martes, 30 de agosto de 2016

Harmful Algal Blooms in Their True Colors

Toxic Algal Blooms in Their True Colors

Toxic Algal Blooms in Their True Colors

NIST

08/26/2016 01:11 PM EDT
Explosive growth of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, is nothing new. In fact, such cyanobacteria probably produced the original oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere billions of years ago.

But when certain kinds of cyanobacteria multiply rapidly and release toxins, the result is a harmful algal bloom (HAB), a subject of intense concern to the public-health and ecology communities.

Read more ...


Physical Measurement Laboratory



Harmful Algal Blooms in Their True Colors

August 26, 2016


Contact: David Allen 
(301) 975-3680






This animation depicts how hyperspectral imaging could be used to detect the presence of toxic blue-green algae by means of its unique optical signature.





















Explosive growth of cyanobacteria, also called blue-green algae, is nothing new. In fact, such cyanobacteria probably produced the original oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere billions of years ago.
But when certain kinds of cyanobacteria multiply rapidly and release toxins, the result is a harmful algal bloom (HAB), a subject of intense concern to the public-health and ecology communities.
However, “Not all cyanobacteria produce toxins,” says Emily Paine of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), a guest researcher at NIST who is investigating the optical characteristics of multiple algal species. “So to better localize, track, and understand a threat, we need some way to distinguish the potentially harmful organisms from the harmless, even though they look virtually identical.
“In addition, there are species that only produce toxins sometimes, and ideally we would be able to identify when they are doing so. As of now, some research has been done in distinguishing species that are more likely to be harmful from those that aren’t, but directly measuring the current toxicity of a bloom has not been done.”
One potential way to do so is with hyperspectral imaging (HSI). Whereas the human eye sees color in three broad bands — red, green, and blue — HSI collects spectral data in dozens of very narrow wavelength bands and builds up detailed composite images, wherein a complete spectrum is associated with every pixel. In that form, each kind of object has a unique spectral signature. USGS has long used the technique to make mineral and vegetation maps, and conduct groundwater surveys.
Emily Paine of USGS uses NIST instruments.
Emily Paine of the USGS uses NIST's precision hyperspectral imaging equipment.
In collaboration with the USGS, Paine and NIST HSI researcher David Allen have initiated a project to use NIST’s world-class instruments and expertise to collect high-resolution spectra in hopes of characterizing cyanobacteria species. The effort is part of a NIST-USGS interagency agreement to work on remote sensing, and will entail imaging samples taken from blooms that are at times dominated by different organisms.

“If it’s possible to discriminate spectrally between harmful and non-harmful organisms, it’s going to be a small difference, and hard to tease out from the overwhelming background,” Allen says. That’s why “we’ll also look at individual cells if we can,” Paine says, “to try to get specific signatures from individual cells to see what signals we can ignore from the background.”
Once the libraries are established, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV, or drone) could fly over large areas of bloom at low altitude with an HSI camera and gather data that would later be matched against the library spectra. That would allow officials to identify specific, limited areas containing toxic species and take appropriate action.
“The customary method of getting this kind of ‘ground truth’ now involves people going out, taking water samples, and bringing them back to the lab for examination under a microscope and biochemical analyses,” Allen says. “It’s very hard to cover a large area that way, hence the need for remote sensing. You can send airplanes at intervals, but it’s comparatively expensive and the altitude may affect the really fine HSI resolution required. UAVs, by contrast, can go any time and fly a programmed route directly over areas of interest.”
At present, there is a multi-agency federal effort including NOAA, NASA, EPA, and USGS to provide an early-warning system by processing satellite data to identify algal blooms. One of the most common organisms, Microcystis, can produce a toxin that causes damage to the liver and nervous system in humans, along with other maladies. This genus has been observed in a wide range of freshwater locations, from New England to Florida, the Midwest, and the West Coast. The National Park Service estimates that “at least one-third of lakes in the United States that are larger than 10 acres have Microcystis algae, and this trend is increasing worldwide.”
Harmful algal blooms arise from a combination of factors, the interaction of which is not fully understood. One major contributor is runoff from fertilized areas, which increases the amount of key nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen available in freshwater bodies. That leads to “overfeeding” and subsequent rapid population growth.
Microcystis in Lake Ontario
Microcystis in Lake Ontario, 2014. Image: NOAA
Collaborating scientists from USGS, Nancy Simon and Barry Rosen, have long studied these cyanobacterial phenomena and bring a detailed knowledge of the chemistry and biology of these events, which is essential to understanding the development and conditions that lead to HABs. USGS remote sensing researcher Terry Slonecker, who works closely with NIST’s David Allen, says that “HABs are an increasingly important water-quality issue, and hyperspectral remote sensing at the cellular level could play a key role in understanding and mitigating these events in the future.”

An approach to therapy that may make depression treatment more accessible - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health Publications

An approach to therapy that may make depression treatment more accessible - Harvard Health Blog - Harvard Health Publications

Harvard Health Logo

Harvard Health Blog

An approach to therapy that may make depression treatment more accessible

POSTED AUGUST 29, 2016, 9:30 AM

James Cartreine, PhD, Contributing Editor


Effective depression treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exists, but cost and complexity put access out of reach for many people. A recent study suggests a psychological treatment that is less complex but just as effective as CBT. Therapy can be delivered by junior mental health workers, making treatment for depression more accessible and less costly to the system and individuals.


Product Page - Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Featured content:



What is depression?
Causes of depression
Diagnosing depression
Seeking treatment
Finding the right medication
• ... and more!


Click here to read more »

Add these titles to your reading list!

e-Update from the National Institute on Aging
Check out these newly updated titles in our publications library:
Share your reading list on social media:
Twitter: Check out free information about healthy aging from the National Institute on Aging at #NIH: http://bit.ly/2aydKxu
Facebook: Looking for trustworthy health information? Check out these publications from the National Institute on Aging at NIH: http://bit.ly/2aanWMf

Plain Language | Health Literacy | CDC

Plain Language | Health Literacy | CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC twenty four seven. Saving Lives, Protecting People

 Group of different words to describe Clear and Plain Language.

Plain language makes it easier for everyone to understand and use health information. Although plain language is a familiar idea, many organizations don’t use it as often as they should. The Plain Writing Act of 2010 requires federal agencies to train staff and use plain language when they communicate with the public.

Plain Language Resources

  • Everyday Words for Public Health Communication[282 KB, 44 pages] 
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Everyday Words for Public Health Communication offers expert recommendations from CDC's Health Literacy Council and other agency communicators on how to reduce jargon and replace problematic terms to improve comprehension.
    "Everyday Words" provides:
    • Substitute terms,
    • Real-life examples of difficult public health passages
    • Revised wording
    • Tips to reinforce meaning and avoid other common pitfalls
  • The Federal Plain Language Guidelines
    The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN)The Plain Language Action and Information Network (PLAIN) is a community of federal employees dedicated to the idea that citizens deserve clear communications from government. PLAIN developed and continue to revise The Federal Plain Language Guidelines to provide updated advice on clear communication.
  • Plain Language at NIH
    National Institutes of Health
    NIH has established the Clear Communication initiative that focuses on achieving health literacy objectives. Their page on plain language has information about training and links to plain language resources.
  • Plain Language Planner (PLP-PC) 
    The Plain Language Planner© (PLP) is a tool that translates common medical language into plain language. We are currently working on creating a pocket guide for this resource.The PLP© is also integrated into the Health Communication iOS APP and includes more resources. We recently updated this resource to include oncology terms, treatment side effects and Spanish translation!

Plain Language Promotional Materials

CDC is committed to plain language communication with the public. We created these posters to remind staff about plain language techniques. You can use these materials or create your own to promote plain language in your organization. You can find many plain language resources on the federal plain language web site. We invite you to share your plain language stories on the health literacy blog.
These materials are sized for 8.5 X 11. If you want a large poster or small postcard size, please contact us.

Health Literacy: Accurate, Accessible and Actionable Health Information for All | Health Literacy | CDC

Health Literacy: Accurate, Accessible and Actionable Health Information for All | Health Literacy | CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC twenty four seven. Saving Lives, Protecting People

Adult daughter comforting mother

Check out Infection and other new entries in CDC’s Everyday Words for Public Health Communication. This document offers expert recommendations on how to reduce jargon and replace problematic terms to improve comprehension.Everyday Words is based on years of experience and formative research by CDC’s communication staff testing materials with diverse audiences.
Access the full document and more information by visiting the “Plain Language” section our health literacy website.

FDA MedWatch - Dietary Supplements by Ton Shen Health/Life Rising: Recall - Elevated Lead Levels

MedWatch logo
MedWatch - The FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program

Dietary Supplements by Ton Shen Health/Life Rising: Recall - Elevated Lead Levels

AUDIENCE: Consumer, Emergency Medicine
ISSUE: FDA is investigating DHZC-2 tablets by Ton Shen Health/Life Rising for lead and other hazardous material and is also investigating to see if other Life Rising products from this company may be similarly affected. The products were mostly sold in the Chicago metropolitan area in stores and online.
FDA collected product samples at the Ton Shen Health/Life Rising retail location in response to the initial adverse event report. FDA analysis confirmed that the samples contained 56 times the amount of lead above that which would pose a health risk for children according to the Provisional Total Tolerable Daily Intake (PTTDI). This finding prompted Ton Shen Health/Life Rising, on August 11, 2016, to initiate a recall of “DHZC-2” Tablets. After speaking with the FDA on August 25, 2016, Ton Shen Health/Life Rising agreed to expand its August 11, 2016 recall to include all lots of DHZC-2 tablets and cease distribution of all Life Rising products until September 1, 2016. FDA is reviewing regulatory options to remove all potentially unsafe Life Rising dietary supplement products from the market.
FDA continues to investigate the DHZC-2 tablets for lead and other hazardous material and is also reviewing other Life Rising products at Ton Shen Health/Life Rising to see if they may be similarly affected. FDA will provide updated information as it becomes available.
BACKGROUND: FDA was informed by the Cook County Department of Health (Illinois) of two children with elevated lead levels who may have consumed the recalled dietary supplement. In addition, FDA is also investigating reports of two fatalities of individuals who consumed this product. It is not clear if the deaths are associated with the product.
RECOMMENDATION: Consumers should not purchase or consume recalled Life Rising brand dietary supplement DHZC-2 tablets from Ton Shen Health/Life Rising because they have been found to contain high levels of lead. FDA is also investigating to see if other Life Rising products from this company may be similarly affected. Consumers should not purchase or consume these products out of an abundance of caution.
Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from consuming the recalled tablets.
Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-312-842-2775, Monday to Friday, from 9:30AM to 5:00PM central standard time.
Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:
  • Complete and submit the report Online: www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report
  • Download form or call 1-800-332-1088 to request a reporting form, then complete and return to the address on the pre-addressed form, or submit by fax to 1-800-FDA-0178
Read the MedWatch safety alert, including a link to the FDA Outbreak notice, at: