The Pesticide Matrix

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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Evan G » Apr 1, 2010 7:56 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:Evan,

Peters last post was specific in its question about private zip codes. In that context the reply was perfectly coherent.

Unlike this hypothesis IMHO

Could pesticides applied for decades in non-uniform densities and mixes across multiple environments have weakened bat immunities across the East but with no evidence of illness from other pathogens until a spot infection from GD occured in NY then raced like wildfire through multiple species that were weakened ONLY to GD including Wisconsin and Canadian animals who are in different pesticide regimes (or virtually none in some cases)? Yes.

But physics tells us a basketball thrown at a brick wall *might* pass through if the molecules all lined up just so.....

I dont have any problem with pesticides affecting bats. I think they probably do. I have problems when those effects are twisted and contorted to fit within assumptions that make absolutely no sense.


I never said, I agree with it. But I'm glad someone is looking into it. Quite honestly I think it is a long shot....

Does anybody know if the pH of the skin oils has between noted on bats with WNS because every study I have read says the same thing: "Histological examination of infected bats shows that fungal hyphae pervade the bat tissue filling hair follicles and sebaceous glands, yet the fungus does not typically lead to inflammation or immune response in the tissue of hibernating bats." GD likes the growth medium which the sebaceous glands are secreting. Usually the pH is higher than normal base rate for epidermal fungus to take hold. Most fungal remedies in humans are based on compounds that lower the pH.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 1, 2010 8:05 pm

I do know that vinegar (low PH) has apparently been used successfully by at least one rehabber.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby dfcaver » Apr 2, 2010 8:16 am

In central Pennsylvania, the only spraying of any magnitude that is non-farm related would probably be the gypsy moth spraying. Most of that happens over the forested land and ridgetops.

There is an interesting match of gypsy moth spread and WNS spread, with the gypsy moths (and presumably, the spraying to control them) a couple of seasons ahead of WNS. Of course, West Nile would show the same match as would spraying for it. http://dnr.wi.gov/org/caer/ce/eek/earth/invade.htm

Pennsylvania's spray seems to be Bacillus thuringiensis. However, the state had a break last year when the moths caught a fungus:

The state braced for what was forecasted to be another nasty gypsy moth caterpillar raid on oaks, conifers, hickories and other species in 25 mid-state and northeastern counties. But, the emerging caterpillars were hit by a fungus - Entomophaga maimaiga - a natural enemy, although not native to Pennsylvania; a virus - Lymantria dispar Multienveloped Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus (NPV) that appeared in America about the same time the gypsy moth did; and a biological insecticide - Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) - sprayed on forestlands by the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The caterpillars, thankfully, didn't have a chance when this triple-threat hit them. That doesn't mean they're gone for good; just that they had to return to the starting block in population building.
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases ... 74522.html
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Batgirl » Apr 2, 2010 8:21 am

wyandottecaver wrote:
Could pesticides applied for decades in non-uniform densities and mixes across multiple environments have weakened bat immunities across the East but with no evidence of illness from other pathogens until a spot infection from GD occured in NY then raced like wildfire through multiple species that were weakened ONLY to GD including Wisconsin and Canadian animals who are in different pesticide regimes (or virtually none in some cases)? Yes.

But physics tells us a basketball thrown at a brick wall *might* pass through if the molecules all lined up just so.....

I dont have any problem with pesticides affecting bats. I think they probably do. I have problems when those effects are twisted and contorted to fit within assumptions that make absolutely no sense.



I am not a biologist so I make no assumptions here. Just asking questions of the professionals as my thoughts wander. It seems to me that we have, and are, seeing significant changes in our animal kingdom. There is no smoking gun here, changes happen over time in small increments. Humans just don't notice them until its too late. Over the past 50 years, we have seen diseases pop up that have never existed until now (ie hoof and mouth, Chitrid, Bird Flu, West Nile, CCD, etc). Coincidence? I think not.

While this is just my opinion, I seriously think that pesticides applied over time have lowered both human and animal resistance to pathogens. Females provide their offspring with non-genetic factors such as hormones, nutrients and antibodies. Indirect long-term effects of maternal transfer on the offspring's own immunity can educate the newborn's immune system. This can then be transferred across multiple generations until the perfect storm occurs. If pesticides, applied and consumed over time, interfere with this transfer, it may be several generations before we see evidence of impact.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby peter febb » Apr 8, 2010 9:18 am

Applying a healthy dose of Occam's Razor, I decided to eliminate some of the bias in the bat matrix. Instead of casting a broad net by making the data as fuzzy as possible, a narrower probe was set up using the data provided by some folks who actually tracked bats upon emergence from hibernation. The new bat matrix is in the right column:
http://www.well.com/user/peter/comparisons%20of%20bat%20matrix.html
While building the data arrays, I noted that there is additional bias when huge amounts of a toxin is used far from the bat emergence areas. None of the Kriging formulas work well in this situation, there is just too much spreading. For now, here is a comparison of the two bat matrices with an assortment of toxins and a special request for cell towers and similar structures. This particular case has enormous bias due to the use of a value of "one" for each tower. The Kriging regressions tend to connect them all together as one unit. The result is a huge score that is of little utility for diagnostic purposes. It is necessary to not only unbias each matrix, but to isolate areas of bat foraging into "cells" so that they can be compared to each other. If that works well, then a "smoking gun" type of finding would require that all of the cells so isolated will have similarly high scores for the same toxins. This was done for a few and the results are here.
http://www.well.com/user/peter/triscore.html
A better matrix choice for the individual toxins might be a simple "dot" for each toxin, possibly 3 pixels in diameter to represent about 1.5 miles of spreading and no more. The resulting scores will become extremely low, and should be even more discriminating. More soon.
--pf
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby PYoungbaer » Apr 8, 2010 10:17 am

Peter,

I don't know how to interpret your graphs, so a lesson on that might be very helpful. More broadly, where is this headed? If some environmental toxin is pre-disposing bats to be infected by Geomyces destructans, how do these charts/data help us determine that? When looking at the spread of WNS, I know of no one who thinks it's not due to infection, at least in large part, so how does what you're showing us relate? Thanks in advance for the explanation.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby PYoungbaer » Apr 11, 2010 8:35 am

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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Evan G » Apr 11, 2010 3:39 pm

Good Guano what a horrible way to die! For a while now, I have been looking at G.D. as a topical fungi and asking,"How can a topicial fungus kill its host?" It didn't make sense. But in this study, the scientist are showing G.D. infiltrating the lungs also:

Thirteen bats had marked pulmonary congestion with abundant intravascular neutrophils. Five of these had small foci of neutrophils in alveolar septae or spaces, together with edema material.


The poor guy's!

According to the study these bat had fat storage still available:

Previous investigators reported that 65% of their cases had ‘‘little or no identifiable’’ fat stores2; however, the majority of our cases had a significantly higher, appreciable degree of adipose stores.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Batgirl » Apr 12, 2010 10:52 am

The study states that Seven bats had marked bone marrow granulocytosis. Does this mean that the fungus is actually a cancer, attacking the animals externally? Is it suggesting that the spore IS the infection?

Hyphae extended into the stratum corneum and along hair follicles, colonizing the root sheaths and associated sebaceous glands. In moribund animals, the fungus most often did not traverse the basement membrane of the root sheaths or sebaceous glands. In dead animals, hyphae often extended deeper from root sheaths and sebaceous glands into the surrounding tissues.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 12, 2010 12:39 pm

I believe the "bone marrow granulocytosis" indicates increased white blood cell production. The finding of an increased number of neutrophils (white blood cells, WBCs) in the lung tissue is an indication of the bat's response to infection. WBCs accumulate around infected sites to try and kill the infecting organism, in this case, GD.

So, if GD were only on the surface that would usually be termed an infestation. When GD is systemic (inside the body), it is an infection and much more serious. Systemic fungal infections are very, very serious since fungi are difficult to kill.

(Whew..I haven't dealt with this stuff in years!)
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Batgirl » Apr 12, 2010 1:48 pm

Thank you Phil. Would you or someone mind summarizing what the conclusions were from this study? All those big words give me a headache. :laughing:
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Evan G » Apr 12, 2010 1:51 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:I believe the "bone marrow granulocytosis" indicates increased white blood cell production. The finding of an increased number of neutrophils (white blood cells, WBCs) in the lung tissue is an indication of the bat's response to infection. WBCs accumulate around infected sites to try and kill the infecting organism, in this case, GD.

So, if GD were only on the surface that would usually be termed an infestation. When GD is systemic (inside the body), it is an infection and much more serious. Systemic fungal infections are very, very serious since fungi are difficult to kill.


Yep, that's how I read it. Systemic fungal infections usual even in humans have a high morality rate, such as: Invasive Aspergillosis. Nasty stuff!!!!

Phil Winkler wrote:(Whew..I haven't dealt with this stuff in years!)


You and me both, I went to school for virology but changed in grad school to my minor in business after two summers working in a lab out in Cally. Coming from a family of Entrepreneurs in that every one of my family member owns their own business. With the entrepreneurial attitude installed into me since birth, there was no way I could work for the government, university, or corporate lab. But my love for science has never faded, but studying up on different aspects of WNS, I definitely feel behind the times.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 12, 2010 2:22 pm

I was a medical technologist/Lab manager in the Army for 20 years in a former life. In school, we were the 3rd class to work in a brand new mycology (fungus) lab. Even though the lab was bathed in UV light every night while locked and the tables washed down with a phenol solution every day, the contamination had increased with every class until it became almost impossible to grow a pure culture. Fungi are persistent, very, very hard to kill because they become spores to protect themselves when attacked and the spores are extremely durable and long lived.

Hyphae are the flowering branches of a fungus. The descriptions say those branches extended deeper in the tissue of the dead bats then in the not so dead bats. So, branching fungus gets into the system of the bat and likely kills it.

I think there is only a single medication to treat a fungal infection and it takes weeks or months to work, too. I can't remember the name of it, but it is heavy duty stuff.
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby peter febb » Apr 12, 2010 2:32 pm

PYoungbaer wrote:Peter,

... where is this headed?

The goal is to take raw pesticide data and make it "visible"...
Image
This screen grab from Google Earth shows what some of the raw pesticide data would look like when displayed with Google graphics. In the GE program you can click on the droplets and get a breakdown as to county, zipcode, toxin name, EPA registration number, etc. Unfortunately, this is pretty tedious. Just looking at a map with splotches representing toxic substance application areas takes a long time and begs the question "Where are bats feeding in relation to these splotches?" The end result ideally should be effortlessly understandable to someone looking for relevant leads to explore.
We need a better system that allows for mass processing. A good system should also allow for "adjustments" that will make it more or less sensitive, like fine tuning a shortwave radio to bring in a weak station. (Hopefully statistical analysis could also be applied, but for now let's just try to make discoveries.) Here is a sample of the use of the matrix techniques discussed previously, showing an example of such amplification:

Image
The three images on top of the chart are the matrices for three bat locations. These foraging areas are identified as "A" "B" and "C". Bacillus thuringiensis serotypes SA-11 and SA-12 (comparing all three locations for the years 1999 to 2005) were processed and the results placed in the tables below the respective images. No image is provided for Bacillus on this chart, but here it is for you to look at:Image This particular matrix is from the 2004 data, and clearly shows a high concentration close to area "A".
The amounts of Btk applied were very low, only a few pounds, so sensitivity of the method in this case was strongly enhanced by applying the Kriging interpolation . This caused an artificial spreading* of the pesticide data, clearly visible as a fog, brightest at the point of application and diminishing greatly in intensity with distance.
(Such methods are only acceptable when one is exploring the data. In the specific case of this Bacillus, spores are sprayed along with the actual toxin that the microbe produces. This spore is infective and capable of propagating the organism well out of the application area.)
The following graph illustrates the results (for Btk SA-11 only):
ImageWe can see quite clearly that in the year 2000, area "C" had a Btk application nearby, and in 2004 another application was close to area "A". We can also see that in 2005 the trend was to apply Btk farther away from all three areas. Three trend-lines were generated using 4th order polynomial regressions. These lines suggest a four year pattern which may (or may not) match up with patterns of Gypsy moth flareups. Does the data also suggest that this form of insect control is very effective, and in 2005 the moth counts were considerably reduced? Possibly. Problem for bats? Maybe. Cause of WNS? Nope. Really doubt that very much.
One down and about 3000 to go.




*This spreading is an artifact of the math that goes into the Kriging algorithm. Other algorithms have artifacts as well and must be carefully applied so as to exclude any bias they may cause. Here, we use it creatively, to explore possibilities.

A big note of thanks goes to Al Hicks, John Chenger and their teams for providing the original bat emergence data, without which this analysis would not happen.

Technical details for creating the matrices and processing the data will be PM 'd to those who have requested it.


-p
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Re: The Pesticide Matrix

Postby Batgirl » Apr 13, 2010 7:56 am

Phil Winkler wrote:I believe the "bone marrow granulocytosis" indicates increased white blood cell production. The finding of an increased number of neutrophils (white blood cells, WBCs) in the lung tissue is an indication of the bat's response to infection. WBCs accumulate around infected sites to try and kill the infecting organism, in this case, GD.

So, if GD were only on the surface that would usually be termed an infestation. When GD is systemic (inside the body), it is an infection and much more serious. Systemic fungal infections are very, very serious since fungi are difficult to kill.

(Whew..I haven't dealt with this stuff in years!)



Phil, Are you saying that the overall point of the study was to determine whether the infection was topical or systemic? And, if there is increased WBC's, then does this mean that the immune system is responding and not as compromised as we first thought?
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