Friday, January 29, 2010

Rocking embryos helps IVF

I'm not surprised by that gently rocking embryos (and maybe singing to them?) improved IVF success, but it also argues for getting yourself healthy and letting Mother Nature do her thing. I wonder if there will be any long term consequences from IVF...

From CBC news Canada:

(HealthDay News) - Scientists say they boosted the success of in vitro fertilization in mice by gently rocking embryos before implanting them into the womb.

No evidence yet proves that the same technique would work with human embryos, but authors of a new study hope it might do just that.

"By making the cells feel more at home, we get better cells, which is key to having better infertility treatment," said study co-author Shu Takayama, an associate professor in the University of Michigan's department of biomedical engineering.

The idea of the research is to mimic the motion that an embryo feels traveling through the fallopian tube to the uterus. Human embryos created with the assistance of in vitro fertilization don't get the benefit of such exposure.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Horrible Bpa source: receipts!

Just to show how chemicals have really invaded every corner of our lives, now they've found there's the endocrine-disrupting BPA (no good for anyone's fertility) in RECEIPTS. I had done a few posts on BPA in polycarbonate SIGG bottles, but this is even more serious.

From Science News:

While working at Polaroid Corp. for more than a decade, John C. Warner learned about the chemistry behind some carbonless copy papers (now used for most credit card receipts) and the thermal imaging papers that are spit out by most modern cash registers. Both relied on bisphenol-A...

“When people talk about polycarbonate bottles, they talk about nanogram quantities of BPA [leaching out],” Warner observes. “The average cash register receipt that's out there and uses the BPA technology will have 60 to 100 milligrams of free BPA.” By free, he explains, it’s not bound into a polymer, like the BPA in polycarbonates. It’s just the individual molecules loose and ready for uptake.

As such, he argues, when it comes to BPA in the urban environment, “the biggest exposures, in my opinion, will be these cash register receipts.” Once on the fingers, BPA can be transferred to foods. And keep in mind, he adds, some hormones — like estrogen in certain birth-control formulations — are delivered through the skin by controlled-release patches. So, he argues, estrogen mimics like BPA might similarly enter the skin.

read more here.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Antidepressants may lead to lactation difficulties

Yes, not being able to breast feed can be REALLY depressing...

From Newswise, the journalists'-only web site:

Newswise — According to a new study accepted for publication in The Endocrine Society’s Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), women taking commonly used forms of antidepressant drugs may experience delayed lactation after giving birth and may need additional support to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding benefits both infants and mothers in many ways as breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. The World Health Organization recommends that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life. This new study shows that certain common antidepressant drugs may be linked to a common difficulty experienced by new mothers known as delayed secretory activation, defined as a delay in the initiation of full milk secretion.

“The breasts are serotonin-regulated glands, meaning the breasts’ ability to secrete milk at the right time is closely related to the body’s production and regulation of the hormone serotonin,” said Nelson Horseman, PhD, of the University of Cincinnati and co-author of the study. “Common antidepressant drugs like fluoxetine, sertraline and paroxetine are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drugs and while they can affect mood, emotion and sleep they may also impact serotonin regulation in the breast, placing new mothers at greater risk of a delay in the establishment of a full milk supply.”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cleaning chemicals, etc., cause pediatric dermatitis

When are people going to realize that harsh cleaning chemicals aren't good for you? We use baking soda and tea tree oil, works rather well and it's cheap! From Newswise,, the journalists' only new site;

Newswise — Considered a dermatological nuisance that was long gone, skin irritations caused by toilet seats appear to be making a comeback in pediatricians’ offices, according to research led by Johns Hopkins Children’s Center investigator Bernard Cohen, M.D.

“Toilet seat dermatitis is one of those legendary conditions described in medical textbooks and seen in underdeveloped countries, but one that younger pediatricians have not come across in their daily practice,” says Cohen, director of pediatric dermatology at Hopkins Children’s. “If our small analysis is any indication of what’s happening, we need to make sure the condition is on every pediatrician’s radar.”

Analyzing five cases from the United States and India in the February issue of the journal Pediatrics, Cohen and colleagues said the culprits responsible for the reemergence of the condition are harsh cleaning chemicals and exotic wooden toilet seats — making a comeback as bathroom d├ęcor —especially seats covered with varnishes and paints.

Cohen says children can develop irritation after several uses of a wooden seat or repeated exposure to residue from harsh cleaning chemicals. He urges pediatricians to inquire about toilet seats and cleaners used both at home and at school any time they see a toddler or a young child

Monday, January 18, 2010

Reasons why Sex is Good for You

This came via Lifehacker.

2. Sex helps you forget
Oxytocin, which triggers orgasm, has an amnesic effect that lasts up to five hours. So for a period of time you forget that he maxed out your Visa card or she was an hour late getting home from work. Women get an additional benefit. During orgasm that parts of the brain that govern fear, anxiety, and stress are switched off. (Faking orgasm gives no such benefit.)

5. Heightened sense of smell
After sex, production of prolactin surges, causing stem cells in the brain to develop new neurons in the brain’s smell center (olfactory bulb).

6. Weight loss
Rambunctious sex burns a minimum of two hundred calories, about the same as running fifteen minutes on a treadmill. British researchers determined that the equivalent of six Big Macs can be worked off by having sex three times a week for a year.

9. Healthier heart
Women who have more sex have higher levels of estrogen, which protects against heart disease.

10. Cure for the common cold
Once-a-week sex produces 30 percent higher levels of immunoglobulin A, which boosts the immune system.

11. Better bladder control
Sex strengthens the pelvic muscles that control the flow of urine.

15. Relief for a stuffy nose
Really. Sex is a natural antihistamine. It can even help combat hay fever and asthma.

17. Boosts immune system

Endorphins stimulate immune-system cells that fight disease.

19. Protection against Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis
Women who have more sex have higher levels of estrogen, which protects against Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Toxic cheap jewelry poisons children

What little kid DOESN'T chew on stuff. Stay away from cheap jewelry!

LOS ANGELES – The country's top product safety regulator warned parents and caretakers Wednesday to take cheap metal jewelry away from children out of concern they could be exposed to toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.

Writing in a blog to be posted Wednesday evening, the chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission noted that children who chew, suck on or swallow a bracelet charm or necklace may be endangering their health.

read more here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Monsanto GMO corn and organ failure

Germany Gm Corn

In a study released by the International Journal of Biological Sciences, analyzing the effects of genetically modified foods on mammalian health, researchers found that agricultural giant Monsanto's GM corn is linked to organ damage in rats.

Read more here on the Huffpo.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Use of potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under law

This is so scary, I don't even know where to begin. Recently people have been finding out there had been a weird additive in MILK that for whatever weird reason hasn't had to be disclosed on the label. Maybe that's why milk has such a bad rap, it's a good food turned awful by processing. I am so glad we buy our milk from our farmer friend.

It's so sad that with documented declining fertility (especially sperm counts) that these chemicals that are KNOWN hazards to reproductive health are all over the place. Let's demand great transparency!! Thank you to writer Miranda Spencer alerting GreenFertility to this.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 4, 2010

Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision.

The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets in a highly competitive industry. But critics -- including the Obama administration -- say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to.

At a time of increasing public demand for more information about chemical exposure, pressure is building on lawmakers to make it more difficult for manufacturers to cloak their products in secrecy. Congress is set to rewrite chemical regulations this year for the first time in a generation.

read more here.

Natural Thyroid back on the market

Okay, for some reason doctors are REALLY against using natural thyroid products like Armour because supposedly it's harder to "control"--I think having natural thyroid might mean we get whatever unknowable thing is already in it. Synthroid made me feel WORSE. But I've been waiting with bated breath as the supplies for my Armour thyroid kept dwindling, and I was switch to Nature-throid, which was also having some shortages. But the good news, it's back!

From Mary Shomon:

Tuesday January 5, 2010
Good news for the new year. Today, Dai Jinn, Chief Science Officer at RLC Labs confirmed that Nature-Throid -- RLC's natural desiccated thyroid drug -- is shipping in the 1 grain tablet size. Says Jinn: "I can definitely say that the product started shipping last week. As indicated, it still may take a week or so to reach all of our clients and then a bit more to ultimately reach down to the patient level." So Nature-Throid 1 grain IS on now its way to distributors and ultimately to pharmacies around the country.


Saturday, January 09, 2010

Artificial smoke flavor may be toxic

Why am I not surprised that an artificial, lab-created flavor might be toxic?

From the BBC:

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says one of the flavourings used to give smoke flavour to meat, cheese or fish, may be toxic to humans.

The authority looked at 11 smoke flavourings commonly used in the European Union.

It says several of the flavourings are dangerously close to levels which may cause harm to humans.

The European Commission will now establish a list of smoke-flavouring products that are safe for use in food.

The smoke flavourings are products which can be added to foods to give them a "smoked" flavour, as an alternative to traditional smoking.

EFSA says it "cannot rule out concerns" about a flavouring called Primary Product AM 01, which is obtained from beech wood.

The wood particles are burnt under controlled conditions and the hot vapours are dissolved in a solvent.

The Panel says the use of the substance "at the intended levels is a safety concern".

Friday, January 08, 2010

Rattan makes good bones

Wicker bones, what next? Actually, using a natural substance probably works better than, say plastic. From the BBC:

A novel - and natural - way of creating new bones for humans could be just a few years away.

Scientists in Italy have developed a way of turning rattan wood into bone that is almost identical to the human tissue.

At the Istec laboratory of bioceramics in Faenza near Bologna, a herd of sheep have already been implanted with the bones.

The process starts by cutting the long tubular rattan wood up into manageable pieces.

It is then snipped into even smaller chunks, ready for the complex chemical process to begin.

The pieces are put in a furnace and heated.

In simple terms, carbon and calcium are added.

The wood is then further heated under intense pressure in another oven-like machine and a phosphate solution is introduced.

'Very promising'

After around 10 days, the rattan wood has been transformed into the bone-like material.

Monday, January 04, 2010

CT scans and cancer risk

Careful of CT scans, ESPECIALLY of your pelvis. From Medscape:

December 17, 2009 — Computed tomography (CT) scans are widely used and are an invaluable tool for medical imaging. However, the possible overuse of CT scans and the variability in radiation doses might subsequently lead to thousands of cases of cancer, according to findings from 2 new studies published in the December 14/28 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the first study, researchers found that radiation doses from common CT procedures are higher and more variable than what is typically cited. For example, the authors note that the median effective dose of an abdomen and pelvis CT scan is often cited as 8 to 10 mSv, but they found that the median dose of this type of scan was actually 66% higher, and the median dose of a multiphase CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis was nearly 4 times higher.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Use LED bulbs--no mercury

I keep telling people that LEDs are better than Compact Flourescents (CFLs) for lighting becuase CFLs (of course, carried by Walmart) have mercury, which means if you break them, you have to call the EPA for cleanup (or contaminate your house) or eventually it goes to the dump and you pollute the environment.

I also like the clean light of LEDs, and according to this study they save substantial energy, too. From the NY Times:

Does the latest generation of energy-saving light bulbs save energy? A comprehensive study conducted by Osram, the German lighting company, provides evidence that they do.

Rick Friedman for The New York Times

A standard incandescent bulb over its life will use almost five times the energy of an LED bulb, a German study concluded.

While that may seem self-evident, until the release of the report on Monday the answer remained unclear.

That is because no one knew if the production of LED lamps required more energy than needed for standard incandescent bulbs. While it is indisputable that LEDs use a fraction of the electricity of a regular bulb to create the same amount of light, if more energy were used in the manufacturing and distribution process, then the lighting industry could be traveling down a technological dead end.

The study results show that over the entire life of the bulb — from manufacturing to disposal — the energy used for incandescent bulbs is almost five times that used for compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

The energy used during the manufacturing phase of all lamps is insignificant — less than 2 percent of the total. Given that both compact fluorescents and LEDs use about 20 percent of the electricity needed to create the same amount of light as a standard incandescent, both lighting technologies put incandescents to shame.

read more here.