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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The Mt. Diwata study on the Philippines 2000-treatment of mercury intoxicated inhabitants of a gold mining area with DMPS (2,3-dimercapto-1-propane-sulfonic acid, Dimaval).

Ninty-five inhabitants of the gold mining area of Mt. Diwata (on Mindanao, Philippines), who were diagnosed to be mercury (Hg) intoxicated, were orally treated with 2 x 200 mg of the chelating agent DMPS (Dimaval, Co. Heyl, Germany) for 14 days in the course of a UNIDO project focusing on mercury pollution abatement. Blood and urine samples before and after treatment, urine after the first application of DMPS and a hair sample were collected and analyzed for Hg. Before and after treatment extensive anamnestic data were collected, medical and neurological investigations and some neuro-psychological tests were performed. In spite of the short time of treatment most of the patients reported a marked improvement of the complaints which were stated by them before the therapy and which are characteristic for a chronic Hg intoxication, for example tremor, loss of memory, sleeplessness, metallic taste, etc. But even in some of the objective neurological parameters like hypo-mimia, Romberg test and tests for tremor/ataxia a statistical significant improvement could be found. Significant improvements could also be found in two neuro-psychological tests (pencil tapping and Frostig). In some cases an extreme high urinary Hg excretion was found under the chelating therapy with DMPS, and by this a distinct reduction of the Hg body burden. Nevertheless, in most cases Hg in blood and urine was not markedly decreased by the treatment. This shows that the duration of the treatment (14 days) was not sufficient for a permanent decrease in Hg. As DMPS excretes Hg mainly through the kidney, it can be concluded that in most cases even after 14 days of treatment there was an ongoing redistribution of Hg from other tissues to the kidney. In conclusion, this study proves that a chelating therapy with DMPS is highly effective even in the case of a mixed chronic and acute intoxication with an unknown combination of Hg vapor, inorganic Hg and organic Hg=methylmercury (MeHg), as characteristic for gold mining areas in the third world. Adverse side effects were rarely reported. Only in one case the medication had to be terminated after the first application due to an allergic skin reaction.[1]


  1. The Mt. Diwata study on the Philippines 2000-treatment of mercury intoxicated inhabitants of a gold mining area with DMPS (2,3-dimercapto-1-propane-sulfonic acid, Dimaval). Böse-O'Reilly, S., Drasch, G., Beinhoff, C., Maydl, S., Vosko, M.R., Roider, G., Dzaja, D. Sci. Total Environ. (2003) [Pubmed]
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