In this study, published in the magazine Food and Chemical Toxicology, the researchers aimed to prove that since the principal toxicity mechanism of lead poisoning is that it creates free radicals that lead to cellular destruction; administrating natural antioxidants could reverse this process and re-establish the organism's lost balance.
The results of the study are preliminary but they could be the beginning of a possible therapeutic treatment to cure the disease.
In order to prove their theory, the researchers carried out an experiment using gestating mice that were separated in to four different groups with different additives in their drinking water. The control group was only subjected to purified water, the drinking water for the second group was contaminated with lead, the drinking water for the third group was also contaminated with lead, but the mice were also treated with antioxidants (zinc, vitamins A,C, E and B6) and the fourth group was just treated with the antioxidants and uncontaminated water.
The research stemmed from the belief that the main cause of the toxicity of lead is the oxidative stress, an imbalance between the antioxidants and the free radicals present in an organism, leading to an excess of free radicals and a consequent destruction of tissues. The results have concluded that such alterations, measured by evaluating various biochemical changes in the brain of the baby mice, diminish in subjects subjected to lead and treated with antioxidants, almost reaching the levels of the control group. The symptoms of lead poisoning were also drastically reduced, reinforcing the theory that administering antioxidants could be a very effective therapy.
Lead poisoning also known as “saturnism” for its violent and demented character that is associated with the god Saturn has been identified at least before the fifth century before Christ. The most common symptoms range from anaemia to irritability, with headaches, motor impairment or weight loss in between. The damages are greater the younger the affected subject, since their organs are at the early stages of development, and they are particularly harsh in subjects below 3 years of age.
During gestation, lead can penetrate through the placenta easily and accumulate in the tissues of the embryo, including the brain, which can cause permanent damage such as developmental delay, learning difficulties, hearing problems, diminished memory or aggressiveness. In Europe, the disease occurs in humans mainly as an occupational hazard, and in animals, as a direct consequence of eating hunting pellets. Nevertheless, in other countries, the disease is widely present. For example, the Dominican Republic is home to one of the cities most contaminated by this metal, or the United States, where it is estimated that up to 3% of children are chronically exposed to lead.
The study, carried out by the researchers Mª Teresa Antonio García and Elvira Massó González from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, used low doses of lead of a similar size to what could normally be assimilated through food or by contact with the environment and has concluded that the treatment with antioxidants is effective. Hopefully these results will provide beneficial treatments for humans in the future.
Área de Cultura Científica | alfa
Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg
Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.
This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...
Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion
Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences
27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
27.10.2016 | Life Sciences