Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chemicals in foods can 'double miscarriage risk' (?)

These are just boring old scares that have been investigated many times and found to be baseless.  It makes a good story, though.  The phthalate results are at least amusing -- and not the first time.  This study showed that phthalates IMPROVED male fertility

A chemical found in dozens of household items may double a woman’s risk of miscarriage, researchers warn.

Scientists said pregnant women should avoid canned food, stop heating food in plastic containers and even avoid touching cash register receipts.

Researchers from the prestigious Stanford University in California found pregnant women with the highest levels of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) in their blood were 80 per cent more likely to miscarry.

They measured levels of the chemical – found in plastics and items including water bottles, sunglasses and CD cases – when the pregnancy was confirmed by the doctor.

Lead researcher Dr Ruth Lathie said: ‘Until further studies are performed, women with unexplained miscarriages should avoid BPA exposure in an effort to remove one potential risk factor.

‘There are some simple things that people can do, but it’s impossible to avoid it completely.

‘Avoid anything that involves cooking or warming food in plastic as the chemicals leak out of plastic materials at a higher rate at higher temperatures.

‘Avoid canned food, avoid cooking or heating plastic and also avoid touching things that have high BPA resin – something as simple as a cash register receipt which is coded with resin that has BPA in it.’

Miscarriages are common and statistically one in three women in the UK will suffer one at some point during their lives.

A spokesman from the Miscarriage Association said the US study was too small to draw any firm conclusions, and warned against causing further worry for pregnant women who are already told to avoid many products, including caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, raw eggs and pate.

In another study, the US Government’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development looked at the records of 501 couples who were trying to become pregnant between 2005 and 2009.

All provided urine samples which were measured for levels of BPA and phthalates – another group of chemicals used in plastics.

They were monitored for a year and kept diaries stating if and when they became pregnant.

Oddly, the researchers found that high levels of phthalates affected men’s fertility but not women’s. Couples where the male partner had high recordings were 20 per cent more likely not to conceive within the year.

Dr Linda Giudice, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said: ‘These chemicals are a cause of concern to all of us.  'We don’t know necessarily the exact biochemical mechanism [cause] but other studies point to the need to be aware of the use of these chemicals.’

The findings from the two studies follow a World Health Organisation move to ban phthalates and bisphenol A amid suggestions they also cause breast cancer, leukaemia, asthma and birth defects.

The WHO said the chemicals had ‘serious implications’ for health, and a ban was needed to ‘protect future generations’.

Elizabeth Salter-Green, of the campaign group CHEM Trust, said: ‘Both pieces of research highlight how vitally important it is for the UK Government to agree the need for EU measures to eliminate our exposure to all hormone disruptors.

'We could be jeopardising future generations as hormones are so fundamental to our ability to reproduce.’

The studies are being presented today at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s conference in Boston.


Exercise keeps Alzheimer's at bay  -- if you are a mouse

A rigorous walk could hold the key to slowing the onset of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in later life.  A natural chemical produced by the body during exercise could one day be given as an injection to inhibit the diseases, researchers say.

The protein, called FNDC5, is produced by muscular exertion and is released into the bloodstream as a hormone called irisin.

They hope to use it to keep the neurons in the human brain healthy while also making new ones.  

‘What is exciting is that a natural substance can be given in the bloodstream that can mimic some of the effects of endurance exercise on the brain,’ said professor Bruce Spiegelman, from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

‘Our results indicate that FNDC5/irisin has the ability to control a very important neuro-protective pathway in the brain.’

In the study, laboratory mice regularly ran on a wheel for 30 days. The exercise spurred a rise in the FNDC5 protein. That in turn increased a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic protein (BDNF) in a part of the brain involved in learning and memory.

They used a harmless virus to deliver the protein to mice through the bloodstream, in hopes the FNDC5 could reach the brain and raise BDNF production.  Seven days later, they examined the mouse brains and observed a significant increase in BDNF in the hippocampus area of the brain.

Professor Spiegelman says more research is needed and the next step is to develop a stable form of irisin.


1 comment:

Wireless.Phil said...


They just run out of scare stories, or new ideas that they thought no one paid attention too and re-release the old stuff again.

I've seen it happen a lot recently in other fields.