Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Doctor Exam Trumps C Scan

Are we surprised by this? The problem is, today's doctors grow up with all the fancy tools and don't learn the less glamorous art of OBSERVATION. But watch out for CT scans--lots of radiation. Doctors now count on the PATIENTS to keep track of the various sources of radiation they are getting, unlike, say, in Europe or Korea where all this info is centralized! [In Korea you get all your health info on a flash drive![

Newswise — Sometimes, a simple bedside exam performed by a skilled physician is superior to a high-tech CT scan, a Loyola University Health System study has found.

Researchers found that physicians' bedside exams did a better job than CT scans in predicting which patients would need to return to the operating room to treat complications such as bleeding.

"The low cost, simple, but elegant neurological exam appears to be superior to a routine CT scan in determining return to the operating room," researchers report in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Patients typically receive CT scans following open brain surgery to remove tumors, repair aneurysms, treat brain injuries, etc. But practices vary. Some surgeons order CT scans right after surgery. Others wait until the following morning.

There are downsides. CT scans cost hundreds of dollars and expose patients to radiation

Newswise — Sometimes, a simple bedside exam performed by a skilled physician is superior to a high-tech CT scan, a Loyola University Health System study has found.

Researchers found that physicians' bedside exams did a better job than CT scans in predicting which patients would need to return to the operating room to treat complications such as bleeding.

"The low cost, simple, but elegant neurological exam appears to be superior to a routine CT scan in determining return to the operating room," researchers report in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Patients typically receive CT scans following open brain surgery to remove tumors, repair aneurysms, treat brain injuries, etc. But practices vary. Some surgeons order CT scans right after surgery. Others wait until the following morning.

There are downsides. CT scans cost hundreds of dollars and expose patients to radiation

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gerberding, Former CDC Director Now Heads Merck's Vaccine Division

This really bothers me, when a person who is RESPONSIBLE to oversee vaccine safety for the public later goes to work for a VACCINE MANUFACTURER. It makes me wonder if any of her decisions were made thinking about her next job.

From the American Chronicle:

Julie Louise Gerberding MD MPH, former director of the Centers for Disease Control has been named the president of Merck Vaccines. While certainly no surprise, I am once again astounded at the audacity of the vaccine manufacturers and our government. Mrs. Gerberding will no doubt do quite well in her new position since she has had quite a bit of experience selling both vaccines and the notion that they are beneficial to society, in her previous position as one of the top government health officials in America. This is just another example of how closely related and intertwined our government is with industry.

Those in the natural health and "anti-vaccine" communities have witnessed this unseemly and disgusting relationship between government and industry for years. Consider the Homeland Security Act that sureptitiously had a rider slid into it at the last possible minute prior to the vote that basically absolved Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals from any and all liability regarding the controversial mercury containing vaccine preservative, Thimerosal. Consider the SARS, Avian and Swine flu scares that have made both Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defence and Dick Cheney, former VP of the U.S. very rich men.These scares caused our government to purchace and push TamiFlu, a money making dream come true for these two former executives with the manufacturer of this drug.

We´ve witnessed the revolving door policy between government and business between the FDA and pharmaceutical companies as well as Monsanto. Bring someone from industry into the government regulating division that´s in need, get the vote or approval desired, then return said official to the private sector again, to reap the benefits. We´ve seen this again and again. This recent news is simply another example in a long line of government/industry collusion.

read more here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Erroneous Swine Flu Diagnoses

I wonder how many people took the vaccine on this erroneous data. NB the CDC is going to announce the new autism rate is ***1***** in ****100***

I think they're going to stop saying it's colely environmental now. And curious how the rate goes up with more and more vaccines and the large scale introduction of GMOs...

From Natural News:
(NaturalNews) This week, Britain's Health Protection Agency (HPA) revealed that only one in five people who were diagnosed with swine flu actually had the disease and that four fifths were instructed to take Tamiflu unnecessarily.

The Government agency reported that around one million packets of Tamiflu have been prescribed so far, but more than 800,000 of these were not necessary. In one seven-day period, the rate of correct diagnosis dropped to an astonishing 1 out of 20, with 38,000 citizens taking the controversial antiviral. These alarming figures only came to light after the HPA took swabs from random samples of people who had used the NHS helpline.

This means close to a million people needlessly stayed at home in isolation over the summer, in the false belief that they had swine flu. "These figures are a damning indictment of the government's approach to tackling swine flu," said Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb. "Ministers had years to prepare for such an outbreak but completely failed to put in place an effective flu-line service. It's seriously concerning that large numbers of patients may have been put at risk through high rates of misdiagnosis.While protecting people during an outbreak has to be the priority we cannot escape the fact that an enormous amount of money has been wasted by giving people drugs they simply didn't need."

On top of an estimated 500 million pound cost to the UK economy, the misdiagnosis may have caused new health problems for the members of the public who took the antiviral. The Medicines and Health Regulatory Authority has been swamped with complaints of side-effects from members of the public who had taken Tamiflu, with 11 percent reporting nausea.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fertility Gift Basket!

The other place I blog, Fertility Authority, is giving away a sweet, sweet, fertility basket of products worth $500!

Anyone can enter to win it from now through December 24. Just register as a member on the site AND check the Subscriptions: Daily Shot: The FertilityAuthority Newsletter option--and check out my GreenFertility blog posts OF COURSE.

You can get all the details about the giveaway here:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BPA causes sexual dysfunction in men

Ok, previously I warned you about Sigg bottles...for good reason! Now they've definitively found BPA causes sexual dysfunction in men. And of course Consumer Reports found BPA in organic and "BPA free" labeled products., Sigh!

From Natural News:

(NaturalNews) A recent study published in the journal Human Reproduction has found that exposure to high levels of bisphenol A (BPA) is causing various reproductive and sexual problems in men. Funded by the federal government, the study revealed that BPA is detected in the urine of roughly 93% of the U.S. population, a staggering figure when considering the immense harm the chemical inflicts on the body.

A compound that is found in thousands of everyday consumer products from canned food linings and plastic drinking bottles to composite dental fillings, BPA is a difficult toxin to avoid. Despite efforts by some manufacturers of reusable drinking containers, of baby bottles, and of certain health-food products to remove BPA from their products, a great majority of packaged food on the market today is exposed to plastics containing BPA.

Study findings revealed that Chinese males exposed to BPA in their workplaces were four times as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction and seven times as likely to suffer with proper ejaculation compared to workers who worked in facilities where there was no BPA in the facility. De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute where the study was conducted, found that sexual dysfunction began to occur only months after new workers were exposed to BPA in the workplace.

The five-year study concluded that BPA, a synthetic form of estrogen that was created in the 1930s, definitively alters the hormonal balance in the human body. Since the study analyzed BPA effects on human beings rather than laboratory animals as has typically been done, BPA apologists can no longer dismiss the serious harm BPA inflicts on human hormonal balance and proper sexual function.

Consumer Reports recently issued its own report that found BPA in cans labeled both "organic" and "BPA-free". The group tested many food products and reported its findings to consumers concerned about BPA contamination of food.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Mammogram Math

Ok, so longtime readers here know I don't get mammograms, the simplest explanation being that the death rates from breast cancer between people who get mammos and those who don't are roughly similar, so I decided to skip the bad energy and spend my time sniffing flowers instead.

Here's an EXCELLENT article by mathematician Jonathan Allan Paulos about why these numbers bear out what the studies say, and having women do less mammograms is actually BETTER, not anti-woman. He brings up the other good point that if mammograms are only beneficial, then why not start screening at twenty? In the teens? There have now been reported CHILDREN having breast cancer. Why not start at six?

Much of our discomfort with the panel’s findings stems from a basic intuition: since earlier and more frequent screening increases the likelihood of detecting a possibly fatal cancer, it is always desirable. But is this really so? Consider the technique mathematicians call a reductio ad absurdum, taking a statement to an extreme in order to refute it. Applying it to the contention that more screening is always better leads us to note that if screening catches the breast cancers of some asymptomatic women in their 40s, then it would also catch those of some asymptomatic women in their 30s. But why stop there? Why not monthly mammograms beginning at age 15?

The answer, of course, is that they would cause more harm than good. Alas, it’s not easy to weigh the dangers of breast cancer against the cumulative effects of radiation from dozens of mammograms, the invasiveness of biopsies (some of them minor operations) and the aggressive and debilitating treatment of slow-growing tumors that would never prove fatal...

Assume there is a screening test for a certain cancer that is 95 percent accurate; that is, if someone has the cancer, the test will be positive 95 percent of the time. Let’s also assume that if someone doesn’t have the cancer, the test will be positive just 1 percent of the time. Assume further that 0.5 percent — one out of 200 people — actually have this type of cancer. Now imagine that you’ve taken the test and that your doctor somberly intones that you’ve tested positive. Does this mean you’re likely to have the cancer? Surprisingly, the answer is no.

To see why, let’s suppose 100,000 screenings for this cancer are conducted. Of these, how many are positive? On average, 500 of these 100,000 people (0.5 percent of 100,000) will have cancer, and so, since 95 percent of these 500 people will test positive, we will have, on average, 475 positive tests (.95 x 500). Of the 99,500 people without cancer, 1 percent will test positive for a total of 995 false-positive tests (.01 x 99,500 = 995). Thus of the total of 1,470 positive tests (995 + 475 = 1,470), most of them (995) will be false positives, and so the probability of having this cancer given that you tested positive for it is only 475/1,470, or about 32 percent! This is to be contrasted with the probability that you will test positive given that you have the cancer, which by assumption is 95 percent.

The arithmetic may be trivial, but the answer is decidedly counterintuitive and hence easy to reject or ignore.

read more here:

Friday, December 11, 2009

CDC: antibiotics linked to birth defects

I was just thinking about this, how we're all on antibiotics so frequently we may forget, for instance, while trying to conceive--oops. I remember I had to go to the ER once for whate turned out to be high fever from my chronic fatigue syndrome--but what did the puzzled resident do? He assumed sinus infection and put me on antibiotics.

So use care when you're trying to conceive. Staying away from antibiotic-laden meat and eggs might be helpful, too.

MONDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- Taking antibiotics during pregnancy does not raise the risk for most birth defects, though there are some exceptions, new research has found.

Penicillin, which is the most commonly used antibiotic during pregnancy, as well as erythromycin, cephalosporins and quinolones, other widely prescribed antibiotics, were not associated with increased risk for about 30 different birth defects.

However, the study found that two types of antibiotics were linked with a higher risk for several birth defects: nitrofurantoins and sulfonamides, sometimes called "sulfa drugs," which are prescribed for urinary tract and other infections.

Women whose children had anencephaly, a fatal malformation of the skull and brain, were three times more likely to have taken sulfonamides, the study found. Sulfonamides were also tied to an increased risk for such heart defects as hypoplastic left heart syndrome and coarctation of the aorta, choanal atresia (a blockage of the nasal passage), transverse limb deficiency and diaphragmatic hernia, an abnormal opening in the diaphragm that results in severe breathing difficulties.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Gift Idea: wool vehicles

What could be cuter and safer than some handmade New Zealand wool vehicles by En Gry and Sif for the wee one in your life? These are made with eco friendly dyes and are fair trade (from Nepal). Washable, chewable, you name it.

Check it out (and a lot of other cool gifts) at Elegant Roots:

Green Pharma Reps?

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this release that was sent to me. Also unscores how most pharma companies use "fashion forward" Barbie and Ken dolls (former cheerleaders are a big group they recruit) instead of biomed majors (as they used to--a friend of mine was a rep 20 years ago):

Green Fertility

Ms. Marie Lee Blogger


High resolution photography available on request. In studio visits available upon request. Onsite interviews and photo opportunities are available at Redhanded’s Studios or at the GoGreen Expo in NYC this spring.

Contact: Aaron Turney (919) 324-5240 or email or hit reply to this email.

Pharm giant sales force goes green with high fashion handbags

Raleigh NC-based fashion designers Aaron Turney and Tracy Russomano are used to working with fashion conscious women. But this year, they devoted their special talents efforts to addressing the special needs of a unique group of highly specialized handbag users – pharmaceutical sales reps.

GlaxoSmithKline asked them to design an environmentally friendly work bag specifically for their pharmaceutical sales reps to use on the job.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Avoid Brain Tumors by avoiding Equal

Blech, I had a friend who's mom was a chemist who told her before aspartame was even approved how she should stay away from it at all costs. Also, DONALD RUMSFELD, then the CEO of Searle was instrumental in getting it approved even though it was causing seizures. Via Dr. Ben Kim, not surprised to hear this:

Reasons to Avoid Aspartame

When Tim Gullickson, former professional tennis player and coach to Pete Sampras, died in 1996 from complications related to brain tumors, I distinctly remember reading about Tim's fondness for diet Coke; according to one close friend, Tim was addicted to the stuff - he always seemed to have a can in hand.

When I began private practice a year later, within a few months, I encountered three patients who had brain tumors and drank several diet sodas a day. These findings were easy to notice and group together in my mind, as I took a detailed dietary survey during each new patient evaluation.

From that point on, I shared my suspicions about aspartame with family, friends, and patients. And over time, I learned about the ways in which aspartame injures nervous tissue on a cellular level - most of my education on this issue has been from the work of Dr. Russell Blaylock, a retired neurosurgeon who has long maintained that aspartame and MSG are harmful to human health.

Aspartame, the technical name for popular brand names NutraSweet, Equal, Spoonful, and Equal-Measure, has been documented by the United States FDA to be a cause of the following symptoms:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Depression and irritability
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Heart irregularities
  • Joint Pain

Monday, December 07, 2009

Historic finding: Greenhouse gasses HARM HUMANS

Wow! From the AP:

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration took a major step Monday toward imposing the first federal limits on climate-changing pollution from cars, power plants and factories, declaring there was compelling scientific evidence that global warming from manmade greenhouse gases endangers Americans' health.

read more here.

Want to know what's actually in your vitamins (including excipients and potential contaminants?) I love and often use them when writing product reviews. It was the place, actually, where I found out that with all the zillions of fish oils out there, even the cheap ones didn't have much mercury in them! About the only thing they found wrong was that one of them (from the Garden of Life, which I normally think of as a good brand) had gone rancid, which is NOT doing yourself any favors, healthwise.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Who are the angriest Americans?

Hm, don't quite know what this means, but it's interesting

Anger is more likely among the young, those with children at home, and the
less educated, a new study finds. A national survey of 1,800 Americans aged
18 and older questioned participants on how and when they feel angry in order to
build "a broader social portrait of anger in the United States," said study
researcher Scott Schieman, now at the University of Toronto.
These angry emotions range from mild annoyance to yelling and feelings of outrage.
While anger is a normal human emotion, it could be detrimental if you hold
on to it
too long.

And those who express their anger might actually live longer than those who keep it bottled in, one study found.

read more here.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Can mammograms increase cancer risk for some women?

Man oh man but I've been saying this for a long time...the data's already out there, in Europe (I guess where they keep track of such things). Women who get more mammos radiation cancer!

From TIME magazine:

As women are still struggling to make sense of the new mammogram recommendations released in November by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, research presented today at a meeting of the Radiological Society of North America suggests that, for women at high risk of developing breast cancer, who are often urged to undergo annual screenings beginning at age 25, exposure to radiation through mammograms may actually be harmful.

This research is preliminary and future analysis is essential to bear out the findings, but it is particularly concerning because it suggests that women at highest risk, who are in most need of screening, may be the most vulnerable to the radiation in mammograms. In the review of six studies that included roughly 5,000 high-risk women, who have an increased likelihood of developing breast cancer due to genetic reasons or family history, for example, researchers found that high-risk patients who were exposed to radiation were 1.5 times more likely to develop cancer than high-risk patients who had no exposure. High-risk patients who had greater levels of exposure to radiation—either beginning mammograms before age 20, or having five or more exposures—were 2.5 times more likely to develop cancer.

Researchers say that the findings may suggest the need for a change in screening methodologies

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Grassfed Ghee/butter is delicious and healthy

We're always looking to maximize the nutrition in the foods we eat, the bonus being that the freshest foods taste the best. Happy to use an Indian clarified butter called ghee, which has the milk protein removed so it is casein-free. Even better to find Pure Indian Food's organic and GRASS FED ghee. It's a bit runny because it is made with spring milk (when cows eat fast growing grass that has all those great vitamins--as opposed to cows eating grain, which is not good for them), a beautiful gold color, and it tastes great. We used it in some of J's cannabis cookies.

Thinkers like Dr. Weston Price believe that spring-grass-fed milk products are good for fertility, possibly because of something he called "activator X," that might have been an early identifying of Vitamin K.

Also,from their web site:

More Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA):
Pasture-grazed cows have more CLA in their milk than grain fed cows and our lab tests show our ghee has more CLA than plain butter. CLA is an antioxidant and essential fatty acid that has been getting a lot of attention lately. In animal studies, it reportedly exhibits anticarcinogenic and other beneficial physiological effects.

And...this company is run by a family, which has been making ghee since 1889. It's slightly more money than the ghee I get at the health food store, but I'll be getting my ghee from Pure Indian Food because they work hard to make the healthiest product possible.

Here's an idea: Instead of spending money on more disposable, unwanted STUFF for the holidays, why not get you and your family THE GIFT OF GOOD HEALTH?

Sandeep Agarwal, one of the owners, kindly passed on this delicious recipe.

Healthy, healing recipe:

KHICHDI (Rice & Mung Bean Stew)
¾ cup split mung (or moong) beans (rinse, soak overnight, and drain)
¾ cup white basmati rice (rinse, soak overnight, and drain)
6 cups water
¾ cup frozen green peas, thawed
¾ cup potato, cut into small wedges
¾ cup cauliflower, broken into small florets
¾ cup carrot, diced
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 small pinch of asafoetida powder
2 whole cloves
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
3 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
2 teaspoons sea salt

Heat a stockpot over medium heat. Add rice, mung beans, water, turmeric powder and salt. Bring it to
a full boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partly covered, stirring occasionally for about 40 minutes or
until rice and beans are mushy.

While the rice and beans are being cooked, heat ghee in a large skillet. Add cumin seeds and sauté until they start to pop. Turn the heat low. Add asafoetida powder and cloves and cook for 5-10 seconds.

Add all the cut vegetables and mix well. Cook over low heat until the veggies are tender.
Now mix cooked vegetables into rice and beans. Ladle khichdi into bowls. Make a small hole in the center of khichdi and pour one teaspoon ghee into it. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Yogurt or Indian pickles could be delicious accompaniments.
Serves 6.
Copyright © 2009, Pure Indian Foods Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, November 30, 2009

2/3s chicken contaminated

If you've been watching great documentaries like Food Inc., or reading any Michael Pollan, you already know how disgusting factory farming is (the animals live in their own poop, pumped full of antibiotics so they won't DIE), so it 's no surprise all this gloop makes it to the grocery store.

We buy our eggs fresh, unwashed (sometimes with feathers stuck to them) and I do my old Korean/Rocky thing of eating them raw. Never have a problem, never have to worry about contaminating the kitchen. The superbugs are endemic to the food, even if they bleach and use ammonia (yes, they do!) and soon will irradiate it. I.e., it's already on the inside of the egg--what you see on my counter (yes, fresh eggs do not need to be refrigerated) looks disgustingly dirty...but it's clean!

So, the latest (via Huffpo):

Consumer Reports' latest test of fresh, whole broilers bought in 22 states reveals that two-thirds of birds tested harbored salmonella and/or campylobacter, the leading bacterial causes of food-borne disease. The report reveals that organic "air-chilled" broilers were among the cleanest and that Perdue was found to be the cleanest of the brand-name chicken. Tyson and Foster Farms chickens were found to be the most contaminated. The report is available, free online (note, you have to click through the side bars to the left of the story) and in the January 2010 issue of the magazine.

read more here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simple: Cut Down on Fried Foods, Reduce Disease

We could probably save tons of money on healthcare if we banned high fat fryers, but oh well, in the meantime, on this eve of the over-eatingest holiday, this fancy-schmancy scientific study basically says eating fried foods puts a lot of stress on your body, but your body will nicely bounce back if you stop pummeling it with fried food.

Interesting how we spend so much money investigating this stuff that's pretty common sense...and then when science confirms it, we STILL subsidize cheap fried corn-filled foods who cares about the how it makes us sick in the long term.

Fried turkey is ok, but not every day!

Reduction in Glycotoxins from Heat-Processing of Foods Reduces Risk of Chronic Disease and Restores Innate Biological Defense Mechanisms

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine report that cutting back on the consumption of processed and fried foods, which are high in toxins called Advanced Glycation End products (AGEs), can reduce inflammation and actually help restore the body’s natural defenses regardless of age or health status. These benefits are present even without changing caloric or nutrient intake. (Embargo expired on 04-Nov-2009 at 00:05 ET)
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Oct/Nov-2009

—The Mount Sinai Medical Center

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hand Sanitizers have chemicals too...

With the fears of Swine flu, there's more hand sanitizers out there than you can shake a stick at. I saw a huge wipe thing you're supposed to use on your grocery cart (or your kid? the indications were unclear: "For the safety of your children").

Blech, personally, I feel that having a healthy immune system is more important than killing all those microbes--many of which are beneficial, many of which (e.g., staph) are ubiquitous anyway. So I'm a simple soap and water type, and I have no qualms about eating a little dirt with my organic produce that my friend drops off from her farm.

If you want to obsessively use hand sanitizers, however, you might want to check Environmental Working Groups database (and give them a donation so they can keep doing this work) and see what kind of weird stuff may be lurking in your sanitizer. For example, Triclosan is a common ingredient here, but it's banned in the EU, so know what's in there.

Click here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Prenatal Smoke Exposure can cause Behavioral Problems

Don't know if this pertains to secondhand smoke as well, but I would assume any smoke isn't good. From Medscape:

November 9, 2009 (Honolulu, Hawaii) — Prenatal tobacco exposure (TE) has been linked to irritability in neonates, poor attention and information processing in infants, and impulsivity in preschool children," according to new research presented here at the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 56th Annual Meeting.

"We found that even in the first year of life, we can see differences in attention and irritability and in regulation of emotions," lead investigator Sandra A. Wiebe, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta, Canada, told Medscape Psychiatry.

"Then at age 3, we saw that kids with prenatal [TE] seem to have trouble waiting for an award, which ties in with findings that smoking during pregnancy can have specific impact on the parts of the brain that are involved in regulating behavior," she added.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Off Label Marketing and DEADLY drugs

Here's an article (rather long, but worth it) about off-label marketing schemes by major pharmaceutical companies. Our babysitter was put on neurontin off label even though it didn't DO anything for her. In a clinical trial for Eli Lilly's Zyprexa apparently 31 people DIED.

Read here.

Monday, November 09, 2009

BPA in your canned tomatoes and soup

If you saw my post on Sigg bottles, and are concerned about BPA and other plastic chemical leakage, put canned foods in that category. We only buy tomatoes if they are in glass (the organic "lined" cans weirded me out) especially because they are very acidic, and intuition seems to have proved right. This post on a Consumer Report test via our friends at Treehugger bears a close read (ONE OF EVERY THREE CANS IOF INFANT FORMULA!):

Two new bits of research: A new study by members of the Reproductive Toxicology Branch of the EPA did not find any evidence that Bisphenol A (BPA), was a "gender bender" in female rats. BPA "Does not Alter Sexually Dimorphic Behavior, Puberty, Fertility and Anatomy of Female LE Rats" (Abstract here, via

This is particularly good news in the light of the Consumers Union's recent report that showed leaching of BPA from canned food, as reported in Calorie Lab. The worst product, Progresso Vegetable Soup, had BPA content in the range of 67 to 134 parts per billion. These are levels comparable to those found in the polycarbonate bottles that we have all been dumping like mad.

bpa levels

This shouldn't be news to TreeHugger readers; studies have been finding BPA in cans for years. See:
BPA Danger may be greater from Tin Cans than Water Bottles
Bisphenol A Is In Your Tomato Sauce
Is There Bisphenol A In Your Home Canning?
Bisphenol A Found in Baby Food in Glass Jars

So what should one do? Certainly not jump on the one new study and say that proves that BPA is harmless, as many in the plastics industry are doing; The Environmental Working Group lists over a hundred studies that say otherwise.

There were fairly easy substitutes for polycarbonate bottles, either stainless steel or new BPA free plastics. Replacing it in cans is not so simple. But the EPA is no longer taking its orders from the American Chemistry Council, and according to the Los Angeles Times, a review of existing evidence about BPA's health effects was nearly completed and that [Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret] Hamburg would "make a decision how to proceed" by the end of the month.

Conclusion: There is absolutely nothing new in the Consumers Union report. If you are concerned about BPA, we made five recommendations in an earlier post:

Don't use canned baby formula: All U.S. manufacturers use BPA-based lining on the metal portions of the formula containers. If you must use formula, choose powered or liquid in plastic bottles.

Don't eat canned food if you are pregnant. the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) says "We don't want to tell people not to eat canned beans or tomatoes," said CSPI nutritionist David Schardt. "But at the same time, it makes sense for all parents, and especially pregnant and nursing women, to minimize the exposure of their kids' developing bodies and brains to BPA."

Buy in bottles, not cans. Many products, like tomato sauces, are available in bottles as well as cans. Does that white epoxy on the inside of the metal lid have BPA? Yes, but there is a lot less surface area than the whole inside of a can.

Start cooking instead of just heating
. The fact that 17% of the American diet comes out of cans is just a scandal when we are surrounded by fresh food. Cook it from scratch and avoid the problem altogether.

Demand BPA-free cans. Not every manufacturer uses it; Some brands, like Eden Foods, are BPA free.

But most of all, don't panic, and lets wait to see what the FDA says at the end of the month.

SSRIs may be bad for sperm

Eeek, besides the disturbing fact that so many of those crazy shooters (now, Columbine, and back) have been on SSRIs, which of course affect the biochemistry of your brain, apparently it looks like SSRIs may cause MAJOR DNA damage in sperm. The study used Paxil (interestingly, I have seen articles pushing Paxil as it's cheaper than other SSRIs) but researchers hypothesize it's ALL SSRIs. From

June 22, 2009 — The selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) paroxetine (Paxil, GlaxoSmithKline) may affect male fertility through its effects on sperm DNA, according to a small study by Weill Cornell Medical Center researchers. In the study of 35 healthy volunteers without psychiatric disorders, the antidepressant induced abnormal sperm DNA fragmentation in more than 40% of participants.

"Sperm DNA fragmentation is thought to be a very sensitive measure of sperm abnormality, independent of sperm counts or standard sperm tests, and predicts natural fertility as well as fertility with the most advanced forms of assisted reproduction, such as in vitro fertilization," said senior author Peter Schlegel, MD, chair of the department of urology and professor of reproductive medicine at Weill Cornell Medical Center, in New York City. "What the study tells us is that paroxetine could have an effect on fertility that will not show up in standard sperm tests — and cause an increase in genetic damage to sperm," he said.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Present Idea, bamboo + silk scares

You know I love organizations like Kiva that help people make a living, especially with green projects, folk medicines, etc. Well, it's present season and you might want to consider some of these great three-season silk and bamboo scarves that are made with pesticide free materials and low impact dyes, made by these women in Chang Mai, Thailand.

This bamboo and silk scarf is soft, light, and stylish. Tyler, the person who runs this organization,, sent me some of the pictures of the women at work. Check the other colors out here.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

UK Guardian

The article was reprised in the UK Guardian. They had a more sober view of cannabis, but then the so-called "health editor" questioned whether the improvement we were seeing was merely coincidental or a delusion on my part. He is welcome to fiddle while Rome burns, in my opinion:

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

NYtimes, Mammograms: "Just Skip It"

Longtime readers know I've been ranting about the dubious value of mammos and myself have never had one (search the blog for older posts) much to the chagrin of my midwives. Finally, turns out some prominent docs are agreeing, or at least finally questioning the orthodoxy:

Quandary With Mammograms: Get a Screening, or Just Skip It?

Published: November 2, 2009
by Denise Grady

Here we go again. Another study raises questions about the benefits of mammograms, and another set of confusing statements issue forth from experts.

read more here.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Soft Drinks Hard on the Body

Interestingly, there is a faction of Coke Connoisseurs who prefer Mexican Coke over any other...reason why? Mexico use real sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup. Sad to say SUGAR is much better for you than HFCS. But anyway, lay off the soda pop. It's hard on oyur metabolism, your immune system, your fertility, and it's made with icky old tap water. Diet soda gives you not only chemicals but (ironically) belly fat, anyway:

From the Ask Dr. Mao Column via Yahoo:

Soda, pop, cola, soft drink — whatever you call it, it is one of the worst beverages that you could be drinking for your health. As the debate for whether to put a tax on the sale of soft drinks continues, you should know how they affect your body so that you can make an informed choice on your own.

Soft drinks are hard on your health
Soft drinks contain little to no vitamins or other essential nutrients. However, it is what they do contain that is the problem: caffeine, carbonation, simple sugars — or worse, sugar substitutes — and often food additives such as artificial coloring, flavoring, and preservatives.

A lot of research has found that consumption of soft drinks in high quantity, especially by children, is responsible for many health problems that include tooth decay, nutritional depletion, obesity, type-2 diabetes, and heart disease.

read more.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cell Phone use linked to Brain tumors

We all know there's probably SOMETHING up with cellphones and brain tumors, but here's another study. And check out this comment that was on it:


24.10.09, 8:28pm

This is very important to know. When I was pregnant with my son Skyler, I had a cell phone in my pocket for a lot of the pregnancy. I didn't know it was dangerous at the time, as it was 6 years ago. He died last year of a rapid brain stem tumor. He was 4 years old. Here is his website:

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Children Can Greatly Reduce Abdominal Pain by Using Their Imagination

I read somewhere that lots of powerful pharma drugs (esp. SSRIs/antidepressants) work largely on the placebo effect, but their side effects are unfortunately quite biologically real. Maybe physicians should start with sugar pills, first. The mind is a powerful thing. This study was conducted at UNC Chapel Hill, published in the journal Pediatrics, and comes to us via Newswise, the journalists'-only site:

Newswise — Children with functional abdominal pain who used audio recordings of guided imagery at home in addition to standard medical treatment were almost three times as likely to improve their pain problem, compared to children who received standard treatment alone.

And those benefits were maintained six months after treatment ended, a new study by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Duke University Medical Center researchers has found.

The study is published in the November 2009 issue of the journal Pediatrics. The lead author is Miranda van Tilburg, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the UNC School of Medicine and a member of the UNC Center for Functional GI & Motility Disorders.

“What is especially exciting about our study is that children can clearly reduce their abdominal pain a lot on their own with guidance from audio recordings, and they get much better results that way than from medical care alone,” said van Tilburg. “Such self-administered treatment is, of course, very inexpensive and can be used in addition to other treatments, which potentially opens the door for easily enhancing treatment outcomes for a lot of children suffering from frequent stomach aches.”

Friday, October 23, 2009

Prenatal SSRIs Linked to Problems in Newborns

Ok, I'm supposed to be working on my novel, but there's some news too important not to post. Given that so many people are on SSRIs, if you're planning to try to get pregnant, you shoudl read this. From Medscape:

October 7, 2009 — Infants of mothers who took selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during pregnancy are at greater risk for preterm birth, a low 5-minute Apgar score, and admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), according to a report in the October issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Whether these risks outweigh the risks to the developing infant of a mother's untreated depression during gestation is unknown, as are the long-term implications for the child's health and development. The research team was led by Najaaraq Lund, MD, from the Bandim Health Project, Indepth Network, Bissau, Guinea-Bissau, and Aarhus University, Denmark.

Dr. Lund told Medscape Psychiatry that his group's most important findings were that prenatal exposure to SSRIs was associated with increased risk for preterm delivery, low 5-minute Apgar score, and increased chance of NICU admission (which was not explained by either Apgar score or gestational age).

Monday, October 19, 2009

Heat Forms Potentially Harmful Substance in High-fructose Corn Syrup

Ack! HFCS fed to bees? Another reason to ONLY BUY ORGANIC:

Released: 10/15/2009 9:00 PM EDT
Source: American Chemical Society (ACS)
Newswise — Researchers have established the conditions that foster formation of potentially dangerous levels of a toxic substance in the high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) often fed to honey bees. Their study, which appears in ACS’ bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, could also help keep the substance out of soft drinks and dozens of other human foods that contain HFCS. The substance, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), forms mainly from heating fructose.

In the new study, Blaise LeBlanc and Gillian Eggleston and colleagues note HFCS’s ubiquitous usage as a sweetener in beverages and processed foods. Some commercial beekeepers also feed it to bees to increase reproduction and honey production. When exposed to warm temperatures, HFCS can form HMF and kill honeybees. Some researchers believe that HMF may be a factor in Colony Collapse Disorder, a mysterious disease that has killed at least one-third of the honeybee population in the United States.

The scientists measured levels of HMF in HFCS products from different manufacturers over a period of 35 days at different temperatures. As temperatures rose, levels of HMF increased steadily. Levels jumped dramatically at about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. “The data are important for commercial beekeepers, for manufacturers of HFCS, and for purposes of food storage. Because HFCS is incorporated as a sweetener in many processed foods, the data from this study are important for human health as well,” the report states. It adds that studies have linked HMF to DNA damage in humans. In addition, HMF breaks down in the body to other substances potentially more harmful than HMF.

I'm also happy to quote, from the longer article: There appears to be a dearth of knowledge on the thermal effects of the kinetics of HMF formation in HFCS. Published research in the area appears to be limited to a single paper reported by Korean investigators (11)

read more here:

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Friday, October 09, 2009

WSJ: Canada Halting Swine Flu Vaxxing

I haven't been following this issue all too closely as I plan not to get a swine flu or any kind of flu vax (n.b. we haven't had the flu in the house for years, don't see too much difference--if any--from when MAN FERTILITY and I used to get flu shots every year through school), but I seem to recall the OTHER swine flu vax from the 70s killed all these people or gave them awful things like Guillame-Barre. The big problem is, we don't know anything about long-term safety until...well, the long term.

Also, as I wrote in my Slate article about medical marijuana, I have been observing that many pharma drugs seem to give you what you're trying to cure--i.e., the anti inflammatories we gave out son for his autoimmune gut condition eventually gave him stomach cramps.

I'm not a medical professional making any recommendations, but I'm just sayin'.

From the Wall Street Journal:

TORONTO -- An unpublished Canadian study that suggests getting an annual flu shot may make it easier to contract swine flu has caused most provincial governments in Canada to postpone or limit seasonal-flu vaccination programs.

The study remains a mystery in many ways. It is being reviewed for potential publication in a scientific journal, but the authors won't say which one. Few people have seen the data, and some experts have expressed skepticism of the results.

read more here.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Cover Story on Slate!

Sorry, a bit tardy. I wrote the second part of my installment on organic medical marijuana and autism/inflammation/pain, etc. Cover story!

Read it here.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Iodine for fertility and health

Iodine is so important for the healthy functioning of the thyroid, but soils are often depleted of this nutrient and chemicals such as flouride and bromine and chlorine can displace iodine in the body. Without a health thyroid, which controls so many hormones, fertility is sure to be compromised.

Iodine is also generally good for health. At the turn of the century, doctors gave people who seemed generally unwell, infertile, etc. iodine as a matter of course. I just read an old book called Vermont Folk Medicine that talks about using a simple iodine solution called Lugol's for better health, and Lugol's is making a comeback for everything from thyroid issues to cancer healing--lack of iodine may be a factor in developing certain cancers such as breast cancer.

It's also interested to note that the Japanese and Okinawans have the best longevity stats (as anyone following the healthcare debate will find), and the Japanese diet probably has about the most natural iodine with all the seafood and seaweed. And, interestingly, Japanese women have the lowest rates of breast cancer in the world.

In order to make up for our lousy iodine intake, the government iodizes salt. But I don't like/trust bleached table salt read more here) and would like to get my iodine another way.

Food sources of iodine include seaweeds (although the popular sushi seaweed, nori, probably has the least) and seafood. Many fish unfortunately are contaminated with mercury, which kind of negates the benefits, but smaller fish like sardines can fill the bill.

But even so, it's difficult to get enough iodine. Our family probably gets more natural iodine than most families as we eat seaweed fairly regularly. It turned out our son even had a sluggish thyroid, and I used a potassium iodine product called Ioderal, which helped bring his hormone levels back to normal. I have thryoid issues myself and used this product but didn't find any help for my fatigue, etc.

But I tried this "nascent iodine," which is supposed to be a particularly bio-available source of iodine, a few drops in a glass of water three times a day and noticed slightly more energy. And more proof, my thyroid hormone levels were improved as well. I felt it was helping enough that I even brought the bottle with me on a recent trip to NORTH KOREA, and I kept up with a bunch of students on what was a very physically demanding trip. It was also handy knowing that I could put 15 drops in a glass of water to sterilize it if I needed to.

The taste is not great, but the results are worth it. Again, I am not a medical professional but only recounting my experience with this product. Get it here.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) could increase risks of obesity and dementia in adulthood

In a natural conception, the egg is surrounded by all these sperm...but only one (sometimes two at the same time) gets in. If you watch the real time movies of the process, it's not a race to see which sperm gets there first. The egg sits there like this for a while, almost as if deciding which sperm to let in.

The successful sperm has to have many factors: it can't be weirdly shaped so it can't swim, it has to be fast enough to stay with the crowd, it has to secrete a special enzyme that dissolves the outer layer of the egg.

Nature builds in its own protection, and thus lame-o sperm, which is also likely to have DNA damage, get left by the wayside. But there is a way that doctors can FORCE the egg to accept a sperm, by ICSP, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where they pierce the egg with a needle and push the sperm in. Nor surprisingly, they are finding kids born of this procedure often have genetic or other anomalies.

So one other IVF procedure they often add to this is PGD, pre implantation genetic diagnosis, where they "steal" a call from from a new multicelled fertilized egg and examine the DNA. As you can imagine, when the blastocyst is only made up of a few cells, it kinda needs them. Amazingly, the long term effects on children born to PGD haven't been studied, until now:

From Natural News:

(NaturalNews) Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) has become an important part of the booming infertility and baby-making medical industry. This example of unnatural selection allows for the chromosomes of an embryo created through in vitro fertilization (IVF)to be analyzed. If there's a problem, the embryo can be discarded or, at the very least, frozen away. PGD has helped many couples conceive children believed to be totally healthy and the procedure is promoted as a widely used and safe medical test -- at least, until now. A new long-term analysis of PGD suggests that this procedure may hold serious long-term risks for humans subjected to this test while they were embryos. Animal tests have come up with worrisome evidence PGD could increase risks of obesity and dementia in adulthood.

read more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

REVIEW: BrainToniq organic energy drink

You've probably been seeing all the energy drinks out there--Red Bull, etc.--and wondering if there's an organic way to go. Most of the commercial drinks are basically water, dyes, additives, sugar (or artificial sweeteners) and a bootload of caffeine.

I tried this BrainToniq to see if it might help me through my afternoon slumps. The taste is not bad (better if you chill it) and I did get a slight pick me up (n.b., there's NO caffeine in this), and two other writers I consulted said it was "helpful"--one friend, a poet, says he has a BrainToniq as part of his writing routine, so there you go.

I normally don't do well with ginseng, but I didn't feel jittery at all on this.

The ingredients are basically Rhodiola root, Choline Siberian Ginseng, and wild-harvested Blue Green Algae. It's sweetened by agave syrup, which is low glycemic (n.b. herbalist Susun Weed suggests staying away from agave in early pregnancy) and basically only has things that are good for you, so why not give it a try? You might be able to get rid of the afternoon latte, who knows?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

RECALL of Tylenol

I'm not a big fan of Tylenol--it slows down Phae II liver detox (hey, look in the warnings, it's right there) and is a leading source of liver damage. If you want to offload your shelves (via the AP):

NEW YORK – Johnson & Johnson's McNeil unit is voluntarily recalling 57 lots of infants' and children's liquid Tylenol products because of possible bacterial contamination.

The products being recalled were made between April and June and include nearly two dozen varieties, including Children's Tylenol Suspension 4 oz. Grape, Infants' Tylenol Grape Suspension Drops 1/4 oz. and Children's Tylenol Plus Cold/Allergy 4 oz. Bubble Gum.

Johnson & Johnson said late Thursday it has contacted wholesalers and retailers about the recall. An inactive ingredient didn't meet internal testing requirements, the company said, and B. cepacia bacteria were detected in a portion of raw material that went unused in the finished product.

Read more here

Friday, September 25, 2009

Water in schools in all 50 states toxic

CUTLER, Calif. – Over the last decade, the drinking water at thousands of schools across the country has been found to contain unsafe levels of lead, pesticides and dozens of other toxins.

An Associated Press investigation found that contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states — in small towns and inner cities alike.

But the problem has gone largely unmonitored by the federal government, even as the number of water safety violations has multiplied.

"It's an outrage," said Marc Edwards, an engineer at Virginia Tech who has been honored for his work on water quality. "If a landlord doesn't tell a tenant about lead paint in an apartment, he can go to jail. But we have no system to make people follow the rules to keep school children safe?"

read more here.

You can get pregnant...When you're pregnant!

What a weird story--this woman conceived ANOTHER kid 2.5 weeks after she became pregnant. It's called "superfetation," and I guess it happens... not only can you get pregnant while on your period, etc., I guess you can get pregnant ANYTIME.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Where Physician Completed Obstetrical Residency May Provide Quality of Care Indicator

How well do you make choices of your OB GYN? From what Aunt Emma recommends? If the doc seems "nice"? There may be some empirical help.

From Newswise, the journalists'-only site via the Journal of the American Medical Association:

Released: 9/17/2009 5:00 PM EDT
Embargo expired: 9/22/2009 4:00 PM EDT
Source: American Medical Association (AMA)

Newswise — A ranking of obstetrics and gynecology training programs based on the maternal complication rates of their graduates’ patients found these rankings consistent across individual types of complications, suggesting that these rates may reflect measures of overall quality, according to a study in the September 23/30 issue of JAMA, a theme issue on medical education....

“These results may have important implications for patients,” they add. “If these findings are confirmed and refined, women might select obstetricians in part by where they were trained. The general consistency in programs’ rankings despite different measures of quality supports the validity of the measures and also suggests that top programs may be likely to produce physicians who are better in unmeasured ways as well.”

(JAMA. 2009;302[12]:1277-1283.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tibetan Nannies New Trend

This is a new twist. Asian adoption, why not a Tibetan nanny to go with the colorful prayer flags in your yard? via


Tibetan nannies: Parents’ new status symbol?

Popularity of caregivers of certain ethnicities raises uncomfortable issues

By Susan Gregory Thomas contributor
updated 8:00 a.m. ET Sept. 21, 2009

When $800 strollers hit the market a few years ago, it looked as if baby status symbols had reached a new odd, capitalist apex. Now, according to a growing number of parents and experts, the primo credentials trade in a different kind of capital: nannies.

In American cities that draw domestic workers from around the world, the nanny pool is incredibly diverse, with women from the Philippines, Jamaica and the West Indies, Nepal, Russia, Poland and more. In some families, the ethnic background of a nanny carries a certain cachet — and entrenched stereotypes.

read more here.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Can pregnancy tests be wrong?

Interestingly, it seems like HPTs and even blood tests for pregnancy can be wrong! I am reading this great book (review to come) about a woman who was 6 months pregnant before doctors figured out what was going on (they kept telling her she had a cancerous cyst, it was all in her head--and that she should drink more wine, etc., incredible!).

A quick Google search unearthed 4-5 stories like this (mostly in response to women wondering why they have pregnancy symptoms but negative tests)!

Welllllll.... haha.. I got a negative blood test and SEVERAL negative HPT's... And.. I was definatly preggers... My daughter is 3.5 yrs now.. So.. Blood or urine... No test is ever 100%... (sorry).. haha
Makes you wonder.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Why Take care of your urinary tract health when there might be a vaccine?

There are a number of ways this "no apparent cause" might happen--not wiping front-to-back on the toilet can cause migration of fecal bacteria (ditto for wearing thongs). Peeing immediately after sex can be helpful, as is staying hydrated.

Now, why would you want to get a vaccine for a condition that may be painful but is hardly life threatening, when cranberry juice is apparently pretty effective (read here about scientific studies that back up this age-old folklore)? Oh, wait, there's no money in cranberry juice.

Fom Newswise:
Vaccine for Urinary Tract Infections Shows Early Promise

Released: 9/17/2009 8:30 PM EDT

Newswise — Urinary tract infections are painful and recur all too often with no apparent cause: Ask any woman who has missed days of work due to one, or had to find emergency treatment while on vacation.

University of Michigan scientists have made an important step toward what could become the first effective vaccine to prevent urinary tract infections, if the robust immunity achieved in mice can be reproduced in humans.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sigg Bottles suck (Nalgene, too)

When you shop at places like Whole Foods, you often assume what's "green" is also "healthy." That's not the case. I've been railing against Nalgene and Sigg bottles forever, and everyone thinks I'm crazy--what could be wrong with thise cute, reusable bottles? Well, they contain BPAs, which are ENDOCRINE disruptors.

Studies conducted at the University of Cincinnati several years ago found some rather disturbing results in regards to the low-level impacts of BPA. In fact, Dr. Belcher said, while high doses cause little effect, analysis of cellular and molecular markers of estrogen signaling revealed that near-maximal effects of BPA on rat brain neurons not only occurred "at surprisingly low" doses of 0.23 parts per trillion, they also happened in a matter of minutes.

"From other studies it's clear that these low concentrations are in line with human fetal exposures, and at levels one might even see in the water supply," said Dr. Belcher.

From our friends at Science Daily:

(June 12, 2009) — Exposure during pregnancy to the chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, found in many common plastic household items, is known to cause a fertility defect in the mother's offspring in animal studies, and now researchers have found how the defect occurs. The results of the new study will be presented June 13 at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Sigg is backpedaling on their insistence that Sigg bottles are "safe" but admitted they are NOT BPA free and you can exchange them for some other bottle with a new, green "Eco liner." Here's a letter from SIGG's CEO to consumer:

I have learned much over the past 2 weeks. I learned that many of you purchased SIGG bottles - not just because they were free from leaching and safe - but because you believed that SIGGs contained no BPA. I learned that, although SIGG never marketed the former liner as “BPA Free” we should have done a better job of both clearly communicating about our liner as well as policing others who may have misunderstood the SIGG message.

For over 100 years, SIGG has earned a reputation for quality products and service – and we do not take that for granted. From the day we made our announcement last month, we made a commitment consistent with SIGG values that we would offer anyone who is concerned about BPA an opportunity to swap their old SIGGs for new SIGGs with the new EcoCare liner. Today, I am announcing that this voluntary Exchange Program will be in place until October 31, 2009 to ensure that our customers have ample time to send their former liner bottles back to us should they choose to do so.
What is in this new "eco liner" is anyone's guess. The FertilityBitch's advice to keep your waterbottle BPA free? Just like that old adage, the only way to make sure you don't get pregnant is to not have sex, well, if you don't want BPAs, use an old glass bottle, or go stainless. I like New Wave Enviro stainless steel bottle.

Simple and clean, and you can even get a stainless cap to go with it and really eliminate all the plastics from your life! Plus, these bottles don't dent as easily as the SIGG's (made of--ugh--aluminum).

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Meds Reduce Risk of Breast Cancer but Increase Risk of Adverse Effects

Instead of taking drugs, it's probably easier, cheaper, and with beneficial side effect to clean up the diet, reduce toxins, etc.

From Newswise:

Newswise — Three drugs, including tamoxifen, reduce a woman’s chance of getting breast cancer, but each drug carries distinct potential harms of its own, according to a new report from HHS’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Drugs to reduce the risk of breast cancer can be prescribed to women with a family history of breast cancer or other risk factors, but prescribing practices vary widely. The comparative effectiveness review found that all three drugs — tamoxifen, raloxifene, and tibolone — significantly reduce invasive breast cancer in midlife and older women but that benefits and adverse effects can vary depending on the drug and the patient.

“Taking medicine to avoid breast cancer in the first place is an attractive notion, but the decision to do so must be made by patients in consultation with their clinicians with benefit of the best evidence available,” said AHRQ Director Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “These drugs are not necessarily for everyone. This report sheds important light on their advantages and potential harms.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

Dangers of Plastic

Still to come...why Sigg bottles suck!

How Moms and Minorities are Deceived About Dangers of Plastic
Posted by: Dr. Mercola
September 12 2009

BPA, baby bottle, mom, minorityIn June, food and chemical lobbyists met in Washington, DC to save the toxic plastic chemical BPA. Their internal meeting memos revealed a dangerous and unethical strategy to keep your family eating and drinking from BPA-laden containers, despite the mounting scientific evidence that exposure to even extremely low levels of BPA can impact health, particularly during early infancy.

Notes from the meeting included a statement that, “Attendees believe a balance of legislative and grassroots outreach (to young mothers ages 21-35 and students) is imperative to the stability of their industry.” The notetaker added that, “Their 'holy grail' spokesperson would be a pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.”

The notes went on to suggest that fear tactics regarding access to baby food would be a good ploy to use.

The lobbyists also decided that “focusing on the impact of BPA bans on minorities (Hispanic and African American) and poor is also important.”

While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not recommend discontinuing the use of products that contain BPA, The National Toxicology Program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report in September 2008 concluding that there was cause for "some concern for effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland in fetuses, infants and children at current human exposures."

USA Today October 29, 2008

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

SPAM apologies.

..and by the way, yes I AM annoyed by all the SPAM. GreenFertility's all about openness and free exchange, but I feel like I'm spending a good part of my day deleting inappropriate posts for viagra even though I recently, sadly, instituted the word recognition screening (has hardly quelled the tide) so apologies for some of this visual junk.

p.s. I am not apologizing to the makers of the actual meat, SPAM, because it's something people shouldn't be eating, anyway.

Orwellian Greenspeak, here we come!

Hm, this reminds me when I saw BANANAS at a farmers market in Minneapolis. Read this old post about Walmart, the world's skeeviest company.

From our friends at

Move over Greenwashing, local washing has arrived!
by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 09. 7.09

wal mart localwashing photo
Yup, that's the 'local' produce section in Wal-Mart. Photos via Grist

We're all plenty familiar with the advertising trend where marketers seek to portray products and services from a 'green' angle, regardless of their actual environmental impact. Well, perhaps such greenwashing campaigns have proved so successful (some 98% of 'eco-labeled' products were greenwashed last year) that marketers are following its lead to exploit another growing environmental trend--this time, it's "localwashing." Here are some pictures of the worst ads by big companies pretending to be local in order to cash in on conscious consumers.

Grist put together an informative/appalling/hilarious slideshow that demonstrates how big corporations--from the Venezuelan oil company Citgo to Starbucks to Lay's--have launched marketing campaigns attempting to portray their businesses as 'local' to cash in on the positive trend of buying and eating local.

read more here.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Why do we as Americans just accept the illogical and crappy and unhealthful as "normal" health "care"?

Wow, seems like these rural Peruvians are smarter healthcare consumers than we are--they stand up for their rights and won't use a facility until it conforms to what they want/need.

I love how they object to being forced to wear an ugly hospital johnny, giving birth lying down, etc. So who has the best healthcare in the world?

Pregnancy: Clinic in Rural Peru Draws More Women by Following Local Childbirth Traditions

Published: September 7, 2009

Rural parts of Ayacucho, Peru, have had some of the country’s highest death rates in pregnancy and childbirth. As in many poor countries, most of the deaths occur because women give birth at home, and those trying to help do not know how to deliver a baby safely and prevent or treat hemorrhage, infection and other deadly complications. In 1999 in the Santillana district, part of the Ayacucho region, only 6 percent of births took place at a clinic.

Health workers set out to change that. They started by asking people in the community about traditional ways of giving birth, and about what the clinic was doing wrong. They got an earful. Workers at the clinic did not speak the local language, Quechua. They treated patients brusquely, and barred husbands and other relatives from the delivery room. They forced women to wear hospital gowns instead of their own clothes, and made them give birth lying on a table instead of squatting. They threw away the placenta instead of giving it to the family to bury in a warm place.

Working with local people, members of a nongovernmental group, Health Unlimited, changed delivery services at a clinic in the Santillana district. They made sure Quechua was spoken, let relatives stay and help, set up delivery rooms so that women could squat and made other changes based on local traditions.

Read more here.

Mark Hyman, MD

Wow, I am not familiar with Dr. Hyman's work, but his article, Why Current Thinking about Autism Is Wrong, is eminently sensible...getting beyond the old blindered it's the genes! It's the parents! ideas behind autism and considering what might be REALLY behind this epidemic. Check out his theories and what we can do to prevent further harm to our kids.

Also, it appeared on the Huffington Post, which is fairly mainstream, so that's also exciting.

We watched this video last night, The Beautiful Truth, and while its execution was a little silly, it brought together many of the strands of healthful thinking that is now informing our family health. It was about cancer (which J has had) and not autism...but it's all part of the same vector, as you'll see.

Haha, it also explores MSG--I recently got in a fight at an academic conference over the MSG headache as a "cultural construct." When I tried to argue MSG is a real neurotoxin...well, I got my own headache from people yelling at me and telling me my problem was that I was a health alarmist and didn't enjoy life and needed to eat MORE MSG and all my problems would be solved. It was all a little hostile, and mean, like these debates about alternative health seem to get...but I'm happy and grateful our son's example has basically pushed us to rethink our lifestyles, which we thought were pretty darn healthy. There you go.

Netflix it! See the trailer here.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Become my Fan on Facebook!

If you want to follow some of my "other" (i.e., non health/fertility writing) or just goof around, please become my fan on Facebook.

Click here.