The Secrets of the Aging Process
Age is associated with increases in body weight, body fat, abdominal fat, deterioration of muscles, and arthritis. However, everything in the body happens at the cellular level. Outward signs of aging that you may see, such as wrinkles and grey hair, are only symptoms of what is happening on a microscopic scale.
A study carried out by Raul A Martins, using the RX imola, outlined an experiment, investigating how we can affect our own inner-biological make-up, on a much deeper scale than muscle build-up, through exercise and activity:
“To investigate the training effect of sixteen weeks of moderate intensity, progressive aerobic and strength-based training on metabolic health of old women and men. Sixty three sedentary individuals were randomly assigned to control or exercising groups. The training group was separated to aerobic or strength-based. Training took place 3 times a week. Subjects agreed not to change their diet or lifestyle over the experimental period. Exercising group attained after treatment significant differences on body weight, waist circumference, body mass index, diastolic blood pressure, triglycerides, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, total cholesterol/HDL-cholesterol relationship, high sensitivity C-reaction protein and 6 minute walk distance. The control group only had significant differences on waist circumference” wrote R.A. Martins and colleagues, university of Coimbra.”
As shown in the experiment, exercising does not only affect our muscle mass and body fat index. It does, in fact, affect us on a cellular level.
Before outward aging symptoms are expressed, your cells, your DNA, and everything that makes up you is reacting to your lifestyle and responding appropriately. A particularly lifestyle-sensitive part of your DNA associated with aging are telomeres.
Telomeres are caps at the ends of DNA strands, made up of a combination of DNA and protein. They protect the ends of the chromosome and keep them stable. Telomeres, however, are incredibly sensitive and have a tendency to become damaged and unravel, prompting a process called “telomere shortening”. Telomeres are associated with the changing nature of our bodies, and therefore, are classed as important aging biomarkers – with their length indicating lifespan. Each time our cells divide, our telomeres shorten. After many dozens of years of cell division, these biomarkers have reached a point where they can longer become any shorter. At this point, cell division discontinues and this is where aging will occur, as cells begin to die faster than they are created. Our body begins to break down. Effects such as hair falling out and skin sagging, are all symptoms of telomere damage or shortening. Telomere shortening has not only been associated with aging, but also age-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, Diabetes, and some forms of cancer.
There is good news, Martins noted in his experiment that exercise appears to keep telomeres from unravelling, shortening and becoming damaged, and therefore, can be classed as a natural anti-aging activity.
Through examining white blood cells, scientists can monitor telomere shortening (and damaging) whilst monitoring exercise and lifestyle of subjects. Another group of scientists in Germany conducted a similar experiment, gathering women and men of different ages to examine their lifespans relative to exercising, they noted:
The sedentary older subjects had telomeres that were on average 40 percent shorter than in the sedentary young subjects, suggesting that the older subjects’ cells were, like them, aging. The runners, on the other hand, had remarkably youthful telomeres, a bit shorter than those in the young runners, but only by about 10 percent. In general, telomere loss was reduced by approximately 75 percent in the aging runners. Or, to put it more succinctly, exercise, Dr. Werner says, ‘‘at the molecular level has an anti-aging effect.’’
(Gretchen Reynolds, 2010)
So, to put a number on it, studies show, exercise can reduce the aging process by up to a whopping 75%.
As well as it’s anti-aging properties, there are a surplus of other benefits of exercising, such as increased release of endorphins and relieving of muscular pain. Currently, there’s a good deal of research being conducted into potential drug based approaches for telomere shortening, yet these drugs are still years away. So, for now, exercise and healthy eating is the only known way to stave off aging… As if we needed another healthy reason to get active!
Read more about the experiment conducted on the RX imola:
Randox’s Public Relations Executive, Amy McIlwaine, tells us about her time in New York State, working in Camp Wakonda (Homes for the Homeless)
We’re celebrating the bright and vibrant lives of Randox employees, and the way in which these inspiring individuals have helped to make Randox as great as it is today. Stay up to date with the #WeAreRandox hashtag on Twitter and Instagram to hear more stories.
We were discussing our most inspiring moments with Amy McIlwaine, Public Relations Executive of Randox Laboratories, this week. She told us a story of her time volunteering with children in New York State that we knew we had to share! We hope her story inspires you as much as it did us:
Here is Amy’s story:
“During my years at school and at University I worked as a part-time lifeguard in a local pool. I’ve always been quite ambitious, so, when the time came to graduate and I decided to do some overseas work, I applied to be Waterfront Director at a camp in New York State, called Camp Wakonda.
When I say the words ‘Summer camp’ to people they usually picture expensive facilities with music suites, maybe some horse stables and jet-skis, with a love-able rogue Joe Jonas lookalike thrown in for good measure, but Camp Wakonda wasn’t quite like that!
Camp Wakonda is a Summer camp that is run by the Homes for the Homeless organisation, and accepts children between 6 and 10 years old who are homeless and living in New York shelters.
The camp has limited resources, cabins with no electricity, and various (sometimes) friendly camp companions such as bears, chipmunks and rattlesnakes (we were in the middle of the woods). Children came to camp with very few belongings – sometimes even without a decent pair of shoes. But in spite of all that, it’s one of my favourite places on this earth. Being free from the stresses of everyday life (mind you, working with 90 children at a time brings a different kind of stress!) is wonderfully liberating and living in the middle of nature brings a certain serenity.
Although we had such limited resources, we had the time of our lives! You learn to be really creative – we had themed days throughout the summer like a Harry Potter banquet, a ‘Fairytales of Wakonda’ pantomime, and even Christmas on the 25th July! That one was probably my favourite – some of the children had never had a real Christmas before. I’m happy to admit that I welled up when I saw how incredibly excited they were at receiving just one small gift.”
Smiling from ear-to-ear, Amy went on to highlight the importance of the camp she worked in, in offering homeless children from New York the opportunity to just enjoy being kids, and how this inspired her:
“The spirit of the children, and the counsellors, at Camp Wakonda is something that I had not come across before, and have not come across since. For children who have had such a difficult upbringing, they came to camp with the biggest smiles on their faces, and the smallest things like three hot meals a day meant the world to them. It was great to see them free from the stresses of their unfortunate circumstances. For me, as their swimming teacher, nothing made me smile more than when a child came running up to me shouting ‘Miss Amy, I learned how to float today!’ or when a camper who had been so scared of the water finally got in and had a beaming smile from ear-to-ear when I handed them a swimming certificate. Many of the children had never left the city, and so had never experienced some of the things that we take for granted – like being able to see the stars in the sky at night.
I lived and worked in Wakonda for three months during 2014, and went back again in 2015, as Unit Leader of the older girl’s unit. I was responsible for counselor training, and the welfare of both the girl campers and the female counselors. When you’re practically working 24/7 for three months, the children become your entire life – everything that you do is with their needs in mind. Because of this, the children are so grateful of the time and attention that the counselors give them.
The work that Homes for the Homeless does for those kids is amazing, it really makes a difference to their lives, and I’m so glad that I have been part of it.”
Find out more about Camp Wakonda in this NY 1 News coverage video, here.
Randox wouldn’t be the innovative and caring healthcare company it is today without the hard work of young people with fresh perspectives and world experience like Amy – so we’re delighted that she has brought her enthusiasm to our team! We hope her story inspired you to take part in your community through volunteering. For us, we never stop. We’re helping to improve healthcare and diagnostics through consistent hard work, because for us, this means saving lives.
If you’re looking for a career in Business, Science or Engineering, let Randox be the next step in your adventure!
Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or stay up-to-date with the hashtag #WeAreRandox. Visit our website to view our careers opportunities at Randox Laboratories.
A laboratory running a competitors 3rd party Microalbumin QC noticed shifts in their QC values whenever they changed reagent batch.
They tested two levels of quality control over three different batches of reagent the results can be seen in the table below.
|Competitor Control – Microalbumin|
As can be seen from the findings above, Microalbumin results shifted significantly each time they changed reagent batch. This was the case for both the level one and level two control however when the lab tested the same set of patient samples across the three reagent batches results were consistent and did not show the same shifts.
The laboratory decided to contact Randox and ask about our Microalbumin controls. They were concerned about the shifts seen with their current supplier and highlighted the fact they were no longer confident in the results they were releasing. This led to them trialling the Randox liquid ready-to-use Microalbumin control with the same three reagent batches they tested previously.
Having tested two levels of the Randox quality control over the same three reagent batches the laboratory reported to us that their results were back on track and they were delighted with the outcome! The results of the Randox control can be seen in the table below.
|Randox Control – Microalbumin|
The difference seen with the Randox control across the three reagent batches was much smaller than that of their previous control and was in line with the changes seen with their patient samples.
This case study highlights the commutability of the Randox QC range. By using a control with a matrix that reacts to the test system in the same manner as the patient sample the laboratory was confident in the patient test results produced and were able to meet ISO 15189:2012 requirements.
Today, June 27th, sees the beginning of one of the four tennis majors – Wimbledon. Basking in the summer sun while lying on ‘Henman Hill’, this yearly tournament attracts spectators from all over the globe who want to watch the world’s best tennis players ply their skills on the revered centre court over the course of a two week period. But what exactly is the most important skill a tennis player can utilise? Well, many players have different strengths but the one skill that all of them must possess is the ability to serve – and accurately.
The ability to serve is vitally important as it allows the point to begin, serving accurately however allows the player to set the pace and ensure they are on the front foot. By making sure they serve more accurately, the player can be confident in their ability to win the point and the match.
Just like tennis, laboratories will aim to be accurate when ‘serving’ up their test results. Achieving accurate test results is what every lab strives for. With patient results on the line it is important for labs to use QC material that will assist them in obtaining the correct results, therefore keeping them clear of causing a ‘racquet’.
Randox Acusera is world renowned for delivering unbiased performance assessment. Our range of true third party controls are manufactured to the highest standard ensuring commutable samples that react to the test system in the same manner as a patient sample, ultimately allowing labs to be confident in the results they produce. Much like the serve in tennis that needs to fall within a target area, QC results should be as close as possible to the target and ideally should fall within +/- 2 SD from the mean. By falling within these limits a lab can be sure of accurate results and an acceptable performance.
Employ Acusera quality controls in your laboratory today and experience unrivaled confidence in your test results.
Get your slice of our control range here by contacting us at email@example.com. We guarantee you will love us!
World leader in preventive healthcare, Randox Health, is announced as the title sponsor of the 150th Anniversary celebrations for Royal Ulster Yacht Club at Bangor on Belfast Lough.
The fortnight of celebrations began on Friday 17th June with The Sigma 33 UK & Irish National Championships which attracted twenty boats from throughout the UK and Ireland. The 150th Keelboat event begins on Saturday 25th June until Sunday 26th June. This event has attracted not only local modern yachts but also some of the classics of the sport. The 150th Anniversary celebrations will conclude on Friday 1st July with a Gala Dinner.
Stuart Penrose, Global Marketing Manager of Randox Health is eagerly anticipating the 150th Keelboat event this weekend, and commented;
“We are proud to sponsor the Royal Ulster Yacht Club in its 150th year. As an innovative healthcare company committed to improving people’s health and wellbeing, we value the opportunity for people to get involved in competitive sport, that the RUYC offers. Sailing simultaneously brings benefits to your physical health, but getting out on the sea and taking in fresh air can contribute to your wellbeing too.”
The Randox Health team will also be in attendance at the event, where you can find information on the latest technology to better understand your current and future health.
Randox Health is committed to changing the landscape of preventative health care through a steadfast commitment to developing the most comprehensive and personalised health checks possible.
To find out more, contact the Randox Health team today:
0800 2545 130
Thurs 23rd June 2016 marks National Women in Engineering Day, an annual campaign that aims to highlight the role of women in engineering, and focus attention on the array of career opportunities available for women in this rewarding industry. The campaign is run by the Women’s Engineering Society (WES) whose goal is to ‘encourage women to participate and achieve as engineers, scientists and as leaders’. As a company who aim to inspire, and actively encourage women to enter careers in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM), this resonates with us.
To show our appreciation of this campaign, we interviewed Randox Engineer, Maryrose McLoone from our Randox Teoranta team. Maryrose shared with us her journey into the industry of engineering…
How long have you worked in engineering?
I began working in Randox Teoranta after completing my undergraduate studies in Mechanical Engineering, and have been working here for the past year. Prior to this, as part of my undergraduate studies, I took a five month work placement as a Quality Intern at a medical device company.
How did you know a career in engineering was for you?
I have always been interested in maths and science, and the general STEM subjects. Engineering had been suggested to me by our Career Guidance Counsellor in secondary school due to my interest in maths. I hadn’t much experience with engineering related subjects prior to starting college but my undergraduate studies began with the basics, so everybody started on the same level.
How did you decide which area of engineering you wanted to pursue?
I chose Mechanical Engineering as it is a versatile form of engineering that would allow me to work in both the mechanical and biomedical engineering industries. My interest in working with medical devices came about during my college work placement. Through my placement I gained a great appreciation of engineering and the benefits it can have in the medical device industry.
Tell us about your role within the Randox Engineering team?
I work as a Mechanical Design Engineer. This involves designing and testing components and modules for clinical chemistry analysers. At the minute I am working alongside other Engineers from mechanical, electrical, and embedded systems, as well as Software Developers in the development of the RX misano test jigs which will be used for troubleshooting and to aid in QC procedures.
What skills have you gained with your career experience?
My role as a Design Engineer has allowed me to improve my skills in many areas such as design and testing, communication, organisation and time management skills, as well as gaining an understanding of the relevant medical device quality standards. My position involves working with a team of engineers from various engineering backgrounds, as well as working closely with quality and manufacturing to ensure the smooth transition from prototype to production.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
As a Design Engineer you are constantly coming up with new and creative solutions to problems. You can see your designs evolve from prototypes to completed projects. I find working in medical devices in particular to be a very fulfilling and highly rewarding job. You can be assured that your hard work is for a good purpose as it results in the creation of analysers which are used to conduct a wide variety of tests and perform important diagnoses. The design of clinical chemistry analysers involves careful consideration and attention to detail, an aspect which I enjoy.
My skills in the structure and organisation of tasks have developed from working in a highly regulated environment; such traits are extremely important when designing medical devices to ensure the production of quality products. As a Design Engineer working for Randox it is rewarding to be part of team that work together to improve healthcare through the development of clinical diagnostic solutions.
Do you work alongside any other women in the engineering department?
Yes, our R&D team comprises of Engineers in the areas of Mechanical, Electrical, and Embedded systems Engineering as well as Software Developers and Scientists. In our team there are women working in Embedded Systems, Software, and Science. Each team member has an important role in the design, development, and testing of our analysers. Embedded Systems Engineers and Software Developers work on developing and testing the software for our analysers. We also have a Scientist in our team who ensures our analysers can accurately run chemistry and helps in the verification and validation processes.
Proud to work as part of such a united team, Maryrose gives great insight into the role of a Design Engineer, and really highlights the depth of roles within the engineering industry; from System Engineers to Mechanical and Electrical Engineers. It is clear that women play a pivotal role in the Randox Engineering team, working together to design, develop and test our clinical diagnostic solutions.
Maryrose discussed her work as a Design Engineer within the RX series Engineering team. Her work on the RX misano has been crucial in the development of this new semi-automated analyser, details for which can be found below:
The RX misano is the newest analyser in the RX series of clinical chemistry analysers, and will be available for purchase soon. It is a semi-automated analyser designed with usability in mind; the screen has been positioned at an optimal viewing angle for the user, a touch button has been incorporated into the design to allow for the easy aspiration of sample, and, a 7” touch screen has also made the RX misano more user friendly than previous designs. The analyser software, developed by Randox, provides easy-to-use test screens and highlights any analytical problems to the user.
For more information, and to register your interest in the RX misano, please visit: therxseries.com/rx-altona
The RX misano is currently unavailable to purchase in Germany
The answer to this common myth is no. Let us tell you why…
As a condition that usually manifests later in life, type 2 diabetes is viewed by many as a self-inflicted disease caused by eating too much sugar and being overweight. Although obesity is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes it isn’t the only cause. In fact, many people of a healthy weight have type 2 diabetes, and similarly many overweight people do not. This is because an individual’s metabolic health can be affected by factors other than their weight.
Firstly, let’s define metabolic health; metabolic health refers to the body’s health at a cellular function, and one aspect of this is the body’s ability to utilise nutrients for energy. Within this insulin has an important function; insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas and used by the body to regulate how glucose is used and stored. In some individuals, however, this is not the case; their pancreas may either not produce enough insulin, or may not be able to effectively use the insulin it produces, known as insulin sensitivity. High blood sugar level and type 2 diabetes is the effect of this.
Whilst obesity and lack of exercise are 2 of the most common reasons affecting metabolic state and causing type 2 diabetes, it is important to note that approximately 1 in 3 type 2 diabetics are undiagnosed. Therefore the causal factors of these individuals are not included in the statistics and therefore not accounted for in this statement. Other causal factors include family history, ethnicity, age, stress, inflammation, poor diet and visceral fat.
Let’s talk about a few of these factors…
Family history & ethnicity – Do genetics play a role?
Risk factors of type 2 diabetes includes family history and ethnicity; research(1) has found that there is a 1 in 7 risk of type 2 diabetes for children whose parents were diagnosed before the age of 50, and 1 in 2 risk for children if both parents have type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, research(2) has linked genetic mutation of the HMGA1 gene to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in white Europeans; the study found that defects in the HMGA1 gene led to a drop in the body’s ability to make insulin receptors, thus leading to insulin resistance. In fact, 1 in 10 study participants with type 2 diabetes had a genetic mutation of the gene. Furthermore certain ethnic groups have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes i.e. African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Asian Americans; some believe this may be due to genetics.
When the body is under stress, stress hormones such as cortisol are released. These hormones can affect the body’s blood glucose levels; for example, one of the primary functions of cortisol is to provide an immediate source of energy for the body, resulting in an increase of glucose supply to the blood. Individuals suffering chronic stress therefore have a constant production of cortisol, and chronically increased blood glucose levels as a result. This increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Chronic stress can lead to inflammation, which is another risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
As the body’s natural response to injury, inflammation is the initial step in the healing process. Opening the blood vessels to allow free movement of the body’s natural healing substances to the affected site, it offers the body protection and fights off foreign substances such as germs and toxins. Inflammation is necessary to rid infections and heal wounds, however if the body suffers a chronic state of inflammation it can have damaging effects; chronic inflammation is caused by autoimmune conditions, allergies, chronic stress and conditions such as Crohn’s disease, and is linked to major diseases such as heart disease, arthritis and certain cancers. The link with type 2 diabetes is a result of inflammation causing insulin resistance, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Abdominal visceral fat
Abdominal visceral fat is the fat which surrounds the internal organs in the abdominal cavity. High levels of abdominal visceral fat are associated with insulin resistance and therefore, high risk of diabetes. Abdominal visceral fat can be found in individuals of all shapes and sizes, and regardless of ‘healthy’ BMI high visceral fat levels can still occur. This is because BMI doesn’t take into account muscle mass or other factors including gender and ethnicity. This presents an issue as those with a ‘healthy’ BMI may unknowingly still be at risk of diabetes. Similarly those with high muscle mass, who are determined ‘overweight’ based on BMI, may worry that they are at risk of diabetes, when in fact their weight isn’t putting them at risk. Determining levels of abdominal visceral fat is a much better indication of health than BMI.
Overall risk of type 2 diabetes is correlated with genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors. Whilst some impact more than others, it is important to recognise that there are numerous factors related to type 2 diabetes, and rid the myth that obesity and a high sugar diet high are the only causal factors.
Help set the record straight by sharing this article:
(1) American Diabetes Association (2014) Genetics of Diabetes. Found online at diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/genetics-of-diabetes.html
(2) Brunetti et al (2011) Functional Variants of the HMGA1 Gene and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA); 305 (9):903-912.
We’re sure you’ve heard of “Speed Dating”, but what about “Speed Networking”? Randox’s R&D Scientist, Dr. Dwaine Vance tried it out to spread the word about Randox Careers in STEM!
Dr Dwaine Vance visited Omagh High School to represent Randox Careers. He sat down with us, and we discussed the importance of the event. Dr. Vance told us:
On Wednesday the 15th June I represented Randox Careers at a ‘speed networking’ event at Omagh High School. This involved groups of students moving from one employer stand to the next for a 5 minute ‘mini network’. There was two sessions during the morning involving GCSE level pupils. The aim of the ‘speed networking’ event was to provide pupils with opportunities to meet local Northern Irish companies within the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) sectors, of which Randox Laboratories play a pivotal role.
We, at Randox, want to inspire students to think about their own career plans and to allow them to gather information about the local job market. By doing this, we’re also giving them the opportunity to be aware of the jobs that are available and the importance of STEM related subjects, as well as letting them see how employers value their other curriculum subjects and their personal skills and attributes. My objective as a employee of Randox was to showcase a range of careers for all abilities within the company with a focus on STEM careers e.g. science and engineering.
The importance of spreading awareness of the opportunities in science and engineering from a young age is imperative, as many students are unaware of the vast range of differentiation in different careerpaths, stemming from one subject or degree class. Dr. Dwaine Vance went on to discuss the events of the networking conference:
As part of each ‘mini network’ I provided students with a brief overview of Randox. Students were given the opportunity to watch videos depicting our expertise and to ask questions about how their interests could be incorporated within Randox. The training department at Randox provided me with pop-up stands, recruitment pathway brochures, merchandise e.g. pens, stopwatches, mug coasters and even Biochip Array Technology key rings!
Overall the students gained a good knowledge of Randox, they were particularly keen to learn about the local and global opportunities available at Randox. In addition, students were keen to know more about the veterinary aspect of Randox. It was comforting to discover that the majority of pupils had previous knowledge of the Randox brand from the press (as we have recently experienced a great boost in brand visibility through Grand national sponsorship), Randox health (television adverts) and Confidante (local radio stations).
The pupils at Omagh High School were keen to ask me about my role within the company and what my day to day roles and responsibilities are. I was happy to provide students with my research and development activities and they were interested to hear that I was involved in the development of a genetic test that aims to predict your future risk of heart disease by investigating your own DNA.
At Randox I am part of a small team of experienced research scientists that are developing a genetic risk prediction test for heart disease and myocardial infarction. This test aims to simultaneously genotype 20 genetics variants that have been previously associated with increased risk of heart disease. This Randox molecular test is in collaboration with leading University academics and will help reduce the burden of heart disease throughout the world by providing an accurate risk assessment of disease so personalised treatment can be provided to those who require it most. To quote Randox Health, “Prevention is better than cure”.
From everyone at the Randox Careers team and from Dr. Dwaine Vance, we’d like to thank Omagh High School for inviting us to attend this incredibly beneficial Speed Networking event, where we feel we have truly impacted the young minds of tomorrow. We look forward to the future of diagnostics, with you!
Measurement of Uncertainty relates to the doubt that exists for the result of any measurement. For every measurement there is always a margin of doubt and therefore we need to ask ‘How big is the margin?’ and ‘How significant is the doubt?’.
In a hospital or healthcare environment, the clinician must be certain that any change identified in a patient’s test results is not a change to the laboratory test system but a change to the patient’s status. This is especially critical at clinical decision levels. Randox Quality Control has developed a guide to Measurement of Uncertainty in response to the demand for more information on the topic within the industry. This guide outlines what Measurement of Uncertainty is, how to measure uncertainty, factors which affect uncertainty and it’s sources.
Request your copy today!
Hearing loss is often associated with old age, tinnitus or balance disorders. However, studies show that anyone can be affected by hearing loss, at any age if exposed to a chemical present in many common household products.
Chances are, you take your senses for granted. Associated generally with deterioration in old age, we never assume we will go deaf or blind in our younger years. Nevertheless, approximately 3 million children in the USA suffer from hearing loss and this number is on the rise. (CHC, 2016)
In 2006, a study was released detailing the mysterious premature hearing loss of a collection of employees in a manufacturing site in Taiwan, specialising in adhesive materials. Chang, Chen, Lien, and Sung narrowed the phenomenon that was the loss of the worker’s auditory sense down to the responsibility of one chemical: Toluene.
Chemical-induced hearing loss, also known as “ototoxicity”, can affect anyone of any age and today, there are over 200 known ototoxic medications on the market known to cause damage to the inner ear containing chemicals largely known to induce ototoxicity such as Syrene and Xylene.
However, sold in many high-street shops, you’ll find the biggest player in the cause of ototoxicity: Toluene. Toluene is a major component of paints, varnishes, petroleum, printing inks, degreasers, adhesives, cigarette smoke, glues, thinners, and plastics. Exposure to Toluene, such as inhalation, ingestion or skin contact, is known to cause not only hearing loss, but commonly can be a factor in causing Tinnitus, Dermatitis, and vision impairment. In general, the component can wreak havoc for the central nervous system and prolonged exposure to high concentrations of the colourless liquid may result in loss of consciousness, and may even be fatal.
Wanisiusiow, whose findings were conducted using the RX series’ RX daytona and a Randox creatinine kit stated, “Toluene is undoubtedly one of the most widely used organic solvents in industry.” But how does Toluene do it? Wanisusiow goes on to state, “As far as we know, there are two major mechanisms which might explain toluene-induced hearing loss. Firstly, a poisoning of Deiters and Hensen’s cells, which are both important to maintain the K+ homeostasis in the vicinity of outer hair cells. Secondly, an oxidative cell injury, such as lipid peroxidation.”
An interesting point uncovered in this study is that suffering the severe side-effect of Toluene seems to be species-specific. The original experiment, carried out on rats, displayed expected symptoms of ototoxicity. However, guinea pigs reacted differently. The study speculates: The half-life of toluene is longer in the rat than in the guinea pig. This might be one way to explain the difference in cochlear sensitivity to toluene between rats and guinea pigs but likely not the only one.
So, what is it in the genetic makeup of guinea pigs, that rats do not possess, that could fight the negative effects of Toluene? Could learning what causes guinea pigs immunity be beneficial to our research into hearing loss?
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