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Is there anyother type of biological agent that can cause disease?

  1. Sep 28, 2009 #1
    As we all know, pathogens ( bacteria, viruses, fungi and prions ) cause diseases and illness to their hosts. I am just wondering if there is anyother type of biological agents or phenomena that can cause diseases besides pathogens?
     
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  3. Sep 28, 2009 #2

    mgb_phys

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    Would you consider a parasite to be a pathogen?
    Is this just a definition question?
     
  4. Sep 28, 2009 #3

    DaveC426913

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    Parasites cause rabies? [ EDIT: D'oh! ]
    Radiation causes cancer/hemophilia? (not biological but you did say 'other phenomena')
    Normal genetic mutation...

    I'm not sure fungi cause disease.
     
  5. Sep 28, 2009 #4

    Ygggdrasil

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    There are also non-infections diseases like genetic disorders (e.g. cystic fibrosis), cancer (although some cancers are caused by viruses), autoimmune diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis), and other diseases (like type 2 diabetes).
     
  6. Sep 28, 2009 #5

    lisab

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    Oh sure, for example http://www.merck.com/mmhe/au/sec17/ch197/ch197b.html"s.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  7. Sep 28, 2009 #6

    Andy Resnick

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    Nobody has mentioned ionophores or uncouplers, but I suppose these are 'chemicals'...
     
  8. Sep 29, 2009 #7

    jim mcnamara

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    Asbestos - a naturally occurring mineral causes usually cancers of the lung
    Sunlight - UV causes skin melanoma
    Clostridium botulinum - bacteria that produces toxin in food -- botulism.

    I think this discussion is a simply a matter of defining limits - ie a definition.
    See the OSHA list of chemicals
    http://www.epa.gov/TRI/trichemicals/OSHA/carcinog.pdf [Broken]

    You have to set reasonable limits in the definition. Falling permanently into deep water also causes death - either by hypothermia or drowning. By the same feeble logic snow causes disease and death as well. This is the problem here in this thread.

    Too much of almost anything and/or almost anything really out of place is going to cause problems.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Sep 29, 2009 #8

    arildno

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    Does infatuation count as a disease?
     
  10. Sep 29, 2009 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Well, there was a limit defined that you are ignoring...
    I'm no meat scientist but I'm pretty sure those are not diseases.


    However, your point is made. Cancer is a disease, and the things that can cause cancer are almost limitless.
     
  11. Sep 29, 2009 #10

    jim mcnamara

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    I was being ridiculous - as you noted. Biology is one of those disciplines where folks a priori definitions fall apart into nonsense rapidly. Except that falling apart delves into absurd faster than impossible, unlike other sciences. IMO.
     
  12. Sep 29, 2009 #11
    Hi Jim :smile: I love coming to this website. It's about Science! :biggrin: Thanks for bringing this up and giving me the opportunity to present "The National Association of Biology Teachers" (NABT) Mission Statement.

    Coming around here makes me extra happy. I think it's a healthy environment. In a healthy environment there's less disease so thinketh me.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  13. Sep 30, 2009 #12

    Monique

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    What do you mean?
     
  14. Sep 30, 2009 #13

    Borek

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    I think he refers to the fact that world of living organisms is so rich, flexible and intertwined, that most definitions that try to classify things and put them in boxes can be ridiculed.

    It doesn't mean these definitions are not usefull, but they are never universal.

    --
     
  15. Sep 30, 2009 #14

    Ouabache

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    By definition a biological agent that causes disease in their host IS a pathogen.

    The balance of the responses appear to refer to human disease, although pathogens affecting the rest of the animal kingdom may be inferred.

    So within the animal kingdom, how many of you were thinking of pathogens http://insectpathogens.com/" [Broken]? Besides the biological agents mentioned, they also develop disease from protozoans and nematodes. Bee keepers are quite interested in pathogens affecting their hives.

    How about the plant kingdom? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plant_pathology" [Broken] (plant pathology) is the study of plant disease. Among plant pathogens, biotic agents include: bacteria, viruses, fungi, nematodes, protozoa & parasitic plants. The majority of plant pathogens are fungi.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  16. Sep 30, 2009 #15

    Monique

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    Some biological phenomena that cause disease: abnormal immune-responses (auto-immune disease, allergies), DNA replication or checkpoint errors (cancer), metabolic stress (aging), germ-line mutations (a whole spectrum of diseases), germ-line chromosome missegregation (syndroms such as Klinefelter or Down-syndrome).

    Cells are made up of molecular machines, so if something goes wrong you will end up with a disease.
     
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