Silent Sorority

Coming to terms with failed fertility treatments

A Barren Woman Gets Busy, Angry, Lost and Found

silent sonority book cover
About selling the fantasy of fertility and coming to terms with failed fertility treatments…

From celebrity and news magazines to TV programs to Facebook pages and mommy blogs, family-building successes are routinely and glowingly shared and celebrated. But where are the voices of those who are unable to have children? In relating what happens when nature and science find their limits, the award-winning memoir Silent Sorority examines a seldom acknowledged outcome and raises provocative, often uncomfortable questions usually reserved for late night reflection or anonymous blogging. Outside of the physical reckoning there lies the challenge of moving forward in a society that doesn’t know how to handle the awkwardness of infertility.

With no Emily Post-like guidelines for supporting couples who can’t conceive, most well-intentioned “fertile” people miss the mark. Silent Sorority provides an unflinching and insightful look at adjusting to a new path, and offers a steady voice rarely heard in the noisy era of designer babies and helicopter parents.

A book by Pamela M Tsigdinos about selling the fantasy of fertility and coming to terms with failed fertility treatments…

More information:

On Flickr®

Did you take the Gardasil Cervarix HPV Vaccine Survey?

Hormones Matter has been struck by the depth and breadth of adverse events experienced by young girls and women who have been given the HPV vaccines Gardasil or Cervarix

Lucine women logo
Hormones Matter has been struck by the depth and breadth of adverse events experienced by young girls and women who have been given the HPV vaccines Gardasil or Cervarix.

At Hormones Matter we have been struck by the depth and breadth of adverse events experienced by young girls and women who have been given the HPV vaccines Gardasil or Cervarix. Anecdotal evidence is great, but objective data are better. We must resolve this issue, our daughter’s lives depend upon it.

We need your help to gather the data to understand the real prevalence of side-effects, the range and severity of side-effects and who is most at risk for these complications. Please take this survey and share it with your friends, sisters, colleagues and anyone you know who has been given the HPV vaccine. We will need thousands of women to find the connections. That requires crowdsourcing and sharing amongst women.

The survey is anonymous.

Because of the age of some of the girls given the HPV vaccine and the severity of the adverse events that include death and severe disability, we allow parents, family members and/or friends to take the survey for the affected individual.

Finally, this is a long survey, approximately 30 minutes. We wish it were shorter, but both the depth of the information and the limitations of survey software combine to make this a longer than desired survey. Given that some girls and women are dying or suffering from life long adverse events, we felt it was more important to be thorough than short and incomplete.

We will be creating a second survey, over the coming months, to assess the adverse events in boys and men now being given the vaccine.

Thank you in advance for taking the survey.

Sources and more information

Single blood-based screening test for early detection of cancer moves forward

Step towards blood test for many cancer types

Scientists who are working to develop a test that can screen for multiple cancer types from a single blood sample have taken a step closer to their goal. Researchers systematically reviewed thousands of scientific papers and identified more than 800 markers in the blood of cancer patients that could help lead to a single blood test for early detection of many types of cancer in future.

LB3 Press Release

NCRI_cancer logo
All cancers produce compounds that end up in the bloodstream, so it is feasible that such blood markers could form the basis of a general screening test for many different forms of cancer.

UK rates of early cancer detection are lower than in many other western countries and survival remains relatively poor. At present early (pre-symptomatic) cancer detection is limited to cases identified through specific national screening programmes or via incidental radiological findings. In 2012, fifteen UK universities established an Early Cancer Detection (ECDC) Consortium to identify, validate and implement new generic blood tests for early tumour detection. Funded by Cancer Research UK, work package one aims to identify the evidence base of blood-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer.

A systematic mapping review is being undertaken to establish “What biomarkers exist that could be used to develop a general cancer screening assay from blood sampling and what is their state of development?”

Electronic searches of several relevant databases were conducted in May 2014. Screening for relevant biomarkers is being undertaken by one reviewer using a process of “data mining” within the database of retrieved references. All blood based biomarkers, their relevant properties and characteristics, and their corresponding references are entered into a comprehensive database for further scrutiny by the Early Cancer Detection Consortium, and subsequent selection of biomarkers for rapid review.

Over 19,000 papers have been identified by the initial searches. Data mining has identified over 800 blood-based biomarkers. Each technology will be tabulated separately to summarise the available data and data sources for consideration by the consortium at its Autumn meeting in October 2014.

This abstract will outline the key findings of the systematic review, and the discussion at the Consortium’s Autumn 2014 meeting. The deliberations of the consortium will form the basis of a narrative synthesis of the results, and prepare for the next stage of the blood test development as it moves forward into clinical laboratory based test.

Sources and more information
  • Step towards blood test for many cancer types, Cancer Research UK, Press release, 2 November 2014.
  • Single blood test that screens for several cancers steps closer, MNT 284805, 3 November 2014.
  • The UK Early Cancer Detection Consortium – Building the evidence base of blood-based biomarkers for early detection of cancer, 2014 NCRI Cancer Conference, LB3, November 2014.

Triclosan – found in soaps, detergents, shampoos, toothpaste – can trigger liver cancer in mice

Despite other scientists calling for caution over findings, University of California researchers say chemical may cause similar changes in people

Triclosan, chemical ingredient of some cosmetics, soaps, detergents, shampoos and toothpaste has been found to trigger liver cancer in laboratory mice, raising concerns about how safe it is for humans. The commonly used anti-bacterial agent added to bathroom and kitchen products, promotes the growth of liver tumours in mice fed relatively large quantities of the substance, an Oct 2014 study found.


PNAS logo image
Despite other scientists calling for caution over findings, University of California researchers say chemical may cause similar changes in people.

Triclosan [5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol; TCS] is a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial chemical used in a wide range of consumer products including soaps, cosmetics, therapeutics, and plastics. The general population is exposed to TCS because of its prevalence in a variety of daily care products as well as through waterborne contamination. TCS is linked to a multitude of health and environmental effects, ranging from endocrine disruption and impaired muscle contraction to effects on aquatic ecosystems.

We discovered that TCS was capable of stimulating liver cell proliferation and fibrotic responses, accompanied by signs of oxidative stress. Through a reporter screening assay with an array of nuclear xenobiotic receptors (XenoRs), we found that TCS activates the nuclear receptor constitutive androstane receptor (CAR) and, contrary to previous reports, has no significant effect on mouse peroxisome proliferation activating receptor α (PPARα). Using the procarcinogen diethylnitrosamine (DEN) to initiate tumorigenesis in mice, we discovered that TCS substantially accelerates hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development, acting as a liver tumor promoter. TCS-treated mice exhibited a large increase in tumor multiplicity, size, and incidence compared with control mice. TCS-mediated liver regeneration and fibrosis preceded HCC development and may constitute the primary tumor-promoting mechanism through which TCS acts.

These findings strongly suggest there are adverse health effects in mice with long-term TCS exposure, especially on enhancing liver fibrogenesis and tumorigenesis, and the relevance of TCS liver toxicity to humans should be evaluated.

Sources and more information
  • The commonly used antimicrobial additive triclosan is a liver tumor promoter,
    PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1419119111, November 17, 2014.
  • Triclosan: Soap ingredient can trigger liver cancer in mice, warn scientists, The Independent, 17 November 2014.

Abilify top-selling of all Prescription Drugs in U.S. has unknown method of action

The best-selling drug in America isn’t what you think—and it’s a whole lot more powerful than you’d expect

abilify image
The best-selling drug in America isn’t what you think—and it’s a whole lot more powerful than you’d expect.

Abilify, is currently the top-selling of all prescription drugs in the U.S. marketed as a supplement to antidepressant drugs. From April 2013, through March 2014, sales of Abilify totaled almost $6.9 billion. Not only is it amazing that an antipsychotic is outselling all other drugs, no one even knows how it works to relieve depression, writes Jay Michaelson. The standardized United States Product Insert says Abilify’s method of action is “unknown” but it likely “balances” brain’s neurotransmitters – the drug is said to work “like a thermostat to restore balance”. But critics say antipsychotics don’t treat anything at all, but zone people out and produce oblivion. They also say there is a concerning rise in the prescription of antipsychotics for routine complaints like insomnia…

Sources and more information:

  • Mother’s Little Anti-Psychotic Is Worth $6.9 Billion A Year, thedailybeast, 11.09.14.
  • The most popular drug in America is an antipsychotic — and no one really knows how it works, rawstory, 16 NOV 2014.
  • How ABILIFY Is Thought to Work,
  • Questionable Advertising of Psychotropic Medications and Disease Mongering, PLOS, PMC1518694, Jul 2006.

Medical device-related exposures to phthalates by premature infants much too high

JHU Public Health recommend to use alternative products that don’t contain DEHP as initial step in reducing phthalate exposures during critical care

Hospitalized premature infants are exposed to unsafe levels of a chemical found in numerous medical products used to treat them, raising questions about whether critically ill newborns may be adversely affected by equipment designed to help save their lives.


JHU Public Health
JHU Public Health recommend to use alternative products that don’t contain DEHP as initial step in reducing phthalate exposures during critical care.

To assess the types and magnitudes of non-endocrine toxic risks to neonates associated with medical device-related exposures to di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP).

Study design:
Dose-response thresholds for DEHP toxicities were determined from published data, as were the magnitudes of DEHP exposures resulting from neonatal contact with polyvinyl chloride (PVC) devices. Standard methods of risk assessment were used to determine safe levels of DEHP exposure in neonates, and hazard quotients were calculated for devices individually and in aggregate.

Daily intake of DEHP for critically ill preterm infants can reach 16 mg/kg per day, which is on the order of 4000 and 160,000 times higher than desired to avoid reproductive and hepatic toxicities, respectively. The non-endocrine toxicities of DEHP are similar to complications experienced by preterm neonates.

DEHP exposures in neonatal intensive care are much higher than estimated safe limits, and might contribute to common early and chronic complications of prematurity. Concerns about phthalates should be expanded beyond endocrine disruption.

Sources and more information
  • Phthalates and critically ill neonates: device-related exposures and non-endocrine toxic risks, Journal of Perinatology , doi:10.1038/jp.2014.157, 13 November 2014.
  • Premature Infants Are Exposed to Unsafe Levels of Chemical in Medical Products Used to Save Their Lives, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, newswise, 10-Nov-2014.

A Paris ce sam 22 nov rencontres Formindep et Stephane Horel : Conflits d’intérêts médicaux et statégies

Assemblée générale et Rencontres du Formindep les 22 et 23 novembre 2014 à Paris : réservez votre week-end !

Rencontres du Formindep 2014

poster des 7 ème Rencontres du Formindep 2014
Assemblée générale et Rencontres du Formindep les 22 et 23 novembre 2014 à Paris : réservez votre week-end !

Les conflits d’intérêts en médecine, lorsqu’ils sont mal gérés, représentent un risque sanitaire à l’origine de maladies et de décès pour les patients, de surcoûts importants pour le système de soins, tous évitables.

Ces conflits d’intérêts sont provoqués par d’autres intérêts que celui de la santé des patients, qui exercent leurs influences à tous les niveaux du système de santé : politiques, autorités sanitaires, chercheurs et universitaires, soignants, patients. Les industries du médicament et des diverses technologies de santé sont les sources principales de ces influences. Ces industries tentent de détourner vers leurs propres intérêts, ceux de leurs actionnaires et de leurs dirigeants, les choix et les décisions de soins pris initialement dans l’intérêt des patients.

Pour des raisons évidentes d’efficacité, ces influences industrielles s’exercent de façon particulièrement forte dans les lieux de référence pour les soins, en premier lieu l’hôpital et l’université. Au sein de ces structures, les professionnels de santé sont le plus souvent mal préparés à combattre ces influences et s’y soumettent trop aisément, malgré les outils existants et les connaissances scientifiques qui démontrent leur danger.

Pour la société, les conséquences en sont des soins inappropriés, plus coûteux, plus dangereux, qui se répercutent avec autorité sur les prescriptions ambulatoires, une perte de repères éthiques allant parfois jusqu’à la corruption, un discrédit professionnel fort ; pour les professionnels en formation, il s’agit d’enseignements biaisés, d’habitudes de soumission, d’absence de réflexion critique, de maîtres dont l’exemplarité est dévoyée.

Face à ce dramatique état des lieux et à l’urgence d’y faire face, les Rencontres du Formindep 2014 auront pour thème :

Les conflits d’intérêts à l’hôpital et à l’université, leurs mécanismes, leurs acteurs, leurs conséquences, les moyens de les contrer.

Elles se dérouleront le samedi 22 novembre 2014 de 15h à 19h. à Paris 13ème: sur le site de la Faculté de médecine Pierre & Marie Curie, au 105 boulevard de l’hôpital – Bâtiment 105 Amphithéâtre F, 75013 PARIS, en présence de plusieurs intervenants acteurs de la lutte contre les conflits d’intérêts.

Animée par Stéphane HOREL, journaliste indépendante, en présence de Irène FRACHON, Philippe EVEN, Martin HIRSCH, Nicolas PINSAULT et de nombreux témoins de tous les liens à risques sanitaires. Entrée libre et gratuite dans la limite des places disponibles – inscription souhaitable…

Sources et plus d’informations
  • Association Formindep – 1100 Rue Faidherbe – 59134 FOURNES-EN-WEPPES
    tel/fax: +33(0)1 79 73 60 93 – mail:
  • Rencontres du Formindep 2014 PDF.
  • Assemblée Générale et Septièmes Rencontres 2014 : le programme.

Assemblée générale et Rencontres du Formindep les 22 et 23 novembre 2014 à Paris : réservez votre week-end !

Thalidomide: how men who blighted lives of thousands evaded justice

Documents raise fresh questions about thalidomide criminal trial

Harold Evans cartoon image
Sir Harold Evans’ paper is about newly exposed files showing how victims were betrayed by political interference in trial – and how the pill has remained on sale .

The dark shadow of thalidomide is still with us. The original catastrophe maimed 20,000 babies and killed 80,000… …Now evidence has been uncovered that the pharmaceutical outrage was compounded by a judicial scandal that has suppurated all these years.

Documents recently unearthed by the UK’s Thalidomide Trust will surely stoke fresh controversy about how and why the criminal trial against the drug’s makers ended without a verdict in December 1970.

And more than half a century since the pill’s threat to an embryo was proven, the company that produced the first disaster has continued to sell the drug in parts of Latin America. ”

No Advertising Please

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.

No Advertising Please poster
a #NoAdsPlease poster by the @NoAdsPlease campaign.

Sources and more information

On Flickr®

Why your doctor may soon be watching your tumors grow

Screening tumors could lead to smarter decisions about which cancer treatments will work best for individual patients

Lung cancer cell image
Screening tumors could lead to smarter decisions about which cancer treatments will work best for individual patients.

Some cancer centers already take biopsies of tumors and run them through genetic tests, to get a better sense of what’s driving the cancer. That information can be helpful in deciding which of the growing number of targeted anti-cancer drugs will work best to stop those growths.


Targeted cancer therapies have produced substantial clinical responses, but most tumors develop resistance to these drugs. Here, we describe a pharmacogenomic platform that facilitates rapid discovery of drug combinations that can overcome resistance. We established cell culture models derived from biopsy samples of lung cancer patients whose disease had progressed while on treatment with EGFR or ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors and then subjected these cells to genetic analyses and a pharmacological screen. Multiple effective drug combinations were identified. For example, the combination of ALK and MEK inhibitors was active in an ALK-positive resistant tumor that had developed a MAP2K1 activating mutation, and the combination of EGFR and FGFR inhibitors was active in an EGFR mutant resistant cancer with a novel mutation in FGFR3. Combined ALK and SRC inhibition was effective in several ALK-driven patient-derived models, a result not predicted by genetic analysis alone. With further refinements, this strategy could help direct therapeutic choices for individual patients.

Sources and more information
  • Patient-derived models of acquired resistance can identify effective drug combinations for cancer, sciencemag,
    DOI: 10.1126/science.1254721, November 13 2014.
  • The Cancer Breakthrough With Big Implications,
    Time, Nov. 13, 2014.
  • Direct drug screening of patient biopsies could overcome resistance to targeted therapy, massgeneral, November 13, 2014.