Mammograms Again Proven Harmful to Women and Actually May Increase Cancer Risk


Flickr - Mammogram - euthman

Mammograms Send Women To Their Deathbeds Faster And Increase Their Risk of Breast Cancer As Much As 30 Percent

Even with the established evidence which supports the long-term health risks and danger of mammograms, the medical community still pushes them like pancakes. Besides overdiagnosis and the unnecessary treatment of insignificant cancers, mammograms cause radiation-induced breast cancer themselves, increasing several risk factors for the disease.

Increases Breast Cancer Mortality

Mammography is the most widely used screening modality for breast cancer and with good reason for the medical community. It gives them more patients. Breast cancer screenings result in an increase in breast cancer mortality and fail to address prevention.

Diagnosis of cancers that would otherwise never have caused symptoms or death in a woman’s lifetime can expose a woman to the immediate risks of therapy (surgical deformity or toxicities from radiation therapy, hormone therapy, or chemotherapy), late sequelae (lymphedema), and late effects of therapeutic radiation (new cancers, scarring, or cardiac toxicity). Although the specific plan of oncologists is usually to recommend tailored treatments according to tumor characteristics, there is still no reliable way to distinguish which cancer would never progress in an individual patient; and consequently treatments are lumped into the “treat all just in case” just in case category.

Breast cancer screening does not play a direct role in the reductions of deaths due to breast cancer in almost every region in the world. Part of the failure correlates to more than 70 percent of mammographically detected tumors being false positives leading to unnecessary and invasive biopsies and subsequent cancer treatment such as radiation which itself causes cancer.

More Than Half Result In Overdiagnosis

Out of all breast cancers detected by screening mammograms, up to54% are estimated to be results of overdiagnosis. The best estimations of overdiagnosis come from either long-term follow-up of RCTs of screening or the calculation of excess incidence in large screening programs.

Despite no evidence ever having supported any recommendations made for regular periodic screening and mammography at any age, malicious recommendations from the Society of Breast Imaging (SBI) and the American College of Radiology (ACR) on breast cancer screening are now promoting that breast cancer screening should begin at age 40 and earlier in high-risk patients. Published in the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), the recommendations released by the SBI and ACR state that the average patient should begin annual breast cancer screening at age 40. They also target women in their 30s if they are considered “high risk” as they stated.

On average, 10% of women will be recalled from each screening examination for further testing, and only 5 of the 100 women recalled will have cancer. Approximately 50% of women screened annually for 10 years in the United States will experience a false positive, of whom7% to 17% will have biopsies. The risk of cancer increases as much as 30% in a given 10 year period of women being exposed to yearly mammograms.

Inaccurate Even When Cancer Is Present

6% to 46% of women with invasive cancer will have negative mammograms, especially if they are young, have dense breasts, or have mucinous, lobular, or rapidly growing cancers.

Radiation-induced mutations can cause breast cancer, especially if exposure occurs before age 30 years and is at high doses, such as from mantle radiation therapy for Hodgkin disease. The breast dose associated with a typical two-view mammogram is approximately 4 mSv and extremely unlikely to cause cancer. One Sv is equivalent to 200 mammograms. Latency is at least 8 years, and the increased risk is lifelong.

The rate of advanced breast cancer for U.S. women 25 to 39 years old nearly doubled from 1976 to 2009, a difference too great to be a matter of chance.

In 1976, 1.53 out of every 100,000 American women 25 to 39 years old was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, a study in the American Medical Association found. By 2009, the rate had almost doubled to 2.9 per 100,000 women in that age group — a difference too large to be a chance result.

Cause Far More Harm Than Good

A disturbing study published in the New England Journal of Medicine is bringing mainstream attention to the fact that mammography has caused far more harm than good in the millions of women who have employed it over the past 30 years as their primary strategy in the fight against breast cancer

Titled “Effect of Three Decades of Screening Mammography on Breast-Cancer Incidence,” researchers estimated that among women younger than 40 years of age, breast cancer was overdiagnosed, i.e. “tumors were detected on screening that would never have led to clinical symptoms,” in 1.3 million U.S. women over the past 30 years. In 2008, alone, “breast cancer was overdiagnosed in more than 70,000 women; this accounted for 31% of all breast cancers diagnosed.

Most mammography-detected breast cancer presents without symptoms in the majority of women within which it is detected, and if left untreated will not progress to cause harm to women. Indeed, without x-ray diagnostic technologies, many if not most of the women diagnosed with it would never have known they had it in the first place. The journal Lancet Oncology, in fact, published a cohort study last year finding that even clinically verified “invasive” cancers appear to regress with time if left untreated:

“[We] believe many invasive breast cancers detected by repeated mammography screening do not persist to be detected by screening at the end of 6 years, suggesting that the natural course of many of the screen-detected invasive breast cancers is to spontaneously regress.”

The study authors point out “The introduction of screening mammography in the United States has been associated with a doubling in the number of cases of early-stage breast cancer that are detected each year.” And yet, they noted, only 6.5% of these early-stage breast cancer cases were expected to progress to advanced disease. Mammography-detected breast cancer and related ‘abnormal breast findings,’ in other words, may represent natural, benign variations in breast morphology. Preemptive treatment strategies, however, are still employed today as the standard of care, with mastectomy rates actually increasing since 2004.

It is also questionable whether screening mammograms can even provide genuine ‘early diagnosis’ as is frequently claimed. A new blood test being developed in America and Nottingham, England will pick up on proteins developed by the very earliest ‘rogue’ cells almost before a cancer has formed. In the press release the scientists claim that this is a good 4 years before a mammogram can show up a tumour. Apparently, a cancer makes about 40 divisions during its life, and mammograms cannot pick up a breast tumour until it is of a sufficient size, usually around 20 such divisions. So much for early diagnosis!

These concerns are part of a growing trend. Perhaps one of the most damning reports was a large scale study by Johns Hopkins published in 2008 in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association’s Archives of Internal Medicine (Arch Intern Med. 2008;168[21:2302-2303). In the Background to the research it was pointed out that breast cancer diagnosis rates increased significantly in four Scandanavian counties after women there began receiving mammograms every two years.

The Dangers of Routine Mammography

The recent Komen controversy has the media buzzing about a reversal of policy over its decision to cut funding to PP and mammogram screening procedures. The real issue for women’s health is not about funding but about the deadly effects from radiation spewing from mammogram screening devices.

Routine mammograms are far less effective at preventing breast cancer deaths and far more expected to cause unnecessary procedures, over-treatment and ultimately accelerate death more than any other screening method on women.

  1. A routine mammogram screening typically involves four x-rays, two per breast. This amounts to more than 150 times the amount of radiation that is used for a single chest x-ray. Bottom line: screening mammograms send a strong dose of ionizing radiation through your tissues. Any dose of ionizing radiation is capable of contributing to cancer and heart disease.
  2. Screening mammograms increase the risk of developing cancer in premenopausal women.
  3. Screening mammograms require breast tissue to be squeezed firmly between two plates. This compressive force can damage small blood vessels which can result in existing cancerous cells spreading to other areas of the body.
  4. Cancers that exist in pre-menopausal women with dense breast tissue and in postmenopausal women on estrogen replacement therapy are commonly undetected by screening mammograms.
  5. For women who have a family history of breast cancer and early onset of menstruation, the risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer with screening mammograms when no cancer actually exists can be as high as 100 percent.

A Better Solution: Thermography

Thermography (also called thermology) is a little-known technique for breast cancer detection that’s been available since the 1960s. It’s non-invasive and non-toxic, using an infrared camera to measure thermal emissions from the entire chest and auxiliary regions. Cancerous tissue develops a blood supply to feed a growing tumor, and the abnormal blood vessel formations generate significantly more heat than the surrounding healthy tissue. The infrared camera detects the differences in heat emitted from abnormal tissue (including malignancies, benign tumors and fibrocystic disease), as compared to normal tissue. There is no physical contact with the patient, who stands several feet away from the camera while a technician takes a series of images.

A second set of images is taken following a “cold challenge”. The patient places her hands in ice cold water for one minute causing healthy tissue to constrict while the abnormal tumor tissue remains hot. The infrared scanner easily distinguishes the difference, and these images are compared with the first set for confirmation.

Thermography can detect abnormalities before the onset of a malignancy, and as early as ten years before being recognized by other procedures such as manual breast exam, mammography, ultrasound or MRI. This makes it potentially life-saving for women who are unknowingly developing abnormalities, as it can take several years for a cancerous tumor to develop and be detected by mammogram. Its accuracy is also impressive, with false negative and false positive rates at 9% for each. Thermography is also an effective way to establish a baseline for comparison with future scans; therefore, women should begin screening by the age of 25.

Although widely embraced by alternative health care practitioners, thermography’s obscurity in the mainstream means that too many women rely on mammograms as their only option. There are several reasons for thermography’s lack of support by the conventional medical community. Early thermal scanners were not very sensitive, nor were they well-tested before being used in clinical practice. This resulted in many misdiagnosed cases and its utter dismissal by the medical community. Since then the technology has advanced dramatically and thermography now uses highly sensitive state-of-the-art infrared cameras and sophisticated computers. A wealth of clinical research attests to its high degree of sensitivity and accuracy. In 1982, the FDA approved thermography for breast cancer screening, yet most of the medical establishment is either unaware of it or still associates it with its early false start. Since most women are also uninformed of the technology there is no pressure on the medical community to support it.

Modern-day breast thermography boasts vastly improved technology and more extensive scientific clinical research.

In fact, the article references data from major peer review journals and research on more than 300,000 women who have been tested using the technology. Combined with the successes in detecting breast cancer with greater accuracy than other methods, the technology is slowly gaining ground among more progressive practitioners.

Elon Musk’s Rocket Creates History, Launches Satellites And Lands Back On Earth


On Monday night, when SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket landed back on the Earth, Elon Musk thought his rocket had exploded like the last time. However, the Falcon landed beautifully after launching satellites into the orbit, and the ground-breaking return of the flight was cheered maddeningly.

Falcon 9 landing

“The Falcon has landed,” a SpaceX commentator announced during the live webcast, against the exciting chants of “USA! USA!” by those witnessing the phenomenon.

“It really felt like it was right on top of us,” Elon Musk, CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corporation.

Musk further added that the first stage of the Falcon 9 landed “dead center on the landing pad. … We could not have asked for a better mission.” A proud Musk called it a “revolutionary moment.”

Falcon 9 landing

Generally rockets are used only once wherein after launch, they either burn or crash into the ocean. But with Musk (and Jeffrey P. Bezos, CEO of Amazon, who too owns a space company) trying to make reusable rockets to reduce the cost of space flights, the journey to the outer world is changing dramatically.

This is why – despite this launch being the second attempt this month and delayed due to technical reasons – the success comes as a huge leap forward right into the cosmos.

Falcon 9 landing

Also, this was SpaceX’s first flight since its Falcon 9 rocket had blown up while landing in June this year. But this time around, Musk made sure that he was launching a more powerful rocket to send payloads right into the orbits.

Hence, the Falcon 9 rocket took flight at 8:29 PM on Monday with a mission to deliver 11 commercial satellites – for a communications company, Orbcomm – into the orbit. A few minutes into the launch, the rocket made a dramatic turn-around and made its journey back to the Earth; landing beautifully on the Cape-Landing Zone 1 in Florida.

Laughter Helps Toddlers Learn Better


There’s nothing quite as infectious as a toddler’s laugh, and BPSreports that new research shows how moments of the giggles are an opportune time for tots to learn.

Baby_laughing

Rana Esseily headed up a study where her colleagues split 53 18-month-olds into two groups to see if laughter would help the little ones learn how to reach a toy duck with a cardboard rake. One group (comprised of 16 toddlers) was given a straight explanation as to how the wee ones could reach the duck with the rake. The other group was given a more humorous demonstration where 16 of the 37 toddlers laughed at the experimenter’s jokey show of how to get the duck with a rake. The researchers then set the stage for the toddlers to mimic what the experimenters had just showed them.

Of the toddlers that laughed, all but one used the rake to get the duck. While only 19 percent of the remaining toddlers in the jokey explanation group managed to mimic the experimenter and use the rake to grab the duck. In comparison, just 25 percent of the toddlers in the non-jokey explanation group managed to figure out they were supposed to use the rake to grab the duck.

The researchers concluded in their paper:

“Our results suggest that laughing might be a stimulant of learning even during the second year of life.”

They suggest that it may not be the laughter that helps, but rather a positive emotion to associate with the event that allows them to learn.

It’s often wondered when children begin to learn. Diane Ravitch, a research professor of education at New York University, says that the first five years of life — before they even enter a classroom — are crucial to education and setting attitudes for kids.

Side effects of green tea


Green tea is a product made from the Camellia sinensis plant. It can be prepared as a beverage, which can have some health effects. Or an “extract” can be made from the leaves to use as medicine.

Green tea is used to improve mental alertness and thinking.

It is also used for weight loss and to treat stomach disorders, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, bone loss (osteoporosis), and solid tumor cancers.

Some people use green tea to prevent various cancers, including breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, gastric cancer, lung cancer, solid tumor cancers and skin cancer related to exposure to sunlight. Some women use green tea to fight human papilloma virus (HPV), which can cause genital warts, the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia), and cervical cancer.

Green tea is also used for Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, diseases of the heart and blood vessels, diabetes, low blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), dental cavities (caries), kidney stones, and skin damage.

Instead of drinking green tea, some people apply green tea bags to their skin to soothe sunburn and prevent skin cancer due to sun exposure. Green tea bags are also used to decrease puffiness under the eyes, as a compress for tired eyes or headache, and to stop gums from bleeding after a tooth is pulled.

Green tea in candy is used for gum disease.

Green tea is used in an ointment for genital warts. Do not confuse green tea with oolong tea or black tea. Oolong tea and black tea are made from the same plant leaves used to make green tea, but they are prepared differently and have different medicinal effects. Green tea is not fermented at all. Oolong tea is partially fermented, and black tea is fully fermented.

How does it work?

The useful parts of green tea are the leaf bud, leaf, and stem. Green tea is not fermented and is produced by steaming fresh leaves at high temperatures. During this process, it is able to maintain important molecules called polyphenols, which seem to be responsible for many of the benefits of green tea.

Polyphenols might be able to prevent inflammation and swelling, protect cartilage between the bones, and lessen joint degeneration. They also seem to be able to fight human papilloma virus (HPV) infections and reduce the growth of abnormal cells in the cervix (cervical dysplasia). Research cannot yet explain how this works.

Green tea contains 2% to 4% caffeine, which affects thinking and alertness, increases urine output, and may improve the function of brain messengers important in Parkinson’s disease. Caffeine is thought to stimulate the nervous system, heart, and muscles by increasing the release of certain chemicals in the brain called “neurotransmitters.”

Antiox- idants and other substances in green tea might help protect the heart and blood vessels

The opinions expressed in WebMD User-generated content areas like communities, reviews, ratings, or blogs are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. User-generated content areas are not reviewed by a WebMD physician or any member of the WebMD editorial staff for accuracy, balance, objectivity, or any other reason except for compliance with our Terms and Conditions. Some of these opinions may contain information about treatment or uses of drug products that have not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. WebMD does not endorse any specific product, service, or treatment.

Do not consider WebMD User-generated content as medical advice. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your care plan or treatment. WebMD understands that reading individual, real-life experiences can be a helpful resource but it is never a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from a qualified health care provider. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or dial 911 immediately.

Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

FDA Ends Ban on Gay Male Blood Donations.


People line up to give blood at a mobile donation station set up because of the shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, United States, October 2, 2015. A gunman stalked onto a college campus in southwestern Oregon on Thursday and opened fire, killing nine people and wounding seven before police shot him to death, authorities said, in yet another burst of U.S. gun violence that ranked as the deadliest this year.

The Food and Drug Administration has lifted its formal ban on blood donations from gay men. The new policy requires donors to have abstained from sex for one year before the blood draw. The ban was initially enacted in 1983, during the medical community’s panic early in the AIDS epidemic. Officials claimed then there “was no quick test to determine whether somebody had it,” causing the complete ban on blood from gay men. In December 2014, the FDA acknowledged the issue and promised to lift the lifetime ban. In May, the agency drafted guidelines for issuing the new policy.

Scientists have discovered brain networks linked to intelligence for the first time


And we may even be able to manipulate them.

For the first time ever, scientists have identified clusters of genes in the brain that are believed to be linked to human intelligence.

The two clusters, called M1 and M3, are networks each consisting of hundreds of individual genes, and are thought to influence our cognitive functions, including memory, attention, processing speed, and reasoning.

Most provocatively, the researchers who identified M1 and M3 say that these clusters are probably under the control of master switches that regulate how the gene networks function. If this hypothesis is correct and scientists can indeed find these switches, we might even be able to manipulate our genetic intelligence and boost our cognitive capabilities.

“We know that genetics plays a major role in intelligence but until now haven’t known which genes are relevant,” said neurologist Michael Johnson, at Imperial College London in the UK. “This research highlights some of the genes involved in human intelligence, and how they interact with each other.”

The researchers made their discovery by examining the brains of patients who had undergone neurosurgery for the treatment of epilepsy. They analysed thousands of genes expressed in the brain and combined the findings with two sets of data: genetic information from healthy people who had performed IQ tests, and from people with neurological disorders and intellectual disability.

Comparing the results, the researchers discovered that some of the genes that influence human intelligence in healthy people can also cause significant neurological problems if they end up mutating.

“Traits such as intelligence are governed by large groups of genes working together – like a football team made up of players in different positions,” said Johnson. “We used computer analysis to identify the genes in the human brain that work together to influence our cognitive ability to make new memories or sensible decisions when faced with lots of complex information. We found that some of these genes overlap with those that cause severe childhood onset epilepsy or intellectual disability.”

The research, which is reported in Nature Neuroscience, is at an early stage, but the authors believe their analysis could have a significant impact – not only on how we understand and treat brain diseases, but one day perhaps altering brainpower itself.

“Eventually, we hope that this sort of analysis will provide new insights into better treatments for neurodevelopmental diseases such as epilepsy, and ameliorate or treat the cognitive impairments associated with these devastating diseases,” said Johnson. “Our research suggests that it might be possible to work with these genes to modify intelligence, but that is only a theoretical possibility at the moment – we have just taken a first step along that road.”

NASA team moves closer to building a 3-D printed rocket engine


NASA team moves closer to building a 3-D printed rocket engine
During a series of test firings at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, 3-D printed rocket engine parts worked together successful under the same conditions experience inside rocket engines used in space. The turbopump was tested at full power, pumping 1,200 gallons of liquid hydrogen per minute and the injector produced 20,0000 pounds of thrust. 

A NASA team moved a step closer to building a completely 3-D printed, high-performance rocket engine by manufacturing complex engine parts and test firing them together with cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen to produce 20,000 pounds of thrust.

Additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, is a key technology for enhancing space vehicle designs and manufacturing and enabling more affordable exploration missions. The technology has the potential to influence spacecraft built for leaving Earth and spaceships and landers for visiting other destinations. Future plans include performing tests with and methane—key propellants for Martian landers since methane and oxygen production might be possible on the Red Planet.

“We manufactured and then tested about 75 percent of the parts needed to build a 3-D printed rocket engine,” said Elizabeth Robertson, the project manager for the additively manufactured demonstrator engine at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “By testing the turbopumps, injectors and valves together, we’ve shown that it would be possible to build a 3-D printed engine for multiple purposes such as landers, in-space propulsion or rocket engine upper stages.”

Over the last three years, the Marshall team has been working with various vendors to make 3-D printed parts, such as turbopumps and injectors, and test them individually. To test them together, they connected the parts so that they work the same as they do in a real engine. Only they are not packaged together in a configuration that looks like the typical engine you see on a test stand.

A team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama tested 3-D printed rocket engine parts connected together in the same fashion that they would work in a rocket engine. The parts performance rivaled that of traditionally manufactured engine parts. During six separate tests, the engine generated up to 20,000 pounds of thrust. 

“In engineering lingo, this is called a breadboard engine,” explained Nick Case, the testing lead for the effort. “What matters is that the parts work the same way as they do in a conventional engine and perform under the extreme temperatures and pressures found inside a rocket engine. The turbopump got its “heartbeat” racing at more than 90,000 revolutions per minute (rpm) and the end result is the flame you see coming out of the thrust chamber to produce over 20,000 pounds of thrust, and an engine like this could produce enough power for an upper stage of a rocket or a Mars lander.”

Seven tests were performed with the longest tests lasting 10 seconds. During the tests, the 3-D printed demonstrator engine experienced all the extreme environments inside a flight where fuel is burned at greater than 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit (3,315 degrees Celsius) to produce thrust. The turbopump delivers the fuel in the form of cooled below 400 degrees Fahrenheit (-240 degrees Celsius). These tests were performed with cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, propellants that are mainstays of spaceship propulsion systems. Even if methane and oxygen prove to be the Mars propellant of choice, the propellant combination of cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen tests the limits of 3-D printed hardware because it produces the most extreme temperatures and exposes parts to cryogenic hydrogen, which can cause embrittlement. In addition to testing with methane, the team plans to add other key components to the demonstrator engine including a cooled combustion chamber and nozzle and a turbopump for liquid oxygen.

“These NASA tests drive down the costs and risks associated with using additive manufacturing, which is a relatively new process for making aerospace quality parts,” said Robertson. “Vendors who had never worked with NASA learned how to make parts robust enough for rocket engines. What we’ve learned through this project can now be shared with American companies and our partners.”
NASA team moves closer to building a 3-D printed rocket engine
Engineers prepare a 3-D printed breadboard engine made up of 75 percent of the parts needed to build a rocket engine for a test at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. 

To make each part, a design is entered into a 3-D printer’s computer. The printer then builds each part by layering metal powder and fusing it together with a laser – a process known as selective laser melting. The 3-D printed turbopump, one of the more complex parts of the engine, had 45 percent fewer parts than similar pumps made with traditional welding and assembly techniques. The injector had over 200 fewer parts than traditionally manufactured injectors, and it incorporated features that have never been used before because they are only possible with . Complex parts like valves that normally would take more than a year to manufacture were built by in a few months. This made it possible to get the parts built and assembled on the test stand much sooner than if they had been procured and made with traditional methods. Marshall engineers designed the fuel pump and its components and leveraged the expertise of five suppliers to build the parts using 3-D printing processes.

New Drug Is First to Treat Progressive Multiple Sclerosis


Studies show that ocrelizumab works for both the relapsing and progressive forms of

Symptoms come and go in most cases of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease in which the immune system attacks myelin, the nonconductive sheath that surrounds neurons’ axons. Yet 10 to 15 percent of cases are progressive rather than relapsing. This more severe version appears later in life and is marked by steadily worsening symptoms. No treatments are currently available, but that might be about to change.

In September pharmaceutical company Hoffmann–La Roche announced positive results from three large clinical trials of ocrelizumab, an injectable antibody medication that targets B cells, for both relapsing and progressive MS. They found that the drug was more effective at treating relapsing MS than interferon beta-1a (Rebif), a top-performing drug now used to treat the disease. Even more exciting, it slowed the advance of symptoms in patients with progressive MS for the entire 12-week duration of the study. “The drug has dramatic effects on relapsing MS, and we finally have our foot in the door with the progressive form,” says Stephen Hauser, a neurologist at the University of California, San Francisco, who was involved in the trials.

The fact that ocrelizumab works on both types of MS is a tantalizing clue for scientists trying to understand the root causes of the disease and figure out why the inflammation of the relapsing form eventually turns into progressive degeneration in some patients. “These results give evidence that the inflammatory and the degenerative components of MS are related,” Hauser says. “The big question now is, If we begin treatment really early, can we protect relapsing patients from developing the progressive problems later on?”

With these trials, Roche has cleared the last major hurdle in the FDA’s drug-testing protocol. The company plans to file for approval to treat both forms of MS in early 2016, which means the drug could be on shelves as soon as 2017.

Plastics chemicals cause genital malformation in male infants .


A new study has added more evidence that prenatal exposure to the ubiquitous plastic-softening chemicals known as phthalates can produce genital malformation in male children. The study was conducted by researchers from Mount Sinai Hospital in New York and published in the journal Human Reproduction on February 19.

Numerous other studies have suggested that phthalates may damage the development of the male reproductive tract. In addition to plastics, the chemicals are widely used in lotions, perfumes and other cosmetics, as well as food packaging and medical supplies. They have been conclusively established as endocrine disruptors, meaning that they disrupt the normal function of the body’s hormonal system.

Phthalates have also been linked with damage to the nervous system.

Changes linked with adult reproductive problems

The study was conducted on more than 700 pregnant women and their children, from four U.S. cities. The researchers took samples of the women’s urine during the first trimester of pregnancy — the time period when the fetal reproductive tract is starting to develop — and measured levels of 11 different phthalate metabolites. They found that newborn boys who had been exposed in utero to the highest levels of the phthalate known as diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) had an anogenital distance 4 percent shorter than boys exposed to the lowest DEHP levels.

Anogenital distance (the length between the anus and the genitals) is a marker of reproductive health. Because anogenital distance tends to be 50 to 100 percent longer in males than in females, researchers believe that a shorter anogenital distance in males might be a sign of incomplete masculinization — an effect consistent with phthalates’ proven ability to mimic estrogen in the body. Prior studies have also shown that phthalatesincluding DEHP may block the testes from producing male sex hormones.

No connection was found between anogenital distance and exposure to the 10 other phthalates. No connection was found in newborn girls.

It is still unknown whether the shortened anogenital distance seen in the current study could lead to other health problems, or whether it is a non-causative marker of such changes. It is also unclear whether the change was permanent or the boys’ anogenital distance would normalize as they matured.

Studies in animals have, however, connected shortened anogenital distance at birth with later reproductive problems, and human studies have linked it to eventual semen problems and testicular abnormalities.

Phthalates are everywhere, but you can still reduce exposure

Though, three phthalates, including DEHP, were banned from U.S. children’s products in 2008, the chemicals are still ubiquitous. Lead author Shanna Swan noted that, based on the new study and studies she conducted in 2000-2002, 2005 and 2008, DEHP exposure has consistently been dropping. Yet even the lesser exposure now found still seems to produce health effects.

“We are finding a significant association between male anogenital distance and phthalates at lower and lower levels, which suggests that there may be no safe level of exposure,” she said.

In addition, many other phthalates are still used in consumer and industrial products at high levels. A June 2014 study in the journal Environmental Health showed that a young child eating a typical U.S. diet is exposed to twice the phthalate levels considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency from food and food packaging sources alone.

So what is a concerned parent or consumer to do? Swan suggests avoiding processed foods, which are more likely to come into contact with phthalates. In addition, a 2010 study found that eating a vegetarian diet for just five days led to an immediate and dramatic drop in phthalate levels in the urine.

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/052385_plastics_chemicals_genital_malformation_endocrine_disruptors.html#ixzz3vA9KQsOO

Chinese doctors conduct ‘animal-human’ cornea transplant


An eye institute in China Shandong province announced on Monday the successful transplant of a bio-engineered pig cornea into a human eye.

“The patient’s vision has gradually improved after a three month recovery period, which means the transplant was a success,” said Zhai Hualei, director of Shandong Eye Institute’s cornea division.

Wang Xinyi, 60, had a serious corneal ulcer. He could only see moving objects within 10 cm.

“The doctors originally told me that my father might lose sight in one eye because there are not enough cornea donations,” Wang’s son said.

The transplant used a bio-engineered cornea named Acornea, the first such product to be accredited by the China Food and Drug Administration in April.

“With the pig cornea as the main material, the product is devoid of cells, hybrid proteins, and other antigens. It retains a natural collagen structure with remarkable bio-compatibility and biological safety,” said Zhai.

Cornea diseases are one of the biggest causes of blindness in China. New cases are increasing by 100,000 each year, however, only about 5,000 people receive a cornea transplant annually.

Beijing Tongren Hospital and Wuhan Xiehe Hospital, among others, have been conducting clinical trials of Acornea since 2010, recording a success rate of 94.44 percent, similar to the results seen with donated human corneas.

%d bloggers like this: