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Mercury Amalgam in Dental Fillings More Toxic than Mercury Antiseptic

Sep 29, 2004

Mercuric Chloride is an antiseptic applied worldwide to cuts because it is so toxic at such a low dose that it quickly kills all types of bacteria. In a study at the Osaka Dental University, in Osaka Japan, researchers wanted to assess the toxicity of mercury in various forms. The mercury used in dental fillings proved much more toxic that the mercury used as a disinfectant. It took 1/10 to 1/50 of the concentration of dental amalgam to cause the same amount of toxicity as mercuric chloride. The study is published in the January 2004 issue of the Journal of Materials Science-Materials in Medicine.

Airborne Mold Spores Increasingly Recognized as a Risk Factor for Asthma

Airborne mold spores are recognized as a risk for developing and triggering allergic asthma. A new study shows that these same molds are commonly found in city homes that have cats, cockroaches, or dampness problems. The information came out of a study of the homes of 414-mold sensitive, asthmatic children who lived in seven different inner city communities. The mold spores found indoors were typically the same as the mold found outdoors.

The strongest risk for having high levels of mold indoors was having a cat for the last six months. Evidence of cockroaches was linked to high levels of Aspergillus, and having dampness was related to high levels of Cladosporium. The other mold commonly found and also related to these risks was Penicillium. The study is published in the September 2004 issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.

Lead Interferes with Long-Term Memory

The long-term storage of information in the brain known as long-term memory depends on a cascade of signaling that utilizes calcium and a chemical messenger known as cyclic adenosine monophosphate. In particular, a Calcium dependent enzyme known as protein kinase C is necessary for the transition from short-term memory to long-term memory. Lead interferes with normal Calcium dependent signaling in the nerves and brain. In this study rats were infused with either sodium or lead acetate into their hippocampal region of the brain before each of four training sessions. A week later a retention test was given for assessing conversion of the task to a long-term memory. Lead did not interfere with learning the task but significantly impaired retention of memory. Lead interfered with the Calcium dependent chemical messenger and inhibited the conversion of a short-term memory to a long-term memory. The study appears in the October 2004 issue of the journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology.