Saturday, 21 January 2012

Monsantos Best-Selling Herbicide Roundup Linked To Infertility

Sat 21 Jan 2012 14:48
By  Andre Evans - Activist Post

A recent study has found that Monsanto’s Roundup pesticide may be responsible for causing infertility. After reviewing the many already well-documented negative impacts Roundup has on the environment and living creatures, it is no surprise to add yet another item to the list.

Monsanto’s Best-Selling Herbicide Roundup Linked to Infertility
Researchers tested roundup on mature male rats at a concentration range between 1 and 10,000 parts per million (ppm), and found that within 1 to 48 hours of exposure, testicular cells of the mature rats were either damaged or killed. According to the study, even at a concentration of 1 ppm, the Roundup was able to affect the test subjects by decreasing their testosterone concentrations by as much as 35%.

How can such small levels of exposure have such a profound effect on the reproductive system?

Roundup, being a glyphosate-based herbicide is also known to have endocrine disrupting properties.

Much like BPA, glyphosate-based herbicides have the ability to interfere with the natural hormonal balance in the human body, thereby introducing a number of health risks along with even the smallest levels of exposure. These chemicals are strong enough to affect your metabolism, behavior and mood, reproductive organs, and even provoke cancer.

As a result, any plants that are sprayed with Roundup carry with them a chemical effect similar to that of other endocrine disruptors, offsetting the hormonal balance and causing adverse effects, despite even the smallest levels of exposure. This in part contributes to the number of males with increased fertility issues in more recent times.

It is no surprise that Monsanto, a company already infamous for a whole slew of dangerous concoctions, would also be responsible for affecting another major aspect of human health on a large scale.

Ultimately it is highly important to avoid any products sprayed with pesticides or herbicides for the many associated health risks – now fertility included. In addition to avoiding food which has been tarnished by this pesticide, you may also want to consider investing in a water filter. Glyphosate, the carcinogenic chemical Roundup contains, has been found to be contaminating the groundwater in areas where it is being applied.

Being aware of the hormonal disruptors you face in your daily life such as BPA and now Roundup is a must. Even the smallest levels of exposure can have large negative effects.

Original article can be found HERE

World’s Top Commercial Weed Killer Linked to Infertility: Scientist
May 11, 2011

The world’s top herbicide for decades has come under criticism after evidence surfaced suggesting that the chemical may be linked to infertility and miscarriage in animals, raising serious concerns about the possible effect on human consumers.

Glyphosate is the weed-killing ingredient introduced over 30 years ago by the multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation Monsanto under the brand name Roundup. Monsanto also produces “Roundup Ready” corn, soybeans and cotton genetically engineered to withstand large doses of Roundup that would be deadly to normal plants.

But Dr. Don Huber, professor emeritus at Purdue University and a well-known plant pathologist, wrote to both American and European officials earlier this year to express his concern over a newly-discovered, extremely small organism that has appeared in higher concentrations in conjunction with Roundup and Roundup Ready crops.

The “electron microscopic pathogen,” Huber wrote in a Jan 16 letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, “appears to significantly impact the health of plants, animals, and probably human beings,” noting that preliminary experiments have been able to reproduce the pathogen’s effect of causing miscarriages.

Huber urged the Secretary to delay deregulation of Roundup Ready crops, saying that “such approval could be a calamity.” “I believe the threat we are facing from this pathogen is unique and of a high risk status. In layman’s terms, it should be treated as an emergency,” he wrote.

Lyndsay Cole, media coordinator for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, told Tuesday that Vilsack had received the letter and encouraged “submission of any data or studies in support of his concerns.”

Eleven days after the date of Huber’s letter, the USDA announced its decision to fully deregulate Roundup Ready Alfalfa.

Huber’s letter was only one of many criticisms aimed at Monsanto recently, with several environmentalist groups and others calling for a global ban on the product that has netted the company billions in sales despite its troubling environmental track record. More evidence of the danger of glyphosate emerged in 2010; a study by scientists in Argentina concluded that glyphosate caused mutations in embryonic frogs and chicks, according to Reuters.

Glyphosate-based herbicides have also been available under generic brand names after Monsanto’s patent expired in 2000.

Reuters reports that the Environmental Protection Agency is investigating the possible dangers of glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 for determining what action, if any, the government should take against it.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Osteoporosis Is So Slow, Bone Density Tests Can Wait, Study Says

Published: January 18, 2012
Bone loss and osteoporosis develop so slowly in most women whose bones test normal at age 65 that many can safely wait as long as 15 years before having a second bone density test, researchers report in a new study.

Michael Nagle for The New York Times
Dr. Ethel S. Siris, director of the Toni Stabile Osteoporosis Center, stands in front of a bone density scanner at the Columbia University Medical Center New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The study, published in Thursday’s issue of The New England Journal of Medicine, is part of a broad rethinking of how to diagnose and treat the potentially debilitating bone disease that can lead to broken hips and collapsing spines.

A class of drugs, bisphosphonates, which includes Fosamax, have been found to prevent fractures in people with osteoporosis. But medical experts no longer recommend the medicines to prevent osteoporosis itself. They no longer want women to take them indefinitely, and they no longer consider bone density measurements the single defining factor in deciding if a woman needs to be treated.

Now, with the new study, researchers are asking whether frequent bone density measurements even make sense for the majority of older women whose bone density is not close to a danger zone on an initial test.

“Bone density testing has been oversold,” said Steven Cummings, the study’s principal investigator and an emeritus professor of medical epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study followed nearly 5,000 women aged 67 and older for more than a decade. The women had a bone density test when they entered the study and did not have osteoporosis. (In a separate national study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 70 percent of women over age 65 did not have osteoporosis.)

The researchers report that less than 1 percent of women with normal bone density when they entered the study, and less than 5 percent with mildly low bone density, developed osteoporosis in the ensuing 15 years. But of those with substantially low bone density at the study’s start, close to the cut off point for osteoporosis of less than 2.5 standard deviations from the reference level, 10 percent progressed to osteoporosis in about a year.

Dr. Margaret Gourlay, the study’s lead author and a family practice specialist and osteoporosis researcher at the University of North Carolina, said she and her colleagues were surprised by how slowly women progressed to osteoporosis.

Medicare pays for a bone density test every two years and many doctors have assumed that this is the ideal interval, although national guidelines say only that screening should be done at “regular intervals.”

“I think this will change the way doctors think about screening,” Dr. Gourlay said.

The results, says Joan McGowan, director of the division of musculoskeletal diseases at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “provide telling evidence that you are not going to fall off a cliff if you have normal bone density in your 60s or early 70s, that you are not going to have osteoporosis in the next five years unless something else happens.”

Dr. McGowan, who was not involved in the study, said a woman who had to take high doses of corticosteroids for another medical condition would lose bone rapidly. But the findings “cover most normal women,” she said.

Bone density screening took off after Fosamax, the first bisphosphonate, was approved at the end of 1995. For the first time, doctors had a specific treatment that had been shown to prevent fractures in people with osteoporosis.

For years doctors were overly enthusiastic, prescribing it for women whose bone density was lower than normal but not in a danger zone, keeping women on the drug indefinitely. They even gave a name, osteopenia, to lower than normal bone density, although it was not clear it had real clinical significance.

Now, osteoporosis experts consider osteopenia to be a risk factor, not a disease, and its importance varies depending on a patient’s age, said Dr. Ethel Siris, an osteoporosis researcher at Columbia University who was not involved in the study.

Doctors are more likely to prescribe bisphosphonates for older patients and recommend against them for most younger postmenopausal women with osteopenia.

The experts also generally recommend that most people on bisphosphonates take them for just five years at a time, followed by a drug holiday of undetermined length. The idea is to reduce the risk of rare but serious side effects, including unusual thighbone fractures and loss of bone in the jaw.

A risk calculator, FRAX, can help determine whether treatment is recommended. It assesses a combination of risk factors: whether a parent had a hip fracture, the age of the patient, steroid use, bone density at the hip, and whether the person has broken a bone after age 50, an especially important indicator. Nearly half who break a hip already had already broken another bone, Dr. Siris said.

“If you are an older individual, a man or a woman, who already broke a major bone — spine, hip, shoulder, or pelvis or wrist — take it very seriously and get treated,” she said. “If you have relatively good bone density then you are not at risk now.”

Read the original article HERE

Alcohol in Pregnancy: It’s Never Safe, Especially Not in the First Trimester

A new study finds that the developmental hazards of maternal drinking may be greatest at the end of the first trimester.

By Alice Park | @aliceparkny | January 18, 2012

Drinking and pregnancy don’t mix, but when are babies most vulnerable to the effects of alcohol?

The end of the first trimester appears to be the period when alcohol can wreak the most havoc on fetal development, causing physical deformities as well as behavioral and cognitive symptoms, according to research in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

According to the March of Dimes, about 1 in 12 women admit to drinking during pregnancy, and 1 in 30 say they binge-drink, or consume five or more drinks at one sitting. Exposure to alcohol in utero leads to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders in about 40,000 newborns every year in the U.S. While adults can break down alcohol relatively safely, still-developing fetuses tend to keep more alcohol in their blood, which can hinder the development of brain and body.

MORE: Study OK’s Light Drinking During Pregnancy. Too Good to Be True?

Between 1978 and 2005, scientists at the University of California, San Diego worked with 992 women who provided information about how much alcohol they drank — as well as other substances they used — every three months during their pregnancies.

For every one additional drink the mothers consumed between their 43rd and 84th days of pregnancy, their babies had a 16% greater chance of being born smaller than average, which may put them at greater risk for mental and physical problems. Their infants were also more likely to have birth defects, such as a 25% higher risk of a smooth ridge linking the nose and upper lip, a 12% increased risk of an abnormally small head and a 22% greater chance of unusually thin upper lips.

MORE: What Scientists Know About the First Nine Months

While the data reinforce current guidelines that expectant moms avoid alcohol, it’s particularly difficult for those in the first days of pregnancy, especially since 50% of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. That means most women may not even become aware they are pregnant until the middle or end of the first trimester.

So even women who may not be planning to become pregnant should be aware of the risks of alcohol on developing fetuses. As Tom Donaldson, president of the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome told USA Today, “One of the challenges has been determining what are the windows of risk and the patterns in timing and quantity of alcohol use. This article very clearly demonstrates that risk begins with any use.”

The authors agree, writing that:

Based on our findings, there is no safe threshold for alcohol consumption during pregnancy with respect to selected alcohol-related physical features. Women who are of childbearing age and who are contemplating or at risk of becoming pregnant should be encouraged to avoid drinking, and women who are pregnant should abstain from alcohol throughout pregnancy.

Alice Park is a writer at TIME. Find her on Twitter at @aliceparkny . You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

Original article can be found HERE