Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pesticide linked to brain abnormalities

This is a very small study and fails to ask why the mothers had high levels in their blood.  Perhaps (for instance) they were simply working class mothers who were more careless in their use of pesticides than others would be.  And poor people have lower IQ and poorer health  anyway

PREGNANT women exposed to the pesticide chlorpyrifos may be putting their kids at risk for potentially irreversible brain changes linked to lower intelligence, according to a study published today.

A team of US researchers used MRIs to look at the brains of 20 New York City children, ages five to 11, whose mothers tested highest for levels of chlorpyrifos during a previous study.

The researchers found "significant abnormalities" in the brain structure of those kids compared to 20 children whose mothers showed lower exposures.

Some of those abnormalities were associated with lower IQ scores and working memory shortfalls.

Additionally, the kids exposed to higher levels of the chemical did not exhibit the expected male/female differences in their brains, which could affect their development.

The study shows that "the prenatal period is a vulnerable time for the developing child", said lead author, Virginia Rauh, of Columbia University, adding that "toxic exposure during this critical period can have far-reaching effects on brain development and behavioral functioning".

The mothers in the study had been exposed to the pesticide before a 2001 ban on its household use in the US.  However, chlorpyrifos is still used throughout the country in farms, wood treatments, and public spaces such as some golf courses, parks and highway medians.

People can be exposed by inhaling the chemical from those sources and, to a lesser extent, by eating fruits and vegetables that have been sprayed.

The paper was published online tonday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Further study is likely needed to determine the long-term effects of the kids' brain changes.


Discrimination against obese women

Is anyone surprised?  If social disapproval were not enough, government condemnation should also work against them

A new study has found that obese women face discrimination when applying for jobs.

Researchers from Monash University asked people in the study to view a series of resumes with a photo of the applicant.  They found obese women were more likely to face discrimination when applying for a job and more likely to be paid less than their slimmer colleagues.

The university's Dr Kerry O'Brien says discrimination against obese candidates was strong in all job selection criteria, including starting salary and leadership potential.

"If they're less likely to be in high-status jobs, it's not because they're lazy and stupid - which are some of the stereotypes - it's because we actually put them there because we discriminate against them," he said.

"We know that lower socioeconomic status is associated with greater obesity, so really it's becoming a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy with this discrimination."

Researchers also found that the more highly the participants rated their own physical attractiveness, the more likely they were to discriminate against obese candidates.

The findings have been published in the International Journal of Obesity.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The use of Chlorpyrifos is so widespread that it is difficult to bring about legislation to make a difference right now. This is why the powers that be are making some efforts to phase it out slowly so it will give users as well as the manufacturers the opportunity to stop using it.