Author Archives: churchc

Food Chemistry

Table of Contents  |   Volume 189, Pages 1-128 (15 December 2015)

ASSET 2014 – Food Integrity and Traceability Conference

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[In Depth] Modified yeast produce opiates from sugar

Science 14 August 2015:  Vol. 349 no. 6249 p. 677
DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6249.677

Synthetic biologists have engineered a strain of yeast to produce thebaine, an opiate closely related to morphine normally harvested from opium poppy plants. To do so, they engineered the microbes to express a medley of 21 genes, some from yeast themselves, as well as others from plants, bacteria, and even a rodent. By adding two additional genes, the engineers also coaxed yeast to make hydrocodone, one of the most commonly used painkillers on the market. The work may eventually help chemists come up with new painkillers and other medicines with fewer side effects, such as a lower propensity for addiction. Outsiders say the work is a landmark for the increasing sophistication of synthetic biology’s ability to engineer complex metabolic pathways into microbes. But biopolicy experts worry that if drugmakers get their hands on opiate-making microbes, it could eventually enable them to brew heroin with ease.

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Donation after circulatory death: the current state and technical approaches to organ procurement.

Curr Opin Organ Transplant. 2015 Apr;20(2):127-32. doi: 10.1097/MOT.0000000000000179.


In this review, we discuss the current state of donation after circulatory death (DCD). We define the DCD donor and describe the current protocols in management of the DCD patient. We then discuss current techniques in organ procurement of the lung and abdominal organs.


Although donation after brain death is preferable to DCD, recent data have demonstrated acceptable early outcomes in both thoracic and abdominal organ transplant. In spite of advancements in surgical techniques and organ preservation, much has yet to be learned to minimize warm ischemia time and reperfusion injury in the DCD population.


In light of the continually growing disparity between organ supply and demand, DCD has regained traction as a means to increase the donor pool.

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Faecal microbiota transplantation: from practice to legislation before considering industrialization [Review]

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2014 Nov;20(11):1112-8. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12795.

Recurrent Clostridium difficile infections constitute an important medical concern. Evidence has been provided showing that faecal microbiota transplantation is a more efficient treatment than antibiotics. Serious side effects are unusual, and acceptability is not an obstacle. Nevertheless, protocols are heterogeneous with respect to the selection of donors and the methodology used for the faecal transplantation. Regulations by both the Food and Drug Administration and the French authorities consider stool samples to be drugs, and suggest strict supervision in clinical trials. Donor screening by questionnaire or by blood and stool analysis, which is essential in eliminating pathogens or viruses before transplantation, is similar in different countries, with a few exceptions. The traceability of the faecal transplant and long-term follow-up of the patients in clinical trials are issues that may be difficult to organize. The use of frozen microbiota facilitates transplantation, and the nasogastric route seems to be at least as effective as other invasive methods and avoids the risk of anaesthesia. Synthetic microbiota is an approach that selects a mixture of bacteria, thereby eliminating the risk of transmissible disease; however, this approach is not yet evidence-based. The use of pills, which is currently being tested in clinical trials, will certainly be the starting point for the extensive use and wide industrialization of faecal microbiota transplantation.

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When do next-of-kin opt-in? Anticipated regret, affective attitudes and donating deceased family member’s organs.

J Health Psychol. 2014 Dec;19(12):1508-17. doi: 10.1177/1359105313493814

This research assessed whether affective factors promote and prevent family members from donating their loved one’s organs. Participants (N = 191) imagined that a family member had died and that they had to decide whether or not to donate their organs and body parts for transplantation purposes. The least organs and body parts were donated when the deceased opposed donation. Moreover, participants who were not registered organ donors donated fewer organs than registered donors. This effect was mediated by anticipated regret, disgust and the perceived benefits of donation. Organ donation campaigns should target such factors to increase donor rates.

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Plague may not be solely to blame for Black Death’s mortality

New Scientist 29 July 2015

THE secret of plague’s death toll is out. The high mortality rate seen during the Black Death in the 14th century may have been caused by poor general health rather than by the strength of the bacteria.

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AsMA Medical Guidelines for Air Travel: Airline Special Services.

Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015 Jul;86(7):657-8. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.4224.2015.

Medical Guidelines for Airline Travel provide information that enables healthcare providers to properly advise patients who plan to travel by air. Treating physicians should advise patients in need of special services to contact the airline well before travel to find out if the required services will be available. Ensuring the required services are available throughout a journey can be challenging, especially when different airlines and aircraft types are involved. For example, airlines carry a limited supply of oxygen for use in the event of an unexpected in-flight emergency; however, this supply is not intended for use by passengers needing supplemental oxygen. Arrangements must be made in advance with the airline. Therefore, early contact with the airline is helpful.

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