Little Things Matter

The impact of Environmental Toxins on the developing Brain

SFU researcher calls for collective action on limiting cumulative low-level exposures to common toxicants shown to negatively impact the health and development of children.

About

We’ve been studying the impact of toxins on children for the past 30 years and reached the inescapable conclusion: little things matter. We’ve discovered that extremely low levels of toxins can impact brain development. We have also discovered that subtle shifts in the intellectual abilities of individual children have a big impact on the number of children in a population that are challenged or gifted. Steps should be taken to reduce children’s exposure to toxins or suspected toxins.

More information
  • Video published on 11 Nov 2014 by B Lanphear.
  • Video drives home impact of cumulative environmental toxic exposures on children’s brain development, SFU Media Release and SFU News, November 20, 2014.
  • ‘Little Things Matter’ Exposes Big Threat To Children’s Brains, huffingtonpost green, 11/20/2014.
  • Watch more BPA chemicals videos on our YouTube channel.

UC Research designs Nanoparticles to infiltrate and kill Cancer with no harm on healthy cells

UC nanoparticle designs target and treat early stage cancer cells by killing those cells with heat, delivered from inside the cell itself. Normal cells are thus left unaffected by the treatment regimen

U of Cincinnati avatar
UC nanoparticle designs target and treat early stage cancer cells by killing those cells with heat, delivered from inside the cell itself. Normal cells are thus left unaffected by the treatment regimen.

Conventional treatment seeks to eradicate cancer cells by drugs and therapy delivered from outside the cell, which may also affect (and potentially harm) nearby normal cells.

In the effort to find ways to selectively pinpoint and target cancer cells while minimizing effects on healthy cells, it’s already been found in lab experiments that iron-oxide nanoparticles, when heated and then applied specifically to cancer cells, can kill those cells because cancer cells are particularly susceptible to changes in temperature. Increasing the temperature of cancer cells to over 43 degrees Celsius (about 109 degrees Fahrenheit) for a sufficient period of time can kill those cells.

The University of Cincinnati team has developed several novel designs for iron-oxide based nanoparticles that detect, diagnose and destroy cancer cells using photo-thermal therapy (PTT). PTT uses the nanoparticles to focus light-induced heat energy only within the tumor, harming no adjacent normal cells.

Sources and more information:

  • An Inside Job: UC-Designed Nanoparticles Infiltrate, Kill Cancer Cells From Within, uc.edu, 11/24/2014.
  • UC Research Tests Which Nano System Works Best in Killing Cancer Cells, uc.edu, 3/3/2014.

The Museum of Human Atrocities

Dan Berger is cartoonist behind Natural News

museum-human-atrocities comics
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and health comics album on Flickr
image via @HealthRanger

” What’s most striking about the present BP oil catastrophe is not that it is an aberration but rather part of a dangerous pattern of mankind’s propensity to destroy nature. To destroy life in a large region of an ocean isn’t even new: The world already has over two hundred “dead zones” where fish can’t live because the ocean water has no more oxygen left thanks to the runoff effects of man-made chemicals.” 

… continue reading: The Museum of Human Atrocities,
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger.

On Flickr®

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Secondary sex ratio among women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero

DES mothers exposed early to high doses of DES had more sons than daughters

2007 Study Abstract

image of PubMed NCBI The Endocrine Society logo
Overall, no association was observed between in utero DES exposure and secondary sex ratio, but a significant increase in the proportion of male births was found among women first exposed to DES earlier in gestation and to a higher cumulative dose.

BACKGROUND:
Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen widely prescribed to pregnant women during the mid-1900s, is a potent endocrine disruptor. Previous studies have suggested an association between endocrine-disrupting compounds and secondary sex ratio.

METHODS:
Data were provided by women participating in the National Cancer Institute (NCI) DES Combined Cohort Study. We used generalized estimating equations to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for the relation of in utero DES exposure to sex ratio (proportion of male births). Models were adjusted for maternal age, child’s birth year, parity, and cohort, and accounted for clustering among women with multiple pregnancies.

RESULTS:
The OR for having a male birth comparing DES-exposed to unexposed women was 1.05 (95% CI, 0.95-1.17). For exposed women with complete data on cumulative DES dose and timing (33%), those first exposed to DES earlier in gestation and to higher doses had the highest odds of having a male birth. The ORs were 0.91 (95% C, 0.65-1.27) for first exposure at > or = 13 weeks gestation to < 5 g DES; 0.95 (95% CI, 0.71-1.27) for first exposure at > or = 13 weeks to > or = 5 g; 1.16 (95% CI, 0.96-1.41) for first exposure at < 13 weeks to < 5 g; and 1.24 (95% CI, 1.04-1.48) for first exposure at < 13 weeks to > or = 5 g compared with no exposure. Results did not vary appreciably by maternal age, parity, cohort, or infertility history.

CONCLUSIONS:
Overall, no association was observed between in utero DES exposure and secondary sex ratio, but a significant increase in the proportion of male births was found among women first exposed to DES earlier in gestation and to a higher cumulative dose.

Sources

  • Secondary sex ratio among women exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero, NCBI, PMID: 17805421, 2007 Sep;115(9):1314-9. PMC1964903. Full text link.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Time to pregnancy and secondary sex ratio in men exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol

In this 2007 research, prenatal DES exposure was not associated with a significant decrease in either fecundability or secondary sex ratio

Abstract

image of PubMed NCBI The Endocrine Society logo
Prenatal DES exposure was not associated with a significant decrease in either fecundability or secondary sex ratio.

Little is known about the influence of prenatal Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure on time to pregnancy or secondary sex ratio in men.

The authors evaluated these associations among men participating in the DES Combined Cohort Follow-up Study for whom exposure status was confirmed by medical record. In 2001, men provided data on their reproductive histories. Demographic, behavioral, and medical data were collected in 1994, 1997, and 2001.

Cox’s proportional hazards models with frailty were used to estimate fecundability ratios for time to pregnancy in relation to DES. Generalized estimating equations were used to estimate odds ratios for fathering a male birth in relation to DES. Models included potential confounders and accounted for multiple pregnancies contributed by each man.

Overall, DES was not associated with a delay in time to pregnancy (fecundability ratio = 0.95, 95% confidence interval: 0.86, 1.06). The odds ratio for fathering a male birth was 0.92 (95% confidence interval: 0.80, 1.04) comparing the exposed with the unexposed.

In conclusion, prenatal DES exposure was not associated with a significant decrease in either fecundability or secondary sex ratio.

Sources

  • Time to pregnancy and secondary sex ratio in men exposed prenatally to diethylstilbestrol, NCBI, PMID: 17596265, 2007 Oct 1;166(7):765-74. Epub 2007 Jun 27. Full text link.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

How dangerous is the soaring use of medical imaging tests that rely on ionizing radiation?

The Hidden Dangers of CT Scans

CT scan image
Medical imaging tests are exposing more of us to potentially cancer-causing radiation. Health mag investigated when you really need that scan – €”and when you should just say no.

A growing number of doctors and medical organizations are worried about the soaring use of medical imaging tests that rely on ionizing radiation. This radiation can damage your cells’ DNA, which may, over time, lead to cancer. The more you’re exposed to, the riskier it is. And thanks to the increase in computed tomography (CT) scans – which typically emit far higher doses of radiation than traditional X-rays or even other imaging tests like mammograms – exposure has risen dramatically.

In 1980, only about 3 million CT scans were performed in the United States. By 2013, that number had skyrocketed to 76 million. Exactly how dangerous are all those zaps? In 2009, National Cancer Institute researchers estimated that the 72 million CT scans performed in 2007 could lead to as many as 29,000 future cases of cancer. ”

Read The Hidden Dangers of Medical Scans, Health, November 11, 2014, which covers:

  • Weighing the rewards and risks
  • The radiation equation
  • What doctors don’t know can hurt us
  • Making scans safer
  • Questions to ask before you have that scan
  • How much radiation you get from…
  • Your anti-radiation diet

Related post: How Much Do CT Scans Increase the Risk of Cancer? scientificamerican, Jun 18, 2013.

Free Pens are Not Free

Free Yourself from Drug Reps – the No Ads Please campaign

Doctors who see medical representatives are more likely to prescribe more medication, more expensively and less according to accepted guidelines. The No Advertising Please campaign encourages doctors to avoid using drug representatives as their “educational” resource, by pledging to not see drug reps at their practice for one year.

FreePens Poster
Watch @DES_Journal diaporama and posters album on Flickr
a #NoAdsPlease poster by the @NoAdsPlease campaign.

Sources and more information

On Flickr®

The coming crisis in antibiotics

TEDMED video with Ramanan Laxminarayan, 2014

At TEDMED, health economist and professor Ramanan Laxminarayan applies lessons learned from the energy crisis to the rising challenge of antibiotic drug resistance.

More information
  • Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics — and their ongoing effectiveness — as a finite resource, and to think twice before we tap into it. It’s a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home. “
  • The coming crisis in antibiotics, published on Nov 10, 2014 by TED channel. More drugs & media videos on our YouTube channel.
Related Press releases
  • Most doctors concerned about overuse of antibiotics in animals, jsonline, Nov. 10, 2014.
  • The dangers of antibiotic overuse, consumerreports, October 23, 2014.
  • 2,000 Medical Professionals Ask Trader Joe’s to End Sale of Meat Raised on Antibiotics, notinmyfood, 10/22/14.
  • Antibiotic resistance continues to rise due to increase in use in the UK, DDN, 2014/10/10.

Do You know what Breast Brachytherapy is?

Brachytherapy provides many significant benefits as a treatment option for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer

Breast Brachytherapy poster
Watch the diaporama and @DES_Journal health infographics album on Flickr.

Sources

What is breast brachytherapy?

” Accelerated partial breast irradiation, or APBI, is a localized form of radiation therapy (brachytherapy) that involves the insertion of a radioactive “seed’ to kill breast cancer cells that may remain after a lumpectomy. This allows physicians to precisely deliver treatment to the tumor cavity and surrounding tissue.

Accelerated partial breast irradiation is performed about one to four weeks after a lumpectomy. A specialized catheter is inserted into the cavity left behind after removal of the tumor. The device remains in place during the course of brachytherapy treatment, usually 5 days.

Brachytherapy provides many significant benefits as a treatment option for women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer. Brachytherapy spares healthy tissue from unnecessary radiation, reduces treatment time to just 5 days, conserves the breast and yields excellent cosmetic results, and doesn’t cause a delay in other treatments such as chemotherapy. ” BC5Project.

Vers plus de transparence commissaires/lobbys à la commission européenne?

Lobbys: les commissaires européens (et leur équipe) vont-ils déclarer tous leurs rendez-vous?

Contexte logo
Lobbys: les commissaires européens (et leur équipe) devront déclarer tous leurs rendez-vous. Info via Contexte.

Jean-Claude Juncker, Président de le Commission Européenne depuis le 27 juin 2014, veut rendre obligatoire la publication des rendez-vous entre les commissaires et les lobbys, ainsi que le registre de transparence.

A partir du 1er décembre, les commissaires devront déclarer toutes leurs prises de contacts avec les lobbys ou représentants de groupes d’intérêts. Les sujets évoqués lors de leurs échanges seront précisés dans les déclarations. Les publications se feraient après les rencontres, dans un délai qui est encore en discussion. Des exceptions à la règle sont à l’étude.

Sources et en savoir plus:

  • Lobbys : opération transparence à la Commission européenne, contexte, 19.11.2014.
  • Registre de transparence, ec.europa.eu, 18.09.2014.