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 Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

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: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

19.01.2017 | Earth Sciences

Not of Divided Mind

19.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Molecule flash mob

19.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>