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EcoWatch is a leading online environmental news company, publishing timely stories every day for a healthier planet and life. We are rapidly growing, reaching millions of readers each month through original writing from our contributors and reposts from partner organizations. EcoWatch informs its audience with essential science-based news on a wide range of topics including climate change, energy, oceans, animals, food, politics and health.

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Team

Tara Bracco

About Tara

Tara joined EcoWatch as managing editor in April 2018. Her work has appeared in local and national publications including the Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, American Theatre, BUST, Brooklyn Based and Clamor. She was a segment producer for Tina Brown Live Media and a freelance web producer for Condé Nast Traveler. She holds a master's degree from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.

In addition to her media work, Tara has worked extensively in the nonprofit sector. As the founder of Poetic People Power, she has produced spoken word shows in New York City on issues including global warming and the global water crisis, and she's been featured in O, The Oprah Magazine, Time Out New York and The Brooklyn Rail. She also cofounded the international nonprofit The Project Solution, which funds water and sanitation projects in developing countries. She serves on the advisory board of The Arctic Cycle, a nonprofit theatre fostering dialogue about climate change.

Chris McDermott

About Chris

Chris is a news editor for EcoWatch. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Georgia and a B.S. from Cornell University, where he studied ecology and psychology.

He was a staff writer for The Atlanta Journal and Constitution, and a contributor to Flagpole Magazine and Georgia Magazine.

Born in New York, he enjoys bicycling, hiking, swimming, writing and music, mathematics and nature.

Irma Omerhodzic

About Irma

Weekend associate editor Irma Omerhodzic joined the EcoWatch team in August 2015 as an editorial assistant after graduating from the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University with a bachelor's degree. She was then EcoWatch's associate editor until August 2019. Since August, Irma has been earning her master's degree from the E.W. Scripps School.

Born in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Irma moved to the U.S. in 1997 after having been refuged to Germany as a result of the Yugoslavian civil war.

She is passionate about coming together as a collective unit for the planet, in order to restore Earth back to its natural state of balance and unity. In her spare time, Irma enjoys hikes with her dog Myla, riding her bike and listening to podcasts.

Olivia Rosane

About Olivia

Olivia is a contributing reporter for EcoWatch. She has been writing on the internet for more than five years and has covered social movements for YES! Magazine and ecological themes for Real Life. For her recent master's in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London, she completed a creative dissertation imagining sustainable communities surviving in post-climate-change London.

She has lived in New York, Vermont, London, and Seattle, but wherever she lives, she likes to go to the greenest place she can find, take long, meandering walks, and write poems about its wildflowers. Follow her on Twitter @orosane.

Jordan Davidson

About Jordan

Jordan Davidson is a freelance journalist. His work has appeared in many local and national publications including the Wall Street Journal, Psychology Today, Science Friday, Prevention, NRDC.org, and many others. He holds a bachelors degree from Brown University and a masters from the City University of New York's School of Journalism.

Jordan spent years as an ESL teacher in New York City public schools before becoming a journalist. He is an avid traveler, hiker, cyclist and hobby farmer.

Madison Dapcevich

About Madison

Madison is a freelance reporter at EcoWatch. Based in San Francisco, she works full-time as a journalist for IFLScience. She spent a few years working on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. before reporting throughout the Rocky Mountains, where she received an M.A. in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Journalism from the University of Montana, as well as a graduate certificate in Natural Resource Conflict Resolution. She is also a 2019 Science Communication Fellow with the E/V Nautilus.

Tiffany Duong

About Tiffany

Tiffany is a freelance reporter at EcoWatch and an avid ocean advocate. She holds degrees from UCLA and the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School and is an Al Gore Climate Reality Leader and student member of The Explorer's Club.

She spent years as a renewable energy lawyer in L.A. before moving to the Amazon to conduct conservation fieldwork (and revamp her life). She eventually landed in the Florida Keys as a scientific scuba diver and field reporter and writes about the oceans/climate/environment from her slice of paradise. When she's not underwater, she can be found on her yoga mat or planning her next adventure. Follow her on Twitter/Instagram @lilicedt.

James Wakefield

About James

James is EcoWatch's social media intern.

He lives in the UK and is a graduate from the University of Southampton where he studies Environmental Sciences (BSc). After volunteering with Young Friends of the Earth UK, he currently works as a social media officer for the UK charity Woodland Trust. He is also an associate of the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

An avid eco-socialist, he co-runs a blog on WordPress and can be found on Twitter @S0cialEcologist.

RebelMouse

About RebelMouse

RebelMouse builds technology that enables companies to succeed in the world of distributed publishing. By using either our groundbreaking Distributed Content Management System (DCMS) for natively-social publishing or by extending their existing CMS, our customers launch fully-distributed web properties in a matter of days. At the core of the platform are smart distribution tools which help to increase organic reach on social media. RebelMouse technology makes it easy to find and grow relationships with social influencers and connect content with its maximum audience.

Board

Theodore P. Janulis

About Theodore

Ted, EcoWatch's co-executive chairman, partner and board member, has worked for 27 years in the financial services industry. He graduated from Harvard College in 1981 and received his MBA from Columbia Business School in 1985. He was the 1981 recipient of the Rolex/Our World Underwater Scholarship, enabling him to work and travel for a year with ocean scientists and explorers.

Ted's past/present board affiliations include the Ronald McDonald House of New York City, Zawadi By Youth, Livingston Ripley Waterfowl Sanctuary and The Explorers Club. Ted has also served on the advisory council of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History.

Thomas O'Sullivan

About Thomas

Tom O'Sullivan is co-executive chairman, partner and board member of EcoWatch. Tom has more than 20 years of business management, finance and accounting experience. He has held several senior management roles including Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer at a National Depository Institution and Chief Financial Officer of the mortgage business at a Wall Street firm.

Tom received a BBA from Hofstra University and an MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University.

Kerry Watterson

About Kerry

Kerry has more than 25 years of business leadership and capital markets experience, having graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in 1978. He received an MBA with a major in Finance from Columbia University's Graduate School of Business in 1985.

Prior to graduate school, Kerry served on active duty for five years, in operational leadership and staff positions, as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Coast Guard.

In addition to serving on the EcoWatch board, he is a director of Rivergate Foundation and ICA-Art Conservation, and a member of the investment committee of The HELP Foundation, Inc. He is a past member of the boards of The Music Settlement – Cleveland, The U. S. Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association, The Cleveland Rowing Foundation and The MG Car Club, Washington, DC Centre.

The Board members above collectively are the majority owners of EcoWatch.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Authors of a new study warned Thursday that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nearing a level not seen in 15 million years. Dawn Ellner / Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Jessica Corbett

As a United Nations agency released new climate projections showing that the world is on track in the next five years to hit or surpass a key limit of the Paris agreement, authors of a new study warned Thursday that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nearing a level not seen in 15 million years.

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Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity's existence. Craig Barritt / Getty Images for TIME

By Jeff Berardelli

While COVID-19 and protests for racial justice command the world's collective attention, ecological destruction, species extinction and climate change continue unabated. While the world's been focused on other crises, an alarming study was released warning that species extinction is now progressing so fast that the consequences of "biological annihilation" may soon be "unimaginable."

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A Starbucks employee in a mask and face shield at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, on May 12, 2020. ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / AFP via Getty Images

Anyone entering a U.S. Starbucks from July 15 will have to wear a face mask, the company announced Thursday.

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Supporters cheer before Trump arrives for a rally at the BOK Center on June 20, 2020 in Tulsa, OK. Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

On Monday and Tuesday of the week that President Donald Trump held his first rally since March in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the county reported 76 and 96 new coronavirus cases respectively, according to POLITICO. This week, the county broke its new case record Monday with 261 cases and reported a further 206 cases on Tuesday. Now, Tulsa's top public health official thinks the rally and counterprotest "likely contributed" to the surge.

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In the tropics, farmers often slash and burn forests to clear fertile land for crops, but a new method avoids that technique. Inga Foundation video

Rainforests are an important defense against climate change because they absorb carbon. But many are being destroyed on a massive scale.

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A truck spreads lime on a meadow to increase the soil's fertility in Yorkshire Dales, UK. Farm Images / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

As we look for advanced technology to replace our dependence on fossil fuels and to rid the oceans of plastic, one solution to the climate crisis might simply be found in rocks. New research found that dispersing rock dust over farmland could suck billions of tons of carbon dioxide from the air every year, according to the first detailed large scale analysis of the technique, as The Guardian reported.

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Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning. Pxfuel

By Tim Radford

German scientists now know why so many fish are so vulnerable to ever-warming oceans. Global heating imposes a harsh cost at the most critical time of all: the moment of spawning.

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Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Niq Steele / Getty Images

By Sherry H-Y. Chou, Aarti Sarwal and Neha S. Dangayach

The patient in the case report (let's call him Tom) was 54 and in good health. For two days in May, he felt unwell and was too weak to get out of bed. When his family finally brought him to the hospital, doctors found that he had a fever and signs of a severe infection, or sepsis. He tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection. In addition to symptoms of COVID-19, he was also too weak to move his legs.

When a neurologist examined him, Tom was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes abnormal sensation and weakness due to delays in sending signals through the nerves. Usually reversible, in severe cases it can cause prolonged paralysis involving breathing muscles, require ventilator support and sometimes leave permanent neurological deficits. Early recognition by expert neurologists is key to proper treatment.

We are neurologists specializing in intensive care and leading studies related to neurological complications from COVID-19. Given the occurrence of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in prior pandemics with other corona viruses like SARS and MERS, we are investigating a possible link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19 and tracking published reports to see if there is any link between Guillain-Barre Syndrome and COVID-19.

Some patients may not seek timely medical care for neurological symptoms like prolonged headache, vision loss and new muscle weakness due to fear of getting exposed to virus in the emergency setting. People need to know that medical facilities have taken full precautions to protect patients. Seeking timely medical evaluation for neurological symptoms can help treat many of these diseases.

What Is Guillain-Barre Syndrome?

Guillain-Barre syndrome occurs when the body's own immune system attacks and injures the nerves outside of the spinal cord or brain – the peripheral nervous system. Most commonly, the injury involves the protective sheath, or myelin, that wraps nerves and is essential to nerve function.

Without the myelin sheath, signals that go through a nerve are slowed or lost, which causes the nerve to malfunction.

To diagnose Guillain-Barre Syndrome, neurologists perform a detailed neurological exam. Due to the nerve injury, patients often may have loss of reflexes on examination. Doctors often need to perform a lumbar puncture, otherwise known as spinal tap, to sample spinal fluid and look for signs of inflammation and abnormal antibodies.

Studies have shown that giving patients an infusion of antibodies derived from donated blood or plasma exchange – a process that cleans patients' blood of harmful antibodies - can speed up recovery. A very small subset of patients may need these therapies long-term.

The majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients improve within a few weeks and eventually can make a full recovery. However, some patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome have lingering symptoms including weakness and abnormal sensations in arms and/or legs; rarely patients may be bedridden or disabled long-term.

Guillain-Barre Syndrome and Pandemics

As the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps across the globe, many neurologic specialists have been on the lookout for potentially serious nervous system complications such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome.

Though Guillain-Barre Syndrome is rare, it is well known to emerge following bacterial infections, such as Campylobacter jejuni, a common cause of food poisoning, and a multitude of viral infections including the flu virus, Zika virus and other coronaviruses.

Studies showed an increase in Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases following the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, suggesting a possible connection. The presumed cause for this link is that the body's own immune response to fight the infection turns on itself and attacks the peripheral nerves. This is called an "autoimmune" condition. When a pandemic affects as many people as our current COVID-19 crisis, even a rare complication can become a significant public health problem. That is especially true for one that causes neurological dysfunction where the recovery takes a long time and may be incomplete.

The first reports of Guillain-Barre Syndrome in COVID-19 pandemic originated from Italy, Spain and China, where the pandemic surged before the U.S. crisis.

Though there is clear clinical suspicion that COVID-19 can lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome, many important questions remain. What are the chances that someone gets Guillain-Barre Syndrome during or following a COVID-19 infection? Does Guillain-Barre Syndrome happen more often in those who have been infected with COVID-19 compared to other types of infections, such as the flu?

The only way to get answers is through a prospective study where doctors perform systematic surveillance and collect data on a large group of patients. There are ongoing large research consortia hard at work to figure out answers to these questions.

Understanding the Association Between COVID-19 and Guillain-Barre Syndrome

While large research studies are underway, overall it appears that Guillain-Barre Syndrome is a rare but serious phenomenon possibly linked to COVID-19. Given that more than 10.7 million cases have been reported for COVID-19, there have been 10 reported cases of COVID-19 patients with Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far – only two reported cases in the U.S., five in Italy, two cases in Iran and one from Wuhan, China.

It is certainly possible that there are other cases that have not been reported. The Global Consortium Study of Neurological Dysfunctions in COVID-19 is actively underway to find out how often neurological problems like Guillain-Barre Syndrome is seen in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. Also, just because Guillain-Barre Syndrome occurs in a patient diagnosed with COVID-19, that does not imply that it was caused by the virus; this still may be a coincident occurrence. More research is needed to understand how the two events are related.

Due to the pandemic and infection-containment considerations, diagnostic tests, such as a nerve conduction study that used to be routine for patients with suspected Guillain-Barre Syndrome, are more difficult to do. In both U.S. cases, the initial diagnosis and treatment were all based on clinical examination by a neurological experts rather than any tests. Both patients survived but with significant residual weakness at the time these case reports came out, but that is not uncommon for Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients. The road to recovery may sometimes be long, but many patients can make a full recovery with time.

Though the reported cases of Guillain-Barre Syndrome so far all have severe symptoms, this is not uncommon in a pandemic situation where the less sick patients may stay home and not present for medical care for fear of being exposed to the virus. This, plus the limited COVID-19 testing capability across the U.S., may skew our current detection of Guillain-Barre Syndrome cases toward the sicker patients who have to go to a hospital. In general, the majority of Guillain-Barre Syndrome patients do recover, given enough time. We do not yet know whether this is true for COVID-19-related cases at this stage of the pandemic. We and colleagues around the world are working around the clock to find answers to these critical questions.

Sherry H-Y. Chou is an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh.

Aarti Sarwal is an Associate Professor, Neurology, Wake Forest University.

Neha S. Dangayach is an Assistant Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Disclosure statement: Sherry H-Y. Chou receives funding from The University of Pittsburgh Clinical Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the National Institute of Health, and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Dean's Faculty Advancement Award. Sherry H-Y. Chou is a member of Board of Directors for the Neurocritical Care Society. Neha S. Dangayach receives funding from the Bee Foundation, the Friedman Brain Institute, the Neurocritical Care Society, InCHIP-UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media Seed Grant. She is faculty for emcrit.org and for AiSinai. Aarti Sarwal does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Reposted with permission from The Conversation.