Links for Keyword: Neurotoxins

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Botulinum neurotoxin A can be either the greatest wrinkle remover or one of the world's most potent biological weapons. To perform either job, however, the toxin must first find a way to enter cells. But understanding how the toxin — one of seven neurotoxins produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum — enters nerve cells has proved elusive for scientists. Despite a decade-long search for the receptor by labs around the world, researchers had come up empty handed. Now, a research team led by Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researcher Edwin R. Chapman reports that it has identified the cellular receptor for botulinum neurotoxin A. The group's work was published in the March 16, 2006, edition of ScienceXpress, which provides electronic publication of selected Science papers in advance of print. The finding offers important new insights that suggest how the toxin shuts down nerve cells with deadly efficiency. In the clinic, the toxin, which is also known as botox, is used to treat forehead wrinkles, migraine headaches, urinary retention, eye muscle disorders, and excessive sweating. The same toxin also has more nefarious uses, and is considered a potential bioterror threat because it can kill people by paralyzing motor nerves in diaphragm muscles, causing breathing to stop. Lack of knowledge about the identity of the cell surface receptor that botulism toxin A uses to invade nerve cells has hindered the development of new antidotes to the toxin. © 2006 Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 8660 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Australia has more things that will kill you than anywhere else. . . . This is a country where even the fluffiest of caterpillars can lay you out with a toxic nip, where seashells will not just sting you but actually sometimes go for you. . . . It’s a tough place. —Bill Bryson, In a Sunburned Country Raised, as you probably were, on film or video footage of drowsy koalas hugging eucalyptus trees, or kangaroos bouncing happily around the outback, you might wonder just what country Bryson is talking about. But consider the unassuming cone shell—just the kind of malicious mollusk that will “actually sometimes go for you.” The cone shell is a marine snail that lives in tropical regions worldwide, including the waters around northeastern Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The snail aggressively reaches out to sting prey or would-be predators, injecting toxins that are among the most powerful in the animal kingdom. Even a diminutive member of the genus Conus can carry enough venom to kill a dozen people; a single careless encounter can bring death in less than thirty minutes. What’s more, the radula, a harpoonlike stinger that delivers the venom, can strike with enough speed and force to pierce a diver’s wetsuit. There is almost no pain associated with a cone-shell sting, because the venom contains a strong analgesic. That’s the good news. The bad news is that the toxin is a nerve agent for which there is no known antidote. © Natural History Magazine, Inc., 2005

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 3: Neurophysiology: The Generation, Transmission, and Integration of Neural Signals
Link ID: 8036 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Eating fish is a healthy choice because its' one of the best sources of beneficial fats called omega-3 fatty acids. But some people are also cautioned to watch out for certain fish because of high levels of mercury. "The problem with mercury is, if it's ingested at very high levels, for certain populations it can cause damage to our nervous systems," says Charles Santerre, associate professor of foods and nutrition and food science at Purdue University. "Our greatest concern is women of child-bearing age, because women who become pregnant or are nursing can pass mercury either through the placenta or through their milk, and the levels that get to the fetus or the nursing infant can be high enough, in some instances, to cause injury to the baby." In March of 2004 the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency recommended that sensitive populations—women who are pregnant or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children—should avoid eating large ocean fish like swordfish, tilefish, king mackerel, and shark. But what about the most commonly eaten fish, like tuna? Canned tuna is eaten by 96 percent of American households, and represents the number three item in U.S. grocery stores (behind sugar and coffee) based on dollar sales per linear foot of shelf space. © ScienCentral, 2000- 2005.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 6893 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News — Two types of ants from the family that includes carpenter ants, as well as the common "sidewalk" ants that often march through gardens, serve as the poison source for certain poisonous frogs, according to a new study. The ants generate alkaloids, which are powerful substances that can produce physiological effects in humans and animals. The study, published in the current Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, presents the first evidence for alkaloids in the ant subfamily Formicinae. Poisonous frogs are able to eat loads of the toxin-generating ants and are able to concentrate the ants' alkaloids into their bodies and skin. The frogs come from the dendrobatid family, a group commonly referred to as poisonous dart frogs, which are the frogs that Central and South American Emberá and Noanamá Chocó Indians use to create poison darts for their blowguns. Copyright © 2004 Discovery Communications Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 5463 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JAMES DAO WASHINGTON, — High levels of lead in the city's drinking water, a problem disclosed last month, prompted several members of Congress to say on Friday that three agencies had misled residents and could have begun correcting the problem last year or even earlier. In a sometimes heated hearing on Capitol Hill, lawmakers said the agencies had failed to tell thousands of residents promptly that elevated, in some cases dangerously high, lead levels had been discovered in their houses last year. The agencies seemed disconcertingly uncertain about the problem's causes, scope and solutions, the lawmakers and expert witnesses said. "Mistakes in judgment and procedure were apparently made at every important juncture, as those involved now concede," Eleanor Holmes Norton, the delegate from the District of Columbia to Congress, said. "Any one of those three agencies could have caught the problem much earlier." Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 5096 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Sy Montgomery Sam Marshall doesn’t waste much time. Seconds after stepping into the steaming rain forest of French Guiana, he announces his agenda: “Let’s divide and search for holes with big, hairy legs.” After all, he hasn’t come to French Guiana for the beaches (muddy and shark infested), the food (cheese, bread, and sardines), or the shopping (none, but credit cards can be used to dig out ticks). He has come for the tarantulas—tarantulas that are big enough to eat birds. When threatened, the Usambara orange tarantula can get very aggressive. It rears up, slaps the ground, hisses loudly, and even drips venom from its fangs. “They don’t try to bite very much,” says arachnologist Sam Marshall. “It’s really just a display.” © 2003 The Walt Disney Company. All rights reserved.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 4877 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By IVER PETERSON TRENTON, — New Jersey will propose new controls to limit emissions of mercury, a toxic substance that is particularly harmful to fetuses and young children. The new rules on power plants and other sources would cut emissions by 75 percent in three years. Bradley M. Campbell, the commissioner of environmental protection, announced here on Wednesday that if the department adopts the proposal after a hearing period, 24 coal-fired power plants, municipal waste incinerators and iron smelters will have to adopt measures to cut the state's current mercury emissions of 2,000 pounds per year to 500 pounds. "New Jersey's largest sources of mercury air pollution must use today's technology wherever possible to protect our children and families," Mr. Campbell said at a news conference. Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 4684 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By THOM SHANKER with WILLIAM J. BROAD WASHINGTON, — The Defense Department sprayed live nerve and biological agents on ships and sailors in cold war-era experiments to test the Navy's vulnerability to toxic warfare, the Pentagon revealed today. The Pentagon documents made public today showed that six tests were carried out in the Pacific Ocean from 1964 to 1968. In the experiments, nerve or chemical agents were sprayed on a variety of ships and their crews to gauge how quickly the poisons could be detected and how rapidly they would disperse, as well as to test the effectiveness of protective gear and decontamination procedures in use at the time. Hundreds of sailors exposed to the poisons in tests conducted in the 1960's could be eligible for health care benefits, and the Department of Veterans Affairs has already begun contacting those who participated in some of the experiments, known as Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, or SHAD. Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 2129 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By JODI WILGOREN HERCULANEUM, Mo., Jan. 18 — Carol Miller's family lives in the world of no. No playing on the swing set until someone washes off the black dust. No barbecues at Grandma's, where the view from the picnic table is of an enormous slag pile. No digging in the backyard. No using the ceiling fan or opening windows in the Millers' cramped house here in the shadow of the nation's largest lead smelter, whose 550-foot smokestack towers over this Mississippi River town 30 miles south of St. Louis. Copyright 2002 The New York Times Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 1370 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Although the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are well known for their health benefits, many fish are also the primary source of mercury in the general population. Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health recently completed the first study of mercury and cognitive function in urban, U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 70 years. They found that blood mercury levels were not consistently associated with adverse performance on a broad range of tests of cognitive function. This study may help policy makers with future decisions about mercury emissions from power plants as well as fish consumption recommendations for older adults. The study is published in the April 20, 2005, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). “Our study provides no evidence to challenge the government’s current recommendations for blood mercury levels, but neither does it indicate that they are safe. The key point is that the aging population may be more sensitive to toxic chemicals and this is the first study to examine mercury exposure in the older U.S. population,” said Megan Weil, MHS, lead author of the study and a PhD-candidate in the Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health Sciences. © 2005, Johns Hopkins University.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 7219 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Karen Wright Let’s start with a straightforward fact: Mercury is unimaginably toxic and dangerous. A single drop on a human hand can be irreversibly fatal. A single drop in a large lake can make all the fish in it unsafe to eat. Often referred to as quicksilver, mercury is the only common metal that is liquid at room temperature. Alchemists, including the young Sir Isaac Newton, believed it was the source of gold. In the modern era, it became a common ingredient of paints, diuretics, pesticides, batteries, fluorescent lightbulbs, skin creams, antifungal agents, vaccines for children, and of course, thermometers. There is probably some in your mouth right now: So-called silver dental fillings are half mercury. Mercury is also a by-product of many industrial processes. In the United States coal-fired power plants alone pump about 50 tons of it into the air each year. That mercury rains out of the sky into oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, where it becomes concentrated in the flesh of fish, shellfish, seals, and whales. Last year the Food and Drug Administration determined there is so much mercury in the sea that women of childbearing age should severely limit their consumption of larger ocean fish. The warning comes too late for many mothers. A nationwide survey by the Centers for Disease Control shows that one in 12 women of childbearing age already have unsafe blood levels of mercury and that as many as 600,000 babies in the United States could be at risk. But that begs a critical question: At risk for what? © 2004 The Walt Disney Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 6884 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Researchers have identified an Australian poison frog that makes its own toxin rather than getting it from food sources. It is the first documented case of a vertebrate that generates its own poison alkaloids, complex chemicals that are usually associated with plants, the researchers said. Poison frogs release alkaloids from their skin to defend against predators. Until now, the researchers believed that all obtained their alkaloids from eating insects. The discovery was reported in the April 3 Web edition of the Journal of Natural Products, a peer-reviewed publication of the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. The discovery will also be described April 8 in Orlando, Fla., at the Society’s 223rd national meeting.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 1815 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Environmental enrichment that stimulates brain activity can reverse the long-term learning deficits caused by lead poisoning, according to a study conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health . It has long been known that lead poisoning in children affects their cognitive and behavioral development. Despite significant efforts to reduce lead contamination in homes, childhood lead poisoning remains a major public health problem with an estimated 34 million housing units in the United States containing lead paint. The Hopkins study is the first to demonstrate that the long-term deficits in cognitive function caused by lead can be reversed and offers a basis for the treatment of childhood lead intoxication. The findings appear in the online edition of the Annals of Neurology. “Lead exposure during development causes long-lasting deficits in learning in experimental animals, but our study shows for the first time that these cognitive deficits are reversible,” said lead author Tomás R. Guilarte, PhD, professor of environmental health sciences at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This study is particularly important for two reasons. First, it was not known until now whether the effects of lead on cognitive function were reversible. Secondly, the environmental enrichment that reversed the learning deficits was administered after the animals were exposed to lead. Environmental enrichment could be a promising therapy for treating millions of children suffering from the effects of lead poisoning,” added Dr. Guilarte.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 3081 - Posted: 06.24.2010

Cristen Conger, HowStuffWorks.com -- The first detailed anatomical atlas of a living wildlife species has been constructed by researchers. Mapping the California sea lion's (Zalophus californianus) brain with a combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and volumetric measuring, scientists want to better understand how toxins in the water are causing neurological damage among marine mammal populations. Eric Montie, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of South Florida, spearheaded the study, which was published in The Anatomical Record in October. The brain atlas is a first step toward determining whether exposure to manmade chemicals, such as DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), increase California sea lions' susceptibility to life-threatening brain damage from domoic acid, a neurotoxin naturally produced by certain types of algae. Past studies have concluded that domoic acid, which accumulates in the sea lion's system from ingesting prey that feed on algae, causes the mammal's hippocampus to shrink. Research has also linked domoic acid to acute and chronic epilepsy and seizures in sea lions. But exactly how that neurotoxin-induced brain damage progresses is still unclear. sea lion "We don't know enough about the endocrinology and neurobiology of these animals," Montie told Discovery News. "That's why you start with baby steps like an atlas." © 2009 Discovery Communications, LLC.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 13433 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Jessica Knoblauch One night in February, high school principal Matthew Smith got a frightening wake-up call. The local fire department alerted him that the home of a student at Agua Fria High School was contaminated with liquid mercury that apparently had been taken from a science classroom. The next day, emergency crews descended on the school in haz-mat suits, discovering a toxic trail of mercury vapors in classrooms, locker rooms, and buses. The high school, in Avondale, Ariz., was shut down for a week so it could be decontaminated. The homes of six students were tainted with mercury, two so severely that the families had to be relocated for 11 days, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The total cleanup is expected to reach hundreds of thousands of dollars. The mercury mess in Arizona was only the latest in thousands of incidents where children are exposed to elemental mercury, a poison that can damage the brain, trigger respiratory failure and cause other serious health problems. Power plants are typically cast as the usual suspects of mercury contamination, since they emit mercury into the air, where it spreads globally. But many children are exposed to toxic levels of mercury much closer to home. Mercury spills inside schools and houses, often unreported, can release vapors into the air for weeks, even years. © 1996-2009 Scientific American Inc.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 12828 - Posted: 06.24.2010

David Perlman, Chronicle Science Editor PDT SAN FRANCISCO -- In a world where Nature is "red in tooth and claw" as Tennyson wrote, a handful of predatory garter snakes have won an evolutionary arms race against a tribe of rough-skinned newts so poisonous that the toxin in just one newt could kill thousands of mice or a dozen humans. It's a saga of what biologists call co-evolution. For many millennia the two species have competed against each other, evolving through natural selection in order to survive in the territory they share. Generation after generation, the newts have developed more and more powerful poison in their skins to protect themselves against the hungry snakes, and the snakes have evolved stronger and stronger resistance to the poison, so they can eat the newts in safety. Now biologists tracking more than 20,000 garter snakes and 500 newts in 28 habitats along the Pacific coast have discovered four sites in California where the snakes have clearly won the arms race: Evolution has given them a kind of super-resistance that overcomes the strongest poison the newts can possibly stir up. In other words, the snakes are free to gobble up their prey with impunity from now on. © 2008 Hearst Communications Inc

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 6: Evolution of the Brain and Behavior; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 0: ; Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 11403 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By David A. Fahrenthold and Steven Mufson A federal appeals court yesterday threw out the Environmental Protection Agency's approach to limiting mercury emitted from power-plant smokestacks, saying the agency ignored laws and twisted logic when it imposed new standards that were favorable to plant owners. The ruling, issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, was another judicial rejection of the Bush administration's pollution policies. It comes less than a year after the U.S. Supreme Court rebuked the administration and the EPA for refusing to regulate greenhouse gases. This court's critique -- which undid a controversial program to "trade" emissions of mercury, a potent neurotoxin -- was especially sharp. It compared the EPA to the capricious Queen of Hearts in "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland," saying the agency had followed its own desires and ignored the "plain text" of the law. "What the administration did when they came in was to essentially try to torpedo environmental regulations," said James Pew, a lawyer with the activist group Earthjustice who worked on the case. "This really is a repudiation of the Bush administration's environmental legacy." Coal-fired power plants are responsible for about a third of the country's total mercury emissions. In the Washington area, mercury pollution in waterways has triggered advisories against consuming too much fish from the Chesapeake Bay, the Potomac River and other bodies of water. © Copyright 1996-2008 The Washington Post Company

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 11299 - Posted: 06.24.2010

United States researchers suggest long-ago lead exposure can make an aging person's brain work as if it's five years older than it really is. "We're trying to offer a caution that a portion of what has been called normal aging might in fact be due to ubiquitous environmental exposures like lead," says Dr. Brian Schwartz of Johns Hopkins University, a leader in the study of lead's delayed effects. The notion of long-delayed effects is familiar; tobacco and asbestos, for example, can lead to cancer. But in recent years, scientists are coming to appreciate that exposure to other pollutants in early life also may promote disease much later on. "It's an emerging area" for research, said Dr. Philip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. It certainly makes sense that if a substance destroys brain cells in early life, the brain may cope by drawing on its reserve capacity until it loses still more cells with aging, he said. Only then would symptoms like forgetfulness or tremors appear. Studying delayed effects in people is difficult because they generally must be followed for a long time. Research with lead is easier because scientists can measure the amount that has accumulated in the shinbone over decades and get a read on how much lead a person has been exposed to in the past. © CBC 2008

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 7: Life-Span Development of the Brain and Behavior
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 13: Memory, Learning, and Development
Link ID: 11255 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Elizabeth Quill Your mother may have warned that you'd get a tummy ache if you scarfed down your food, but for one Australian snake, eating too fast could be deadly. The death adder dines on frogs, but some of them are poisonous. So the snake has learned patience: After striking a particular poisonous frog, it waits for its victim's toxin to degrade before it dines. The finding could help ecologists decipher how one species can outevolve another. The death adder stabs unsuspecting frogs with its fangs, injecting venom to kill its supper. The frogs have fought back, however, evolving various defenses--longer legs for bigger jumps or chemical substances that taste nasty and can kill. Ecologists Ben Phillips and Richard Shine, both of the University of Sydney, Australia, decided to study the snake's general feeding behavior. And when they did, they stumbled upon a strange twist in this evolutionary arms race. The team dropped frogs of various species in the snakes' glass pens and kept a video camera rolling to record the action as the snakes captured their prey. The snakes gobbled up nontoxic frogs right after injecting them with venom, but they took more time with two other species, the researchers report in the December issue of The American Naturalist. The snake waited 10 minutes before munching on the marbled frog, which produces a gluelike substance on its skin when irritated. © 2007 American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology
Link ID: 10979 - Posted: 06.24.2010

By Deborah Mitchell CHICAGO (Reuters Health) - Physicians, nurses and other health care providers should be aware that patients receiving intravenous treatment with the antifungal drug voriconazole may develop a range of neurological side effects, including auditory and visual hallucinations, according to a report presented at the 47th annual Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy. Voriconazole, sold under the trade name Vfend, is a relatively new drug used to treat serious fungus infections, such as invasive mold infections and invasive candidiasis. Many of these patients are extremely ill and are receiving several different drugs, which makes it difficult to distinguish the side effects of specific drugs from the symptoms of the underlying illness. To estimate the frequency and seriousness of voriconazole side effects, Dr. Dimitrios Zonios and colleagues at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, evaluated patients in an ongoing prospective study that was assessing voriconazole toxicity. The researchers focused on side effects of the central nervous system, which are not well characterized for the drug. Between March 2006 and June 2007, the researchers evaluated 66 cancer patients who were being treated with intravenous voriconazole at their institution. Careful interviews and toxicity evaluations were conducted for each patient. © 1996-2007 Scientific American, Inc

Related chapters from BP7e: Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 16: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavior Disorders
Related chapters from MM:Chapter 4: The Chemistry of Behavior: Neurotransmitters and Neuropharmacology; Chapter 12: Psychopathology: Biological Basis of Behavioral Disorders
Link ID: 10769 - Posted: 06.24.2010