Search This Blog

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Insectman shares a couple of articles today and then I list observed examples of Darwinist macroevolution

Tomorrow I bring a hammer.  Today?  Two articles found by Karl Priest! 

Deadly toxins soon may be our new life savers WITH TARA PUKALA, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE From: The Advertiser March 23, 2010 9:34AM

WHAT'S your poison? Natural toxins kill thousands of people a year and affect millions globally.

These very same toxins, however, are revealing how to saves lives as researchers turn to the array of chemicals in naturally occurring poisons and venoms as unusual sources for treatment of chronic pain and disease.

Many organisms have perfected the production and delivery of potent toxins to capture prey or ward off predators.

Most people are wary of venomous snakes, spiders and scorpions but, with more than 100,000 estimated venomous species in the animal kingdom alone, many other hazards are lurking.

Each species has its own complex cocktail of active chemicals, including enzymes and proteins which have evolved to rapidly immobilise victims.
In an expanding field, known as venomics, researchers identify, characterise and catalogue venom ingredients.
Understanding how these toxins work at a molecular level can allow scientists to exploit their properties and convert them from harmful to helpful.
Toxins generally remain stable for a long time, work rapidly and precisely and have dramatic biological effects. This make them ideal pharmaceuticals. Venomous snakes may be the cause of nightmares for some, but to scientists they represent a novel source of medicine. The first drug derived from snake venom owes its origin to the Brazilian pit viper, whose bite caused workers in banana plantations to collapse because of a radical drop in blood pressure.
A protein was identified in the venom which blocks the action of angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE), an enzyme used by the body to regulate blood pressure. ACE inhibitors now are widely prescribed drugs for treating high blood pressure.
Spiders, scorpions, bees and wasps are not the most popular of creatures, yet may hold promise in the fight against bacterial infection.
Researchers have isolated powerful agents from the bites and stings of creatures which destroy bacteria by penetrating their membranes and breaking open their cells.

Such natural antibiotics do not damage normal cells. This means they can be useful as drugs to help overcome human infections immune to standard antibiotics.

One of the best known examples of a natural toxin used in therapy is botulinum toxin, better known by its trade name, Botox. This protein is one of the most toxic substances known, yet millions of Botox injections are administered each year. Botulinum toxin is a lethally poisonous substance produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, normally associated with botulism or food poisoning. This protein blocks the release of acetylcholine, the molecule responsible for transmitting signals from nerve cells to muscles, making the muscle unable to contract, thereby causing paralysis.

Exploiting this activity, in extremely dilute form, has proved effective in medical applications ranging from diminishing wrinkles and migraines to a treatment for crossed eyes, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

Even the placid platypus has venom with a kick. The male platypus, one of only a few venomous mammals, uses a spur on its hind ankle to inject victims.

While not lethal to humans, the toxins are used to exert dominance in deadly combat among rivals, and as a viciously painful defence mechanism.

The particular ingredient in platypus venom that accounts for its exceptional pain-inducing qualities is thought to act directly on pain-sensing nerves which transmit the sensation of pain from its source to the brain. Study on the toxin is continuing and may lead to new treatments for chronic pain sufferers.

* Dr Tara Pukala is from the School of Chemistry and Physics at the University of Adelaide. She was also awarded the Channel 9 Young Achiever Award: The University of Adelaide Faculty of Sciences Science & Technology Award.


Egyptian pharaoh Menes is often claimed to be the first person to conduct research into poisons as early as 3000BC.

Compounds in venoms and poisons are now being developed for treatment of a wide range of human diseases from cancer and heart disease to diabetes and epilepsy.

Components of marine cone snail venoms are up to 10,000 times more potent pain-killers than morphine, without addictive properties or side effects.

Botulinum toxin (Botox) is the most commonly administered natural toxin. One gram, if dispersed and ingested, could kill more than 10 million people.

In 2002, Amylin Pharmaceuticals sold rights to a drug being developed from Gila monster lizard venom for $325 million.

I am well aware of this particular area of study.  My daughter required an extract of a deadly plant, the Foxglove, to be administered in liquid form during her first few years of life when she was basically suffering from an ongoing heart attack that was mediated by Lanoxin.   Yes, if the world of science would view organisms as created and devolved creatures, our understanding of how organisms work and what can be gleaned from them would likely be increased immensely.
The tiny bugs that keep us healthy JAMES BYRNE, UNIVERSITY OF ADELAIDE From: The Advertiser May 18, 2010 10:08AM
A PROBIOTIC is considered to be any microbe that protects its host and prevents disease.

Passive probiotics have been used as supplements for years and perform a function referred to as "niche occupation", which is the ability to occupy a space and utilise available resources instead of that space being available to a potentially harmful micro-organism.

Infectious disease is a significant and serious problem worldwide but, with levels of antibiotic resistance rising, our ability to treat these infections is waning.

While some researchers search for a new wonder drug to fight infectious disease, others are turning to bacteria and viruses, genetically modifying them and using the resulting organisms to target and even destroy organisms that would normally contribute to disease.
One of the largest uses of bacteria to improve health is in the probiotic market.

Probiotics were first developed in the beginning of the 20th century in the belief that certain "bad" bacteria found in the gut could speed up the ageing process.

The aim was to remove these bad bacteria, replacing them with "good" bacteria which could then improve people's health.

It had also been observed that in rural communities of Bulgaria and Russia, where the local diet contained fermented milk products, the life span was higher than the average for the rest of Europe.

This milk was being fermented by many types of bacteria - now known collectively as lactic acid bacteria (LAB).

It was thought that by consuming the fermented milk products containing LABs, these people were removing the toxins and digestive byproducts responsible for old age.

Of course this is not the case and the theory was disproved, but the research into probiotic medicine took off.

Advances in the field of probiotics showed that this replacement of "bad" for "good" bacteria couldn't stop ageing but, in some cases, could be given to a patient to help them manage the symptoms of a number of intestinal diseases.

In fact, during World War I, a probiotic was developed that could limit the number of acute intestinal infectious disease caused by salmonella and shigella.

Since then, LABs have even been safely administered to babies both preventively and as a therapy for diarrhoea.

The field of probiotics still uses LABs to this day, although they are not necessarily prescribed by your doctor.

Many food manufacturers and health food suppliers advertise the advantages of increasing your intake of these "good" bacteria through the consumption of their products. One of the most commonly used LABs is the bacterial family of Lactobacilli which is now considered among the best options as a preventive probiotic.

These work by fermenting your intestinal contents. They work particularly hard on milk products, resulting in the intestine becoming more acidic.

A more acidic intestine has been shown to inhibit the growth of potential pathogens such as salmonella, E. coli and shigella.

More recently, the concept of probiotic therapy has been taken a step further.
Genetic manipulation of some strains of bacteria has allowed for the creation of new and innovative therapies for common bacterial diseases.

Designer probiotics can be used for a variety of purposes - and successfully to act as "pathogen or toxin sinks".

By altering the designer probiotic to express molecules capable of binding the toxin and/or the pathogen, these dangerous products can potentially be removed from the body before making the patient sick.

This area of research is producing very interesting results for the treatment of a variety of intestinal pathogens. The only problem with traditional probiotics appears to be in dose. When we talk about how many bacteria are contained within something, we are normally referring to the number that will grow, not dead or dying cells.

So if a product advertises itself to contain six million bacteria, it should contain six million live bacteria, but this is not always the case.

Another issue with dose that has been identified is that many clinical studies display the health benefits of a daily consumption in excess of 50 billion bacteria while many products fall well short of that mark.

Probiotics are becoming more and more popular as the benefits of consumption are being cleverly advertised.

There are no known side effects and the benefits of taking them, especially after a course of antibiotics, have been detailed in the scientific literature.

The role that probiotics will play in the preservation of health within the community is becoming clearer but the research to push the concept of probiotics is reaping rewards for not only the prevention but also treatment of acute intestinal infectious diseases.

* James Byrne is a University of Adelaide Microbiology Department PhD student.

In advance of the next post, the following is a list of new organisms that have been observed to have evolved in a Darwinian or macrovolutionary manner:
Starting in just a minute...
Any time now.
Must be one, right?
Not even one?
If you haven't figured it out by now, there are NO examples.   More on this later.


Anonymous said...

Yes, if the world of science would view organisms as created and devolved creatures, our understanding of how organisms work and what can be gleaned from them would likely be increased immensely.

In other words, there is most likely a ton of money and fame available to a scientist who does what you say. But, scientists choose not to take that road because their passion in life is not science, but rather forwarding an atheist conspiracy.

So Radar, was that last post the end of your "dating methods" series?

Here is a claim from around the time of that series (April) that you haven't backed up one bit:

"All dating methods thought up by Darwinists and Naturalists ignore the idea of the Flood and all of them have major flaws and questions. One will find this out if one studies the evidence presented by both sides (all three sides, depending on how you look at it). For every method that presents old ages there is another method that shows a very young earth. Creationists have been very successful finding dating methods that are not likely skewed by a Flood event and those methods give us young ages."


Jon Woolf said...

These very same toxins, however, are revealing how to saves lives as researchers turn to the array of chemicals in naturally occurring poisons and venoms as unusual sources for treatment of chronic pain and disease.

Now let me see if I have this straight...

A person (call him 'A') has a certain medical problem ... let us say, high blood pressure.

A certain venom found in (for example) lace monitors works by producing an extreme version of the exact opposite of A's problem -- ie, a drastic, debilitating drop in blood pressure.

If you take lace-monitor venom and heavily dilute it, and give the resulting mixture to A, then it temporarily reduces his blood pressure into the "normal" range, thus improving his condition for as long as the drug's effects last.

Wow. Who knew? (Other than the herblore-masters who have been using a variety of herbs for precisely such treatments for unknown thousands of years.)

Next you'll be telling us that the best treatment for dehydration is to give the victim plenty of liquids. After all, we all know that consuming excessive amounts of hydrogen hydroxide can be deadly. Don't we?

It's cosmically ironic (the production of which is clearly a specialty of creationists) that in fact there's an entire field of medicine which is improving our understanding of many chronic human and animal illnesses and disorders, and how to treat them, by considering the patient's evolutionary background. This is known, somewhat inaccurately, as Darwinian medicine.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, if the world of science would view organisms as created and devolved creatures, our understanding of how organisms work and what can be gleaned from them would likely be increased immensely."

How exactly? What would be gained?