The Daily Dose: The COVID-19 clotting mystery; Glyphosate-autism ties

Sign up for Scientific Inquirer’s Steady State Newsletter for the week’s top stories, exclusive interviews, and weekly giveaways. Plenty of value added but without the tax.

COVID-19 kills in so many ways. What started as a respiratory disease has transformed into an amorphous condition that also causes kidney failure and damages the circulatory system. Uncontrolled clotting appears to be a major driver of morbidity. Unfortunately, not much is known about how it happens. As per Nature, “Why this clotting occurs is still a mystery. One possibility is that SARS-CoV-2 is directly attacking the endothelial cells that line the blood vessels. Endothelial cells harbour the same ACE2 receptor that the virus uses to enter lung cells. And there is evidence that endothelial cells can become infected: researchers from the University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, observed SARS-Cov-2 in endothelial cells inside kidney tissue.”

A recent study investigated the burden of COVID-19 on American workers. Their findings are in line with anecdotal evidence and everything we’ve been hearing on the news since the pandemic began. This just confirms how much frontline workers are going through. “Based on our analyses, approximately 10% (14.4 M) of United States workers are employed in occupations where exposure to disease or infection occurs at least once per week. Approximately 18.4% (26.7 M) of all United States workers are employed in occupations where exposure to disease or infection occurs at least once per month. While the majority of exposed workers are employed in healthcare sectors, other occupational sectors also have high proportions of exposed workers.” The list of workers ranges from EMTs and police officers to grocery store clerks and bus drivers.

Here’s some news that will get the organic food/anti-GMO militia up in arms. A recent study has reaffirmed the link between glyphosate and autism when pregnant women are exposed to the herbicide. “These findings suggest that maternal exposure to high levels of glyphosate causes ASD-like behavioral abnormalities and abnormal composition of gut microbiota in juvenile offspring, and that increased activity of sEH (Soluble epoxide hydrolase) might play a role in ASD-like behaviors in offspring after maternal glyphosate exposure. Therefore, sEH may represent a target for ASD in offspring after maternal stress from occupational exposure to contaminants.” Of course, the amount of glyphosate used far surpasses normal dietary exposure. So unless pregnant women are spraying crops in the field or preparing the spray equipment, they should be okay.

And now, under the plays-nice-with-others category… Turns out Neandertals and early homo sapiens weren’t always exterminating each other. In fact, findings in a well known Neandertal watering hole also has human remnants. As per Science, “This region had long been home to Neanderthals, who left stone tools in the same cave more than 50,000 years ago. But these cave dwellers were new to Europe, as an international team reports in Nature this week. Researchers re-excavated the cave and used a cutting-edge toolkit of their own to identify a molar and a handful of bone fragments as belonging to Homo sapiens, our own species. Precise new dates show these cave dwellers lived as early as 46,000 years ago, which makes them the earliest known members of our species in Europe.” Turns out they all hung out together. This pretty consistent with the fact that Neandertals and homo sapiens mated and had mixed babies.

IMAGE SOURCE: Creative Commons

Words matter. Images matter. The Scientific Inquirer needs your support. Help us pay our contributors for their hard work. Visit our Patreon page and discover ways that you can make a difference.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: