CowSpiracy: The Sustainability Secret

Intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret is a groundbreaking feature-length environmental documentary following an intrepid filmmaker as he uncovers the most destructive industry facing the planet today, and investigates why the world’s leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it.

More information
  • Official website. Video published on 2 April 2016.
  • New Film Cowspiracy Assails Worldwide Cattle Industry,
    Scoop Media, 4 November 2014.
  • Are Environmental Groups Taking Money From Polluters? crashcade, October 24, 2014.
  • Watch more videos, visit our YouTube channel.

Autism’s Rise: why Cases are increasing in Denmark

Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders

A new study, by the Aarhus University, Department of Public Health, finds that most – 60% – of the autism rise over the last three decades in Denmark cases is due to changes in reporting practices. But still, changes in reporting practices fail to explain 40 percent of the rise, the researcher noted.

Abstract:

Aarhus Universitet
New study shows that you cannot really talk about an autism epidemic, even though Denmark and other countries are currently experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of cases of autism spectrum disorders.

Importance
The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) has increased markedly in recent decades, which researchers have suggested could be caused in part by nonetiologic factors such as changes in diagnosis reporting practices. To our knowledge, no study has quantified the degree to which changes in reporting practices might explain this increase. Danish national health registries have undergone a change in diagnostic criteria in 1994 and the inclusion of outpatient contacts to health registries in 1995.

Objective
To quantify the effect of changes in reporting practices in Denmark on reported ASD prevalence.

Design, Setting, and Participants
We used a population-based birth cohort approach that includes information on all individuals with permanent residence in Denmark. We assessed all children born alive from January 1, 1980, through December 31, 1991, in Denmark (n = 677 915). The children were followed up from birth until ASD diagnosis, death, emigration, or the end of follow-up on December 31, 2011, whichever occurred first. The analysis uses a stratified Cox proportional hazards regression model with the changes in reporting practices modeled as time-dependent covariates.

Exposures
The change in diagnostic criteria in 1994 and the inclusion of outpatient diagnoses in 1995.

Main Outcomes and Measures
Autism spectrum disorders.

Results
For Danish children born during the study period, 33% (95% CI, 0%-70%) of the increase in reported ASD prevalence could be explained by the change in diagnostic criteria alone; 42% (95% CI, 14%-69%), by the inclusion of outpatient contacts alone; and 60% (95% CI, 33%-87%), by the change in diagnostic criteria and the inclusion of outpatient contacts.

Conclusions and Relevance
Changes in reporting practices can account for most (60%) of the increase in the observed prevalence of ASDs in children born from 1980 through 1991 in Denmark. Hence, the study supports the argument that the apparent increase in ASDs in recent years is in large part attributable to changes in reporting practices.

Sources and more information:
  • Altered diagnosis has led to growth in autism, Aarhus University News, 2014.11.04.
  • Explaining the Increase in the Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders, JAMA Pediatr. Published online November 03, 2014. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2014.1893.
  • Autism’s Rise: Researchers Look at Why Cases Are Increasing, livescience, November 03, 2014.
  • Beyond Vaccines: 5 Things that Might Really Cause Autism, livescience, January 07, 2011.

BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance

Research in The FASEB Journal suggests that exposure to Bisphenol A at a dose significantly below the current FDA Tolerable Daily Intake predisposes offspring to food intolerance at adulthood

Inra_International logo image
Research in The FASEB Journal suggests that exposure to Bisphenol A at a dose significantly below the current FDA Tolerable Daily Intake predisposes offspring to food intolerance at adulthood

More than 20% of the global population suffer from food allergy or intolerance. An environmental origin for these adverse food reactions is strongly suspected.

In this context, and for the first time, a team of INRA research scientists in Toulouse has shown that perinatal exposure to low doses of bisphenol A (BPA) – considered to be risk-free in humans – could increase the risk of developing food intolerance in adulthood. These findings support the decision made by the French authorities to ban the use of BPA in containers used for infant foods as early as 2013, and in all food packaging as from 2015.

Sources and more information:

  • BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 30-Oct-2014.
  • Food intolerance at adulthood after perinatal exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A, The FASEB Journal, 2014; 28 (11): 4893 DOI: 10.1096/fj.14-255380, July 21, 2014.
    ReadCube PDF.
  • Bisphenol A and food intolerance, a link established for the first time, INRA Press releases 08/04/2014.
  • BPA exposure by infants may increase later risk of food intolerance, Clinicalnews, October 30, 2014.

Maternal periconceptual and pregnancy recreational drug use linked to offspring brain birth defects

Mothers whose babies have brain defects at birth are more likely to have engaged in recreational drug use around the time of conception or during pregnancy

PLoS_logo image
Mothers whose babies have brain defects at birth are more likely to have engaged in recreational drug use around the time of conception or during pregnancy.

Researchers, led by Dr. Anna David of the Institute of Women’s Health at University College London, find that recreational drug use during pregnancy – determined by testing mothers’ hair samples – may increase the risk of brain birth defects in offspring.

The researchers found that 35% of the women whose baby was born with a brain birth defect – including brain cysts and brain underdevelopment – had engaged in recreational drug use at conception or during pregnancy, compared with 13% of women who had a baby without a birth defect.

Abstract

Objective:
Maternal recreational drug use may be associated with the development of fetal malformations such as gastroschisis, brain and limb defects, the aetiology due to vascular disruption during organogenesis. Using forensic hair analysis we reported evidence of recreational drug use in 18% of women with a fetal gastroschisis. Here we investigate this association in a variety of fetal malformations using the same method.

Methods:
In a multi-centre study, women with normal pregnancies (controls) and those with fetal abnormalities (cases) gave informed consent for hair analysis for recreational drug metabolites using mass spectrometry. Hair samples cut at the root were tested in sections corresponding to 3 month time periods (pre and periconceptual period).

Results:
Women whose fetus had gastroschisis, compared to women with a normal control fetus, were younger (mean age 23.78±SD4.79 years, 18–37 vs 29.79±SD6 years, 18–42, p = 0.00001), were more likely to have evidence of recreational drug use (15, 25.4% vs 21, 13%, OR2.27, 95thCI 1.08–4.78, p = 0.028), and were less likely to report periconceptual folic acid use (31, 53.4% vs 124, 77.5%, OR0.33, 95thCI 0.18–0.63, p = 0.001). Age-matched normal control women were no less likely to test positive for recreational drugs than women whose fetus had gastroschisis. After accounting for all significant factors, only young maternal age remained significantly associated with gastroschisis. Women with a fetus affected by a non-neural tube central nervous system (CNS) anomaly were more likely to test positive for recreational drugs when compared to women whose fetus was normal (7, 35% vs 21, 13%, OR3.59, 95th CI1.20–10.02, p = 0.01).

Conclusions:
We demonstrate a significant association between non neural tube CNS anomalies and recreational drug use in the periconceptual period, first or second trimesters, but we cannot confirm this association with gastroschisis. We confirm the association of gastroschisis with young maternal age.

Sources and more information:
  • Maternal recreational drug use linked to offspring brain birth defects, MNT, Nov 30, 2014.
  • A Case-Control Study of Maternal Periconceptual and Pregnancy Recreational Drug Use and Fetal Malformation Using Hair Analysis, PLOSone, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0111038, October 31, 2014.
  • Related post: Is it True that People are Born Addicts?, stepstorecovery, Dec 2014.

Antibiotics will Not get rid of your Cold

Become an Antibiotic Guardian

poster of Antibiotics will Not get rid of your Cold
Become an Antibiotic Guardian.

Sources:

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Five – not so obvious – reasons you might be getting fatter…

Everything from livestock fatteners to government marketing dooms Americans looking to lose weight

Americans have become huge. Between the 1960s and the 2000s, Americans grew, on the average, an inch taller and 24 pounds heavier. The average American man today weights 194 pounds and the average woman 165 pounds… …reasons are not limited to eating too much and exercising too little… “

image of Martha Rosenberg
Everything from livestock fatteners to government marketing dooms Americans looking to lose weight says Martha Rosenberg.
  • Antibiotics in food and as medicine
  • Other livestock fatteners
  • Pesticides and other endocrine disrupters
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Industry and government marketing

Read Americans Are Huge:
5 Surprising Reasons Why We May Be Getting Fatter
,
AlterNet, October 27, 2014.