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Archive for April, 2011|Monthly archive page

Ticked off: Suffering from Lyme disease

In Lyme Disease on April 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm
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The author of this article has suffered for a decade from Lyme disease

Lyme came up the first time in 1996. I visited a rheumatologist, who’d had the disease himself. After hearing my symptoms, he ordered a blood test to look for signs of the Lyme bacterium. “But I’ve never had a bull’s-eye rash,” I said. He explained that only 60 to 70 percent of sufferers develop the telltale redness around their tick bite, and he promised to call with the results.

The test was negative, so the doctor tried to ease my symptoms with treatments, including dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a hormone used experimentally to treat CFS. But my body aches worsened. After months of no improvement, I quit taking prescription pills—and seeing doctors—altogether. I lost faith in Western medicine. More


Feedback from JMU Audience on Malaria & Business

In Malaria on April 25, 2011 at 11:25 am

Dennis Tracz, Founder 141 Repellent, Inc.

“He had an excellent message”, “I found his talk very inspiring”, “He wanted to share is excitement and enthusiasm”, ‘I would recommend sending out a university wide email “

Last week I gave a presentation about how business can help solve the global malaria problem @JMU. The sponsoring professor just sent some feedback from the students.  I enjoyed my visit to JMU very much!

Student S. T.:

I liked Dennis, especially in the context of Net Impact. I felt he had an excellent message and made attempts to relate to the students and engage them in conversation. I don’t think he promoted his company anymore than he needed to in telling his story. Because of this, and the fact that he is a JMU graduate who apparently played a crucial part in bringing a Net Impact chapter to JMU, I would definitely recommend having him back.

Student L. B.:

Worth having him on campus? Very much so. I found his talk very inspiring and I wish more people would have been there.

Appropriate subject matter? I believe it is a great subject matter because it is so relevant everywhere in the world. He made great connections (for us Business majors) between his company’s path and the possibilities that are out there regarding social entrepreneurship.

Did he promote his company/product too much? The product was put in a very positive light, but I think that that’s because he really believes in it. I did not feel like he was promoting the product to us for use, it was more that he wanted to share is excitement and enthusiasm about it.

Recommend having him back? Definitely. I would recommend sending out a university wide email because I could imagine that many nursing majors or pre-med students would attend.  Although the business aspect is important, I believe that this topic would be of great interest to them as well.

Student D. P.:

I thought the presentation itself was not as engaging as the Q&A section. I learned and understood more dialoging with him about the subject matter. The subject was very relevant, with social entrepreneurship at its core. The idea and current facts make his venture have ground breaking possibilities. I’m very interested in the next stages of the repellent. Thanks for bringing him to speak.

Nanoparticle Sunscreen Ok with Consumers

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm
Bell Tower at North Carolina State U. Author: ...

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Mineral sunscreens like zinc oxide (white noses on lifeguards!) and titanium dioxide do a great job protecting your skin from sun but are messy and leave a white smear all over your body. Some companies have started marketing micronized or nanoparticle formulations of these sunscreens which blend into the skin invisibly. Some people have expressed concern about these particles making it into the bloodstream and causing harm. Researchers at NC State surveyed the public on 23 public health risks including this issue along with Xrays, smoking and obesity and more. People surveyed said they were not worried about nanotechnology compared to other issues. Research still needs to be done on this issue but maybe people prefer the benefits of nanotechnology and will tolerate the risk?

The paper, “Comparing nanoparticle risk perceptions to other known EHS risks,” is forthcoming from the Journal of Nanoparticle Research. The paper was co-authored by Berube and Binder; Jordan Frith and Christopher Cummings, Ph.D. students at NC State; and Dr. Robert Oldendick of the University of South Carolina. The research was funded by the National Science Foundation. More

Testing Our Repellent on Animals

In Uncategorized on April 22, 2011 at 2:03 pm

We are dealing with EPA requirements for testing on animals in order to register our new repellent for sale. The paradox is that many of the natural product certification groups don’t allow animal testing of any kind!

We might have a new way to test using synthetic skin instead of animals!

Researchers from Ohio State University may have found the answer to finally drive animal testing out of the cosmetics industry, by replacing animal skin with synthetic skin. The new research suggests that currently available types of synthetic skin may now be good enough to imitate animal skin in laboratory tests, and may be on their way to truly simulating human skin in the future. More

UN calls for intensified efforts to reach goal of no more deaths from malaria

In Malaria on April 22, 2011 at 6:23 am

A migrant worker with fever getting
tested for malaria at a clinic in Thailand’s Chantaburi province

21 April 2011 – The world must dramatically step up its existing efforts to conquer malaria if it is to reach the goal of near zero deaths from the disease – which, despite being preventable and curable, currently kills almost 800,000 people every year – by 2015, the United Nations warns today.

Ahead of World Malaria Day, which is officially observed on Monday, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the goal will not be met unless there is “an extraordinary intensification” in two key areas.

“First, scaling up the life-saving and cost-effective interventions that have already produced such dramatic results,” he said in a message marking the Day. “We need to ensure universal coverage for all people at risk.

“Second, providing timely testing for all persons suspected of having malaria, and effective treatment for those confirmed to have the disease.”


Scientists prove new technology to control malaria-carrying mosquitoes

In Malaria, Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 at 2:49 pm
Ochlerotatus notoscriptus, Tasmania, Australia

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The researchers bred mosquitoes with a green fluorescent gene, as a marker that can easily be observed in experiments. They allowed these insects to mingle and mate with a small number of mosquitoes that carried a segment of DNA coding for an enzyme capable of permanently inactivating the fluorescent gene. After each generation, they counted how many mosquitoes still retained an active fluorescent gene.

They found that in experiments which began with close to 99% of green fluorescent mosquitoes, more than half had lost their green marker genes in just 12 generations. The study is the first successful proof-of-principle experiment of its kind, and suggests that this technique could similarly be used to propagate a genetic change within a wild mosquito population. More

Op-Ed: Oz. of Prevention vs Lb(s). of Cure?

In Dengue Fever, Malaria, Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 at 1:06 pm

I was asked to write this as part of the Malaria No More Griot project-dt Dennis Tracz of 141 Repellent

The global disease control community including the World Health Organization, UN, US Govt and NGO’s were energized by Bill and Melinda Gates calling for the ERADICATION of malaria rather than just trying to control the disease.

“Advances in science and medicine, promising research, and the rising concern of people around the world represent an historic opportunity not just to treat malaria or to control it—but to chart a long-term course to eradicate it,” said Melinda Gates in October 2007.

Pound(s) of Cure

Billions of dollars have been invested in research designed to eradicate malaria through the development of vaccines and lethal insecticides impregnated in bed nets. Some people are even shooting lasers at mosquitoes! After WWII grand efforts to eliminate malaria with DDT met with mixed results but certainly drove down deaths from the disease.

Indiscriminate spraying of DDT and other chemicals soon caused mosquitoes to develop resistance against the lethal effects. DDT also created environmental concerns especially with bird egg shells. Many believe the Bald Eagle was almost driven to extinction by DDT and other pesticides. The US banned DDT in the early 1970’s for any use and most of the world followed with similar restrictions except for DDT’s use in malaria disease control. WHO approved DDT for restricted use for spraying on the walls of homes and in treated bed nets.

Since almost all R&D investment is for eradicating malaria, any solution that doesn’t kill the mosquito or treat the symptoms like a vaccine or medicine is ignored. Scientists are racing to develop even more toxic insecticides while a vaccine still eludes researchers.

Ounce of Prevention

DDT and many other chemicals, primarily insecticides made from pyrethroids, are used to treat bed nets with the idea that if a mosquito lands on the bed net the insecticide treatment will kill the insect. Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) follows the same logic by spraying the interior walls of huts with insecticide.  While only 12% of homes have IRS treatment many more have and are using bednets with signs of success but at a high cost

Surprise! A Spatial Repellent

Some researchers have discovered a surprising benefit from DDT in IRS applications. While mosquitoes have developed resistance to the toxicity of DDT they are repelled by a spatial repellent effect.  Homes that have been treated by DDT seem to PREVENT the mosquitoes carrying malaria from entering the home in the first place. This spatial repellent action and its effectiveness in preventing mosquito bites is the primary reason that WHO and other organizations continue to support the use of DDT in malaria disease control. It doesn’t kill them, just keeps them out of your home!

Here is a chart showing both the spatial repellency and the contact irritancy (mosquitoes fly off because of irritation from the chemical) DDT is far more effective than any other chemical for both spatial repellency and contact irritancy.

My company, 141 Repellent, is developing a new active ingredient in partnership with the USDA that has demonstrated spatial repellency in tests by the US Govt.  Combining a spatial repellent with no toxicity for use in malaria disease control is not in line with current thinking of developing lethal solutions but can save millions of lives if implemented.  An internationally known senior scientist in the malaria field said this about isolongifolenone, our new plant-based active ingredient:

“It could have huge impact saving lives.  It could have utility not only for use in malaria programs but could have huge impact in the control of other diseases… A non- toxic compound would be an absolute first in this business of disease control.  Actually, lets be honest, there really is no such thing as a non-toxic chemical.  However, there is potential that your chemicals are much safer than chemicals in present use.  The reason I say this is that each of the chemicals in use today are in use precisely because they are toxic–your chemicals will be the exception.

There are many obstacles to adopting our ounce of prevention as a solution to malaria but we remain optimistic that we can help millions of people avoid malaria until a permanent solution such as a vaccine can be developed.

The author is the founder and CEO of 141 Repellent, Inc.


Bednets on the US Federal Budget Chopping Block?

In Malaria, Uncategorized on April 12, 2011 at 11:53 am

The recent budget cuts approved by both parties include a reduction in US financial support for global health programs like malaria eradication and treatment by more than $370 million for this year. This trend may impact the reduction in malaria touted by the UN and others over the last couple of years. The private sector will have to pick up the deficit.

Here is the link to more details

A New Home for DDT?

In Dengue Fever, Malaria on April 12, 2011 at 8:31 am

The New York Times

August 20, 2007

A New Home for DDT


Bethesda, Md.

DDT, the miracle insecticide turned environmental bogeyman, is once again playing an important role in public health. In the malaria-plagued regions of Africa, where mosquitoes are becoming resistant to other chemicals, DDT is now being used as an indoor repellent. Research that I and my colleagues recently conducted shows that DDT is the most effective pesticide for spraying on walls, because it can keep mosquitoes from even entering the room.

The news may seem surprising, as some mosquitoes worldwide are already resistant to DDT. But we’ve learned that even mosquitoes that have developed an immunity to being directly poisoned by DDT are still repelled by it.

Malaria accounts for nearly 90 percent of all deaths from vector-borne disease globally. And it is surging in Africa, surpassing AIDS as the biggest killer of African children under age 5.

From the 1940s onward, DDT was used to kill agricultural pests and disease-carrying insects because it was cheap and lasted longer than other insecticides. DDT helped much of the developed world, including the United States and Europe, eradicate malaria. Then in the 1970s, after the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” which raised concern over DDT’s effects on wildlife and people, the chemical was banned in many countries. Birds, especially, were said to be vulnerable, and the chemical was blamed for reduced populations of bald eagles, falcons and pelicans. Scientific scrutiny has failed to find conclusive evidence that DDT causes cancer or other health problems in humans.

Today, indoor DDT spraying to control malaria in Africa is supported by the World Health Organization; the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; and the United States Agency for International Development.

The remaining concern has been that the greater use of DDT in Africa would only lead mosquitoes to develop resistance to it. Decades ago, such resistance developed wherever DDT crop spraying was common. After the DDT bans went into effect in the United States and elsewhere, it continued to be used extensively for agriculture in Africa, and this exerted a powerful pressure on mosquitoes there to develop resistance. Although DDT is now prohibited for crop spraying in Africa, a few mosquito species there are still resistant to it. But DDT has other mechanisms of acting against mosquitoes beyond killing them. It also functions as a “spatial repellent,” keeping mosquitoes from entering areas where it has been sprayed, and as a “contact irritant,” making insects that come in contact with it so irritated they leave.

In our studies, in which we sprayed DDT on the walls of huts in Thailand, three out of every five test mosquitoes sensed the presence of DDT molecules and would not enter the huts. Many of those that did enter and made contact with DDT became irritated and quickly flew out.

The mosquitoes we used were the kind that carry dengue and yellow fever, not malaria. But there is ample evidence that malaria-carrying mosquitoes respond similarly to DDT. Several malaria-carrying species are even more sensitive to DDT’s repellent effects.

When we sprayed the huts with either dieldrin or alphacypermethrin, in contrast, all the test mosquitoes entered. Alphacypermethrin acted as a contact irritant, and it killed others that lingered on a treated surface. Dieldrin worked only as a poison — a powerful one, killing 92 percent of mosquitoes that made contact with it, far more than alphacypermethrin or DDT.

But dieldrin’s strong toxicity means that mosquitoes quickly develop resistance to it. Its use against malaria was short-lived, ending in the 1950s, because it so quickly became powerless.

Alphacypermethrin and others like it in the family of so-called pyrethroid insecticides are viewed as environmentally friendly, so they are used heavily in agriculture, in Africa and elsewhere. They are also used for treating bed nets and in indoor spraying programs to control malaria. But these multiple uses, combined with fact that the insecticide must make contact with the insect in order to work, have made pyrethroid resistance a large and growing problem for pest control programs in Africa.

DDT’s spatial repellency, by keeping mosquitoes from making physical contact, reduces the likelihood that the insects will develop resistance. Even those mosquitoes already resistant to poisoning by DDT are repelled by it.

It would be a mistake to think we could rely on DDT alone to fight mosquitoes in Africa. Fortunately, research aimed at developing new and better insecticides continues — thanks especially to the work of the international Innovative Vector Control Consortium. Until a suitable alternative is found, however, DDT remains the cheapest and most effective long-term malaria fighter we have.

Donald Roberts is an emeritus professor of tropical medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and a board member of the nonprofit health advocacy group Africa Fighting Malaria. Article Link


“Business Can Solve Malaria Problem” claims speaker coming to JMU

In Malaria, Uncategorized on April 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Can Business Solve the Global

Malaria Problem?

With World Malaria Day just around the corner, come hear social entrepreneur Dennis Tracz (JMU ’78 and founder of 141 Repellent) discuss this devastating but 100% preventable problem and the rapidly emerging role of social entrepreneurs in helping fight such intractable global problems.

Two interactive talks on Thursday,

April 21, 2011 in JMU’s Showker Hall:

– 5:00pm in room 104 (~30 seats)

– 6:30pm in room 105 (~140 seats)

Sponsored by:

Net Impact student chapter

Gilliam Center for Ethical Business Leadership

The College of Business Dean’s Office

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