Women less likely to choose mammography screening when informed about overdiagnosis risk

Women should be informed, not only of the benefits of mammography, but also of the shortcomings of the test

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Educating women about the possibility of “overdiagnosis” from mammography screening may make some of them less likely to get the test, a new study says. Women should be informed, not only of the benefits of mammography, but also of the shortcomings of the test.

Women are largely unaware that mammography screening can cause overdetection of inconsequential disease, leading to overdiagnosis and overtreatment of breast cancer. Evidence is lacking about how information on overdetection affects women’s breast screening decisions and experiences. A study investigated the consequences of providing information about overdetection of breast cancer to women approaching the age of invitation to mammography screening.

Information on overdetection of breast cancer provided within a decision aid increased the number of women making an informed choice about breast screening. Becoming better informed might mean women are less likely to choose screening.

Sources and more information

  • Mammogram Rates May Fall When Women Learn of ‘Overdiagnosis’ Risk,
    health, February 19, 2015.
  • Use of a decision aid including information on overdetection to support informed choice about breast cancer screening: a randomised controlled trial,
    lancet, 17 February 2015.
  • Overdetection in breast cancer screening: development and preliminary evaluation of a decision aid, BMJ Open, 5 September 2014.
  • The effect of information about overdetection of breast cancer on women’s decision-making about mammography screening:study protocol for a randomised controlled trial, BMJ Open, May 25, 2014.

What are we doing to our children’s brains?

It is very clear we have to set up a different system to better protect the brains of the future

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Environmental chemicals are wreaking havoc to last a lifetime says @lizzieg1 . Image by Rasmus Fritzon.

The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don’t rise to the level of clinical diagnosis. “

  • Chemicals and the Brain
  • Precise Choreography
  • Something in the Air
  • Widespread Exposure
  • The Stress Factor
  • What to Do?

Read: What are we doing to our childrens brains,
by Elizabeth Grossman, on ensia, February 16, 2015.
and from the same author: Banned in Europe, safe in the U.S., ensia., June 9, 2014.

More references
  • Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Children: National Health Interview Survey, 2009, cdc.
  • Children’s Exposure to Mercury Compounds, who, 2010.
  • National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals, cdc, 2009 and 2015.

Epigenome: the symphony in your cells

Let this orchestra unpick the epigenome for you

Almost every cell in your body has the same DNA sequence. So how come a heart cell is different from a brain cell? Cells use their DNA code in different ways, depending on their jobs. Just like orchestras can perform one piece of music in many different ways. A cell’s combined set of changes in gene expression is called its epigenome. This week Nature publishes a slew of new data on the epigenomic landscape in lots of different cells. Learn how epigenomics works in this video.

More information

ADHD treatment: drugs now being given to infants and toddlers in unprecedented numbers

Why Are So Many Toddlers Taking Psychiatric Drugs?

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The report of the CDC on the number of toddlers being prescribed ADHD drugs is shocking, but is seem to be only the tip of the iceberg regarding children being prescribed psychiatric drugs in the U.S.

Mental health watchdog Citizens Commission on Human Rights said the report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the 10,000 toddlers being prescribed ADHD drugs, is only the tip of the iceberg regarding children being prescribed psychiatric drugs in the U.S. According to documents CCHR obtained from IMS health, more than 274,000 0-1 year olds are being prescribed psychiatric drugs and a staggering 370,000 toddlers.

  • Are psychiatric diagnoses reliable in such young children?
  • Why are tens of thousands of children getting drugs outside guidelines?
  • What is the most humane way to manage behavior changes in children?
Sources and more information
  • Why Are So Many Toddlers Taking Psychiatric Drugs?, wsj experts, Feb 19, 2015.
  • Medical insanity: Over 10,000 American toddlers now on mind-altering medications for ADHD, naturalnews, June 02, 2014.
  • Thousands of Toddlers Are Medicated for A.D.H.D., Report Finds, Raising Worries, nytimes, MAY 16, 2014.
  • Watchdog Says Report of 10,000 Toddlers on ADHD Drugs Tip of the Iceberg—274,000 0-1 Year Olds and 370,000 Toddlers Prescribed Psychiatric Drugs, cchrint, 2014/05/21.
  • Continued Increases in ADHD Diagnoses and Treatment With Medication Among U.S. Children, elsevier, November 22, 2013.

New Gardasil 9 vaccine, now targeting nine strains of human papillomavirus HPV

The new HPV vaccine is said to be more effective

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Merck has been working to discover and develop vaccines for more than a century.
Their new 9vHPV vaccine prevented infection and disease related to HPV-31, 33, 45, 52, and 58 in a susceptible population and generated an antibody response to HPV-6, 11, 16, and 18.

A new version of the regular Gardasil vaccine – called Gardasil 9 – that fights nine strains of human papillomavirus offers greater cancer protection for women than the earlier one – which the NHS offers to all girls aged 12 to 13 – that targets only four.

The results of Gardasil 9 clinical trial, which was funded by Merck, are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

We still need to remember that the vaccine prevent infections due to HPV only ; researchers will have to track the vaccinated women for many more years to see whether the two vaccines ultimately prevents more cancers…

The new vaccine already caused more side effects, from mild to severe…

Sources and more information

  • A 9-Valent HPV Vaccine against Infection and Intraepithelial Neoplasia in Women, The New England Journal of Medicine 2015; 372:711-723 February 19, 2015DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1405044 Supported by Merck.
  • Vaccine that targets 9 strains of HPV boosts cancer protection, study says, latimes, February 18, 2015.
  • FDA approves Gardasil 9 for prevention of certain cancers caused by five additional types of HPV, FDA News Release, December 10, 2014.


EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency

Why does the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver?

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New ALTER-EU report shows why the current EU lobby register is still failing to deliver real transparency. NGOs file complaint about misleading Goldman Sachs registration.

New research published January 27, 2015 shows that too many major lobby organisations, including financial lobbyists the City of London Corporation and Credit Suisse; major corporations such as Electrabel, Anglo American and General Motors; law firms such as Covington & Burling and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; and lobby consultancies, are not listed in the lobby transparency register despite being active in EU lobbying.

The research by the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) – a coalition of over 200 civil society groups and trade unions concerned with the increasing influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe – has beeen published on the same day as the re-launch of the Commission-Parliament joint lobby transparency register. The current voluntary approach to lobby regulation does not give an accurate picture of lobbying in Brussels, and the Commission’s proposal for an inter-institutional agreement will not be the solution as it will not be binding on lobbyists. For ALTER-EU, the changes being introduced are minimal and will not solve its fundamental problems.

ALTER-EU’s research shows that too many entries within the register are based on unreliable or even misleading data. Some examples include:

  • Goldman Sachs declares less than €50,000 lobby expenditure in 2013 whilst spending significantly more than that paying others to lobby on its behalf during the same period. This has now been the subject of a complaint by NGOs.
  • Around 150 lobby consultancies, law firms or consultants fail to disclose their clients’ names despite this being a clear breach of the rules.
  • Google and Novartis list more European Parliament accredited pass-holders than their total number of lobbyists which cannot be correct, according to the register rules.
  • More than 200 lobby consultancies, law firms or consultants mask their clients’ identities by naming them only as acronyms, which is another breach of the rules.
  • Consultancy BearingPoint declares that it is not a lobby firm and that it has zero lobbyists but states that its lobby turnover is a staggering €552,795,000!

There are many other anomalous entries detailed in the report.

Paul de Clerck of ALTER EU steering committee member Friends of the Earth Europe says:

The Commission’s proposed inter-institutional agreement to introduce a so-called mandatory lobby register is misleading, as it will not be binding on lobbyists and thus not be mandatory. What is needed is a legislative proposal, to ensure that lobbyists are legally obliged to be fully open and honest about all their lobbying activities and to ensure that strong sanctions can be applied in case of breaches of the register.”

Nina Katzemich of steering committee member LobbyControl added:

Even with the relaunched register, lobbyists can still choose if they want to be be transparent, and they can still appear in the register with totally misleading data. Despite the fact that registering is now a condition for meeting with Commissioners, without fundamental changes to the quality of the register, lobbyists can give a totally wrong impression of their lobbying activities and still get access to high level decision-makers. This is what happened, for example, in the case of Goldman Sachs. Their registration is subject to a complaint by LobbyControl, Corporate Europe Observatory and Friends of the Earth Europe, filed today.”

Helen Darbishire, of steering committee member Access Info Europe says:

Campaigners, journalists, and all EU citizens have a right to know who is lobbying our decision-makers, on which dossiers, and how much money they spend on lobbying. Full transparency is essential for getting a true picture of lobbying in Brussels and for ensuring balanced input of the views of all stakeholders.”

The European Parliament has long demanded a tougher approach to EU lobby regulation. ALTER-EU calls on the European Commission to make a legislative proposal for a legally-binding lobby register by the end of 2015, with the aim of the new register being operational by mid-2017.

Sources and more information

ALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparencyALTER-EU Europe’s campaign for lobbying transparency
  • EU lobby register: still failing to deliver real transparency, press-releases and PDF January 27, 2015.
  • New and Improved? Why the EU Lobby Register still fails to deliver, PDF January 27, 2015.

Primodos Pregnancy Drug: Parents are Calling on the Scottish Government to Help

Campaigner Marie Lyon, chair of ACDHPT is interviewed by STV News

Parents who believe a pregnancy drug is linked to severe disabilities in their children are calling on the Scottish Government to help them in their fight for answers. Campaigner Marie Lyon, chair of the Association for Children Damaged by Hormone Pregnancy Tests (ACDHPT), is interviewed by STV News.

More about Primodos

Even more
  • Video published on 17 Feb 2015 by STV News channel.
  • Watch more media videos on @DES_Journal YouTube channel.

Diethylstilbestrol Exposure in Utero and Depression in Women

Understanding the relation between in utero DES exposure and depression will provide insight to the potential adverse effects of BPA

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The 2010 study found that women who were exposed to DES in utero had a higher risk of depressive symptoms and use of antidepressants, and that this increase in risk extended into their middle age. Image via Hartwig HKD.

2010 Study Abstract

Diethylstilbestrol (DES) is an estrogenic endocrine disruptor with long-term health effects, possibly including depression, following exposure in utero. Understanding the relation between in utero DES exposure and depression will provide insight to the potential adverse effects of bisphenol A , a functionally similar and ubiquitous endocrine disruptor. The association between in utero DES exposure and depression was assessed among participants in the Nurses’ Health Study II who first reported their history of antidepressant use in 1993 and lifetime history of depressive symptoms in 2001. DES exposure was reported by 1,612 (2.2%) women. A history of depression at baseline was higher among women exposed to DES in utero compared with those not exposed (age-adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.47, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.26, 1.72) (P < 0.001). Incident depression (first use of antidepressants among women who also reported depressive symptoms) during follow-up (1995–2005) was reported by 19.7% of women exposed to DES and 15.9% unexposed (age-adjusted OR = 1.41, 95% CI: 1.22, 1.63) (P < 0.001). Adjustment for risk factors of depression and correlates of DES exposure moderately attenuated the association (multivariable-adjusted OR = 1.30, 95% CI: 1.13, 1.51) (P = 0.0004). These results suggest that the neurophysiologic effects of in utero exposure to DES could lead to an increased risk of depression in adult life. Further research should assess whether in utero exposure to bisphenol A has similar adverse effects..


In summary, we found that women who were exposed to DES in utero had a higher risk of depressive symptoms and use of antidepressants, and that this increase in risk extended into their middle age. Although the possibility that some women became depressed because of awareness of their exposure status cannot be ruled out, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the physiologic effects of in utero exposure to DES lead to higher rates of depression during adult life. It remains to be established whether prenatal exposures to ubiquitous environmental chemicals that are structurally similar to DES and have similar estrogenic effects also increase the risk of depression.

Sources and Full Study
  • Diethylstilbestrol Exposure in Utero and Depression in Women, Am. J. Epidemiol. (2010) 171 (8): 876-882. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq023, March 23, 2010.
More DES DiEthylStilbestrol Resources

Lung Cancer Breathalyser on Clinical Trial in 2 NHS Hospitals this Summer

A breathalyser that can diagnose lung cancer will be used in two NHS hospitals this summer as part of a £1m clinical trial

A “breathalyser” – invented by Billy Boyle who founded the LUCID project – that can diagnose lung cancer will be used in two NHS hospitals this summer as part of a £1m clinical trial. The goal is to save the NHS an estimated £245m – but more importantly to save 10,000 lives.

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Phthalates are everywhere so what can I do?

Phthalates are used in everyday items, including cosmetics

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Phthalates are used in everyday items, including cosmetics. Image via Gilbert Rodriguez.

Lately, it seems like a new study on the health impacts of phthalates comes out every week. The chemicals are everywhere: they are used in everything from household cleaners to food packaging to fragrance, cosmetics, and personal-care products.

Consumers can take matters into their own hands by avoiding products packaged in “recycling-code-3” plastic, products that include the vague ingredient “fragrance” on their label, and purchasing organic products packaged in glass as much as possible.

Sources and more information

  • Phthalates are everywhere, and the health risks are worrying. How bad are they really?, theguardian, 2015/feb/10.
  • Chronic Hazard Advisory Panel (Chap) on Phthalates, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Report, July 2014.