Is Your House Toxic? infographic

The Kitchen Nightmare and The Porcelain Throne

How dangerous is your house?

Most of us consider our home to be the “safest place” on the earth.
But depending on your lifestyle, your home may be the source of some serious chemical hazards…

infographic of toxins in your kitchen and bathroom
Watch our selection of infographics addressing health issues on Flickr.
An image courteasy of @DailyInfographc.
Sources

Continue reading: The Chemical Composition of Your House.
Our posts tagged infographic and SaferChemicals.

On Flickr®

Is Your House Toxic? infographic

The Living Space and The Toxins Among Us

How dangerous is your house?

Most of us consider our home to be the “safest place” on the earth.
But depending on your lifestyle, your home may be the source of some serious chemical hazards…

infographic of toxins in your house living space
Watch our selection of infographics addressing health issues on Flickr.
An image courteasy of @DailyInfographc.
Sources

Continue reading: The Chemical Composition of Your House.
Our posts tagged infographic and SaferChemicals.

On Flickr®

Kadcyla Breast Cancer Drug Trastuzumab Emtansine not approved on NHS

The breast cancer drug trastuzumab emtansine (also known as Kadcyla) will not be made routinely available on the NHS following a failure to reach an agreement on price between the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the drug’s manufacturer, Roche.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) says it cannot recommend a life-extending breast cancer drug due to its high price. The drug trastuzumab emtansine (also known as Kadcyla) costs around £90,000 per patient. Pharmaceuticals giant Roche said that “NICE is the first organisation to say no to Kadcyla”.

More information
  • Listen to @steve_lefevre talking about the cost of Kadcyla with Dr Seeruthun from @Roche on breakfast, BBC Radio tweet.
  • Pressure grows on Roche to lower breast cancer drug price,
    NICE news, 08 August 2014.
  • NHS says no to new breast cancer drug Kadcyla,
    BBC News Health, 08 August 2014.
  • Disappointment as breast cancer drug not approved on NHS, Cancer Research UK, News Report, 08 August 2014.
  • Trastuzumab Emtansine for HER2-Positive Advanced Breast Cancer,  NEJM, 10.1056/NEJMoa1209124, November 14, 2013.
  • Watch more pharma videos on our YouTube channel.

New clues to early detection and personalized treatment

Identifying Ovarian Cancer Earlier
Bioinformatics Analysis to Develop Personalised Treatment

A star Singapore background image
New clues to early detection and personalized treatment of ovarian cancer have been made by @AstarHQ researchers.

Scientists at A*STAR’s Institute of Medical Biology (IMB) and the Bioinformatics Institute (BII) have found new clues to early detection and personalised treatment of ovarian cancer, currently one of the most difficult cancers to diagnose early due to the lack of symptoms that are unique to the illness.

There are three predominant cancers that affect women – breast, ovarian and womb cancer. Of the three, ovarian cancer is of the greatest concern as it is usually diagnosed only at an advanced stage due to the absence of clear early warning symptoms. Successful treatment is difficult at this late stage, resulting in high mortality rates. Ovarian cancer has increased in prevalence in Singapore as well as other developed countries recently. It is now the fifth most common cancer in Singapore amongst women, with about 280 cases diagnosed annually and 90 deaths per year..

  • Identifying Ovarian Cancer Earlier
  • Bioinformatics Analysis to Develop Personalised Treatment

Read AstarHQ Press Release, A*STAR scientists make breakthroughs in ovarian cancer research, August 08, 2014.

More Information:
  • Identification of two poorly prognosed ovarian carcinoma subtypes associated with CHEK2 germ-line mutation and non-CHEK2 somatic mutation gene signatures, LandesBioScience, 30 May 2014.
  • Lgr5 marks stem/progenitor cells in ovary and tubal epithelia, NatureCellBiology, 06 July 2014.

Maternal exposure to diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy and increased breast cancer risk in daughters

The increased risk of developing breast cancer – for women exposed to DES – may extend to their daughters and granddaughters as well

Abstract:

image of PubMed NCBI The Endocrine Society logo
The increased risk of developing breast cancer – for women exposed to DES – may extend to their daughters and granddaughters as well.

The idea that susceptibility to breast cancer is determined not only through inherited germline mutations but also by epigenetic changes induced by alterations in hormonal environment during fetal development is gaining increasing support. Using findings obtained in human and animal studies, this review addresses the mechanisms that may explain why daughters of mothers who took synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) during pregnancy have two times higher breast cancer risk than women who were not exposed to it. The mechanisms likely involve epigenetic alterations, such as increased DNA methylation and modifications in histones and microRNA expression.Further, these alterations may target genes that regulate stem cells and prevent differentiation of their daughter cells. Recent findings in a preclinical model suggest that not only are women exposed to DES in utero at an increased risk of developing breast cancer, but this risk may extend to their daughters and granddaughters as well. It is critical, therefore, to determine if the increased risk is driven by epigenetic alterations in genes that increase susceptibility to breast cancer and if these alterations are reversible.

Sources:
  • Maternal exposure to diethylstilbestrol during pregnancy and increased breast cancer risk in daughters,NCBI, PMID: 25032259 PMCID: PMC4053091, 2014/10/30. Full study PMC4053091.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

High Failure Rates still associated with Egg Freezing Procedures across all Age Groups

The Egg Freezing Scam?

image of EGG FREEZING
Marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing may give women false hope and encourage women to delay childbearing. Patients who wish to pursue this technology should be carefully counseled.

The most comprehensive study to date evaluating the effectiveness of egg freezing revealed that, despite a new flash freezing technique, high failure rates continue to be associated with egg freezing procedures across all age groups.

Citing a lack of data on safety, efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and potential emotional risks, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine report states, “Marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing may give women false hope and encourage women to delay childbearing. Patients who wish to pursue this technology should be carefully counseled.”

Read The Egg Freezing Scam?, by Miriam Zoll, 27 Feb 2014.

More Information:

  • Age-specific probability of live birth with oocyte cryopreservation: an individual patient data meta-analysis, ASRM, May 2013.
  • Mature oocyte cryopreservation: a guideline, ASSM, Jenuary 2013.
  • Freezing your eggs – the costs and other realities, CNN, October 6, 2011.
  • Is Egg Freezing the Next Big Thing for New York Career Women Facing Infertility?, NewYorkMag, October 17, 2005.

Uterine Morcellation – How was this allowed to happen?

Dr. Noorchashm MD – HealthWatchUSA Video, 2014

Dr Hooman Noorchashm presents his research and perspective leading to a plan of action to ban the procedure of morcellation and revising the 510K medical device approval process.
Health Watch USA meeting, Jun. 25, 2014. Part 3 of 3.

More about Dr. Noorchashm campaign against hysterectomy using electric power morcellation:
  • Public testimony gets heated at FDA panel meeting on morcellation, OBGYNNews, video, JULY 11, 2014.
  • Health Alert: Many Women Have Died Because Deadly Cancers of the Uterus Are Being Spread by Gynecologists. Stop Morcellation of the Uterus in Minimally Invasive Surgery,
    Change, SIGN the Petition by Hooman Noorchashm.

Wastewater from Large Dairy Farms a Major Source of Estrogenic Compounds in the Environment

Team determines how estrogens persist in dairy farm wastewater

image of Wei Zheng, senior research scientist.
Illinois Sustainable Technology Center senior research scientist Wei Zheng and his colleagues found that estrogenic compounds in dairy waste biodegrade very slowly in the absence of oxygen.

Wastewater from large dairy farms contains significant concentrations of estrogenic hormones that can persist for months or even years, researchers report in a new study. In the absence of oxygen, the estrogens rapidly convert from one form to another; this stalls their biodegradation and complicates efforts to detect them, the researchers found.

The study, led by scientists at the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, is the first to document the unusual behavior of estrogens in wastewater lagoons.

Just as new mothers undergo hormonal changes that enable them to breastfeed, lactating cows generate estrogenic hormones that are excreted in urine and feces, said ISTC senior research scientist Wei Zheng, who led the study. In large “confined animal feeding operations” (CAFOs) the hormones end up in wastewater. Farmers often store the wastewater in lagoons and may use it to fertilize crops.

Federal laws regulate the flow of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous from CAFOs to prevent excess nutrients from polluting rivers, streams, lakes or groundwater. Environmental officials assume that such regulations also protect groundwater and surface waters from contamination with animal hormones and veterinary pharmaceuticals, but this has not been proven.

Hormone concentrations in livestock wastes are 100 to 1,000 times higher than those emitted from plants that treat human sewage, and large dairy farms are a primary source of estrogens in the environment, Zheng said. Recent studies have detected estrogenic hormones in soil and surrounding watersheds after dairy wastewater was sprayed on the land as fertilizer.

These estrogens are present at levels that can affect the (reproductive functions of) aquatic animals,” Zheng said. Even low levels of estrogens can “feminize” animals that spend their lives in the water, causing male fish, for example, to have low sperm counts or to develop female characteristics (such as producing eggs), undermining their ability to reproduce.

Hormones that end up in surface or groundwater could contaminate sources of drinking water for humans, Zheng said. “The estrogens may also be taken up by plants – a potential new route into the food chain,” he said.

When exposed to the air, estrogenic hormones in animal waste tend to break down into harmless byproducts. But the hormones persist in anoxic conditions.

While conducting the new study on dairy waste lagoon water in the lab, the researchers were surprised at first to see levels of three primary estrogens (17 alpha-estradiol, 17 beta-estradiol and estrone) fall and then rise again in their samples. Further analysis revealed that the estradiols were being converted to estrone, undergoing the normal first step of biodegradation. But then the process reversed itself: Estrone was reverting to the alpha- and beta-estradiols.

We call this a reverse transformation,” Zheng said. “It inhibits further degradation. Now we have a better idea of why (the estrogens) can persist in the environment.”

The degradation rates of the three hormones in the wastewater solution were temperature-dependent, and very slow. After 52 days at 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) – an ideal temperature for hormone degradation, Zheng said – less than 30 percent of the hormones in the solution had broken down.

The fluctuating levels of estrone and estradiols may lead to detection errors, Zheng said, giving the impression that the total estrogen load of wastewater is decreasing when it is not.

We need to develop a strategy to prevent these hormones from building up in the environment,” he said.

Sources and More Information:
  • Team determines how estrogens persist in dairy farm wastewater, University of Illinois, News, 6/5/2012.
  • Anaerobic Transformation Kinetics and Mechanism of Steroid Estrogenic Hormones in Dairy Lagoon Water, Environmental Science & Technology, DOI: 10.1021/es301551h, April 21, 2012.

How Genomics works, the Process, Better Diagnosis for Better Medicine

Genomics Infographic: UK to become world number one in DNA testing with plan to revolutionise fight against cancer and rare diseases

Understanding Genomics

  • How it works
  • The Process
  • Better diagnosis for better medecine
genomics infographic
UK to become world number one in DNA testing with plan to revolutionise fight against cancer and rare diseases – @GenomicsEngland .

The 100,000 Genomes Projectv aiming to revolutionise medicine by unlocking the secrets of DNA, is under way in centres across England.

On Flickr®

Widespread Occurrence of Intersex Bass found in U.S. Rivers – More Male Fish switch Sex…

Reproductive health indicators of fishes from Pennsylvania watersheds: association with chemicals of emerging concern

Intersex fish have now been found in three Pennsylvania river basins, indicating that the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals are even more widespread than previously known. It is a problem that extends everywhere – as reported below in 2009 – and scientists have yet to identify a single chemical responsible for causing male fish to become part female. Multiple chemical stressors that are not solely associated with agriculture or wastewater treatment plant effluent may be responsible.

Widespread Occurrence of Intersex Bass Found in U.S. Rivers

The fish is “an indicator that something else is really wrong ; if we find these ” things ” in wild organisms, there’s a good chance they’re also affecting people… Image @washingtonpost

Intersex in smallmouth and largemouth basses is widespread in numerous river basins throughout the United States is the major finding of the most comprehensive and large-scale evaluation of the condition, according to U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research published online in Aquatic Toxicology.

Of the 16 fish species researchers examined from 1995 to 2004, the condition was most common by far in smallmouth and largemouth bass: a third of all male smallmouth bass and a fifth of all male largemouth bass were intersex. This condition is primarily revealed in male fish that have immature female egg cells in their testes, but occasionally female fish will have male characteristics as well.

Scientists found intersex fish in about a third of all sites examined from the Apalachicola, Colorado, Columbia, Mobile, Mississippi, Pee Dee, Rio Grande, Savannah, and Yukon River basins. The Yukon River basin was the only one where researchers did not find at least one intersex fish.

Although intersex occurrence differed among species and basin, it was more prevalent in largemouth bass in southeastern U.S., where it occurred at all sites in the Apalachicola, Savannah, and Pee Dee river basins, said Jo Ellen Hinck, the lead author of the paper and a biologist at the USGS Columbia Environmental Research Center. The researchers also documented intersex in channel catfish for the first time.

Although the USGS has already documented the severity of intersex in individual basins such as the Potomac, this study reveals the prevalence of intersex is more widespread than anyone anticipated”, said Sue Haseltine, associate director for biology at the U.S. Geological Survey. “This research sends the clear message that we need to learn more about the hormonal and environmental factors that cause this condition in fish, as well as the number of fish afflicted with this condition.”

The study, said Hinck, presents the observed occurrence of intersex in a variety of freshwater fish species, but not potential causes. “This study adds a lot to our knowledge of this phenomena, but we still don’t know why certain species seem more prone to this condition or exactly what is causing it. In fact, the causes for intersex may vary by location, and we suspect it will be unlikely that a single human activity or kind of contaminant will explain intersex in all species or regions,” she said.

For example, said Hinck, at least one of their sites with a high prevalence of intersex—the Yampa River at Lay, Colo.—did not have obvious sources of endocrine-active compounds, which have been associated with intersex in fish. Such compounds are chemical stressors that have the ability to affect the endocrine system and include pesticides, PCBs, heavy metals, household compounds such as laundry detergent and shampoo, and many pharmaceuticals. Yet other study sites with high occurrence of intersex were on rivers with dense human populations or industrial and agricultural activities, which are more generally associated with endocrine-active compounds.

We know that endocrine-active compounds have been associated with intersex in fish, but we lack information on which fish species are most sensitive to such compounds, the way that these compounds interact to cause intersex, and the importance of environmental factors,” Hinck said. “Proper diagnosis of this condition in wild fish is essential because if the primary causes are compounds that disrupt the endocrine system, then the widespread occurrence of intersex in fish would be a critical environmental concern.”

Specific river basin results include:

  • Intersex smallmouth bass were found in a third of male bass at almost half of the sites examined in the Columbia, Colorado, and Mississippi River basins. The percentage of intersex smallmouth bass ranged from 14 to 73 percent at different sites. It was highest (73 percent) in the Mississippi River at Lake City, Minn., Yampa River at Lay, Colo. (70 percent), Salmon River at Riggins, Idaho (43 percent), and the Columbia River at Warrendale, Oreg. (67 percent).
  • Intersex largemouth bass were found in nearly a fifth of the fish examined from the Colorado, Rio Grande, Mississippi, Mobile, Apalachicola, Savannah, and Pee Dee River basins; intersex was not observed in male largemouth bass from the Columbia River Basin. The percentage of intersex largemouth bass per site ranged from 8 to 91 percent and was most prevalent in the southeastern United States. The Pee Dee River at Bucksport, S.C., contained the highest percentage of intersex fish (91 percent), with high percentages occurring elsewhere on the Pee Dee too. Sixty percent of male bass examined at the Apalachicola River at Blountstown, Fla., were intersex, 50 percent in the Savannah River at Port Wentworth and Sylvania, Ga, 43 percent in the Savannah River at Augusta, Ga., and 30 percent in the Chattahoochee River at Omaha, Ga., and the Flint River at Albany, Ga. Lower percent intersex (10-25 percent) were found in bass from sites in the Mobile River in Alabama.
  • In addition, relatively high proportions of intersex largemouth bass were observed at three sites in the lower Rio Grande Basin including Rio Grande at Brownsville, Texas (50 percent), Rio Grande at Falcon Dam, Texas (44 percent), and Rio Grande at Mission, Texas (20 percent). In addition, 40 percent of male largemouth bass from the Colorado River at Imperial Dam, Ariz. and at the Gila River at Hayden, Ariz., in the Colorado River Basin were intersex.
Sources and More Information:
  • As more male bass switch sex, a strange fish story expands, WashingtonPost, Health & Science, August 3 2014.
  • Reproductive health indicators of fishes from Pennsylvania watersheds: association with chemicals of emerging concern, Springer, 10.1007/s10661-014-3868-5, 17 June 2014.
  • Intersex fish Endocrine disruption in smallmouth bass, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, PDF, 2014.
  • Widespread Occurrence of Intersex Bass Found in U.S. Rivers, USGS, NewsRoom, 9/14/2009.