Pink Ribbons, Inc. documentary poster

Pink ribbons are everywhere but who is really benefiting?

Pink ribbons are everywhere but who is really benefiting?

Pink ribbons are everywhere and make us feel good, as if we’re all engaged in a successful battle against breast cancer.

But who is really benefiting? After all, more and more women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. Maybe it’s the companies who wrap their products in pink to gain our admiration (and money)… and wouldn’t it be something if some of the very companies that profit from their pink marketing campaigns have actually contributed to the breast cancer epidemic by selling known carcinogens?

Pink Ribbons, Inc. goes inside the story to reveal those who have co-opted what marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause.”

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Prescription Opioids in Adolescence and Future Opioid Misuse

Prescription pain relievers place teens at greater risk for future drug misuse

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High school students who legitimately use an opioid prescription are one-third more likely to abuse the drug by age 23 than those with no history of the prescription, according to a new University of Michigan study.

2015 Study Abstract

Legitimate opioid use is associated with an increased risk of long-term opioid use and possibly misuse in adults. The objective of this study was to estimate the risk of future opioid misuse among adolescents who have not yet graduated from high school.

Prospective, panel data come from the Monitoring the Future study. The analysis uses a nationally representative sample of 6220 individuals surveyed in school in 12th grade and then followed up through age 23. Analyses are stratified by predicted future opioid misuse as measured in 12th grade on the basis of known risk factors. The main outcome is nonmedical use of a prescription opioid at ages 19 to 23. Predictors include use of a legitimate prescription by 12th grade, as well as baseline history of drug use and baseline attitudes toward illegal drug use.

Legitimate opioid use before high school graduation is independently associated with a 33% increase in the risk of future opioid misuse after high school. This association is concentrated among individuals who have little to no history of drug use and, as well, strong disapproval of illegal drug use at baseline.

Use of prescribed opioids before the 12th grade is independently associated with future opioid misuse among patients with little drug experience and who disapprove of illegal drug use. Clinic-based education and prevention efforts have substantial potential to reduce future opioid misuse among these individuals, who begin opioid use with strong attitudes against illegal drug use.

Sources and more information

  • Prescription Opioids in Adolescence and Future Opioid Misuse, pediatrics, (doi: 10.1542/peds.2015-1364), October 26, 2015.
  • Prescription pain relievers place teens at greater risk for future drug misuse, University of Michigan Regents, Michigan News, Oct 26, 2015.

Parabens in Personal Products and Breast Cancer

Lotion ingredient paraben may be more potent carcinogen than thought

image of parabens-in-personal-products
A group of chemicals commonly used in cosmetics and other personal-care products may stimulate the growth of breast cancer cells at doses much lower than previously thought. Parabens are a type of chemical preservative, and are found in a wide array of consumer products, including shampoos, body lotions and sunscreens

2015 Study Abstract

Xenoestrogens are synthetic compounds that mimic endogenous estrogens by binding to and activating estrogen receptors. Exposure to estrogens and some xenoestrogens has been associated with cell proliferation and increased risk of breast cancer. Despite evidence of estrogenicity, parabens are among the most widely used xenoestrogens in cosmetics and personal care products, and generally considered safe. However, previous cell based studies with parabens do not take into account the signaling cross-talk between estrogen receptor (ERα) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) family.

We investigated the hypothesis that the potency of parabens can be increased with HER ligands, such as heregulin (HRG).

The effects of HER ligands on paraben activation of c-Myc expression and cell proliferation were determined by real-time PCR, western blots, flow cytometry and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays in ERα- and HER2-positive human BT-474 breast cancer cells.

Butylparaben (BP) and HRG produced a synergistic increase in c-Myc mRNA and protein levels in BT-474 cells. Estrogen receptor antagonists blocked the synergistic increase in c-Myc protein levels. The combination of BP and HRG also stimulated proliferation of BT-474 cells compared to BP alone. HRG decreased the dose required for BP-mediated stimulation of c-Myc mRNA expression and cell proliferation. HRG caused the phosphorylation of serine 167 in ERα. BP and HRG produced a synergistic increase in ERα recruitment to the c-Myc gene.

Our studies demonstrate that HER ligands enhance the potency of BP to stimulate oncogene expression and breast cancer cell proliferation in vitro via ERα, suggesting that parabens might be active at exposure levels not previously considered toxicologically relevant from studies testing their effects in isolation.

Sources and more information
  • Parabens and Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Ligands Cross-Talk in Breast Cancer Cells, Environ Health Perspect; DOI:10.1289/ehp.1409200, 27 October 2015.
  • Lotion ingredient paraben may be more potent carcinogen than thought,, OCTOBER 27, 2015.
  • Chemicals in Personal Products May Stimulate Cancer More Than Thought, livescience, October 27, 2015

Monthly Breast Self-Exam Infographic

Hang this infographic in the bathroom or laminate it and hang it in the shower!

Hang this infographic in the bathroom or laminate it and hang it in the shower!

According to the Johns Hopkins Medical Center: “Forty percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump, so establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important”.

Intersex Friendly Resources

Happy #IntersexAwarenessDay ! #IAD #interACT

intersex-awareness banner
Media continues to play a vital role in spreading intersex awareness.

The Gay Straight Alliance Network, in collaboration with Inter/Act Youth, published a resource guide on How to Make Your GSA Intersex Friendly.

The work of the InterACT Youth Program continues to help spread awareness for the intersex movement. The most recent installment in the series of resource brochures published by the InterACT Youth Program, What We Wish Our Friends Knew, is referenced in the GSA Network Intersex resource.

The informative document includes a viewing guide to facilitate dialogue after GSA members watch the Buzzfeed video “What it’s like to be Intersex”.

Friendly Resources

  • PDF How to Make Your GSA Intersex Friendly.
  • PDF What we WISH our friends KNEW.
  • Video What it’s Like to Be Intersex.

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To Be Intersex explained on Video

What is it like to Be Intersex ?

A great video by Advocates for Informed Choice published on 23 June 2015, to share in celebration of ‪#‎IntersexAwarenessDay!.

More information
  • Featuring Alice Alvarez (AIC Board Member), Emily Quinn (Inter/Act Youth Leadership Coordinator) Pidgeon Pagonis (former AIC staffer), and Sean Saifa Wall (AIC Board President).
  • All our posts tagged intersex.
  • Read DES studies on fertility and gender identity.

Breast Cancer and Naptime Activism

Easy things you can do to raise breast cancer awareness

Naptime Activism cartoon
There are simple things you can do to raise awareness for breast cancer.

Because it might be hard to find a moment for yourself, Naptime Activism means you can do things to make the world better, safer, and cleaner – via simple things like signing petitions and sharing the word – while your child naps…

Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods

Toxic pesticides from GM food crops found in unborn babies

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Toxic pesticides which are implanted into genetically modified food crops have lodged in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn babies, 2011 research showed. The research suggested the chemicals were entering the body through eating meat, milk and eggs from farm livestock which have been fed GM corn. The findings appeared to contradict the GM industry’s long-standing claim that any potentially harmful chemicals added to crops would pass safely through the body.

2011 Study Abstract

Pesticides associated to genetically modified foods (PAGMF), are engineered to tolerate herbicides such as glyphosate (GLYP) and gluphosinate (GLUF) or insecticides such as the bacterial toxin bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). The aim of this study was to evaluate the correlation between maternal and fetal exposure, and to determine exposure levels of GLYP and its metabolite aminomethyl phosphoric acid (AMPA), GLUF and its metabolite 3-methylphosphinicopropionic acid (3-MPPA) and Cry1Ab protein (a Bt toxin) in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Blood of thirty pregnant women (PW) and thirty-nine nonpregnant women (NPW) were studied. Serum GLYP and GLUF were detected in NPW and not detected in PW. Serum 3-MPPA and CryAb1 toxin were detected in PW, their fetuses and NPW. This is the first study to reveal the presence of circulating PAGMF in women with and without pregnancy, paving the way for a new field in reproductive toxicology including nutrition and utero-placental toxicities.

More information
  • Maternal and fetal exposure to pesticides associated to genetically modified foods in Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada, NCBI PMID: 21338670, 2011 May.
    Full study PDF.
  • GM food toxins found in the blood of 93% of unborn babies, MailOnline, 20 May 2011

Google est au coeur de la médecine 2.0

Cours de Dominique Dupagne, 2010

Cours de Dominique Dupagne à l’Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) pour le Centre Edgar Morin en février 2010.

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Fetal valproate syndrome: clinical and neuro-developmental features

Developmental medicine and child neurology, 1994

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Children exposed in utero to valproate are at a high risk of serious developmental disorders and/or congenital malformations. Image Erik Schepers.

1994 Study Abstract

The clinical and neurodevelopmental features are presented of four children–two sibling pairs–who were exposed in utero to valproic acid. One of each pair of children presented for diagnosis and assessment of developmental delay; the other sibling was examined at a later date. Three of the children were globally developmentally delayed with marked speech disability, and had dysmorphic features consistent with fetal valproate syndrome. One also had features of infantile autism. The fourth child had some of the dysmorphic features connected with fetal valproate syndrome, but had normal intellect, with his verbal ability being significantly below his non-verbal ability. He currently attends a school for learning-disabled children.

Sources and more information
  • Fetal valproate syndrome: clinical and neuro-developmental features in two sibling pairs, Developmental medicine and child neurology, NCBI PMID: 7512516 36(4):361-9. 1994 Apr.