Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientific hunch poised to save thousands from toxic fish poisoning

22.10.2008
A neuroscientist at UQ's Queensland Brain Institute has found a way to combat a debilitating illness that affects an estimated 50,000 people a year in tropical regions.

Ciguatera poisoning – which often results in acute nausea, vomiting and painful gastrointestinal episodes – is caused by eating fish that have fed on a micro algae that are toxic to mammals and often associated with large algal blooms known as red tides.

Cases of ciguatera poisoning have been documented for more than 200 years – and were recorded and described by Captain Cook on his second voyage to the Pacific in 1774.

Recently, scientists have discovered that the patented compound brevenal could be used to make an effective treatment for neurotoxic shellfish poisoning (NSP), a condition related to ciguatera poisoning.

Acting initially on a hunch, QBI neuroscientist Associate Professor Fred Meunier hypothesised that brevenal could be adapted to combat ciguatera poisoning.

Simultaneously, and unbeknown to Dr Meunier, Dr Dan Baden at the University of North Carolina Wilmington (USA) was also considering adapting brevenal to fight ciguatera.

The two scientists soon became aware of each other's interest and began discussing the possibility that the compound active against NSP could have the same therapeutic effect on ciguatera toxins.

Along with Dr Dan Baden, Dr Jordi Molgo (National Center For Scientific Research, France) and Dr Richard Lewis at UQ's Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Dr Meunier pressed on to obtain a small batch of both ciguatera toxin and brevenal to test their hypothesis.

"It now seems that we have found a way of blocking the effect of the ciguatera toxin on sodium channels without affecting their function of propagating the electrical signals in neurons," Dr Meunier said.

One of the main problems with ciguatera is that there are few, if any, effective treatments for the acute impact it has on the health of humans and marine mammals.

"There is one drug available for ciguatera sufferers but a randomised trial conducted by another research group in 2002 found it to be no better than a placebo," Dr Meunier said.

Armed with the knowledge of how the ciguatera toxin affects the body, Dr Meunier and his research collaborators are now looking to develop a drug that will short-circuit the ciguatera toxin's effect in mammals. The process of synthesising and safely delivering the drug for human patients will require extensive trials.

QBI Communications | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uq.edu.au

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope
23.10.2017 | University at Buffalo

nachricht Scientists track ovarian cancers to site of origin: Fallopian tubes
23.10.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Shrews shrink in winter and regrow in spring

24.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>