I haven't really felt like blogging lately and I'm not sure why. I haven't journaled much lately either. The last week I worked on an article I'm writing on the link between cyanobacteria blue-green algae) and Alzheimers and other tangle diseases (ALS, Parkinsons etc) so named because of the presence of neurofibrillary tangles in the brain of victims. Tangles are just what they sound like, nerve cell tangles inside the brain. Back in the 80s, I think, there was a minor panic over the use of Aluminum pans when scientists found Aluminum bound up in these tangles but that turned out to be an effect rather than a cause.
Well now scientists have isolated a neurotoxic compound, BMAA, that is produced by cyanobacteria of various species found all over the world. The scientists at the Institute for Ethnomedicine, led by Dr. Paul Alan Cox, believe this could be the culprit in the tangle diseases and they have explained a mechanism for how it could work. They've published many intriguing papers and if it pans out they could very likely get a Nobel prize.
The frightening aspect is that cyanobacteria are found in our drinking water supplies and while their acute toxic effects on animals and sometimes humans have been known for a long time, this BMAA apparently (according to Cox's theory) can lead to Alzheimers from chronic exposure to even low levels, probably in genetiaclly susceptible individuals (for example we know of genes making people more vulnerable to breast cancer, or lung cancer, etc).
It's fascinating stuff. I wrote about this a little bit back in October when I was mentioning how sand mining on the San Jacinto River because the increased turbidity leads to more cyanobacteria, particularly in dry years. (see sand mining could be toxic). My article will appear in the July issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.
I finished drafts of my first 5 chapters in my book, which feels good but I have much more to go and not much more time! That is kind of stressful. In the next month and a half, I have a feature article due, and a talk to give at my son's school on the benefits of forests and trees. That on top of the need to get a couple more chapters of my book done... And on a personal level I just feel drained. I feel a bit angsty and uncertain and I'm not at all good with uncertainty.
So on a side note I had a weird nightmare and am curious what you all think about interpretation. I was at my house but my house was in a prairie without other houses around. In the distance some bison were charging at some people there and it was a sense of panic, because some guy was going to get slaughtered by this beast but it was in the distance, so I ran toward my house but as I got there saw a bison there close by. My Subaru was parked in the driveway, and as I approached the bison which had initially just been standing there got mad and started charging towards me or the car. I climbed into my car but there was a guy (who I didn't know) behind the car screaming because the bison was charging straight at him and I screamed to him to open the back hatch and he tried but the bison then rammed him into the back of my Subaru and of course at this point my heart is racing and I'm in a total panic because this guy just got killed or something right outside my car. Then I woke up.
The weird thing is the longer I think about this dream, I think I've had it before. And not only that but I used to have a recurring nightmare as a child that a wolf (or wolf pack?) was chasing me across a field and I couldn't run or run fast enough but it never "got" me. It almost seems like the dream of my childhood has returned but in slightly different form in a weird way. I also have to laugh that wildlife are even in my nightmares! Ha!