EP 47: GMO Mosquitos and How the Gut Microbiome Influences Blood Pressure

EP 47: GMO Mosquitos and How the Gut Microbiome Influences Blood Pressure

GMO Mosquitos and How the Gut Microbiome Influences Blood Pressure

GMO Mosquitoes

Genetically modified mosquitoes have hit the keys. A company called Oxitec has genetically modified mosquitos and is releasing them for the first time in Florida. They genetically modified a specific type of mosquito, the Aedes mosquito. There are many types of mosquitoes, so why did they specifically target the Aedes? This specific mosquito accounts for 4% of all mosquitoes in the district, but the Aedes are responsible for most of the disease spread. The Aedes mosquito has been shown to carry certain diseases such as dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, zika, and lymphatic filariasis. 

How will it work

The GMO male mosquitos are supposed to reduce or control the size of the population. The current Oxitec method targets female mosquitoes because only the female mosquito bites for blood, which she needs to mature her eggs. Males feed only on nectar and do not bite people, so they are not a carrier for the disease. Oxitec’s model is to genetically alter a lethal gene to only kill females in the larval stage of growth. Ideally, the female mosquitos should die prior to hatching. This gene altercation is done on males because the “kill switch” gene only affects females. The goal of this is to have the male GMO mosquitos reproduce with females leading to the death of female offspring. 

Boxes with mosquitos eggs, food, and water have been placed in 6 locations in the lower and middle keys. Through these locations, 12,000 mosquitos will grow each week for about 12 weeks.

Thoughts

There is a regulatory structure for how we bring new projects to reality. There are 4 pillars a project must explain before approval from a regulatory body

  1. Public health: Is there a need?
  2. Regulatory: May it be done?
  3. Social: Should it be done?
  4. Scientific: Can it be done?

 This is the framework for a novel technology to be adapted. 

A segment of Keys residents is worried about how this may affect the environment. The EPA, FDA, and The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services all approved this trial. There are however still unknown. 

How will this affect the environment is a question no one has the answer for because there has not been enough research on its effects. This can potentially have a ripple effect, by altering one organism it has the potential to alter others. Just because the male mosquitos are shown to not bite humans doesn’t mean it can’t affect us another way. It can alter the way other species eat mosquitos, we aren’t sure how it will affect the growth of other animals that use mosquitos as fuel. 

https://amp.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/florida-keys/article251031419.html

https://www.cnn.com/2021/04/30/health/genetically-modified-mosquitoes-us-scn-wellness/index.html

https://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0002623

Gut Microbiome and Hypertension

One of the still most unexplored parts of our body is our gut microbiome. New research suggests certain gut bacteria may be linked to high blood pressure. This is newer research that has a lot of potentials but there still has to be a lot of work done around it. Nearly half of the adults in the US have hypertension and 20% of people do not find success in managing blood pressure with current pharmaceuticals.

Gut Dysbiosis linked to hypertension

Emerging evidence suggests that gut microbiota is critical in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis. 

This study was designed to test the hypothesis that dysbiosis in gut microbiota is associated with hypertension because genetic, environmental, and dietary factors profoundly influence both gut microbiota and blood pressure. Bacterial DNA from fecal samples of 2 rat models of hypertension and a small cohort of patients was used for bacterial genomic analysis.

We observed a significant decrease in microbial richness, diversity, and evenness in the spontaneously hypertensive rat, in addition to an increased Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio.

(1) decreases in the microbial richness and marked increases in the F/B ratio in the animal models of hypertension, implicating the existence of gut dysbiosis in hypertension.

(2) this dysbiosis was associated with decreases in acetate- and butyrate-producing bacteria and an increase in the lactate-producing bacterial population

(3) gut microbiota dysbiosis was confirmed in a small cohort of human hypertensive patients, pointing to the potential clinical significance of this work

(4) oral minocycline could rebalance the gut microbiota in a rat model of hypertension. These findings clearly implicate the role of gut microbiota in the pathophysiology of both animal and human hypertension.” 

These observations demonstrate that high blood pressure is associated with gut microbiota dysbiosis, both in animal and human hypertension. They suggest that dietary intervention to correct gut microbiota could be an innovative nutritional therapeutic strategy for hypertension.

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.05315

Intermittent fasting and the way it reshapes the gut to lower blood pressure

Germ-free rats received microbiota from fasting rats as well as another sample that received microbiota from rats with higher blood pressure. The rats that received the microbiota from the fasted rats exhibited lower blood pressure. Researchers also observed that bile acid production was a potential mediator for blood pressure. supporting this finding, they found that supplementing animals with cholic acid, a primary bile acid, also significantly reduced blood pressure.

“Many of the bacteria in the gut microbiota are involved in the production of compounds that have been shown to have beneficial effects as they make it into the circulation and contribute to the regulation of the host’s physiology”.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/lifestyle/health/fasting-lowers-blood-pressure-by-reshaping-gut-microbiota-here-s-how-101619766381992.html

Association between the gut microbiota and blood pressure

They studied a population sample of 6953 Finns aged 25 to 74 years. The participants underwent a health examination, which included BP measurement, stool collection, and 24‐hour urine sampling.

They concluded the associations between overall gut taxonomic composition and BP are weak, individuals with hypertension demonstrate changes in several genera. We demonstrate strong negative associations of certain Lactobacillus species with sodium intake and BP, highlighting the need for experimental studies.

https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.016641

Much research still has to be done but there is a growing importance of the gut microbiome. There can potentially be a link between the way we process and metabolize medication, meaning we can have the potential to tailor antihypertensives to individual people. 

This also shows how important nutrition is to our bodies. What you take in shapes your gut, poor nutrition leads to poor gut health leading to hypertension. 

 

EP 46: Skin Regeneration, Simulation & Vibration Theory

EP 46: Skin Regeneration, Simulation & Vibration Theory

Scientists have a new understanding of how skin repairs itself. 

Epigenetic regulation of cell and tissue function requires the coordinated action of transcription factors. In normal conditions, one in every fourth cell isolated from the inner layer of the skin divides but the team in the University of Manchester achieved an increase by 20-25%. 

Two transcription factors—proteins that bind the DNA—were able to enhance a natural process of skin cell division, a desirable outcome in regenerative medicine.

What is Transcription factor?

Transcription factor (TF) (or sequence-specific DNA-binding factor) is a protein that controls the rate of transcription of genetic information from DNA to messenger RNA, by binding to a specific DNA sequence. The function of TFs is to regulate—turn on and off—genes in order to make sure that they are expressed in the right cell at the right time and in the right amount throughout the life of the cell and the organism.

What are Growth Factors?

Growth factors are natural substances made by the skin cells that support the repair of damaged skin, as a result of aging or environmental factors. They promote the formation of collagen and elastin to provide firmness and elasticity.

Growth factor proteins are naturally secreted by cells and interact directly or are hidden away by the surrounding extracellular matrix for presentation to cell surface receptors. Events such as cell migration, survival, adhesion, proliferation, growth, and differentiation are triggered by the binding of the specific growth factor receptor, which stimulates cell signal transduction pathways. These growth factor-stimulated cellular responses in greater proportions are involved in organ development, angiogenesis, and wound healing.

The effect of skin repair was achieved without the addition of growth factors in this study. Instead of growth factors, scientists used sulforaphane, a compound found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages.

Sulforaphane activates the binding of transcription factors to specific parts of the DNA, which controls cell division and is one of a number of compounds that can work in this way.

While most of the research was done on human cells isolated directly from donor skin, mouse models with genetically modified transcription factors were essential to prove the DNA-mediated mechanism.

“We know that the skin sometimes cannot efficiently repair itself but the endogenous mechanism we discovered uses the body’s own processes to induce division of cells in the skin,” – Dr. Svitlana Kurinna, who led the study.

Our skin can be easily damaged, which impacts the quality of life and in some cases, is life-threatening. The scientist’s goal was to provide insight into the process and lay the foundation for the future of finding similar mechanisms in other organs.

One of the identified transcription factors is the master regulator of the DNA in skin cells while the other alleviates oxidative stress. Such stress is a result of reactive oxygen species from the environment, toxins, and the inner metabolic processes.

Possible in the future, the transcription factors may protect and improve cell division without transforming them into cancer cells. At the moment, once tissue becomes fibrotic and scarred, there’s no way of reversing it to a fully functional state. The goal will be to improve the regeneration of functional skin and potentially in other organs with similar endogenous mechanisms. 

Life is just perception, are we in a simulation?

The most memorable things about The Matrix are, without a doubt, the questions it asks about the true nature of reality. What if all we experience in life is simply a simulation?

“If we are living in a simulation, then the cosmos that we are observing is just a tiny piece of the totality of physical existence… While the world we see is in some sense ‘real,’ it is not located at the fundamental level of reality.” — Nick Bostrom

Could consciousness come down to the way things vibrate?

Why is my awareness here, while yours is over there? Why is the universe split in two for each of us, into a subject and an infinity of objects? How is each of us our own center of the experience, receiving information about the rest of the world out there? Why are some things conscious and others apparently not? Is a bird conscious?

Synchronized vibration may connect us all? All things in our universe are constantly in motion, vibrating. Even objects that appear to be stationary are in fact vibrating, oscillating, resonating, at various frequencies. Ultimately all matter is just vibrations of various underlying fields. As such, at every scale, all of nature vibrates.

Something interesting happens when different vibrating things come together: They will often start, after a little while, to vibrate together at the same frequency. They “sync up,” sometimes in ways that can seem mysterious. This is described as the phenomenon of spontaneous self-organization.

– When fireflies of certain species come together in large gatherings, they start flashing in sync, in ways that can still seem a little mystifying.

– Lasers are produced when photons of the same power and frequency sync up.

– The moon’s rotation is exactly synced with its orbit around the Earth such that we always see the same face.

Gamma waves are associated with large-scale coordinated activities like perception, meditation or focused consciousness; beta with maximum brain activity or arousal; and theta with relaxation or daydreaming. 

These three wave types work together to produce, or at least facilitate, various types of human consciousness? But the exact relationship between electrical brain waves and consciousness is still very much up for debate.

What if the feeling is a conscious awareness of vibration and the vibration you’re in dictates what you’re going to attract in life.

https://academic.oup.com/nar/article/49/7/3748/6188351

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-04-scientists-skin.html

https://earthsky.org/human-world/consciousness-what-is-theory-vibration

 

EP 45: Tea For Hypertension & The Current Health Decline

EP 45: Tea For Hypertension & The Current Health Decline

In this episode we will talk about a new study from the University of California, Irvine shows that compounds in both green and black tea relax blood vessels by activating ion channel proteins in the blood vessel wall. We will also talk about a national study that shows health declining in Gen X and Gen Y

Gen X – 1965 – 1980

Gen Y – 1981 – 1996

Gen Z – 1997 – 2015

The discovery helps explain the antihypertensive properties of tea and could lead to the design of new blood pressure-lowering medications.

Since its initial use in China over 4000 years ago, tea has become one of the most commonly consumed beverages worldwide, second only to water. Upwards of 2 billion cups of tea are currently drunk each day worldwide

The leaves of the evergreen species Camellia sinensis are used to make the most prevalent caffeinated teas. Since they are produced from the same plant, the differences between tea varieties (green, oolong, and black) are due to leaf fermentation levels (unfermented, partially fermented, and fully fermented, respectively), which impart the characteristic properties and flavors of the teas.

Results from the research revealed that two catechin-type flavonoid compounds (epicatechin gallate and epigallocatechin-3-gallate) found in tea, each activate a specific type of ion channel protein named KCNQ5, which allows potassium ions to diffuse out of cells to reduce cellular excitability. As KCNQ5 is found in the smooth muscle that lines blood vessels, its activation by tea catechins was also predicted to relax blood vessels

“We found by using computer modeling and mutagenesis studies that specific catechins bind to the foot of the voltage sensor, which is the part of KCNQ5 that allows the channel to open in response to cellular excitation. This binding allows the channel to open much more easily and earlier in the cellular excitation process,” explained Abbott.

As many as one-third of the world’s adult population has hypertension, and this condition is considered to be the number one modifiable risk factor for global cardiovascular disease and premature mortality

In addition to its role in controlling vascular tone, KCNQ5 is expressed in various parts of the brain, where it regulates electrical activity and signaling between neurons. Pathogenic KCNQ5 gene variants exist that impair its channel function and in doing so cause epileptic encephalopathy, a developmental disorder that causes frequent seizures. Because catechins can cross the blood-brain barrier, the discovery of their ability to activate KCNQ5 may suggest a future mechanism to fix broken KCNQ5 channels to improve brain excitability disorders stemming from their dysfunction.

Abstract taken from the study 

Background/Aims: Tea, produced from the evergreen Camellia sinensis, has reported therapeutic properties against multiple pathologies, including hypertension. Although some studies validate the health benefits of tea, few have investigated the molecular mechanisms of action. The KCNQ5 voltage-gated potassium channel contributes to vascular smooth muscle tone and neuronal M-current regulation. Methods: We applied electrophysiology, myography, mass spectrometry, and in silico docking to determine the effects and their underlying molecular mechanisms of tea and its components on KCNQ channels and arterial tone. Results: A 1% green tea extract (GTE) hyperpolarized cells by augmenting KCNQ5 activity >20-fold at resting potential; similar effects of black tea were inhibited by milk. In contrast, GTE had lesser effects on KCNQ2/Q3 and inhibited KCNQ1/E1. Tea polyphenols epicatechin gallate (ECG) and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), but not epicatechin or epigallocatechin, isoform-selectively hyperpolarized KCNQ5 activation voltage dependence. In silico docking and mutagenesis revealed that activation by ECG requires KCNQ5-R212, at the voltage sensor foot. Strikingly, ECG and EGCG but not epicatechin KCNQ-dependently relaxed rat mesenteric arteries. Conclusion: KCNQ5 activation contributes to vasodilation by tea; ECG and EGCG are candidates for future anti-hypertensive drug development.

https://www.cellphysiolbiochem.com/Articles/000337/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210308131703.htm

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2020/12/14/teatime-can-be-good-for-your-health

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6567086/

Health declining in Gen X and Gen Y, national study shows

Recent generations show a worrying decline in health compared to their parents and grandparents when they were the same age, a new national study reveals.

Compared to previous generations, they showed poorer physical health, higher levels of unhealthy behaviors such as alcohol use and smoking, and more depression and anxiety.

Hui Zheng conducted the study with Paola Echave, a graduate student in sociology at Ohio State. The results were published March 18, 2021, in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1988-2016 (62,833 respondents) and the National Health Interview Survey 1997-2018 (625,221 respondents), both conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics.

To measure physical health, the researchers used eight markers of a condition called metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and diabetes. Some of the markers include waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol level, and body mass index (BMI). They also used one marker of chronic inflammation, low urinary albumin, and one additional marker of renal function, creatinine clearance.

Abstract of results:

  • The magnitude of the increase is higher for White men than other groups (mainly increase in metabolic syndrome), while Black men have the steepest increase in low urinary albumin (a marker of chronic inflammation). 
    • The presence of a small amount of albumin in the urine may be an early indicator of kidney disease.
  • Whites undergo distinctive increases in anxiety, depression, and heavy drinking, and have a higher level than Blacks and Hispanics of smoking and drug use in recent cohorts. Smoking is not responsible for the increasing physiological dysregulation across cohorts. 
  • The obesity epidemic contributes to the increase in metabolic syndrome, but not in low urinary albumin. The worsening physiological and mental health profiles among younger generations imply a challenging morbidity and mortality prospect for the United States, one that may be particularly unfavorable for Whites.
  • Results showed that levels of anxiety and depression have increased for each generation of whites from the War Babies generation (born 1943-45) through Gen Y.
    • While levels of these two mental health indicators did increase for Blacks up through the early Baby Boomers, the rate has been generally flat since then.
  • For whites and Blacks, the probability of using street drugs peaked at late-Boomers (born 1956-64), decreased afterward, then rose again for late-Gen X. For Hispanics, it has continuously increased since early Baby Boomers.

 

Why is American Health Declining?

Data from past decades showed that U.S. life expectancy began to lose pace with that of other countries starting in the 1980s. Historically this was the beginning of the opioid epidemic, the shrinking of the middle class, and the widening of income inequality. Maybe this is happening due to the lack of support for struggling families?

Studies suggest this is related to drug overdoses, suicides, alcohol-related illnesses, and obesity are largely to blame. 

The US had been making steady progress. Life expectancy increased by nearly 10 years over the last half-century – from 69.9 years in 1959 to 78.9 years in 2016.

But the pace of this increase slowed over time, while other high-income countries continued to show a steady rise in life expectancy.

After 2010, US life expectancy plateaued and in 2014 it began reversing, dropping for three consecutive years – from 78.9 years in 2014 to 78.6 in 2017. This is despite the US spending the most on health care per capita than any other country in the world.

https://academic.oup.com/aje/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/aje/kwab076/6178413?redirectedFrom=fulltext

https://news.osu.edu/health-declining-in-gen-x-and-gen-y-national-study-shows/

EP 44: Toxic Chemicals and How to Avoid Them

EP 44: Toxic Chemicals and How to Avoid Them

UCSF Study Finds Evidence of 55 Chemicals Never Before Reported in People 

Scientists at the University of California San Francisco have detected 109 chemicals in a study of pregnant women, including 55 chemicals never before reported in people and 42 “mystery chemicals,” whose sources and uses are unknown. 

The chemicals most likely come from consumer products or other industrial sources. They were found both in the blood of pregnant women, as well as their newborn children, suggesting they are traveling through the mother’s placenta. 

Tracery J. Woodruff, Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at UCSF, said, “It is alarming that we keep seeing certain chemicals travel from pregnant women to their children, which means these chemicals can be with us for generations,” she said. 

A former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency scientist, Woodruff directs the Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE) and the Environmental Research and Translation for Health (EaRTH) Center, both at UCSF.

The 109 chemicals researchers found in the blood samples from pregnant women and their newborns are found in many different types of products. For example, 40 are used as plasticizers, 28 in cosmetics, 25 in consumer products, 29 as pharmaceuticals, 23 as pesticides, three as flame retardants, and seven are poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds, which are used in carpeting, upholstery, and other applications. The researchers say it’s possible there are also other uses for all of these chemicals.  

The researchers report that 55 of the 109 chemicals they tentatively identified appear not to have been previously reported in people:  

  • 1 is used as a pesticide (bis(2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidini-4-y) decanedioate) 
  • 2 are PFASs (methyl perfluoroundecanoate, most likely used in the manufacturing of non-stick cookware and waterproof fabrics; 2-perfluorodecyl ethanoic acid) 
  • 10 are used as plasticizers (e.g. Sumilizer GA 80 – used in food packaging, paper plates, small appliances) 
  • 2 are used in cosmetics 
  • 4 are high production volume (HPV) chemicals  
  • 37 have little to no information about their sources or uses (e.g., 1-(1-Acetyl-2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidin-4-yl)-3-dodecylpyrrolidine-2,5-dione, used in manufacturing fragrances and paints—this chemical is so little known that there is currently no acronym—and (2R0-7-hydroxy-8-(2-hydroxyethyl)-5-methoxy-2-,3-dihydrochromen-4-one (Acronym: LL-D-253alpha), for which there is limited to no information about its uses or sources 

 

“It’s very concerning that we are unable to identify the uses or sources of so many of these chemicals,” Woodruff said. “EPA must do a better job of requiring the chemical industry to standardize its reporting of chemical compounds and uses. And they need to use their authority to ensure that we have adequate information to evaluate potential health harms and remove chemicals from the market that pose a risk.” 

 

https://scitechdaily.com/scientists-detect-55-chemicals-never-before-reported-in-people-42-mystery-chemicals-whose-sources-are-unknown/

 

Why is PFAS important?

PFAS are found in a wide range of consumer products that people use daily such as cookware, pizza boxes and stain repellents. Most people have been exposed to PFAS. Certain PFAS can accumulate and stay in the human body for long periods of time. There is evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse health outcomes in humans. The most studied PFAS chemicals are PFOA and PFOS. Studies indicate that PFOA and PFOS can cause reproductive and developmental, liver and kidney, and immunological effects in laboratory animals. Both chemicals have caused tumors in animals. The most consistent findings are increased cholesterol levels among exposed populations, with more limited findings related to:

  • low infant birth weights,
  • effects on the immune system,
  • cancer (for PFOA), and
  • thyroid hormone disruption (for PFOS).

PFAS can be found in:

  • Food packaged in PFAS-containing materials, processed with equipment that used PFAS, or grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water.
  • Commercial household products, including stain- and water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams (a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs).
  • Workplace, including production facilities or industries (e.g., chrome plating, electronics manufacturing or oil recovery) that use PFAS.
  • Drinking water, typically localized and associated with a specific facility (e.g., manufacturer, landfill, wastewater treatment plant, firefighter training facility).
  • Living organisms, including fish, animals, and humans, where PFAS have the ability to build up and persist over time.

https://www.epa.gov/pfas/basic-information-pfas

7 Steps to Avoid Toxic Chemicals

  1. Make Your Own Cleaning Products
    1. It’s cheap to make non-toxic cleaners from safe and effective ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.
    2. Certain chemicals in cleaning products have been linked to reduced fertility, birth defects, increased risk of breast cancer, asthma, and hormone disruption.
  2. Avoid Fragrance
    1. Shop for cleaners, laundry detergents, and personal care products labeled “fragrance-free” Warning: “Unscented” does not always mean fragrance-free!
    2. Fragrance can be made up of hundreds of chemicals, which companies are legally allowed to keep secret. Common fragrance chemicals include phthalates (linked to reproductive and developmental harm) and allergens.
  3. Give Your Personal Care Products a Makeover
    1. Read the label to avoid chemicals like parabens, sodium Laureth sulfate, and oxybenzone
    2. Personal care products contain a wide variety of chemicals, including some known to be of concern and many that lack research to prove safety for women’s health. These products are applied directly to our skin where they are easily absorbed into our bodies.
    3. Oxybenzone: An active ingredient in chemical sunscreens that accumulates in fatty tissues and is linked to allergies, hormone disruption, and cellular damage. I recommend wearing skin-protective clothing and using natural minerals or zinc products.
  4. Go “BPA-Free”
    1. Ditch the canned foods when possible and opt for fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables instead.
    2. Look for products packaged in glass or lined cardboard instead of cans.
    3. Don’t take paper receipts at ATMs, grocery stores, etc. unless you really need them.
    4. BPA has links to breast cancer, reproductive problems, obesity, asthma, tooth decay, early puberty, blood pressure, and heart disease. This chemical, which is commonly found in plastics, mimics the hormone estrogen, wreaking havoc on the body’s systems. What’s worse, studies show that more than 90% of Americans have BPA in their bodies.
  5. Quit the Quats
    1. Reduce your use of disinfectant products.
    2. Avoid antibacterial hand soaps, hand sanitizers, and cleaning products which contain quaternary ammonium compounds (quats). Check the front label and avoid products that contain ingredients that include “…onium chloride” in their names, like Benzalkonium chloride.
    3. Quats are skin irritants, can irritate your lungs, and have been linked to asthma, fertility issues, and reproductive harm. The overuse of quats can also lead to the promotion of antibacterial-resistant bacteria (“superbugs”).
  6. Choose Alternatives to Plastics (where possible)
    1. Use glass jars or ceramic bowls to store food.
    2. Never microwave plastic. Wash plastics by hand – not in the dishwasher.
    3. Avoid plastics with recycling symbols #3 (PVC), #6 (polystyrene), and #7 (other) which have greater potential to leach toxins and are difficult to recycle.
    4. Plastic products can contain toxic additives such as phthalates, heavy metals, and other compounds which leach out over time. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), known as poison plastic, is found in plastic products from toys and cookware to shower curtains.
  7. Ditch the Air Fresheners
    1. Eliminate odor – Identify the smell and eliminate or prevent it. Check out our tips for reducing odors around the home.
    2. Open a window – Ventilating your home with outdoor air has been shown to reduce symptoms associated with asthma, allergies, and infections.
    3. Set out a bouquet of fresh or dried flowers to add a floral scent to your home.
    4. Simmer herbs or spices on the stove. Try seasonal alternatives like pine cones, pine needles, or cinnamon.
    5. Air fresheners add unnecessary chemicals to your home including ones that may disrupt your hormones.

 

https://www.womensvoices.org/avoid-toxic-chemicals/ten-ways-to-avoid-toxic-chemicals/

EP 110: Pros and Cons of Day Shift and Night Shift

EP 110: Pros and Cons of Day Shift and Night Shift

Both shifts are pros and cons. The day shift is better for the body clock, whereas, night shift brings financial reward and a slower pace work environment so you learn the career. Depending on where you are with life you may choose one over the other and change shifts in the future based on your family needs.

Quality of sleep 

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, how sleep gets the effects of different shifts. Researchers from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States analyzed data from 883 subjects to investigate the relationship between night shift work and sleep quality. 

Sleep quality was found to be low among night shift workers. Sleep quality was positively correlated with HbA1c, total cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, and inversely correlated with DHEA levels. Sleep quality was highly correlated with inflammatory markers and inversely correlated with antioxidant markers. 

The conclusion of quality of life and sleep is that working nights disrupt your circadian rhythm, causing negative changes in metabolic, inflammatory, neuroendocrine, and antioxidant markers.

Quality of sleep is also a factor because when you work days there is no worrying that the neighbor’s dog or the lawnmower might wake you up during the night. Working nights you also have to cycle your sleep. After working 3 shifts in a row should I sleep 4 hours, wake up, run some errands and then go to sleep early to “reset”. 

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) 

Shift Work Sleep Disorder (SWSD) is referred to as an avoidable, chronic, long-term health condition. 

Symptoms: 

  • Difficulty concentrating and headaches
  • Irritability leading to stress and issues within personal and professional relationships
  • Lack of energy, drive and decreased productivity
  • Insomnia or the inability to fall asleep when you need to
  • Inability to make quick decisions leading to safety concerns 

Noise & Pace

Depending on the facility, the day shift can be rather intense compared to nights. There are generally more meds and procedures during the day. Days can be noisy with constant new faces rounding on your patient, the constant influx of new orders, so your pace on days will always change. During day shifts, meals are distributed to patient’s rooms three times a day and you need to cover Accu check and tailor it to your patient’s ability to do activities of daily living. 

Working night shifts we feel like you can gauge how your shifts will play out. If you are a new graduate nurse, working nights gives you time to think. The quieter environment and slower pace of the night shift can allow for more time to think, plan, and sort out one’s life. The slower pace as a night shift nurse, you tend to watch the clock and make your shift seem endless, especially when you’re already tired. 

Team building 

While the day shift offers opportunities to be mentored, working the night shift is slower, nurses and doctors are able to discuss cases together. During the day, there is so much happening that often they’re just handling the most important patient care tasks. 

No matter what hospital we have traveled to, teamwork was always great but night shifts seem to have a stronger bond. You don’t have as many resources at night so you have more opportunity to interact with your fellow nurses, creating stronger relationships. 

During the day shift, you have more opportunities to connect with patients and their families. That relationship-building can be important, and only the day nurse has the chance to truly do that work. 

Learning vs Autonomy

When it comes down to learning the medical field, working days have more opportunities. With surgeons, physicians, nurse practitioners, and clinical nurse specialists roaming the halls, you tend to have more conversations, and asking great questions can really help a nurse to gain and sharpen clinical knowledge.

Days have more learning opportunities but working nights has greater autonomy, experience is a great teacher. Working nights you tend to rely less on doctors and try to troubleshoot situations. Who wants to wake up the doctor at 3 am? Not me, so we tend to use up all resources and get creative with nursing before we make that call. 

Salary potential 

Night shift salary and differentials can be significantly higher than days, and the extra earnings can really add up. That extra four or five dollars an hour really adds up after 1,872 hours a year working as a nurse (3 12’s). Some nurses have a hard time giving up nights for this reason alone.

Patient and families 

This is a double-edged sword because it can be mentally taxing interacting with patients’ families but it also can be the most rewarding experience. Families and visitors can often make your shift much more difficult. It all depends on the personality that you have. Do you love interacting with families? If you’re trying to get grounded in nursing, working night shifts is the better choice because during these times visiting hours are usually over by 9 PM.  

Working nights means less connection with patients who are often asleep most of the night and you have fewer opportunities to connect, talk, educate, and form a nurse-patient bond.

Your family and personal time

Peter and I don’t have any kids but we talked to tons of nurses, most say working nights is easier for their family and kids. If you work from 7 am to 7 pm, you need to leave the house before the kids are barely awake and you miss the opportunity to be present for preparing for their school day. You also don’t get off of work until well after they get home, so you miss out on after-school time as well. 

With personal time, we think both shits are created equal. Some nurses working nights claim they need a whole day to recharge, whereas we pick up where we left off in our personal life. If you are a person that cherishes routines and a normal schedule, days are better.