DAILY DOSE: Commonly used chemical increases chances of Parkinson’s by 70%; Japanese police hunt for headless body after bear attack.

There’s disturbing news about a chemical commonly found just about everywhere. Per Science,

A groundbreaking epidemiological study has produced the most compelling evidence yet that exposure to the chemical solvent trichloroethylene (TCE)—common in soil and groundwater—increases the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease. The movement disorder afflicts about 1 million Americans, and is likely the fastest growing neurodegenerative disease in the world; its global prevalence has doubled in the past 25 years.

The report, published today in JAMA Neurology, involved examining the medical records of tens of thousands of Marine Corps and Navy veterans who trained at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina from 1975 to 1985. Those exposed there to water heavily contaminated with TCE had a 70% higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease decades later compared with similar veterans who trained elsewhere. The Camp Lejeune contingent also had higher rates of symptoms such as erectile dysfunction and loss of smell that are early harbingers of Parkinson’s, which causes tremors; problems with moving, speaking, and balance; and in many cases dementia. Swallowing difficulties often lead to death from pneumonia.

About 90% of Parkinson’s cases can’t be explained by genetics, but there have been hints that exposure to TCE may trigger it.

Trichloroethylene is primarily used as a solvent in the industrial sector for degreasing metal parts and as an ingredient in adhesives, paint removers, and spot removers. It is also used in the production of refrigerants and other chemicals. Trichloroethylene is found in the environment, primarily in soil and water, as a result of its release from industrial sites, and can also be detected in indoor air where it is used or stored. https://bit.ly/41IUox5

The top slot at the National Institutes of Health has been vacant for some time now. That may soon change. Per STAT,

President Biden on Monday officially announced that he would nominate National Cancer Institute Director Monica Bertagnolli to fill the long-vacant director slot at the National Institutes of Health.

The cancer surgeon has led NCI — NIH’s largest institute — since last October and previously led Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s surgical oncology unit. If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the second woman to lead the agency.

NIH has been without a permanent director since Francis Collins stepped down in December 2021. His deputy Lawrence Tabak has been in the acting role since then, and earlier this month testified before a Senate panel on the president’s proposed 2024 budget.

Bertagnolli was originally slated to appear alongside Tabak and other center directors at that hearing, but was unable to attend because of scheduled treatment for breast cancer. She announced her diagnosis last December, just two months into her tenure as NCI director.

Let the political, ad hominem attacks begin. That’s just how it goes these days, isn’t it? https://bit.ly/3oeelhn

The ruins at Pompeii is world-famous for the impact the eruption of Mount Vesuvius had on the Roman city. Turns out, getting destroyed by a nearby volcano was only the last in a string of natural disasters to hit the ill-fated city. Per the Associated Press,

The discovery of two skeletons buried beneath a collapsed wall in the Pompeii archaeological site point to deaths by powerful earthquakes that accompanied the devastating eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the first century, experts said Tuesday, in addition to the victims of volcanic ash and gas.

The two skeletons believed to be men at least 55 years old found in the insula of the Casti Amanti, beneath a wall that collapsed before the area was covered in volcanic material. The area was undergoing reconstruction work at the time of the eruption in A.D. 79, following an earthquake a few days earlier.

In recent years, we have realized there were violent, powerful seismic events that were happening at the time of the eruption,″ said Gabriel Zuchtriegel, director of the Pompeii Archaeological Park.

New archaeological techniques and methodology “allow us to understand better the inferno that in two days completely destroyed the city of Pompeii, killing many inhabitants,″ he added, making it possible to determine the dynamic of deaths down to the final seconds.

More than 1,300 victims have been found in the archaeological site south of Naples over the last 250 years.

You kind of get the idea Pompeii could have been built at a better location. https://bit.ly/3MaWbVP

In a narrative straight out of an Edgar Allan Poe detective mystery, authorities in Japan are looking for the remains of a fisher who may have fallen victim to a bear attack. Per Japan Today,

Police are searching for an angler who went missing at a lake in Hokkaido, suspecting he may have been attacked by a bear after a human head was found in the area Monday, they said.

According to the police, a boat dropped off Toshihiro Nishikawa, 54, to fish unaccompanied at a spot on Lake Shumarinai in Horokanai early Sunday. An employee of the boat operator later saw a bear nearby with waders dangling from its mouth and attempted to call Nishikawa, but could not reach him.

The information prompted the town office to launch a bear hunt operation and a member of the group killed one on Monday afternoon, according to a town official.

A human head was also discovered during the operation. The police said they have not yet determined whether it is that of Nishikawa, a resident of Okoppe, also on Japan's northernmost main island.

The lake, located in northern Hokkaido, draws anglers trying to catch Sakhalin taimen, a rarely caught fish in Japan, as well as trout and Japanese smelt.

You can’t make this stuff up… Though, Poe kinda did in Murders in the Rue Morgue. https://bit.ly/3W7HzLk

Thanks for reading. Let’s be careful out there.


ON SALE! Charles Darwin Signature T-shirt – “I think.” Two words that changed science and the world, scribbled tantalizingly in Darwin’s Transmutation Notebooks.

Success! You're on the list.

AI outperformed standard risk model for predicting breast cancer
In a large study of thousands of mammograms, artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms …
A lung injury therapy derived from adult skin cells
Therapeutic nanocarriers engineered from adult skin cells can curb inflammation and tissue …

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: