Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Animal and Plant Toxins

THINKING…..Still thinking….

Here we go again…thinking of something I can write here in my blog about our new topic regarding animal and plant toxins, but nothing seems to come out of my thoughts. It was just an empty and vacant space filled with NOTHING.

            Almost an hour thinking, how will I start with the new topic? I don’t even know how I can even find words to express what I think about right now. I am literally toxic at this moment, really, really toxic.
            Is it really this hard? I asked to myself. I know I am not a great writer but somehow I think I have the guts to try and do it, right?

still thinking after an hour :(

 Finally, while watching the news on GMA 7 about a Malaysian cosmonaut who became successful on his work and study about the outer space, I’ve heard this magic word came out from him saying “you should know how to think out of the box”. After hearing these words, I am puzzled and try to explain to myself what does he mean about it? And from here, I gain inspiration to start writing.


Encounter with an Animal or Plant Toxins

I never had an encounter with plant or animal toxins but I have heard a lot of stories about people around me who experienced being bitten by a dog, kitten (cat), snakes, being sting by a stingray or bitten by spiders but the good news about this was that all of them survived from these traumatic experiences. And they should really feel blessed about it.

 Even with those people being toxic with certain types of plants I‘ve never seen or encountered one personally, I only based what I know from what I’ve heard in the news as well as with what I see on the National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel or what I read from magazines or news articles.

So those things that I will write on my blog about animal and plant toxins are not of personal encounter but our only based from the things that I have heard, seen or read on news, magazines or television programs, but hopefully I can give you a logical and rational information about them. And our topic for this time will just be focused on two important terms related to toxicology and these are:


What is an Animal Toxin?

            Animal toxins are substances (chemical or physical) which are being produced by animals that provide toxicity or harmful effects on other living things, most especially to humans. Some animal toxin can be quite dangerous if not treated readily; it may cause coma or even death. These animal toxins being produced by certain type of animals are one of their important defense mechanism to other fight other living organisms which tries to harm or destroy them.

Some examples of animals producing toxins are snakes, scorpions, stingray, cone snail, spiders, octopus and pit-vipers. We should be more extra careful when encountering with these animals because we are not familiar on up to what extent could the damage is if they attack us. Most of there mechanism of actions are paralyzing certain parts of the body once you’ve been attacked by them. I will provide a table coming from a certain website about animal toxins and here is the sample:

C A R D I O A C T I V E   T O X I N S
Act on membrane lipids/proteins of blood cells or heart cells cobras, scorpions
Digoxin-like Cardiotonic steroids that produce severe arrythmia of heartbeat toads
Protease inhibitors Blockage of serine proteases including plasmin, thrombin and kallikrein resulting in anticoagulant activity or hypotension Snakes (elapids and true vipers) and certain scorpion species. Leeches contain the most powerful antithrombin toxin known
Factor X activator Prematurely activates factor X of the blood coagulation resulting in net anticoagulation Viper and elapid venoms
Protein C activators Premature activation of protein C in the coagulation cascade resulting in net anticoagulation Vipers and colubrids
Prothrombin activators Premature activation of prothrombin in the coagulation cascade resulting in net anticoagulation Elapid venoms
Disintegrins Anticoagulants that bind to GPIIb/IIIa receptor on platelets Wide spread in viper venoms and also found in leech toxins
Proteases Myriad of actions including  conversion of fibrinogen to fibrin and kallikrein like actions. Pit-viper venoms, gila monster venoms
PLA2s Hemorrhagic PLA2s with a myriad of activities are scattered widely throughout venoms

 *PS you can see the full copy of the table in this website:


What is a Plant Toxin?

Plant toxins are substances produced by plants which can cause harmful effect or destruction to certain living organism especially human beings.  Just like animal, certain plants also generate toxins for their protection or use it as their defense mechanism to some harmful organisms which tries to damage or destroy them.

sample of wild mushrooms

 The toxins of plants have similarities and differences as compared to animal toxins mode of actions, but the extent of damage is more likely similar where in, it can be of not of serious damage up to a lethal serious damage which can cause coma or even death to certain individuals when infected by them. Knowledge about this plant toxins can help you distinguish what certain kinds of plant should be avoided, here are some examples of them:

-          hemlock - poisonous drug derived from an Eurasian plant of the genus Conium; "Socrates refused to flee and died by drinking hemlock"
-          curare, tubocurarine - a toxic alkaloid found in certain tropical South American trees that is a powerful relaxant for striated muscles; "curare acts by blocking cholinergic transmission at the myoneural junction"
Curare Plant

-          strychnine - an alkaloid plant toxin extracted chiefly from nux vomica; formerly used as a stimulant
-          nicotine - an alkaloid poison that occurs in tobacco; used in medicine and as an insecticide
-          brucine - a bitter alkaloid poison resembling strychnine and extracted from nux vomica.



Tuesday, June 14, 2011


"The Reason for What I've Become"

In the midst of the silent night
Looking far at the beam of light
Wondering how have I become
Lots of changes I wonder why?

My father used to lift me up,
Carry me around 'til I'm dropped
But now I asked, why did it stop?
And realized, I'm already tall for that.

It's funny how I feel this maze
Mood alters and reasoning change
Seeing myself becoming bloomed
Hips widened and chest renewed

I don't know what's inside of me
That makes me learn more of thee
They say it's about the hormone
Which helps my body to be honed

Anterior Pituitary they say
Is it the real place for it to lay?
Certain balance is needed to understand
GH, LH, TSH, FSH  is where it stands

Finding answers for these questions
Quite surprising what's the reason -
Small pea sized anterior pituitary gland
Responsible  for what I've become.

It is so great to know                                                         
That my Creator shows
How powerful He is
To make me just like this.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Endocrinology, Toxicology and Drug Testing

“The fear of the Lord - that is wisdom, and to shun evil - is understanding”

                                                                                                -JOB 28:28-

Ready… Set… GO…

            It’s the official start of class again! Another year of surprises, struggles, happiness and excitements to looked forward to. Leaving the past and creating new memories is to be expected, and this time, as 4th year BS Medical Technology students, a lot of old and new things are being anticipated, but one thing is for sure we should be more focused and goal-oriented this moment than we were before. If I wanted to become successful I know that I ought to start right now or else, forever hold my peace. So building my future hopes and dreams starts right at this very moment…

Clinical Chemistry 3

            One of the most important thing that a future medical technologist ought to know and fully understand are the different principles and tests to be performed relating to Clinical Chemistry. In the context of Clinical settings, Clinical Chemistry is one of the sections or areas in the laboratory that receives a bunch of test to be performed everyday, which only shows how significant this certain area is.

In the academe settings, it is said to be divided into 3 major parts so it can be fully accommodated and comprehend by the students because of its major importance in the laboratory, and these 3 parts are said to be: Clinical Chemistry 1 which talks about Blood Chemistry, Clinical Chemistry 2 which deals with Special Chemistry and the last one is Clinical Chemistry 3 which is known as the Endocrinology, Toxicology and Drug Testing. 

So let's buckle up and start to explore them by knowing first the definition of the three most important terms needed in the study.

What is Endocrinology?

            As the testing in the laboratories continue to expand and significantly progress, a certain field called Clinical Endocrinology flourishes and progress as well . This field has considerably been very important in the field of Clinical Chemistry because of its complexity when it comes to quantifying small or diminutive amounts of polypeptides, steroids, and other compounds which regulate many of the biochemical processes in the bodyAnswers in relation to the questions about growth and development are now possible because of this study which is aided by the changes of hormone patterns. 

Clinical Endocrinology speaks about the study of the endocrine system which has a regulatory functions of water balance, uterine contraction and milk release, growth, metabolism and tissue maturation, ion regulation, heart rate and blood pressure regulation, blood glucose control, immune system regulation and reproductive functions control. Through these different regulation functions of the endocrine system many processes in the body can be tested and monitored using the various tests available on Clinical Endocrinology field. 

Disturbance on the function and processes of the endocrine system can result to different variety of disease such as Diabetes mellitus or Addison’s disease. More importantly through the hormonal changes happening to humans clinical laboratory scientists can easily identified diverse mental illnesses to an individual because nervous and endocrine systems are the two major systems responsible for the homeostatic regulation of the body. 

What is Toxicology?
            The food that we eat, the beverages that we drink, the medicines/drugs that we take even the beauty products that we buy have different constituents and additives that give harmful and adverse effect to humans who consumes it, this is where toxicology comes to the picture.

Toxicology is said to be the adverse or extreme effects of certain chemicals, almost found in all products, to living things. These chemicals give different adverse reactions from very low to very high range of toxicity which can lead to coma or even death if not treated readily, which is also an important part in the field of toxicology. In this field, toxicologists aim to find certain results and interpretations on up to what extent of toxicity a certain chemical or products can supply to an individual. Toxicology also helps people to determine whether the specific merchandise is poisonous or not or whether if it can still be of good used.

            Toxic chemicals may be referred to as either toxins or toxicants. Toxins are those toxic chemicals produced by living systems such as plants or animals while toxicants are that remainder of toxic chemicals. On the other hand poisons are substances which when introduced to living organisms destroy life or injure health. In this study it is very much important to also know certain point and areas:

-          Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism and Excretion of toxic substances
-          Dose – Response Relationship
-          Toxicology of Therapeutic Drugs
-          Toxicology of Specific Agents
-          Toxicology of the Drugs of Abuse
-          Exposure and Routes to toxins

For a certain poisons or toxins there are certain treatment and antidotes given to relieve or lowered the toxicity of certain chemicals like the chemical antidote, physiologic antidote and specific antidote. But remember not all poisonous or toxic chemicals have antidotes to alleviate their harmful effect. So it is always important for medical technologists to be familiar with all of these because it can greatly affect a lot of people.

What is Drug Testing?
Drugs are chemicals that have certain effects on living organisms whether good or bad effect. Many people used drugs to treat certain illness but some people used them even without in need for it and leads to abusing it and making them dependent to it. For this specific reasons many individuals abuse drugs up to the point that they cannot control themselves and do things they don’t even know and this is where certain problems in the society appears and for this reason drug testing comes into for rescue. 

Drug testing is the technique of testing biological specimens like urine, sweat, blood and even saliva to monitor or test the presence of specific drug or metabolites. From the results that will be taken from the test, physicians will rationalized it and looked if the drug present is under prohibited drugs or not. And through this we can make abrupt solutions if there will be a need for it. There are some important information also needed to know by medical technologists and these are the:

-          Length of time drugs are detected in urine
-          Common type of drug test
-          Types of testing

Drug testing is really important for our country to lessen the crimes in the Philippines.