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Ancient Science of Life  1986;6(2):69-76.
Galen's three souls incorporate previously existing ideas of soul. Soul is matter – cum – energy. As matter it is airlike, the finest by nature and as movement, like sound, the form of energy most subtle of its kind. Creator is depicted with Creation as the Cosmic egg and snake as Cosmic soul and the syllable Om, as the word incorporating creative energy. Om as humming sound is symbolized by Bees which produce such sound.
PMCID: PMC3331411  PMID: 22557550
Ancient Science of Life  1989;8(3-4):191-195.
Alchemy as art tries to imitate creation such as spontaneous generation. The magic wands of creation, of Chinese origin, would be a compass and a triangular carpenter's square. Creation is represented by the dual-natured soul, comprising of the spirit (Ruh) and “the” soul (Nafs). The ultimate source is creative energy which emanates form the Divine word of command. Creative energy, in its non-manifest form, would be ultrasonic energy, which can be represented by a humming sourd. This would be sympolized by the humming sound. This would be symbolized by the humming sound of bees represent creative energy and in fig 3 the fiddle, as direct producers of a humming sound.
PMCID: PMC3336720  PMID: 22557649
Ancient Science of Life  1984;4(2):116-122.
In China the antecedent of alchemy is represented by the god of longevity emerging from the peach. The first synthetic drug, Kim-Yeh, red colloidal gold, signified gold-cum -herbal juice. Kim-Yeh=Kimiya (Arabic) =chemeia (Greek). Translated this gave Chrusozomion=Gold Ferment, specifying the drug. Rasayana was translated as Chumeia, herbal juice-incorporate and signified the art alchemy. Chemeia was Chinese and Chumeia, Indian. Originally each signified both, a drug of longevity and the art, alchemy. Finally the art of making red gold was misunderstood as the art of making gold itself
PMCID: PMC3331503  PMID: 22557463
4.  Playing with heart and soul…and genomes: sports implications and applications of personal genomics 
PeerJ  2013;1:e120.
Whether the integration of genetic/omic technologies in sports contexts will facilitate player success, promote player safety, or spur genetic discrimination depends largely upon the game rules established by those currently designing genomic sports medicine programs. The integration has already begun, but there is not yet a playbook for best practices. Thus far discussions have focused largely on whether the integration would occur and how to prevent the integration from occurring, rather than how it could occur in such a way that maximizes benefits, minimizes risks, and avoids the exacerbation of racial disparities. Previous empirical research has identified members of the personal genomics industry offering sports-related DNA tests, and previous legal research has explored the impact of collective bargaining in professional sports as it relates to the employment protections of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA). Building upon that research and upon participant observations with specific sports-related DNA tests purchased from four direct-to-consumer companies in 2011 and broader personal genomics (PGx) services, this anthropological, legal, and ethical (ALE) discussion highlights fundamental issues that must be addressed by those developing personal genomic sports medicine programs, either independently or through collaborations with commercial providers. For example, the vulnerability of student-athletes creates a number of issues that require careful, deliberate consideration. More broadly, however, this ALE discussion highlights potential sports-related implications (that ultimately might mitigate or, conversely, exacerbate racial disparities among athletes) of whole exome/genome sequencing conducted by biomedical researchers and clinicians for non-sports purposes. For example, the possibility that exome/genome sequencing of individuals who are considered to be non-patients, asymptomatic, normal, etc. will reveal the presence of variants of unknown significance in any one of the genes associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), long QT syndrome (LQTS), Marfan’s syndrome, and other conditions is not inconsequential, and how this information is reported, interpreted, and used may ultimately prevent the individual from participation in competitive sports. Due to the distribution of genetic diversity that reflects our evolutionary and demographic history (including the discernible effects of restricted gene flow and genetic drift associated with cultural constructs of race) and in recognition of previous policies for “leveling” the playing field in competitive sports based on “natural” athletic abilities, preliminary recommendations are provided to discourage genetic segregation of sports and to develop best practice guidelines for genomic sports medicine programs that will facilitate player success, promote player safety, and avoid genetic discrimination within and beyond the program.
PMCID: PMC3740137  PMID: 23940833
Legal issues; Personal genomics; Athletes; Sports; GINA; ELSI; Discrimination; Privacy; Sports medicine; Genetic screening
5.  Structural changes in the BH3 domain of SOUL protein upon interaction with the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL 
Biochemical Journal  2011;438(Pt 2):291-301.
The SOUL protein is known to induce apoptosis by provoking the mitochondrial permeability transition, and a sequence homologous with the BH3 (Bcl-2 homology 3) domains has recently been identified in the protein, thus making it a potential new member of the BH3-only protein family. In the present study, we provide NMR, SPR (surface plasmon resonance) and crystallographic evidence that a peptide spanning residues 147–172 in SOUL interacts with the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL. We have crystallized SOUL alone and the complex of its BH3 domain peptide with Bcl-xL, and solved their three-dimensional structures. The SOUL monomer is a single domain organized as a distorted β-barrel with eight anti-parallel strands and two α-helices. The BH3 domain extends across 15 residues at the end of the second helix and eight amino acids in the chain following it. There are important structural differences in the BH3 domain in the intact SOUL molecule and the same sequence bound to Bcl-xL.
PMCID: PMC3174058  PMID: 21639858
apoptosis; Bcl-xL; Bcl-2 homology 3 domain (BH3 domain); crystal structure; NMR; SOUL; surface plasmon resonance; BH, Bcl-2 homology; HEBP, haem-binding protein; HSQC, heteronuclear single-quantum coherence; MPT, mitochondrial permeability transition; rmsd, root mean square deviation; RZPD, Deutsches Ressouroenzentrum für Genomforschung; SPR, surface plasmon resonance
6.  The Relationship between Anti-merozoite Antibodies and Incidence of Plasmodium falciparum Malaria: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2010;7(1):e1000218.
A systematic review and meta-analysis examining the association between anti-merozoite antibody responses and incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria by Freya Fowkes and colleagues aids identification of antigens that confer protection from malaria.
One of the criteria to objectively prioritize merozoite antigens for malaria vaccine development is the demonstration that naturally acquired antibodies are associated with protection from malaria. However, published evidence of the protective effect of these antibodies is conflicting.
Methods and Findings
We performed a systematic review with meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies examining the association between anti-merozoite immunoglobin (Ig) G responses and incidence of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Two independent researchers searched six databases and identified 33 studies that met predefined inclusion and quality criteria, including a rigorous definition of symptomatic malaria. We found that only five studies were performed outside sub-Saharan Africa and that there was a deficiency in studies investigating antibodies to leading vaccine candidates merozoite surface protein (MSP)-142 and erythrocyte binding antigen (EBA)-175. Meta-analyses of most-studied antigens were conducted to obtain summary estimates of the association between antibodies and incidence of P. falciparum malaria. The largest effect was observed with IgG to MSP-3 C terminus and MSP-119 (responders versus nonresponders, 54%, 95% confidence interval [CI] [33%–68%] and 18% [4%–30%] relative reduction in risk, respectively) and there was evidence of a dose-response relationship. A tendency towards protective risk ratios (RR<1) was also observed for individual study estimates for apical membrane antigen (AMA)-1 and glutamate-rich protein (GLURP)-R0. Pooled estimates showed limited evidence of a protective effect for antibodies to MSP-1 N-terminal regions or MSP-1-EGF (epidermal growth factor-like modules). There was no significant evidence for the protective effect for MSP-2 (responders versus nonresponders pooled RR, MSP-2FC27 0.82, 95% CI 0.62–1.08, p = 0.16 and MSP-23D7 0.92, 95% CI 0.75–1.13, p = 0.43). Heterogeneity, in terms of clinical and methodological diversity between studies, was an important issue in the meta-analysis of IgG responses to merozoite antigens.
These findings are valuable for advancing vaccine development by providing evidence supporting merozoite antigens as targets of protective immunity in humans, and to help identify antigens that confer protection from malaria. Further prospective cohort studies that include a larger number of lead antigens and populations outside Africa are greatly needed to ensure generalizability of results. The reporting of results needs to be standardized to maximize comparability of studies. We therefore propose a set of guidelines to facilitate the uniform reporting of malaria immuno-epidemiology observational studies.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Plasmodium falciparum malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic infection, kills about one million people every year. Around a week after an infected mosquito has bitten a person, “merozoites” (one of the life-stages of the parasite) infect the person's red blood cells where they replicate and then burst out and infect more red blood cells. Rapid replication of parasites can occur in the bloodstream, leading to massive numbers of parasites that can damage vital organs. Although individuals can lower their risk of becoming infected with malaria parasites by avoiding mosquito bites, a vaccine is urgently needed to reduce the global burden of malaria. When malaria parasites infect a person for the first time, the human immune system begins to produce antibodies, proteins that recognize molecules (antigens) on the parasite's surface and that act directly or cooperate with other parts of the immune system to kill malaria parasites. The production of these “naturally acquired” antibodies is initially slow so the individual can become ill when infected. However, because the immune system “remembers” how to make the antibodies, its response to subsequent infections is quicker. The levels of these antibodies also build up with each infection and become more effective at killing parasites. Vaccines, which contain malaria antigens, “prime” the immune system to respond rapidly to malaria infections and produce high concentrations of antibodies to prevent the infection from causing serious illness.
Why Was This Study Done?
A malaria vaccine that stimulates an efficient immune response against merozoites would limit the severity of malarial infections and prevent many deaths but no one knows which (if any) of the antigens on merozoites stimulate a protective immune response. Although many different types of antibodies are produced by the immune system, only some of these are effective in protecting against malaria. By investigating whether there is an association between naturally acquired antibodies, which recognize specific candidate antigens, and protection from malaria in populations living in areas where malaria is endemic (always present), vaccine developers can get an idea about which antigens to include in their vaccines. Although many of these “malaria immuno-epidemiological studies” have been undertaken, their results are somewhat conflicting. In this study, the researchers reanalyze these results by doing a systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a specific topic) and a meta-analysis (a statistical method for combining the results of several studies). The researchers evaluated studies of the relationship between anti-merozoite antibodies and the incidence (the number of new cases of a disease in a population per year) of P. falciparum malaria in naturally exposed populations in different regions of the world.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers' search of the published literature yielded 33 studies in which the incidence of malaria had been recorded over time in groups of people in whom levels of antibodies to specific merozoite antigens had been measured. These studies measured antibodies at the start of the study and examined the subsequent risk of malaria over several months of follow-up (these are known as prospective cohort studies). All but five of the studies were performed in Africa, and very few merozoite antigens had been well-studied in different populations, or studied at all. Of note, very few studies had examined naturally acquired antibodies to some leading vaccine candidates (for example, only one study considered antibodies to MSP-142, a leading vaccine candidate). Conversely, the association between malaria incidence and antibodies to the antigen MSP-119, which has been included in only one candidate vaccine, was frequently studied. In their meta-analyses, the researchers found that among people with antibodies to the merozoite antigens MSP-3 (C-terminal region) and MSP-119, the risk of developing P. falciparum malaria was reduced by 54% and 18%, respectively, compared to people without antibodies to these antigens. There was also some evidence of a reduced risk of malaria for people with antibodies to AMA1 and GLURP. For other merozoite antigens, MSP1 (N-terminal region) and MSP2, there was either weak or no evidence for a protective effect of naturally acquired antibodies.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that merozoite antigens are important targets of protective immunity in people who are naturally exposed to malaria and also suggest which of these antigens might be included in vaccines. However, the findings are limited by the small number of studies identified by the researchers and additional prospective cohort studies are clearly needed to guide vaccine development. These studies will need to include a larger number of lead antigens and populations outside Africa to ensure their generalizability, note the researchers. Furthermore, efforts will need to be made to ensure greater consistency between studies to improve the ability to compare results between different studies, which was a challenge in performing this study. To this end, the researchers propose a set of guidelines that, if followed, should make it easier to compare the results of different malaria immune-epidemiology studies in the future and thus lead to better identification of candidate vaccine antigens.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
Information is available from the World Health Organization on malaria (in several languages) and on the development of malaria vaccines
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
Information is available from the Wellcome Trust on all aspects of malaria, including vaccine development
The Malaria Vaccine Initiative provides information on the development of malaria vaccines and on ongoing trials
MedlinePlus provides links to additional information on malaria (in English and Spanish)
PMCID: PMC2808214  PMID: 20098724
7.  Human Exposure and Health Effects of Inorganic and Elemental Mercury 
Mercury is a toxic and non-essential metal in the human body. Mercury is ubiquitously distributed in the environment, present in natural products, and exists extensively in items encountered in daily life. There are three forms of mercury, i.e., elemental (or metallic) mercury, inorganic mercury compounds, and organic mercury compounds. This review examines the toxicity of elemental mercury and inorganic mercury compounds. Inorganic mercury compounds are water soluble with a bioavailability of 7% to 15% after ingestion; they are also irritants and cause gastrointestinal symptoms. Upon entering the body, inorganic mercury compounds are accumulated mainly in the kidneys and produce kidney damage. In contrast, human exposure to elemental mercury is mainly by inhalation, followed by rapid absorption and distribution in all major organs. Elemental mercury from ingestion is poorly absorbed with a bioavailability of less than 0.01%. The primary target organs of elemental mercury are the brain and kidney. Elemental mercury is lipid soluble and can cross the blood-brain barrier, while inorganic mercury compounds are not lipid soluble, rendering them unable to cross the blood-brain barrier. Elemental mercury may also enter the brain from the nasal cavity through the olfactory pathway. The blood mercury is a useful biomarker after short-term and high-level exposure, whereas the urine mercury is the ideal biomarker for long-term exposure to both elemental and inorganic mercury, and also as a good indicator of body burden. This review discusses the common sources of mercury exposure, skin lightening products containing mercury and mercury release from dental amalgam filling, two issues that happen in daily life, bear significant public health importance, and yet undergo extensive debate on their safety.
PMCID: PMC3514464  PMID: 23230464
Elemental mercury; Inorganic mercury compounds; Kidney; Brain; Biomarkers; Public health
8.  Exposure to airborne metals and particulate matter and risk for youth adjudicated for criminal activity 
Environmental research  2011;111(8):10.1016/j.envres.2011.08.008.
Antisocial behavior is a product of multiple interacting sociohereditary variables, yet there is increasing evidence that metal exposure, particularly, manganese and lead, play a role in its epigenesis. Other metals, such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, and mercury, and exposure to traffic-related air pollution, such as fine particulate matter (≤2.5 μm) have been associated with neurological deficits, yet largely unexplored with respect to their relationship with delinquent behavior. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the ecological relationship between county-wide reported airborne emissions of air metals, particulate matter, and youth adjudicated for criminal activity.
Metal exposure data were collected from the Environmental Protection Agency AirData. Population statistics were obtained from the United States Census 2000 and adjudication data was obtained from the Courts of Common Pleases from each Ohio County.
Simple correlations were calculated with the percentage of adjudications, all covariates, and estimated metal air emissions. Separate negative binomial regression models for each pollutant were used to provide an estimated risk ratio of pollutant emissions on the risk of adjudication for all Ohio counties adjusting for urban–rural residence, percentage of African Americans, median family income, percentage of family below poverty, percentage of high school graduation in 25 years and older populations, and population density.
Metal emissions and PM in 1999 were all correlated with adjudication rate (2003–2005 average). Metal emissions were associated with slightly higher risk of adjudication, with about 3–4% increased risk per natural log unit of metal emission except chromium. The associations achieved statistical significance for manganese and mercury. The particulate matter ≤2.5 and ≤10 μm emissions had a higher risk estimate, with 12% and 19% increase per natural log unit emission, respectively, and also achieved statistical significance.
In summary, airborne exposure to manganese, mercury, and particulate matter are associated with increased risk of adjudication. Causality cannot be proven in observational studies such as this one, but the association warrants further examination in other research studies. Comprehensive epidemiologic investigations of metal exposure in pediatric populations should include social health outcomes, including measures of delinquent or criminal activity. Furthermore, the influence of metals on the neurotoxic pathway leading to delinquent activity should be further explored.
PMCID: PMC3883046  PMID: 21864838
Manganese; Lead; Particulate matter; Mercury; Air pollution; Ecological study
It will be seen from the above that we have studied the conditions associated with the deposit of calcareous salts: (I) in connection with normal and pathological ossification, and (2) in pathological calcification as exhibited in (a) atheroma of the vessels; (b) calcification of caseating tubercular lesions; (c) calcification of inflammatory new growth, and (d) degenerating tumors; and we have induced experimentally deposits of calcareous salts in the lower animals: (a) within celloidin capsules containing fats and soaps; (b) in the kidney, and (c) in connection with fat necrosis. I. We have found that bone formation and pathological calcareous infiltration are wholly distinct processes. In the former there is no evidence of associated fatty change, and the cells associated with the process of deposition of calcium are functionally active. In the latter there is an antecedent fatty change in the affected areas, and the cells involved present constant evidences of degeneration. The view that would seem to account best for the changes observed in the latter case is that with lowered vitality the cells are unable to utilize the products brought to them by the blood, or which they continue to absorb, so that the normal series of decompositions associated with their metabolism fails to take place and hence they interact among themselves in the cytoplasm with the result that insoluble compounds replace soluble ones. II. Besides the fact that calcification is always preceded by fatty change within the cells, another fact should be emphasized. namely: that combination of the fats present with calcium salts to form calcium soaps tends to occur. The stages immediately preceding these are difficult to follow with anything approaching certainty, perhaps because the earlier stages vary under different conditions. In fat necrosis, for instance, the cells affected are normally storehouses for neutral fats, and as long as they remain healthy neutral fats alone are present in them. When they are subjected to the action of the pancreatic juice with its fat-splitting ferment the cells are killed and coincidently the neutral fats are decomposed, fatty acids being deposited. The fatty acids now slowly combine with the calcium salts. In degenerating lipomata the process would seem to be similar. But in other cases the cells are not obviously fat-containing in the normal state; nevertheless prior to calcification they undergo so-called fatty degeneration, which is really a form of cell degeneration accompanied by fat infiltration. As regards the source of the cell fats in general we may safely accept: 1. That fats are transported in the blood as diffusible soaps. 2. That taken up by the cells these soaps may either— (a) Be reconverted into neutral fats and become stored in the cytoplasm as such, or (b) undergo assimilation proper, becoming part and parcel of the cell substance, in which case they are not recognizable by the ordinary microchemical tests. 3. If these two possibilities be accepted it follows that the appearance of fats and soaps in the degenerating cell may be due to either— (a) Absorption or infiltration of soaps from the surrounding medium, the degenerating cell retaining the power of splitting off the fat but being unable to utilize this in metabolism. (b) Cytoplasmic disintegration with dissociation of the soap-albumen combination or, more broadly, liberation of the fats from their combination with the cytoplasm. The appearances seen in the cells of atheromatous areas indicate that the first of these does occur. III. In areas undergoing calcareous infiltration we have demonstrated. the presence of soaps, and this often in such quantities that they can be isolated and estimated by gross chemical methods. By microchemical methods also we have been able to show that after removing all the neutral fats and fatty acids by petroleum ether there remains behind a substance giving with Sudan III the reaction we associate with the presence of soap. And experimentally we have produced these soaps within the organism, more particularly by placing capsules containing fats and fatty acids within the tissues and after several days finding that the capsules contain calcium soaps and possess a calcium content far in excess of that of the normal blood and lymph. IV. While these are the facts, certain of the details of this reaction demand elucidation. The existence of sodium and it may be potassium soaps in the degenerated cells is comprehensible if we accept that these are present in the circulating lymph and simply undergoing absorption. But even then, as these are diffusible substances how is it to be explained that they become stored up in these particular areas? We have found that, as a matter of fact, in regions which give the reaction for soaps, but which give no reaction for calcium (which therefore presumably contain at most amounts of the insoluble calcium soap too small to need consideration, the ordinary solvents for potassium and sodium soaps do not forthwith remove the stainable material; they are relatively insoluble. The reason for this insolubility is suggested by the observations made in the test tube, that soap solutions mixed with solutions of white of egg or blood serum form a precipitate of combined soap and albumen, which likewise is insoluble in water and alcohol. The indications are therefore that in cells undergoing degeneration, with degeneration of the cytoplasm, certain albuminous molecules unite with the soaps present to form relatively insoluble soap-albuminate. V. With regard to calcium soaps, these are also present and in certain stages appear to be the dominating form in the affected tissues. Two questions suggest themselves, viz.: what is the source of calcium, and what is the process by which they become formed? As to the source, the amount present in well-marked calcification is far in excess of the normal calcium contents of the affected tissue. If in the kidneys of experimental calcification three hundred times as much calcium may be present as in the normal kidney (von Kossa), the calcium must be conveyed to the part by the blood and lymph, and that this is so is demonstrated, as we have pointed out, by the distribution of the infiltration in solid organs, that like ovarian fibroids have undergone necrosis, in which the earliest deposits are superficial. As to the process, there are three possibilities: 1. That sodium and potassium soaps and soap albuminates are first formed and that interaction occurs between them and the diffused calcium salts from the lymph, the less soluble-calcium replacing the sodium and potassium. 2. That under certain conditions the calcium salts act directly on the neutral fats present in the degenerating cells. 3. That the neutral fats are first broken down into fatty acids and that these react with the calcium salts to form the soaps. We are assured that the first process occurs and that because in the boundary zone of areas of calcification we can detect soapy particles devoid of calcium, identical in position and arrangement with the particles more deeply placed which give the calcium reactions. But this is not the only reaction. In case of fat necrosis we see clearly that the third process is in evidence. And we are far from being convinced that the second does not also obtain. We have been impressed by the large accumulation of neutral fats in the cells in cases of early atheroma and the absence at any stage of the process of recognizable fatty acid. While soaps, it is true, are compounds of fatty acids with alkalies, it is recognized in ordinary domestic life that they can be formed by the direct action of strong lye upon ordinary fats, and this even in the cold. It is quite possible therefore that there occurs a similar direct process in the organism. The point is worth noting, however, that this does not occur in healthy cells the seat of fatty infiltration. We therefore leave this an open question, only laying down that, as indicated by the hyalin albuminous matrix left when calcium salts are dissolved out of an area of calcification, there must exist a calcium soap- or fat-albuminate similar to the potassium and sodium soap-albuminates already mentioned—such an albuminate as we can form with calcium soaps in the test tube. VI. In old areas of calcification soaps are largely if not entirely wanting, although these are to be detected at the periphery, when the process is still advancing. The reactions given by these older areas are almost entirely those of calcium phosphate, though some calcium carbonate is at times to be made out. This seems surely to indicate that the final stage in calcification is an interaction between the calcium soap-albuminates and substances containing phosphoric and carbonic acids. Such substances, it is needless to say, are present in considerable amounts in the lymph and blood. We must conclude that the acid sodium phosphates of the lymph act on the calcium soap, the highly insoluble calcium phosphates being formed (plus the albuminous moiety of the original compound) and diffusible sodium soap being liberated, while similarly alkaline carbonates form calcium carbonate and liberate sodium and potassium soaps. Calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate thus become the insoluble earthy salts of old crystalline areas of calcification. VII. As already stated very little soap is to be found in these old areas. It is possibly worth suggestion that the soaps liberated in this last reaction, as they diffuse out, again react with diffusible calcium salts and form calcium soaps which once more react with the alkaline salts to produce the phosphates and carbonates; that, in short, they have a katalytic action. Certain it is that old calcareous areas are extraordinarily dense, and have a coarse crystalline structure, wholly at variance with the finely granular appearance of the more recent areas, and these large crystalline masses, it would seem, can only be formed by successive deposition of new material and eventual fusion, as the interspaces become filled in between the original masses.
PMCID: PMC2124594  PMID: 19867016
10.  Heavy Metals and Trace Elements in Hair and Urine of a Sample of Arab Children with Autistic Spectrum Disorder 
Mædica  2011;6(4):247-257.
General information: Autism is a severe developmental disorder which involves social withdrawal, communication deficits, and stereotypic/repetitive behavior. The pathophysiological etiologies which precipitate autism symptoms remain elusive and controversial in many cases, but both genetic and environmental factors (and their interactions) have been implicated. While autism is considered multicausal, environmental factors have received significant attention. International discussion has ocused on neurotoxins such as mercury and lead, suggesting that these and other toxic metals contribute to the development of the disorder. An epidemiological study released in 2006 (Palmer et al.) linking Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) data on mercury to special education data in Texas reported a 61% increase in autism prevalence rates (or 17% adjusted) per 1000 pounds of mercury released into the environment (1). We attempted to further evaluate whether exposure to variable environmental contributes to the genesis of autistic spectrum disorder, and thus is a factor increasing the risk for developing autism symptoms in utero or in early childhood.
Purpose: The purpose of this study is to examine possible environmental risk factors and sources of exposure to mercury and other heavy metals in children with autism spectrum disorder versus controls. Through laboratory diagnostics we are able to distinguish between present and past exposure (i.e. hair analysis measurements reflect past exposure), urinary excretion levels of unprovoked urine represent immediate exposure. By assessing a spectrum of trace elements and heavy metals in hair and urine of both autistic and control groups, we focused on the participants≈ past and present exposure.
Methodology: The participants were 25 Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children (22 boys and 3 girls) between the age of 3 and 9 years. They were either diagnosed previously by other psychiatrist, psychologist, and developmental pediatrician or suspected by their parents as being autistic. All children were attendants to the Child Psychiatric Clinic in Erfan Psychiatric Hospital in Jeddah, KSA. Samples were collected during the period of June 2006 to March 2008. A control group of 25 children without any psychiatric or medical disorders was age-matched and sex-matched. All parents signed informed consent forms. All autistic children were subjected to a full clinical child psychiatric sheet for the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and exclusion of other psychiatric disorders according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition (DSM IV). The severity of autistic symptomatology was measured by the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC) using the Arabic versions. Both groups were subjected to the Questionnaire on Exposure to Heavy Metals, Physical Symptoms, and Child Development. Hair and baseline urine samples (i.e. unprovoked urine) were taken from both groups and sent to the German clinical and environmental laboratory Micro Trace Minerals Gmbh, for the detection of heavy metals and trace elements levels where metal testing was performed via ICP-MS spectroscopy utilizing cell technique.
Results: By comparing the ASD Group to the Control Group, we found a statistically significant difference in the mean hair levels of arsenic, cadmium, barium, cerium and lead (p=0.01, 0.03, 0.003, 0.003, and 0.03 respectively), and in the mean hair levels of magnesium and zinc (p=0.001 and 0.003 respectively). There were also statistically significant differences in the mean urine levels of aluminum, barium, cerium, mercury, and lead (p=0.004, 002, 0.014, 0.006 and 0.004 respectively), and in the mean urine levels of copper and germanium (p=0.049 and 0.02 respectively). An agreement was found in both specimen (hair and urine) for barium and lead. The statistically significant differences in mean hair levels of arsenic, cadmium, and cerium were not supported by urine baseline levels. Also, the statistically significant magnesium and zinc levels of hair were not supported by urine levels. A disagreement was also found with copper and germanium concentrations.
PMCID: PMC3391939  PMID: 22879836
micronucleus; nucleoplasmic bridges; colon cancer
11.  Bone mineral density and blood metals in premenopausal women 
Environmental research  2012;120:76-81.
Exposure to metals, specifically cadmium, lead, and mercury, is widespread and is associated with reduced bone mineral density (BMD) in older populations, but the associations among premenopausal women are unclear. Therefore, we evaluated the relationship between these metals in blood and BMD (whole body, total hip, lumbar spine, and non-dominant wrist) quantified by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in 248 premenopausal women, aged 18–44. Participants were of normal body mass index (mean BMI 24.1), young (mean age 27.4), 60% were white, 20% non-Hispanic black, 15% Asian, and 6% other race group, and were from the Buffalo, New York region. The median (interquartile range) level of cadmium was 0.30 μg/l (0.19–0.43), of lead was 0.86 μg/dl (0.68–1.20), and of mercury was, 1.10 μg/l (0.58–2.00). BMD was treated both as a continuous variable in linear regression and dichotomized at the 10th percentile for logistic regression analyses. Mercury was associated with reduced odds of decreased lumbar spine BMD (0.66, 95% confidence interval: 0.44, 0.99), but overall, metals at environmentally relevant levels of exposure were not associated with reduced BMD in this population of healthy, reproductive-aged women. Further research is needed to determine if the blood levels of cadmium, lead, and mercury in this population are sufficiently low that there is no substantive impact on bone, or if effects on bone can be expected only at older ages.
PMCID: PMC3534953  PMID: 23122770
bone mineral density; cadmium; lead; mercury; women
Ancient Science of Life  1986;5(3):186-190.
Use of simple synthetic drug called Chin – Yeh, Gold – plus – plant juice or red colloidal gold. Gold made body everlasting and the herbal principle, as soul, increased life-span. Dialectally it was called Kim – Iya. Arabicized as Al – Kimiya it finally appeared as Alchemy. Chin – Yeh as drug was only brick – red when mercury, and sulphur – with traces of gold were sublimated there resulted Chin – Tan, Gold – plus – cinnabar. It was blood – red and with redness as soul it became the ideal drug of longevity.
PMCID: PMC3331455  PMID: 22557523
13.  Quantifying uncertainty in measurement of mercury in suspended particulate matter by cold vapor technique using atomic absorption spectrometry with hydride generator 
SpringerPlus  2013;2:453.
As a result of rapid industrialization several chemical forms of organic and inorganic mercury are constantly introduced to the environment and affect humans and animals directly. All forms of mercury have toxic effects; therefore accurate measurement of mercury is of prime importance especially in suspended particulate matter (SPM) collected through high volume sampler (HVS). In the quantification of mercury in SPM samples several steps are involved from sampling to final result. The quality, reliability and confidence level of the analyzed data depends upon the measurement uncertainty of the whole process. Evaluation of measurement uncertainty of results is one of the requirements of the standard ISO/IEC 17025:2005 (European Standard EN IS/ISO/IEC 17025:2005, issue1:1-28, 2006). In the presented study the uncertainty estimation in mercury determination in suspended particulate matter (SPM) has been carried out using cold vapor Atomic Absorption Spectrometer-Hydride Generator (AAS-HG) technique followed by wet chemical digestion process. For the calculation of uncertainty, we have considered many general potential sources of uncertainty. After the analysis of data of seven diverse sites of Delhi, it has been concluded that the mercury concentration varies from 1.59 ± 0.37 to 14.5 ± 2.9 ng/m3 with 95% confidence level (k = 2).
PMCID: PMC3786082  PMID: 24083104
Mercury; Atomic absorption spectrometer-hydride generator; Uncertainty evaluation; High volume sampler
14.  Trauma exposure predicts alcohol, nicotine, and drug problems beyond the contribution of PTSD and depression in patients with cardiovascular disease: Data from the Heart and Soul Study 
Background and Objectives
This study examined the role of lifetime trauma exposure in a longitudinal study of adults with cardiovascular disease to determine the unique contribution of trauma exposure to risk for drug and alcohol problems and smoking.
Data were drawn from the Heart and Soul Study, a prospective cohort study designed to determine the mechanisms of associations between psychological factors and increased risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients (n = 1,022).
Lifetime exposure to a higher number of trauma types predicted substance use outcomes beyond risk explained by PTSD and depression. In addition, across trauma types, interpersonal traumas were most strongly associated with substance use problems.
Our results suggest that, though PTSD and depression play a role in the association between trauma exposure and substance use, many other factors also contribute; therefore focusing on these psychological comorbidities alone is not sufficient.
Scientific Significance
The integration of mental health care and/or case management support with primary and specialty medical care may improve detection and treatment for patients with substance use and comorbid mental and physical health problems. Screening for trauma exposure is an important part of good clinical care.
PMCID: PMC3858723  PMID: 24313242
15.  Three layer functional model and energy exchange concept of aging process 
Age  2006;28(1):111-121.
Relying on a certain degree of abstraction, we can propose that no particular distinction exists between animate or living matter and inanimate matter. While focusing attention on some specifics, the dividing line between the two can be drawn. The most apparent distinction is in the level of structural and functional organization with the dissimilar streams of ‘energy flow’ between the observed entity and the surrounding environment. In essence, living matter is created from inanimate matter which is organized to contain internal intense energy processes and maintain lower intensity energy exchange processes with the environment. Taking internal and external energy processes into account, we contend in this paper that living matter can be referred to as matter of dissipative structure, with this structure assumed to be a common quality of all living creatures and living matter in general. Interruption of internal energy conversion processes and terminating the controlled energy exchange with the environment leads to degeneration of dissipative structure and reduction of the same to inanimate matter, (gas, liquid and/or solid inanimate substances), and ultimately what can be called ‘death.’ This concept of what we call dissipative nature can be extended from living organisms to social groups of animals, to mankind. An analogy based on the organization of matter provides a basis for a functional model of living entities. The models relies on the parallels among the three central structures of any cell (nucleus, cytoplasm and outer membrane) and the human body (central organs, body fluids along with the connective tissues, and external skin integument). This three-part structural organization may be observed almost universally in nature. It can be observed from the atomic structure to the planetary and intergalactic organizations. This similarity is corroborated by the membrane theory applied to living organisms. According to the energy nature of living matter and the proposed functional model, the decreased integrity of a human body's external envelope membrane is a first cause of the structural degradation and aging of the entire organism. The aging process than progresses externally to internally, as in single cell organisms, suggesting that much of the efforts towards the restoration and maintenance of the mechanisms responsible for structural development should be focused accordingly, on the membrane, i.e., the skin. Numerous reports indicate that all parts of the human body, like: bones, blood with blood vessels, muscles, skin, and so on, have some ability for restoration. Therefore, actual revival of not only aging tissue of the human body's membrane, but the entire human body enclosed within, with all internal organs, might be expected. We assess several aging theories within the context of our model and provide suggestions on how to activate the body's own anti-aging mechanisms and increase longevity. This paper presents some analogies and some distinctions that exist between the living dissipative structure matter and inanimate matter, discusses the aging process and proposes certain aging reversal solutions.
PMCID: PMC2464718  PMID: 23598683
Aging; Bioenergetics; Body; Cell; Death; Degradation; Diseases; Dissipative; Environment; Formation; Fractal; Hierarchy; Hypothesis; Inanimate; Integument; Layer; Life; Living; Longevity; Model; Nourishment; Organism; Oxygen; Radicals; Regeneration; Rejuvenation; System; Skin; Stem; Thermodynamics; Theory; Tissue
16.  Is dental amalgam safe for humans? The opinion of the scientific committee of the European Commission 
It was claimed by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)) in a report to the EU-Commission that " risks of adverse systemic effects exist and the current use of dental amalgam does not pose a risk of systemic disease..." [1, available from:].
SCENIHR disregarded the toxicology of mercury and did not include most important scientific studies in their review. But the real scientific data show that:
(a) Dental amalgam is by far the main source of human total mercury body burden. This is proven by autopsy studies which found 2-12 times more mercury in body tissues of individuals with dental amalgam. Autopsy studies are the most valuable and most important studies for examining the amalgam-caused mercury body burden.
(b) These autopsy studies have shown consistently that many individuals with amalgam have toxic levels of mercury in their brains or kidneys.
(c) There is no correlation between mercury levels in blood or urine, and the levels in body tissues or the severity of clinical symptoms. SCENIHR only relied on levels in urine or blood.
(d) The half-life of mercury in the brain can last from several years to decades, thus mercury accumulates over time of amalgam exposure in body tissues to toxic levels. However, SCENIHR state that the half-life of mercury in the body is only "20-90 days".
(e) Mercury vapor is about ten times more toxic than lead on human neurons and with synergistic toxicity to other metals.
(f) Most studies cited by SCENIHR which conclude that amalgam fillings are safe have severe methodical flaws.
PMCID: PMC3025977  PMID: 21232090
17.  Prognostic value of electrocardiographic detection of unrecognized myocardial infarction in persons with stable coronary artery disease: data from the Heart and Soul Study 
Clinical Research in Cardiology  2010;100(4):359-366.
Unrecognized myocardial infarction (MI) carries a poor prognosis in the general population, but its prognostic value is less clear in high-risk patients. We sought to determine whether Q waves on electrocardiogram (ECG), suggestive of unrecognized MI, predict cardiovascular events in patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD), but without a prior history of MI. We studied 462 patients enrolled in the Heart and Soul Study with stable CAD but without a prior history of MI. All patients had baseline ECGs. The baseline prevalence of unrecognized myocardial infarction was 36%. After a mean of 6.3 years of follow-up, there were a total of 141 cardiovascular events. The presence of Q waves in any ECG lead territory predicted cardiovascular events before (unadjusted HR 1.41, 95% CI 1.01–1.97) and after adjustment for demographics, medical history, diastolic function, and ejection fraction (HR 1.55, 95% CI 1.06–2.26). This association was partly attenuated after adjustment for the presence of inducible ischemia at baseline (HR 1.43, 95% CI 0.96–2.12). When specific territories were analyzed separately, Q waves in anterior leads were predictive of cardiovascular events in both unadjusted and adjusted models (adjusted HR 1.85, 95% CI 1.14–3.00), and this association was partly attenuated after adjustment for inducible ischemia. In conclusion, in patients with CAD but no history of prior MI, the presence of any Q waves or anterior Q waves alone is independently predictive of adverse cardiovascular events.
PMCID: PMC3062762  PMID: 21103882
Q wave; Unrecognized myocardial infarction; Electrocardiogram; Coronary artery disease
18.  The Soul-Sucking Wasp by Popular Acclaim – Museum Visitor Participation in Biodiversity Discovery and Taxonomy 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95068.
Taxonomy, the science of describing and naming of the living world, is recognized as an important and relevant field in modern biological science. While there is wide agreement on the importance of a complete inventory of all organisms on Earth, the public is partly unaware of the amount of known and unknown biodiversity. Out of the enormous number of undescribed (but already recognized) species in natural history museum collections, we selected an attractive example of a wasp, which was presented to museum visitors at a special museum event. We asked 300 visitors to vote on a name for the new species and out of four preselected options, Ampulex dementor Ohl n. sp. was selected. The name, derived from the ‘soul sucking’ dementors from the popular Harry Potter books is an allusion to the wasps' behavior to selectively paralyze its cockroach prey. In this example, public voting on a scientific name has been shown to be an appropriate way to link museum visitors emotionally to biodiversity and its discovery.
PMCID: PMC3995701  PMID: 24755672
19.  First-degree atrioventricular block is associated with heart failure and death in persons with stable coronary artery disease: data from the Heart and Soul Study 
European Heart Journal  2011;32(15):1875-1880.
First-degree atrioventricular block (AVB) has traditionally been considered a benign electrocardiographic finding in healthy individuals. However, the clinical significance of first-degree AVB has not been evaluated in patients with stable coronary heart disease. We investigated whether first-degree AVB is associated with heart failure (HF) and mortality in a prospective cohort study of outpatients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD).
Methods and results
We measured the P–R interval in 938 patients with stable CAD and classified them into those with (P–R interval ≥220 ms) and without (P–R interval <220 ms) first-degree AVB. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for HF hospitalization and all-cause mortality. During 5 years of follow-up, there were 123 hospitalizations for HF and 285 deaths. Compared with patients who had normal atrioventricular conduction, those with first-degree AVB were at increased risk for HF hospitalization (age-adjusted HR 2.33: 95% CI 1.49–3.65; P= 0.0002), mortality [age-adjusted HR 1.58; 95% CI (1.13–2.20); P = 0.008], cardiovascular (CV) mortality [age-adjusted HR 2.33; 95% CI (1.28–4.22); P= 0.005], and the combined endpoint of HF hospitalization or CV mortality (age-adjusted HR 2.43: 95% CI 1.64–3.61; P ≤ 0.0001). These associations persisted after multivariable adjustment for heart rate, medication use, ischaemic burden, and QRS duration. Adjustment for left ventricular systolic and diastolic function partially attenuated the effect, but first-degree AVB remained associated with the combined endpoint of HF or CV death (HR 1.61, CI 1.02–2.54; P= 0.04).
In a large cohort of patients with stable coronary artery disease, first-degree AVB is associated with HF and death.
PMCID: PMC3202329  PMID: 21606074
Stable coronary artery disease; Atrioventricular block; Heart failure
20.  Mercury Exposure in Young Children Living in New York City 
Journal of Urban Health   2007;85(1):39-51.
Residential exposure to vapor from current or previous cultural use of mercury could harm children living in rental (apartment) homes. That concern prompted the following agencies to conduct a study to assess pediatric mercury exposure in New York City communities by measuring urine mercury levels: New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (NYCDOHMH) Bureau of Environmental Surveillance and Policy, New York State Department of Health/Center for Environmental Health (NYSDOHCEH), Wadsworth Center’s Biomonitoring Program/Trace Elements Laboratory (WC-TEL), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A previous study indicated that people could obtain mercury for ritualistic use from botanicas located in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. Working closely with local community partners, we concentrated our recruiting efforts through health clinics located in potentially affected neighborhoods. We developed posters to advertise the study, conducted active outreach through local partners, and, as compensation for participation in the study, we offered a food gift certificate redeemable at a local grocer. We collected 460 urine specimens and analyzed them for total mercury. Overall, geometric mean urine total mercury was 0.31 μg mercury/l urine. One sample was 24 μg mercury/l urine, which exceeded the (20 μg mercury/l urine) NYSDOH Heavy Metal Registry reporting threshold for urine mercury exposure. Geometric mean urine mercury levels were uniformly low and did not differ by neighborhood or with any clinical significance by children’s ethnicity. Few parents reported the presence of mercury at home, in a charm, or other item (e.g., skin-lightening creams and soaps), and we found no association between these potential sources of exposure and a child’s urinary mercury levels. All pediatric mercury levels measured in this study were well below a level considered to be of medical concern. This study found neither self-reported nor measured evidence of significant mercury use or exposure among participating children. Because some participants were aware of the possibility that they could acquire and use mercury for cultural or ritualistic purposes, community education about the health hazards of mercury should continue.
PMCID: PMC2430136  PMID: 17957474
Mercury; Urine; Children; Botanicas; Azogue (Spanish word for mercury)
Ancient Science of Life  1989;9(1):25.
The author traces in this paper the clue of the Tridosha Doctrine consisting of Air, water and heat. Breath contains all the three. Probably the Tridosha doctrine arose while considering breath as soul.
PMCID: PMC3331300  PMID: 22557670
22.  Glucocorticoid receptor gene and depression in patients with coronary heart disease: The Heart and Soul Study—2009 Curt Richter Award Winner 
Psychoneuroendocrinology  2009;34(10):1574-1581.
Alterations of glucocorticoid receptor sensitivity have been associated with depression. Thus, variation in the glucocorticoid receptor gene that determines glucocorticoid sensitivity may influence risk for depression.
In a cross-sectional genetic association study of 526 white outpatients with chronic coronary heart disease, we examined whether haplotypes of the glucocorticoid receptor gene (NR3C1) are associated with depression. Participants were genotyped for four common glucocorticoid receptor gene polymorphisms (ER22/23EK, BclI C/G, N363S, and 9beta A/G) and haplotype analyses were conducted. Depression was assessed by an interview (Computerized Diagnostic Interview Schedule).
Of the 526 participants, 355 (67.5%) were non-carriers, 153 (29.1%) had one copy, and 17 (3.2%) had 2 copies of the haplotype 3 allele, which includes the minor allele of the 9beta A/G polymorphism and which has been associated with reduced glucocorticoid sensitivity. The prevalence of depression ranged from 24.4% in the non-carriers to 34.4% in heterozygotes to 52.9% in participants homozygous for the haplotype 3 allele (p < 0.01). In logistic regression analyses, carriers of one haplotype 3 allele had an odds ratio of 1.64 (95% CI 1.1–2.5, p = 0.02) for depression, while the odds ratio of homozygous haplotype 3 carriers was 3.52 (95% CI 1.3–9.4, p = 0.01). These associations persisted after adjusting for potentially confounding variables.
PMCID: PMC2776666  PMID: 19783104
Depression; Glucocorticoid receptor; Cortisol; Genetics; Stress
23.  Mercury and selenium levels, and selenium:mercury molar ratios of brain, muscle and other tissues in bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) from New Jersey, USA 
A number of contaminants affect fish health, including mercury and selenium, and the selenium: mercury molar ratio. Recently the protective effects of selenium on methylmercury toxicity have been publicized, particularly for consumption of saltwater fish. Yet the relative ameliorating effects of selenium on toxicity within fish have not been examined, nor has the molar ratio in different tissues, (i.e. brain). We examined mercury and selenium levels in brain, kidney, liver, red and white muscle, and skin and scales in bluefish (Pomatomus saltatrix) from New Jersey to determine whether there were toxic levels of either metal, and we computed the selenium: mercury molar ratios by tissues. Total mercury averaged 0.32 ± 0.02 ppm wet weight in edible muscle and 0.09 ± 0.01 ppm in brain. Selenium concentration averaged 0.37 ± 0.03 in muscle and 0.36 ± 0.03 ppm in brain. There were significant differences in levels of mercury, selenium, and selenium: mercury molar ratios, among tissues. Mercury and selenium levels were correlated in kidney and skin/scales. Mercury levels were highest in kidney, intermediate in muscle and liver, and lowest in brain and skin/scales; selenium levels were also highest in kidney, intermediate in liver, and were an order of magnitude lower in the white muscle and brain. Mercury levels in muscle, kidney and skin/scales were positively correlated with fish size (length). Selenium levels in muscle, kidney and liver were positively correlated with fish length, but in brain; selenium levels were negatively correlated with fish length. The selenium: mercury molar ratio was negatively correlated with fish length for white muscle, liver, kidney, and brain, particularly for fish over 50 cm in length, suggesting that older fish experience less protective advantages of selenium against mercury toxicity than smaller fish, and that consumers of bluefish similarly receive less advantage from eating larger fish.
PMCID: PMC4321722  PMID: 23202378
Mercury; Selenium; Molar ratios; Risk to fish; Marine
24.  Cadmium, Lead, and Mercury in Relation to Reproductive Hormones and Anovulation in Premenopausal Women 
Environmental Health Perspectives  2011;119(8):1156-1161.
Background: Metals can interfere with hormonal functioning by binding at the receptor site and through indirect mechanisms; thus, they may be associated with hormonal changes in premenopausal women.
Objectives: We examined the associations between cadmium, lead, and mercury, and anovulation and patterns of reproductive hormones [estradiol, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone] among 252 premenopausal women 18–44 years of age who were enrolled in the BioCycle Study in Buffalo, New York.
Methods: Women were followed for up to two menstrual cycles, with serum samples collected up to eight times per cycle. Metal concentrations were determined at baseline in whole blood by inductively coupled mass spectroscopy. Marginal structural models with stabilized inverse probability weights and nonlinear mixed models with harmonic terms were used to estimate the effects of cadmium, lead, and mercury on reproductive hormone levels during the menstrual cycle and anovulation.
Results: Geometric mean (interquartile range) cadmium, lead, and mercury levels were 0.29 (0.19–0.43) μg/L, 0.93 (0.68–1.20) μg/dL, and 1.03 (0.58–2.10) μg/L, respectively. We observed decreases in mean FSH with increasing cadmium [second vs. first tertile: –10.0%; 95% confidence interval (CI), –17.3% to –2.5%; third vs. first tertile: –8.3%; 95% CI, –16.0% to 0.1%] and increases in mean progesterone with increasing lead level (second vs. first tertile: 7.5%; 95% CI, 0.1–15.4%; third vs. first tertile: 6.8%; 95% CI, –0.8% to 14.9%). Metals were not significantly associated with anovulation.
Conclusions: Our findings support the hypothesis that environmentally relevant levels of metals are associated with modest changes in reproductive hormone levels in healthy, premenopausal women.
PMCID: PMC3237358  PMID: 21543284
anovulation; cadmium; lead; menstrual cycle; mercury; reproductive hormones
25.  Mercury in traditional medicines: Is cinnabar toxicologically similar to common mercurials? 
Mercury is a major toxic metal ranking top in the Toxic Substances List. Cinnabar (contains mercury sulfide) has been used in traditional medicines for thousands years as an ingredient in various remedies, and 40 cinnabar-containing traditional medicines are still used today. Little is known about toxicology profiles or toxicokinetics of cinnabar and cinnabar-containing traditional medicines, and the high mercury content in these Chinese medicines raises justifiably escalations of public concern. This minireview searched the available database of cinnabar, compared cinnabar with common mercurials, such as mercury vapor, inorganic mercury, and organic mercury, and discusses differences in their bioavailability, disposition, and toxicity. The analysis showed that cinnabar is insoluble and poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Absorbed mercury from cinnabar is mainly accumulated in kidney, resembling the disposition pattern of inorganic mercury. Heating cinnabar results in release of mercury vapor, which in turn can produce toxicity similar to inhalation of these vapors. The doses of cinnabar required to produce neurotoxicity are thousands 1000 times higher than methyl mercury. Following long-term use of cinnabar, renal dysfunction may occur. Dimercaprol and succimer are effective chelation therapies for general mercury intoxication including cinnabar. Pharmacology studies of cinnabar suggest sedative and hypnotic effects, but the therapeutic basis of cinnabar is still not clear. In summary, cinnabar is chemically inert with a relatively low toxic potential when taken orally. In risk assessment, cinnabar is less toxic than many other forms of mercury, but the rationale for its inclusion in traditional Chinese medicines remains to be fully justified.
PMCID: PMC2755212  PMID: 18445765
Cinnabar; Traditional medicines; Elementary mercury; Mercuric chloride; Methylmercury; Bioavailability; Disposition; Toxicology

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