Saturday, 21 April 2018

Trans Mountain spill 'could have significant impacts' says Canadian government scientist What science has to say about the risks of a bitumen spill CBC Radio · 8 hours ago Protesters hold a banner as a transport truck attempting to deliver heavy equipment to Kinder Morgan sits idle as others block a gate at the company's property in Burnaby, B.C., on Monday, March 19, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck) Listen15:03 This week when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was visiting the UK, he was greeted by anti-pipeline protesters angry over the controversial Kinder Morgan project. Kinder Morgan wants to build a new pipeline to send bitumen from Alberta to the B.C. coast. And on one side of the controversy is industry, the Alberta and the federal governments, which say this new pipeline is in our national interest. On the other is the B.C. government, many Indigenous communities, and environmentalists. The twinning of the 1,150 kilometre-long Trans Mountain pipeline will nearly triple its capacity to an estimated 890,000 barrels a day and increase traffic off B.C.s coast from approximately five tankers to 34 tankers a month. (CBC News) Those against the pipeline say they're concerned that if this pipeline goes forward, we won't be able to meet our federal climate targets. They're also concerned about potential spills into the freshwater environments, communities inland and on the coast, or in coastal marine waters. ​"We all have to understand that any spills could have a significant impacts." - Dr. Bruce Hollebone, Chemist at Environment and Climate Change Canada Dr. Bruce Hollebone, a chemist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, says, "We all have to understand that any spills could have a significant impacts." Royal Society of Canada Report Back in 2015, the Royal Society of Canada concluded in a report that we lacked the science to know what effect a diluted bitumen spill would have on ecosystems. "One of the things that outlined [in the Royal Society Report] was we tend to know a lot about the starting material; the bitumen and the diluted bitumen portion itself," says Dr. Bruce Hollebone, a chemist with Environment and Climate Change Canada. "We know a lot less about the potential receiving environments where the spill might happen. And one of the emphasis that was put in that report was that the interactions in a particular environment needed a lot more work." Diluted Bitumen To move through the pipeline, the bitumen that's extracted from the Alberta oil sands gets mixed with a diluent to make it less viscous, so it travels more easily. Dr. Hollebone says the oil industry usually uses a material called a condensate, which is very much like a gasoline. "The diluted bitumen behaves initially a lot like a light crude oil. It's fairly fluid. It can spread and disperse fairly easily. But the thing that we need to pay attention to with diluted bitumen is how rapidly that behaviour can change," says Dr. Hollebone. The more the condensate evaporates, the more viscous the diluted bitumen becomes. "It can go from something like a light crude product to something much more like a heavy fuel oil that might be used at sea with ships," says Dr. Hollebone. Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Alta., Thursday, April 6, 2017. A spokesman for refiners in Western Canada says any move by the Alberta government to shut off the flow of refined fuel to B.C. could negatively affect the province's four refineries in the Edmonton area. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press) Marine environments Dr. Hollebone describes how in a marine environment, the diluted bitumen usually floats on the surface. "Seawater is denser than freshwater, so it's easier for it to remain floating in the sea. The other factor that often drives sinking or submergence is the ability of the oil, which might get dispersed into the water column, to interact with sediments in the water column. And there's comparatively fewer of those in most of the marine situations than there are in say a freshwater situation." The big unknown when it comes to a potential spill in marine water is the effect it will have on the ecosystems there and what to do - should some of it spill to the bottom. We believe that the science has been made clear. We're in better shape than we've ever been before. - Jim Carr, the Minister of Natural Resources, on CBC's The Current When the Minister of Natural Resources, Jim Carr, was asked on CBC Radio's The Current on Monday, April 16, 2018, if he was satisfied that the studies have been done - to his satisfaction - about the effects of a possible spill in coastal waters, he said, "Yes." "We believe that the science has been made clear. We're in better shape than we've ever been before." Scientists are concerned about the impacts of a potential diluted bitumen spill and the effects it'd have in a marine ecosystem, as well as in freshwater systems. (Elaine Thompson/Associated Press) According to Dr. Wendy Palen, an associate professor of ecology of aquatic communities at Simon Fraser University, who co-authored a paper that reviewed over 9000 peer-reviewed studies about the effects of bitumen in marine ecosystems, the science is not there yet. "My concern is, and that of my colleagues, is that a lot of those studies haven't yet been conducted on the basic toxicity that these different bitumen products might have on different organisms in the marine ecosystem. So things like fishes or marine mammals or even the base of the food web in terms of our primary producers like eel grass and kelps," says Dr. Palen. "Our perspective on this, and mine in particular, is that it is very hard to feel reassured by claims that a robust risk analysis has been done and you know reassurances about ability to clean up spills when they happen." My concern is, and that of my colleagues, is that a lot of those studies haven't yet been conducted on the basic toxicity that these different bitumen products might have on different organisms in the marine ecosystem. - Dr. Wendy Palen, Associate Professor of Ecology of Aquatic Communities at Simon Fraser University Dr. Hollebone says, "Any spill will impact wildlife. The question, I think, is how much of that do we know at this stage? There certainly has been more work in the past few years particularly on species of concern in the marine environment, like salmons and other creatures. There's always place to do more. I think however it is very right to say that we know a lot more about individual species than we certainly do about habitats." Incredible dandelions could hold the key to growing plants on the oilsands Scientists discover oil sands pollution significantly under-reported Catch-22: polluting aerosols cool the Earth, removing them warms it Freshwater environments The inland environments the Trans Mountain pipeline extension will pass through also has many scientists and environmentalists worried. Dr. David Schindler, a professor emeritus of biological sciences from the University of Alberta, says he's extremely concerned about the 800 rivers and streams this new pipeline will cross, many of which flow into the Fraser River system, which is already on life support, as are the orca populations that depend on the fish in the river. We already have a cumulative effect problem of dams, communities, mines. There are over 300 plaster mines alone in the Fraser basin. We know that as a result of all of those things, we're seeing trouble with both Steelhead and Chinook populations. It's almost like we're looking for a way to finish the Fraser off. - Dr. David Schindler, a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta "We already have a cumulative effect problem of dams, communities, mines. There are over 300 plaster mines alone in the Fraser basin. We know that as a result of all of those things, we're seeing trouble with both Steelhead and Chinook populations," says Dr. Schindler. "It's almost like we're looking for a way to finish the Fraser off." Freshwater systems are very different than marine waters. For one thing, they are smaller and more contained, which in that sense, would make it easier to clean up than if a similar spill were to happen in the ocean and the oil starts to sink, like it did in the Deepwater Horizon spill. The oil began spilling into Talmadge Creek and spread throughout roughly 56 kilometres of the Kalamazoo River. (Rebecca Cook/Reuters) On the other hand, the soft soil and suspended sediment in freshwater systems adds another layer of complication when it comes to clean up efforts. "The density of the freshwater is obviously lower than that of seawater, the oil is more at risk to sink in freshwater certainly," says Dr. Hollebone. "Secondly, there's often quite a lot more sediment in the water, So things for the oil to interact with in the water column, particularly if you're talking about a high water condition like a flood or even just a really heavy rain storm that can stir up the bottom. It can mix the oil into the water. And finally there's often a lot more shoreline for it to interact with." In 2010, Dr. Hollebone worked on the Michigan Kalamazoo River clean up after a pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen operated by Enbridge a diluted bitumen, burst. That resulted in the one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. Dredging equipment digs up the bottom of the Kalamazoo River in Michigan to capture diluted bitumen, or "dilbit," that settled after a July, 2010 oil spill. (Margo McDiarmid/CBC) "That took several years to get to the point where they felt they were ready to say the spill was, not even fully cleaned up, but at the point where they could leave it for the long term," says Dr. Hollebone. "Sinking and sedimentation of oil in freshwater systems can be very serious." At the time, he says, they didn't fully understand how diluted bitumen would behave in freshwater. But they've gained more experience since then. Dr. Hollebone cites the example of the North Saskatchewan River in 2016 when a buried pipeline ruptured, causing another spill. "There we could make decisions about what we had to look for, where the oil might mix into the sediment, where it might end up so that we could get on that right away. And in terms of cleaning up things, like the bottom parts of the river, we could make those decisions quicker and in a more informed way." A series of booms were deployed this summer, to handle Husky's broken pipeline which leaked more than 200,000 litres of oil diluent into the North Saskatchewan River. The company called the break a "sudden, one-time event" caused in part by heavy rain along the south riverbank. (Jason Franson/Canadian Press) As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, which the federal government has invested $1.5 billion to improve marine safety and responsible shipping, Dr. Hollebone says they hope to bridge some of the gaps in our understanding of how a diluted bitumen spill would react in freshwater systems. This summer they'll begin studying the effect of a diluted bitumen spill in the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario to look at the fate and behaviour of dilbit in a Boreal freshwater lake." "I won't say we're ever going to be perfect," says Dr. Hollebone, "But I'm more comfortable where we are today than where we were in say Kalamazoo 2010 - 2012." We reached out to Jim Carr, the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, for a comment about how satisfied he is with the studies that have been done on freshwater systems. At the time we published this, they had yet to get back to us. We will update this when the comment comes in.

The Myth of The Asian Market for Alberta’s Oil By James Wilt • Thursday, April 19, 2018 - 11:50 For years, we’ve been told again and again (and again) that Kinder Morgan’s proposed expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is desperately needed for producers to export oil to Asian countries and get much higher returns. The way it’s been framed makes it seem like it’s the only thing standing between Alberta and fields of gold. Small problem: Canadian producers already have the ability to ship their heavy oil to Asia via the existing 300,000 barrel per day Trans Mountain pipeline — but they’re not using it. “Virtually no exports go to any markets other than the U.S.,” economist Robyn Allan told DeSmog Canada. “The entire narrative perpetrated by Prime Minister Trudeau and Alberta Premier Notley is fabricated.” In 2017, the Port of Vancouver only shipped 600 barrels of oil to China. That’s less than a tanker load. That same year, the port shipped almost 13 million barrels of oil, or about 24 Aframax tanker loads, to the U.S. In other words: oil tankers are being loaded in Vancouver, but instead of heading to vaunted Asian markets, they’re heading south to California. Shipments to Asia reached their peak seven years ago when the equivalent of nine fully loaded tankers of oil left Vancouver for China. Since then, oil exports to Asia have completely dropped off. Some experts suggest exports to Asia are very unlikely to rebound in the short-term, with producers from many other countries continuing to dominate such markets. Others take a more long-term view, remaining optimistic that opportunities will arise over time — and only after the pipeline is actually built “There’s no appetite in Asia for heavy oil,” said Eoin Finn, former partner at KPMG, in an interview with DeSmog Canada. “They don’t have the refineries to refine it. And the world is swimming in light sweet crude that’s cheaper and easier to refine, and altogether more plentiful.” No guaranteed access to Asian markets One challenge is that the Port of Vancouver can’t even physically fit the size of tanker required to economically compete with other shippers of oil to Asia. The largest class ship that is allowed in Burrard Inlet is what’s known as an “Aframax.” It can only be filled to 80 per cent capacity due to depth restrictions. That means a tanker from the Port of Vancouver can only ship 550,000 barrels at a time. Meanwhile, Very Large Crude Carriers — yes, that’s actually their name — are now embarking from Louisiana via its brand new port, carrying two million barrels each. They’re also used by many Middle Eastern producers. Practically, this means that Trans Mountain will have a harder time competing with producers in countries that can pay far less to ship their cheaper-to-refine oil in much larger ships. Trans Mountain supporters suggest this could become quickly irrelevant if situations change: say, a war breaks out in the Middle East and takes millions of barrels per day offline. There’s also no guaranteed demand for Alberta’s lower quality crude on the other side of the Pacific. While 13 producers and shippers have signed long-term contracts with Trans Mountain — a fact that’s leaned on heavily by the company to make its business case, as they represent 80 per cent of expanded capacity — none have buyers in Asia yet. “It's a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. You need to build that pipeline before people are going to spend billions of dollars configuring their refineries to take your crude,” Jackie Forrest of ARC Energy Research told the CBC in a 2017 interview. It’s expected that “sample shipments” of oil would be sent to various markets for testing once the pipeline was built. But there’s very little proven interest in Alberta’s hard-to-refine oil. Instead, Asian countries are continuing to rely on imports of light sweet crude from Middle Eastern locales like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Iran, Qatar and Iraq. At this point, that appears unlikely to change in a significant enough way to make Alberta oil competitive. Price discount results from lack of capacity, not location The reality is that Alberta oil will always sell at a discount to lighter crude with greater market access. In fact, back in 2014 a vice-president at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers told the Toronto Star that “there’s always a natural discount in the range of $15 to $25 [per barrel].” In recent years, the “discount” has hovered around $10/barrel. Nothing about a new pipeline will change the fact that Alberta’s heavy oil takes more effort to refine into usable products and is located farther from major markets than most other sources. “It’s the lack of pipeline capacity that creates the price discount for Alberta. It’s not where that pipeline capacity goes. It’s not the difference between the U.S. Gulf and Asia,” Tom Gunton, professor and director of Simon Fraser University’s resource and environmental planning program, told DeSmog Canada. “It’s got to do with that there’s not enough pipeline capacity.” When Trans Mountain was pitched in 2013, there was a legitimate shortage of pipeline capacity, a reality made more concerning to industry by massive production forecasts for future decades. It seemed like an imminent and long-term backlog was about to emerge — which would actually lead to a price discount. But then the 2014-15 price crash happened, new pipelines came online and dozens of proposed oilsands projects were either scrapped or put on hold. When former U.S. president Barack Obama’s vetoed TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline in 2015 the backlog idea began gaining traction once again. But the veto has since been rescinded by President Donald Trump. Gunton said that if you combine Keystone with Enbridge’s Line 3 and the proposed Mainline expansion, “there is more than enough pipeline capacity to meet all of Alberta’s needs without Trans Mountain” meaning that no serious price differential will emerge. TransCanada spill in South Dakota responsible for current discount The main reason that Alberta is currently experiencing a larger differential than usual (around $25/barrel) is because TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline spilled almost 10,000 barrels of oil into a South Dakota field in November — the third incident from the pipeline since 2010. That resulted in a two-week shutdown, and the pipeline has been running at 20 per cent reduced pressure ever since. As Allan pointed out in a letter to the Calgary Herald, this means that around 120,000 barrels per day have been backlogged, accounting for the widening differential. You can basically see the moment when the spill happened on differential estimations, increasing from $11/barrel in November to $25/barrel in February. It is not a lack of market access to Asia that gutted returns for oil companies — it’s a pipeline spill. The phenomena of spills squeezing pipeline capacity is something Allan has previously documented. Gunton said that even the two reports submitted by Kinder Morgan to the National Energy Board — the first of which was striked as evidence after its author, Steven Kelly, was controversially appointed to the regulator — didn’t identify an “Asian premium.” Instead, they argued that some of the shipments out of Alberta would have to go by rail due to inadequate pipeline capacity, reducing netbacks to producers. That’s no longer true. “That’s another big lie that there’s this big demand in Asia,” said Green Party leader Elizabeth May. “There’s this series of assumptions that are repeated so often that nobody questions them.” Most expanded capacity will end up in California, not Asia But while politicians like Rachel Notley continue to repeat the fiction “that there is now and will always be a pretty substantial market for bitumen in the Asia-Pacific” many analysts have identified that most oil shipped from the expanded Trans Mountain line via Vancouver (with a significant chunk already diverted in Abbotsford to Washington refineries) will end up in California in the short term. A 2013 report from the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy argued: “Movement of crude supplies originating in Vancouver should satisfy U.S. West Coast demand before the first barrel crosses the Pacific to Asia.” This is mostly because California is facing declining domestic production and imports from Alaska’s North Slope. Additionally, it already has refineries in place to process heavy oil, and Albertan bitumen could directly compete with Mexican Maya, a similar quality crude. Based on 2017 data, only 3.4 per cent of California’s foreign crude imports came from Canada. That same year, half of the state’s imported oil came from Saudi Arabia, Ecuador and Colombia — which can all produce at far lower costs than Alberta. The state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard also rewards crude oil with lower carbon intensity, further benefiting OPEC exporters over Alberta. “There’s no premium to go to California,” Finn said. “There’s probably a discount because it’s farther and costs more to have ships go down there.” U.S. Gulf Coast remains most lucrative location So where is Alberta’s slowly-but-surely increasing oil production supposed to go? Well, where it’s always gone — to the U.S. Gulf Coast, aided by TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3 pipelines. Compared to shipping via tankers from Vancouver, the Gulf offers comparatively cheaper transportation fees and existing heavy oil refining capacity. In addition, both Venezuela and Mexico’s heavy oil production have also been in steady decline in recent years, providing even more potential for Alberta to fill existing refinery capacity in the Gulf. “As we implement climate policies and as the world transitions away from fossil fuels, production in Alberta is not going to grow very much,” Gunton said. “It’s the highest-cost producer in the world. Consequently, the demand for pipelines is down. And there is more than enough pipeline capacity to meet all of Alberta’s needs without Trans Mountain.” Economic circumstances have shifted dramatically since 2013 when Kinder Morgan first proposed the pipeline, which raises the question: does the company want to back away from the project for reasons that stretch beyond the opposition its facing in British Columbia? Even with both the Alberta and federal governments discuss bailing out the private project, in an investor call on Tuesday, Kinder Morgan indicated the investment may still be “untenable.” If the company walks, a government could either purchase the $7.4 billion project as hinted at by Premier Notley. Or, Kinder Morgan may opt to sue the Government of Canada via NAFTA. Whatever happens, one thing seems certain at this stage: it’s not going to be predictable. Illustration: Oil exports to Asia. Image via Carol Linnitt.

A metabolomic approach to identify anti-hepatocarcinogenic compounds from plants used traditionally in the treatment of liver diseases

Fitoterapia. 2018 Feb 23. pii: S0367-326X(18)30119-9. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2018.02.021. [Epub ahead of print] Chassagne F1, Haddad M1, Amiel A1, Phakeovilay C2, Manithip C3, Bourdy G1, Deharo E2, Marti G4. Author information 1 PHARMADEV, Université de Toulouse, IRD, Toulouse, France. 2 PHARMADEV, Université de Toulouse, IRD, Toulouse, France; Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane, Lao Democratic People's Republic. 3 Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Health Sciences, Vientiane, Lao Democratic People's Republic. 4 PHARMADEV, Université de Toulouse, IRD, Toulouse, France. Electronic address: Abstract Liver cancer is a major health burden in Southeast Asia, and most patients turn towards the use of medicinal plants to alleviate their symptoms. The aim of this work was to apply to Southeast Asian plants traditionally used to treat liver disorders, a successive ranking strategy based on a comprehensive review of the literature and metabolomic data in order to relate ethnopharmacological relevance to chemical entities of interest. We analyzed 45 publications resulting in a list of 378 plant species, and our point system based on the frequency of citation in the literature allowed the selection of 10 top ranked species for further collection and extraction. Extracts of these plants were tested for their in vitro anti-proliferative activities on HepG2 cells. Ethanolic extracts of Andrographis paniculata, Oroxylum indicum, Orthosiphon aristatus and Willughbeia edulis showed the highest anti-proliferative effects (IC50 = 195.9, 64.1, 71.3 and 66.7 μg/ml, respectively). A metabolomic ranking model was performed to annotate compounds responsible for the anti-proliferative properties of A. paniculata (andrographolactone and dehydroandrographolide), O. indicum (baicalein, chrysin, oroxylin A and scutellarein), O. aristatus (5-desmethylsinensetin) and W. edulis (parabaroside C and procyanidin). Overall, our dereplicative approach combined with a bibliographic scoring system allowed us to rapidly decipher the molecular basis of traditionally used medicinal plants. KEYWORDS: Anti-proliferative effect; HepG2; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Medicinal plants; Metabolomics; Southeast Asia PMID: 29477305 DOI: 10.1016/j.fitote.2018.02.021

Recipes Project - Bitter as Gall or Sickly Sweet? The Taste of Medicine in Early Modern England

17/04/2018 Hannah Newton Leave a comment Figure 1: ‘The Bitter Potion’, 1640; by Adriaen Brouwer; © Städel Museum – U. Edelmann – ARTOTHEK Adriaen Brower’s The Bitter Potion (1640) depicts a man’s reaction to the taste of a medicine – his face is contorted in an expression of deep revulsion (Figure 1). The image seems to confirm Roy Porter’s generalisation that ‘pre-modern medicine tasted foul’.[1] Contemporary medical recipes and patients’ memoirs tell a more complicated story, however. While some remedies were full of bitter ingredients, others were pumped with sugar. Below, we will see why this was the case, and discover that the actual flavours of medicines sometimes bore little relation to how they were actually experienced. This research is part of a new Wellcome Trust project, Sensing Sickness, which investigates the impact of disease on the five senses, and uncovers the sounds, sights, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations of the early modern sickchamber. I also discuss some of these issues in my forthcoming open access book, Misery to Mirth: Recovery from Illness in Early Modern England (OUP, June 2018). Bitter medicines Amongst the most common bitter ingredients in early modern medicines were the herbs wormwood and aloes. Lady Barret’s remedy against ‘any illness in the stomach’ contains 4 drams of aloes, together with myrrh, saffron, and brandy. The Ayscough family’s recipe book suggests a remedy ‘to drive away agues’ composed of wormwood, marigold leaves, agrimony, and mugwort. A rare insight into the imagined reaction of a patient to these bitter drugs is provided in a collection of Italian medieval novels, published in English in 1620: as ‘soone as’ the man’s ‘tongue tasted the bitter Aloes, he began to cough and spet extreamly, as being utterly unable to endure the bitternesse’. Once taken, the mere sight of ‘the vessel in which the potion is kept’ is enough to provoke vomiting in some patients, wrote the physician William Bullein (c.1515-76). So notorious was the bitterness of aloes, it was used as a metaphor for describing any unpleasant experience, including pain, grief, and spiritual guilt.[2] Figure 2: ‘Twenty Trees, Herbs, and Shrubs of the Bible. Chromolithograph, c.1850’, by MacFarlane and Erskine; Wellcome Collection, CC BY Figure 3 : ‘Twenty Trees, Herbs, and Shrubs of the Bible. Chromolithograph, c.1850’, by MacFarlane and Erskine; Wellcome Collection, CC BY Why did medicines contain these bitter ingredients? According to popular legend, the medicine has to be ‘as bitter as the disease’ for it to work. This idea is rooted in Galenic understandings of disease and treatment. Disease was due to the malignant alteration of the body’s humours, the constituent fluids of living creatures, and it was removed when the humours had been rectified or evacuated. Bitter medicine facilitated this process in two ways – first, it helped ‘devide, [and] extenuate…grosse and clammy humours, that they may be ready to flowe out’ of the body’.[3] Metaphors of cleaning were used in this context: the Dutch physician Levinus Lemnius (1505-68) averred, ‘the filth…of the humours stick no lesse to these mens bodies than the…dregs do to vessels, which must be soked…with pickle’, a bitter vinegary mixture, ‘to make them clean’. The second stage of evacuation was the movement of the humours from the body’s interior to its exit points, such as the bowels, where it could be expelled through defecation. Bitter medicines could be given to induce such movements. Lemnius explained that seeing that ‘attraction is made by the similitude of substance’, there must be a ‘natural familiarity’ between ‘the humour [to be evacuated] and the medicament’. Since the most noxious humours were bitter, medicines should be bitter too. Quoting Hippocrates, Lemnius expanded, ‘Physick when it come[s] into the body, it first…draws unto itself, that which is most…like unto it, then it moves the…humours…and forceth them out’. This idea was familiar to laypeople as well as doctors. Sweet medicines Although bitterness was necessary for purgative physic to work, the ‘cunning Physician…tempereth his bitter medicines with sweet and pleasant drinke’.[4] It was hoped that by disguising the bitter flavour, the medicine would be easier to swallow. This intervention was particularly important when it came to treating children, whose tolerance for bitter tastes was especially low due to the sensitivity of their taste-buds. This is still an issue today: in one survey, over 90 percent of paediatricians reported that a drug’s taste is the biggest barrier to completing a course of treatment. The most popular sweeteners in early modern England were sugar and honey. Speaking of her ‘speciall medecine’ for jaundice in c.1608, Mrs Corlyon instructed that ‘you must make it pleasant with Sugar according to your taste more or lesse’ (Figure 4). Anne Glyd’s recipe ‘Against the chin cough’ from the mid-seventeenth century states that it should be taken with ‘hony…or what the child likes best’. Figure 4: Extract from Mrs Corlyon’s ‘A Booke of divers medecines’, 1606; MS 313, Wellcome Library, London Intriguingly, these sweetened medicines did not always taste sweet. Recalling a recent illness, the natural philosopher Robert Boyle (1627-91), observed that some of his remedies had been, ‘sweetened with as much Sugar, as if they came not from an Apothecaries Shop, but a Confectioners. But my Mouth is too much out of Taste to rellish anything’. The Galenic explanation for these altered perceptions was that the organ of taste, the tongue, is ‘filled with some strange fluid’ during acute illness, which mixes with the gustatory juice of the medicine, so that ‘all things would seem salty to taste, or all bitter’.[5] Other causes were the drying of the tongue from the ‘fiery heat’ of fevers, or the presence of bitter humours in the mouth.[6] So familiar was the experience of altered taste that religious writers found it a useful metaphor to invoke when describing the more abstract idea that sinners fail to relish wholesome counsel. The Yorkshire minister Thomas Watson (d.1686), wrote in his treatise on repentance, ‘Tis with a sinner, as it is with a sick Patient[:] his pallat is distempered; the sweetest things taste bitter to him: So the word of God which is sweeter than honey-comb, tastes bitter to a sinner’. We tend to be disparaging about premodern medicines, assuming they were deeply unpleasant. This brief foray into the gustatory qualities of remedies demonstrates that such a reading is too simplistic, and does not take into account the often benevolent intentions behind the use of bitter treatments, nor the attempts of practitioners to make their remedies more palatable. In any case, I think we need to be more wary about assuming the actual qualities of medicines were perceived by patients, since many diseases impaired the patient’s capacity to taste. In the next stage of my project, I seek to discover how the other four senses were affected by illness and treatment. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ [1] Roy and Dorothy Porter, In Sickness and in Health: The British Experience 1650-1850 (London, 1988), 105; see also Lucinda Beier, In Sickness and in Health: The Experience of Illness in Seventeenth-Century England (Cambridge, 1985), 170. [2] E.g. Mark Frank, LI Sermons preached by the Reverend Dr. Mark Frank (1672), 391. [3] A. T., A rich store-house, or treasury for the diseased (1596), preface. See also William Bullein, The government of health (1595, first publ. 1559), 9-10. [4] William Kempe, The education of children (1588), image 31. [5] Galen, ‘On the Causes of Symptoms I’, in Ian Johnston (ed. and trans.), Galen on Diseases and Symptoms (Cambridge, 2006), 203-35, at 220-21, 189. This text was available in Latin in the early modern period, translated from the Greek by Thomas Linacre as De symptomatum differentiis et causis (1524). [6] Helkiah Crooke, Mikrokosmographia a description of the body of man (1615), 631.

Bryophyllum pinnatum Leaf Extracts Prevent Formation of Renal Calculi in Lithiatic Rats

Anc Sci Life. 2016 Oct-Dec;36(2):90-97. doi: 10.4103/asl.ASL_90_16. Bryophyllum pinnatum Leaf Extracts Prevent Formation of Renal Calculi in Lithiatic Rats. Yadav M1, Gulkari VD2, Wanjari MM3. Author information 1 Department of Pharmacology, J. L. Chaturvedi College of Pharmacy, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. 2 Department of Pharmacognosy, J. L. Chaturvedi College of Pharmacy, Nagpur, Maharashtra, India. 3 Department of Pharmacology, National Research Institute for Ayurveda-Siddha Human Resource Development, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India. Abstract BACKGROUND: Bryophyllum pinnatum, commonly known as Pattharcaṭṭa, is used traditionally in ethnomedicinal practices for the treatment of kidney stone and urinary insufficiency. AIM: The present study evaluated the effect of Bryophyllum pinnatum on ethylene glycol (EG)-induced renal calculi in rats. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Renal calculi were induced in rats by administration of 0.75% EG in drinking water and co-treated orally with standard drug, Cystone (750 mg/kg), or alcoholic and hydro-alcoholic extracts in doses of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg for 28 days. Weekly body weights were recorded. On day 29, urolithiasis was confirmed by assessing the urinary parameters (urine volume, pH, uric acid, calcium, phosphorus, oxalate, magnesium and creatinine clearance), serum biochemical parameters (creatinine, uric acid, urea, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium), oxidative stress parameters and histology of kidney. RESULTS: Treatment with extracts attenuated the EG-induced decrease in body weight and elevation in urinary parameters (uric acid, calcium, phosphorus and oxalate) and serum biochemical parameters (creatinine, uric acid, urea, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium). Extract treatment also reversed EG-induced decrease in urine volume, pH, magnesium and creatinine clearance, oxidative and histological damages in kidneys. Results were comparable to standard drug, Cystone. Results indicated that EG administration caused renal calculi formation which is prevented by treatment with extracts. The observed antilithiatic effect may be attributed to the presence of high content of phenolics, flavonoids and saponins in the extracts. CONCLUSION: Bryophyllum pinnatum leaves showed preventive effect against renal calculi formation and validates its ethnomedicinal use in urinary disorders. It further supports its therapeutic potential for the treatment of urinary calculi. KEYWORDS: Bryophyllum pinnatum; ethnomedicine; ethylene glycol; kidney stone; lithiasis; urinary disorder PMID: 28446830 PMCID: PMC5382824 DOI: 10.4103/asl.ASL_90_16 Free PMC Article

Constructing Scientific Communities Indian Medical Gazette (1866-1955)

Fri, Apr 20, 2018 2:46 pm Posted: 20 Apr 2018 01:00 AM PDT In 1941, the British Medical Journal celebrated the 75th anniversary of the Indian Medical Gazette. Launched in 1866, the Gazette was by this point the longest-running medical journal on the subcontinent. Reflecting on the state of periodical literature in British India, the BMJ remarked that, ‘[d]uring the past century dozens of medical journals have sprung up […] and had their brief day, usually petering out after a few years and now forgotten’.[1] The Gazette was an important exception, a journal which gained a firmer foothold, running until 1955. Indian Medical Gazette The first issue of the IMG in January 1866. The Gazette was a medical monthly produced in Calcutta, the capital of British India until 1911. Its content and format resembled that of its British contemporaries. It included original communications and notes from hospital practice, as well as editorials, news items, and correspondence columns. However, it was also shaped by a specifically imperialist agenda. The Gazette conceived its aim as ‘the ennobling, by every possible means, of the Medical Profession in India’ and announced its commitment to rendering ‘good [to] suffering humanity’. It drew on common tropes, portraying the Indian population as backward and debased, in need of the supposedly civilising influence of Western medicine. At the same time, it was concerned about the lack of status and prestige attached to colonial medical service.[2] The Gazette also addressed the perceived challenges facing medical journalism in India, questioning whether the stagnation of periodical literature was due to the ‘enervating’ climate.[3] According to the BMJ, the Gazette’s ultimate success was attributable to its longest-running editor Kenneth McLeod (1871-1892) and one of his successors, Walter Buchanan (1899-1918). Both held senior appointments in the Indian Medical Service (IMS), an institution which had its antecedents in the East India Company and which continued under Crown rule after 1858. The IMS provided both military and some civilian medical services. While the Gazette did not explicitly identify itself as an IMS publication, it was widely regarded as official in character. When the BMJ reviewed the journal in 1874, it noted that the Gazette’s editors were IMS officials and that its contributors ‘belong[ed] chiefly, although far from exclusively, to the Indian service’.[4] In a future blog post, I will examine one of the Gazette’s rivals: the Indian Medical Record. The Record accused the Gazette of receiving state subsidies and presented itself as a staunchly independent alternative. The Gazette often imagined its readers as British-born men employed in colonial medical service. Its first issue featured an article on ‘Professional Co-operation’ which looked at the challenges facing the young medical officer upon his arrival in India. It described how he ‘may be sent at once to do battle with disease as it occurs among men whose constitutions, customs, diet, and prejudices are new and foreign to him’.[5] Like British journals, the Gazette portrayed India as a strange, unfamiliar and alien space. Many practitioners employed in the IMS and Army Medical Corps were British men who arrived in India after being trained and examined on their home soil. This article emphasised the Gazette’s commitment to promoting sympathy between medical men and encouraging the exchange of clinical and sanitary information so that ‘[t]he service we owe to Government and India may thereby also be amplified and rendered more useful while, as a consequence, our influence in the country will be more readily acknowledged and respected’. The article noted the ‘difficulties and discouragements to professional zeal and advancement’ that were thought to characterise colonial medicine.[6] Practitioners in India were often accused of apathy and as being less industrious than their British counterparts. The production of high-quality clinical research was seen as one way of overcoming this prejudice towards colonial medicine. Anne M. Crowther and Marguerite Dupree suggest that, from the outset, the Gazette sought to ‘prove that the IMS could contribute significantly to medical knowledge’.[7] When the BMJ reviewed the Gazette, it judged the journal chiefly in terms of its clinical content. It reassured its readers that the periodical would ‘bear a favourable comparison with contemporary journals, not only in England, but in Europe’.[8] There is a sense that Indian periodicals had to prove their worth by asserting their equality with their European counterparts. As indicated, the Gazette was shaped by the colonial context, which included an ethnically diverse readership. The IMS had long employed indigenous peoples, chiefly (though not exclusively) in low-status positions. In 1876, the journal published a leading article reflecting on its first decade of existence. It claimed that one of its original intentions was to cement ‘a bond of union by means of which medical men working in India of whatever service or creed or race [….] should be brought together for mutual edification and improvement’.[9] This implied that both British and ‘native’ readers would be enriched in tandem and united through their shared readership of the journal. The Gazette remarked that it received contributions from native practitioners – working in the IMS as Assistant Surgeons, Apothecaries, and Hospitals Assistants, and as private doctors – with ‘pleasure’. Bound volumes of the Gazette typically open with a list of contributors for the year, and from this it is possible to conclude that native practitioners actively supplied clinical material. The Gazette designated their communications evidence of ‘laudable ambition’ and expressed its hope that publishing such material would dispel prejudices that these men were ‘incapable of original research’ or that they were content with a ‘life of stagnation and inertness’.[10] Even more so than British men in IMS employment, practitioners of Indian, Eurasian and Anglo-Indian descent were charged with apathy. The Gazette framed itself as the champion and supporter of men from different ethnic backgrounds but it also adopted a paternalistic approach and was often deeply patronising. The journal commended itself on ‘develop[ing] the literary industry’ of native practitioners and suggested that their contributions showed ‘the soundness of the education which they receive’. This reduced the men to passive recipients of Western medicine’s supposedly enlightening influence. Although the Gazette welcomed the way in which it could help challenge negative stereotypes, it also urged its ‘native brethren’ to ‘quicken their will and effort’ so that they could ‘entirely obliterate the stain’ against their name.[11] This loaded language hints at the prejudice faced by these readers. The journal’s diverse readership also encompassed female practitioners. In 1882, the Gazette published an article on ‘Women Doctors for India’, which criticised the movement for medical women. The writer denied that there was any appetite for them among female patients who observed veiling or segregation. It claimed that ‘the picture of excessive obstetric and uterine suffering [in the zenanas] has been overdrawn’.[12] However, the journal’s stance softened in following years, particularly after the establishment of the National Association for Supplying Female Medical Aid to the Women of India (commonly known as the Dufferin Fund) in 1885. This formalised women’s involvement in the provision of colonial medicine. The Gazette soon overturned its objections and enthusiastically reported the achievements of medical women, as well as printing their clinical contributions.[13] Florence Dissent article A clinical report from Florence Dissent (December 1891). Ultimately, the Gazette suggested that medical men and women, of both British and Indian descent, had complementary roles to play in imperial medicine’s mission. As indicated, it believed that greater professional co-operation would help to elevate the status of colonial practice. Nevertheless, the journal’s dominant editorial voice reinforced hierarchies, largely foregrounding the experiences of white men while representing non-white and female practitioners as occupying subordinate or separate roles. Thus the journal reveals both the ambitions and tensions of the colonial medical profession. [1] ‘Seventy-Fifth Anniversary of the Indian Medical Gazette’, BMJ, 3 May 1941, p. 679. [2] Mark Harrison, Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine, 1859-1914 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994). [3] [Editorial], IMG, 1 January 1866, p. 1. [4] ‘Review: The Indian Medical Gazette’, BMJ, 20 June 1874, pp. 808-9 (p. 808). [5] ‘Professional Co-operation’, IMG, 1 January 1866, pp. 6-7 (p. 6). [6] ‘Professional Co-operation’, p. 6. [7] M. Anne Crowther and Marguerite W. Dupree, Medical Lives in the Age of Surgical Revolution (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007), p. 304. [8] ‘Review: The Indian Medical Gazette’, BMJ, 20 June 1874, pp. 808-9 (p. 808). [9] ‘1875’, IMG, 1 January 1876, pp. 12-23 (p. 19). [10] ‘1875’, p. 20. [11] ‘1875’, p. 20. [12] ‘Women Doctors for India’, IMG, 1 July 1882, pp. 184-5 (p. 184). [13] See, for example, Florence Dissent, ‘Mirror of Medicine: Two Cases of Large Uterine Polypus’, IMG, December 1891, p. 334.

Socio-economic differences in the change of fruit and vegetable intakes among Dutch adults between 2004 and 2011: the GLOBE study.

Public Health Nutr. 2018 Feb 20:1-13. doi: 10.1017/S1368980017004219. [Epub ahead of print] Dijkstra SC1, Neter JE1, Brouwer IA1, Huisman M2, Visser M1, van Lenthe FJ3, Kamphuis CB3. Author information 1 1Department of Health Sciences, Faculty of Science,Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute,De Boelelaan 1085,1081 HV Amsterdam,The Netherlands. 2 2Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute,VU University Medical Center,Amsterdam,The Netherlands. 3 4Department of Public Health,Erasmus University Medical Center,Rotterdam,The Netherlands. Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate socio-economic differences in changes in fruit and vegetable intake between 2004 and 2011 and explore the mediating role of financial barriers in this change. DESIGN: Respondents completed a self-reported questionnaire in 2004 and 2011, including questions on fruit and vegetable intake (frequency per week), indicators of socio-economic position (education, income) and perceived financial barriers (fruits/vegetables are expensive, financial distress). Associations were analysed using ordinal logistic regression. The mediating role of financial barriers in the association between socio-economic position and change in fruit and vegetable intake was studied with the Baron and Kenny approach. SETTING: Longitudinal GLOBE study. SUBJECTS: A total of 2978 Dutch adults aged 25-75 years. RESULTS: Respondents with the lowest income in 2004 were more likely to report a decrease in intake of cooked vegetables (P-trend<0·001) and raw vegetables (P-trend<0·001) between 2004 and 2011, compared with those with the highest income level. Respondents with the lowest education level in 2004 were more likely to report a decrease in intake of fruits (P-trend=0·021), cooked vegetables (P-trend=0·033), raw vegetables (P-trend<0·001) and fruit juice (P-trend=0·027) between 2004 and 2011, compared with those with the highest education level. Financial barriers partially mediated the association between income and education and the decrease in fruit and cooked vegetable intake between 2004 and 2011. CONCLUSIONS: These results show a widening of relative income and educational differences in fruit and vegetable intake between 2004 and 2011. Financial barriers explained a small part of this widening. KEYWORDS: Change; Education; Fruits; Income; Longitudinal; Socio-economic position; Vegetables PMID: 29458442 DOI: 10.1017/S1368980017004219