Effects of prenatal exposures to drugs on childhood development
” When a pregnant woman takes a drug, three generations are exposed simultaneously: the mother, the fetus, and, due to the fetal germline exposure, the future grandchildren. Far from being inert marbles of imperturbable DNA, fetal egg and sperm are sensitive and responsive to the uterine environment. This is largely due to a molecular phenomenon called “epigenetics,” which refers to the complex landscape of countless millions of tiny chemical switches that control gene expression. ”
Jill Escher’s quest could help solve autism mystery
” Jill Escher, a dark-haired dynamo of smarts and stamina, was gently stopping her son, Jonny, 14, from ripping up the mail. He had just emptied spice bottles on the table to make finger paints. Upstairs, Escher’s daughter, Sophie, 7, was sending out incomprehensible cries. It could mean that Sophie had opened a box of crayons, eaten some and rubbed the rest into the carpet, or smeared a tube of toothpaste on the mirror. And while Escher tried to calm Sophie, Jonny could be tossing his iPad over the fence, tearing all the ivories off the piano, chewing the furniture or wandering out into traffic. ”
Something a pregnant woman is exposed to may alter not just her children, but also her grandchildren – and possibly even subsequent generations. The power of pharmaceuticals to do just that came to light with DES, a synthetic estrogen that harmed at least two generations of offspring of women who took it.
Thanks to Jill Escher, scientists are considering how mothers taking fertility drugs in the 1950s and ’60s could be responsible for transgenerational abnormalities:
Diethylstilbestrol DES, the “safe and effective” multi-generational catastrophe
” Prenatal exposure to the once-popular synthetic estrogen drug DES caused a wide variety of developmental disturbances, including urogenital abnormalities, birth defects, infertility, altered gender behavior and identification, autoimmune diseases, psychiatric problems, vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer. Damage is now also confirmed in the grandchildren of the women who took the drugs. Though autism per se is not connected with this particular drug, the DES story provides an illustration of unforeseen multigenerational epigenetic impacts of synthetic hormone exposure. ”
” When we think of prenatal drug disasters, we usually think of the sedative thalidomide, which caused horrific birth defects, and synthetic estrogen DES, which caused cancer and infertility in offspring, among other horrors.
Ignored, however, have been the downstream effects of the extensive use of progestin drugs in obstetric and fertility practice from the late 1950s through today. Progestins, not estrogens, were the most widely used anti-miscarriage drugs during several decades of practice that placed near-unquestioning faith in modern pharmaceuticals combined with near-nonexistent concern about impacts on the fetus. ”
Jill Escher, from Prenatal Exposures Never Die, the blog about epigenetics, autism, and the multigenerational tragedy of prenatal pharmaceutical use, wrote to the FDA on April 11. 2013.
“ I am writing to urgently request that the FDA take immediate steps to suspend approval for the prenatal drug Diclegis pending appropriate safety testing for impacts to fetal germ cells, the precursor cells to the baby’s egg or sperm. In addition, I urge the FDA to take immediate steps to issue warnings regarding potential germline impact of all prenatally administered drugs… ”