Two hot health issues collided last month: vaccines and women’s health.
The report that pregnant women getting the Flu shot have twice the risk of bearing children with Autism should have given everyone pause; it did not. This is not to say that we should stop vaccinating, but that we need to discuss excessive immunizations freely and openly, and not be blinded by industry, politics, or money issues.
While genetic tendencies similar to Schizophrenia are no doubt at play in Autism, the environment in which children are raised is also at play. Nature and Nurture explain why a seemingly benign upbringing in a home of scientists and engineers also predispose children to Autism. Far-fetched? Perhaps, but, when my home state leads the Union with 1/47 children with Autism we need to look everywhere for the factors contributing to this catastrophe.
Hugo Rodier, MD
More Women’s Issues
One of the factors associated with autism is ambient pollution, which contributes more than genetic tendencies. We often think of toxins, like mercury in vaccines, and a byproduct of industry, especially mining. Even small amounts previously dismissed may be causing problems. Still, poor nutrition, specifically a lack of Poly Unsaturated Fatty Acids may be more damaging to the developing brain than toxins like mercury.
“The best database approach to dietary patterns is something around the definition of a Mediterranean diet. And that means a lot more fruits and vegetables, a lot more omega-3 fatty acids, and I would argue a lot less omega-6 fatty acids. Nix the 6: ‘the biggest origin’ for the latter component in a United States diet is in soy bean oil, which is often incorporated into processed foods.“
We hope to persuade pregnant women to cut back on processed foods, and to eat more fish and supplement Omega oils. Some may argue fish has mercury. True, but, if limited to twice a week, the benefits exceed the risk. And, don’t forget to supplement folic acid, which now has been shown to reduce the risk of childhood brain tumors, and probiotics. The latter modulate the unborn child’s immune system in the gut.
If a prospective mother is not open to these and other simple suggestions, perhaps she is not ready for pregnancy. Perhaps she needs to have better access to a birth control method, like the pill. Perhaps this is the reasoning behind theannouncement from the Academy of Obstetrics and Gynecology that the pill should be, as it is in other countries, available over the counter. No doubt there will be opposition to this opinion. However, the most common argument against it has been diminished: pap smears are now recommended every 3-5 years by the Preventive Task Force. In fact, routine screenings like physicals have been shown not to help much. Could it be that there is too much “Unnecessary care: are doctors in denial and is profit driven healthcare to blame?“
Other arguments against the OTC pill are likely to involve moral and religious issues, which I leave for you to contemplate. Safety arguments could be addressed with a simple warning box to look out for clots and supplement B vitamins. Still concerned about safety? Then, focus on getting ibuprofen-like drugs off the shelves; they kill 100,000+ people each year.
Perhaps the hottest feminine issue is the recent findings on mammograms:
“For every 10 000 UK women aged 50 years invited to screening for the next 20 years, 43 deaths from breast cancer would be prevented and 129 cases of breast cancer, invasive and non-invasive, would be overdiagnosed; that is one breast cancer death prevented for about every three overdiagnosed cases identified and treated. Of the roughly 307 000 women aged 50-52 years who are invited to begin screening every year, just over 1% would have an overdiagnosed cancer in the next 20 years.”
Translation: 1/3 of breast cancers are treated unnecessarily. You may want to review reference number 14; and, please, don’t shoot the messenger.
You may choose Prozac-like antidepressants (SSRIs) as the hottest issue for women:
“Antidepressant use during pregnancy is associated with increased risks of miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, newborn behavioral syndrome, persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn and possible longer term neurobehavioraleffects. There is no evidence of improved pregnancy outcomes with antidepressant use. There is some evidence that psychotherapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy as well as physical exercise, is associated with significant decreases in depressive symptoms in the general population; research indicates that some forms of counseling are effective in treating depressive symptoms in infertile women.“
More women’s issues:
“Alcohol Consumption and Breast Cancer Risk Among Postmenopausal Women Following the Cessation of Hormone Therapy Use,”
“Risk for Cervical Intraepithelial Neoplasia Grade 3 or Worse in Relation to Smoking among Women with Persistent Human Papillomavirus Infection,”
“Prediagnostic Plasma Pyridoxal 5′-Phosphate (Vitamin B6) Levels and Invasive Breast Carcinoma Risk: The Multiethnic Cohort,”
“Exposures to Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Age of Menarche in Adolescent Girls in NHANES (2003-2008),”
“Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Thyroid Axis Function in Women With a Menstrually Related Mood Disorder: Association With Histories of Sexual Abuse.”
Californians recently voted down the labeling of foods if they contain GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms. About 2/3 of American crops have pesticides injected into their DNA, a practice said to be safe by Monsanto scientists, but rejected by many independent researchers. GMOs are banned in the European Union. Who you believe was not the point of the referendum: freedom of information was. But, tipping my hand, here is an article on GMO safety in rats:
“Females in all treatment groups suffered higher mortality rates than controls as a result of tumors forming sooner and more often, with Roundup-only animals developing the most tumors. By the final month, they wrote, 50-80% of treated females had visible tumors, compared with only 30% of controls; 93% of these tumors were in the mammary gland. Treated males reportedly developed severe liver and kidney damage more often than controls. Additionally, the investigators claimed to find an association between Roundup exposure and increased cytochrome activity, between NK603 and reduced transcription rates, and between NK603 combined with Roundup and increased smooth endoplasmic reticulum. They wrote that mortality and tumorigenesis did not show a linear dose-response relationship with most treatments, but peaked at lower doses, suggesting the non-monotonic dose-response curve found with endocrine disruptors.”
Why did Californians vote against Proposition 37, despite 2/3 of them favoring such a regulation a few weeks before the election? Because Big Food (processed food companies,) and Big Ag (industrialized Agriculture,) which I affectionately refer to as Big Gag, poured millions of dollars into ads claiming that the labeling of foods would result in hundreds of dollars added to everyone’s grocery bills.
Follow the money..
will be published in the December 2012 J. Pediatrics, and released online November 12
 “Diverse types of genetic variation converge on functional gene networks involved in schizophrenia,”
- Nature Neuroscience
Published online 11 Nov 2012
 “Are Geeky Couples More Likely to Have Kids with Autism?” J. Scientific American November 2012
 MMWR 2012;61:1
 “General Heritability and Shared Environmental Factors Among Twin Pairs With Autism,”
- Archives of General Psychiatry 2011;68:1095
 “Maternal PUFA Status but Not Prenatal Methylmercury Exposure Is Associated with Children’s Language Functions at Age Five Years in the Seychelles,” J. Nutrition 2012;142:1943
 “Science-Based ‘Cookbook for the Brain’ Offers Food for Thought,” MedScape Family Medicine Nov 15 2012
 “Maternal Use of Folic Acid and Other Supplements and Risk of Childhood Brain Tumors,”
J. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2012;21:1933
 “Can Nutritional Modulation of Maternal Intestinal Microbiota Influence the Development of the Infant Gastrointestinal Tract?” J. Nutrition 2012;142: 1921
 Obstetrics & Gynecology: doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000423818.85283.bd. Committee opinion No 544
 British Medical J. 2012;345:e6230
 “The benefits and harms of breast cancer screening: an independent review,”
- Lancet, Early Online Publication, 30 October 2012. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)61611-0
 “Mammography Screening for Breast Cancer,” New England J. of Medicine 2012; 367:e31
 “The risks of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor use in infertile women: a review of the impact on fertility, pregnancy, neonatal health and beyond,”
- Human Reproduction (2012) doi: 10.1093/humrep/des383. First published online: October 31, 2012
 J. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2012;21:2006
 J. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2012;21:1949
 J. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2012;21:1942
 J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2012;120:1613
 J. Psychosomatic Medicine 2012;74:810
 “A Closer Look at GE Corn Findings,” J. Environmental Health Perspectives 2012 Nov 1.
For more information on GMOs read the book “Genetic Roulette Jeffrey M. Smith; Yes! Books, 2007