Pesticides can initiate the progression of Parkinson's disease

Pathological studies on Parkinson's disease (PD) patients suggest that PD pathology progresses from the enteric nervous system (ENS) and the olfactory bulb into the central nervous system. We have previously shown that environmental toxins acting locally on the ENS mimic this PD-like pathology progression pattern in mice. Here, we show for the first time that the resection of the autonomic nerves stops this progression. Moreover, our results show that an environmental toxin (i.e. rotenone) promotes the release of alpha-synuclein by enteric neurons and that released enteric alpha-synuclein is up-taken by presynaptic sympathetic neurites and retrogradely transported to the soma, where it accumulates. These results strongly suggest that pesticides can initiate the progression of PD pathology and that this progression is based on the transneuronal and retrograde axonal transport of alpha-synuclein. If confirmed in patients, this study would have crucial implications in the strategies used to prevent and treat PD.

The Orwellian Nightmare: Bayer CropScience to build bee care center in Research Triangle Park

Bayer CropScience is planning to break ground in February on a bee care center in the Research Triangle Park where one official said the company hopes to attract university researchers to look into factors that may affect bee health. The company, a subsidiary of the Germany company Bayer AG that works on crop protection, non-agricultural pest control, seeds and genetically determined traits, makes products in a class of pesticide that was linked in two studies published in the journal Science this year to harmful effects on bees. The company’s new “North American Bee Care Center,” slated to be finished in July, is expected to cost $2.65 million. It’s planned to be used as a gathering place for researchers, bee experts, students and visitors, according to a news release.

Two icons of Christmas are telling us that wildlife is in crisis

For at least 200 years it has been a yuletide staple, but the traditional world of the popular carol The Twelve Days of Christmas is now under threat as never before. Partridges (Perdix perdix) and turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur) are disappearing from the countryside at such alarming rates that without urgent action the species may cease to exist in the UK outside the verses of the festive classic, scientists have warned. Once widespread in southern Britain, the turtle dove population, estimated at 14,000 pairs, has seen a 60% drop in numbers in the five years to 2010. The UK grey partridge, estimated at around 43,000 pairs, has seen a 30% fall over the same period.

Abnormality in biogenic amines-mediated neuronal signaling impairs olfactory learning and memory

In this overview, I discuss colony collapse disorder (CCD), biogenic amines-based-pesticides (neonicotinoids and formamidines), and their disruptive effects on biogenic amine signaling causing olfactory dysfunction in honeybees. According to my hypothesis, chronic exposure of biogenic amines-based-pesticides to honeybee foragers in hives and agricultural fields can disrupt neural cholinergic and octopaminergic signaling. Abnormality in biogenic amines-mediated neuronal signaling impairs their olfactory learning and memory, therefore foragers do not return to their hive – a possible cause of CCD. This overview is an attempt to discuss a hypothetical link among biogenic amines-based pesticides, olfactory learning and memory, and CCD.

Syngenta questions committee approach on neonicotinoids

Representatives from Syngenta and Bayer CropScience were questioned by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee last week as it seeks to establish whether the UK should follow other European countries in banning or restricting neonicotinoid insecticides. But Syngenta, which makes the systemic insecticide Thiamethoxam, is unhappy at the committee's approach. Head of public affairs Luke Gibbs told Grower it had been established to consider a single variable - the action of insecticides on pollinating insects - when the problem of pollinator decline is "multi-variable", he said. "They will only look at a narrow range of scientific papers. But the real threats to bees are the Varroa mite and habitat loss. Focusing only on pesticides could lead to recommendations that are not balanced." Gibbs added that the inquiry "has inevitably attracted groups that are ideologically opposed to pesticide use", and he noted: "Several of the committee, such as Caroline Lucas, Zac Goldsmith and Martin Caton, have a long-stated public position on this."

Soil sorption characteristics of imidacloprid in different Croatian regions

In Croatia, imidacloprid is increasingly used in olive growing areas against the olive fruit fly. Experiments were conducted to examine the relationship between soil properties, imidacloprid concentration and soil sorption capacity. The linear and the Freundlich model adequately described the imidacloprid sorption. Better sorption was observed at lower imidacloprid concentrations and in soils with higher organic carbon and clay content, but organic carbon content was predominant factor influencing sorption. Thus, for soils with lower sorption capacity a greater potential mobility of imidacloprid in the soil profile is expected, indicating a need for regular monitoring and strategy development against groundwater pollution.

Paracelsus got it wrong

The contemporary interpretation of Paracelsus's famous declaration “the dose makes the poison”, for which he is often called the father of toxicology, is that dose and effect move together in a predictably linear fashion, and that lower exposures to a hazardous compound will therefore always generate lower risks. This idea is not just a philosophical abstraction; it is the core assumption underlying the system of chemical-safety testing that arose in the mid-twentieth century. Risk assessors typically look for adverse effects of a compound over a range of high doses and, from there, extrapolate downwards to establish health standards — always assuming, like Paracelsus, that chemicals toxic at high doses are much less risky at lower, real-world levels. But what if the Paracelsian presumption is wrong? On the basis of conventional high-dose testing, regulators have set maximum acceptable levels for each of them that assume all doses below that level are safe. But academic researchers who have studied a wider range of doses, including very low ones found in the everyday environment, say that their experiments usually do not generate the tidy, familiar 'ski-slope' dose-response graphs of classic toxicology.

The FOCUS modeling approach is not protective for insecticide concentrations in the field

The FOrum for the Co-ordination of pesticide fate models and their USe
(FOCUS) exposure models are used to predict the frequency and magnitude of pesticide surface water concentrations within the European regulatory risk assessment. The predictions are based on realistic worst-case assumptions that result in predicted environmental concentrations (PEC). Here, we compared for the first time a larger data set of 122 measured field concentrations (MFC) of agricultural insecticides extracted from 22 field studies to respective PECs by using FOCUS steps 1−4. While FOCUS step 1 and 2 PECs generally overpredicted the MFCs, 23% of step 3 and 31% of step 4 standard PECs were exceeded by surface water MFCs, which questions the protectiveness of the FOCUS exposure assessment. Using realistic input parameters, step 3 simulations underpredicted MFCs in surface water and sediment by 43% and 78%, respectively, which indicate that a higher degree of realism even reduces the protectiveness of model results. The ratios between PEC and MFC in surface water were significantly lower for pyrethroids than for organophosphorus or organochlorine insecticides, which suggests that the FOCUS predictions are less protective for hydrophobic insecticides. In conclusion, the FOCUS modeling approach is not protective for insecticide concentrations in the field.

Dutch documentary investigates the link between the use of a new insecticide, Imidacloprid, and the rise of bee mortality

Of all European countries, the Netherlands has the greatest bee mortality. Conservationists are very concerned about the impact this has on our food chain. Most independent scientists and beekeepers from all over the world regard pesticides as the main cause of bee-mortality. But the pesticide companies deny any causal link. In the Netherlands, the government's chief advisers in this field, from Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), deny absolutely that pesticides are a major cause of bee mortality.
This film reveals that their judgement is affected by the massive funding that the University receives from pesticide manufacturers. Because of the vast financial interests at stake, the connection between the death of the bees and the use of pesticides is a very sensitive political issue at The Hague. Can the honeybees be saved? This video documentary by Holland's famous Zembla TV Channel explores the murky world of pesticide politics. http://omroep.vara.nl/media/175032

Bats recovering from white-nose syndrome (WNS) show evidence of IRIS, a condition that is experienced by HIV-AIDS patients

According to a hypothesis proposed by the U.S. Geological Survey and collaborators at National Institutes of Health, bats recovering from white-nose syndrome show evidence of immune reconstitution inflammatory syndrome (IRIS), a condition that was first described in HIV-AIDS patients. IRIS is a syndrome in which an organism's immune system, which has been suppressed, reactivates and, perceiving a serious infection around it, goes into overdrive resulting in severe inflammation and tissue damage in infected areas. In both human patients with HIV-AIDS and bats with WNS, the functioning of the immune system is severely reduced. For humans, this occurs when the HIV virus attacks the patient's white blood cells. In bats, this occurs during normal hibernation. IRIS can be fatal to both humans and bats.
"The potential discovery of IRIS in bats infected with white-nose syndrome is incredibly significant in terms of understanding both the reasons for bat mortality and basic immune response," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "This discovery could also prove significant for studies on treatment for AIDS."