Currents efforts in marine biodiscovery have essentially focused on temperate to tropical shallow water organisms. With more than 6000 species of marine plants and animals, the Kosterfjord area has the richest marine biodiversity in Swedish waters, but it remains understudied. The overall objective of our marine pharmacognosy research is to explore and reveal the pharmacological potential of organisms from this poorly explored region. More generally, we wish to understand aspects of structure-activity relationships of chemical interactions in cold-water marine environment (shallow and deep). Our strategy is based on ecologically guided search for compounds through studies of physiology and organism interactions coupled to identification of bioactive molecules guided by especially in vivo assays. The research programme originated in the beginning of the 1980s with a broad screening of Swedish marine organisms using both in vitro and in vivo assays, resulting in isolation and identification of several different bioactive molecules. Two congenerous cyclopeptides, i.e. barettin and 8,9-dihydrobarettin, were isolated from the deep-sea sponge Geodia barretti, and structurally elucidated, guided by their antifouling activity and their affinity to a selection of human serotonin receptors. To optimize the activity a number of analogues of barettin were synthezised and tested for antifouling activity. Within the EU project BlueGenics, two larger homologous peptides, barrettides A and B, were isolated from G. baretti. Also, metabolic fingerprinting combined with sponge systematics was used to further study deep-sea natural product diversity in the genus Geodia. Finally, the chemical property space model 'ChemGPS-NP' has been developed and used in our research group, enabling a more efficient use of obtained compounds and exploration of possible biological activities and targets. Another approach is the broad application of phylogenetic frameworks, which can be used in prediction of where-in which organisms-to search for novel molecules or better sources of known molecules in marine organisms. In a further perspective, the deeper understanding of evolution and development of life on Earth can also provide answers to why marine organisms produce specific molecules.
The weekly changes in ambient sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and temperature were compared with the figures for respiratory infection in children and adults and for absenteeism from day-care centers (DCC), schools, and workplaces during a 1-year period in Helsinki. The annual average level of sulfur dioxide was 21 micrograms/m3 and of nitrogen dioxide 47 micrograms/m3; the average temperature was +3.1 degrees C. The levels of these pollutants and the temperature were significantly correlated with the number of upper respiratory infections reported from health centers. Low temperature also correlated with increased frequency of acute tonsillitis, of lower respiratory tract infection among DCC children, and of absenteeism from day-care centers, schools and workplaces. Furthermore, a significant association was found between levels of sulfur dioxide and absenteeism. After statistical standardization for temperature, no other correlations were observed apart from that between high levels of sulfur dioxide and numbers of upper respiratory tract infections diagnosed at health centers (P = 0.04). When the concentrations of sulfur dioxide were above the mean, the frequency of the upper respiratory tract infections was 15% higher than that during the periods of low concentration. The relative importance of the effects of low-level air pollution and low temperature on health is difficult to assess.
Cold injuries are rare but important causes of hospitalization. We aimed to identify the magnitude of cold injury hospitalization, and assess causes, associated factors and treatment routines in a subarctic region.
In this retrospective analysis of hospital records from the 4 northernmost counties in Sweden, cases from 2000-2007 were identified from the hospital registry by diagnosis codes for accidental hypothermia, frostbite, and cold-water drowning. Results were analyzed for pre-hospital site events, clinical events in-hospital, and complications observed with mild (temperature 34.9 - 32°C), moderate (31.9 - 28°C) and severe (
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