Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gimli gobblers - Mercury scientists to conduct unique human experiment next week

01.11.2004


A world-leading team of Canadian scientists thinks that diet may play a critical role in limiting the body’s absorption of the toxic heavy metal mercury, and they’re lining up to test the idea on themselves.



The scientists from the NSERC-funded Collaborative Mercury Research Network (COMERN) have identified dramatic differences in the extent to which mercury from eating fish is absorbed by people in a variety of small Canadian communities.

Since 2000, COMERN researchers have been working closely with communities in the Lac St-Pierre (on the shore of the St. Lawrence east of Montreal) and Abititi regions of Quebec, island communities in the Bay of Fundy, and Innu communities in Labrador, examining their exposure to mercury through the fish they eat.


The research has revealed a mysterious anomaly. Hair or blood samples of individuals in the communities with the highest mercury exposure actually revealed the lowest body mercury levels. "There’s a huge discrepancy between mercury exposure and the extent to which it’s absorbed by people in these various communities," says Dr. Marc Lucotte, a biologist at the Université du Québec à Montréal and the lead researcher in COMERN.

What’s responsible for this significant difference in uptake?

"We suspect there is something different in the food in some communities and that this is preventing individuals from absorbing mercury," says Dr. Lucotte.

That something, the researchers suspect, could be simply old fashioned tea. Tea-drinking Japanese communities known to be exposed to high levels of mercury through fish consumption have also shown unusually low levels of absorption. Tea is known to be a strong chelating agent – it contains particles called flavonoids which bind with heavy metals to prevent their absorption by the body. To test this tea theory the researchers are rolling out the dinner plates and rolling up their sleeves.

At COMERN’s annual general meeting next week in Gimli, Manitoba, 60 mercury researchers will participate in a unique experiment. For three days, half the experimental group will eat two meals a day of local Lake Winnipeg fish washed down with six cups of black tea. The other half will eat the fish but drink no tea. Participants will provide blood samples for mercury level testing at the beginning and end of the conference. (Dr. Lucotte stresses that the Lake Winnipeg fish were chosen for the experiment only because COMERN encourages the eating of local foods and that these fish contain only average amounts of mercury.)

Along with the important scientific evidence the experiment could reveal, Dr. Lucotte says that the Gimli tea-and-fish experiment is a crucial part of grounding the researchers in the type of participatory, community-based research they’re conducting.

"Being guinea pigs like this takes us back to our roots," says Dr. Lucotte. "It’s important for us to remember that we’re not just working on a hypothetical story, we’re working with real people and real passions. And that we ourselves can be exposed to mercury in our diets and must make choices about this."

He expects the results of the Gimli experiment to be available by January, 2005.

Mike Paterson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uqam.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>