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
When a fish becomes fluid
17.12.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
Some brain tumors may respond to immunotherapy, new study suggests
11.12.2018 | Columbia University Irving Medical Center
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
18.12.2018 | Materials Sciences
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
18.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy