Technology That Redefines Our World

Accutane Controversy

Though Accutane has proved to be extremely powerful in ridding people of skin inflammation and cystic acne, it has created quite a bit of controversy since its 1982 introduction to the United States pharmaceutical market. As a first-generation retinoid, Accutane belongs to pregnancy category X, the most high-risk class of pharmaceuticals for pregnant women. The medication has been proven to cause physical and mental birth defects in fetuses and newborn infants.

In addition to pregnancy concerns, researchers are also concerned about the use of parabens as a preservative in Accutane. Cosmetic companies have long since used parabens as preservatives in makeup, lotions, and hair care products. Parabens are inexpensive and greatly increase the shelf life of products. Despite these advantages, recent studies have found that parabens disrupt the endocrine system. Parabens are also studied as a potential carcinogenic agent, promoting the growth of unusual cells. Researchers have found that parabens can imitate the hormone estrogen, causing an estrogen surplus in the female endocrine system. The disturbance of an estrogen overabundance makes women more prone to breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Because of these potential risks, parabens were banned from cosmetics in the European Union.

Recently, Accutane has been linked to persistent gastroenterological complications. Previous users of Accutane have reported severe cases of ulcerative colitis, ulcerative proctitis, and Chrohn’s Disease. As a result of these Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, some people have parts of their large intestine and colon removed. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases cause discomfort, inconvenience, and sometimes prevent people from being able to resume their normal activities. According to a study presented at the College of American Gastroenterology, people who have taken Accutane are over four times more likely to develop an inflammatory bowel condition than people who have not taken Accutane.

Accutane lawsuits demanding fair compensation for the damage it has caused to the health of innocent users have been cropping up since the public began gaining awareness of the drug’s risks became widely known. If you have experienced unintended Acutane side effects, get in touch with a personal injury attorney to learn more about your options.

Bacteria Batteries

Bacteria Batteries

Dec 20, 2012

Researchers in the U.S. and U.K. may have come across a novel solution to our energy problems: batteries made from bacteria. A variety of bacteria which is extremely common in the world’s waterways has been demonstrated to generate its own electrical charge when exposed to heavy metals. The bacteria, Shewanella oneidensis, actually lives off of iron and heavy metals, and uses these substances to create energy. Special proteins on the surface of the bacteria interact with iron-containing minerals and, in the process, create a charge, resulting in the production of electricity.

While the current uses of this knowledge are essentially limited, the potential for future development is remarkable. Some suggest that the mechanism through which the bacteria create an electric current could be used to develop “biobatteries,” which would have a longer lifespan and create fewer environmentally harmful waste products. Others suggest that that bacteria could be used to reduce [exposure to toxic substances] by removing harmful heavy metals from contaminated soil.

Whatever its eventual application, count this development as a positive for the future of energy and environmentalism.