Parents’ Preconception Well-Being Affects Child’s Future Health

A series of three articles, published online April 16 in the Lancet, shine a light on this critical period

Medscape Medical News reviewed emerging evidence showing that preconception health of the mother- and father-to-be — especially their diet and weight — affects fertilization, embryo development, and even their child’s risk of future cardiometabolic disease.

Health and nutrition of both men and women before conception is important not only for pregnancy outcomes but also for the lifelong health of their children and even the next generation. The preconception period can be seen in three different ways: from a biological standpoint as the days and weeks before embryo development; from the individual perspective as the time of wanting to conceive; and through a population lens as any time a women is of childbearing age. This Series of three papers highlights the importance and summarises the evidence of preconception health for future health and suggests context-specific interventions. It also calls for a social movement to achieve political engagement for health in this particular phase in life.

Before the beginning : nutrition and lifestyle in the preconception period and its importance for future health

Summary

A woman who is healthy at the time of conception is more likely to have a successful pregnancy and a healthy child. We reviewed published evidence and present new data from low-income, middle-income, and high-income countries on the timing and importance of preconception health for subsequent maternal and child health. We describe the extent to which pregnancy is planned, and whether planning is linked to preconception health behaviours. Observational studies show strong links between health before pregnancy and maternal and child health outcomes, with consequences that can extend across generations, but awareness of these links is not widespread. Poor nutrition and obesity are rife among women of reproductive age, and differences between high-income and low-income countries have become less distinct, with typical diets falling far short of nutritional recommendations in both settings and especially among adolescents. Several studies show that micronutrient supplementation starting in pregnancy can correct important maternal nutrient deficiencies, but effects on child health outcomes are disappointing. Other interventions to improve diet during pregnancy have had little effect on maternal and newborn health outcomes. Comparatively few interventions have been made for preconception diet and lifestyle. Improvements in the measurement of pregnancy planning have quantified the degree of pregnancy planning and suggest that it is more common than previously recognised. Planning for pregnancy is associated with a mixed pattern of health behaviours before conception. We propose novel definitions of the preconception period relating to embryo development and actions at individual or population level. A sharper focus on intervention before conception is needed to improve maternal and child health and reduce the growing burden of non-communicable diseases. Alongside continued efforts to reduce smoking, alcohol consumption, and obesity in the population, we call for heightened awareness of preconception health, particularly regarding diet and nutrition. Importantly, health professionals should be alerted to ways of identifying women who are planning a pregnancy.

Reference

Origins of lifetime health around the time of conception: causes and consequences

Summary

Parental environmental factors, including diet, body composition, metabolism, and stress, affect the health and chronic disease risk of people throughout their lives, as captured in the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease concept. Research across the epidemiological, clinical, and basic science fields has identified the period around conception as being crucial for the processes mediating parental influences on the health of the next generation. During this time, from the maturation of gametes through to early embryonic development, parental lifestyle can adversely influence long-term risks of offspring cardiovascular, metabolic, immune, and neurological morbidities, often termed developmental programming. We review periconceptional induction of disease risk from four broad exposures: maternal overnutrition and obesity; maternal undernutrition; related paternal factors; and the use of assisted reproductive treatment. Studies in both humans and animal models have demonstrated the underlying biological mechanisms, including epigenetic, cellular, physiological, and metabolic processes. We also present a meta-analysis of mouse paternal and maternal protein undernutrition that suggests distinct parental periconceptional contributions to postnatal outcomes. We propose that the evidence for periconceptional effects on lifetime health is now so compelling that it calls for new guidance on parental preparation for pregnancy, beginning before conception, to protect the health of offspring.

Reference

Intervention strategies to improve nutrition and health behaviours before conception

Summary

The nutritional status of both women and men before conception has profound implications for the growth, development, and long-term health of their offspring. Evidence of the effectiveness of preconception interventions for improving outcomes for mothers and babies is scarce. However, given the large potential health return, and relatively low costs and risk of harm, research into potential interventions is warranted. We identified three promising strategies for intervention that are likely to be scalable and have positive effects on a range of health outcomes: supplementation and fortification; cash transfers and incentives; and behaviour change interventions. On the basis of these strategies, we suggest a model specifying pathways to effect. Pathways are incorporated into a life-course framework using individual motivation and receptiveness at different preconception action phases, to guide design and targeting of preconception interventions. Interventions for individuals not planning immediate pregnancy take advantage of settings and implementation platforms outside the maternal and child health arena, since this group is unlikely to be engaged with maternal health services. Interventions to improve women’s nutritional status and health behaviours at all preconception action phases should consider social and environmental determinants, to avoid exacerbating health and gender inequalities, and be underpinned by a social movement that touches the whole population. We propose a dual strategy that targets specific groups actively planning a pregnancy, while improving the health of the population more broadly. Modern marketing techniques could be used to promote a social movement based on an emotional and symbolic connection between improved preconception maternal health and nutrition, and offspring health. We suggest that speedy and scalable benefits to public health might be achieved through strategic engagement with the private sector. Political theory supports the development of an advocacy coalition of groups interested in preconception health, to harness the political will and leadership necessary to turn high-level policy into effective coordinated action.

Reference

Global Exposure to Air Pollution and its Disease Burden : SOGA 2018 Report

Over 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air, study finds

More than 95% of the world’s population breathe unsafe air and the burden is falling hardest on the poorest communities, with the gap between the most polluted and least polluted countries rising rapidly, a comprehensive study of global air pollution has found.

More Information

  • State of global air 2018, stateofglobalair.
  • Over 95% of world’s population breathe dangerous air, study finds, euractiv, 17 Apr 2018.

Urban outdoor air pollution is a serious threat to healthy brain development which may set the conditions for neurodegenerative diseases

Severe Urban Outdoor Air Pollution and Children’s Structural and Functional Brain Development, From Evidence to Precautionary Strategic Action

According to the latest estimates, about 2 billion children around the world are exposed to severe urban outdoor air pollution. Transdisciplinary, multi-method findings from epidemiology, developmental neuroscience, psychology, and pediatrics, show detrimental outcomes associated with pre- and postnatal exposure are found at all ages. Affected brain-related functions include perceptual and sensory information processing, intellectual and cognitive development, memory and executive functions, emotion and self-regulation, and academic achievement. Correspondingly, with the breakdown of natural barriers against entry and translocation of toxic particles in the brain, the most common structural changes are responses promoting neuroinflammation and indicating early neurodegenerative processes. In spite of the gaps in current scientific knowledge and the challenges posed by non-scientific issues that influence policy, the evidence invites the conclusion that urban outdoor air pollution is a serious threat to healthy brain development which may set the conditions for neurodegenerative diseases. Such evidence supports the perspective that urgent strategic precautionary actions, minimizing exposure and attenuating its effects, are needed to protect children and their brain development.

… continue reading Severe Urban Outdoor Air Pollution and Children’s Structural and Functional Brain Development, From Evidence to Precautionary Strategic Action on Frontiers in Public Health, April 2018.

Featured image credit Bon Bahar.

Toxic substances linked to a range of adverse health impacts present in carpets sold in the EU

Swept under the rug: new report reveals toxics in European carpets threatening health, environment and circular economy

A new study identifies over 59 hazardous substances found in carpets sold in the EU, including endocrine disruptors and carcinogens, linked to serious health conditions such as cancers, learning disabilities and fertility problems. Exposure to these toxics via inhalation, ingestion and dermal contact proves extremely harmful to pregnant women, babies and small children who are particularly vulnerable to the effects of exposure to chemicals, as well as workers in the carpet industry who are exposed to those chemicals because of inadequate safety measures. Many of these toxic chemicals are also persistent polluters that stay in the environment and can cause adverse impacts on ecosystems. In some cases, health and environmental impacts only show decades later.

Hazardous toxics in carpets also pose additional obstacles to the recycling process, impacting the quality of the recycled end material and the cost-effectiveness of recycling. Less stringent regulations for recycled materials can lead to now-restricted chemicals persisting in recycled products and consequently harm health. In addition, at least 37 toxic substances have not been restricted and/or banned for use in carpets. Many of these have not even been fully evaluated for their health and environmental impacts. 10 substances are currently identified by the EU as Substances of Very High Concern (SVHC), of which only 4 are banned from the market.

The report contains a series of clear recommendations to the EU, Member States and manufacturers aimed at adopting a health-first approach towards the circular economy. It recommends protecting the environment and the health of European citizens by eliminating toxic substances, strengthening regulations for new products, consistent and faster chemicals regulation as well as producer responsibility and eco-design measures to ensure toxic-free carpets.

Reference.

Childhood Exposure to Flame Retardant Chemicals Declines but Do Not Disappear

Temporal trends and developmental patterns of plasma polybrominated diphenyl ether concentrations over a 15-year period between 1998 and 2013

NEW YORK (April 4, 2018) — Exposure to flame retardants once widely used in consumer products has been falling, according to a new study by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Although the chemicals were present in all children tested, the researchers are the first to show that levels of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) measured in children significantly decreased over a 15 year period between 1998 and 2013. The Center previously linked exposure to PBDEs with attention problems and lower scores on tests of mental and psychomotor development in children.

 

Toddlers had the highest concentrations of BDE in their blood than at any other age, possibly because they spend more time on the floor and have more contact with dust at this age.

Though levels of these flame retardants are decreasing over time, investigators found PBDEs in every child blood sample.

“These findings suggest that while pentaBDE levels have been decreasing since the phase-out, they continue to be detected in the blood of young children nearly 10 years following their removal from U.S. commerce”

says Whitney Cowell, the study’s first author and pediatric environmental health research fellow at Mt. Sinai.

“However, since the phase-out of PBDEs, we have begun to detect other flame retardant chemicals in children, which are likely being used as replacements.”

says senior author Julie Herbstman, associate professor of Environmental Health Sciences.

References

Public health disaster on the cards if pharmaceutical pollution is left unchecked

Pollution from pharmaceutical plants is harming ecosystems and leading to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) which could see more and more people dying from previously treatable diseases

Dear
Mr Timmermans,

We write in relation to the risks to human health and the environment posed by releases of pharmaceuticals into the environment. In particular, we are very concerned about how these releases affect ecosystems and are contributing to the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), one of the major threats to human health today. We would like to discuss with you the opportunities that the Commission has in the coming months to spearhead action against the global rise of drug resistance, including within the framework of its Proposal for a Regulation on veterinary medicinal products and its upcoming Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment.

In its report on Frontiers 2017: Emerging Issues of Environmental Concern, UN Environment identifies growing AMR linked to the discharge of drugs and particular chemicals into the environment as one of the most worrying health threats today. Indeed, experts view the promotion of antibiotic resistant bacteria as “by far the greatest human health risk” posed by the presence of pharmaceutical residues in the environment and note that, in addition to fostering the spread of resistant pathogens, antibiotic residues can also turn harmless environmental bacteria into carriers of resistance.

Europe’s AMR burden in terms of lives lost, morbidity, healthcare costs and productivity losses is much greater than currently available statistics suggest. Recent projections estimate a 15-fold increase in morbidity in Europe due to AMR by 2050, with 390,000 deaths every year as a result of drug-resistant infections. The use of antibiotics in intensive livestock farming promotes the development of resistant bacterial strains and the environment plays not only an important role in the spread of those, but also wildlife organisms and ecosystem services are at risk.

We are concerned that the pharmaceutical industry is currently excluded from any kind of environmental legislation, which is untenable in the light of the risk that pharmaceutical pollution poses to the environment and to human health. We expect legislative action from the Commission to tackle this issue, similar to the regulation of the chemical industry through REACH.

Since AMR is a quintessential cross-border issue, it is important that the EU-One Health Action Plan against AMR is supported by policy measures and legislation in other areas, along the lines with those proposed in our recent briefing on policy options to be considered in the context of the Strategic Approach to Pharmaceuticals in the Environment and the proposal for a Regulation on veterinary medicinal products to ensure that we tackle the problem in a comprehensive way.

We would therefore like to request a meeting with you to discuss the main policy measures available to successfully tackle this problem.

References

  • European Environmental Bureau, joint letter, 10 April 2018.
    Public health disaster on the cards if pharmaceutical pollution left unchecked say campaigners, metamag, 12 Apr 2018.
  • Policy options for regulating pharmaceuticals in the environment, eeb, Feb 2018.
  • Prevention is better than cure: Europe’s chance to act on AMR is now, epha, May 8, 2017.
  • Ecological Impacts of Veterinary Pharmaceuticals: More Transparency-Better Protection of the Environment, pan-germany.
  • Antibiotics in Livestock Farming. What can be done to reduce environmental threats and avoid the development of antibiotic
    resistance? pan-germany.
  • Antimicrobial resistance from environmental pollution among biggest emerging health threats, says UN Environment, unenvironment, dec 2017.
    Improving environmental risk assessment of human pharmaceutical, American Chemical Society, 2015.
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Tackling a crisis for the health and wealth of nations, amr-review, 2014.
  • Image credit oceancrusaders.

Connaître facilement et rapidement la composition de produits cosmétiques ; c’est possible

Analysons la composition de nos cosmétiques grâce à une app

Aujourd’hui, je vous fait découvrir INCI Beauty : une application mobile d’analyse cosmétique absolument géniale !

Les Essentiels d’Ana, 26 Janvier 2018.

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Analysons la composition de nos cosmétiques

Scanner un produit, s’informer sur un composant

INCI Beauty vous permet d’analyser simplement, rapidement et gratuitement la composition des produits cosmétiques.

  • possibilité de scanner des EAN8 (code barres à 8 chiffres)
  • possibilité de naviguer par catégorie de produit via l’écran de recherche
  • possibilité de rechercher un produit uniquement dans la catégorie sélectionnée
  • possibilité de trier les produits par pertinence, note décroissante (produits les mieux notés en premier) et note croissante
  • possibilité de filtrer les résultats de recherche. Par exemple par marque, par note, lieux de vente, etc.
  • historique des produits que vous avez consultés
  • possibilité de marquer des produits en tant que “Favoris
  • bouton sur l’écran d’accueil permettant d’accéder aux dernières photos prises avec l’application
  • les ingrédients inconnus sont associés à une fleur grise

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Chemicals in lavender and tea tree oil appear to be hormone disruptors

More evidence essential oils ‘make male breasts develop’

Chicago, IL – A new study lends further evidence to a suspected link between abnormal breast growth in young boys—called prepubertal gynecomastia—and regular exposure to lavender or tea tree oil, by finding that key chemicals in these common plant-derived oils act as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. The study results was at ENDO 2018, the Endocrine Society’s 100th annual meeting in Chicago.

Lavender and tea tree oil are among the so-called essential oils that have become popular in the United States as alternatives for medical treatment, personal hygiene and cleaning products, and aromatherapy. Various consumer products contain lavender and tea tree oil, including some soaps, lotions, shampoos, hair-styling products, cologne and laundry detergents.

“Our society deems essential oils as safe,” “However, they possess a diverse amount of chemicals and should be used with caution because some of these chemicals are potential endocrine disruptors.”

said study lead investigator J. Tyler Ramsey, a postbaccalaureate research fellow at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health.

An endocrine-disrupting chemical is a chemical in the environment that interferes with hormones and their actions in the body.

Lavender oil and tea tree oil pose potential environmental health concerns and should be investigated further

Male gynecomastia occurring before puberty is relatively rare, but a growing amount of cases have been reported to coincide with topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oil, and the condition went away after the boys stopped using the oil-containing products, Ramsey said. Researchers at the NIEHS, including Kenneth Korach, Ph.D., a co-investigator for the new study, previously found laboratory evidence that lavender and tea tree oil have estrogenic (estrogen-like) properties and anti-androgenic (testosterone inhibiting-like) activities, meaning they compete or hinder the hormones that control male characteristics, which could affect puberty and growth.

Under Korach’s direction, Ramsey and his NIEHS colleagues went a step further. From the hundreds of chemicals that comprise lavender and tea tree oil, they selected for analysis eight components that are common and mandated for inclusion in the oils. Four of the tested chemicals appear in both oils: eucalyptol, 4-terpineol, dipentene/limonene and alpha-terpineol. The others were in either oil: linalyl acetate, linalool, alpha-terpinene and gamma-terpinene. Using in vitro, or test tube, experiments, the researchers applied these chemicals to human cancer cells to measure changes of estrogen receptor- and androgen receptor-target genes and transcriptional activity.

All eight chemicals demonstrated varying estrogenic and/or anti-androgenic properties, with some showing high or little to no activity, the investigators reported. Ramsey said these changes were consistent with endogenous, or bodily, hormonal conditions that stimulate gynecomastia in prepubescent boys.

Of further concern, according to Ramsey, is that many of the chemicals they tested appear in at least 65 other essential oils. Essential oils are available without a prescription and are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Thus, the public should be aware of these findings and consider all evidence before deciding to use essential oils. The NIEHS Division of Intramural Research funded this study through its support of Korach.

7 Reasons to Ban Glyphosate

People tested discover the omnipresence of Glyphosate in their bodies

April 2016, members of the European Parliament (MEPs) volunteered to take a urine test to see if glyphosate—the cancer-linked weedkiller—was in their system. Forty-eight MEPs from 13 different European Union countries participated in the test, and the results were NOT good…

Sources

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