Cocaine and Other Drugs Found in Shrimps of Rivers in the UK

Aylin Woodward wrote . . . . . . . . .

Scientists have found traces of cocaine in freshwater shrimp across five rivers in the UK.

In a new study, researchers said they also detected the drug ketamine, banned pesticides, and antidepressant drugs in the shrimp.

This isn’t the first time scientists have found drugs in aquatic animals. Mussels in Seattle’s Puget Sound had traces of oxycodone in them, and eels in London’s Thames river may have been affected by cocaine in the water.

A group of British scientists drug-tested freshwater shrimp from 15 sites across five rivers in Suffolk County, a rural area northeast of London. Their results, published in the journal Environment International, showed that all the shrimp contained trace amounts of cocaine, as well as the drug ketamine (an anesthetic sometimes used as a party drug) and a banned pesticide called fenuron.

The researchers said the drugs likely made their way into rivers and fresh water after human consumption; cocaine can pass from urine into our wastewater. Then — especially if raw human sewage is left unfiltered and untreated — the drug can flow from our sewage systems into surrounding aquatic ecosystems.

“Such regular occurrence of illicit drugs in wildlife was surprising,” Leon Barron, a coauthor of the study, said in a press release. “We might expect to see these in urban areas such as London, but not in smaller and more rural catchments.”

The study authors said they couldn’t draw any conclusions about what effects these river pollutants might have on the shrimp or the animals that eat them. They did say, however, that the detection of “several pesticides that no longer have approval in the EU” warrants further investigation.

From urine to sewage to shrimp

At the 15 sites tested in the study, scientists found traces of 56 pollutants in a type of freshwater shrimp called Gammarus pulex.

The compounds that were detected most frequently in the highest concentrations were drugs such as cocaine, lidocaine (a local anesthetic that some drug dealers use to bulk up cocaine), and ketamine.

The researchers found traces of the antianxiety medications alprazolam and diazepam as well (better known by their brand names, Xanax and Valium, respectively). Propranolol — which treats high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats — was also detected, though not as frequently.

Drugs aren’t the only pollutants that can accumulate in aquatic critters.

Fish and shellfish can also accumulate microplastics — tiny pieces of broken down plastic — that make their way up the food chain. Microplastics even show up in our poop, according to the Smithsonian Institute.

Shellfish also ingest poisonous chemicals that enter waterways. One notable example of this was methylmercury dumped by a fertilizer company called the Chisso Corporation in Japan’s Minamata Bay from 1932 to 1968. Japanese citizens consumed the bay’s contaminated seafood and consequently contracted Minamata disease, which wreaks havoc on the brain and nervous system and causes physical deformities.

Drug-filled shellfish isn’t a problem restricted to the UK

Shrimp aren’t the only animals with an accidental drug problem.

A 2017 study in Victoria, British Columbia found that shellfish living in close proximity to places where sewage gets discharged into the environment contained traces of drugs like triclosan (the antibacterial agent in hand soap) and ibuprofen.

In January 2019, scientists also found that London sewer water overflowing into the Thames river contained traces of cocaine. The UK capital has the highest concentration of cocaine in its sewage of any city in Europe.

Read More: London’s Thames river has record-high levels of cocaine, and researchers are trying to figure out if it’s making eels high

Yet another study found that critically endangered eels swimming in the Thames river could become “hyperactive” as that cocaine accumulates in their brains, muscles, gills, and skin.

Finally, last year, scientists also found traces of oxycodone, antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, and heart medications in the muscle tissue of mussels in Seattle’s Puget Sound. This suggests the mussels are feeding on contaminated human sewage, the researchers said.

“You wouldn’t want to collect (and eat) mussels from these urban bays,” study co-author Andy James wrote in a press release.

Source: Business Insider

Fried Eggs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce


2 Tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp dried mint
1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp cumin seeds
cooking oil spray
4 eggs
1/2 cup Greek-style yogurt, warmed
1 tbsp Japanese seven-spice powder
2 tbsp loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 to 3 whole-grain pitta breads about 170 g, char-grilled


  1. Place the yogurt in a covered microwave-safe bowl, warm in the microwave for 20 to 30 seconds.
  2. Heat oil in a 9-inch frying pan over medium heat. Cook garlic, dried mint and spices, stirring for 1 minute or until fragrant. Transfer spiced oil to a small bowl.
  3. Wipe out pan with paper towel. Lightly spray pan with cooking oil. Heat pan over medium heat, cook eggs for 4 minutes or until whites are set and yolks remain runny.
  4. Add yoghurt to pan. Rmove from heat.
  5. Sprinkle eggs with seven-spice powder and fresh mint. Drizzle with spiced oil. Season. Serve with pitta bread.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Source: The Australian Women’s Weekly

In Pictures: Home-prepared Avocado Sandwiches

Bacon and Avocado Bagel Sandwich

Avocado Paste and Smoked Salmon Bagel Sandwich

Avocado Sandwich with Poscuitto and Cooked Shrimp

Salmon Flakes and Avocado Paste Sandwich

Avocado Rose Caprese Sandwich

Avocad and Shrimp Sandwich

New York’s Green New Deal will Slash Red Meat in City Facilities by 50%

Joshu Caplan wrote . . . . . . . . .

New York City plans to reduce the amount of red meat served in municipally-run facilities by half to combat climate change as part of the city’s recently-approved “Green New Deal.”

The city’s $14 billion “Green New Deal” includes plans to cut purchases of red meat by 50 percent and phase out purchases of processed meats in its city-run schools, hospitals, schools, and correctional facilities by 2040. The city would be first in the world to adopt a policy of this kind. The announcement comes after New York schools adopted Meatless Monday in an effort to encourage students to abstain from consuming meat one day a week to improve their health and the environment.

Chloe Waterman, who serves as Program Manager for the Climate-Friendly Food Program at Friends of the Earth, said of De Blasio’s proposal in a statement: “New York City is strengthening its climate leadership by acknowledging the importance of slashing consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions associated with factory farmed meat. Eliminating processed meat and cutting red meat purchases will pay dividends for the health of future generations and the planet.”

“We applaud Mayor de Blasio, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, and all of the advocates who made today’s announcement possible. We hope other cities will soon follow suit,” Waterman concluded.

In announcing his Green New Deal on Monday, De Blasio said he also plans to introduce a bill banning new construction of glass skyscrapers as part of his efforts to reduce citywide greenhouse emissions by 30%.

The Democrat mayor, who is considering running for president in 2020, said all-glass facade skyscrapers are “incredibly inefficient” because so much energy escapes through the glass. The bill would require existing glass buildings to be retrofitted to meet new stricter carbon-emissions guidelines.

“If a company wants to build a big skyscraper they can use a lot of glass if they do all the other things needed to reduce the emissions,” de Blasio told reporters. “But putting up monuments to themselves that harmed our earth and threatened our future that will no longer be allowed in New York City.”

The mayor’s Green New Deal effort also includes plans to power all of the city’s operations with clean electricity sources like Canadian hydropower, mandatory organics recycling, congestion pricing, and the phasing-out of city purchases of single-use plastic food ware and processed meat.

City lawmakers passed the Climate Mobilization Act — referred to as New York’s own “Green New Deal” — in a 45-2 vote recently.

Source : Breitbart

Parkinson’s Disease: Four Unusual Signs You May be At Risk

Patrick Lewis and Alastair Noyce wrote . . . . . . . . .

Do you move around a lot during your sleep? Or have you lost your sense of smell? New insights into Parkinson’s disease suggest that these might be the early signs of changes in the brain that mean you are at greater risk of developing Parkinson’s.

When people talk about Parkinson’s disease, the image that most often comes to mind is of an elderly person who shakes and has trouble moving. And, in the later stages of Parkinson’s, this is often true. Bradykinesia (a medical term for slowed movement) and tremor (the shaking that can be so prominent in Parkinson’s) are two of the most important symptoms of the disease.

But research over the last 15 years has begun to shed light on some of the changes and symptoms that happen much earlier in the disease, sometimes long before the changes in movement that most people associate with Parkinson’s. So what are these early warning signs that you might be at increased risk of developing Parkinson’s? Here are four of the most common ones.

1. Loss of sense of smell

A common recollection by people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s is that they remember changes in their sense of smell several years before developing any tremor or other movement problems. But many people might not even recognise that their sense of smell is bad. It is only when tested that we see that up to 90% of people living with Parkinson’s have lost their sense of smell.

2. Restless nights

There is a connection between changes in sleep patterns called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behaviour disorder and the risk of developing Parkinson’s. REM sleep behaviour disorder, or RBD for short, is more than simply experiencing a restless night. People with RBD act out their dreams, sometimes moving violently in their sleep, to the extent that they can even injure themselves, but with often no recollection of their actions.

RBD is rare and can only be diagnosed with a special sleep study, but most people who develop RBD will develop Parkinson’s disease or a similar condition within a decade.

3. Constipation

Problems with digestion and bowel movements are a big problem for people with Parkinson’s, and we now know that these problems can start long before the tremor and problems with movement that lead to someone being referred to a neurologist.

As for most of these early symptoms, people can develop constipation for lots of different reasons, but it is clear that people living with Parkinson’s have problems with bowel movements. Constipation may, in fact, be one of the very earliest features, occurring up to 20 years before Parkinson’s is diagnosed.

4. Anxiety and depression

Feeling anxious or depressed, above and beyond the normal ups and downs of daily life, is one of the biggest problems that people with Parkinson’s report – sometimes noting it as even more of a problem than changes in movement. We think that this is due to changes in the balance of chemical activity in the brain and that these changes start up to ten years before people are diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

It is important to remember that there lots of reasons why any one, or combination, of these changes might happen. And even if you have all of them, it does not mean that you will certainly develop Parkinson’s. But there is good evidence that most people who are diagnosed with Parkinson’s have experienced some or all of these.

If you are interested in joining 10,000 others taking part in research aimed at finding people at risk of Parkinson’s, that might in time lead to prevention or cures, then please go to the Predict PD website.

Source : The Conversation

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