Some sunscreen may cause fertility problems in men and pregnancy delays

NHI researchers have identified two chemicals that appear to reduce fertility in men

sun cream image
NHI researchers have identified two chemicals that appear to reduce fertility in men.

Certain sunscreen chemicals used to protect against ultraviolent rays may impair men’s ability to father children in a timely manner, according to a study by the National Institutes of Health and the New York state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center. But the researchers caution that the results are preliminary and that additional studies are needed to confirm their findings.

Men who are concerned about fertility may be interested in other ways to reduce their exposure to benzophenone UV filters—whether by cutting back on other products that contain the UV filters or by washing after returning indoors.

Abstract

Concern has arisen about benzophenone (BP) ultraviolet (UV) radiation filters, given their use in sunscreen and personal-care products and their reported estrogenic and antiandrogenic activity.

We recruited 501 couples who were discontinuing use of contraceptives in order to become pregnant for the Longitudinal Investigation of Fertility and the Environment (LIFE) Study (Michigan and Texas, 2005–2009). Couples provided urine specimens and completed daily journals until they either achieved pregnancy or had tried for 12 months. Women used fertility monitors to time sexual intercourse and digital pregnancy tests.

Urinary concentrations of 5 UV filters (ng/mL) were determined using triple-quadrupole mass spectrometry: 2,4-dihydroxybenzophenone (also called BP-1); 2,2′,4,4′-tetrahydroxybenzophenone (BP-2); 2-hydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone (BP-3); 2,2′-dihydroxy-4-methoxybenzophenone (BP-8); and 4-hydroxybenzophenone. Fecundability odds ratios were estimated for each UV filter (dichotomized at the 75th percentile) and adjusted for age, creatinine concentration, body mass index (weight (kg)/height (m)2), cotinine concentration, season, and site, while accounting for time off contraception. Separate models were fitted for each UV filter and partner; final models included partners’ concentrations.

Male partners’ concentrations of BP-2 and 4-hydroxybenzophenone were associated with reduced fecundity in adjusted models (fecundability odds ratio (FOR) = 0.69 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.50, 0.95) and FOR = 0.74 (95% CI: 0.54, 1.00), respectively). In models adjusting for both partners’ concentrations, male BP-2 concentration remained associated with reduced fecundity (FOR = 0.69, 95% CI: 0.49, 0.97).

These data suggest that male exposure to select UV filters may diminish couples’ fecundity, resulting in a longer time to pregnancy.

Sources and more information
  • NIH study links ultraviolet filters to pregnancy delays,
    NIH News, November 14, 2014.
  • Urinary Concentrations of Benzophenone-Type Ultraviolet Radiation Filters and Couples’ Fecundity, American Journal of Epidemiology 10.1093/aje/kwu285, September 15, 2014.
  • Something in your sunblock may be causing fertility problems, CNN, November 15, 2014.

Many Brits fly to the U.S. to choose the Sex of their IVF Baby

Growing numbers of British parents going to America for controversial IVF treatment which allows them to choose sex of their baby for £7,600

image of gender selection leaflet
Growing numbers of British parents going to America for controversial IVF treatment which allows them to choose sex of their baby for £7,600.

Increasing numbers of British parents are flying to the US for a controversial IVF treatment which allows them choose the sex of their baby…

  • Selecting baby’s sex before birth is currently banned in the UK
  • Many believe nature should decide and fear a population imbalance
  • But US doctor says couples have the right to choose and more are
  • His clinic sees 10 patients a month fly from UK for the treatment in the US
  • 80 per cent of parents opt for a baby girl and 20 per cent want a boy

Sources and more information:

  • Growing numbers of British parents going to America for controversial IVF treatment which allows them to choose sex of their baby for £7,600, DailyMail, 21 July 2014.
  • Number of women travelling to America to choose sex of child rises 20%, telegraph, 21 Jul 2014.
  • Dr. Daniel Potter travelled to London to discuss gender selection!, havingbabies blog, 25 July 2014.
  • Number of British women travelling to USA to choose the sex of their baby on the rise, independent, 14 November 2014.

2012 Research linked Bisphenol-A to narrowing of the Arteries

Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Angiography-Defined Coronary Artery Stenosis

image of the University of Exeter campus
University of Exeter results are important because they suggest that associations between urinary BPA and CAD may be specific to narrowing of the arteries.

A research team from the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry (PCMD), University of Exeter, and University of Cambridge has for the first time established a link between high levels of urinary bisphenol A (BPA) and severe coronary artery stenosis (narrowing of the arteries).

The team analysed data from 591 patients who participated in the Metabonomics and Genomics Coronary Artery Disease (MaGiCAD) study in Cambridgeshire, UK. They compared urinary BPA with grades of severity of coronary artery disease (CAD).

The patients were classified into severe, intermediate or normal CAD categories based on narrowing of their coronary arteries measured using a technique called angiography, which is considered the gold standard method of diagnosis. In all, 385 patients were identified to have severe CAD, 86 intermediate CAD and 120 had normal coronary arteries.

The study shows that urinary BPA concentration was significantly higher in those with severe CAD compared to those with normal coronary arteries.
The results are important because they suggest that associations between urinary BPA and CAD may be specific to narrowing of the arteries.

This is the fourth study led by PCMD, University of Exeter to identify a statistical link between increased levels of urinary BPA and cardiovascular disease.
Other studies related to BPA carried out by the same research team have found associations with altered testosterone and changes in the expression of BPA target genes in men, suggesting that BPA may be more active in the body than previously thought.

The research team was led by Professor David Melzer, Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at PCMD, University of Exeter. He said: “Our latest study strengthens a growing body of work that suggests that BPA may be adding to known risk factors for heart disease. Full proof will be very difficult to get, as experiments on this in humans are not feasible.”

Professor Tamara Galloway, lead toxicologist on the study from Biosciences at the University of Exeter, said: “These results are important because they give us a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying the association between BPA and heart disease.”

Dr David Mosedale, Chairman of the MaGiCAD Management Committee, added: “This demonstrates the utility of intensively characterised cohorts like MaGiCAD, and highlights the need for further research into the long-term effects of common environmental chemicals such as BPA.”

BPA is a controversial chemical commonly used in food and drink containers. It has previously caused concerns over health risks to babies, as it is present in some baby’s bottles. Following a PCMD study in September 2008 many nations moved to ban BPA from the manufacture of baby’s bottles and other feeding equipment.
BPA is used in polycarbonate plastic products such as refillable drinks containers, compact disks, some plastic eating utensils and many other products in everyday use. It is one of the world’s highest production volume chemicals, with 5.16 million tonnes produced in 2008 (source: Chemical Weekly 2009).

Sources and more information:

  • Research links Bisphenol-A to narrowing of the arteries, University of Exeter News Archives 2012.
  • Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Angiography-Defined Coronary Artery Stenosis, PLOS one, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0043378, August 15, 2012.

Fish Thoughts…

A Cartoon by Jack Ohman

Fish thoughts
Watch our diaporama and @DES_Journal health cartoons, comics album on Flickr.
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How simple heuristics can improve medical decision making over much more complex solutions

Dr. Gerd Gigerenzer talks about making medical decisions

Heuristics in Medical Decision Making ; video interview of Gerd Gigerenzer – prominent statistician, expert in uncertainty and decision-making.

How are heuristics helpful in real-word situations? Dr. Gigerenzer describes how simple heuristics can improve medical decision making over much more complex solutions. By ignoring much of the available information, simple heuristics often are more stable and robust than strategies that have been optimized based on small data samples. Gerd Gigerenzer explains how their approach has changed the way in which a hospital in Michigan decides on emergency care for heart patients.

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Antibiotic Guardian Resources Toolkit for Healthcare Professionals

Held every 18 November, European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is a day to encourage responsible use of antibiotics

Developed by Public Health England

Held every 18 November, European Antibiotic Awareness Day (EAAD) is a day to encourage responsible use of antibiotics.

The plan for EAAD2014 is to increase measurable engagement by healthcare professionals and the public. Public Health England main objective is that by 30th November we have a combined 10, 000 Antibiotic Guardian pledges from healthcare professionals and the public to at least one pledge for prudent use of antimicrobials.

Sources:
On Slideshare;

Identifying Toxic Chemicals in Your Home

Chemicals in Everyday Products Can Ruin Your Health

You think you’re doing “everything right” or “eating healthy,” but you might be hurting your efforts to get and stay well by not paying attention to the harmful effects of the everyday items you use at home…

Identifying Toxic Chemicals in Your Home Infographic
an Infographic via @TheGreenDivas

Sources:

On Flickr®

Autoimmune Disease Incidence among Women prenatally exposed to Diethylstilbestrol

This 2010 study provides little support for an association between prenatal DES exposure and development of autoimmune disease

DES Follow-up Study Summary

National Cancer Inst logo image
This 2010 study provides little support for an association between prenatal DES exposure and development of autoimmune disease.

Data shows no difference between rates of autoimmune diseases among the DES exposed and unexposed women.

Autoimmune disease is a class of diseases where antibodies usually meant to recognize foreign organisms instead react to a person’s own cells and tissues. We studied four specific types of autoimmune disease to investigate whether prenatal Diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure affects the occurrence of these diseases. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, or lupus, is an inflammatory disease resulting from an antibody attack on tissues and organs resulting in skin rashes, arthritis (chronic joint swelling), renal failure, or nervous system disorders. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), not to be confused with commonly occurring osteoarthritis, is a disorder resulting from an immune response to an individual’s own connective tissue. The disease results in joint swelling and stiffness. Optic neuritis (ON) is a swelling of the optic nerve due to immune response resulting in vision loss in one eye, painful eye movement, and loss of color vision. Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia Purpura (ITP) is an unexplained decrease in the amount of platelets, cells designed to aid in blood clotting.

The rates of these diseases were compared among women who were and were not prenatally exposed to DES. Women who reported a diagnosis of any of these four diseases on the questionnaires sent in 1994, 1998, or 2001 were asked for permission to contact their doctors to verify the diagnosis. Considering all verified reports, there was no difference between the combined rates of these autoimmune diseases among the DES-exposed and unexposed women. Individually, there was also no difference in the rates of lupus and ON in these two groups. While there was no overall difference in RA between the two groups, there did appear to be a higher rate of RA among exposed women under the age of 45 compared to unexposed women of the same age. This difference however was based on a small number of cases (17 DES-exposed and 2 unexposed) and as a result there is some uncertainty as to the magnitude of this increase. Also there was no increase in RA among DES-exposed women 45 years and older compared with unexposed women of the same age. There were too few ITP cases to conclude whether or not there was a difference in the rate of this disease in the two groups.

Research has suggested that early life characteristics, such as size at birth and age at menarche, may be associated with health conditions later in life. For example, some studies have suggested that low birth weight babies tend to have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Other studies have shown that women who begin having periods at a young age have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer than those who begin menstruation later.

2010 Study Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
Animal studies have suggested that prenatal diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure may alter immune system development and function including antigen self-recognition. A cohort study was conducted to investigate whether prenatal DES exposure might influence the incidence of at least some specific autoimmune diseases in women.

METHODS:
A group of women who were and were not prenatally exposed to DES have been followed for more than 25 years for numerous health outcomes including autoimmune disease. To verify diagnoses, medical records or physician abstracts were requested for all women who reported a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), optic neuritis (ON), and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). Incidence rates of these autoimmune diseases were compared between women who were and who were not prenatally DES-exposed.

RESULTS:
Overall, there was no increase in verified autoimmune disease among DES-exposed women relative to those who were not exposed (RR 1.2; 95% CI 0.7, 2.1). There was, however, a positive association between prenatal DES exposure and RA among women younger than 45 years (RR 4.9; 95% CI 1.1, 21.6) and an inverse association among women who were 45 years and older (RR 0.1; 95% CI 0.01, 0.7).

CONCLUSION:
Overall, these data provide little support for an association between prenatal DES exposure and development of autoimmune disease. The implication that such exposure may be related to RA in an unusual age-related manner is based on small numbers of cases and warrants further study.

Sources

  • Autoimmune disease incidence among women prenatally exposed to diethylstilbestrol,NCBI, PMID: 20634240, 2010 Oct;37(10):2167-73. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.091092. Epub 2010 Jul 15. Full text link.
  • NCI, DES Follow-up Study Published Papers.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Eggs Benefit

An Egg Freezing Cartoon by John Darkow

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Image sources: cagle.com

Our posts about Egg Freezing:

On Flickr®

Link between Air Pollution and ADHD in Children

Environmental factors may be contributing to attention problems in a significant way…

Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant? New York City children exposed in the womb to high levels of pollutants in vehicle exhaust had a five times higher risk of attention problems at age 9, according to research by Columbia University scientists published in PLOS one:

Abstract

EHN logo image
Environmental factors may be contributing to attention problems in a significant way…

Importance:
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are widespread urban air pollutants from combustion of fossil fuel and other organic material shown previously to be neurotoxic.

Objective:
In a prospective cohort study, we evaluated the relationship between Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems and prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure, adjusting for postnatal exposure.

Materials and Methods:
Children of nonsmoking African-American and Dominican women in New York City were followed from in utero to 9 years. Prenatal polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure was estimated by levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon- DNA adducts in maternal and cord blood collected at delivery. Postnatal exposure was estimated by the concentration of urinary polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon metabolites at ages 3 or 5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems were assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Conners Parent Rating Scale- Revised.

Results:
High prenatal adduct exposure, measured by elevated maternal adducts was significantly associated with all Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised subscales when the raw scores were analyzed continuously (N = 233). After dichotomizing at the threshold for moderately to markedly atypical symptoms, high maternal adducts were significantly associated with the Conners Parent Rating Scale-Revised DSM-IV Inattentive (OR = 5.06, 95% CI [1.43, 17.93]) and DSM-IV Total (OR = 3.37, 95% CI [1.10, 10.34]) subscales. High maternal adducts were positivity associated with the DSM-oriented Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Problems scale on the Child Behavior Checklist, albeit not significant. In the smaller sample with cord adducts, the associations between outcomes and high cord adduct exposure were not statistically significant (N = 162).

Conclusion:
The results suggest that exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons encountered in New York City air may play a role in childhood Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder behavior problems.

Sources and more information:
  • Early-Life Exposure to Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons and ADHD Behavior Problems, PLOS one, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111670, November 05, 2014.
  • Air pollution linked to children’s attention problems, Environmental Health News, Nov. 5, 2014.
  • Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant?, DailyMail, 7 November 2014.
  • Are pollution and attention problems related?,
    NHS Choices, 10 November 2014.