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What are the Signs and Symptoms of PCB Exposure?

The United States federal government imposed a ban on polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs in 1979. This nationwide ban came as a solution for the contamination and pollution caused by Monsanto, who was solely responsible for producing PCBs in the U.S. from the 1930s until the late 1970s.While PCBs had numerous utilitarian benefits, it soon came to light that PCBs are harmful to both human health and the environment. In fact, toxic Monsanto PCBs have been classified as probable human carcinogens and were found to have devastating ecological effects. According to scientific research conducted in the years since its ban, prolonged PCB exposure can be extremely harmful and dangerous.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, cancer isn’t the only health risk associated with PCB exposure. PCBs have also been found to cause issues and complications in the immune, reproductive, nervous, and endocrine systems, as well as liver damage and high blood pressure. These outcomes usually result from chronic or continuous exposure over a significant period of time. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, symptoms of chronic PCB exposure are not overt and will usually develop over time. Some signs at risk individuals can watch out for include abdominal pain, jaundice, anorexia, nausea, vomiting, weight loss, and uroporphyria.

On the other hand, signs and symptoms of acute or single, high-level exposure are a lot more evident. The most telling sign of acute PCB exposure is the development of an acne-like skin condition called chloracne. This condition shares several characteristics with normal adolescent acne, but it usually features more distinctive cystic skin lesions that may appear in the arms, back, face, legs, neck, and truck at any age. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine also points out that acute exposure might also lead to vomiting and respiratory issues. On the other hand, chronic PCB exposure can also be evident through the darkening of skin and nails over time.

Recent study debunks popular adage about apples

shutterstock_77442760You might remember your mother telling you that an apple a day will keep the doctor away. But does it really work? According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, it’ll take more than a single type of fruit to improve your general health.

Researchers from Dartmouth, University of Michigan, and Veterans Affairs sought to examine the relationship between apple consumption and physician visits. According to their findings, daily apple consumption is perhaps a better determinant of social status than a person’s health. As reported by Vox, the study found that “apple eaters did seem to visit doctors less but were also relatively well-educated and less likely to be smokers, both characteristics that are associated with better health.” When the researchers made adjustments to control for certain socioeconomic factors, they found no significant difference between apple eaters and non-apple eaters.

The study’s lighthearted tone owes to the fact that it was published for the journal’s April Fools issue. Perhaps even without testing, it’s easy to determine than eating an apple daily won’t be enough to significantly improve an individual’s health. What the researchers truly intended for the study was to bring scientific scrutiny to popular claims made about certain “super foods”.

Certain fruits and vegetables, such as apple and kale, typically receive a lot of hype in the media for being a cure-all. The researchers hoped to shed light on the fact that such claims might not always be completely scientifically reliable.

“Flo” May Have Had Down’s Syndrome, Scientists Speculate

shutterstock_1205108An 11-year-old discovery of what appears to be a distinct humanoid species continues to be a subject of speculation among anthropologists.

The remains of the so-called Homo floresiensis or “Flo,” sometimes referred to as “hobbits” was discovered in 2003 by a team of scientists on the island of Flores in Indonesia. The physical characteristics of the only intact cranium and thigh bone suggested early on that the remains were that of a distinct genus of the humanoid more akin to modern man than chimpanzees. Later investigations, however, produced opposing theories, some contending that it was unlikely that the remains were that of a separate branch of modern man from Homo sapiens but more of Australopithecus, an early hominim.

The latest speculations being brought forward that the remains may very well be that of Homo sapiens and that the short stature (3.5 feet as evidenced from the length of the thigh bone) and misshapen cranium were that of a person with Down’s syndrome. Because of the lack of whole specimens, most of the speculations are likely to remain that, unless more substantial remains are discovered. The evidence further suggests that Flo may have very well existed side by side with modern man, and may have been the figures described in the Ebu Gogo myths who reportedly kidnapped children and stole food from humans.