Some Prescription Drugs Side Effects, Infographic

Any medecine has a flip side…

Six Dangerous Prescription Drugs You Should Think Twice Before Taking

Womb transplantation approved for ten British women

Womb transplants given UK go-ahead

The first British baby to be born as a result of womb transplantation could arrive as soon as 2017, after doctors in the UK have given the green light for a clinical trial in which ten British women will undergo the procedure. Womb Transplant UK official logo image.

This post content is published by Womb Transplant UK, registered charity 1138559 that wishes to raise £500,000 to fund womb transplantation surgery.

Regulators give permission for ten transplants

The UK Womb Transplant Research team has been granted ethical permission to begin an expanded series of 10 womb transplant operations.

The head of the research team, Mr Richard Smith, a consultant gynaecologist at The Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London, said he was delighted with the news:

As we have seen from the tremendously successful womb transplant programme being carried out by our colleagues in Sweden, this operation is clearly a viable option for those women who otherwise have absolutely no chance of carrying their own baby.

“Absolute Infertility can bring with it terrible consequences for as many as 50,000 women of childbearing age in the UK who do not have a viable womb. We hope to begin a series of ten operations early in the New Year. However, we still need to raise around half a million pounds so that we can cover the costs of NHS services and complete our programme,” he said.

The womb transplant research programme will be open to women in a long term relationship, who are aged between 25 and 38 and who have normally functioning ovaries and their own eggs. They will be UK resident and will be eligible for NHS care.

The research team have received hundreds of requests from infertile women in recent years and currently has 104 women who meet the basic requirements for potential inclusion on the programme.

To find out more about Uterine Transplantation, please visit our fact sheet by clicking here.

To make a donation please visit UK Womb Transplant donate page or write to or call 0207 730 7077.

Sources and more information

  • UK Womb Transplant Research Team receives go-ahead to begin operations,
    Womb Transplant UK, 29 Sep 2015.
  • First 10 womb transplants approved to be carried out in the UK,
    generalandmedical, 30/09/2015..
  • Womb transplantation approved for 10 British women,
    medicalnewstoday, Wednesday 30 September 2015.

Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia associated with exposure to diethylstilbestrol in utero

Obstetical Gynecology, Clinical and Pathologic Study 1981

intraepithelial-neoplasia image
Orr JW Jr, Shingleton HM, Gore H, Austin JM Jr, Hatch KD, Soong SJ., Obstetrics and Gynecology 1981.

1981 Study Abstract

The anatomic, colposcopic, cytologic, and histologic findings of the cervix in 300 women exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero are reported.

Structural cervical abnormalities were found in 51.7% of these patients and an abnormal colposcopic examination was present in 50.6%. The initial interpretation of the pathologic specimens revealed that 26.6% of patients had cytologic or histologic evidence of cervical dysplasia. A uniform pathologic review demonstrated that 10.8% of the cytologic specimens and 37.5% of the histologic specimens had been overread by the initial pathologist. A correlation of the review cytology and histology revealed that the Papanicolaou smear sensitivity for the prediction of abnormal histology was 83.9% and specificity was 86.3%. The probability of an atypical cytologic finding predicting an abnormal histologic pattern was highly significant (P less than .00001). Colposcopic and structural cervical abnormalities were not predictive of an abnormal histologic diagnosis. Of the 18 patients (6%) with histologic evidence of mild-moderate dysplasia, 12 have been followed with no treatment, and cytologic and colposcopic examination has been normal. Marked dysplasia-carcinoma in situ was found in 14 patients (4.7%). Their therapy is summarized.

These data strongly suggest that women exposed to DES may be followed safely with Papanicolaou smears and colposcopic examinations provided that both cytopathologists and colposcopists are cognizant of the metaplastic changes in the DES progeny that distinguish them from patients with cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) who were not exposed to DES. Biopsy should be performed only if indicated by cytologic atypia, colposcopic evidence of advanced CIN, or the presence of an invasive lesion.

Sources and more information
  • Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia associated with exposure to diethylstilbestrol in utero: a clinical and pathologic study, Obstet Gynecol. 1981 Jul;58(1):75-82, NCBI PMID: 7195532.
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Big questions remains in cancer research

Trends in Cancer

cancer-crab image
Leading cancer researchers address eight of the “big questions” facing the field as part of the inaugural issue of Trends in Cancer, published by Cell Press.
  • How can knowing the mutations that cause a patient’s cancer shape treatment?
  • Can we reduce different cancers to a set of common traits?
  • Why should we care about the tumor microenvironment?
  • Does epigenetics play a role in cancer?
  • Will immunotherapy be a turning point in the fight against cancer?
  • Will p53 ever realize its promise?
  • Can differences in cancer cell metabolism be exploited?
  • Are mouse models still relevant to study human cancers?

Read Eight big questions in cancer research, medicalxpress, September 29, 2015.
Trends in Cancer, cellSeptember 2015.

The effects of the environment on reproductive development and cancer susceptibility

University of California Television, Dec 2011

Tracey Woodruff, Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment at UCSF, explores the effects of the environment on reproductive development and cancer susceptibility.

More info and videos

Seeing Nature through Gender

How endocrine disrupters are reinventing humans, animals, and water systems from the cellular level out

Seeing-Nature-through-Gender book cover image
How endocrine disrupters are reinventing humans, animals, and water systems from the cellular level out.

Environmental history has traditionally told the story of Man and Nature. Scholars have too frequently overlooked the ways in which their predominantly male subjects have themselves been shaped by gender. Seeing Nature through Gender here reintroduces gender as a meaningful category of analysis for environmental history, showing how women’s actions, desires, and choices have shaped the world and seeing men as gendered actors as well.

In thirteen essays that show how gendered ideas have shaped the ways in which people have represented, experienced, and consumed their world, Virginia Scharff and her coauthors explore interactions between gender and environment in history. Ranging from colonial borderlands to transnational boundaries, from mountaintop to marketplace, they focus on historical representations of humans and nature, on questions about consumption, on environmental politics, and on the complex reciprocal relations among human bodies and changing landscapes. They also challenge the “ecofeminist” position by challenging the notion that men and women are essentially different creatures with biologically different destinies.

Each article shows how a person or group of people in history have understood nature in gendered terms and acted accordingly often with dire consequences for other people and organisms. Here are considerations of the ways we study sexuality among birds, of William Byrd’s masking sexual encounters in his account of an eighteenth-century expedition, of how the ecology of fire in a changing built environment has reshaped firefighters’ own gendered identities. Some are playful, as in a piece on the evolution of “snow bunnies” to “shred betties.” Others are dead serious, as in a chilling portrait of how endocrine disrupters are reinventing humans, animals, and water systems from the cellular level out.

Aiding and adding significantly to the enterprise of environmental history, Seeing Nature through Gender bridges gender history and environmental history in unexpected ways to show us how the natural world can remake the gendered patterns we’ve engraved on ourselves and on the planet.

EDCs chemical exposure linked to rising diabetes, obesity risk

Exec. summary for new Scientific Statement on EDCs is available!

cash-register-receipt image
Known EDCs include BPA and BPS found in food can linings and cash register receipts, phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides. The endocrine disruptor chemicals are so common that all of us have been exposed to many of them.

Endocrine Society – Hormone Science to Health – releases Scientific Statement on Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals

Washington, DC – Emerging evidence ties endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure to two of the biggest public health threats facing society – diabetes and obesity, according to the executive summary of an upcoming Scientific Statement issued today by the Endocrine Society.

The statement’s release comes as Society experts are addressing a global meeting, the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4), in Geneva, Switzerland, on the importance of using scientific approaches to limit health risks of EDC exposure.

The statement builds upon the Society’s groundbreaking 2009 report, which examined the state of scientific evidence on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and the risks posed to human health. In the ensuing years, additional research has found that exposure is associated with increased risk of developing diabetes and obesity. Mounting evidence also indicates EDC exposure is connected to infertility, hormone-related cancers, neurological issues and other disorders.

EDCs contribute to health problems by mimicking, blocking or otherwise interfering with the body’s natural hormones. By hijacking the body’s chemical messengers, EDCs can alter the way cells develop and grow.

Known EDCs include bisphenol A (BPA) found in food can linings and cash register receipts, phthalates found in plastics and cosmetics, flame retardants and pesticides. The chemicals are so common that nearly every person on Earth has been exposed to one or more. An economic analysis published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in March estimated that EDC exposure likely costs the European Union €157 billion ($209 billion) a year in actual health care expenses and lost earning potential.

“The evidence is more definitive than ever before – EDCs disrupt hormones in a manner that harms human health,”

said Andrea C. Gore, Professor and Vacek Chair of Pharmacology at the University of Texas at Austin and chair of the task force that developed the statement.

“Hundreds of studies are pointing to the same conclusion, whether they are long-term epidemiological studies in human, basic research in animals and cells, or research into groups of people with known occupational exposure to specific chemicals.”

The threat is particularly great when unborn children are exposed to EDCs. Animal studies found that exposure to even tiny amounts of EDCs during the prenatal period can trigger obesity later in life. Similarly, animal studies found that some EDCs directly target beta and alpha cells in the pancreas, fat cells, and liver cells. This can lead to insulin resistance and an overabundance of the hormone insulin in the body – risk factors for Type 2 diabetes.

Epidemiological studies of EDC exposure in humans also point to an association with obesity and diabetes, although the research design did not allow scientists to determine causality. The research offers insights into factors driving the rising rates of obesity and diabetes. About 35 percent of American adults are obese, and more than 29 million Americans have diabetes, according to the Society’s Endocrine Facts and Figures report.

The Scientific Statement also examines evidence linking EDCs to reproductive health problems, hormone-related cancers such as breast and ovarian cancer, prostate conditions, thyroid disorders and neurodevelopmental issues. Although many of these conditions were linked to EDCs by earlier research, the number of corroborating studies continues to mount.

“It is clear we need to take action to minimize further exposure,”

Gore said.

“With more chemicals being introduced into the marketplace all the time, better safety testing is needed to identify new EDCs and ensure they are kept out of household goods.”

In the statement, the Society calls for:

  • Additional research to more directly infer cause-and-effect relationships between EDC exposure and health conditions.
  • Regulation to ensure that chemicals are tested for endocrine activity, including at low doses, prior to being permitted for use.
  • Calling upon “green chemists” and other industrial partners to create products that test for and eliminate potential EDCs.
  • Education for the public and policymakers on ways to keep EDCs out of food, water and the air, as well as ways to protect unborn children from exposure.

The statement also addresses the need to recognize EDCs as an international problem. Society members are currently meeting in Geneva for the fourth session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4). Attending members, including Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, MD, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Liège in Belgium, emphasize key principles of endocrinology that are confirmed by recent research need to be taken into account when developing policies for identifying and regulating endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

“Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals during early development can have long-lasting, even permanent consequences,”

said Bourguignon.

“The science is clear and it’s time for policymakers to take this wealth of evidence into account as they develop legislation.”

Other authors of the Scientific Statement include: Vesna Chappell and Suzanne E. Fenton of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, NC; Jodi A. Flaws of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Urbana, IL; Angel Nadal of the Institute of Bioengineering and CIBERDEM at Miguel Hernandez University of Elche in Elche, Alicante, Spain; Gail S. Prins of the University of Illinois at Chicago in Chicago, IL; Jorma Toppari of the University of Turku and Turku University Hospital in Turku, Finland; and R. Thomas Zoeller of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.

Executive Summary to EDC-2: The Endocrine Society’s Second Scientific Statement on Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals,” was published online in Endocrine Reviews, a journal of the Endocrine Society, at DOI:, September 28, 2015. Full PDF.

The Society will hold a Twitter chat on EDC exposure and associated health effects on Thursday, October 1 at 1 p.m. Eastern. Gore will serve as the expert and share information on the Scientific Statement. To follow the discussion moderated by @TheEndoSociety, use the hashtag #EndoChat.

Vaginal adenosis and diethylstilboestrol

The size of the problem in the UK is small, but clinicians should be aware that it exists

Cases of vaginal adenosis in young women should be investigated and screened appropriately, and preferably referred to centres where colposcopic expertise is available.

1984 Study Abstract

Unlike the effects of Thalidomide on the developing child, those of DES are not readily apparent at birth. The administration of diethylstilbestrol DES and its sequelae are in this respect a unique medical experience. Fortunately, with the realization that late sequelae occur, the use of the drug in pregnancy has been discontinued and the problems are likely to be self-limiting.

The link between DES and particularly the benign changes in the vagina and cervix (adenosis) seems well established. The association between this drug and the development of genital malignancies is less clear, and the very low incidence in the prospective studies in the USA supports this concept.

The size of the problem in the UK is small, but clinicians should be aware that it exists. Cases of vaginal adenosis in young women should be investigated and screened appropriately, and preferably referred to centres where colposcopic expertise is available. Treatment of simple vaginal adenosis should be avoided.

Sources and more information
  • Vaginal adenosis and diethylstilboestrol, British journal of hospital medicine 1984 Jan;31(1):42-8, NCBI PMID: 6697040.
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DiEthylStilbestrol Tablets, U.S.P. by Lilly

DES pills manufactured by Eli Lilly & Co, Indianapolis, USA

DiEthylStilbestrol-Tablets image
Watch our DES drugs album on Flickr. Image source: DES Action USA on Facebook.
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