Friday November 15, 2019
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CDC Investigates The Mysterious Lung Disease

Finally there was a breakthrough in vaping lung injury probe in US

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Lung
5, 39 people have died of the lung illness, and 2,051 cases are being probed. Pixabay

The investigation into the mysterious lung illness linked to e-cigarette use in the US has led to the identification of a potential culprit by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As of November 5, 39 people have died of the lung illness, and 2,051 cases are being probed.

The chemical, vitamin E acetate, is used as an additive in the production of e-cigarette because it resembles THC oil, said CDC which announced the “breakthrough” on Friday.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive chemical in cannabis that gives users a high.

“Analyses of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluid samples (or samples of fluid collected from the lungs) of patients with e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury identified vitamin E acetate, an additive in some THC-containing products,” CDC said.

The investigation involved analysis of samples of lung fluid from 29 patients. THC was identified in 82 per cent of the samples and nicotine was identified in 62 per cent of the samples.

Lung disease
E- cigarettes may interfere with normal lung functioning. Pixabay

CDC tested for a range of other chemicals that might be found in e-cigarette, or vaping, products, including plant oils, petroleum distillates like mineral oil, MCT oil, and terpenes (which are compounds found in or added to THC products).

But none of these potential chemicals of concern were detected in the fluid samples tested.

The “chemical of concern” that the investigation identified was vitamin E acetate.

“This is the first time that we have detected a potential chemical of concern in biologic samples from patients with these lung injuries. These findings provide direct evidence of vitamin E acetate at the primary site of injury within the lungs,” CDC said.

According to the CDC’s website, Vitamin E is a vitamin found in many foods, including vegetable oils, cereals, meat, fruits and vegetables. It is also available as a dietary supplement and in many cosmetic products like skin creams.

Usually, it does not cause harm when ingested as a vitamin supplement or applied to the skin.

However, previous research suggests when vitamin E acetate is inhaled, it may interfere with normal lung functioning.

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It should, however, be noted that the CDC did not identify vitamin E acetate as the only ingredient linked to the illnesses.

“No one compound or ingredient has emerged as the cause of these illnesses to date; and it may be that there is more than one cause of this outbreak. Many different substances and product sources are still under investigation,” CDC said. (IANS)

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US Researchers Redefine Conditions that Makes a Planet Habitable

The researchers also found that planets with thin ozone layers, which have otherwise habitable surface temperatures, receive dangerous levels of UV dosages

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Instruments, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope, have the capability to detect water vapor and ozone on a Planet. Pixabay

A team of US researchers has redefined the conditions that make a Planet habitable by taking the star’s radiation and the planet’s rotation rate into account – a discovery that will help astronomers narrow down the search around life-sustaining planets.

The research team is the first to combine 3D climate modeling with atmospheric chemistry to explore the habitability of planets around M dwarf stars, which comprise about 70 per cent of the total galactic population.

Among its findings, the Northwestern team, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder, NASA’s Virtual Planet Laboratory and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, discovered that only planets orbiting active stars — those that emit a lot of ultraviolet (UV) radiation — lose significant water to vaporization.

Planets around inactive, or quiet, stars are more likely to maintain life-sustaining liquid water.

The researchers also found that planets with thin ozone layers, which have otherwise habitable surface temperatures, receive dangerous levels of UV dosages, making them hazardous for complex surface life.

“It’s only in recent years that we have had the modeling tools and observational technology to address this question,” said Northwestern’s Howard Chen, the study’s first author.

“Still, there are a lot of stars and planets out there, which means there are a lot of targets,” added Daniel Horton, senior author of the study. “Our study can help limit the number of places we have to point our telescopes”.

The research was published in the Astrophysical Journal.

Horton and Chen are looking beyond our solar system to pinpoint the habitable zones within M dwarf stellar systems.

M dwarf planets have emerged as frontrunners in the search for habitable planets.

Planet
A team of US researchers has redefined the conditions that make a Planet habitable by taking the star’s radiation and the planet’s rotation rate into account. Pixabay

They get their name from the small, cool, dim stars around which they orbit, called M dwarfs or “red dwarfs”.

By coupling 3D climate modeling with photochemistry and atmospheric chemistry, Horton and Chen constructed a more complete picture of how a star’s UV radiation interacts with gases, including water vapor and ozone, in the planet’s atmosphere.

Instruments, such as the Hubble Space Telescope and James Webb Space Telescope, have the capability to detect water vapor and ozone on exoplanets. They just need to know where to look.

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“‘Are we alone?’ is one of the biggest unanswered questions,” Chen said. “If we can predict which planets are most likely to host life, then we might get that much closer to answering it within our lifetimes.” (IANS)