Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Oh no. toxins!

God Blessed us with wonderful gifts.  Plants & Animals

Genesis 1: 11 ‑ 12
   Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed‑bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:24
   And God said "Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind." And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

We are blessed but we can't have everything in this world. God gave us a lot of Plants and animals around us which will help us to survive. But do you know that there are certain harmful substances produced by plants and animals?these are called TOXINS.

Toxins are harmful substances from living organisms like plants and animals.  Many of them are extremely poisonous. Let us talk about toxins based on what is producing them.Either Plants or Animals.

Plant Toxins

  • can be extracted from the seeds of Castor Oil plant; a specie of flowering plant in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae.
  • this toxin is highly poisonous whether injected, ingested or even inhaled. It acts as a toxin to the human body by inhibiting protein synthesis, persons exposed to ricin may experience allergic reactions, severe diarrhea and may die of shock. 
  • just like bacteria and viruses this plant toxin is also a part of the history, In 1978( in London), it was used in the "umbrella murder" where a ricin-treated bullet was used to shoot a Bulgarian defector. The guy died within a day.
  • a toxin found in the seeds of Lucky bean or Abrus precatorius; its a slender, perennial climber that twines around trees, shrubs, and hedges.
  • it acts as toxin by attaching itself to the cell membrane.
  • Abrin is far more poisonous than ricin, its fatal dose is 75 times smaller than ricin. 3 micrograms of abrin in the circulation is already lethal.
  • But in spite of the poisonous substance abrin found in the lucky bean it still has good uses. The seeds are brightly red in color which makes them beautiful native jewelries (but there should be extra care because there have been cases of death reported due to finger prick while boring the needle to the seed). 
  • In other places they use the leaves of the lucky bean to treat cough, colds and fever.
  • allergen produced by poison ivy. 
  • it acts as toxin by  binding to the skin on contact, where it causes severe itching that develops into reddish coloured inflammation and then blistering. 

Animal Toxins

Snake venom
  • Saliva produced by special glands of snakes.
  • The mechanism of action of these venom differ from one another.

Spider Venom
  • some spiders are venomous and produces neuro toxic venom which attacks the nervous system.
  • here are some spiders that possess neurotoxins:

Widow Spider

Australian Funnel Web Spider

Brazilian Wandering Web spider

Scorpion Venom
  • Almost all species of scorpions are poisonous to their preys and also to human.
  • The venom contains neuro toxins, histamine and other enzymes. Therefore the victim may experience allergic reactions, fever, swelling of the body, agitation or anxiety, pain or tightness in the chest or back.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
USDA Fire Effects Information System

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Anterior Pituitary Hormone

"Oh no." 

Those are the exact words that i said when i knew that we are tasked to make a poem about the anterior pituitary hormones.I would love to make a new blog post especially if its about something that we already discussed. Its just that i don't like making poems because i'm not good at it.

But like what i said, we are tasked to make one and publish it online, meaning i have no choice but to DO IT. i told myself that if others can do it therefore i can do it too. 

Proverbs 3:5-6 

5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
   and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
   and he will make your paths straight


First of all let us discuss some points about the anterior pituitary gland. It is also called the adenohypophysis, it is a part of the endocrine system and comprises the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. 

This gland works with the hypothalamus. 

It is the gland responsible in regulating several physiological processes like growth, reproduction and stress.

Before proceeding in reading the poem you can check on the video clip below to further understand how the "anterior pituitary gland" works.

Poem Title: Anterior Pituitary Gland in ACTION!

The anterior pituitary gland is small as a pea
But you cant imagine how important it can be.
It regularly produces hormones 
An action we can never postpone.

The anterior pituitary glands has three parts
That can never be apart.

First, the bulk portion called as pars distalis
Where hormone production is.

The pars tuberalis is like a cloak
That is wrapped around the pituitary stalk.

Lastly, the pars intermedia that sits in between
so small that sometimes its not seen

Since were done with anatomy lets go a little bloody
focus in hormones and discuss its purpose.
One gland that produces six
Which will then make different tricks!

Corticotropin stimulates secretion of glucocorticoids.

Human growth hormone regulates blood glucose elevation
if glucose is high this will take action
This also supplies growth factor
that if we lack will make us a small actor

Follicle stimulating hormone induces estrogen secretion
and sperm production.

Luteinizing hormone Hormone triggers ovulation
And progesterone production 
in males it is responsible in testosterone production

Lets all thank prolactin for it is responsible in lactation
without its action we have no option 
but to depend on artificial milk production.

Thyroid Stimulating hormone which secretes thyroid hormones
abnormal secretion will lead to tension.
hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are two conditions caused by this fortune.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this:

-after 6 hours in front of the computer i MADE IT! Praise God! :) God bless us all :))


Tortora, Derrickson: Principles of Anatomy and Physiology, 11th edition, Wiley Publishing

Monday, May 16, 2011

Endocrinology.Toxicology.Drug testing

First of all i would like to share my thoughts the first time our teacher told us about making this Blog about Clinical Chemistry. Just click on the link and you'll be directed to the blogpost :)Clinical Chemistry BLOG? (click)


I guess the first thing that pops into everyone's mind whenever they hear the word endocrinology is "hormones"

In simple definition ENDOCRINOLOGY ("endo" meaning inside and "crinis" for secrete) is the study of the Endocrine system.

The Endocrine System as defined by Calbreath, "is a collection of hormones, carrier proteins and other components of these processes"

The endocrine system is a system of glands that secrete hormones, These hormones act as chemical messengers directly released through the bloodstream and help regulate our body's biochemical processes like regulation of mood, metabolism, tissue function, reproductive processes, growth etc. 

Definition of Endocrine System (Henry's Clinical Diagnosis and
Management By Laboratory Methods 21st Edition)

What are the Major Glands that are responsible in the production of hormones?
  • Hypothalamus
  • Thyroid
  • Parathyroid
  • Pituitary
  • Islets of Langerhans
  • Adrenal
  • Gonads

As Medical Technologists, we are trained to do laboratory tests necessary in determining the levels of each hormone in the body. Any abnormal secretion and regulation of a hormone may cause illnesses/diseases. If the hormone causing the disease is determined it would be easy for the doctor to provide the right treatment needed by the patient.

What is interesting about it?

  • It works with the nervous system. It sends signals similar to that of the nervous system but the mechanism is different. 
  • The nervous system generates and sends signals very fast and generates short lived responses quickly while the Endocrine System initiates long lived responses slowly. The term "long lived" means the effects generated by the system lasts for a period of time.
For further Reading about the Endocrine System and the diseases, you may click this LINK :)


Photo Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Unlike endocrinology a word didn't pop into my head whenever i hear the word "TOXIC", instead i visualize a picture/drawing of a skull and two long bones crossed.

 Toxicology ( τοξικός - toxicos "poisonous" and logos) is a study about substances/ drugs (including poison) introduced from the outside of the body and their adverse effects.

From the word itself, toxicology deals with the toxic/poison that affects man

These are classified as; Heavy Metals, Solvents and Vapors, Radiation and Radioactive Materials ,Dioxin/Furans, Pesticides, Plant Toxins and Animal Toxins.

To further understand the field, let us define some terms related to it :

  • Adverse Effects- effects that are damaging to the normal condition of an individual.
  • Toxicity- refers to the degree on how poisonous or harmful a substance is.
  • Toxic -relates to poisonous or deadly effects on the body.
  • Toxin - is a poisonous substance produced naturally.
  • Selective Toxicity - this is when a chemical will produce injury to one kind of living matter without harming another form of life, even though the two may exist close together.

There are several factors that affect the toxicity of a substance, These includes:

  • Dose - defined as the quantity of the substance taken in.
  • Duration - this is how long the person is exposed to the substance.
  • Route of Exposure - the way how a person came in contact with the substance, this can be by: ingestion, inhalation and direct skin contact.
  • Type of Chemical - one chemical differs from one another based on their physical and chemical structure.
  • Human Factors - the severity also depends on human factors like health status and age.
  • Dose Response - defined as the relationship between the dose taken and the response exhibited on the person. This relationship is directly proportional; the higher the dose, the greater the response.
  • Threshold Dose - this is the "no effect dose" wherein the substance is taken in but no response/adverse effect is seen.

This field has several sub disciplines which include:
  • Occupational Toxicology
    • sometimes called as "industrial technology", this deals with the study of chemicals/substances in the workplace.
  • Environmental toxicology
    • "Forensic Toxicology"
      Photo Credit: Nowie Serrano;
       Oliver Nico Macaspac
    • it deals with the study of chemicals that enter bodies of water, soil and the atmosphere. 
  • Forensic Toxicology
    • used to help in determining the cause of death; aids in medico legal investigations.
  • Food Toxicology
    • involved in keeping the food served to the public safe from harmful substances.
  • Clinical Toxicology 
    • concerned in treating short termed and long termed exposure to harmful substances/chemicals.
  • Mechanistic Toxicology
    • studies about how harmful chemicals/substances cause their effects.

Why is toxicology important?
  • Since ingestion of poisons like cyanide, carbon monoxide etc. is highly life threatening, early prevention and detection can probably cure/stop the adverse effects. The earlier the detection, the higher the probability that the person will recover.
Click on the link below for the list of Toxic profiles:

Toxicology Profiles for Chemical Agents

from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Photo Credit : Nowie Serrano
"Lab urine specimen"
Drug testing involves the analysis and detection of drugs and their metabolites on a specimen/Body fluid. 

Once you take drugs, after some time it can be detected in body fluids like urine, blood, saliva, and sweat.

 Urine  is the most popular specimen for drug testing because its cheap and can detect recent use.Drugs can also be detected in the hair.

The detection of the drug in Body fluids and hair is affected by certain factors such as the kind of drug, the amount taken, frequency, body mass and a lot more.

The main concern of Drug testing is to detect drugs of abuse and those that are illegal. 

Photo Credit : Nowie Serrano
Drugs of Abuse- these are illegal drugs taken repeatedly and amount which can affect a person's normal function which includes: cocaine, amphetamine, opiates, marijuana, valium, heroin etc.

Why is Drug Testing Important?

  • Primarily to protect the health of each and everyone. Not only the drug user but also the people around him/her.
Click on the link below: 

"Just like the other fields in Medicine, Endocrinology, Toxicology and Drug Testing plays an important role in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases and also in maintaining life."