Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Treat

Here's a neat deal. If you want to buy my novel, Somebody's Daughter, you can get it was 20% off and FREE SHIPPING.

Just click here and enter the code BEACONFF at checkout.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have A Happy Halloween

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I have been ranting for over a year about thing liked lead in vinyl lunchboxes.

So I'm --please--asking you to be mindful of toxins in your Halloween fun. DON'T assume because it's for sale, it's been tested and okayed--uh, remember Thomas the Train? Most commercial makeup is petroleum based, glitter makeup may have heavy metals, vinyl and PVCs use lead as a fixer...

We're having J go as a pirate: a bandana on the head, scraggly cutoffs (and the old raisin-on-the-tooth trick) and we're ready to go.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orpah's Thyroid...and yours

Okay, if you've been reading this blog regularly, you know how central I feel the thyroid is to many bodily functions...including fertility. But the problem is, there's so much damn contradictory information out there, the labs can't even agree on "normal" ranges.

I always rely on Mary Shomon,'s Thyroid guide, not because she knows every single thing in the known world about thyroid (no one does, and don't let them tell you so), but because she is intellectually curious AND quite knowledgeable. Frankly, "experts" don't even know where autoimmune thyroid disease comes from, so I don't think anyone has all the "right answers," but Mary (and I add, she is an "advocate," not a health professional) has strong views but isn't afraid to backtrack or rethink things--an attitude the "experts" might benefit from.

So anyway, I don't watch TV, so I have no idea how big a story this has been (and I haven't followed it closely, but I caught something in some email about Orpah cured her hypothyroidism by going on vacation--???), but here's the most current post from Mary:

Why Thyroid Patients Should be Grateful to Oprah Winfrey

Thyroid patients should be grateful to Oprah Winfrey. As a thyroid patient myself, as well as an advocate for other patients, I am personally and professionally grateful. I know that this sounds strange, coming just a week after I've publicly criticized Oprah and her friend/guest Dr. Christiane Northrup for suggesting that thyroid disease is directly caused by stress or self-care, and that stress reduction and pampering are a cure. But after giving it some thought, I realize there are definitely reasons to thank Oprah for going public.

Read all about it here.

And here's Mary's interview with thyroid expert, Dr.Marie Savard.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Solar Roast Coffee

How about this: great organic fair-trade coffee with the most excellent carbon footprint? Check this out from Solar Roast coffee:

We at Solar Roast are dedicated to providing the best tasting coffee under the sun! All our coffees are roasting using our Solar-Powered coffee roaster.

Dubbed ‘Helios 1.2’, this roaster uses a 10ft solar array to focus the rays of sunshine onto a drum roaster. This roaster is capable of reaching temperatures upwards of 550 degrees F. The roaster swivels and tilts allowing it to track the sun throughout the day from sunrise to sunset.

The roaster does not burn any fossil fuels to create heat, and uses a solar panel to power all the electronic components on the device. We are the only coffee roaster in the world that can produce a 100% fossil-fuel free roasted coffee. And it is completely organic.

Our ecologically friendly coffee roasting methods, coupled with 100% organic / Fair trade coffee creates the most ‘Earth Friendly’ brew this planet has ever seen.

I say try the Zeus French roast--"dark and moody."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Protect Your Right to Eat Non Carcinogenic Almonds!

You might have heard about the boneheaded idea that we have to "pastuerize" almonds by coating them with a chemical that has been banned in the E.U. because it's a carcinogen. And when has an organic raw food ever hurt anyone? This battle (a losing one, as we ARE made up of bacteria) against microbes is exactly what's leading to those superbugs that are killing everyone in the hospital!

From the Organic Consumers Association:


Despite a negative backlash from almond producers, retailers and consumers, the USDA has implemented its ruling to require that all raw almonds sold in stores must be pasteurized. The rule went into effect on September 1st, and since then, all retail outlets have been forced to remove true raw almonds from store shelves. Consumers will be misled by this action as there will still be almonds on store shelves labeled as 'raw', but they will actually be pasteurized. One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods requires the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a 'possible human carcinogen' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Since the decision about the rule was made, Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, has stepped down. He is temporarily replaced by Chuck Conner. This may provide a new opportunity for reversal. Please contact Conner today to ask that the rule be suspended for 6 months while the public comment period is re-opened."

Sign the Petition: here

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lead and the link to violent Crime?

photo: Jim Krantz

Published: October 21, 2007

Has the Clean Air Act done more to fight crime than any other policy in American history? That is the claim of a new environmental theory of criminal behavior.

In the early 1990s, a surge in the number of teenagers threatened a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. But to the surprise of some experts, crime fell steadily instead. Many explanations have been offered in hindsight, including economic growth, the expansion of police forces, the rise of prison populations and the end of the crack epidemic. But no one knows exactly why crime declined so steeply.

The answer, according to Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, an economist at Amherst College, lies in the cleanup of a toxic chemical that affected nearly everyone in the United States for most of the last century. After moving out of an old townhouse in Boston when her first child was born in 2000, Reyes started looking into the effects of lead poisoning. She learned that even low levels of lead can cause brain damage that makes children less intelligent and, in some cases, more impulsive and aggressive. She also discovered that the main source of lead in the air and water had not been paint but rather leaded gasoline — until it was phased out in the 1970s and ’80s by the Clean Air Act, which took blood levels of lead for all Americans down to a fraction of what they had been. “Putting the two together,” she says, “it seemed that this big change in people’s exposure to lead might have led to some big changes in behavior.”

Reyes found that the rise and fall of lead-exposure rates seemed to match the arc of violent crime, but with a 20-year lag — just long enough for children exposed to the highest levels of lead in 1973 to reach their most violence-prone years in the early ’90s, when crime rates hit their peak.

Such a correlation does not prove that lead had any effect on crime levels. But in an article published this month in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Reyes uses small variations in the lead content of gasoline from state to state to strengthen her argument. If other possible sources of crime like beer consumption and unemployment had remained constant, she estimates, the switch to unleaded gas alone would have caused the rate of violent crime to fall by more than half over the 1990s....

“It really does sound like a bad science-fiction plot,” says Nevin, a senior adviser to the National Center for Healthy Housing. “The idea that a society could have systematically poisoned its youngest children with the same neurotoxins in two different ways over the same century is almost impossible to believe...”


read more here.
(use my info: Greenfertility for username/PW)

My thought: it's not just lead, let's add in pesticides, MSG, MERCURY in vaccines and fillings...there you go. Who's going to save us from us?

read more here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rosehips Rheumatoid Arthritis Remedy?

We were at the beach this weekend, and because of global warming (who ever heard of going swimming in the ocean in New England in late October?) there were tons of wild rose hips all over the place. Not one to waste, I gathered a bunch because I like to make a vitamin-C rich tea or juice from these--rose hips also have a folk reputation as good for fertility. Plus, they are so pretty with their intense red color and just bursting with seeds. Now, isn't it interest that researchers have found it decreases TNF-alpha, an inflammatory that is also related to repeat miscarriages?

This is from the BBC.

Rose-hips (Science Photo Library)
Rose-hips could help some of the UK's 400,000 sufferers
Rose-hips could offer a cheap and effective way of treating debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, research from Germany and Denmark has suggested.

Seventy-four sufferers, mostly females, took part in the six-month trial.

Just under half took the rose-hip remedy LitoZin while the others took a placebo. Both groups continued to take their usual medication.

Activity among the first group improved by 20-25%, according to results presented at the annual Eular meeting.

The number of joints causing pain or discomfort fell by 40%, but did not change for those treated with the dummy.

"I think we were all surprised to see such meaningful results," said Professor Stefan Willich from the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, who conducted the German arm of the study.

"Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most difficult conditions I'm aware of. It's a tough disease, which makes it all the more remarkable to find such beneficial effects from this remedy."

Anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha) medication and the latest "smart" drugs which target different parts of the immune system are becoming available, but they are expensive, and there have already been complaints of "postcode lottery" access...

Researchers are unclear as to why exactly rose-hip has this effect, but the supplement appears to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

One of the key active ingredients in LitoZin - a type of sugary fatty acid called GOPO - was hailed by scientists involved in the research as a "plant version of fish oil", the supplement believed to have a host of health benefits.

Professor Alan Silman, the medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, said that if rose-hips were shown to have only limited side effects they could be a useful adjunct to conventional drug treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis...


I think it's so funny that with pharma drugs we gloss over how powerful and toxic they can be, and here with rose hips look how bent out of shape they are about side effects! I wouldn't overdo it (and some people report a stinging sensation if they eat a bunch of whole rose hips), but in general they make great tea and jam.

read more here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

'More sex needed' to boost sperm

Of course MAN FERTILITY sent this to me. From the BBC;

The more they get out, the better, the study suggests
Some men should have sex every day to maximise the chances of getting their partner pregnant, researchers say.

It is known for couples with fertility problems to abstain from sex for several days to boost sperm numbers before trying to conceive.

However, the Sydney University team, addressing the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference, said this could mean poorer quality sperm.

One UK expert said daily sex might be better for men with damaged sperm.

read more here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chocolate Aids Chronic fatigue syndrome

This is a nice Monday morning story.

MAN FERTILITY found this for me on the BBC. I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is called Myalgic
Encephalopathy in the UK--which actually is a better descriptor because it has a lot more to do with the immune system, etc., than plain old "fatigue."
Chocolate 'aids fatigue syndrome'

Dark chocolate
The reduction was small but "noteworthy", researchers say
A daily dose of specially-formulated dark chocolate may help cut chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Patients in a pilot study found they had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown.

Researchers from Hull York Medical School said the results were surprising but dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.

Experts said patients should consume chocolate in moderation.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME, is a condition with a diverse range of symptoms but particularly characterised by profound muscle fatigue after physical exertion.

If you derive benefit, then it's a no harm, no risk situation
Professor Steve Atkin

Study leader Professor Steve Atkin, an expert in endocrinology, said the idea for the study came after a patient reported feeling much better after swapping her normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content.

He decided to see if other patients would benefit and carried out a trial of 10 patients who received a daily dose - 45g - of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate for two months.

The patients then had a month off before taking the other type of chocolate for two months.

Those taking dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue and reported feeling more fatigue when they stopped eating it.


Professor Atkin said he was very surprised at the strength of the results.

"Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months."

He explained: "Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which have been associated with health benefits such as a reduction in blood pressure.

"Also high polyphenols appear to improve levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and that may be a mechanism."

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Captive raised fishs' declining fertility

This study shows that when they raise fish in captivity and release the offspring into the wild, the offspring aren't as "fit" to reproduce. It's funny how it's all focused on genetics. Everyone knows farm raised salmon aren't as healthy and therefore as nutritious to eat as wild salmon in part because they are fed fish junkfood: corn (when's a fish going to eat corn in the wild?), antibiotics, dyes. Obviously, this happens to humans as well.

from Science Magazine:


Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding Cause a Rapid, Cumulative Fitness Decline in the Wild

Hitoshi Araki,* Becky Cooper, Michael S. Blouin

Captive breeding is used to supplement populations of many species that are declining in the wild. The suitability of and long-term species survival from such programs remain largely untested, however. We measured lifetime reproductive success of the first two generations of steelhead trout that were reared in captivity and bred in the wild after they were released. By reconstructing a three-generation pedigree with microsatellite markers, we show that genetic effects of domestication reduce subsequent reproductive capabilities by ~40% per captive-reared generation when fish are moved to natural environments. These results suggest that even a few generations of domestication may have negative effects on natural reproduction in the wild and that the repeated use of captive-reared parents to supplement wild populations should be carefully reconsidered.

Department of Zoology, 3029 Cordley Hall, Oregon State University Corvallis, OR 97331, USA.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Starbucks Cups are NOT Recyclable

Besides the sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, pasteurized milk, Splenda, etc., Starbucks is ruining the environment!

Monday, September 17

Starbucks goes through roughly 2.3 billion paper cups a year and touts its national award for using cups made of 10 percent recycled material. The sleeves on the cups even plead, 'Help us help the planet.' But don't be confused. Starbucks promotes recycling on its cups, but the cups themselves aren't recyclable here or in most other cities nationwide. 'Well, they tricked me,' said Nicole Mejias, 22, a self-described Starbucks freak. 'I immediately associate recycling with Starbucks because of their cups. That's so hypocritical. I would have never guessed' that the cups weren't easily recyclable. The reason: The plastic coating that keeps the cup from leaking also prevents it from being recycled with other paper products. That could be overcome, but it would cost more."*
** the home of the $5 latte, etc., which is okay, but recycling, that's oppressive!

If you must, at least bring in your own cup!

MAN FERTILITY and I go to Blue State Coffee. Check it out!

read more here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Alarming Early puberty in girls

From Grist (and Sandra Steingraber is one of my favorite environmental writers). This could have huge impacts on breast cancer (which i estrogen driven), fertility, etc.:

Over the course of just a few decades, the childhoods of U.S. girls have been significantly shortened. Girls get their first periods, on average, a few months earlier than did girls 40 years ago. But they get their breasts, on average, one to two years earlier. Recent studies show that the advent of breast budding -- one of the earliest visible signs of puberty -- appears to be arriving earlier and earlier in the lives of U.S. girls. We need to know why.

read more here

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Organic, and Tastier: The Rat’s Nose Knows

From today's New York Times. Rats instinctively go for organic vs. non organic food. The writer is perplexed as to why rats can tell the diff and not humans.

Could it be that most people on the Standard American Diet (i.e. ,SAD) have tongues that are so drugged by artificial flavors, MSG, etc. that they don't know what good, healthy food tastes like any more? An organic tomato beats a non-organic tomato any day of the week!

Published: October 3, 2007

IN any controversy it can be helpful to consider the views of disinterested parties. So, on the subject of agricultural policy and practice, it’s worth noting that an unimpeachably neutral group has joined the ranks of those who prefer organic foods over foods produced with the help of synthetic chemicals. That group is 40 Swiss rats

A team of Swiss and Austrian scientists recently concluded a 21-year study of organic wheat production. As an “integrative method” for assessing quality, they gave lab animals a choice of biscuits made from organic or conventional wheat. The rats ate significantly more of the former. The authors call this result remarkable, because they found the two wheats to be very similar in chemical composition and baking performance.

In fact, the rats were better at telling the difference between organic and conventional foods than many humans have been. In the handful of carefully designed taste-offs reported in the last few years, people were often unable to identify the organic foods, and often didn’t prefer them.

This is puzzling, since organic produce generally does pack more antioxidants and other potentially healthful — and potentially flavorful — phytochemicals than conventional produce. Just last July, Professor Alyson Mitchell and colleagues at the University of California, Davis summarized 10 years of data from tomatoes grown in carefully controlled organic and conventional systems. The antioxidant contents varied from year to year, but were consistently higher in the organic tomatoes.

read more here.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Common Prostate Cancer Treatment May SPREAD Cancer


Newswise — A popular prostate cancer treatment called androgen deprivation therapy may encourage prostate cancer cells to produce a protein that makes them more likely to spread throughout the body, a new study by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests.

Although the finding could eventually lead to changes in this standard treatment for a sometimes deadly disease, the Johns Hopkins researchers caution that their discovery is far too preliminary for prostate cancer patients or physicians to stop using it. The therapy is effective at slowing tumor growth, they emphasized.

David Berman, an assistant professor of pathology, urology and oncology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and his colleagues identified the unsuspected potential problem with treatments that suppress testosterone after discovering that the gene that codes for the protein, called nestin, was active in lab-grown human prostate cancer cells.

Curious about whether prostate cancer cells in people also produce nestin, the researchers looked for it in cells taken from men who had surgery to remove locally confined cancers of their prostates and found none. But when they looked for nestin in prostate cancer cells isolated from patients who had died of metastatic prostate cancer - in which cancer cells spread out from the prostate tumor - they found substantial evidence that the nestin gene was active.

What was different, Berman speculated, is that androgen deprivation therapy, a treatment that reduces testosterone in the body, is generally given only when prostate cancers become aggressive and likely to metastasize.

Because prostate cancer growth is typically stimulated by testosterone, the treatment is thought to slow tumor growth and weaken the disease. Patients who eventually die because their disease metastasizes are almost certain to have received this type of therapy, he says.

Speculating that depriving cells of androgens might also, however, affect nestin expression, the researchers experimented on a prostate cancer cell line that depends on androgens to grow. When they removed androgens from the chemical mixture that the cells live in, their production of nestin increased.

Aware that the nestin gene has long been suggested to play some role in cell growth and development, Berman and his colleagues used a bit of laboratory sabotage called RNA interference to decrease the genetic expression of nestin and found that these cells weren’t able to move around and through other cells nearly as well as cells with normal nestin levels.

Prostate cancer cells with hampered nestin expression were also less likely than normal prostate cancer cells to migrate to other parts of the body when transplanted into mice. However, while nestin expression seemed pivotal for metastasis in these experiments, it didn’t seem to make a difference in tumor growth.

“What all this suggests is that nestin levels increased when prostate cancer cells are deprived of androgens and may encourage the cells to metastasize,” says Berman.

Besides Berman, other Johns Hopkins researchers involved in this study were Wolfram Kleeberger, M.D., G. Steven Bova, M.D., Matthew E. Nielsen, M.D., Mehsati Herawi, M.D., Ph.D., Ai-Ying Chuang, M.D., and Jonathan I. Epstein, M.D.

The research, published in the Oct. 1 issue of Cancer Research, was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, Evensen Family Foundation, and German Cancer Aid Foundation.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Woman Gives Birth to Own Grandchildren

I know this headline sounds like something from the Onion, but it's true:

(AP) SAO PAULO, Brazil - A 51-year-old surrogate mother for her daughter has given birth to her own twin grandchildren in northeastern Brazil, the delivery hospital said.

Rosinete Palmeira Serrao, a government health worker, gave birth to twin boys by Caesarean section on Thursday at the Santa Joana Hospital in the city of Recife, the hospital said in a statement on its Web site.

Hospital officials were not available for comment on Sunday, but press reports said the grandmother and twins were discharged on Saturday in excellent health. The Caesarean section was performed about two weeks ahead of time because Serrao was having trouble sleeping, the statement said.

Serrao decided to serve as a surrogate mother after four years of failed attempts at pregnancy by her 27-year-old daughter, Claudia Michelle de Brito.

Brazilian law stipulates that only close relatives can serve as surrogate mothers. De Brito is an only child and none of her cousins volunteered, so Serrao agreed to receive four embryos from her daughter.