Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, a leader in children’s environmental health and Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, co-authored the editorial, entitled “A Research Strategy to Discover the Environmental Causes of Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities,” along with Luca Lambertini, PhD, MPH, MSc, Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at Mount Sinai and Linda Birnbaum, Director of the National Institute OF Environmental Health Sciences.
The editorial was published alongside four other papers — each suggesting a link between toxic chemicals and autism. Both the editorial and the papers originated at a conference hosted by CEHC in December 2010.
“A large number of the chemicals in widest use have not undergone even minimal assessment of potential toxicity and this is of great concern,” says Dr. Landrigan. “Knowledge of environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders is critically important because they are potentially preventable.”……
CEHC developed the list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to contribute to autism and learning disabilities to guide a research strategy to discover potentially preventable environmental causes. The top ten chemicals are:
4. Organophosphate pesticides
5. Organochlorine pesticides
6. Endocrine disruptors
7. Automotive exhaust
8. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
9. Brominated flame retardants
10. Perfluorinated compounds
In addition to the editorial, the other four papers also call for increased research to identify the possible environmental causes of autism in America’s children. The first paper, written by a team at the University of Wisconsin — Milwaukee, found preliminary evidence linking smoking during pregnancy to Asperger’s disorder and other forms of high-functioning autism. Two papers, written by researchers at the University of California — Davis, show that PCBs disrupt early brain development. The final paper, also by a team at UC — Davis, suggests further exploring the link between pesticide exposure and autism.
Microbial hotspots on and in the body. (Credit: NIH)
ScienceDaily (Apr. 25, 2012) — Usually, we think of mold, feces, nitric oxide, hydrogen sulfide and rat poison as rank, toxic or both. But scientists funded by the National Institutes of Health are learning more about the helpful roles these substances can play.
From the article
If you’re a homeowner, mold is definitely a four-letter word. But to scientists, it’s a very important organism. The widely used antibiotic penicillin comes from a mold calledPenicillium. This mold’s bacteria-killing ability was discovered accidentally by Alexander Fleming in 1928 when it drifted in from another lab, landed on Fleming’s petri dish and killed the bacteria on it. Today,Neurospora crassa – the mold that can turn sandwich bread orange — is helping scientists answer questions about how species arise and adapt as well as how cells and tissues change their shapes in different environments. And because it produces spores on a 24-hour cycle, this bread mold is also useful for identifying the molecular timepieces that govern sleep, wakefulness and other rhythms of life.
Our guts are host to many bacteria, and researchers are analyzing the bacterial colonies in our poop to better understand what they do. Specifically, scientists involved in the NIH-led Human Microbiome Project are using genomic tools to identify these communities in the gut and other hotspots — the nose, mouth, skin and vagina — to learn how they help maintain health or set the stage for disease…
…is a toxic pollutant that we most often smell in car exhaust fumes, but it is critical to our cardiovascular health, brain function and immune system….
We generally associate hydrogen sulfide with the smell of rotting sewage. But some of our body’s cells produce small quantities of this gas, and research indicates that this happens when their protein-making factories start churning out bad products….T
… Two million Americans start taking warfarin each year to prevent dangerous blood clots that can lead to heart attacks, strokes or even death. They may also take it after major surgery to avoid other clotting problems. But prescribing the right dose is tricky because some people need stronger doses and others need weaker ones. For this reason, the drug is currently the focus of basic and clinical studies to better understand how a person’s genetic makeup can affect his or her response to medicine.
(Aside comment, wondering how many news stories I’m not getting access to because I only know English? How many great studies are in other languages..and it takes time for them (or at least their summaries) to get translated into English? Or are a large number of scientific studies that (at least potentially) have an impact on public health already already published in English?)
From the 26 April 2012 news item at BBC Health
By Jane HughesHealth correspondent, BBC News
There are 80 million mobile phones in the UK
There is still no evidence mobile phones harm human health, says a major safety review for the UK’s Health Protection Agency (HPA).
Scientists looked at hundreds of studies of mobile exposure and found no conclusive links to cancer risk, brain function or infertility.
However, they said monitoring should continue because little was known about long-term effects.
The HPA said children should still avoid excessive use of mobiles.
It is the biggest ever review of the evidence surrounding the safety of mobile phones.
There are now an estimated 80 million mobiles in the UK, and because of TV and radio broadcasting, Wi-Fi, and other technological developments, the study said exposure to low-level radio frequency fields was almost universal and continuous.
A group of experts working for the HPA looked at all significant research into the effects of low-level radio frequency…