Sunday, November 29, 2009

Australian Lyme in the News - Nov 2009

Graeme Singleton, 26 Nov, 2009 quoted direct from the Coffs Coast Independent

TICKED OFF ... Natalie Young (standing) said she was often covered with ticks during her working day as a conservation officer, but never realised they could infect her with Lyme Disease. She now wants others who work in the bush and on farms to be aware of the dangers posed by ticks.

NATALIE Young knows far more about Lyme Disease than she ever wanted to.

The Glenreagh mum was diagnosed with the chronic tick-borne infection earlier this year, but not before it had taken a stronghold in her body and turned her life upside down.
“You can’t believe what its like to live with Lyme Disease,” Natalie said.

“I’m forever tired and in constant pain. My muscles and nerves ache and I get migraines all the time.

“I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”
Natalie first went to her doctor in January this year.
The 33-year-old was employed by the National Parks and Wildlife Service as a conservation officer, but now doubts whether she will ever work again.

“My hands and knees were aching, I was constantly fatigued, I had breathing difficulties because my throat was in spasms,” Natalie said. “One day my arm actually seized up for a couple of hours.”

Initially Natalie thought her illness was related to the Ross River Fever condition she’d earlier been diagnosed with, but after that along with heart disease, lupus, chronic arthritis, fibromyalgia and even multiple schlerosis had been ruled out, she pursued the possibility that ticks could have been responsible.

“I remember different times when I came home from working in the bush covered in ticks,” Natalie said.
“Once I had more than 100 ticks on me. I had to get a friend to pull them out of my back.”

Her diagnosis with Lyme disease came in late March after she had consulted a GP in Laurieton and had a series of blood tests.
They returned mixed results before positive antibody results from laboratories in Germany, The Untied States and Sydney.
Compounding the many challenges she faced was the fact that health authorities do not acknowledge the presence of Lyme Disease in Australia.

“It is a big problem in America and elsewhere in the world, but apparently not here,” Natalie’s husband Steve said.
“The authorities are only too happy to warn about the dangers posed by ticks to pets and livestock, but for some reason they won’t accept Lyme Disease occurs here.
Steve said if health authorities acknowledged that Lyme Disease exists in Australia, Natalie may have been diagnosed sooner.
“As with most diseases, early diagnosis enables more effective treatment
,” Steve said.
”It has devastated her.
“I doubt whether she’ll ever be able to work again. I can now only hope that she can escape the constant pain she is in.”
Natalie is surprisingly more upbeat.
“My doctor is confident that while I will probably never fully recover, it shouldn’t get any worse for me.” she said.
“That I can live with.”

Friday, November 6, 2009

L-form (CWD) Bacteria ABX resistant genes found

Lyme l-form to spirochete morph from:

By Aleena Lakhanpal - 5 November 09 -Quoted direct from

Antibacterial soap, hand sanitizer and antibiotics are all substances that we use in an attempt to kill bacteria that might make us sick. Whether we are concerned about getting strep throat, bacterial meningitis or something else, these prevention methods can offer protection.
However, some bacteria, such as those that cause Staph and MRSA infections, are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics. Since the 1930s, researchers have been aware that bacteria may be able to resist treatment because they can morph into the L-form, or bacteria lacking cell walls.

Until the 1980s, not much else could be known about the L-form, but now, researchers at the Bloomberg School of Public Health have used a wide variety of modern molecular tools to learn more about the origin and biological functions of the L-form bacteria.
Ying Zhang, a professor of molecular microbiology and immunology at Bloomberg, is the senior author of the study, which was published in PLoS ONE last month.

Not all bacteria can transform into the L-form, but those that can include Bacillus anthracis (anthrax), Treponema pallidum (syphilis), Mycobacterium tuberculosis (tuberculosis), Heliobacter pylori (stomach ulcers and cancer), Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme disease) and Escherichia coli (food poisoning). Zhang's team used E. coli to create a culture of L-form bacteria.

Although it had been difficult to culture L-form bacteria before, Zhang and his team created a new method that more closely simulated the in vivo conditions in which these bacteria form.
"The presence of antibiotic stress is cell wall inhibiting, like penicillin," Zhang said. To prevent the cells from bursting because of this increased stress, Zhang's team added sucrose to the cell media.
This culture represented the mechanism that occurs in the body. "L forms are formed in response to stress," Zhang said. "They have a different mode of survival and replication from classical bacteria." The cell wall-deficient bacteria cluster together in the shape of a fried egg rather than the smooth, homogeneous appearance of wild-type bacteria cultures.

Not only are L-form bacteria difficult to culture and therefore study, but this "fried egg" cluster is part of what makes the L-form bacteria resistant to antibiotics, in addition to the fact that they do not have cell walls for commonly used antibiotics to disintegrate.

Once Zhang and his team were able to successfully culture L-form E. coli, they screened for and identified mutants that fail to grow at the L-form. From these mutants, they were able to discover a series of genes that were linked with the inability to grow in the L-form.
"These fall into four to five different categories involving extracellular matrix synthesis, membrane proteins, membrane biogenesis, DNA repair as well as iron metabolism and energy metabolism," Zhang said.
Their identification of these genes and their effect on L-form bacterial expression is a resounding discovery because it was impossible to do before, what with the difficulty of culturing the L-forms of various bacteria. Zhang noted, however, that although his team managed to create and study a culture of L-form bacteria, their study cannot be universal.
"What we can culture is only a small percentage - probably less than 1 percent - of all bacteria on earth," Zhang said.
"They exist in nature and grow easily, but we're limited to what we can grow and the form of bacteria that can grow. Bacteria can grow a variety of different forms even for the same species, and can change forms under different conditions. L-forms are one example of changing under antibiotic stress."

These L-forms of various bacteria may be the underlying reason for chronic resistant and recurring diseases, such as sarcoidosis, various forms of inflammatory bowel diseases and rheumatoid arthritis. Zhang is confident that there will be many practical applications of this discovery.

"It is possible, with our discovery of the L-form genes to develop new antibiotics and more effective ones that can be used with current ones as well as new vaccines to . . . allow these forms to be eliminated by the immune system," he said."

Nanoparticles cause damage despite Blood Brain Barrier

Nanoparticle coupled synthesis & self-assembly vs "Rouleaux" Red blood cell pattern

Transcript directly quoted 6 November 2009 from ABC News Website


Nanoparticles can be found in common household items including sunscreen and cosmetics. (7.30 Report)
Researchers in the United Kingdom have found some nanoparticles - which can be found in common household items - can damage DNA without even penetrating the cells.

They found the nanoparticles can indirectly damage DNA inside cells by transmitting signals through a protective barrier of human tissue.

The stunning discovery adds to a growing body of research highlighting proven and potential health hazards from the rapidly expanding universe of engineered objects measured in billionths of a metre.
Nanoscale products already widely in use range from cosmetics to household cleaning products and sporting goods.
But the new findings, reported in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, could also point to new ways in which nanotherapies might zero in on disease-causing tumours, say researchers.

They could even shed light on how poorly understood pathogens penetrate into human organs.

In laboratory experiments, scientists led by Dr Charles Case of Southmead Hospital in Bristol, grew a multi-layer 'barrier' of human cells to mimic specialised protective tissues found in the body.
For example one such barrier separates blood from the brain.
Underneath this layer, three-to-four cells thick, they placed human fibroblast cells which play a key role in the formation of connective and scar tissue.
And on top they put nanoscale particles of cobalt-chromium, an alloy that has long been used in the making of hip-and-knee-replacement joints, and more recently in drug-delivery mechanisms used inside arteries.

'As if it weren't there'

Earlier studies had shown that direct exposure to large quantities of the alloy could severely damage DNA is some cells and the researchers wanted to find out how well the laboratory grown barrier would protect the fibroblast cells below.
"We never imagined that it wouldn't," said Dr Case.

"But to our great surprise, not only did we see damage on the other side of the barrier, we saw as much damage as if we had not had a barrier at all."

At first, the researchers speculated that the tiny particles, barely 30 billionth of a metre in diameter, had slipped through microscopic cracks in the cellular blockade.
But there was no sign of the alloy on the other side and when the experiment was repeated with far larger particles, the result was essentially the same.

"We could only conclude that the DNA damage occurred after indirect exposure depending on a process of signalling between cells rather than the passage of metal through the barrier," said Dr Gevdeep Bhabra, a surgeon at Southmead and co-author of the study.
Professor Thomas Faunce from the Australian National University in Canberra says the study is significant.
"Nano-toxicological research has focused on looking at what happens if we put nanoparticles inside these type of cells," said Professor Faunce.

"What [this latest research is] saying is once nanoparticles are in the body they have a capacity to cause toxocological effects at a distance."

Previously, Professor Faunce has expressed concern regarding the over-use of nanoparticles in products such as nano-silver bandages and undergarments.
He says in light of this recent report any future investigation into the use of nanoparticles and their associated levels of toxicity may need to be rethought.
His views were echoed by the researchers themselves and experts not involved in the study.
"What it tells me is that the precaution with which some scientists and regulators say we should proceed is the right way to go," said Professor Vyvyan Howard, a pathologist at the University of Ulster who founded the Journal of Nanotoxicology.

Prion diseases

But the newly uncovered mechanism holds promise too.
"The first exciting question is, can we deliver novel therapies across barriers without having to cross them?" said Professor Ashley Blom, an orthopaedic surgeon and researcher at the University of Bristol.

"There are also implications as to how nanoparticles that we all have in our bodies might act across membranes - small particles like prions and viruses may use some of these mechanisms.

"This opens up a whole new field of research."
Prion diseases occur when a mutated form of the prion protein runs amok, destroying brain cells.


Professor Howard says when considering the safety of nanoparticles, one must distinguish between medical and broader industrial applications.
New drugs are carefully tested, reducing the chances of widespread harm. And even if nanodelivery and imaging systems turn out not to be risk-free, that does not necessarily mean they should not be used.
"Depending on the kind of disease you have, you will accept some very nasty therapies," he said. For example a chemotherapy for cancer.
"But there is a world of difference between accepting a therapy under informed consent and involuntary exposure."
He pointed out most industrial uses are not regulated at all."

Quoted from ABC Website:

Pathology picture from:

Nanoparticle picture from: