Prenatal exposure to pesticide DDT linked to adult high blood pressure

Contact: Michele La Merrill mlamerrill@ucdavis.edu 347-791-1053 University of California – Davis

Infant girls exposed to high levels of the pesticide DDT while still inside the womb are three times more likely to develop hypertension when they become adults, according to a new study led by the University of California, Davis.

Previous studies have shown that adults exposed to DDT (dichlorodiplhenyltrichloroethane) are at an increased risk of high blood pressure. But this study, published online March 12 in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to link prenatal DDT exposure to hypertension in adults.

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a high risk factor for heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death in the United States and worldwide.

“The prenatal period is exquisitely sensitive to environmental disturbance because that’s when the tissues are developing,” said study lead author Michele La Merrill, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Toxicology.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned DDT in this country in 1972 after nearly three decades of use. However, the pesticide is still used for malaria control in other parts of the world, such as India and South Africa. That means children born in those areas could have a higher risk of hypertension as adults.

La Merrill said that traces of DDT, a persistent organic pollutant, also remain in the food system, primarily in fatty animal products.

The study examined concentrations of DDT in blood samples collected from women who had participated in the Child Health and Development Studies, an ongoing project of the nonprofit Public Health Institute. The CHDS recruited women who sought obstetric care through Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan in the San Francisco Bay Area between 1959 and 1967. They also surveyed the adult daughters of those women to learn if they had developed hypertension.

“Evidence from our study shows that women born in the U.S. before DDT was banned have an increased risk of hypertension that might be explained by increased DDT exposure,” said La Merrill. “And the children of people in areas where DDT is still used may have an increased risk, as well.”

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The study’s co-authoring institutions were the Public Health Institute and Columbia University.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

About UC Davis

For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has more than 33,000 students, more than 2,500 faculty and more than 21,000 staff, an annual research budget of nearly $750 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

Yale study links common chemicals to osteoarthritis : perfluorinated chemicals

Contact: Michelle Bell michelle.bell@yale.edu 203-432-9869 Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

New Haven, Conn. – A new study has linked exposure to two common perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) with osteoarthritis. PFCs are used in more than 200 industrial processes and consumer products including certain stain- and water-resistant fabrics, grease-proof paper food containers, personal care products, and other items. Because of their persistence, PFCs have become ubiquitous contaminants of humans and wildlife. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, is the first to look at the associations between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), and osteoarthritis, in a study population representative of the United States.

“We found that PFOA and PFOS exposures are associated with higher prevalence of osteoarthritis, particularly in women, a group that is disproportionately impacted by this chronic disease,” said Sarah Uhl, who authored the study along with Yale Professor Michelle L. Bell and Tamarra James-Todd, an epidemiologist at the Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The research was the focus of Uhl’s Master’s of Environmental Science Program at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The authors analyzed data from six years of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES, 2003-2008), which enabled them to account for factors such as age, income, and race/ethnicity. When the researchers looked at men and women separately, they found clear, strong associations for women, but not men. Women in the highest 25% of exposure to PFOA had about two times the odds of having osteoarthritis compared to those in the lowest 25% of exposure.

Although production and usage of PFOA and PFOS have declined due to safety concerns, human and environmental exposure to these chemicals remains widespread. Future studies are needed to establish temporality and shed light on possible biological mechanisms. Reasons for differences in these associations between men and women, if confirmed, also need further exploration. Better understanding the health effects of these chemicals and identifying any susceptible subpopulations could help to inform public health policies aimed at reducing exposures or associated health impacts.

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Experiments show bisphenol S also disrupts hormone activity: BPS

Contact: Jim Kelly jpkelly@utmb.edu 409-772-8791 University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

BPA substitute could spell trouble

A few years ago, manufacturers of water bottles, food containers, and baby products had a big problem. A key ingredient of the plastics they used to make their merchandise, an organic compound called bisphenol A, had been linked by scientists to diabetes, asthma and cancer and altered prostate and neurological development. The FDA and state legislatures were considering action to restrict BPA’s use, and the public was pressuring retailers to remove BPA-containing items from their shelves.

The industry responded by creating “BPA-free” products, which were made from plastic containing a compound called bisphenol S. In addition to having similar names, BPA and BPS share a similar structure and versatility: BPS is now known to be used in everything from currency to thermal receipt paper, and widespread human exposure to BPS was confirmed in a 2012 analysis of urine samples taken in the U.S., Japan, China and five other Asian countries.

According to a study by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers, though, BPS also resembles BPA in a more problematic way. Like BPA, the study found, BPS disrupts cellular responses to the hormone estrogen, changing patterns of cell growth and death and hormone release. Also like BPA, it does so at extremely low levels of exposure.

“Our studies show that BPS is active at femtomolar to picomolar concentrations just like endogenous hormones —that’s in the range of parts per trillion to quadrillion,” said UTMB professor Cheryl Watson, senior author of a paper on the study now online in the advance publications section of Environmental Health Perspectives. “Those are levels likely to be produced by BPS leaching from containers into their contents.”

Watson and graduate student René Viñas conducted cell-culture experiments to examine the effects of BPS on a form of signaling that involves estrogen receptors — the “receivers” of a biochemical message — acting in the cell’s outer membrane instead of the cell nucleus. Where nuclear signaling involves interaction with DNA to produce proteins and requires hours to days, membrane signaling (also called “non-genomic” signaling) acts through much quicker mechanisms, generating a response in seconds or minutes.

Watson and Viñas focused on key biochemical pathways that are normally stimulated when estrogen activates membrane receptors. One, involving a protein known as ERK, is linked to cell growth; another, labeled JNK, is tied to cell death. In addition, they examined the ability of BPS to activate proteins called caspases (also linked to cell death) and promote the release of prolactin, a hormone that stimulates lactation and influences many other functions.

“These pathways form a complicated web of signals, and we’re going to need to study them more closely to fully understand how they work,” Watson said. “On its own, though, this study shows us that very low levels of BPS can disrupt natural estrogen hormone actions in ways similar to what we see with BPA. That’s a real cause for concern.”

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This research was supported by the Passport Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Fetal exposure to PVC plastic chemical linked to obesity in offspring: Over multiple generations

Contact: Tom Vasich tmvasich@uci.edu 949-824-6455 University of California – Irvine

UCI study identifies transgenerational effects of obesogen compound tributyltin

Irvine, Calif. — Exposing pregnant mice to low doses of the chemical tributyltin – which is used in marine hull paint and PVC plastic – can lead to obesity for multiple generations without subsequent exposure, a UC Irvine study has found.

After exposing pregnant mice to TBT in concentrations similar to those found in the environment, researchers saw increased body fat, liver fat and fat-specific gene expression in their “children,” “grandchildren” and “great-grandchildren” – none of which had been exposed to the chemical.

These findings suggest that early-life exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds such as TBT can have permanent effects of fat accumulation without further exposure, said study leader Bruce Blumberg, UC Irvine professor of pharmaceutical sciences and developmental & cell biology. These effects appear to be inherited without DNA mutations occurring.

The study appears online Jan. 15 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.

Human exposure to TBT can occur through PVC plastic particles in dust and via leaching of the chemical and other related organotin compounds from PVC pipes and containers.

Significant levels of TBT have been reported in house dust – which is particularly relevant for young children who may spend significant time on floors and carpets. Some people are exposed by ingesting seafood contaminated with TBT, which has been used in marine hull paint and is pervasive in the environment.

Blumberg categorizes TBT as an obesogen, a class of chemicals that promote obesity by increasing the number of fat cells or the storage of fat in existing cells. He and his colleagues first identified the role of obesogens in a 2006 publication and showed in 2010 that TBT acts in part by modifying the fate of mesenchymal stem cells during development, predisposing them to become fat cells.

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UC Irvine developmental & cell biology postdoctoral fellow Raquel Chamorro Garcia undergraduate student Margaret Sahu and former students Rachelle Abbey, Jhyme Laude and Nhieu Pham contributed to the current study, which was supported by the National Institutes of Health (grants ES-015849 and ES-015849-01S1).

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UC Irvine is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UC Irvine contributes an annual economic impact of $4.3 billion. For more UC Irvine news, visit news.uci.edu.

News Radio: UC Irvine maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.

Contact:

Tom Vasich 949-824-6455 tmvasich@uci.edu

UCI maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media. To access, visit www.today.uci.edu/experts.

Prenatal exposure to pesticides linked to attention problems

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Sarah Yang scyang@berkeley.edu 510-643-7741 University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley — Children who were exposed to organophosphate pesticides while still in their mother’s womb were more likely to develop attention disorders years later, according to a new study by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

The new findings, to be published Aug. 19 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP), are the first to examine the influence of prenatal organophosphate exposure on the later development of attention problems. The researchers found that prenatal levels of organophosphate metabolites were significantly linked to attention problems at age 5, with the effects apparently stronger among boys.

Earlier this year, a different study by researchers at Harvard University associated greater exposure to organophosphate pesticides in school-aged children with higher rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms.

“These studies provide a growing body of evidence that organophosphate pesticide exposure can impact human neurodevelopment, particularly among children,” said the study’s principal investigator, Brenda Eskenazi, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. “We were especially interested in prenatal exposure because that is the period when a baby’s nervous system is developing the most.”

The study follows more than 300 children participating in the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), a longitudinal study led by Eskenazi that examines environmental exposures and reproductive health. Because the mothers and children in the study are Mexican-Americans living in an agricultural community, their exposure to pesticides is likely higher and more chronic, on average, than that of the general U.S. population.

Yet, the researchers pointed out that the pesticides they examined are widely used, and that the results from this study are a red flag that warrants precautionary measures.

“It’s known that food is a significant source of pesticide exposure among the general population,” said Eskenazi. “I would recommend thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables before eating them, especially if you’re pregnant.”

Organophosphate pesticides act by disrupting neurotransmitters, particularly acetylcholine, which plays an important role in sustaining attention and short-term memory.

“Given that these compounds are designed to attack the nervous system of organisms, there is reason to be cautious, especially in situations where exposure may coincide with critical periods of fetal and child development,” said study lead author Amy Marks, who was an analyst at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health at the time of the study.

Many of these same UC Berkeley researchers are also finding that children with certain genetic traits may be at greater risk, a finding that is being published the same day in a separate EHP paper. That study found that 2-year-olds with lower levels of paraoxonase 1 (PON1), an enzyme that breaks down the toxic metabolites of organophosphate pesticides, had more neurodevelopmental delays than those with higher levels of the enzyme. The authors suggest that people with certain PON1 genotypes could be particularly vulnerable to pesticide exposure.

In the study on attention problems, researchers tested for six metabolites of organophosphate pesticides in mothers twice during pregnancy and in the children several times after birth. Together, the metabolites represent the breakdown products of about 80 percent of all the organophosphate pesticides used in the Salinas Valley.

The researchers then evaluated the children at age 3.5 and 5 years for symptoms of attention disorders and ADHD using maternal reports of child behavior, performance on standardized computer tests, and behavior ratings from examiners. They controlled for potentially confounding factors such as birthweight, lead exposure and breastfeeding.

Each tenfold increase in prenatal pesticide metabolites was linked to having five times the odds of scoring high on the computerized tests at age 5, suggesting a greater likelihood of a child having clinical ADHD. The effect appeared to be stronger for boys than for girls.

While a positive link between prenatal pesticide exposure and attention problems was seen for 3.5-year-olds, it was not statistically significant, a finding that did not surprise the researchers.

“Symptoms of attention disorders are harder to recognize in toddlers, since kids at that age are not expected to sit down for significant lengths of time,” said Marks. “Diagnoses of ADHD often occur after a child enters school.”

The UC Berkeley researchers are continuing to follow the children in the CHAMACOS study as they get older, and expect to present more results in the years to come.

The findings add to the list of chemical assaults that have been linked to ADHD in recent years. In addition to pesticides, studies have found associations with exposure to lead and to phthalates, which are commonly used in toys and plastics.

“High levels of the symptoms of ADHD by age 5 are a major contributor to learning and achievement problems in school, accidental injuries at home and in the neighborhood, and a host of problems in peer relationships and other essential competencies,” said UC Berkeley psychology professor Stephen Hinshaw, one of the country’s leading experts on ADHD, who was not part of this study. “Finding preventable risk factors is therefore a major public health concern.”

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Other co-authors of the paper on attention problems are Kim Harley, Asa Bradman, Katherine Kogut and Caroline Johnson at UC Berkeley’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research; Dana Boyd Barr at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health; and Norma Calderon at the Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas.

The authors of the PON1 paper include Nina Holland and Karen Huen at UC Berkeley’s Center for Children’s Environmental Health Research.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety helped fund this research.

85th Health Research Report 12 JUL 2010 – Reconstruction

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Health Research Report

85th Issue 12 JUL 2010

Compiled By Ralph Turchiano

www.vit.bz

www.youtube.com/vhfilm 

www.facebook.com/engineeringevil

www.engineeringevil.com  

www.healthresearchreport.me 

120922_0002

 Editors top five:

1. Study demonstrates pine bark naturally reduces hay fever symptoms

2. Increasing Fertility Threefold

3. Antioxidants do help arteries stay healthy

4. Early life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

5. Polio research gives new insight into tackling vaccine-derived poliovirus

In this Issue:

1. Flame retardant linked to altered thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy

2. Lemurs lose weight with ‘life-extending’ supplement

3. Progesterone (NOT Progestin) is effective for hot flash treatment and provides an alternative to estrogen

4. Early life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

5. Coffee may protect against head and neck cancers

6. Gut bacteria could be key indicator of colon cancer risk

7. Polio research gives new insight into tackling vaccine-derived poliovirus

8. Study demonstrates pine bark naturally reduces hay fever symptoms

9. Stanford study uses genetic approach to manipulate microbes in gut

10. Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby

11. Ingredient in red wine may prevent some blinding diseases

12. Vitamin D and mental agility in elders

13. Study shows how dietary supplement may block cancer cells

14. Virgin olive oil and a Mediterranean diet fight heart disease by changing how our genes function

15. Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria

16. New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression

17. HIGH FRUCTOSE DIET MAY CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE

18. Low vitamin D linked to the metabolic syndrome in elderly people

19. New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression

20. Increasing Fertility Threefold

21. Antioxidants do help arteries stay healthy

22. Cocoa flavanols could more than double cells associated with repair and maintenance of blood vessels, according to Mars Inc. research

Public release date: 21-Jun-2010

Flame retardant linked to altered thyroid hormone levels during pregnancy

Berkeley — Pregnant women with higher blood levels of a common flame retardant had altered thyroid hormone levels, a result that could have implications for fetal health, according to a new study led by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley.

“This is the first study with a sufficient sample size to evaluate the association between PBDE flame retardants and thyroid function in pregnant women,” said the study’s lead author, Jonathan Chevrier, a UC Berkeley researcher in epidemiology and in environmental health sciences. “Normal maternal thyroid hormone levels are essential for normal fetal growth and brain development, so our findings could have significant public health implications. These results suggest that a closer examination between PBDEs and these outcomes is needed.”

PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, are a class of organobromine compounds found in common household items such as carpets, textiles, foam furnishings, electronics and plastics. U.S. fire safety standards implemented in the 1970s led to increased use of PBDEs, which can leach out into the environment and accumulate in human fat cells.

Studies suggest that PBDEs can be found in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, and at levels 20 times higher than those of people in Europe. Because of California’s flammability laws, residents in this state have some of the highest exposures to PBDEs in the world.

“Despite the prevalence of these flame retardants, there are few studies that have examined their impact on human health,” said the study’s principal investigator, Brenda Eskenazi, UC Berkeley professor of epidemiology and of maternal and child health. “Our results suggest that exposure to PBDE flame retardants may have unanticipated human health risks.”

The new study, to be published June 21 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is the second study to come out this year from Eskenazi’s research group linking PBDEs to human health effects. Eskenazi was the principal investigator on the earlier study that found that women with higher exposures to flame retardants took longer to get pregnant.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed blood samples from 270 women taken around the end of their second trimester of pregnancy. The women in the study were part of a larger longitudinal study from the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS) that examines environmental exposures and reproductive health.

The researchers measured concentrations of 10 PBDE chemicals, two types of thyroxine (T4) and thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). They controlled for such factors as maternal smoking, alcohol and drug use, and exposure to lead and pesticides.

Analysis focused on the five PBDE chemicals that were detected most frequently and are components of a mixture called pentaBDE. The researchers found that a 10-fold increase in each of the PBDE chemicals was associated with decreases in TSH ranging from 10.9 percent to 18.7 percent. When the five PBDEs were analyzed together, a tenfold increase was linked to a 16.8 percent decrease in TSH.

The study did not find a statistically significant effect of PBDE concentrations on levels of T4. With one exception, all the women in the study with low TSH levels had normal free T4 levels, which corresponds to the definition of subclinical hyperthyroidism. The study found that odds of subclinical hyperthyroidism were increased 1.9 times for each tenfold increase in PBDE concentrations.

“Low TSH and normal T4 levels are an indication of subclinical hyperthyroidism, which is often the first step leading toward clinical hyperthyroidism,” said Chevrier. “Though the health effect of subclinical hyperthyroidism during pregnancy is not well understood, maternal clinical hyperthyroidism is linked to altered fetal neurodevelopment, increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth and intrauterine growth retardation.”

Exactly how flame retardants influence TSH levels is unclear, the researchers said, but animal studies have shown that certain PBDEs can mimic thyroid hormones.

In addition to the commercial mixture pentaBDE, octaBDE and decaBDE have been developed for use as commercial flame retardants. PentaBDE and octaBDE have both been banned for use by the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, the European Union and eight U.S. states, including California, but they are still present in products made before 2004.

The production of decaBDE by major manufacturers is scheduled to be phased out in the United States by 2013. However, pentaBDE and decaBDE are being replaced by new brominated and chlorinated compounds whose impact on human health is not yet clear, the researchers noted.

Public release date: 21-Jun-2010

Lemurs lose weight with ‘life-extending’ supplement

The anti-obesity properties of resveratrol have been demonstrated for the first time in a primate. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Physiology studied the compound, generated naturally by plants to ward off pathogens, which has received much interest as a dietary supplement for its supposed life-extending effects.

Fabienne Aujard, from the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France, worked with a team of researchers to investigate the effect of dietary supplementation with resveratrol on the weight, metabolism and energy intake of six mouse lemurs. She said, “The physiological benefits of resveratrol are currently under intensive investigation, with recent work suggesting that it could be a good candidate for the development of obesity therapies. We’ve found that lemurs eating a diet supplemented with the compound decreased their energy intake by 13% and increased their resting metabolic rate by 29%”.

The researchers demonstrated that a four-week resveratrol supplementation was associated with a decrease in food intake and a reduction in seasonal body-mass gain. The response to resveratrol supplementation also involved significant changes in the animals’ body temperatures. According to Dr Aujard, “These results provide novel information on the potential effects of resveratrol on energy metabolism and control of body mass in a primate”.

Public release date: 21-Jun-2010

Progesterone (NOT Progestin)  is effective for hot flash treatment and provides an alternative to estrogen

Postmenopausal women who experience bothersome hot flashes or night sweats may have an alternative treatment to estrogen. According to a new study, oral micronized progesterone relieves those symptoms. The results will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“This is the first evidence that oral micronized progesterone, which is molecularly identical to the natural hormone, is effective for women with symptomatic hot flashes,” said the presenting author, Jerilynn Prior, MD, professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

Available only by prescription and sold under the brand name Prometrium in the United States and Canada, this form of progesterone is manufactured from a steroid in yams.

“Vasomotor symptoms”—hot flashes (sometimes called hot flushes) and night sweats—are experienced by most women during the years around the final menstrual period. In the most symptomatic women (at least 5-10%) these symptoms disturb sleep, energy and quality of life, Prior said.

The researchers recruited 114 healthy postmenopausal women seeking hormonal therapy for hot flashes and night sweats and randomly assigned them to take either oral micronized progesterone or an inactive substance (placebo), both as three round capsules at bedtime. Neither the women nor the study team members were aware which treatment the study participants received during the three months of therapy. The time since their last menstrual flow was one to 10 years, with an average of four years. To be eligible to participate in the study, women could not have taken ovarian hormone therapy within the past six months.

Prior and Christine Hitchcock, PhD, of the University of British Columbia, calculated the average daily vasomotor symptom score, or VMSScore, from the data that subjects recorded in a daily diary. This score reflects both intensity and number for hot flashes and night sweats each day.

Progesterone, in a 300-milligram dose, was more effective than placebo at decreasing the intensity and number of symptoms, the authors reported, and the difference was both statistically significant and clinically important. The 68 women taking progesterone showed a 56% improvement from baseline in VMSScore, and a 48% reduction in the number of VMS; the 46 women taking placebo had 28% lower VMSScores and a 22% reduction in number.

“Women improve very quickly on oral micronized progesterone. The improvement is apparent within the first 4 weeks,” Prior said.

Micronized progesterone did not cause any serious side effects, she said. The drug may be an option for postmenopausal women who do not want to or should not take estrogen—”currently the only effective therapy for decreasing severe vasomotor symptoms,” Prior said.

 

Public release date: 21-Jun-2010

Early life exposure to BPA may affect testis function in adulthood

Exposure to environmental levels of the industrial chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, in the womb and early life may cause long-lasting harm to testicular function, according to a new study conducted in animals. The results are being presented Monday at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“We are seeing changes in the testis function of rats after exposure to BPA levels that are lower than what the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency consider safe exposure levels for humans,” said Benson Akingbemi, PhD, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at Auburn (Ala.) University. “This is concerning because large segments of the population, including pregnant and nursing mothers, are exposed to this chemical.”

Many hard plastic bottles and canned food liners contain BPA, as do some dental sealants. BPA acts in a similar manner as the female sex hormone estrogen and has been linked to female infertility. This chemical is present in placenta and is able to pass from a mother into her breast milk. In their study of the male, Akingbemi and colleagues saw harmful effects of BPA at the cellular level, specifically in Leydig cells. These cells in the testis secrete testosterone, the main sex hormone that supports male fertility. After birth, Leydig cells gradually acquire the capacity for testosterone secretion, Akingbemi explained.

The process of testosterone secretion was decreased in male offspring of female rats that received BPA during pregnancy and while nursing. The mothers were fed BPA in olive oil at a dose of either 2.5 or 25 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Akingbemi said this is below the daily upper limit of safe exposure for humans, which federal guidelines currently put at 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. A control group of pregnant rats received olive oil without BPA. Male offspring, after weaning at 21 days of age, received no further exposure to BPA.

Using a combination of analytical methods, the investigators studied the development of Leydig cells in male offspring. The capacity for testosterone secretion was assessed at 21, 35 and 90 days of age. The amount of testosterone secreted per Leydig cell was found to be much lower in male offspring after early-life exposure to BPA than in offspring from control unexposed animals.

“Although BPA exposure stopped at 21 days of age, BPA’s effects on Leydig cells, which were seen immediately at the end of exposure and at 35 days, remained apparent until 90 days of age, when the rats reached adulthood,” Akingbemi said. “Therefore, the early life period is a sensitive window of exposure to BPA and exposure at this time may affect testis function into adulthood.”

Ralph’s Note – So 20x less than the safe EPA limit, Can mess you up for life.

 

Public release date: 22-Jun-2010

Coffee may protect against head and neck cancers

PHILADELPHIA — Data on the effects of coffee on cancer risk have been mixed. However, results of a recent study add to the brewing evidence that drinking coffee protects against cancer, this time against head and neck cancer.

Full study results are published online first in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Using information from a pooled-analysis of nine studies collected by the International Head and Neck Cancer Epidemiology (INHANCE) consortium, participants who were regular coffee drinkers, that is, those who drank an estimated four or more cups a day, compared with those who were non-drinkers, had a 39 percent decreased risk of oral cavity and pharynx cancers combined.

Data on decaffeinated coffee was too sparse for detailed analysis, but indicated no increased risk. Tea intake was not associated with head and neck cancer risk.

The association is more reliable among those who are frequent, regular coffee drinkers, consuming more than four cups of coffee a day.

“Since coffee is so widely used and there is a relatively high incidence and low survival rate of these forms of cancers, our results have important public health implications that need to be further addressed,” said lead researcher Mia Hashibe, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of family and preventive medicine at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, and a Huntsman Cancer Institute investigator.

“What makes our results so unique is that we had a very large sample size, and since we combined data across many studies, we had more statistical power to detect associations between cancer and coffee,” she said.

At the AACR Frontiers in Cancer Prevention Research Conference last December, researchers from Harvard presented data that showed a strong inverse association between coffee consumption and the risk of lethal and advanced prostate cancers — men who drank the most coffee had a 60 percent lower risk of aggressive prostate cancer than men who did not drink any coffee.

More recently, results of another study published in the January issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed a decreased risk of gliomas, or brain tumors, associated with coffee. This association was found among those who drank five or more cups of coffee or tea a day, according the researchers from the Imperial College, London.

Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention editorial board member Johanna W. Lampe, Ph.D., R.D., believes this current analysis by Hashibe and colleagues provides strong, additional evidence for an association between caffeinated coffee drinking and cancer risk.

“The fact that this was seen for oral and pharyngeal cancers, but not laryngeal cancers, provides some evidence as to a possible specificity of effect,” said Lampe, who is a full member and associate division director in the division of public health sciences at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle., Wash.

“These findings provide further impetus to pursue research to understand the role of coffee in head and neck cancer prevention,” she added. Lampe is not associated with this study.

Additional research is warranted to characterize the importance of timing and duration of exposure and possible mechanisms of action, according to Hashibe.

Public release date: 22-Jun-2010

Gut bacteria could be key indicator of colon cancer risk

A new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine suggests that a shift in the balance between the “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria that populate our gut could be a harbinger of colon cancer.

Bacteria (in red) localized to the intestinal mucus layer. Image provided by the Keku laboratory, UNC School of Medicine.

Media contacts: Les Lang, (919) 966-9366, llang@med.unc.edu or Tom Hughes, (919) 966-6047, tahughes@unch.unc.edu

CHAPEL HILL – The human body contains more bacteria than it does cells. These bacterial communities can have a positive effect on our health, by training our immune systems and helping to metabolize the foods we eat. But they can also set us up to develop digestive disorders, skin diseases, and obesity.

Now a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine suggests that a shift in the balance between the “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria that populate our gut could be a harbinger of colon cancer.

The findings, which will appear online in the May/June 2010 issue of the journal Gut Microbes, could lead to strategies to identify people who are at high risk as well as ways to manipulate the microbiota to prevent colon cancer.

“We think something happens to tip the balance away from the beneficial bacteria and in favor of microbes that make toxic metabolites and are detrimental to our health,” said senior study author Temitope Keku, PhD, research associate professor of medicine at UNC.

“By pinpointing these bacterial culprits, we can not only identify people at risk, but also suggest that they include the good bacteria in their diet,” added Keku. “And what a great way to address colon cancer – you could know your risk and lower it by eating your yogurt every day.”

Researchers have known for decades that the bacteria harbored in our bodies are not innocent bystanders but rather active participants in health and disease. Yet only recently have molecular methods evolved to the point that they can identify and characterize all of our microbial residents.

Keku and her colleagues used these methods to determine the different bacteria groups contained within biopsies from 45 patients undergoing colonoscopies. They uncovered a higher bacterial diversity and richness in individuals found to have adenomas than in those without these colorectal cancer precursors. In particular, a group called Proteobacteria was in higher abundance in cases than in controls, which was interesting considering that is the category where E. coli and some other common pathogens reside.

It is still not clear whether alterations in bacterial composition cause adenomas, or if adenomas cause this altered balance. In order to tell if it is the chicken or the egg, Keku plans to conduct more mechanistic studies, such as testing whether certain groups of bacteria promote cancer growth in animal models. She is also expanding the study to analyze samples from 600 patients using next-generation sequencing technology.

The ultimate goal may be to determine if the differences found in the mucosa lining the colon also exist in the luminal or fecal matter that passes through the colon. If so, it could mean less invasive screening for cancer and even more cancers being caught earlier, when survival rates are higher.

“We have come a long way from the time when we didn’t know our risk factors and how they impact our chances of getting colon cancer,” said Keku. “But now that we can look at bacteria and their role, it opens up a whole new world and gives us a better understanding of the entire gamut of factors involved in cancer – diet, environment, genes, and microbes.”

The UNC research was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health. Study co-authors from UNC include Xiang Jun Shen, John F. Rawls, Thomas Randall, Lauren Burcal, Caroline N. Mpande, Natascha Jenkins, Biljana Jovov, Zaid Abdo and Robert S. Sandler.

 

Public release date: 23-Jun-2010

Polio research gives new insight into tackling vaccine-derived poliovirus

A vaccine-derived strain of poliovirus that has spread in recent years is serious but it can be tackled with an existing vaccine

A vaccine-derived strain of poliovirus that has spread in recent years is serious but it can be tackled with an existing vaccine, according to a new study published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Vaccine-derived polioviruses can emerge on rare occasions in under-immunised populations, when the attenuated virus contained in a vaccine mutates and recombines with other viruses, to create a circulating vaccine-derived strain.

The researchers behind today’s study say their findings highlight the importance of completing polio eradication. They also say that should wild-type poliovirus be eradicated, routine vaccination with oral polio vaccines will need to cease, in order to prevent further vaccine-derived strains of the virus from emerging.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, working with the Government of Nigeria and the World Health Organization (WHO) research teams.

Poliovirus is highly infectious and primarily affects children under five years of age. Around one in 200 of the people infected with polio develop permanent paralysis, which can be fatal.

Polio was virtually wiped out by the early 2000s following a major vaccination drive by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, but since then the number of cases of paralysis reported has plateaued, remaining roughly constant at between one and two thousand each year from 2003 to 2009, dropping only recently in 2010.

The first reported polio outbreak resulting from a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus, known as a cVDPV, occurred in Hispaniola in 2000. Prior to today’s study, there was little evidence available about the severity and potential impact of this kind of poliovirus.

Although billions of doses of oral vaccine have been distributed in the last decade, just 14 cVDPV outbreaks have been reported, affecting 15 countries. These outbreaks have usually been limited in size.

For the new study, researchers looked at the largest recorded outbreak of a cVDPV to date, which began to circulate in Nigeria in 2005. The authors examined data from 278 children paralysed by this cVDPV, and compared them with children paralysed by wild-type poliovirus in the country. Their analysis showed that this serotype 2 cVDPV is as easily transmitted and likely to cause severe disease as wild-type poliovirus of the same serotype.

The study also shows that vaccination with trivalent OPV, one of the main types of vaccine currently used to combat polio, is highly effective in preventing paralysis by this serotype 2 cVDPV.

The research shows that it is even more effective against cVDPV than against the wild-type polioviruses that are currently circulating, which can also be targeted with a different vaccine.

The new findings mean that it is particularly vital that efforts to vaccinate children with trivalent OPV continue in Nigeria and neighbouring countries, to protect children against all strains of polio. The scientists hope their findings will help countries to devise the right vaccine strategies to eradicate polio.

Helen Jenkins, the lead author of the study from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: “Our research shows that vaccine-derived polioviruses must be taken seriously and that we have the right tools to tackle them. We’ve had a lot of success against polio in the past and we’re optimistic that ultimately we should be able to eradicate it completely.

“However, our study shows that we can’t be complacent about the virus. It’s still vital for us to protect children from this dangerous and debilitating disease and we have to make sure we continue to vaccinate as many children as possible in affected countries for as long as wild-type poliovirus continues to circulate,” added Ms Jenkins.

Senior study author Dr Nicholas Grassly, also from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, added: “There has been some debate about the significance of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses for the eradication initiative. Our research shows these viruses can be as pathogenic and transmissible as wild-type polioviruses and outbreaks must be responded to with just as much vigour.”

Dr Bruce Aylward, Director of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at WHO, added: “These new findings suggest that if cVDPVs are allowed to circulate for a long enough time, eventually they can regain a similar capacity to spread and paralyse as wild polioviruses. This means that they should be subject to the same outbreak response measures as wild polioviruses. These results also underscore the need to eventually stop all OPV use in routine immunization programmes after wild polioviruses have been eradicated, to ensure that all children are protected from all possible risks of polio in future.”

 

Public release date: 23-Jun-2010

Study demonstrates pine bark naturally reduces hay fever symptoms

 

Research shows Pycnogenol decreases nasal and ocular symptoms in allergic rhinitis patients

HOBOKEN, N.J. (June 23, 2010) – An estimated 60 million people in the U.S. are affected by allergic rhinitis, commonly known as hay fever, according to the American Academy of Allergy Asthma and Immunology. Hay fever is an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways that causes itching, swelling, mucus production, hives and rashes. A study published in the June 14, 2010 issue of Phytotherapy Research demonstrates Pycnogenol® (pic-noj-en-all), an antioxidant plant extract derived from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, substantially improves the symptoms of hay fever.

“Allergic rhinitis is often mistakenly believed to be a trivial health problem, while people suffering from hay fever may disagree as they experience a dramatic impairment to their quality of life,” said Dr. Malkanthi Evans Scientific Director KGK Synergize Inc., a lead researcher on the study. “This study confirmed that taking Pycnogenol® naturally relieves eye and nasal symptoms of hay-fever patients owing to lower pollen-specific antibodies, particularly for ocular and nasal distress.”

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted by KGK Synergize, Inc.,60 subjects between the ages of 18 and 65 began treatment three to eight weeks prior to the onset of birch allergy season in Ontario, Canada. All subjects tested positive for birch pollen allergies, a seasonal trigger of hay fever, as determined by skin prick tests. Patients were assigned to a Pycnogenol® group or placebo group according to a computer-generated, randomized schedule. Neither the patient, the investigator nor research staff was informed to which test order the subjects were assigned. Subjects were instructed to take either one 50 mg Pycnogenol® tablet or one placebo tablet twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening throughout the allergy season. Patients were allowed to use non-prescription antihistamines as needed and recorded usage and dosage in treatment journals. The study was approved by an ethical committee as well as the “Health Canada” authorities.

Blood was collected before and after treatment throughout the entire birch pollen season for the measurement of birch specific IgE antibodies. Upon recognition of a specific allergen the IgE class of antibodies stimulates the release of histamine, an inflammatory mediator responsible for the hay-fever symptoms. During exposure to pollen allergic people develop higher levels of the corresponding IgE antibody, which goes along with increasing hay-fever symptoms. Comparison of birch specific IgE levels from the start of the trial and the end of allergy season showed an increase of 31.9 percent in the placebo group but only 19.4 percent in the Pycnogenol® group.

Subjects were instructed to rate nasal and eye symptoms daily by means of a self-administered questionnaire, recording values in their treatment journals. These resemble problems well known to people affected by hay-fever: burning, itchy, watering or tearing eyes, redness, sneezing and stuffy, runny or itchy nose. All nasal and eye symptoms were scored with values ranging from “zero” (symptoms absent) to a maximum of “three” (severe, symptoms completely preventing normal activity). Throughout the birch pollen seasons around mid of April until end of May, the total average nasal and eye symptom score was lower in the Pycnogenol® group than in the placebo group. A detailed analysis showed that Pycnogenol® was more effective the earlier patients began taking the product prior to the onset of the exposure to birch pollen. The researchers speculate that a lag-time of at least five weeks prior to pollen exposure is required for Pycnogenol® to defy hay-fever symptoms. Subjects taking Pycnogenol® seven weeks before onset of the birch season required very little non-prescription antihistamine medication (12.5%) compared with subjects taking the placebo (50%).

“For the many people seeking alternatives to conventional treatment for allergic rhinitis Pycnogenol® may represent an effective and completely natural solution, void of any side-effects” said Evans.

Previous studies have revealed Pycnogenol® to favorably affect patients suffering from allergies. Two earlier clinical trials showed that Pycnogenol® improves symptoms and breathing ability of asthma patients. Asthma is likewise triggered by airborne allergens and Pycnogenol® was demonstrated to significantly decrease leukotriene levels, an inflammatory mediator involved in asthma and hay fever alike. Human pharmacologic studies have pointed to a general anti-inflammatory potency of Pycnogenol®.

Public release date: 24-Jun-2010

Stanford study uses genetic approach to manipulate microbes in gut

STANFORD, Calif. — We are what we eat, but who are “we”? New, high-powered genomic analytical techniques have established that as many as 1,000 different single-celled species coexist in relative harmony in every healthy human gut.

“For each human cell in your body there are 10 microbial cells, most of them living in the gut and helping us digest things we can’t digest on our own,” said Justin Sonnenburg, PhD, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “In turn, what you eat is proving to be one of the major determinants of the components of your ‘inner self’ — that community of bacteria living in your intestine.”

Each individual’s microbial ecosystem is different in its relative composition, with potential implications for our health. Disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, colorectal cancer and even obesity have been linked to skewed intestinal microbe distributions.

Scientists hope that someday they will be able to manipulate microbial populations in the gut as a way of remedying disease and enhancing health. One step toward this goal would be taking “genomic censuses” to categorize and count the interacting components of each individual’s bacterial community and characterize how they respond to interventions, such as changes in diet. That’s no small task, because the aggregate gene count of the micro-organisms dwelling in a typical human gut outnumbers our own by a hundredfold — millions of them, versus the 20,000 human genes that have been identified.

In an animal study to be published June 25 in Cell, Sonnenburg and his colleagues showed that zeroing in on just a small set of bacterial genes, while ignoring the vast majority, allowed them to predict how bugs would respond to a diet change. The results highlight the potential of the burgeoning new field of prebiotics, which (in contrast to probiotics — the seeding of food with healthful bacterial organisms) involves adding substances to the diet in an effort to shift the mix of bugs in our gut in a healthy direction.

In conducting the study, the researchers used a vastly simplified model of the internal mammalian microbial ecosystem to prove that they could predict, by looking at a mere handful of microbial genes, how a shift in diet can alter the microbial composition of the gut. Sonnenburg’s team introduced two distinct species of bacteria, both known to abound in the human digestive tract, into mice that had been raised in a sterile environment and so lack the normally resident microbes — also known as “germ-free” mice. Then they fed the mice a diet rich in a particular complex carbohydrate that one bacterial species seemed genetically better equipped to digest, based on the presence of a small set of genes in its genome. As predicted, that bacterial species became predominant in the mice’s intestines.

These results set the stage for scaling up germ-free mice into living laboratories into which scientists can introduce, one by one, steadily increasing numbers of bacteria found in the human intestine, eventually enabling a sophisticated understanding of the astonishingly complex microbial superorganism that dwells inside each of us.

The complex carbohydrate the Stanford researchers added to the mice’s diet was inulin, which is found in certain bulbous plants — onions, garlic, Jerusalem artichokes — and has gained wide use as a prebiotic supplement (for instance, in yogurt or in powdered form) by people who believe it encourages the proliferation of healthful “good” bacteria. We humans can’t digest inulin on our own, but some bacteria are equipped with genes that encode enzymes capable of sawing through the chemical links joining this substance’s constituent sugar molecules.

“Think of these enzymes as a unique set of utensils that allow them to eat this food we can’t cut,” said Sonnenburg. The byproducts of bacterial metabolism are often valuable nutrients for humans — a win-win situation.

Previous genomic analyses had determined that only one of the two bacterial species the investigators introduced to the germ-free mice featured, among its 5,000 or so genes, a roughly 10-gene assemblage that permits the breakdown of inulin.

The researchers used a standard laboratory technique to precisely assess changes in each of the two species’ relative abundance before and after dietary inulin supplementation. “Within one or two weeks, there was a significant change in the composition of the mice’s gut communities,” said Erica Sonnenburg, PhD, senior research scientist in Justin Sonnenburg’s lab and first author of the study. As predicted, the ratio of inulin-digesting to non-digesting species shifted in favor of the former in the inulin-fed mice.

Both Erica and Justin Sonnenburg (they’re married) warned that it will be a while before the results in this simple experimental system — two competing bacterial species — can be extrapolated to the nearly-1,000-species jungle that is the real, human gut-dwelling microbial community. But the Sonnenburg lab has already embarked on increasing the complexity of their experimental system by increasing the number of human-associated bacteria into germ-free mice that have been “humanized” so that their intestines contain a microbial community similar to that of the human gut.

“We’ve now got germ-free mice to which we’ve introduced batches of bacteria representative of an entire human gut community in all its complexity,” said Erica Sonnenburg. “We’re looking to see if the bugs that we think should do better actually do better in this more competitive environment.”

Public release date: 24-Jun-2010

Breast milk transmits drugs and medicines to the baby

There is great confusion among the scientific community about whether women who are drug abusers should breast feed their babies. In order to shed some light on this issue, scientists from various Spanish hospitals and research centres are reviewing the methods used to detect substances in breast milk, their adverse effects, and the recommendations that mothers should follow in this month’s issue of the journal Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry.

“The general recommendation is to totally avoid drug abuse while breastfeeding, because these substances can pass directly through to the newborn”, Óscar García Algar, co-author of the study and a doctor in the Paediatrics Department at the Hospital del Mar in Barcelona, tells SINC.

The researcher adds: “This recommendation extends to the prenatal period, because these substances are passed on to the foetus via the placenta, and then in the postnatal period via the environment. If they have exposure through the milk, they will certainly also have had it during the pregnancy, and they can also be in the environment, as is the case with tobacco smoke”.

For this study, the team used the average daily intake of the breastfeeding baby, around 150 millilitres of milk per kilo of weight, as a benchmark. The recommendations are listed for each substance, taking the advice of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) as a reference.

Nicotine, caffeine and alcohol

The breast milk of smoking mothers contains between 2 and 240 nanograms of nicotine per millilitre, which means their babies receive a dose equivalent to 0.3 to 36 micrograms/kg/day. These infants tend to suffer more from colic and are more prone to respiratory infections.

The advice is to give up smoking during pregnancy and breastfeeding, or at least to limit the habit as much as possible, extend the time between the last cigarette and the baby’s feed, use nicotine patches, smoke outside the house and avoid smoky environments.

Caffeine – found in coffee, tea, cola drinks and medicines – can cause irritability and insomnia. Although the level of caffeine absorption varies greatly from one person to another, this substance has a lengthy half-life in newborns. For this reason, it is recommended to reduce consumption during breastfeeding to a maximum of 300 mg/day, equivalent to around three cups of coffee per day.

For alcohol, the exact risk is still ill-defined, and no studies have been carried out to correlate the dose, although some research suggests it can harm the infant’s motor development, as well as causing changes to their sleep patterns, reduce the amount they eat, and increase the risk of hypoglycaemia.

The AAP feels that alcohol consumption is compatible with breastfeeding, but this study states that no amount can be considered safe until the levels in breast milk are established. Strategies for minimising risk include feeding the baby before consuming alcoholic drinks, or at least allowing two or three hours to pass after drinking. Alcoholic women are advised to feed their babies with a bottle.

The risks of alcohol to the foetus in pregnant women have already been shown. “But despite this, a recent study by our group showed that 45.7% of the women who came to give birth in our hospital had consumed considerable amounts of alcohol during pregnancy”, says the doctor.

Cannabis, cocaine and other drugs

Cannabis, which is transmitted both through the mother’s milk and smoke, can cause sedation, lethargy, weakness and poor feeding habits in breastfeeding babies. The long-term risks are also unknown. Women are advised not to use it, but if they use marijuana occasionally, the experts advise them to do so several hours before feeding, and not to expose their children to the smoke.

The advice on cocaine, meanwhile, is to “totally avoid it” during breastfeeding. The first case of toxicity caused by this drug through breast milk was a baby boy just two weeks old who suffered irritability, trembling, dilated pupils, tachycardia and high blood pressure after feeding.

Women are also advised against breastfeeding if they take amphetamines. These can cause agitation, crying and lack of sleep. Using them also reduces a mother’s ability to care for her children.

Breastfeeding is not recommended either for women who use heroin, which is excreted into the milk in sufficient amounts to cause addiction in the baby. In the case of “need”, the advice is to allow at least one or two days to pass after taking the drug before feeding the baby, and to start a substitute treatment as soon as possible, if possible with methadone.

Other opiates used as medicines – morphine, meperidine and codeine – are excreted into the milk in minimal amounts and are compatible with breastfeeding, as are benzodiazepines, as long as they are taken in controlled doses. These are the drugs most frequently prescribed to women during pregnancy and after birth.

In terms of anti-depressant and anti-psychotic drugs, the AAP says “these can be a cause for concern during breastfeeding”. For now, their effects on breastfeeding babies are unknown, and further studies are recommended.

Public release date: 25-Jun-2010

Ingredient in red wine may prevent some blinding diseases

Resveratrol inhibits formation of damaging blood vessels in mouse retina

By Jim Dryden

Resveratrol — found in red wine, grapes, blueberries, peanuts and other plants — stops out-of-control blood vessel growth in the eye, according to vision researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The discovery has implications for preserving vision in blinding eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 50.

The formation of new blood vessels, called angiogenesis, also plays a key role in certain cancers and in atherosclerosis. Conducting experiments in mouse retinas, the researchers found that resveratrol can inhibit angiogenesis. Another surprise was the pathway through which resveratrol blocked angiogenesis. The findings are reported in the July issue of the American Journal of Pathology.

“A great deal of research has identified resveratrol as an anti-aging compound, and given our interest in age-related eye disease, we wanted to find out whether there was a link,” says Washington University retina specialist Rajendra S. Apte, MD, PhD, the study’s senior investigator. “There were reports on resveratrol’s effects on blood vessels in other parts of the body, but there was no evidence that it had any effects within the eye.”

The investigators studied mice that develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina after laser treatment. Apte’s team found that when the mice were given resveratrol, the abnormal blood vessels began to disappear.

Examining the blood-vessel cells in the laboratory, they identified a pathway — known as a eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2) regulated pathway — that was responsible for the compound’s protective effects. That was a surprise because past research involving resveratrol’s anti-aging effects had implicated a different mechanism that these experiments showed not to be involved.

“We have identified a novel pathway that could become a new target for therapies,” Apte says. “And we believe the pathway may be involved both in age-related eye disease and in other diseases where angiogenesis plays a destructive role.”

Previous research into resveratrol’s influence on aging and obesity had identified interactions between the red-wine compound and a group of proteins called sirtuins. Those proteins were not related to resveratrol’s effects on abnormal blood vessel formation. Instead, the researchers say that in addition to investigating resveratrol as a potential therapy, they also want to look more closely at the eEF2 pathway to determine whether it might provide a new set of targets for therapies, both for eye disease and other problems related to abnormal angiogenesis.

Apte, an assistant professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and of developmental biology, says because resveratrol is given orally, patients may prefer it to many current treatments for retinal disease, which involve eye injections. The compound also is easily absorbed in the body.

In mice, resveratrol was effective both at preventing new blood vessels and at eliminating abnormal blood vessels that already had begun to develop.

“This could potentially be a preventive therapy in high-risk patients,” he says. “And because it worked on existing, abnormal blood vessels in the animals, it may be a therapy that can be started after angiogenesis already is causing damage.”

Apte stresses that the mouse model of macular degeneration they used is not identical to the disease in human eyes. In addition, the mice received large resveratrol doses, much more than would be found in several bottles of red wine. If resveratrol therapy is tried in people with eye disease, it would need to be given in pill form because of the high doses required, Apte says.

There are three major eye diseases that resveratrol treatment may help: age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and retinopathy of prematurity. Age-related macular degeneration involves the development of abnormal blood vessels beneath the center of the retina. It accounts for more than 40 percent of blindness among the elderly in nursing homes, and as baby boomers get older, the problem is expected to grow, with at least 8 million cases predicted by the year 2020.

In diabetic retinopathy, those blood vessels don’t develop beneath the retina. They grow into the retina itself. Diabetic retinopathy causes vision loss in about 20 percent of patients with diabetes. Almost 24 million people have diabetes in the United States alone.

Retinopathy of prematurity occurs when premature babies with immature retinas experience an obstruction in blood flow into the retina. In response, those children often develop abnormal blood vessels that can cause retinal detachment and interfere with vision. Worldwide, that condition blinds 50,000 newborn babies each year.

Apte says the pathway his laboratory has identified may be active not only in those blinding eye diseases, but in cancers and atherosclerosis as well. If so, then one day it might be possible to use resveratrol to improve eyesight and to prevent cardiovascular disease and some types of cancer, too.

Public release date: 25-Jun-2010

Vitamin D and mental agility in elders

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At a time when consumer interest in health-enhancing foods is high, Agricultural Research Service (ARS)-funded scientists have contributed to a limited but growing body of evidence of a link between vitamin D and cognitive function.

Cognitive function is measured by the level at which the brain is able to manage and use available information for activities of daily life. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of age-related dementia, affects about 47 percent of adults aged 85 years or older in the United States. Identifying nutritional factors that lower cognitive dysfunction and help preserve independent living provides economic and public health benefits, according to authors.

The study, which was supported by ARS, the National Institutes of Health, and others, was led by epidemiologist Katherine Tucker with the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts University in Boston, Mass. Tucker collaborated with HNRCA laboratory directors Irwin Rosenberg, Bess Dawson-Hughes and colleagues.

Metabolic pathways for vitamin D have been found in the hippocampus and cerebellum areas of the brain involved in planning, processing, and forming new memories. This suggests that vitamin D may be implicated in cognitive processes.

The study involved more than 1,000 participants receiving home care. The researchers evaluated associations between measured vitamin D blood concentrations and neuropsychological tests. Elders requiring home care have a higher risk of not getting enough vitamin D because of limited sunlight exposure and other factors.

The participants, ages 65 to 99 years, were grouped by their vitamin D status, which was categorized as deficient, insufficient, or sufficient. Only 35 percent had sufficient vitamin D blood levels. They had better cognitive performance on the tests than those in the deficient and insufficient categories, particularly on measures of “executive performance,” such as cognitive flexibility, perceptual complexity, and reasoning. The associations persisted after taking into consideration other variables that could also affect cognitive performance.

The 2009 study appears in the Journals of Gerontology, Series A, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences.

Public release date: 29-Jun-2010

Study shows how dietary supplement may block cancer cells

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Researchers at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) have discovered how a substance that is produced when eating broccoli and Brussels sprouts can block the proliferation of cancer cells.

Compelling evidence indicates that the substance, indole-3-carbinol (I3C), may have anticancer effects and other health benefits, the researchers say. These findings show how I3C affects cancer cells and normal cells.

The laboratory and animal study discovered a connection between I3C and a molecule called Cdc25A, which is essential for cell division and proliferation. The research showed that I3C causes the destruction of that molecule and thereby blocks the growth of breast cancer cells.

The study was published online June 29 in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.

“Cdc25A is present at abnormally high levels in about half of breast cancer cases, and it is associated with a poor prognosis,” says study leader Xianghong Zou, assistant professor of pathology at the Ohio State University Medical Center.

The molecule also occurs at abnormally high levels in cancers of the breast, prostate, liver, esophagus, endometrium and colon, and in non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and in other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, he noted.

“For this reason, a number of anti-Cdc25 agents have been identified, but they have not been successful for cancer prevention or treatment due to concerns about their safety or efficacy,” says Zou, who is also a member of the OSUCCC-James Molecular Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention program.

“I3C can have striking effects on cancer cells,” he explains, “and a better understanding of this mechanism may lead to the use of this dietary supplement as an effective and safe strategy for treating a variety of cancers and other human diseases associated with the overexpression of Cdc25A,” Zou says.

For this study, Zou and his colleagues exposed three breast cancer cell lines to I3C. These experiments revealed that the substance caused the destruction of Cdc25A. They also pinpointed a specific location on that molecule that made it susceptible to I3C, showing that if that location is altered (because of a gene mutation), I3C no longer causes the molecule’s destruction.

Last, the investigators tested the effectiveness of I3C in breast tumors in a mouse model. When the substance was given orally to the mice, it reduced tumor size by up to 65 percent. They also showed that I3C had no affect on breast-cell tumors in which the Cdc25A molecule had a mutation in that key location.

Public release date: 30-Jun-2010

Virgin olive oil and a Mediterranean diet fight heart disease by changing how our genes function

New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that the polyphenols in virgin olive oil modify the expression of atherosclerosis-related genes, leading to health benefits

Everyone knows olive oil and a Mediterranean diet are associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease, but a new research report published in the July 2010 print issue of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) offers a surprising reason why: These foods change how genes associated with atherosclerosis function.

“Knowing which genes can be modulated by diet in a healthy way can help people select healthy diets,” said Maria Isabel Covas, D.Pharm., Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition Research Group at the Institut Municipal d’Investigacio Medica in Barcelona, Spain. “It is also a first step for future nutritional therapies with selected foods.”

Scientists worked with three groups of healthy volunteers. The first group consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil rich in polyphenols. The second group consumed a traditional Mediterranean diet with an olive oil low in polyphenols. The third group followed their habitual diet. After three months, the first group had a down-regulation in the expression of atherosclerosis-related genes in their peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Additionally, the olive oil polyphenols made a significant impact on the expression of genetic changes influencing coronary heart disease. Results also showed that the consumption of virgin olive oil in conjunction with a Mediterranean diet can positively impact lipid and DNA oxidation, insulin resistance, inflammation, carcinogenesis, and tumor suppression.

“This study is ground breaking because it shows that olive oil and a Mediterranean diet affect our bodies in a far more significant way than previously believed,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal. “Not only does this research offer more support for encouraging people to change their eating habits, it is an important first step toward identifying drug targets that affect how our genes express themselves.”

Public release date: 30-Jun-2010

Honey as an antibiotic: Scientists identify a secret ingredient in honey that kills bacteria

New research in the FASEB Journal shows that defensin-1, a protein added to honey by bees, possesses potent antibacterial properties and could be used again drug-resistant bacteria

Sweet news for those looking for new antibiotics: A new research published in the July 2010 print edition of the FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) explains for the first time how honey kills bacteria. Specifically, the research shows that bees make a protein that they add to the honey, called defensin-1, which could one day be used to treat burns and skin infections and to develop new drugs that could combat antibiotic-resistant infections.

“We have completely elucidated the molecular basis of the antibacterial activity of a single medical-grade honey, which contributes to the applicability of honey in medicine,” said Sebastian A.J. Zaat, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Medical Microbiology at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam. “Honey or isolated honey-derived components might be of great value for prevention and treatment of infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

To make the discovery, Zaat and colleagues investigated the antibacterial activity of medical-grade honey in test tubes against a panel of antibiotic-resistant, disease-causing bacteria. They developed a method to selectively neutralize the known antibacterial factors in honey and determine their individual antibacterial contributions. Ultimately, researchers isolated the defensin-1 protein, which is part of the honey bee immune system and is added by bees to honey. After analysis, the scientists concluded that the vast majority of honey’s antibacterial properties come from that protein. This information also sheds light on the inner workings of honey bee immune systems, which may one day help breeders create healthier and heartier honey bees.

“We’ve known for millennia that honey can be good for what ails us, but we haven’t known how it works,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of the FASEB Journal, “Now that we’ve extracted a potent antibacterial ingredient from honey, we can make it still more effective and take the sting out of bacterial infections.”

Public release date: 30-Jun-2010

New insights into link between anti-cholesterol statin drugs and depression

Scientists are reporting a possible explanation for the symptoms of anxiety and depression that occur in some patients taking the popular statin family of anti-cholesterol drugs, and reported by some individuals on low-cholesterol diets. These symptoms could result from long-term, low levels of cholesterol in the brain, the report suggests. It appears in ACS’ weekly journal Biochemistry.

Amitabha Chattopadhyay and colleagues note in the study that statins work by blocking a key enzyme involved in the body’s production of cholesterol. Some studies link the drugs to an increased risk of anxiety and depression, but the reasons are unclear. The scientists previously showed that maintaining normal cholesterol levels is important for the function of cell receptors for serotonin, a brain hormone that influences mood and behavior. But the long-term effect of cholesterol depletion on these receptors, which can occur in patients taking anti-cholesterol drugs, is unknown.

The scientists turned to the statin medication mevastatin to find out. In lab tests using human serotonin receptors expressed in animal cells, they showed that long-term use of the drug caused significant changes in the structure and function of serotonin cell receptors. Adding cholesterol to cells treated with mevastatin restored them to normal. The results represent the first report describing the effect of long-term cholesterol depletion on this type of cell receptor and suggest that chronic, low cholesterol levels in the brain might trigger anxiety and depression, the scientists say.

Public release date: 30-Jun-2010

HIGH FRUCTOSE DIET MAY CONTRIBUTE TO HIGH

BLOOD PRESSURE

Eating Foods High in Fructose from Added Sugars Linked to Hypertension

Washington, DC (June 25, 2010) — People who eat a diet high in fructose, in the form

of added sugar, are at increased risk of developing high blood pressure, or

hypertension, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the

American Society Nephrology (JASN). The results suggest that cutting back on foods

and beverages containing a lot of fructose (sugar) might decrease one’s risk of

developing hypertension.

Hypertension is the most common chronic condition in developed countries and a major

risk factor for heart and kidney diseases. Researchers are striving to identify

environmental factors that might be responsible for the development of hypertension,

and they suspect that fructose may play a role. Over the past century, a dramatic

increase in the consumption of this simple sugar, which is used to sweeten a wide

variety of processed foods, mirrors the dramatic rise in the prevalence of hypertension.

To examine whether increased fructose consumption has contributed to rising rates of

hypertension, Diana Jalal, MD (University of Colorado Denver Health Sciences Center)

and her colleagues analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination

Survey (2003-2006). The study involved 4,528 US adults 18 years of age or older with no

prior history of hypertension. Study participants answered questions related to their

consumption of foods and beverages such as fruit juices, soft drinks, bakery products,

and candy. Dr. Jalal’s team found that people who consumed a diet of 74 grams or more

per day of fructose (corresponding to 2.5 sugary soft drinks per day) had a 26%, 30%,

and 77% higher risk for blood pressure levels of 135/85, 140/90, and 160/100 mmHg,

respectively. (A normal blood pressure reading is below 120/80 mmHg.)

 

“Our study identifies a potentially modifiable risk factor for high blood pressure.

However, well-planned prospective randomized clinical studies need to be completed to

see if low fructose diets will prevent the development of hypertension and its

complications,” said Dr. Jalal.

 

Public release date: 1-Jul-2010

 

Low vitamin D linked to the metabolic syndrome in elderly people

A new study adds to the mounting evidence that older adults commonly have low vitamin D levels and that vitamin D inadequacy may be a risk factor for the metabolic syndrome, a condition that affects one in four adults. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.

“Because the metabolic syndrome increases the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, an adequate vitamin D level in the body might be important in the prevention of these diseases,” said study co-author Marelise Eekhoff, MD, PhD, of VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam.

The researchers found a 48 percent prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. The study consisted of a representative sample of the older Dutch population: nearly 1,300 white men and women ages 65 and older.

Nearly 37 percent of the total sample had the metabolic syndrome, a clustering of high blood pressure, abdominal obesity, abnormal cholesterol profile and high blood sugar.

Subjects with blood levels of vitamin D (serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D) lower than 50 nanomoles per liter, considered vitamin D insufficiency, were likelier to have the metabolic syndrome than those whose vitamin D levels exceeded 50. That increased risk especially stemmed from the presence of two risk factors for the metabolic syndrome: low HDL, or “good” cholesterol, and a large waistline.

There was no difference in risk between men and women, the authors noted.

The study included subjects who were participating in the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam. Although the data were from 1995 and 1996, Eekhoff said they expect that vitamin D inadequacy remains prevalent among whites in the Netherlands.

Using follow-up data from 2009, the researchers plan to study how many of the subjects with low vitamin D levels developed diabetes.

“It is important to investigate the exact role of vitamin D in diabetes to find new and maybe easy ways to prevent it and cardiovascular disease,” Eekhoff said.

 

Public release date: 1-Jul-2010

 

Increasing Fertility Threefold

 

TAU finds anti-aging supplement is a fountain of hope for would-be mothers

According to the American Pregnancy Association, six million women a year deal with infertility. Now, a Tel Aviv University study is giving new hope to women who want to conceive — in the form of a pill they can find on their drugstore shelves right now.

Prof. Adrian Shulman of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and the Meir Medical Center has found a statistical connection between the over-the-counter vitamin supplement DHEA, used to counter the effects of aging, and successful pregnancy rates in women undergoing treatment for infertility.

In the first controlled study on the effects of the supplement, Prof. Shulman found that women being treated for infertility who also received supplements of DHEA were three times more likely to conceive than women being treated without the additional drug. The results were recently published in AYALA, the journal of the Israeli Fertility Association.

A natural supplement to fertility treatments

After hearing anecdotal evidence from his patients and the medical community on the benefits of combining fertility treatments with DHEA, a supplement marketed as an anti-aging drug around the world, Prof. Shulman decided to put this old wives’ tale to the statistical test.

He and his fellow researchers conducted a study in which a control group of women received treatment for poor ovulation, and another group received the same treatment with the addition of the DHEA supplement. The latter group took 75mg of the supplement daily for 40 days before starting fertility treatments, and continued for up to five months.

Not only were women who combined infertility treatment with DHEA more likely to conceive, the researchers discovered, they were also more likely to experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery.

“In the DHEA group, there was a 23% live birth rate as opposed to a 4% rate in the control group,” explains Shulman. “More than that, of the pregnancies in the DHEA group, all but one ended in healthy deliveries.”

Making grade-A eggs?

Shulman believes that women who are finding little success with their current fertility treatments could look to DHEA to improve their chances of conceiving. “We recommend that women try this DHEA treatment, in conjunction with fertility treatments, for four to five months,” says Prof. Shulman. It could also be used as a regular “vitamin” for women who have already conceived and are pregnant, but more research would need to be done on the compound to determine its effects, says Prof. Shulman.

DHEA, for 5-Dehydroepiandrosterone (5-DHEA), is a naturally-occurring steroid found in the brain, which plays an important biological role in humans and other mammals. Produced in the adrenal glands, it is also synthesized in the brain. The pharmaceutical version of this molecule is known as Prastera, Prasterone, Fidelin and Fluasterone, and identical generics are widely available over the counter in the United States without a prescription. Women interested in using DHEA to conceive, however, should consult their practitioner first, suggests Prof. Shulman, a gynecologist and director of the IVF Unit of the Obstetric and Gynecology Department at Meir Medical Center.

While studies on the effects of DHEA are far from complete — his test group only included around 20 women — Prof. Shulman hopes that further research will unlock the secrets of why the supplement aids in successful conception in women with an otherwise poor response to fertility treatments. “We need to look into what the drug actually does to make the body more fertile,” he says. “It could be affecting components such as the quality of the eggs or the follicles.”

Public release date: 5-Jul-2010

Antioxidants do help arteries stay healthy

Long-term supplementation with dietary antioxidants has beneficial effects on sugar and fat metabolism, blood pressure and arterial flexibility in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. Researchers writing in BioMed Central’s open access journal Nutrition and Metabolism report these positive results in a randomized controlled trial of combined vitamin C, vitamin E, coenzyme Q10 and selenium capsules.

Reuven Zimlichman worked with a team of researchers from Wolfson Medical Center, Israel, to carry out the study in 70 patients from the centre’s hypertension clinic. He said, “Antioxidant supplementation significantly increased large and small artery elasticity in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors. This beneficial vascular effect was associated with an improvement in glucose and lipid metabolism as well as significant decrease in blood pressure”.

Previous results from clinical trials into the cardiovascular health effects of antioxidants have been equivocal. In order to shed more light onto the matter, Zimlichman and his colleagues randomised the 70 patients to receive either antioxidants or placebo capsules for six months. Tests at the beginning of the trial, after three months and at the six month mark revealed that the patients in the antioxidant group had more elastic arteries (a measure of increased cardiovascular health) and better blood sugar and cholesterol profiles. According to Zimlichman, “The findings of the present study justify investigating the overall clinical impact of antioxidant treatment in patients with multiple cardiovascular risk factors”.

 

Public release date: 5-Jul-2010

Cocoa flavanols could more than double cells associated with repair and maintenance of blood vessels, according to Mars Inc. research

First-of-its-kind research suggests cocoa flavanols could be an important part of a healthy diet for people with cardiovascular disease

McLean, VA (July 5, 2010) – New findings indicate that cocoa flavanols may be an important part of a healthy diet for people with cardiovascular disease, which affects more than 80 million Americans, according to research by a team of internationally-renowned researchers, including scientists from Mars, Incorporated.

The breakthrough study conducted at the University of California San Francisco and published in the prestigious Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) found that daily cocoa flavanol consumption more than doubled the number of circulating angiogenic cells (CACs) in the blood. These cells have been shown to have vessel repair and maintenance functions, which can contribute to healthy blood vessels. Poor blood vessel function is recognized as an early stage in the development process of cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including coronary artery disease. Increasing levels of CACs have also been associated with a decreased risk of death from cardiovascular causes, according to a 2005 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Other cutting-edge research has demonstrated that physical activity and experimental drug therapy can increase CAC levels, however the study published in JACC is the first to demonstrate such benefits from a dietary intervention. In this randomized, double-masked, controlled dietary intervention trial, study participants drank either a high-flavanol cocoa drink, containing cocoa made with the Mars Cocoapro® process (which guarantees a consistent flavanol level), or a low-flavanol nutrient-matched control cocoa drink, twice a day for 30 days.

The study also showed that drinking high-flavanol cocoa significantly reduced systolic blood pressure, an important risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and improved blood vessel function by 47% compared to low-flavanol consumption in optimally-medicated adults with severe cardiovascular disease. This research supports findings previously published by Mars scientists and their academic collaborators, who have found a positive correlation between cocoa flavanols consumed and subsequent improvements in flow-mediated dilation (FMD), a measure of vessel health, i.e. the ability of a vessel to relax.

“It’s the best of both worlds. It’s not often that we’re able to identify a natural food compound that can demonstrate a benefit on top of traditional medical treatment,” said Carl Keen, PhD, Professor of Nutrition and Internal Medicine at University of California Davis and one of the study authors. “And perhaps most importantly, for the first time, we found that cocoa flavanols might even directly mobilize important cells that could repair damaged blood vessels. The benefits are substantial, without any observed adverse effects,” added study author Christian Heiss, MD, Heinrich-Heine University.

“Together with academic partners, Mars Incorporated has been studying cocoa flavanols for nearly two decades,” said Hagen Schroeter, PhD, Mars, Incorporated scientist and study co-author. “This is one of the most fascinating and potentially far-reaching findings we’ve uncovered in recent years, opening a completely new avenue of research to understand how cocoa flavanols might benefit human health. Of course, more research is needed to confirm and build upon these observations, but we’re intrigued by the potential for flavanols in the context of dietary and pharmaceutical strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases.”

Cocoa Flavanols: The Body of Evidence

A number of previously published studies already suggest that the consumption of cocoa flavanols can have important beneficial effects on the function of the body’s network of blood vessels. Yet, contrary to statements often made in the popular media, the collective research demonstrates that the cardiovascular effects of cocoa flavanols are independent of general “antioxidant” effects that cocoa flavanols exhibit in a test tube, outside of the body. The body of research not only suggests that these cocoa flavanols may provide a dietary approach to maintaining cardiovascular function and health, but also points to new possibilities for cocoa flavanol-based interventions associated with age-related blood vessel dysfunction and vascular complications of type 2 diabetes.

________________________________

 

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other

Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the

ability to empower themselves. Without the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

Exposure to 3 classes of common chemicals may affect female development

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office newsnow@mountsinai.org 212-241-9200 The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that exposure to three common chemical classes—phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens—in young girls may disrupt the timing of pubertal development, and put girls at risk for health complications later in life. The study, the first to examine the effects of these chemicals on pubertal development, is currently published online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

“Research has shown that early pubertal development in girls can have adverse social and medical effects, including cancer and diabetes later in life,” said Dr. Mary Wolff, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Oncological Sciences at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “Our research shows a connection between chemicals that girls are exposed to on a daily basis and either delayed or early development. While more research is needed, these data are an important first step in continuing to evaluate the impact of these common environmental agents in putting girls at risk.”

Phenols, phthalates and phytoestrogens are among chemicals known as endocrine disruptors, which interfere with the body’s endocrine, or hormone, system. They are found in a wide range of consumer products, such as nail polishes, where they increase durability, and in cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and shampoos, where they carry fragrance. Some are used to increase the flexibility and durability of plastics such as PVC, or are included as coatings on medications or nutritional supplements to make them timed-release.

Dr. Wolff, co-principal investigator Susan Teitelbaum, PhD, Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine, and their team from Mount Sinai’s departments of Pediatrics and Microbiology recruited girls from the neighborhood of East Harlem, a unique minority population considered high risk. Working with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Kaiser Permanente Northern California, they analyzed the impact of exposure to environmental agents in a study that included 1,151 girls from New York, greater Cincinnati and northern California.

The girls were between 6- and 8-years-old at enrollment and between 7 and 9 at analysis. Researchers collected urine samples from the study participants and analyzed them for phenols, phthalates, and phytoestrogens, including 19 separate urine biomarkers.

The data showed that the three classes of chemical compounds were widely detectable in the study population, and that high exposure to certain chemicals was associated with early breast development. The strongest links were seen with phthalates and phytoestrogens, which were also among the highest exposures. One phenol, two phytoestrogens, and a subset of phthalates (those found in building products and plastic tubing) were associated with later puberty. However, the phthalates found in personal products such as lotion and shampoo, especially those with fragrance, were related to earlier breast and pubic hair development.

“We believe that there are certain periods of vulnerability in the development of the mammary gland, and exposure to these chemicals may influence breast cancer risk in adulthood,” Dr. Wolff continued. “Dietary habits may also have an impact. Further study is needed to determine how strong the link is.”

Consistent with previous studies, researchers also found that body-mass index (BMI) played a role in the onset of puberty. About a third of the girls were considered overweight, which is also an indicator of early breast development. As a result, some of the chemical associations differed in more or less obese girls. Researchers continue to study the impact of diet on pubertal development and eventual breast cancer risk.

“Exposure to these chemicals is extremely common,” Dr. Wolff continued. “As such, while the association between chemicals and pubertal development seems small, the impact on the overall population is significant.”

###

Funding for the research was provided by a grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The data is published on Environmental Health Perspectives online at http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.0901690.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Mount Sinai Hospital is one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. Founded in 1852, Mount Sinai today is a 1,171-bed tertiary-care teaching facility that is internationally acclaimed for excellence in clinical care. Last year, nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients, and there were nearly 450,000 outpatient visits to the Medical Center.

Mount Sinai School of Medicine is internationally recognized as a leader in groundbreaking clinical and basic science research, as well as having an innovative approach to medical education. With a faculty of more than 3,400 in 38 clinical and basic science departments and centers, Mount Sinai ranks among the top 20 medical schools in receipt of National Institute of Health (NIH) grants. For more information, please visit www.mountsinai.org.

Flame retardants linked to neurodevelopmental delays in children : PBDEs

Contact: Sarah Yang
scyang@berkeley.edu
510-643-7741
University of California – Berkeley

Berkeley — Prenatal and childhood exposure to flame retardant compounds are linked to poorer attention, fine motor coordination and IQ in school-aged children, a finding by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, that adds to growing health concerns over a chemical prevalent in U.S. households.

The new study, to be published in the Nov. 15 issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, focuses on PBDEs, or polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a class of persistent, endocrine-disrupting compounds widely found in foam furniture, electronics, carpets, upholstery and other consumer products. The chemicals easily leach out into the environment and are inhaled or ingested through dust, then accumulate in human fat cells.

The researchers collected blood samples taken from 279 women during pregnancy or at delivery, and from 272 of the children when they were 7 years old. Analyses of the blood samples were conducted at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

The children participated in a battery of standardized tests when they were 5 and 7 to assess their attention, fine motor coordination and IQ (verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, processing speed). Mothers and teachers also completed assessment questionnaires to help evaluate the children’s attention skills and behavior.

“This is the largest and most comprehensive study to date to examine neurobehavioral development in relation to body burden measures of PBDE flame retardants,” said study lead author Brenda Eskenazi, Jennifer and Brian Maxwell Professor of Maternal and Child Health and Epidemiology. “We measured PBDEs both in the mothers during pregnancy and in the children themselves. It shows that there is a relationship of in utero and childhood levels to decrements in fine motor function, attention and IQ.”

The new findings stem from a longitudinal study, the Center for the Health Assessment of Mothers and Children of Salinas (CHAMACOS), which examines environmental exposures and reproductive health. The study participants are primarily Mexican-Americans living in an agricultural community in Monterey County. Earlier studies found that children from the CHAMACOS group had PBDE blood concentrations seven times higher than children living in Mexico.

Evidence of adverse human health effects from PBDE exposure has been steadily building over the past decade. Other CHAMACOS studies have also revealed links between flame retardant concentrations in mothers’ blood and decreased fertility, lower birthweight babies and changes in thyroid hormone levels, even after controlling for exposure to pesticides and other environmental chemicals. And findings from other smaller studies have linked deficits in physical and mental development in young children to prenatal exposure to PBDEs.

“This new study is very important because it confirms earlier published research on the neurodevelopmental effects of PBDE exposure,” said Heather Stapleton, associate professor of environmental chemistry at Duke University and one of the nation’s leading experts on human exposure to flame retardant chemicals. Stapleton was not part of the UC Berkeley study.

Use of PBDEs increased in the 1970s in response to a California standard (Technical Bulletin 117) requiring that consumer furnishings be able to withstand a small open flame for 12 seconds without igniting.

Today, PBDEs can be found in the blood of up to 97 percent of U.S. residents, with those in California having levels nearly twice the national average, according to studies.

“Within the range of PBDE exposure levels, 5 percent of the U.S. population has very high exposure levels, so the health impact on children in these extremes could be even more significant,” noted Stapleton.

There are three formulations of PBDEs — pentaBDE, octaBDE and decaBDE — that have been developed for commercial use as flame retardants. Penta- and octaBDE have both been banned for use in several U.S. states, including California, but they are still present in products made before 2004. In addition, three major manufacturers have agreed to phase out production of decaBDE by 2013.

“Even though pentaPBDEs are not being used anymore, old couches with foam that is disintegrating will still release PBDEs,” said Eskenazi, director of the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health (CERCH) at UC Berkeley. “These chemicals will be in our homes for many years to come, so it’s important to take steps to reduce exposure.”

Examples of things that people can do at home include:

  • Seal any tears in couches and upholstered furniture
  • Damp mop and vacuum frequently
  • Wash hands frequently (especially important for children)

 

###

CERCH has also posted information about PBDEs online (http://cerch.org/environmental-exposures/pbde-flame-retardants/).

Co-authors of the study are Jonathan Chevrier, Stephen Rauch, Katherine Kogut, Kim Harley, Caroline Johnson, Celina Trujillo and Asa Bradman at CERCH; and Andreas Sjodin at the CDC’s Division of Laboratory Sciences.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided major funding for this research.

Mother’s exposure to bisphenol A may increase children’s chances of asthma

2010 study posted for filing

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Mouse experiments implicate common ingredient in plastic water bottles and food packaging

GALVESTON, Texas — For years, scientists have warned of the possible negative health effects of bisphenol A, a chemical used to make everything from plastic water bottles and food packaging to sunglasses and CDs. Studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive disorders, obesity, abnormal brain development as well as breast and prostate cancers, and in January the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was concerned about “the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children.”

Now, mouse experiments by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have produced evidence that a mother’s exposure to BPA may also increase the odds that her children will develop asthma. Using a well-established mouse model for asthma, the investigators found that the offspring of female mice exposed to BPA showed significant signs of the disorder, unlike those of mice shielded from BPA.

“We gave BPA in drinking water starting a week before pregnancy, at levels calculated to produce a body concentration that was the same as that in a human mother, and continued on through the pregnancy and lactation periods,” said UTMB associate professor Terumi Midoro-Horiuti, lead author of a paper on the study appearing in the February issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Four days after birth, the researchers sensitized the baby mice with an allergy-provoking ovalbumin injection, followed by a series of daily respiratory doses of ovalbumin, the main protein in egg white. The investigators then measured levels of antibodies against ovalbumin and quantities of inflammatory white blood cells known as eosinophils in the lungs of the mouse pups. They also used two different methods to measure lung function.

“What we were looking for is the asthma response to a challenge, something like what might happen if you had asthma and got pollen in your nose or lungs, you might have an asthma attack,” said UTMB professor Randall Goldblum, also an author of the paper. “All four of our indicators of asthma response showed up in the BPA group, much more so than in the pups of the nonexposed mice.”

The UTMB researchers said that although more work is needed to determine the precise mechanism of that response, it almost certainly has its roots in the property of BPA thought to contribute to other health problems: its status as an “environmental estrogen.” Environmental estrogens are natural or artificial chemicals from outside the body that when consumed mimic the hormone estrogen, activating its powerful biochemical signaling networks in often dangerous ways. In a 2007 Environmental Health Perspectives paper, for example, Midoro-Horiuti, Goldblum and UTMB professor and current study co-author Cheryl Watson described how adding small amounts of environmental estrogens into cultures of human and mouse mast cells — common immune cells packed with allergic response-inducing chemicals such as histamine — produced a sudden release of allergy-promoting substances.

“Our results show that we have to consider the possible impact of environmental estrogens on normal immune development and on the development and morbidity of immunologic diseases such as asthma,” Midoro-Horiuti said. “We also need to look at doing more epidemiological studies directly in humans, which is possible because BPA is so prevalent in the environment — all of us are already loaded with it to a varying extent. For example, it should be possible to determine if children who have more BPA exposure are more likely to develop asthma.”

 

###

 

In addition to Midoro-Horiuti, Goldblum and Watson, UTMB postdoctoral fellow Ruby Tiwari is also an author of the paper, titled “Maternal Bisphenol A Exposure Promotes the Development of Experimental Asthma in Mouse Pups.” The National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease supported this research.

ABOUT UTMB: Established in 1891, Texas’ first academic health center comprises four health sciences schools, three institutes for advanced study, a research enterprise that includes one of only two national laboratories dedicated to the safe study of infectious threats to human health, and a health system offering a full range of primary and specialized medical services throughout Galveston County and the Texas Gulf Coast region. UTMB is a component of the University of Texas System.

76th Health Research Report 25 FEB 2010 – Reconstruction

 

 

Top Five:

1. Bitter melon extract attacks breast cancer cells

2. Vitamin B3 shows early promise in treatment of stroke

3. New evidence that green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases

4. Lactobacillus improves Helicobacter pylori infected gastritis

5. Flower power can still calm the masses

In this issue:

1. Mother’s exposure to bisphenol A may increase children’s chances of asthma

2. Flu vaccination rate at BJC HealthCare rises dramatically due to mandatory policy

3. First discovery of the female sex hormone progesterone in a plant

4. Inhibiting serotonin in gut could cure osteoporosis

5. Flower power can still calm the masses

6. Lactobacillus improves Helicobacter pylori infected gastritis

7. Researchers develop dietary formula that maintains youthful function into old age

8. Inhibiting serotonin in gut could cure osteoporosis

9. One in Two Children Has Chronic Health Issues

10. High levels of vitamin D in older people can reduce heart disease and diabetes

11. New evidence that green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases

12. Progesterone for traumatic brain injury tested in phase III clinical trial

13. New study shows sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections kill 48,000 patients

14. Bitter melon extract attacks breast cancer cells

15. Vitamin B3 shows early promise in treatment of stroke

16. Why BPA leached from ‘safe’ plastics may damage health of female offspring

Public release date: 3-Feb-2010

Mother’s exposure to bisphenol A may increase children’s chances of asthma

Mouse experiments implicate common ingredient in plastic water bottles and food packaging

GALVESTON, Texas — For years, scientists have warned of the possible negative health effects of bisphenol A, a chemical used to make everything from plastic water bottles and food packaging to sunglasses and CDs. Studies have linked BPA exposure to reproductive disorders, obesity, abnormal brain development as well as breast and prostate cancers, and in January the Food and Drug Administration announced that it was concerned about “the potential effects of BPA on the brain, behavior and prostate gland of fetuses, infants and young children.”

Now, mouse experiments by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston researchers have produced evidence that a mother’s exposure to BPA may also increase the odds that her children will develop asthma. Using a well-established mouse model for asthma, the investigators found that the offspring of female mice exposed to BPA showed significant signs of the disorder, unlike those of mice shielded from BPA.

“We gave BPA in drinking water starting a week before pregnancy, at levels calculated to produce a body concentration that was the same as that in a human mother, and continued on through the pregnancy and lactation periods,” said UTMB associate professor Terumi Midoro-Horiuti, lead author of a paper on the study appearing in the February issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

Four days after birth, the researchers sensitized the baby mice with an allergy-provoking ovalbumin injection, followed by a series of daily respiratory doses of ovalbumin, the main protein in egg white. The investigators then measured levels of antibodies against ovalbumin and quantities of inflammatory white blood cells known as eosinophils in the lungs of the mouse pups. They also used two different methods to measure lung function.

“What we were looking for is the asthma response to a challenge, something like what might happen if you had asthma and got pollen in your nose or lungs, you might have an asthma attack,” said UTMB professor Randall Goldblum, also an author of the paper. “All four of our indicators of asthma response showed up in the BPA group, much more so than in the pups of the nonexposed mice.”

The UTMB researchers said that although more work is needed to determine the precise mechanism of that response, it almost certainly has its roots in the property of BPA thought to contribute to other health problems: its status as an “environmental estrogen.” Environmental estrogens are natural or artificial chemicals from outside the body that when consumed mimic the hormone estrogen, activating its powerful biochemical signaling networks in often dangerous ways. In a 2007 Environmental Health Perspectives paper, for example, Midoro-Horiuti, Goldblum and UTMB professor and current study co-author Cheryl Watson described how adding small amounts of environmental estrogens into cultures of human and mouse mast cells — common immune cells packed with allergic response-inducing chemicals such as histamine — produced a sudden release of allergy-promoting substances.

“Our results show that we have to consider the possible impact of environmental estrogens on normal immune development and on the development and morbidity of immunologic diseases such as asthma,” Midoro-Horiuti said. “We also need to look at doing more epidemiological studies directly in humans, which is possible because BPA is so prevalent in the environment — all of us are already loaded with it to a varying extent. For example, it should be possible to determine if children who have more BPA exposure are more likely to develop asthma.”

 

Public release date: 3-Feb-2010

Flu vaccination rate at BJC HealthCare rises dramatically due to mandatory policy

Making flu shots mandatory in 2008 dramatically increased the vaccination rate among St. Louis-based BJC HealthCare’s nearly 26,000 employees to more than 98 percent, according to a report now online in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The study’s lead author, infectious disease specialist Hilary Babcock, M.D., says the success of the mandatory program demonstrates it is possible to implement a vaccination campaign on a large scale in a health-care setting.

“As a patient safety initiative, we knew the flu shot was safe and effective, and the best way to protect patients was to be sure that employees were vaccinated,” she says.

For 10 years, BJC – affiliated with Washington University School of Medicine – offered the influenza vaccine free of charge to its employees, conducted extensive education campaigns about the benefits of the shot and provided incentives to employees. While vaccination rates were consistently above the national average, they remained below BJC’s target of 80 percent. The nonprofit health care organization includes 13 hospitals in St. Louis, southern Illinois and mid-Missouri.

In 2006, 54 percent of BJC employees received the influenza vaccine, only slightly above average for health-care workers nationwide. In 2007, BJC employees who declined to get a flu shot were asked to sign a statement saying they understood the risk to themselves, their patients and their families. That year, the vaccination rose to 71 percent, still below BJC’s target rate.

Then in 2008, with a focus on patient safety, BJC made the influenza vaccine mandatory for all its employees, regardless of whether they worked directly with patients. Again, the health system provided educational programs about the benefits of the vaccine and made the shot available at no charge to employees at multiple times and locations.

Employees could request religious or medical exemptions, which were reviewed by human resources and occupational health nurses, respectively. Interestingly, many fewer employees sought medical or religious exemptions than had signed declination statements in the previous year.

Overall, 25,561 (98.4 percent) of BJC employees received an influenza vaccine in 2008. In addition, 90 employees (.3 percent) received religious exemptions, and 321 (1.2 percent) received medical exemptions. Medical exemptions included severe allergy to eggs, prior allergic reactions to the flu vaccine and a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome.

“Some of the requests for medical exemptions reflected misinformation about the vaccine and influenza,” says Babcock, an associate professor of medicine, who conducted the study with senior author Keith Woeltje, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine. For example, some requests cited asthma, cancer or a suppressed immune system, even though these conditions increase the risk of flu-related complications and are reasons to get vaccinated.

 

In all, eight employees were terminated because they were not vaccinated or granted an exemption. Most of these employees did not submit an exemption request.

Babcock attributes success of the program to the support of hospital leadership and consistent communication from BJC staff that emphasized patient safety. “Overall, the program went very smoothly,” she says. “We were able to talk with the people who had concerns about the vaccine and allay their fears. A large number of employees were really glad that we had made it mandatory and that co-workers were being vaccinated.”

At the two teaching hospitals that are part of BJC HealthCare, Barnes-Jewish Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, all 907 medical residents and fellows complied with the mandatory policy; five received medical or religious exemptions.

Although physicians employed by BJC were required to get the flu shot, most physicians affiliated with BJC HealthCare are in private practice or are employed by Washington University School of Medicine and are not covered by the mandatory policy.

In the United States, influenza is associated with 36,000 deaths and more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year, and it is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death. Other vaccines, including those for the measles, mumps, rubella and chicken pox, already are required by many health-care organizations, including BJC.

Babcock says she now plans to collect data for the 2009 flu season, when employees have been required to get both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 vaccine.

Ralph’s Note – I hope those eight employees sue, the heck out of these nuts…We know it has been shown the Flu vaccine has been coming into question  especially in seniors and asthmatic children. The fact the a Company can implement a mandatory medication policy is probably one of the most disturbing things ever. What if the company implemented mandatory birth control pills, due its concerns over paying for pregnancy leave.

 

 

Public release date: 4-Feb-2010

First discovery of the female sex hormone progesterone in a plant

In a finding that overturns conventional wisdom, scientists are reporting the first discovery of the female sex hormone progesterone in a plant. Until now, scientists thought that only animals could make progesterone. A steroid hormone secreted by the ovaries, progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and maintains pregnancy. A synthetic version, progestin, is used in birth control pills and other medications. The discovery is reported in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Natural Products, a monthly publication.

“The significance of the unequivocal identification of progesterone cannot be overstated,” the article by Guido F. Pauli and colleagues, states. “While the biological role of progesterone has been extensively studied in mammals, the reason for its presence in plants is less apparent.” They speculate that the hormone, like other steroid hormones, might be an ancient bioregulator that evolved billions of years ago, before the appearance of modern plants and animals. The new discovery may change scientific understanding of the evolution and function of progesterone in living things.

Scientists previously identified progesterone-like substances in plants and speculated that the hormone itself could exist in plants. But researchers had not found the actual hormone in plants until now. Pauli and colleagues used two powerful laboratory techniques, nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy, to detect progesterone in leaves of the Common Walnut, or English Walnut, tree. They also identified five new progesterone-related steroids in a plant belonging to the buttercup family.

 

Public release date: 7-Feb-2010

Inhibiting serotonin in gut could cure osteoporosis

 

Finding, in animal model, offers proof of principle that inhibiting serotonin in the gut could become a novel treatment for 10s of millions of osteoporosis sufferers

NEW YORK – An investigational drug that inhibits serotonin synthesis in the gut, administered orally once daily, effectively cured osteoporosis in mice and rats reports an international team led by researchers from Columbia University Medical Center, in the Feb. 7 issue of Nature Medicine. Serotonin in the gut has been shown in recent research to stall bone formation. The finding could lead to new therapies that build new bone; most current drugs for osteoporosis can only prevent the breakdown of old bone.

“New therapies that inhibit the production of serotonin in the gut have the potential to become a novel class of drugs to be added to the therapeutic arsenal against osteoporosis,” said Gerard Karsenty, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Genetics and Development at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, lead author of the paper. “With tens of millions of people worldwide affected by this devastating and debilitating bone loss, there is an urgent need for new treatments that not only stop bone loss, but also build new bone. Using these findings, we are working hard to develop this type of treatment for human patients.”

The Nature Medicine paper follows on a major discovery:

http://www.cumc.columbia.edu/news/press_releases/Karsenty-cell-serotonin-lrp5.html, also made by Dr. Gerard Karsenty’s group (published in the Nov. 26, 2008 issue of Cell), that serotonin released by the gut inhibits bone formation, and that regulating the production of serotonin within the gut affects the formation of bone. Prior to this discovery, serotonin was primarily known as a neurotransmitter acting in the brain. Yet, 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut, where its major function is to inhibit bone formation (the remaining five percent is in the brain, where it regulates mood, among other critical functions). By turning off the intestine’s release of serotonin, the team was able, in this new study, to cure osteoporosis in mice that had undergone menopause.

Based on their findings reported in the Cell paper, Dr. Karsenty and his team postulated that an inhibitor of serotonin synthesis should be an effective treatment for osteoporosis. Shortly thereafter, they read about an investigational drug, known as LP533401, which is able to inhibit serotonin in the gut. “When we learned of this compound, we thought that it was important to test it as proof of principle that there could be novel ways to treat osteoporosis with therapies that can be taken orally and regulate the formation of serotonin,” said Dr. Karsenty.

Dr. Karsenty and his team developed a research protocol to test their theory, where they administered the compound orally, once daily, at a small dose, for up to six weeks to rodents experiencing post-menopausal osteoporosis. Results demonstrated that osteoporosis was prevented from developing, or when already present, could be fully cured. Of critical importance, levels of serotonin were normal in the brain, which indicated that the compound did not enter the general circulation and was unable to cross the blood-brain barrier, thereby avoiding many potential side effects.

Implications for the Treatment of Osteoporosis:

Most osteoporosis drugs, including those currently under clinical investigation, do not generate new bone but rather, prevent the breakdown of old bone. Only one drug currently on the market can generate new bone – but it must be taken by injection once a day, and because it may increase the risk of bone cancer, at least in rats, its use is restricted for short-term use in women with severe osteoporosis.

“There is an urgent need to identify new, safe therapies that can increase bone formation on a long term basis and to such an extent that they compensate for the increase in bone resorption caused by menopause,” said Dr. Karsenty. “Furthermore, it is important to note that since this study was conducted in rodents, it will need further confirmation in human subjects.”

Osteoporosis: A Disease of Bone Mass Decline…

Osteoporosis is a growing public health concern, with the aging population and the incidence of post-menopausal osteoporosis on the rise. It is a disease of low bone mass, most often caused by an increase in bone resorption not compensated by a similar increase in bone formation.

Far from being inert, bone constantly undergoes renovation, with some cells responsible for removing old material and other cells responsible for creating new bone. In humans, after age 20, the balance between bone formation and breakdown tips toward breakdown, and bone mass starts to decline. In women, the rate of decline increases after menopause, when estrogen levels drop and cells that tear down old bone become overactive. Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become fragile and porous, increasing the risk of breaks. It is diagnosed when bone mass drops below a certain level.

Public release date: 8-Feb-2010

Flower power can still calm the masses

Feeling stressed? Try chamomile! This ‘traditional’ remedy has been around for years, but how much truth is there behind this old wives’ tale?

In an evaluation for Faculty of 1000, Michael Van Ameringen and Beth Patterson draw attention to the first randomized controlled trial of chamomile for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).

The study, recently published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, reports that “chamomile extract therapy was found to be efficacious for mild-moderate GAD”.

Patients with mild-moderate GAD were included in the study and received either chamomile or placebo. Those that received the chamomile treatment were found to have a significant change in the severity of their GAD.

Van Amerigen and Patterson comment on the results of the study, saying that they “suggest that chamomile may have modest [anti-panic] activity in patients with mild-moderate GAD and may potentially be used in those who are averse to traditional pharmacotherapy”.

These findings are important “because many individuals who suffer from GAD do not view their anxiety as a medical condition, [and, therefore,] self-diagnosis and self-medicating with alternative, over-the-counter remedies is common”.

Van Amerigen and Patterson said “a big strength of this paper is that the authors took a herbal remedy and subjected it to scientific rigor unlike many ‘natural’ remedies which have associated claims of efficacy with no supportive data.”

Public release date: 9-Feb-2010

Lactobacillus improves Helicobacter pylori infected gastritis

Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) are considered to be the most important etiological agents of chronic gastritis. The eradication of H. pyloridepends on the combination of antibiotics and acid suppression drugs. Unfortunately, the side effects of antibiotics reduce the curative effect and treatment compliance. Probiotics provides an alternative method which can inhibit H. pylori infection efficiently without antibiotics associated side effects.

A research team from China investigated the potential anti-H. pylori and anti-inflammation in vivo effects of two lactobacillus strains from human stomach. Their study will be published on January 28, 2010 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology.

Their results illustrated that both lactobacillus strain Lactobacillus fermenti (L. fermenti) and Lactobacillus acidophilus (L. acidophilus), showed significant anti-H. pylori activity, while strain L. fermenti displayed more efficient antagonistic activity in vivo whose efficacy is close to the standard triple therapy, thus significantly improving the H. pylori-associated Balb/c gastritis.

Their study provided a new clue for the therapy of H. pylori associated diseases, which could be prevented and treated by regulating the balance of flora in stomach. Thus lactobacillus can be a choice to replace antibiotics or as an adjuvant to antibiotics in treating H. pylori-infected diseases.


Public release date: 11-Feb-2010

Researchers develop dietary formula that maintains youthful function into old age

HAMILTON, ON. February 11, 2010 – Researchers at McMaster University have developed a cocktail of ingredients that forestalls major aspects of the aging process.

The findings are published in the current issue of Experimental Biology and Medicine.

“As we all eventually learn, ageing diminishes our mind, fades our perception of the world and compromises our physical capacity,” says David Rollo, associate professor of biology at McMaster. “Declining physical activity—think of grandparents versus toddlers—is one of the most reliable expressions of ageing and is also a good indicator of obesity and general mortality risk.”

The study found that a complex dietary supplement powerfully offsets this key symptom of ageing in old mice by increasing the activity of the cellular furnaces that supply energy—or mitochondria—and by reducing emissions from these furnaces—or free radicals—that are thought to be the basic cause of ageing itself.

Most of the primary causes of human mortality and decline are strongly correlated with age and free-radical processes, including heart disease, stroke, Type II diabetes, many cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, and inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. Successful intervention into the ageing process could consequently prevent or forestall all of these.

Using bagel bits soaked in the supplement to ensure consistent and accurate dosing, the formula maintained youthful levels of locomotor activity into old age whereas old mice that were not given the supplement showed a 50 per cent loss in daily movement, a similar dramatic loss in the activity of the cellular furnaces that make our energy, and declines in brain signaling chemicals relevant to locomotion. This builds on the team’s findings that the supplement extends longevity, prevents cognitive declines, and protects mice from radiation.

Ingredients consists of items that were purchased in local stores selling vitamin and health supplements for people, including vitamins B1, C, D, E, acetylsalicylic acid, beta carotene, folic acid, garlic, ginger root, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, green tea extract, magnesium, melatonin, potassium, cod liver oil, and flax seed oil. Multiple ingredients were combined based on their ability to offset five mechanisms involved in ageing.

For Rollo, the results go beyond simply prolonging the lifespan.

“For ageing humans maintaining zestful living into later years may provide greater social and economic benefits than simply extending years of likely decrepitude,” he says. “This study obtained a truly remarkable extension of physical function in old mice, far greater than the respectable extension of longevity that we previous documented. This holds great promise for extending the quality of life of “health span” of humans.”

Development of new and hopefully more effective supplements is ongoing.

Public Release: 16-Feb-2010

 

One in Two Children Has Chronic Health Issues

TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) — One in every two U.S. children now grapples at some time with a chronic health condition, such as asthma, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or obesity, new research suggests.

The good news is that for many of those children, their chronic childhood illness won’t persist. Just over 7 percent of those who reported a chronic condition at the beginning of the study still had the condition six years later.

“Over time, we found the rates of chronic conditions and obesity in U.S. children increased, but quite a few of these conditions resolved on their own,” said study author Dr. Jeanne Van Cleave, a pediatrician at MassGeneral Hospital for Children in Boston.

The findings are published in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A chronic health condition is one that lasts at least 12 months, according to the study. Some of the conditions included asthma, type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, epilepsy, cystic fibrosis, heart problems, allergic conditions, learning disabilities, hyperactivity, sinus infections, ear infections and more. Obesity was defined as a body-mass index in the 95th percentile or higher for the child’s gender and age.

The researchers conducted the study using three different groups of children. The first cohort, which included 2,337 children, was interviewed during 1988 to 1994; the second, which included 1,759 children, was interviewed during 1994 to 2000 and the final group, which included 905 children, was interviewed from 2000 to 2006.

At the beginning of each period, the children were between the ages of 2 and 8; chronic conditions were confirmed by reports from parents.

At the end of each study, the prevalence of chronic illness or obesity was 12.8 percent in the first (earliest) group, 25 percent for the second group and 26.6 percent for the third (and most recent) group. The third group also had the highest prevalence of reporting a chronic condition at any time during the six-year study period, with 51.5 percent reporting a chronic condition at some point during the study.

The risk of having a chronic condition was higher for males, and for children who were black or Hispanic. Kids who had overweight mothers were far more likely to be overweight themselves, according to the study.

What surprised the authors, however, was that the chronic conditions weren’t always lasting. Overall, only 7.4 percent of the children who had a chronic condition at the start of the study still had that same condition at the end of the research period.

“We’ve always thought of chronic conditions as quite permanent, so these findings give a lot of hope for kids with chronic conditions and obesity,” said Van Cleave.

She said these findings also raise a number of research questions, as well as point to the need for good health care, including prevention and education services.

“It’s likely that a lot of these conditions resolved because families made lifestyle changes, such as eating healthier foods, reducing screen time and becoming more physically active,” she said.

“The burden of chronic disease in children is pretty high,” said Dr. Geetha Raghuveer, a cardiologist and an associate professor at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo.

Raghuveer said she isn’t sure how much of the fluctuation in chronic conditions is real, because they’re based on parental reports. “Some of the major issues here, like established childhood obesity, don’t fluctuate and go away in our experience without a rigorous attempt. Although it’s probably reassuring that at least some of these conditions may go away in time,” she said.

But the bottom line, she said, is that U.S. children need better health habits. “This is just another study emphasizing what many already knew. And, if we don’t eradicate the root causes, such as bad eating and little exercise, we’ll continue to see a lot more morbidity in children,” Raghuveer said.

“I’m seeing more and more kids with high cholesterol and insulin resistance that already have blood vessel damage in them. They’re already like a 45-year-old in terms of blood vessel health. We need a basic change in how we live and how we eat. Prevention is key,” she stressed.

 

Public Release: 16-Feb-2010

High levels of vitamin D in older people can reduce heart disease and diabetes

 

Middle aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43%, according to researchers at the University of Warwick.

A team of researchers at Warwick Medical School carried out a systematic literature review of studies examining vitamin D and cardiometabolic disorders. Cardiometabolic disorders include cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in some foods and is also produced when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. Fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good sources of vitamin D, and it is also available as a dietary supplement.

Researchers looked at 28 studies including 99,745 participants across a variety of ethnic groups including men and women. The studies revealed a significant association between high levels of vitamin D and a decreased risk of developing cardiovascular disease (33% compared to low levels of vitamin D), type 2 diabetes (55% reduction) and metabolic syndrome (51% reduction).

The literature review, published in the journal Maturitas, was led by Johanna Parker and Dr Oscar Franco, Assistant Professor in Public Health at Warwick Medical School.

Dr Franco said: “We found that high levels of vitamin D among middle age and elderly populations are associated with a substantial decrease in cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

“Targeting vitamin D deficiency in adult populations could potentially slow the current epidemics of cardiometabolic disorders.”

All studies included were published between 1990 and 2009 with the majority published between 2004 and 2009. Half of the studies were conducted in the United States, eight were European, two studies were from Iran, three from Australasia and one from India.

 

Public release date: 18-Feb-2010

New evidence that green tea may help fight glaucoma and other eye diseases

 

Scientists have confirmed that the healthful substances found in green tea — renowned for their powerful antioxidant and disease-fighting properties — do penetrate into tissues of the eye. Their new report, the first documenting how the lens, retina, and other eye tissues absorb these substances, raises the possibility that green tea may protect against glaucoma and other common eye diseases. It appears in ACS’s bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Chi Pui Pang and colleagues point out that so-called green tea “catechins” have been among a number of antioxidants thought capable of protecting the eye. Those include vitamin C, vitamin E, lutein, and zeaxanthin. Until now, however, nobody knew if the catechins in green tea actually passed from the stomach and gastrointestinal tract into the tissues of the eye.

Pang and his colleagues resolved that uncertainty in experiments with laboratory rats that drank green tea. Analysis of eye tissues showed beyond a doubt that eye structures absorbed significant amounts of individual catechins. The retina, for example, absorbed the highest levels of gallocatechin, while the aqueous humor tended to absorb epigallocatechin. The effects of green tea catechins in reducing harmful oxidative stress in the eye lasted for up to 20 hours. “Our results indicate that green tea consumption could benefit the eye against oxidative stress,” the report concludes.

Public release date: 19-Feb-2010

Progesterone for traumatic brain injury tested in phase III clinical trial

Researchers at 17 medical centers across the country soon will begin using the hormone progesterone to treat patients who experience traumatic brain injury (TBI). The treatment is part of a randomized, double-blind Phase III clinical trial that will enroll approximately 1,140 people over a three- to six-year period beginning in March, 2010. The trial is funded by a grant to Emory University from the National Institutes of Health.

The clinical trial is led by David Wright, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Atlanta’s Grady Memorial Hospital will serve as the lead center, with faculty from Emory School of Medicine and Morehouse School of Medicine.

Wright will discuss progress in clinical trials using progesterone for TBI at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Diego. His presentation takes place in a panel discussion about traumatic brain injury at 1:30 p.m. PST, Friday, Feb. 19, 2010.

Emory researchers concluded in an earlier three-year clinical trial conducted in 100 patients that giving progesterone to trauma victims shortly after a brain injury appears to be safe and may reduce the risk of death and long-term disability. That clinical trial was called ProTECT I (Progesterone for Traumatic brain injury – Experimental Clinical Treatment). The current trial is named ProTECT III.

The earlier trial found evidence that progesterone is safe for use in patients suffering from traumatic brain injuries. Results also showed a 50 percent reduction in mortality in those patients treated with progesterone. The treatment improved functional outcomes and reduced disability in patients with moderate brain injury.

Progesterone is naturally present in small but measurable amounts in the brains of males and females. Human brain tissue is loaded with progesterone receptors. Laboratory studies suggest that progesterone is critical for the normal development of neurons in the brain and exerts protective effects on damaged brain tissue.

Donald G. Stein, PhD, Asa G. Candler Professor of Emergency Medicine, Emory School of Medicine, and director of Emory’s Department of Emergency Medicine Brain Research Laboratory, pioneered discoveries regarding the effect of progesterone following traumatic brain injury – first discovering the neuro-protective properties of progesterone in the laboratory more than 25 years ago.

Every 15 seconds, someone in the United States sustains a significant traumatic brain injury. Approximately 2 million adults and children in the United States suffer from traumatic brain injuries each year – leading to 50,000 deaths and 80,000 new cases of long-term disability, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite the enormity of the problem, scientists have failed to identify effective medications to improve outcomes following a traumatic brain injury.

“No new treatment for severe TBI has been approved in over 30 years,” says Wright. “With such promising success in laboratory testing and in our previous clinical trial, we hope to conclude in this national trial that progesterone–along with standard medical trauma care–works better than standard medical care alone in reducing brain damage caused from a TBI.” Site principal investigators for the proTECT III trial at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta will be Michael Frankel, MD, Emory professor of neurology, and Jeffrey Salomone, MD, Emory associate professor of surgery. The trial will be conducted through the Neurological Emergencies Treatment Trial (NETT) network coordinated by the University of Michigan. Data analysis will occur at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Exception from Informed Consent (EFIC)

As part of the trial, patients who are enrolled in the study may be provided the progesterone hormone without consent of family members or next-of-kin, in large part because success of the drug is highly dependent on its being administered to the patient as quickly as possible after sustaining a brain injury.

According to Wright, researchers normally get permission (consent) before a person participates in a clinical study. If that person is unconscious, such as in a traumatic brain injury (TBI), they will be unable to consent for themselves. In these cases researchers will ask for permission from a person’s legal guardian (usually next of kin). However, since TBI must be treated quickly, there might not be enough time to locate and talk to someone about the study before the medication is started.

“In ProTECT III, a person might very well be enrolled in the study without a legal guardian’s or family member’s consent,” explains Wright. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has, in fact, created a set of special rules, called “Exception from Informed Consent” (EFIC). These rules allow research studies in certain emergency situations to be conducted without consent.”

EFIC applies only when all of the following apply: A. The person is in a life-threatening situation; B. Current treatments are unproven or unsatisfactory; C. The study might provide direct benefit to the person; D. It is not possible to obtain informed consent from: 1) the person because of his or her medical condition or 2) the person’s guardian because there is a very short amount of time required to treat the medical condition.

 

Public release date: 22-Feb-2010

New study shows sepsis and pneumonia caused by hospital-acquired infections kill 48,000 patients

Cost $8.1 billion to treat

Washington D.C. – Two common conditions caused by hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) killed 48,000 people and ramped up health care costs by $8.1 billion in 2006 alone, according to a study released today in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

This is the largest nationally representative study to date of the toll taken by sepsis and pneumonia, two conditions often caused by deadly microbes, including the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA. Such infections can lead to longer hospital stays, serious complications and even death.

“In many cases, these conditions could have been avoided with better infection control in hospitals,” said Ramanan Laxminarayan, Ph.D., principal investigator for Extending the Cure, a project examining antibiotic resistance based at the Washington, D.C. think-tank Resources for the Future.

“Infections that are acquired during the course of a hospital stay cost the United States a staggering amount in terms of lives lost and health care costs,” he said. “Hospitals and other health care providers must act now to protect patients from this growing menace.”

Laxminarayan and his colleagues analyzed 69 million discharge records from hospitals in 40 states and identified two conditions caused by health care-associated infections: sepsis, a potentially lethal systemic response to infection and pneumonia, an infection of the lungs and respiratory tract.

The researchers looked at infections that developed after hospitalization. They zeroed in on infections that are often preventable, like a serious bloodstream infection that occurs because of a lapse in sterile technique during surgery, and discovered that the cost of such infections can be quite high: For example, people who developed sepsis after surgery stayed in the hospital 11 days longer and the infections cost an extra $33,000 to treat per person.

Even worse, the team found that nearly 20 percent of people who developed sepsis after surgery died as a result of the infection. “That’s the tragedy of such cases,” said Anup Malani, a study co-author, investigator at Extending the Cure, and professor at the University of Chicago. “In some cases, relatively healthy people check into the hospital for routine surgery. They develop sepsis because of a lapse in infection control—and they can die.”

The team also looked at pneumonia, an infection that can set in if a disease-causing microbe gets into the lungs—in some cases when a dirty ventilator tube is used. They found that people who developed pneumonia after surgery, which is also thought to be preventable, stayed in the hospital an extra 14 days. Such cases cost an extra $46,000 per person to treat. In 11 percent of the cases, the patient died as a result of the pneumonia infection.

According to the authors, HAIs frequently are caused by microbes that defy treatment with common antibiotics. “These superbugs are increasingly difficult to treat and, in some cases, trigger infections that ultimately cause the body’s organs to shut down,” said Malani.

In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that all hospital-acquired infections were associated with 99,000 deaths per year. While the Extending the Cure study looked at only two of the most common and serious conditions caused by these infections, it also calculated deaths actually caused by, rather than just associated with, infections patients get in the hospital.

Based on their research, study authors were able to estimate the annual number of deaths and health care costs due to sepsis and pneumonia that is actually preventable.

“The nation urgently needs a comprehensive approach to reduce the risk posed by these deadly infections,” he added. “Improving infection control is a clear way to both improve patient outcomes and lower health care costs

 

Public release date: 23-Feb-2010

Bitter melon extract attacks breast cancer cells

Early Saint Louis University research points to promising area of research

ST. LOUIS — The extract from a vegetable that is common in India and China shows promise in triggering a chain of events that kills breast cancer cells and prevents them from multiplying, a Saint Louis University researcher has found.

Ratna Ray, Ph.D., professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University and lead researcher, said she was surprised that the extract from the bitter melon she cooks in stir fries inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells.

“To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter melon extract on cancer cells,” Ray said. “Our result was encouraging. We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.”

Ray said she decided to study the impact of bitter melon extract on breast cancer cells because research by others have shown the substance lowers blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Bitter melon extract is commonly used as a folk medicine to treat diabetes in China and India, she said.

Ray conducted her research using human breast cancer cells in vitro – or in a controlled lab setting. The next step, she says, is to test bitter melon extract in an animal model to see if it plays a role in delaying the growth or killing of breast cancer cells. If those results are positive, human trials could follow.

While it’s too early to know for sure whether bitter melon extract will help breast cancer patients, the question is worth studying, Ray said.

“There have been significant advances in breast cancer treatment, which have improved patient survival and quality of life. However women continue to die of the disease and new treatment strategies are essential,” Ray said.

“Cancer prevention by the use of naturally occurring dietary substances is considered a practical approach to reduce the ever-increasing incidence of cancer. Studying a high risk breast cancer population where bitter melon is taken as a dietary product will be an important area of future research,” Ray said.

 

She cautioned against seeing bitter melon extract as a miracle cure for breast cancer.

“Bitter melon is common in China and India, and women there still get breast cancer,” Ray said.

Public release date: 24-Feb-2010

Vitamin B3 shows early promise in treatment of stroke

An early study suggests that vitamin B3 or niacin, a common water-soluble vitamin, may help improve neurological function after stroke, according to Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

When rats with ischemic stroke were given niacin, their brains showed growth of new blood vessels, and sprouting of nerve cells which greatly improved neurological outcome.

Now research is underway at Henry Ford to investigate the effects of an extended-release form of niacin on stroke patients. Henry Ford is the only site nationally conducting such a study.

“If this proves to also work well in our human trials, we’ll then have the benefit of a low-cost, easily-tolerable treatment for one of the most neurologically devastating conditions,” Michael Chopp, Ph.D., scientific director of the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Chopp will present results from the animal model study at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio.

According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third-leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of disability.

Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. Ischemic stroke accounts for about 87 percent of all cases. One underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty cholesterol deposits lining the vessel walls.

Niacin is known to be the most effective medicine in current clinical use for increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), which helps those fatty deposits.

Dr. Chopp and his colleagues found that in animals niacin helps restore neurological function in the brain following stroke.

In 2009, stroke physicians at Henry Ford Hospital published research which showed that HDL-C is abnormally low at the time stroke patients arrive at the hospital.

Dr. Chopp’s research found that in animals, niacin increased “good” cholesterol (HDL-C), which increased blood vessels in the brain and axonal and dendritic growth leading to a substantial improvement in neurological function.

“Niacin essentially re-wires the brain which has very exciting potential for use in humans,” says Dr. Chopp. “The results of this study may also open doors in other areas of neurological medicine, including brain injury.”

Andrew Russman, D.O., is the principal investigator of the team at Henry Ford Hospital who will evaluate in clinical trials whether niacin improves recovery for human stroke patients.

“If we are able to prove that treating patients with niacin helps to restore neurological function after stroke, we’re opening a whole new avenue of treatment for the leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults,” says Dr. Russman.

Public release date: 25-Feb-2010

Why BPA leached from ‘safe’ plastics may damage health of female offspring

Yale scientists show how bisphenol A induces epigenetic changes in pregnant mice that cause hormonal imbalance in the later life of female progeny

Here’s more evidence that “safe” plastics are not as safe as once presumed: New research published online in The FASEB Journal (http://www.fasebj.org) suggests that exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy leads to epigenetic changes that may cause permanent reproduction problems for female offspring. BPA, a common component of plastics used to contain food, is a type of estrogen that is ubiquitous in the environment.

“Exposure to BPA may be harmful during pregnancy; this exposure may permanently affect the fetus,” said Hugh S. Taylor, Ph.D., co-author of the study from Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “We need to better identify the effects of environmental contaminants on not just crude measures such as birth defects, but also their effect in causing more subtle developmental errors.”

Taylor and colleagues made this discovery by exposing fetal mice to BPA during pregnancy and examining gene expression and DNA in the uteruses of female fetuses. Results showed that BPA exposure permanently affected the uterus by decreasing regulation of gene expression. These epigenetic changes caused the mice to over-respond to estrogen throughout adulthood, long after the BPA exposure. This suggests that early exposure to BPA genetically “programmed” the uterus to be hyper-responsive to estrogen. Extreme estrogen sensitivity can lead to fertility problems, advanced puberty, altered mammary development and reproductive function, as well as a variety of hormone-related cancers.BPA has been widely used in plastics and other materials. Examples include use in water bottles, baby bottles, epoxy resins used to coat food cans, and dental sealants.

“The BPA baby bottle scare may be only the tip of the iceberg.” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Remember how diethylstilbestrol (DES) caused birth defects and cancers in young women whose mothers were given such hormones during pregnancy. We’d better watch out for BPA, which seems to carry similar epigenetic risks across the generations. ”

________________________________

 

These reports are done with the appreciation of all the Doctors, Scientist, and other

Medical Researchers who sacrificed their time and effort. In order to give people the

ability to empower themselves. Without the base aspirations for fame, or fortune.

Just honorable people, doing honorable things.

Health Research Report

76th Issue 25 FEB 2010

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Stain repellent chemical linked to thyroid disease in adults: perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

Contact: Andrew Gould andrew.gould@pms.ac.uk 44-139-268-6107 The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry

A study by the University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School for the first time links thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is a persistent organic chemical used in industrial and consumer goods including nonstick cookware and stain- and water-resistant coatings for carpets and fabrics.

Published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, The study revealed that people with higher concentrations of PFOA in their blood have higher rates of thyroid disease. The researchers analysed samples from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s nationally representative National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Tamara Galloway, a professor Ecotoxicology at the University of Exeter and the study’s senior author, says: “Our results highlight a real need for further research into the human health effects of low-level exposures to environmental chemicals like PFOA that are ubiquitous in the environment and in people’s homes. We need to know what they are doing.”

“There have long been suspicions that PFOA concentrations might be linked to changes in thyroid hormone levels,” adds study author, David Melzer, a professor of Epidemiology and Public Health at the Peninsula Medical School. “Our analysis shows that in the ‘ordinary’ adult population there is a solid statistical link between higher concentrations of PFOA in blood and thyroid disease.”

PFOA is a very stable man-made chemical that excels at repelling heat, water, grease, and stains. It is used during the process of making common household and industrial items including nonstick pots and pans, flame-resistant and waterproof clothing, wire coatings, and chemical-resistant tubing. PFOA can also be formed by the break-down of certain other highly fluorinated chemicals used in oil and grease-resistant coatings on fast-food containers and wrappers and in stain-resistant carpets, fabrics, and paints.

The study included 3966 adults aged 20 and older whose blood serum was sampled between 1999 and 2006 for PFOA and other perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) compounds, including perfluoroctane sulphonate (PFOS). The researchers found that the individuals with the highest 25% of PFOA concentrations (above 5.7ng/ml) were more than twice as likely to report current thyroid disease than individuals with the lowest 50% of PFOA concentrations (below 4.0ng/ml). The most specific analysis included 163 women and 46 men who reported having current thyroid disease and who were taking thyroid medication at the time the blood samples were taken. The models used in the analysis were adjusted for potential confounding factors, such as age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, and body mass index.

Previous animal studies carried out by other scientists have shown that the compounds can affect the function of the mammalian thyroid hormone system. This is essential for maintaining heart rate, regulating body temperature and supporting many other body functions, including metabolism, reproduction, digestion and mental health.

The findings are important because research has shown that PFAAs are found in water, air and soil throughout the world, even in remote polar regions. PFOA and PFOS have also been detected in the blood of people from across the globe, as well as in wildlife including birds, fish, and polar bears.

The main source of human exposure to PFOA and PFOS remains uncertain but is believed to be through diet. However, people may also be exposed through the PFAAs used in consumer goods such as textiles, footwear, furniture, and carpets, which can contaminate indoor air and dust.

Although more research is needed to understand the mechanism by which PFOA and PFOS may affect human thyroid functioning, it is plausible that the compounds could disrupt binding of thyroid hormones in the blood or alter their metabolism in the liver. However, this new evidence does not rule out the possibility that having thyroid disease changes the way the body handles PFOA and/or PFOS. The presence of the compounds might also prove to be simply a marker for some other factor associated with thyroid disease.

Thyroid diseases, particularly hypothyroidism, are much more common in women than men. However, in terms of the link between PFOA and thyroid disease, the researchers found no evidence of a statistically different effect between the sexes. The researchers also found a link between thyroid disease and higher concentrations of PFOS in men, but not in women.

Although previous studies of people living in communities near where PFOA and PFOS are manufactured did not find an association between exposure to these chemicals and thyroid hormone functioning, the largest study of such exposed communities is currently underway. (The ‘C8’ study of communities near DuPont’s Washington Works plant, including Marietta, OH, and Parkersburg, WV, both in the US).

###

In addition to Galloway and Melzer, the paper’s authors include Neil Rice of the Peninsula Medical School’s Epidemiology and Public Health Group; Michael H Depledge of the Peninsula Medical School’s European Centre for the Environment and Human Health; and William E Henley of the School of Mathematics and Statistics of the University of Plymouth . They used the U.S. NHANES dataset because it is the only large-scale data available on PFOA and PFOS in a ‘general’ population anywhere in the world.

Superbug MRSA Identified in U.S. Wastewater Treatment Plants

The School of Public Health News

November 5, 2012

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Kelly Blake, kellyb@umd.edu, 301-405-9418

 

University of Maryland-led study is first to document environmental source of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States

 

College Park, Md.–A team led by researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health has found that the “superbug” methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is prevalent at several U.S. wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs). MRSA is well known for causing difficult-to-treat and potentially fatal bacterial infections in hospital patients, but since the late 1990s it has also been infecting otherwise healthy people in community settings.

 

“MRSA infections acquired outside of hospital settings–known as community-acquired MRSA or CA-MRSA–are on the rise and can be just as severe as hospital-acquired MRSA. However, we still do not fully understand the potential environmental sources of MRSA or how people in the community come in contact with this microorganism,” says Amy R. Sapkota, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health and research study leader. “This was the first study to investigate U.S. wastewater as a potential environmental reservoir of MRSA.”

 

Because infected people can shed MRSA from their noses and skin and through their feces, wastewater treatment plants are a likely reservoir for the bacteria. Swedish researchers have previously identified the presence of MRSA in WWTPs in Sweden, and this new UMD-led study confirms the presence of MRSA in U.S. facilities. The study was published in the November issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

 

The research team, including University of Maryland School of Public Health and University of Nebraska Medical Center researchers, collected wastewater samples throughout the treatment process at two Mid-Atlantic and two Midwestern WWTPs. These plants were chosen, in part, because treated effluent discharged from these plants is reused as “reclaimed wastewater” in spray irrigation activities. The researchers were interested in whether MRSA remained in the effluent.

 

 

They found that MRSA, as well as a related pathogen, methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA),were present at all four WWTPs, with MRSA in half of all samples and MSSA in 55 percent.MRSA was present in 83 percent of the influent– the raw sewage–at all plants, butthe percentage of MRSA- and MSSA-positive samples decreased as treatment progressed. Only one WWTP had the bacteria in the treated water leaving the plant, and this was at a plant that does not regularly use chlorination, a tertiary step in wastewater treatment.

 

Ninety-three percent of the MRSA strains that were isolated from the wastewater and 29 percent of MSSA strains were resistant to two or more classes of antibiotics, including several that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has specifically approved for treating MRSA infections. At two WWTPs, MRSA strains showed resistance to more antibiotics and greater prevalence of a gene associated with virulence at subsequent treatment stages, until tertiary chlorination treatment appeared to eliminate all MRSA. This suggests that while WWTPs effectively reduce MRSA and MSSA from influent to effluent, they may select for increased antibiotic resistance and virulence, particularly at those facilities that do not employ tertiary treatment (via chlorination).

 

“Our findings raise potential public health concerns for wastewater treatment plant workers and individuals exposed to reclaimed wastewater,” says Rachel Rosenberg Goldstein, environmental health doctoral student in the School of Public Health and the study’s first author. “Because of increasing use of reclaimed wastewater, further research is needed to evaluate the risk of exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria in treated wastewater.”

 

The paper Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Detected at Four U.S. Wastewater Treatment Plants was written by Rachel E. Rosenberg Goldstein, Shirley A. Micallef, Shawn G. Gibbs, Johnnie A. Davis,Xin He, Ashish George, Lara M. Kleinfelter,Nicole A. Schreiber, Sampa Mukherjee, Amir Sapkota,Sam W. Joseph, and Amy R. Sapkota and published in the November 2012 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

 

For more information, please contact Kelly Blake, communications director for the School of Public Health at kellyb@umd.edu or (301) 405-9418.

 

 

Chemicals in common consumer products may play a role in pre-term births : phthalates

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Laura Bailey baileylm@umich.edu 734-647-1848 University of Michigan

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—A new study of expectant mothers suggests that a group of common environmental contaminants called phthalates, which are present in many industrial and consumer products including everyday personal care items, may contribute to the country’s alarming rise in premature births.

Researchers at the University of Michigan School of Public Health found that women who deliver prematurely have, on average, up to three times the phthalate level in their urine compared to women who carry to term.

Professors John Meeker, Rita Loch-Caruso and Howard Hu of the SPH Department of Environmental Health Sciences and collaborators from the National Institute of Public Health in Mexico and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed data from a larger study directed by Hu, which follows a cohort of Mexican women recruited during pre-natal visits at one of four clinics of the Mexican Institute of Social Security in Mexico City.

Meeker and colleagues looked at data from 60 women: 30 who carried to term and 30 who delivered prematurely (defined as less than 37 weeks gestation). They analyzed urine samples collected during the third trimester and compared them to the control group who carried to term. They found significantly higher phthalate metabolite levels in the women who delivered prematurely.

Premature birth is a significant risk factor for many health problems in childhood that can persist into adulthood, Meeker says. In the United States, premature births have increased by more than 30 percent since 1981 and by 18 percent since 1990. In 2004, premature births accounted for 12.8 percent of live births nationwide.

Premature births, he says, account for one-third of infant deaths in the United States, making it the leading cause of neonatal mortality. Being born too early can also lead to chronic health problems such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, low IQ and more.

Phthalates are commonly used compounds in plastics, personal care products, home furnishings (vinyl flooring, carpeting, paints, etc.) and many other consumer and industrial products. The toxicity varies by specific phthalates or their breakdown products, but past studies show that several phthalates cause reproductive and developmental toxicity in animals.

A couple of human studies have reported associations between phthalates and gestational age, but this is the first known study to look at the relationship between phthalates and premature births, Meeker says.

“We looked at these commonly used compounds found in consumer products based on the growing amount of animal toxicity data and since national human data show that a large proportion of the population are unknowingly exposed,” Meeker said. “One of the problems for consumers is that you don’t know exactly which products contain phthalates because the products do not have to be labeled accordingly.”

Meeker says the U-M study is a stepping stone to larger and more detailed studies examining the role of phthalates and premature births. The researchers hope to examine a larger population of pregnant women to corroborate these initial study findings, and conduct experimental lab studies to further explore the biological mechanisms of how phthalates work in the body.

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The study, “Urinary Phthalate Metabolites in Relation to Preterm Birth in Mexico City,” is available online at: http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2009/0800522/abstract.html. It will appear in a later printed issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

For more on Meeker: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=meekerj

Loch-Caruso: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=rlc

Hu: http://www.sph.umich.edu/iscr/faculty/profile.cfm?uniqname=howardhu

EHS: http://www.sph.umich.edu/ehs/

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been working to promote health and prevent disease since 1941, and is consistently ranked among the top five public health schools in the nation

Rochester study raises new questions about controversial plastics chemical: BPA metabolizes 8x slower than expected

2009 study posted for filing

Contact: Leslie Orr
Leslie_orr@urmc.rochester.edu
585-275-5774
University of Rochester Medical Center

A University of Rochester Medical Center study challenges common assumptions about the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), by showing that in some people, surprisingly high levels remain in the body even after fasting for as long as 24 hours. The finding suggests that BPA exposure may come from non-food sources, or that BPA is not rapidly metabolized, or both.

The journal Environmental Health Perspectives published the research online January 28, 2009.

Controversy around BPA is mounting. In December the U.S. Food and Drug Administration agreed to reconsider the health risks of the chemical, which is used to make plastic baby bottles, water bottles and many other consumer products. Scientific studies suggest that BPA may harm the brain and prostate glands in developing fetuses and infants; adults with higher BPA levels in their urine were linked to higher risks for heart disease and diabetes, according to a study published last September in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The latest finding from Rochester is important because, until now, scientists believed that BPA was excreted quickly and that people were exposed to BPA primarily through food. Indeed, the FDA and the European Food Safety Authority have declared BPA safe based, in part, on those assumptions.

“Our results simply do not fit that picture,” said lead author Richard W. Stahlhut, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Rochester’s Environmental Health Sciences Center. “The research community has clues that could help explain some of these results but to date the importance of the clues have been underestimated. We must chase them much more vigorously now.”

Manufacturers use BPA to harden plastics in many types of products. In addition to plastic bottles, BPA is used in PVC water pipes and food storage containers. BPA also coats the inside of metal food cans, and is used in dental sealants.

Stahlhut and colleagues obtained data for a sample of 1,469 American adults through the Center for Disease Control’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). The researchers sought to explore the link between BPA urine concentration and the length of time a person had been fasting.

Accepting the widely held assumption that food is the most common route of exposure to BPA, Stahlhut expected to see a relationship between the last food ingested, fasting time, and BPA levels. People who had fasted longest (15 to 24 hours), for example, should have had much lower BPA levels than people who had eaten more recently, Stahlhut said.

Instead, those who fasted had levels that were only moderately lower than people who had just eaten. This is significant because scientists expected BPA levels to decrease by about half, every five hours.

“In our data, BPA levels appear to drop about eight times more slowly than expected – so slowly, in fact, that race and sex together have as big an influence on BPA levels as fasting time,” Stahlhut said.

According to the authors, two possible explanations may exist for the higher-than-expected levels of BPA in people who fasted. One is that exposure to BPA might come through other means, such as house dust or tap water.

In addition, Stahlhut theorizes that BPA may seep into fat tissues, where it would be released more slowly. However, further study is needed to evaluate the effects of BPA on adipose tissue hormones and function, Stahlhut said, as well as more studies to compare BPA levels in fat versus blood and urine.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 93 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPA in their urine.

The latest data also supports the idea that individuals might be re-exposed throughout the course of a day, Stahlhut said. In 2000 another research group found that BPA can migrate from PVC pipes or hoses into room temperature water, producing another potential route of exposure.

 

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The University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Training Grant, funded the research.

Bisphenol A linked to chemotherapy resistance

2008 study posted for filing

Contact: Dama Kimmon
dama.kimmon@uc.edu
513-558-4519
University of Cincinnati

CINCINNATI—Exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy treatments, say University of Cincinnati (UC) scientists.

The research study, led by UC’s Nira Ben-Jonathan, PhD, says that BPA—a man-made chemical found in a number of plastic products, including drinking bottles and the lining of food cans—actually induces a group of proteins that protect cancer cells from the toxic effects of chemotherapy.

The findings are reported in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and appear online Oct. 8, 2008, ahead of print.

“Resistance to chemotherapy is a major problem for cancer patients, especially those with advanced or metastatic disease,” says Ben-Jonathan, a professor of cancer and cell biology at UC who has studied BPA for more than 10 years. “Finding out what contributes to that resistance can give us an idea of what to target in order to make chemotherapy as effective as possible.”

Researchers have suspected that BPA could play a role in cancer because of the chemical’s structural similarities to a cancer-promoting compound called diethylstilbestrol (DES). But Ben-Jonathan’s team found that BPA isn’t exactly mimicking the action of DES.

“BPA does not increase cancer cell proliferation like DES does,” she says. “It’s actually acting by protecting existing cancer cells from dying in response to anti-cancer drugs, making chemotherapy significantly less effective.”

Ben-Jonathan’s team studied human breast cancer cells, subjecting them to low levels of BPA consistent with levels found in the blood of human adults. The team found that BPA is acting in cancer cells similar to the way estrogen does—by inducing proteins that protect the cells from chemotherapy agents.

Estrogen’s protein-inducing action has been previously linked to chemotherapy resistance, but researchers have been unable to explain why such resistance still occurs in certain patients with less estrogen. Ben-Jonathan says her team’s research has important implications for this subgroup of patients.

“Patients with less circulating estrogen—post-menopausal women, for example—can also suffer from chemotherapy resistance,” she says. “Linking BPA to this problem gives us one more avenue to explore in terms of preventing chemotherapy resistance.”

“These data,” study authors write, “provide considerable support to the accumulating evidence that BPA is hazardous to human health.”

Coauthors include Elizabeth LaPensee, Sejal Fox and Traci Tuttle.

###

The study was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Defense and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

The cancer and cell biology department at UC is part of a joint cancer program involving the UC College of Medicine, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University Hospital. The collaborative initiative brings together interdisciplinary research teams of caring scientists and health professionals to research and develop new cures, while providing a continuum of care for children, adults and families with cancer.

Chemical exposure in the womb from household items may contribute to obesity

Woodruff Health Sciences Center   Aug. 30, 2012

Pregnant women who are highly exposed to common environmental chemicals – polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) – have babies that are smaller at birth and larger at 20 months of age, according to a study from Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health published online in the August 30 edition of Environmental Health Perspectives.

PFCs are used in the production of fluoropolymers and are found widely in protective coatings of packaging products, clothes, furniture and non-stick cookware. They are persistent compounds found abundantly in the environment and human exposure is common. PFCs have been detected in human sera, breast milk and cord blood.

The study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, included 447 British girls and their mothers in the United Kingdom participating in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, a large-scale health research project that has provided a vast amount of genetic and environmental information since it began in the early 1990s.

The researchers found that even though girls with higher exposure were smaller than average (43rd percentile) at birth, they were heavier than average (58th percentile) by 20 months of age. The authors say this path may lead to obesity at older ages.

“Previous animal and human research suggests prenatal exposures to PFCs may have harmful effects on fetal and postnatal growth,” says lead researcher Michele Marcus, MPH, PhD, a professor of epidemiology in Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health and the assistant program director at Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research.

“Our findings are consistent with these studies and emerging evidence that chemicals in our environment are contributing to obesity and diabetes and demonstrate that this trajectory is set very early in life for those exposed.”

According to Marcus, a recent study in Denmark found that women exposed to PFCs in the womb were more likely to be overweight at age 20. And experimental studies with mice have shown that exposure in the womb led to higher levels of insulin and heavier body weight in adulthood.

Marcus and her colleagues focused on the three most studied PFCs: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS).

The researchers measured maternal serum concentrations of PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS during pregnancy and obtained data on the weight and length of the girls at birth, 2, 9 and 20 months. They explored associations between prenatal PFC concentrations and weight at birth as well as changes in weight-for-age scores between birth and 20 months

Just Low level cadmium exposure linked to lung disease – Tobacco Contaminant

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—New research suggests that cadmium is one of the critical ingredients causing emphysema, and even low-level exposure attained through second-hand smoke and other means may also increase the chance of developing lung disease.

The University of Michigan School of Public Health study suggests that higher cadmium levels in the body as much as double the risk of developing a pulmonary disease diagnosis such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Though some studies have linked high levels of cadmium with decreased lung function in occupationally exposed workers, this is only the second known study to show that subjects with even slightly increased levels of cadmium had decreased lung function and the first known study to do so using repeated measures of lung function over time.

“The study suggests that the critical ingredient in smoking that may be causing emphysema is cadmium, a well-known contaminant of cigarette smoke,” said Howard Hu, professor at the U-M School of Public Health and principal investigator in the study. “The worry is if you are exposed to this (cadmium) through other sources you can also be at risk for emphysema.”

Non-smokers are exposed to cadmium when they eat contaminated foods or inhale second-hand smoke, as well as through a host of occupational exposures. Cadmium is a metal that is difficult for the body to dispel, Hu said, because kidneys tend to retain cadmium, and it recycles into the body.

Cadmium has received its share of media attention, and some consumer groups are concerned about cadmium in sludge and crop fertilizers. It is also widely used in batteries  and pigments.

“The big picture is, we keep learning more about the contributions of environmental toxins to the chronic diseases of aging for which we never suspected an environmental cause,” said Hu, who is also chair of the School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences and has an appointment with the Medical School.

The study looked at 96 men randomly selected from within the Normative Aging Study, a project that began in 1961 and includes approximately 2,280 healthy, male volunteers from Boston, Mass.

Researchers tested lung function using three different measures. Subjects with higher levels of urinary cadmium showed evidence of a reduced ability to exhale, irrespective of whether they smoked but with an effect that was greatest and clearest among current and former smokers.

The next step is a much larger, population-based study with more subjects and multiple measurements of cadmium exposure and lung function over time, Hu said.

“With a larger population we will be able to better disentangle the independent effects of cadmium and smoking, and whether dietary cadmium or other non-cigarette sources may also influence lung function,” Hu said.

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Sung Kyun Park, research assistant professor in the U-M School of Public Health, was second author and supervised the analysis of data. The paper, “Association Between 24-hour Urinary Cadmium and Pulmonary Function Among Community-Exposed Men: The VA Normative Aging Study” is available at: http://www.ehponline.org/docs/2008/11265/abstract.html. It is scheduled for the September issue of the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

For more on Hu, visit: http://www.ns.umich.edu/htdocs/public/experts/ExpDisplay.php?ExpID=1188

For more on the School of Public Health: http://www.sph.umich.edu/

The University of Michigan School of Public Health has been working to promote health and prevent disease since 1941, and is consistently ranked among the top five public health schools in the nation. Faculty and students in the school’s five academic departments and dozens of collaborative centers and initiatives are forging new solutions to the complex health challenges of today, including chronic disease, health care quality and finance, emerging genetic technologies, climate change, socioeconomic inequalities and their impact on health, infectious disease, and the globalization of health.

EDITORS: Listen and link to a podcast with Howard Hu at: http://www.ns.umich.edu/podcast/audio.php?id=392

Requested Repost :19 Aug 2008

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ – Published in Federal Gov’t Journal

press release

July 24, 2012, 8:44 a.m. EDT

Harvard Study Finds Fluoride Lowers IQ – Published in Federal Gov’t Journal

NEW YORK, July 24, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Harvard University researchers’ review of fluoride/brain studies concludes “our results support the possibility of adverse effects of fluoride exposures on children’s neurodevelopment.” It was published online July 20 in Environmental Health Perspectives, a US National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ journal (1), reports the NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc. (NYSCOF)”The children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ than those who lived in low fluoride areas,” write Choi et al.

Further, the EPA says fluoride is a chemical “with substantial evidence of developmental neurotoxicity.”

Fluoride (fluosilicic acid) is added to US water supplies at approximately 1 part per million attempting to reduce tooth decay.

Water was the only fluoride source in the studies reviewed and was based on high water fluoride levels. However, they point out research by Ding (2011) suggested that low water fluoride levels had significant negative associations with children’s intelligence.

Choi et al. write, “Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment. They recommend more brain/fluoride research on children and at individual-level doses.

“It’s senseless to keep subjecting our children to this ongoing fluoridation experiment to satisfy the political agenda of special-interest groups,” says attorney Paul Beeber, NYSCOF President. “Even if fluoridation reduced cavities, is tooth health more important than brain health? It’s time to put politics aside and stop artificial fluoridation everywhere,” says Beeber.

After reviewing fluoride toxicological data, the NRC reported in 2006, “It’s apparent that fluorides have the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain.”

Choi’s team writes, “Fluoride readily crosses the placenta. Fluoride exposure to the developing brain, which is much more susceptible to injury caused by toxicants than is the mature brain, may possibly lead to damage of a permanent nature.”

Fluoride accumulates in the body. Even low doses are harmful to babies, the thyroid, kidney patients and heavy water-drinkers. There are even doubts about fluoridation’s effectiveness (2). New York City Legislation is pending to stop fluoridation. Many communities have already stopped.

Infant formula when mixed with fluoridated water delivers 100-200 times more fluoride than breastmilk. (3)

More information on fluoride’s impact on the brain is here.

Contact: Paul Beeber, JD, 516-433-8882 nyscof@aol.com

http://www.fluoridation.webs.com

http://www.FluorideAction.Net

SOURCE NYS Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.

Copyright (C) 2012 PR Newswire. All rights reserved

Researchers identify phthalates in numeruous medicines and supplements

(Boston) –Researchers from Boston University’s Slone Epidemiology Center (SEC), in collaboration with Harvard School of Public Health, have found numerous prescription and over-the-counter drugs and supplements use certain chemicals called phthalates as inactive ingredients in their products. The findings appear on-line in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Phthalates such as dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and diethyl phthalate (DEP) are used as inactive ingredients in FDA-approved medications where they may serve a variety of functions. Most commonly, they are used in the coating of a drug product to target the delivery of the active ingredients to a specific area of the gastrointestinal tract, or manage their release over time. Some phthalates, including DBP have been identified as causing adverse developmental and reproductive effects in laboratory animals. Limited human studies have suggested a possible association of DBP and DEP with male reproductive health outcomes.

Using a combination of resources, the researchers were able to identify over 100 drug and dietary supplement products that indicated they contained phthalates, including 50 prescription, 40 over-the-counter (OTC) and 26 dietary supplement products with labels that listed DEP or DBP, of which nine contained DBP. In addition, a large number of product labels listed phthalate polymers that are considered to be of little or no known toxicity but which are often used in combination with other phthalates.

“Given the thousands of orally-ingested products on the market (prescription, OTC and dietary supplements), it is difficult to know exactly how many contain phthalates.  However, it is informative and important to identify the specific drug products that have included phthalates in their formulations,” said lead author Kathy Kelley, MPH, RPh, a research pharmacist at BU’s SEC.

According to the researchers, the potential health effects of human exposure to these phthalates through medications are unknown and warrant further investigation. “The present findings should assist researchers in conducting the necessary studies of potential risk of phthalates in human populations, but such efforts are limited by the lack of centralized, comprehensive, and publically-available information on the presence of phthalates in the full range of prescription, OTC and dietary supplement products,” added Kelley.

The researchers recommend that future studies should pay particular attention to the amount of phthalate, specifically DBP, used in each dosage form so that estimates of exposure from medications and supplements can be quantified.

Chemicals in personal care products may increase risk of diabetes in women

Brigham and Women’s Hospital study is the first to examine an association between phthalates and diabetes in a large population of American women

Boston, MA – A study lead by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) shows an association between increased concentrations of phthalates in the body and an increased risk of diabetes in women.  Phthalates are endocrine disrupting chemicals that are commonly found in personal care products such as moisturizers, nail polishes, soaps, hair sprays and perfumes.  They are also used in adhesives, electronics, toys and a variety of other products.  This finding is published in the July 13, 2012 online edition of Environmental Health Perspectives

Researchers, lead by Tamarra James-Todd, PhD, a researcher in the Division of Women’s Health at BWH, analyzed urinary concentrations of phthalates in 2,350 women who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.  They found that women with higher levels of phthalates in their urine were more likely to have diabetes.  Specifically:

  • Women who had the highest levels of the chemicals mono-benzyl phthalate and mono-isobutyl phthalate had almost twice the risk of diabetes compared to women with the lowest levels of those chemicals.
  • Women with higher than median levels of the chemical mono-(3-carboxypropyl) phthalate had approximately a 60 percent increased risk of diabetes.
  • Women with moderately high levels of the chemicals mono-n-butyl phthalate and di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate had approximately a 70 percent increased risk of diabetes.

The study population consisted of a representative sample of American women and was controlled for socio-demographic, dietary and behavioral factors.  However, the women self-reported their diabetes and researchers caution against reading too much into the study due to the possibility of reverse causation.

“This is an important first step in exploring the connection between phthalates and diabetes,” said Dr. James-Todd. “We know that in addition to being present in personal care products, phthalates also exist in certain types of medical devices and medication that is used to treat diabetes and this could also explain the higher level of phthalates in diabetic women. So overall, more research is needed.”

Early-life exposure to chemical in drinking water may affect vision, study finds

(BOSTON) — Prenatal and early childhood exposure to the chemical solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE) found in drinking water may be associated with long-term visual impairments, particularly in the area of color discrimination, a new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has found.

The study by epidemiologists and biostatisticians at BUSPH, working with an ophthalmologist from the BU School of Medicine, found that people exposed to higher levels of PCE from gestation through age 5 exhibited poorer color-discrimination abilities than unexposed people. The study, published July 11 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, recommends further investigation into the visual impairments associated with PCE exposure.

The research team assessed visual functioning among a group of people born between 1969 and 1983 to parents residing in eight towns in the Cape Cod region of Massachusetts. The towns all had PCE in their drinking water because of pipes outfitted with a vinyl liner that was improperly cured. Previous studies led by Ann Aschengrau, professor of epidemiology at BUSPH, have found associations between PCE exposure and cancer, as well as reproductive and developmental outcomes. Increases in the risks of breast cancer and certain birth defects were seen in the team’s prior studies.

PCE is a known neurotoxin that was used to apply the vinyl liner of some drinking water pipes. Surveys have estimated that more than 600 miles of such pipes were installed in nearly 100 cities and towns in Massachusetts, mainly during the 1970s. Exposure to PCE from drinking water occurs by direct ingestion, dermal exposure during bathing, and by inhalation during showering, bathing and other household uses.

The pipes no longer leach PCE, but the chemical is still widely used in dry cleaning and metal degreasing solutions and is a common drinking water contaminant.

In testing vision, Aschengrau and colleagues found that people exposed to PCE made more major errors in color discrimination than those not exposed.  The levels of color confusion were greatest among people with high exposure levels. PCE previously has been implicated in deficiencies in color discrimination, mainly among adults with occupational exposures. The new study is the first to assess “the associations between prenatal and early childhood exposure to PCE and adult vision,” Aschengrau said. The findings suggest that “the effects of early life PCE-exposure on color discrimination may be irreversible.”