Friday, February 27, 2009

Ortho injuries may affect pregnancy

FromNewswise, the journalists'-only news site:

Newswise — Pregnant women who experience orthopaedic trauma may minimize the risk of preterm birth and other prenatal complications if they receive care at a medical center equipped to treat both high-risk pregnancies and orthopaedic injuries, according to a study presented today at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The study reveals that even seemingly minor orthopaedic trauma can have an adverse affect on pregnancy.

“Our results suggest that pregnant women with orthopaedic injuries, regardless of the severity of the injury, experience a significant increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes,” said Lisa K. Cannada, M.D., lead author of the study and associate professor at the St. Louis University Department of Orthopaedic Surgery.

Although trauma is clearly a complication with major issues for pregnant women and their infants, Dr. Cannada said most orthopaedic studies have focused on the impact of pelvic injuries on pregnancy. This study sought to examine the effects of all orthopaedic traumas on pregnancy outcomes.

“Pelvic injuries, of course, carry the highest risks, because they’re often associated with abdominal injury,” Dr. Cannada noted. “The interesting thing we learned in this study is that all trauma-related orthopaedic injuries pose a risk to pregnancy.”

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Is Your Meat on Steroids? Probably.

It's kind of funny and ironic that in this tiny article in the New York Times, we are kind of making fun of Britain for not having (up until now) a good way to test cows a la A Rod for "illegal steroids" when what's in the parentheses is the MOST INTERESTING part of the entire article, i.e., that steroids have been banned in European meat for 20 years, while we seem to find them very tasty.

Simpler, Cheaper Test for Illegal Steroids in European Cattle

Baseball isn’t alone in having a steroid problem. The European beef industry has one, too — anabolic steroids have been outlawed there for two decades, yet they are still used to promote growth in cattle. (Steroids are not illegal in the United States and are used extensively by beef producers.)

In Europe, mandatory testing for steroid use in cattle is performed on a tiny fraction of animals because it is costly and complicated, generally involving mass spectrometry and gas chromatogaphy to detect the steroids and their metabolites.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

For Local Yokels: RIers support H-5353 to support higher education for immigrants!

Rhode Island folks, please click on this link to support H-5353 - a bill that will allow RI high school graduates access to college at in-state tuition rates if they are undocumented.

"Roger Williams was Rhode Island's first undocumented immigrant"!

read MAN FERTILITY's op-ed about the first Thanksgiving...and think about how any non-Native person here was also an immigrant, oft times unwanted...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Male Infertility linked to testicular cancer

Here's another reason to nurture your MAN fertility, take good care of yourself, eat veggies with lots of antioxidants, etc.

Newswise — Men who are infertile appear to have an increased risk of developing testicular cancer, according to a report in the February 23 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

Testicular germ cell cancer, the most common cancer among young men in industrialized countries, has become even more prevalent during the last 30 to 50 years, according to background information in the article. There is evidence that semen quality and male fertility have also declined during this time in industrialized nations; however, it is unclear whether these two trends are related.

Thomas J. Walsh, M.D., M.S., then of the University of California, San Francisco, and now of the University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, and colleagues analyzed data from 22,562 male partners of couples seeking fertility treatment between 1967 and 1998 (4,549 of whom had male factor infertility, based on a clinical presentation with abnormal semen analysis criteria). Their records were linked to the state cancer registry, which includes information about cancer cases confirmed between 1988 and 2004.

A total of 34 of the 22,562 men were diagnosed with testicular cancer at least one year after seeking treatment for infertility. Compared with men of the same age in the general population—whose records were identified using the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results program—men in couples seeking treatment for infertility were 1.3 times more likely to develop testicular cancer. Men with male factor infertility were 2.8 more likely to develop testicular cancer than those without this condition.

...“A more plausible explanation is that a common exposure underlies infertility and testicular cancer,” the authors conclude. Faulty DNA repair, or errors in the way the body responds to small areas of damage in its genetic material, may contribute to both conditions, as may environmental factors.

Friday, February 20, 2009

"Extinct" Bird Seen, Eaten

Ohhh, dang:

From National Geographic:

February 18, 2009—A rare quail from the Philippines was photographed for the first time before being sold as food at a poultry market, experts say.

read more here.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Keeping the Recession Green: More Tips

I think I first read about this on Treehugger, an energy saving way to make pasta, but I am such a foodie I thought, meh, why compromise perfect texture?

Basically, the method is to put the pasta in the water and turn the heat up to high while the pot is covered, and then once it starts to boil, turn it off completely and let the ambient heat finish the cooking.

Of course, it's not the most accurate way to cook, and putting the pasta in cold water seems really grad studenty or something (MAN FERTILITY was a grad student, so I feel certified to say this). It DOES often result in either mushy gloop, or takes a while. However, if you use a hearty rice pasta, like Trader Joe's Brown Rice spaghetti, you can actually get fairly consistent results, AND save energy and $ at the same time. Take that! Dick Cheney!

p.s. Coal causes birth defects via mercury and other pollutants! Click here to sign a Sierra Club petition urging President Obama to say ix-nay to new dirty coal plants.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Presidents Day Shopping Sale!

Good quality supplements are pretty pricey, and the other thing you have to watch out for is to make sure the stuff is stored correctly, etc. Vitaminshoppe freaked me out when their woman's multiple turned out to have high levels of lead, and I also heard scattered reports from readers that their brand name stuff didn't seem "as good."

I generally trust certain labels, and they are more expensive, so I like to shop at for a lot of my supplements, including organic food, $$$ stuff like fish oil, Garden of Life products, gluten free stuff, etc. They also have great selection. If you use my code PIX328 you can get $5 off your purchase if it's your first one. They have fabulous discounts and low shipping, free over $60.

Monday, February 16, 2009

President's day Rumination, Birth, Life, Fertility, IVF, the Nadya Sule

Happy Presidents' Day.

Nadya Suleman, the woman (in case you've been living in even more of a cave that I do) is the woman who recently gave birth to octuplets when she already had 6 kids at home, all conceived via IVF, and is also a single mom on welfare. Oh, and I think one of the kids is autistic and two have some kind of other disabilities.

Besides becoming a new pop culture figure who's on network TV, has an agent, etc., it's also opened vitrioltic debates about responsibility, etc. I've written a few times in print on the issue of choice, how the pro- lifers can be hypocritcal but also how pro-choicers need to face squarely exactly what happens during an abortion. And in my writing about fertility and why in many ways I think IVF not only needs to be regulated more, but also women themselves need to think long and hard about what this process does to your body and what it might entail. Anyway, for a change, here's not a link to something else but a whole essay by yours truly.

Pro-lifers, pro-choicers, egg donors, IVF users--comments?

Here's my essay on choice that I wrote for the Washington Post: "Facing the Reality of Choice."
Here's a post on what happens to the unwanted embryos: click here.


Still leaning against the incubators he gave them, while the pencils scurried illegibly across the pages, a brief description of the modern fertilizing process; spoke first, of course, of its surgical introduction–"the operation undergone voluntarily for the good of Society, not to mention the fact that it carries a bonus amounting to six months' salary"; continued with some account of the technique for preserving the excised ovary alive and actively developing; passed on to a consideration of optimum temperature, salinity, viscosity; referred to the liquor in which the detached and ripened eggs were kept; and, leading his charges to the work tables, actually showed them how this liquor was drawn off from the test-tubes; how it was let out drop by drop onto the specially warmed slides of the microscopes; how the eggs which it contained were inspected for abnormalities, counted and transferred to a porous receptacle... One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. But a bokanovskified egg will bud, will proliferate, will divide. From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.

--from Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Eight Is Too Much?

In the recent furor surrounding the birth of octuplets, one of the recurring questions seems to be, Why didn’t the mother use selective reduction when they found out that all eight of the embryos had implanted? The technology that brought us test-tube babies also brought us multifetal reduction, a technology that is routine today but was once considered to be impossible: reducing the number of viable embryos in utero without harming the others.

In 1984, Dr. Mark Evans reduced a quadruplet pregnancy to twins by literally stabbing two of the fetuses with a needle. It worked. Today, the more common method is to inject a feticide. These are the facts behind the nice-and-responsible-sounding term, “reduction.”

Any pregnancy beyond a singleton immediately becomes termed high-risk. Twins heighten a risk of preterm birth, preemclampsia (a lifethreatening disease of pregnancy that may result in abortion to save the mother’s life), low birthweight, neurological issues, and a host of other problems that require massive amounts of medical resources; thus, multiple pregnancies are routinely reduced.

Live births involving more than five babies used to be freak-show rare. But with the increased use of fertility technologies, times are certainly changing. In 2007, two couples using fertility drugs had sextuplets within weeks of each other. Both couples cited their Christian faith as reason for not opting for selective reduction. The babies of one couple, Ryan and Brianna Morrison, all expired after birth except for one. "Because it's life and God gives life and it's not up to us to decide to take it away," stated Brianna Morrison, who met her husband in Bible college. Similar reasons were cited by Nadya Suleman, the octuplet mom. While it seems na├»ve or illogical to become pregnant in the most artificial way and then claim it’s “God’s will” to give birth to eight babies, it does uncover a thorny contradiction within the abortion debate. Pro-life activists generally believe life begins at conception, and activists have campaigned not only against abortion, but against contraceptives, such as the birth control pill and the IUD, which prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.

Yet, most of this not-shy group have been strangely silent on the other end, the issue of fertility technologies, which create life with the side effect that sometimes you have too much life, routinely involving selective reduction as well as the mass disposal of viable embryos. Given the growing tide of negative opinion against the most recent crop of super-multiples (dare I even joking say, litter?), octuplet mom Suleman should at least be supported by the pro-life camps for “using up” all her embryos and not discarding them. But then if super-multiple births should become normalized, what are the potential risks to the children, the mother, the environmental impact of using artificial “fertilizer” to create such a large brood? The pro-life lobby, if they indeed are concerned with life after birth as well, might do well to consider either discouraging the use of artificial fertility technologies (as does the Catholic church), if anything for the sake of ongoing life on the planet.

Perhaps this issue has largely escaped the pro-choice/pro-life, liberal/conservative debates because people on both sides avail themselves of this medical service (fertility technologies are categorized as elective medical procedures, a less-regulated, consumer-oriented designation that includes cosmetic surgery) and manage to look away from its necessary moral/religious pitfalls and thus “reduction” has homey connotations of a wine sauce while the word “feticide” is rarely used. There is and will be similar divides in the brave new world of medical technologies. For instance, it is a little known fact that the MMR and other vaccines, which are generally regarded as lifesaving, are prepared from attenuated viruses is grown in human diploid culture that is derived from aborted fetal tissue. So is it pro-life to vaccinate or to refuse vaccination? As technology accelerates ever faster, we as a society need to examine exactly what we think of when we talk about “life.”

p.s. It’s easy to find references to the use of aborted fetal tissue in the production of the MMR (or the rubella monovalent vaccine) is easily verifiable via the CDC’s informational website:

Or, from the Physicians’ Desk Reference, a compendium of information supplied directly from the manufacturers themselves.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cardiac Imaging May Expose Patients to High Radiation

If you cruise the blog, you'll see my longstanding and personal reasons for declining mammography. With anything involving radiation, you HAVE TO DO YOUR HOMEWORK. The left hand (e.g., dentist) doesn't know what the right hand (mammographer) is doing, and you end up with your cumulative exposure.

And if you think well, they medical establishment wouldn't expose me to anything Harmful, think again. DO YOUR HOMEWORK. Sometimes it can feel like a burden to take responsibility for your own healthcare, but on the other hand, it's very empowering. If you dig a little, you may be SURPRISED at whta you find.

The following is from Newswise, the journalists' only site, the study is from the highly respected JAMA.


Newswise — Use of the imaging technique known as cardiac computed tomography (CT) angiography (CCTA) has the potential to expose patients to high doses of radiation, and methods available to reduce radiation dose are not frequently used, according to a study in the February 4 issue of JAMA.

The 64-slice (able to scan 64 images per rotation) CCTA has emerged as a useful diagnostic imaging method for the assessment of coronary artery disease and has been proposed to be useful for evaluating patients in emergency departments with chest pain. “With the constantly increasing number of CCTA-capable scanners worldwide, the volume of CCTA scans performed is likely to show substantial further increase,” the authors write. They add that the clinical usefulness of CCTA for the assessment of coronary artery disease has to be weighed against the radiation exposure of CCTA and the small but potential risk of cancer. Many clinicians may still be unfamiliar with the magnitude of radiation exposure that is received during CCTA in daily practice and with the factors that contribute to radiation dose, according to background information in the article.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Save your Sole, Patagonia will help you

I resoled a pair of beloved Mia lug-sole sandals that I've now had for 10+ years. Only thing I didn't like was the poor shoe person stuck in the airless room with the epoxy. But check out Patagonia's new initiative (via Treehugger):

patagonia soles photo
Photo: Mountain Soles

In our Outdoor Enthusiast Gift Guide we suggested not buying new boots, but arranging for well loved boots to resoled for years of extended use. Patagonia Footwear announced last week that they were partnering with Mountain Soles to formalise just such a process.

read more here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cautions on Contact lenses/Scotchgard on Crizal lenses

I'm trying to wear my glasses more, but get this, most recently when I got my new glasses, I broke out in hives. MAN FERTILITY and I couldn't figure it out, until I noticed the little cleaning cloth they gave me said, CRIZAL LENSES, NOW WITH SCOTCHGARD!!! Blech. I have sensitivities to Scotchgard, which sounds wiggy. Embarrassed, I brought the glasses back to the store where the optometrist actually was really nice about it--he said "some people cannot 'tolerate' these lenses."

When are they going to stop putting chemicals in everything??

Anyway, I had been feeling like wearing contacts a lot is not so natural. Turns out there are some possible hazards of contacts: From Natural News:

(NaturalNews) Those that wear contact lenses should be aware of important information that can help protect the eyes from permanent damage. There is mounting evidence that contact wearers should give their eyes some time away from contacts. The conventional wisdom is that people can wear contact lenses for 12-14 hours per 24 hour period but that once a week the eyes should have a rest from contact lenses. Experts agree that if contacts are worn for over 16 hours a day every day that eyes may become starved of oxygen. This means that over the long term the cornea could lose its transparency.

If the eyes do not get enough oxygen, tiny blood vessels in the eyes will start to become more apparent and new ones will develop. One of the concerning aspects about these blood vessels growing on the eye is that there typically will not be any outward symptoms of this occurring. It is a good idea to have your eyes examined regularly while wearing contacts so that if this occurs it can be monitored.

read more here.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Eco friendly stuffed animals

Most stuffed animals have a suspicious chemical smell to them, and some are even quite scratchy. These guys from Aurora are made of soy fiber and stuffed not with polyester, but kapok, this fluffy stuff that's soft and hypoallergenic (it's also found in lifejackets--it floats) and it a sustainable rainforest crop, so perhaps it might give some incentive to not just chop/burn the whole place down.

Plus, they are hand made in Indonesia. You can find them at Whole Foods and various places like that. Me likey!

From the company:

Aurora ( announced today that its line of soybean-based plush called Aurora Naturally™ won a 2008 Amazing Toy Award. The world's first "green" plush line, more commonly referred to as Eco-Plush, surpassed all award requirements as evaluated by and its diverse panel of testers.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

KraMar pulls dog food after poison reports

Another reason why I avoid even "natural" products if they are sourced in China...

p.s. get some necky chicken meat and boil it up and make your own treats!

The importer of a Chinese-made chicken dog treat has voluntarily recalled the product, after reports of kidney damaging illnesses in dogs around Australia.

The company KraMar has withdrawn Supa Naturals Chicken breast strips, which it says is one of Australia's highest selling dog snacks.

A statement issued by KraMar says the withdrawal is a precaution.

It says testing has been conducted on every shipment for bacteria and for the poison melamine, which has been connected with cases of kidney malfunction in pets overseas.

KraMar's chief executive Brian Fouche say a link has not been scientifically established [hah, see below--ed].

Research shows link

Researchers from the University of Sydney earlier connected a kidney damaging syndrome in dogs to the chicken snacks.

Dr Linda Fleaman says there are a lot of cases around Australia of the normally rare acquired Fanconi syndrome.

"The one thing that is common with all of the cases, is that the dogs have among other things, eaten a certain chicken treat that has been sourced in China," he said.

"Although we have no idea what the cause of this problem is, we are concerned there's a link between the feeding of the treat and the emergence of this clinical syndrome."

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Q&A: Octuplet birth raises questions

Wow, I have no idea what to make of this. Comments? There is also the two families with a bazillion kids who have their own reality shows. At what point does something like this become "excessive fertility"?

From USA today:
Initial reports about a California woman who delivered octuplets last week evoked wonderment over the fact that all seemed to be doing well.

But as more details about the woman dribbled out, wonderment turned into disbelief for many. The Associated Press has reported that the mother is a single 33-year-old named Nadya Suleman who already had six children at home, and that all 14 of her children were conceived via in vitro fertilization, or IVF.

read more here.