Study Finds Exercise Literally Makes Your Brain Grow .

Scientists know that exercise can foster the growth of new brain cells, but the factors responsible for this phenomenon have not been well understood.

In a recent study, researchers have discovered the chemical process that makes this happen. What’s more is that they may be able to “bottle” the chemical that produces this benefit, so a brain-growth pill may be coming to your drug store in the future.

Exercise and the Brain

A part of the brain particularly receptive to new nerve cell growth in response to endurance exercise is the hippocampus, which is a structure associated with learning and memory. The process by which this happens was unclear until recently.

Scientists knew that when endurance exercise works up a sweat, the body produces and releases into the blood stream a protein known as FNDC5. In this study, they found over time that FNDC5 activates the production of another brain protein known as Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). This protein is the factor that stimulates the growth of new nerves as well as the synapses, structures that allow information to pass between nerve cells. Additionally, BDNF helps facilitate the survival of existing brain cells.

How does this process affect you? Endurance exercise, such as jogging or brisk walking, makes your brain stronger and enables it to grow. It fosters improved memory and ability to learn, along with the other benefits of exercise like enhanced heart health.

These benefits are available to anyone who exercises — but what about those who are unable to have a workout? Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Harvard Medical School found the protein that activates brain growth could potentially be bottled and prescribed for patients experiencing cognitive decline. In effect, the protein would trick the body into thinking it had exercised, resulting in brain growth and improved brain function.

Exercise in a Bottle

Co-senior author Bruce Spiegelman, Ph.D. expressed excitement that a natural substance can be given in the bloodstream that simulates some of the benefits of exercise on the brain. In the new study, this natural benefit from exercise was produced artificially in non-exercising mice.

The protein that exercise stimulates, FNDC5, was injected into the bloodstream of mice. After a week, scientists found a notable increase in BDNF in the brain’s hippocampus, a learning and memory region. In other words, the researchers were able to generate the brain growth benefit in the mice independently of exercise. The effect on the brain could be likened to “exercise in a bottle.”

Although the researchers caution that the effects of the study involving mice would need to be duplicated in studies involving humans, the results are promising. In the meantime, the study gives people one more reason to exercise.

About the author:

Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance overall wellness. Ms. West is the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies, and the creator of, a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects.


Why Are Patients With Lung Cancer Admitted to ICUs?Medical Research News and Interviews. Interview with:
Colin R. Cooke, MD, MSc, MS;
Assistant Professor of Medicine,
Division of Pulmonary & Critical Care Medicine
Faculty, Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy
University of Michigan

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Cooke: There were three primary findings from our study.

First, we determined that between 1992 and 2005 there was almost a 40% increase in the number of admissions to an intensive care unit (ICU) among patients with lung cancer who were hospitalized for reasons other than surgical removal of their cancer.

Second, most of this increase was because doctors were admitting these patients to intermediate intensive care units. These are units that provide greater monitoring and nurse staffing than typically available in general hospital wards, but usually also have less ability to provide life support measures than full service ICUs.

Third, over the same period the reasons for ICU admission have changed. Although the most common reason for admission continues to be for problems related to the patients’ lung cancer, problems such as breathing difficulties requiring a ventilator and severe infections are increasingly common.

These findings suggest that although overall use of the ICU for patients with lung cancer is increasing over time, providers may be shifting some of the intensive care for lung cancer patients toward less aggressive settings such as the intermediate care unit.

MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Cooke: One somewhat unexpected finding was the temporal changes in the type of ICU in which patients received the majority of their care. As discussed above, much of the increase in admission to the ICU was due to admissions to intermediate ICUs. Although we’re unable to determine the most appropriate ICU setting for each lung cancer patient, we know that the 6 month mortality for this group is quite high, prompting some providers to question the appropriateness of admission of such patients to full service ICUs. Our findings suggests that instead of admitting lung cancer patients to full-service ICUs, providers may appreciate the poor prognosis of hospitalized patients with lung cancer and consciously admit them to less aggressive settings.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Cooke: In light of the high 6 month mortality of lung cancer patients, clinicians and patients should consider goals of care prior to ICU admission. Patients who want and need life support  measures may be better served in a full service ICU.  Patients who opt to forgo aggressive life sustaining measures may still benefit from intermediate ICU care if they have a need for intensive nursing care or non-invasive therapies. Finally, other patients may be best served on a regular hospital floor or hospice unit with involvement of palliative care services.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Cooke: There are several potential avenues of research that our study motivates.

First, we need a better understanding of why patients with lung cancer are admitted to both intermediate ICUs as well as full-service ICUs, and whether or not the trends we’re observing reflect provider’s understanding of patient treatment preferences.

Second, relatively little is know about how intermediate ICUs are used in the United States generally, which patients end up in such units, and how hospitals are using them as alternative locations for care delivery to an ICU.

Dutch company develops world’s first electronic joint

  • Manufacturers of the E-Njoint say it is ‘harmless and 100 per cent legal’ 
  • Is said to contain no dangerous THC, tobacco or nicotine
  • Comes in six flavours including watermelon, passion fruit and green apple


The E-Njoint is said to be 'harmless and 100 per cent legal'

The E-Njoint is said to be ‘harmless and 100 per cent legal’

A Dutch company has invented the world’s first electronic joint.

E-Njoint BV is selling its high-tech spliffs at parties, music events, bars and clubs and across Europe.

Currently 10,000 e-joints per day are being manufactured by the company in China.


Its design has the typical shape of a joint and a green cannabis leaf lights up through the chrome plated tip each time the user takes a puff.

One particular variety of the E-Njoint is disposable and contains no THC, tobacco or nicotine, making it ‘harmless and 100 percent legal,’ according to the makers.

Instead, it turns so-called ‘safe components’, such as natural Propylene Glycol, Vegetable Glycerin and 100 per cent biological flavor, into water vapour.

The world’s first electronic joint comes to Europe

But other models can be smoked as real electric joints.

The E-Njoint Rechargeable can be filled by users with their own cannabis liquid content.

The product, which comes in six different flavours including watermelon, passion fruit, green apple and red cherry, costs just over £7 per joint.

The company’s website, which lists the outlets in Europe where you can buy e-joints, claims that smoking can be  ‘healthy’, describing the E-Njoint as the ‘the latest trend on the market.’

E-Njoint is in discussions with Tikun Olam, a business specialising in medicinal marijuana, to help produce products for the health industry.

How different governments in Europe react to the e-joint has yet to be seen.

Some models can be smoked as real electric joints, filled by users with their own cannabis liquid content

Some models can be smoked as real electric joints, filled by users with their own cannabis liquid content

‘Holland is well known in the world for its tolerant and liberal attitude toward soft drugs and the introduction of this new product clearly makes a statement,’ saidMenno Contant, CEO of E-Njoint. 

‘As long as you don’t bother or disturb other people and stay within the legal boundaries, all is well,’ he claims. 



He added: ‘Everyone should feel fine, because what we are doing is no crime.’

Breast Milk Secrets That The FDA Doesn’t Want You To Know .

On the last seminar I attended in Glendale, CA about Genetically Modified Food (GMO), the devastating health effects of GMOs on the population, and Prop 37, I also found out about yet another “inconvenient truth” regarding…MILK!

The International Milk Genomics Consortium (IMGC), which is housed at the University of California, Davis has been working for years to reveal ground breaking scientific research and studies about the genes that are responsible for making milk.

The team studies the genes that are expressed in the mammary gland during pregnancy and lactation, and how these gene products work together to produce milk – a “ marvellous fluid”, like Danielle Lemay, PhD likes to call it.

The results of their excellent and interesting scientific information about milk (raw milk and mothers’ milk specifically), is published in a newsletter called Splash!, which seemed to be yet another “threat” in the eyes of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its agenda. Why? Simple. Because infant formula and pasteurized milk are promoted through heavy marketing as being the only forms of dairy (or white chalk) that humans can still enjoy these days. Because any attempt to fight this agenda has to ultimately be destroyed before too many people find out about it.

So that’s why it was carefully “suggested” for certain information provided by this newsletter to be immediately stopped…And at this date, a certain article on raw milk and its benefits can NOT be read in the October issue of Splash! anymore. It has been “delicately” removed and now if you want to access it, the site will tell you that you have “Insufficient Privileges”. So how does censoring scientific papers sit well with ACADEMIC FREEDOM? 

Now as a nutritionist, I will rather point out the health benefits of healthy foods like raw milk and breast milk and reveal the amazing mechanisms Mother Nature has provided us to ensure healthy offspring. Facts that for sure, you won’t find out from the FDA, the infant formula producers and the commingled, GMO, pasteurized dairy producers.

Imagine if you only had to drink and eat one thing–a magic potion–and that this magic potion contained all of your necessary calories, macronutrients, and micronutrients including special molecules that feed good gut bacteria, an arsenal of both passive and active immune protectors, and stem cells. The potion also makes you smarter. It makes you happier. And best of all, the potion is formulated just for you, based on your environment and the genetics of your mother. That potion is mother’s milk. (Danielle Lemay, PhD)

Below I’ll summarize some of the very interesting and not so known aspects that the  International Milk Genomics Consortium is researching about milk and breast milk:

Different Breast Milk For Girls and Boys?

Do humans produce sex biased milk? Researchers have hypothesized that biases in milk synthesis may contribute to the differences in post-natal growth trajectories between sons and daughters and data are starting to support, in part, these hypotheses.

In 2010, Powe et al. reported that among 25 Boston-area women, mothers of sons produced ~25% higher energy density in milk than mothers of daughters. More recently, Fujita and colleagues (2012) revealed sex-biases in the milk fat concentration among 72 women in rural Kenya. On average, mothers of sons produced significantly higher fat concentrations in milk.

However, other parameters, such as infant mass and maternal mass, parity, and access to resources, can also play mediating roles. Because relatively little research effort has been dedicated to investigating sex-biased milk synthesis, there are still many questions to be answered. For example, to what extent are other constituents, such as hormones, similar or different in milk produced for sons vs. daughters? How do sons and daughters differently utilize milk from the mother? What are the signals and mechanisms through which the mammary gland “knows” it’s synthesizing milk for a son or a daughter?

Understanding how milk varies among mothers is critically important for human health. These complexities can be translated into optimal selection of donor milk for at-risk NICU babies and in the modification of commercial infant formulas.

Many Vital Nutrients Absent From Commercial Formula But Present In Breast Milk

These are all nutrients that are destroyed, unavailable, altered or inhibited in commercial baby formulas, but they are present in breast milk:

  • Anti-microbial enzymes
  • Biodiverse probiotics
  • Essential omega-3 & -6 fatty acids
  • Lactase-producing bacteria
  • Delicate proteins
  • B-12 binding protein
  • Bioavailable vitamins
  • Bioavailable calcium
  • Bioavailable phosphorus
  • Phosphatase enzyme
  • Oligosaccharides
  • Lymphocytes
  • B-lymphocytes
  • Macrophages
  • Neutrophils
  • IgA/IgG Antibodies
  • Bifidus Factors
  • Gamma-interferon
  • Fibronectin

In addition to all that, it’s been discovered that Activin A and S100B are two brain proteins that might be critically important for the infants to ingest. The concentration of both Activin A and S100B is higher in the mother’s milk than in her bloodstream. This means the high concentration of these proteins in milk is on purpose rather than a byproduct of the mother’s circulation. Also, the concentration of S100B in human breast milk is higher than in the milk of other domestic dairy animals. Differences in the concentration of the brain protein S100B in milk between human and non-human species likely reflect the greater post-natal neurodevelopment of the human neonate.

The absence of Activin A and S100B in commercial baby formula could be a result of lower concentrations in cow’s milk to start with, but the amount of these proteins may also be diminished during commercial food processing.

Breast Milk Sugars Protective For The Infant’s Intestines

A large part of human milk cannot be digested by babies and seems to have a purpose quite different from infant nutrition — that of influencing the composition of the bacteria in the infant’s gut. 


Researchers at the University of California, Davis have found that a particular strain of bacterium, a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum, possesses a special suite of genes that enable it to thrive on the indigestible component of milk. This subspecies is commonly found in the feces of breast-fed infants. It coats the lining of the infant’s intestine, protecting it from noxious bacteria. 

The complex sugars were long thought to have no biological significance, even though they constitute up to 21 percent of milk.Besides promoting growth of the bifido strain, they also serve as decoys for noxious bacteria that might attack the infant’s intestines. The sugars are very similar to those found on the surface of human cells, and are constructed in the breast by the same enzymes.

This can be seen as “an astonishing product of evolution,” one which has been vigorously shaped by natural selection because it is so critical to the survival of both mother and child. From the infant’s perspective, it is born into a world full of hostile microbes, with an untrained immune system and lacking the caustic stomach acid which in adults kills most bacteria. Any element in milk that protects the infant will be heavily favored by natural selection.

Do The Infant Formulas Have The Right Type Of Fats?

Human milk fat is made up of over 150 different types of fatty acids!! While the mammary gland is able to synthesize many of these fatty acids, others must be supplied by fats in the mother’s diet. As human mothers are not consuming identical diets, it is not surprising that human milk fatty acid profiles vary widely among populations. So one type of fat (like found in commercial formulas) doesn’t fit all!

For the majority of human evolution, diets lacked domesticated meats, dairy, processed foods, and hydrogenated oils. Human milk fatty acid synthesis and infant postnatal patterns of growth and development evolved during a time when mothers consumed pre-agricultural diets, so the best model for human milk may come from human populations consuming a traditional diet. For example, Tsimane women in Bolivia produce milk with more DHA and fewer fatty acids from processed foods than American mothers. 

Several studies have demonstrated that a mother’s body composition, independent of diet, may also affect milk fat composition. 

It is unlikely that pre-agricultural females attained a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 (the general cut-off between normal and overweight), so it seems plausible that milk synthesis would be affected by such dramatic changes in body composition, like we notice today in a obesity epidemic!

So what do all these facts mean after all? I’d say they are one more confirmation that Nature can’t be replicated and so true health can’t be mimicked. Breast milk offers unique, amazingly complex characteristics that are meant to ensure a healthy, vigorous start for a human being. Raw milk, from grass fed cows is a natural, healthy way to continue this kind of nourishment later on. We should use technology to find out more astonishing and useful information about these aspects, rather than making more dead, Franken-food in the lab!

Diet restriction doubles lifespan of worms

The centuries-long search for the fountain of youth has yielded only a few promising leads, one of which entails an extreme, emaciating diet. A new study of the tiny nematode worm C. elegans begins to explain this marvel of calorie restriction and hints at an easier way to achieve longevity.

Researchers at Duke University found that taking food away from C. elegans triggers a state of arrested development: while the organism continues to wriggle about, foraging for food, its cells and organs are suspended in an ageless, quiescent state. When food becomes plentiful again, the worm develops as planned, but can live twice as long as normal.

The results appear June 19 in PLOS Genetics.

“It is possible that low-nutrient diets set off the same pathways in us to put our cells in a quiescent state,” said David R. Sherwood, an associate professor of biology at Duke University. “The trick is to find a way to pharmacologically manipulate this process so that we can get the anti-aging benefits without the pain of diet restriction.”

Over the last 80 years, researchers have put a menagerie of model organisms on a diet, and they’ve seen that nutrient deprivation can extend the lifespan of rats, mice, yeast, flies, spiders, fish, monkeys and worms anywhere from 30 percent to 200 percent longer than their free-fed counterparts.

Outside the laboratory and in the real world, organisms like C. elegans can experience bouts of feast or famine that no doubt affect their development and longevity. Sherwood’s colleague Ryan Baugh, an assistant professor of medicine at Duke, showed that hatching C. elegans eggs in a nutrient-free environment shut down their development completely. He asked Sherwood to investigate whether restricting diet to the point of starvation later in life would have the same effect.

Sherwood and his postdoctoral fellow Adam Schindler decided to focus on the last two stages of C. elegans larval development — known as L3 and L4 — when critical tissues and organs like the vulva are still developing. During these stages, the worm vulva develops from a speck of three cells to a slightly larger ball of 22 cells. The researchers found that when they took away food at various times throughout L3 and L4, development paused when the vulva was either at the three-cell stage or the 22-cell stage, but not in between.

When they investigated further, the researchers found that not just the vulva, but all the tissues and cells in the organism seemed to get stuck at two main checkpoints. These checkpoints are like toll booths along the developmental interstate. If the organism has enough nutrients, its development can pass through to the next toll booth. If it doesn’t have enough, it stays at the toll booth until it has built up the nutrients necessary to get it the rest of the way.

“Development isn’t a continuous nonstop process,” said Schindler, who is lead author of the study. “Organisms have to monitor their environment and decide whether or not it is amenable to their development. If it isn’t, they stop, if it is, they go. Those checkpoints seem to exist to allow the animal to make that decision. And the decision has implications, because the resources either go to development or to survival.”

The study found that C. elegans could be starved for at least two weeks and still develop normally once feeding resumed. Because the meter isn’t running while the worm is in its arrested state, this starvation essentially doubles the two-week lifespan of the worm.

“This study has implications not only for aging, but also for cancer,” said Sherwood. “One of the biggest mysteries in cancer is how cancer cells metastasize early and then lie dormant for years before reawakening. My guess is that the pathways in worms that are arresting these cells and waking them up again are going to be the same pathways that are in human cancer metastases.”

The researchers are now performing a number of genetic studies to see if they can find another way to force C. elegans into these development holding patterns.

These new smart curtains respond to light and don’t need batteries.

Curtains that move in response to light could soon be a reality thanks to research conducted at the University of California, Berkley, in the US.

A team led by associate professor Ali Javey layered carbon nanotubes, which are tiny cylindrical structures made out of carbon allotropes, onto a plastic carbonate membrane to develop a new type of material that moves in response to light.

The carbon nanotubes absorb light, convert it into heat and transfer it to the plastic membrane, causing the membrane to expand and the composite material to bend.

“The advantages of this new class of photo-reactive actuator [a system for moving or controlling a mechanism] is that it is very easy to make, and it is very sensitive to low-intensity light,” Javey explains in a news release. “The light from a flashlight is enough to generate a response.”

The researchers believe this material could be used in energy-efficient buildings, where curtains could open and close automatically throughout the day.

The results of the study were published in the journal Nature Communications. Watch the video below to see how the material works.

Can Smoking Pot Lower Male Fertility? Marijuana Use May Lead To Abnormal Sperm Size And Shape For Young Men

From the desk of Zedie.

Common BPA substitute, BPS, disrupts heart rhythms in females.


Bisphenol S (BPS), a common substitute for bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products, may have similar toxic effects on the heart as previously reported for BPA, a new study finds.

Rat (stock image). Exposure to BPS rapidly increased the heart rate of female rats and under the stress condition led to arrhythmias — heart rhythm abnormalities — far greater than in the control rats that did not receive BPS.
Credit: © artSILENSEcom / Fotolia

Bisphenol S (BPS), a common substitute for bisphenol A (BPA) in consumer products, may have similar toxic effects on the heart as previously reported for BPA, a new study finds. The results were presented Monday at the joint meeting of the International Society of Endocrinology and the Endocrine Society: ICE/ENDO 2014 in Chicago.

In the years since research evidence first showed many potentially damaging health effects of the industrial chemical BPA, some manufacturers have switched to its chemical cousin, BPS, to make hard plastics and other products that they call BPA free, said the study’s lead investigator, Hong-Sheng Wang, PhD, from the University of Cincinnati.

Although some BPA-free products contain no bisphenols, Wang said, “BPS is one of the substitutes used in BPA-free products. There is implied safety in BPA-free products. The thing is, the BPA analogs — and BPS is one of them — have not been tested for safety in humans.”

BPA is an endocrine (hormone) disrupter that can interfere with the actions of native estrogen and other hormones, but it is not clear whether BPS also is disrupts hormones.

In what Wang called “one of the first assessments of BPS’ effect in mammalian primary cells or organs,” he and his co-workers tested an environmentally relevant dose of BPS in the hearts of approximately 50 rats. The 1-nanomolar dose was in the range of BPS found in human urine samples in a study by other authors.


In the current study, the investigators perfused, or flowed, BPS through the arteries of each animal’s pumping heart, after stimulating the heart with the hormone catecholamine to mimic stress. For a control group, 30 rat hearts received only catecholamine and no BPS.

Exposure to BPS rapidly increased the heart rate of female rats and under the stress condition led to arrhythmias — heart rhythm abnormalities — far greater than in the control rats that did not receive BPS, Wang reported. Electocardiograms demonstrated that BPS caused extra heartbeats and a racing heartbeat, also known as ventricular tachycardia. In male rats, BPS reportedly did not have this rapid impact on the heart.

To determine the cause of the cardiac effects in female rats, the researchers studied cardiac muscle cells from some of the rats. Using studies at the cellular and protein levels, they found that BPS caused abnormal calcium handling, or cycling, which is a key cause of arrhythmias, according to Wang. This action is very similar to the underlying mechanism of BPA’s toxic effects on the heart, which Wang and his colleagues showed in a previous study.

The investigators were able to abolish the BPS-induced heart rhythm abnormalities by blocking a type of estrogen receptor (beta) in the female rats. This result shows that “the BPA analog BPS is not necessarily free of endocrine-disrupting activity,” Wang said.

“Our findings call into question the safety of BPA-free products containing BPS,” he said. “BPS and other BPA analogs need to be evaluated before further use by humans.”

Grants from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Cincinnati Center for Environmental Genetics helped fund this work.

New research sheds light on racial disparity in colon cancer

African-Americans with colon cancer are half as likely as Caucasian patients to have a type of colon cancer that is linked to better outcomes. The finding may provide insight into why African-Americans are more likely to die of colon cancer than Caucasians with the same stage of disease.

The population-based study of 503 people with colon cancer found that 14 percent of Caucasians and 7 percent of African-Americans had a genetic marker called microsatellite instability, or MSI. These types of tumors are known to be resistant to the chemotherapy drug 5FU. Yet, even without chemotherapy, these patients tend to have better outcomes.

“We know that patients with MSI colon cancer do better without chemotherapy. But these improved survival benefits are limited among African-Americans with colon cancer,” says lead study author John M. Carethers, M.D., John G. Searle Professor and Chair of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

Results of the study appear in the journal PLOS ONE.

The researchers identified patients through the North Carolina Colon Cancer Study, a population-based, case-control study conducted throughout central and eastern North Carolina. The North Carolina study includes both rural and urban areas, creating adequate representation by African-American and rural residents.

The group of patients Carethers and his colleagues looked at was 45 percent African-American and 55 percent Caucasian. Researchers examined tissue samples taken at the time of surgery and assessed it for various markers, including MSI.

In addition to the racial imbalance in MSI, the researchers also found that African-Americans patients were more likely than Caucasian to have cancer on the right side of their colon. This is significant because right-sided colon cancer is easier to miss with screening and more likely to be found larger or more advanced than left-sided cancers.

“Right-sided may be the ‘black ice’ of the colon – unseen but potentially deadly. Strategies to better recognize and detect right-sided cancer may need to be pursued in a broader fashion,” Carethers says.

11 Chemicals Creating ‘Global, Silent Pandemic’ of Autism, ADHD and Dyslexia, Study Finds .

Children today may be at a greater risk of developing cognitive and behavioral issues including autism, ADHD and dyslexia, due to exposure to “new” chemicals, reveals an unsettling new study.

The study, published in The Lancet Neurology, finds a list of common chemicals are likely contributing to what the researchers are calling the “global, silent pandemic of neurodevelopmental toxicity” in children, reports Forbes.

Five neurotoxins were pinpointed in 2006 by the researchers as contributing to cognitive deficits and attention problems (lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic, and toluene). The team has now added six more chemicals to the list: manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, tetrachloroethylene, and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers. “The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis,” study author Philippe Grandjean, of the Harvard School of Public Health told Forbes. “They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes.”

The team says that while genes do play a part in neurobehavioral problems like autism, ADHD, and dyslexia, genetics only account for about 30 to 40 percent of the cases; therefore, environment—and specifically chemicals in the environment—must be considered in the majority of the issues.
“The developing human brain is incredibly vulnerable to chemical exposures, both in utero and in early childhood, and these changes can be lifelong,” notes Forbes. “During these sensitive life stages,” say the authors, “chemicals can cause permanent brain injury at low levels of exposure that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult.”

Calling it a “pandemic” level of exposure, the study authors are urging for stricter mandatory testing for chemicals before approved for use. “One common complaint has been that when one compound does finally become banned, another equally toxic and often untested chemical may take its place,” reports Forbes. “More rigorous testing, though complicated to carry out, might address this major issue.”


The 11 chemicals and their effects (via Forbes):

Lead–This is one of the most extensively researched compounds in terms of neurodevelopment, and has been consistently linked to serious deficits, including low IQ. Its effects seem to be permanent, leading to the conclusion that there is no safe level of exposure.

Methylmercury–Affecting the neurological development of the fetus,exposure often comes from maternal intake of fish containing high levels of mercury, according to the World Health Organization and the EPA.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) This family of chemicals has routinely been associated with reduced cognitive function in infancy and childhood. It is often present in foods, particularly fish, and can be passed along in breast milk.

Arsenic –When absorbed through drinking water, this chemical has been linked to reduced cognitive function in schoolchildren. Follow-up studies from the Morinaga milk poisoning incident have linked it to neurological disease in adulthood.

Toluene –Used as a solvent, maternal exposure has been linked to brain development problems and attention deficit in the child, according to the EPA and OSHA.

Manganese – In the drinking water in Bangladesh, for example, this chemical has been linked to lower scores in math, diminished intellectual function, and ADHD.

Fluoride – Higher levels of this chemical has been connected with a 7-point decrease in IQ in children.

Chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides) – Linked to structural abnormalities of the brain and neurodevelopmental problems that persist up to age 7. These pesticides are banned in many parts of the world (U.S. included), but still used in many lower-income countries. They have recently been linked to Alzheimer’s disease as well.

Tetrachloroethylene (AKAperchlorethylene)These solvents have been linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior, and increased risk of psychiatric diagnosis. Mothers in certain professional roles, like nurse, chemist, cleaner, hairdresser, and beautician had higher levels of exposure.

The polybrominateddiphenyl ethers – These flame retardants are banned now, but believed to be neurotoxins. Prenatal exposure has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders in the child.
And the researchers found two more “compounds of concern”: BPA (bisphenol A), which is a common plastic additive in canned goods, thermal register receipts and hard plastics; and phthalates, which are commonly found in personal care products including deodorants and nail polish.