Psychological effects of diethylstilbestrol exposure

Guilt: the most common problem among DES mothers

This 1977 study concluded that sensitivity and good communication on the part of medical personnel are recommended.

Study Abstract

The Journal of The American Medical Association, doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03270300056007, January 17, 1977

The psychological response of daughters and their mothers to discovery of in utero diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure was studied.

At the DES Colposcopy Clinic, 41 daughters and 20 mothers were extensively interviewed. Twelve patients with abnormal cytology tests were controls.

Initial anxiety was usually followed by acceptance of the condition after examination and counseling. Patients responded best when informed of their problem by their mothers and when the relationship between mother and daughter was good. The majority of patients found colposcopy to be unpleasant; they tended to be disturbed in proportion to the degree of being upset about DES exposure. The most common problem among mothers was guilt.

A questionnaire survey of physicians showed that they had less concern for psychological problems than patients or mothers did. Sensitivity and good communication on the part of medical personnel are recommended.

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Environmental Exposures and Reproductive Outcomes: A Call to Action!

UCSF Linda Guidice lectures on reproductive effects of chemical exposures

Check out the slide at 09:40 – includes a DES advert. At 19:00 Linda C. Giudice mentions the Diethylstilbestrol and Thalidomide tragedies…

Presented by Linda C. Giudice, MD, PhD, MSc, Distinguished Professor and Chair, UCSF Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences (UCSF OB/GYN & RS) and Past President of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)

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Safer Chemicals: U.S. Senate passes the Toxic Substances Control Act Reform

The Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was passed by a unanimous voice vote

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After rocky road, U.S. Senate passes landmark TSCA chemical law overhaul.

The US Senate has passed the Frank R Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, by voice vote, to regulate the chemicals industry.

This move will pave way for overhauling the federal regulatory law for chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA).

The passage of the bill will set standards of safety, as well as strengthening government control in regulating all kinds of chemicals.

The bill, considered to be the first move towards drafting regulations for governing unsafe chemicals in around 40 years, seeks to provide a new set of protection for people, belonging to various quarters.

Sources and more information
  • After rocky road, U.S. Senate passes landmark chemical law overhaul, sciencemag, 17 December 2015.
  • US Senate passes chemical safety bill, chemicals-technology, 18 December 2015.

STILBOESTROL 0.1 mg Tablets by Organon Laboratories Ltd

Diethylstilbestrol DES was sold under many names…

image of a Stilboestrol-0.1-mg bottle
Diethylstilbestrol or DES was sold under many names. Image credit © Science Museum.

Diethylstilbestrol or DES was sold under many names including Distilbène®, Stilbetin®, Stilboestrol-Borne®, Benzestrol®, Chlorotrianisene®, Estrobene® and Estrosyn® to name just a few.

Many different companies manufactured and marketed this drug under more than 200 different brand names.

This glass bottle of Stilboestrol tablets 0.1 mg was manufactured by:
Organon Laboratories Ltd,
Brettenham House, London,
United Kingdom.

DES drugs pictures
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HIV, Women and Access to Clinical Trials: Tort Liability and Lessons from DES

Are we destined to repeat the DES experience with AZT use by pregnant women?

image of pregnant-woman-1950s
In the early 1950s, large controlled clinical trials of DES were conducted on pregnant women.

SELECTED Abstracts

The purpose of this Article is to examine the tort liability experience with DES, compare it to the recent and ongoing trials of AZT in pregnant women, and extract lessons that can be used to mitigate against the likelihood of tort liability and to encourage the inclusion of women of childbearing age in clinical trials.

… “Although many factors may have contributed to the underrepresentation of women in clinical studies, the potential exposure of drug trial sponsors to tort liability frequently is cited as one of the primary reasons for excluding women from trials. The true source of legal anxiety in the recruitment of female research subjects arises, however, not from a concern for women’s safety, but from the fear of potential injuries to their offspring. Observations and reports of birth defects in children of women who had been treated with thalidomide or bendectin brought liability concerns to the forefront.  When the courts held manufacturers liable for injuries caused to the offspring of women exposed to Diethylstilbestrol (DES), it became yet another reason for excluding pregnant women and women of childbearing age from clinical trials. “…

…”In the early 1950s, large controlled clinical trials of DES were conducted on pregnant women at the University of Chicago, which led to the cases of alleged research-related injury. Both cases were brought after the discovery of the carcinogenic potential of DES in offspring of women who had been given DES. In Mink v. University of Chicago,  three women, on behalf of themselves and approximately one thousand women who had participated in the trials, alleged injury, as well as increased risk of injury, to their daughters. In Wetherill v. University of Chicago, the plaintiffs were two daughters who had contracted cancer that they attributed to the DES that was administered to their mothers while they were pregnant. In both Mink and Wetherill the plaintiffs claimed that the women taking DES never knew that they were participating in an experiment or that they were even taking DES.

Read the Full Paper,
Volume 5:167, 1998.

In the hearing in Mink on whether the case brought by the mothers against the manufacturer and the institution conducting the research should be dismissed, the court held that the manufacturers had a duty to notify the women about the risks posed by DES at the time when the company became aware of them or should have become aware of them.63 The court permitted the battery allegations against the University of Chicago to stand, stating that nonemergency treatment performed without consent or knowledge raises a claim of battery. The case was settled with financial compensation to the plaintiffs and an agreement by the University of Chicago to provide medical services to women in the trials and to their offspring. In Wetherill, the court permitted the daughters to bring an action against the manufacturer and the University of Chicago. This case also settled, although the terms of the settlement were undisclosed.”…

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EU Commission breached law by failing to fulfil its legal obligations regarding EDCs

Rare moment: EU Commission abuse of power given by EP and council has been declared by EU highest court!

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By failing to adopt measures concerning the specification of scientific criteria for the determination of endocrine-disrupting properties, the Commission has breached EU law.

A rare and crucial court judgement against the EU Commission was released yesterday.
The EU Court of Justice found in favour of Sweden’s case against the Commission for failing to fulfil its legal obligations regarding EDCs.

Sweden took the EU Commission to court after it missed its legal deadline to put forward scientific criteria to identify hormone disrupting chemicals, also known as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) by the end of 2013. Several Member States, including Denmark, France, and the Netherlands joined the case, along with the entire EU Council of governments, and the EU Parliament.

The court found that the EU Commission had a clear obligation to adopt measures on the identification criteria by 13 December 2013 and no factors such as effects to the internal market, or putative scientific disputes changed that obligation. The court also found that no part of the regulation requires an impact analysis.

There was intense industry lobbying on EDCs which aimed to get an ‘impact assessment’, and the need to conduct this impact assessment is the reason the Commission gave for ignoring the law.

This is a rare moment: the Commission’s abuse of the power given it by Parliament and Council has been declared by Europe’s highest Court.
Will the Commission now curtail the Impact Assessment or will they continue regardless, with further delay at the expense of public health?

said Lisette van Vliet, Senior Policy Adviser, Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL).

EDCs interfere with the body’s highly sensitive hormone system. Studies point to EDCs causing obesity, diabetes and cancer. Even tiny amounts of EDCs pose particular risks to unborn children and infants. Policies are urgently needed to reduce human exposure. Costs attributable to exposure to a selected sample of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (with only the highest probability of causation) were recently estimated at €157 billion per year in the EU.

The EU Commission is currently conducting an impact assessment to analyse different options for defining the criteria for the identification of EDCs. The Commission intends the final criteria to serve for the biocides law, and the pesticides law (which has a similar requirement) as well as other laws that do not directly require identification criteria, such as the chemicals law REACH, and the cosmetics law. The impact assessment is expected to delay the setting EU criteria for defining EDCs until 2017 at the earliest.

HEAL has long maintained that is it not legitimate to conduct an assessment of social, economic and environmental impacts in order to determine scientific identification criteria. HEAL also insists that the delay on criteria is causing unnecessary further exposure of the public to EDCs, which is harmful for health.

Originally posted on 16 December 2015

Unborn child and children are most at risk of man-made chemicals

Green Pastures? behind the comic strip dialogue

For a healthier life, consume chemicals in moderation!
@HealthandEnv 2012.

Green pastures? the comic strip


Circulating Sex Hormones and Risk of Uterine Fibroids

Hormone plays previously unrecognized role in common fertility problem

image of estradiol
Elevated testosterone and estrogen levels may raise risk of uterine fibroids. test by outcast104.

Women who have high levels of both testosterone and estrogen in midlife may face a greater risk of developing benign tumors on the uterus called uterine fibroids than women with low levels of the hormones.

2015 Study Abstract

Estrogen has been implicated in the development of uterine fibroids. However, the contribution of androgen in women is unknown.

Our objective was to assess the longitudinal relations of circulating androgens and estradiol (E2) and their joint effects to the risk of developing fibroids.

This is a 13-year longitudinal study in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation.

This study was conducted in seven sites across the United States (1997–2013).

At baseline, 3240 pre- or early peri-menopausal women with an intact uterus, ages 45–52 years were included; 43.6% completed the follow-up. There were 512 incident and 478 recurrent fibroid cases.

We measured near-annual time-varying serum levels of bioavailable E2 and bioavailable T, dichotomized at the median (high vs low).

Main Outcomes and Measures:
We estimated the conditional odds ratio (OR) of fibroids in the ensuing year using discrete-time proportional odds models adjusted for race/ethnicity/site, age, body mass index, menopausal stage, reproductive factors, smoking, timing of blood draw, and FSH.

Women with high T had a statistically significant increased risk of incident fibroids (OR, 1.33; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01–1.76; P = .04), but not recurrent fibroids. This risk was further elevated in those with high T and E2 (OR, 1.52; 95% CI, 1.07–2.17; P = .02). High E2 and T was associated with lower risk of recurrent fibroids (OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.26–0.96; P = .04).

High T with high E2 was associated with an elevated risk of incident fibroids in midlife women who never reported fibroids before baseline. Conversely, the risk of recurrent fibroids was mitigated in women with high E2 and high T.

Sources and more information
  • Elevated Testosterone Levels May Raise Risk of Uterine Fibroids, Endocrine Society, December 15, 2015.
  • Circulating Sex Hormones and Risk of Uterine Fibroids: Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), Endocrine Society,, December 15, 2015.

Evidence of autism found in the composition and malfunction of the brain’s blood vessels

Scientists find new vessel for detecting autism

Evidence of autism may be found in the composition and malfunction of the brain’s blood vessels, a team of scientists has found. Autism Awareness by Melissa.

Scientists research sheds new light on the causes of autism, which previously had pointed to neurological make-up rather than to the vascular system, and identifies a new target for potential therapeutic intervention.

2015 Study Abstract

In the current work, we conducted an immunocytochemical search for markers of ongoing neurogenesis (e.g. nestin) in auditory cortex from postmortem sections of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and age-matched control donors.

Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Persistent Angiogenesis in the Autism Brain: An Immunocytochemical Study of Postmortem Cortex, Brainstem and Cerebellum, doi:10.​1007/​s10803-015-2672-6, 14 December 2015.

We found nestin labeling in cells of the vascular system, indicating blood vessels plasticity. Evidence of angiogenesis was seen throughout superior temporal cortex (primary auditory cortex), fusiform cortex (face recognition center), pons/midbrain and cerebellum in postmortem brains from ASD patients but not control brains. We found significant increases in both nestin and CD34, which are markers of angiogenesis localized to pericyte cells and endothelial cells, respectively.

This labeling profile is indicative of splitting (intussusceptive), rather than sprouting, angiogenesis indicating the blood vessels are in constant flux rather than continually expanding.

Scientists find new vessel for detecting autism,
New York University, December 16, 2015.

DiEthylStilbestrol Resources: DES Effects on The Genital Tract

NCBI advances science & health by providing access to biological information

DES Effects on The Genital Tract

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NCBI PubMed DiEthylStilbestrol Resources: DES Effects on The Genital Tract.
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