day for us,” Segev said, pointing out that “it is really only the beginning.”

The patients taking part in the operation are currently recovering from the procedure, the doctors said, adding that they are doing well. The kidney recipient has already left hospital.

This is the first positive-to-positive HIV operation in the US. Previously, only negative-to-positive surgeries were conducted by US hospitals.

According to Segev, somewhere between 500 and 600 people with HIV whose organs are healthy enough to be donated, die every year. Now that it has been shown that their organs can be transplanted to HIV-positive recipients, as many as 1,000 lives may be saved, he said.

However, there do remain “unique risks,” such as exposure to a second strain of HIV from the donor, said Christine Durand, assistant professor of medicine and oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine.

The procedure was praised by the HIV Medicine Association.

“For patients living with HIV, deceased donors with the same infection represent a unique source of organs holding the potential to save the lives of hundreds of HIV-infected patients struggling with liver and kidney failure each year,” said a statement from HIVMA board chair Carlos del Rio.

“We look forward to seeing this medical breakthrough offer hope to more people living with HIV infection who are in need of organ transplants.”

Lipid found critical to breast cancer cell.

Scientists in Spain report finding that breast cancer cells need to take up lipids from the extracellular environment so that they can continue to proliferate. The main protein involved in this process is LIPG, an enzyme found in the cell membrane and without which tumor cell growth is arrested. Analyses of more than 500 clinical samples from patients with various kinds of breast tumors reveal that 85% have high levels of LIPG expression.

The research (“FoxA and LIPG Endothelial Lipase Control the Uptake of Extracellular Lipids for Breast Cancer Growth”) is published in Nature Communications.

In Spain, breast cancer is the most common tumor in women and the fourth most common type in both sexes (data from the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology, 2012), registering more than 25,000 new diagnoses each year. According to figures from the World Health Organization, every year 1.38 million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed and 458,000 people die from this disease (International Agency for Research on Cancer Globocan, 2008).

It was already known that cancer cells require extracellular glucose to grow and that they reprogram their internal machinery to produce greater amounts of lipids. The relevance of this study is that it reveals for the first time that tumor cells must import extracellular lipids to grow.

“This new knowledge related to metabolism could be the Achilles heel of breast cancer,” explains ICREA researcher and Institute for Research in Biomedicine–Barcelona group leader Roger Gomis, Ph.D., co-leader of the study together with Joan J. Guinovart, Ph.D., director of IRB Barcelona and professor at the University of Barcelona. Using animal models and cancer cell cultures, the scientists have demonstrated that blocking of LIPG activity arrests tumor growth.

“What is promising about this new therapeutic target is that LIPG function does not appear to be indispensable for life, so its inhibition may have fewer side effects than other treatments,” explains the first author of the study, Felipe Slebe, a Ph.D. Fellow at IRB Barcelona.

According to Dr. Guinovart, “because LIPG is a membrane protein, it is potentially easier to design a pharmacological agent to block its activity.”

“If a drug were found to block its activity, it could be used to develop more efficient chemotherapy treatments that are less toxic than those currently available,” adds Dr. Gomis.

The scientists are now looking into international collaborations for developing LIPG inhibitors.