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Archive for May, 2012

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses David Crews Ross Gillette Samuel V. Scarpino Mohan Manikkam Marina I. Savenkovab, and Michael K. Skinnerb,1,2 Edited by Fred H. Gage, The Salk Institute, San Diego, CA, and approved April 18, 2012 (received for review November 15, 2011) The research, led by Dr. David Crews (and including colleagues Michael Skinner, Ross Gillette and others), is entitled,“Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses”and is published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/15/1118514109.abstract).

The study, which was funded by a sub-group of the National Institutes of Health (http://NIEHS.NIH.gov), found that exposure to a common fungicide caused neurological and behavioral changes that were passed on to future generations of offspring, even when those offspring had no exposure to the original fungicide

Groundbreaking new science reveals that the harmful effects of exposure to synthetic chemicals are passed from generation to generation via “epigenetics,” causing measurable damage to future generationseven if those offspring are never exposed to the original chemical. The phenomenon of “Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance” (ETI) has now been demonstrated in live animals, and if the implications of this research are fully understood, it would force human civilization to radically rethink its widespread use of synthetic chemicals in agriculture, medicine, food, construction materials, and personal care products.

Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses David Crews Ross Gillette Samuel V. Scarpino Mohan Manikkam Marina I. Savenkovab, and Michael K. Skinnerb,1,2

Edited by Fred H. Gage, The Salk Institute, San Diego, CA, and approved April 18, 2012 (received for review November 15, 2011) The research, led by Dr. David Crews (and including colleagues Michael Skinner, Ross Gillette and others), is entitled,“Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses”and is published in the journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America) (http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/15/1118514109.abstract).

The study, which was funded by a sub-group of the National Institutes of Health (http://NIEHS.NIH.gov), found that exposure to a common fungicide caused neurological and behavioral changes that were passed on to future generations of offspring, even when those offspring had no exposure to the original fungicide. Furthermore, the mechanism of “transgenerational inheritance” was epigenetic, meaning it was “above the genes.” It was not coded into the DNA of sperm and egg, in other words. Instead, theexpression of the DNAwas altered and inherited through some mechanism other than DNA. (more…)

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By Robyn O’Brien

From the escalating rates of childhood cancers, to the increasing diagnoses for conditions like autism and allergies, the landscape of childhood has changed, earning our children the title “Generation Rx”.

And this is changing the face of American families and our economy.  We already spend 17 cents of every dollar on health care, managing disease.  The pharmaceutical companies can’t keep up with demand, and now there are shortages for drugs used to treat cancers and ADHD. The Unsustainable U.S. Health Care System By  Feb. 04, 2010 Read more: http://swampland.time.com/2010/02/04/the-unsustainable-u-s-health-care-system/#ixzz2EC0RKlcY

According to the Centers for Disease Control, cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15.  The journal Pediatrics has reported that 15% of American girls are expected to begin puberty by the age of 7 (with the number closer to 25% for African American girls) and a growing number of American children struggle with obesity.  On top of that, the rate for having food allergies is 59% higher for obese children, with the Centers for Disease Control reporting a 265% increase in hospitalizations related to food allergic reactions.  And while not all of those hospitalizations are for our children, what is becoming increasingly obvious is that the health of our children is under siege. (more…)

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How is the developing fetus vulnerable to toxic chemical exposures, and how can our regulatory system more effectively protect our health in the prenatal period? By Jerome A. Paulson, MD, FAAP

At the time of conception there is one egg and one sperm. They merge to create a single cell. Approximately nine months later a child is born consisting of several trillion cells and weighing about 7 ½ pounds. While it is obvious that there are many new cells developed in the prenatal period, it is less obvious but extremely important to note that in order for prenatal growth and development to proceed normally, cells must move from one place to another (cellular migration); cells must differentiate and become specialized as liver cells or neurons or skin cells, etc; some cells must die (apoptosis); and in the nervous system, cells must link into a communications network (synaptogenesis). All of these processes are exquisitely timed and if one step is perturbed there is no way to go back and redo the step.

There are any numbers of factors that influence or are associated with birth outcomes. These include race, ethnicity, income, diet, and lifestyle issues such as smoking, exercise, and alcohol consumption. It is very clear that in the US, and globally, members of minority populations and individuals who are poor are more likely to be exposed to and suffer adverse outcomes from environmental health hazards. (more…)

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By Susan F. Katz, MD In avoiding exposures to toxicants in the developing fetus, I believe our goal should be to be proactive and preventive. We should take into account all three trimesters as well as periods of continuing neonatal development into infancy and early childhood. We should not have to be reactive to widespread damage found years after a toxicant has entered the environment. This is especially true for those toxicants which are persistent and bioaccumulative in reproductive aged females. These stored toxicants are released during pregnancy along with the fat stores required to nourish and supply energy to the fetus.

Landrigan PJ, Goldman LR. 2011. Children’s vulnerability to toxic chemicals: a challenge and opportunity to strengthen health and environmental policy. Health Aff (Millwood) 30(5): 842-850. (more…)

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 There is a growing body of research that shows how fetal exposures to chemicals found in everyday products may be implicated in the rising rates of health problems seen in children and adults such as diabetes, infertility, obesity, neurodevelopment disorders, and cancer. Unfortunately our current regulatory system is not working to protect us, nor the most vulnerable among us – including the growing fetus — from exposures to these chemicals.

One class of chemicals that has seen increased interest over the past ten years is endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Low-level exposures to EDCs during critical times of fetal growth may interfere with the hormone signaling that is vital to normal growth and development and gene functioning. Research is now showing that exposures to these chemicals can cause changes in how genes work, impacting which genes are turned on and off and when, increasing that child’s risk for chronic diseases such as obesity. (more…)

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By Laura Anderko, PhD RN.- We are exposed to industrial chemicals in the environment throughout our lives. But because growth is rapid and basic organ systems are under development during the prenatal and early childhood period, exposures during those times may have greater impact on our health than exposures when we are adults. Prenatal exposures to some toxins can harm the fetus at levels that have no obvious effect on the mother. Moreover, some parental exposures even in the preconception period may harm the future child.

Environmental Protection Agency (2012). Mercury: Human Exposure, Retrieved January 20, 2012.

2. Chalupka, S. & Chalupka, A. (2010). The impact of environmental and occupational exposures on reproductive health. JOGNN, 39, 84-102.

The prevention of avoidable harm is a crucial role of healthcare providers, public health practitioners, and health advocates. To be effective, such prevention must encompass the entire life span, and focus special attention on the periods of greatest vulnerability. Foremost among those is the prenatal period. This month we explore the vulnerability of the developing fetus, as well as the limits of the current regulatory system to address this vulnerability.

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 by Maye Thompson, RN, PhD

Philip Landrigan MD, MSc Professor & Chairman  Department of Community and Preventive Medicine Mount Sinai School of Medicine New York

Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging presents the most comprehensive compilation of information on the impact of the environment on neurodegenerative diseases. It weaves complex cutting-edge research information in this area and presents it in a manner that the average reader can comprehend. I know of no other work which has dealt with this subject with caring and social responsibility and a deep understanding of the environmental challenges to our health. Nasser H. Zawia, PhD  Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology Department of Biomedical Sciences

University of Rhode Island

In regard to the science, much of the science “on the bench” right now continues to raise concerns about the safety of chemicals we are exposed to every day. I anticipate that scientists will continue to provide us with research revealing that endocrine disruptors affecting the androgen-estrogen axis will also affect the thyroid and insulin/digestive hormone systems. I expect that we will also learn more about how thyroid disruptors affect neurodevelopment in utero.

I also see trends in the science on exposure to heavy metals. Lead and mercury will be joined by cadmium and manganese as metals to which the public is exposed at harmful levels. This highlights the findings, so well laid out by Jill Stein in her monograph Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, about the cumulative effects of exposure to chemicals such as lead that we tend to think of as pediatric issues but that have effects throughout the lifespan. (more…)

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