No Link Found Between Autism and Maternal Fish Ingested During Pregnancy

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Fish” by Dhruvaraj S is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dr Caroline M Taylor
Wellcome Trust Research Fellow
Centre for Child and Adolescent Health
Bristol Medical School, University of Bristol
Oakfield House, Oakfield Grove, Bristol

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Mercury is a toxic metal that is widespread in the environment. In pregnancy, mercury in the mother’ bloodstream is transferred through the placenta to the fetus, where is can affect development of the nervous system. Mercury from vaccines has been the focus of attention particularly in regard to a link with autism in children. However, the amount of mercury used in the vaccines is small in comparison with mercury from the diet and atmospheric pollution, and in the EU at least, childhood vaccines no longer contain this preservative. The fear that mercury is linked to autism has persisted, despite increasing evidence that this is not the case.

The aim of our study was to look at mercury from the diet rather than vaccines – specifically from fish – in pregnant women. We measured the women’s mercury levels in their blood and asked them about how much fish they ate. We then followed up their children for 9 years and recorded how many of them had autism diagnosed within that time. We also measured how many of them had autist traits by measuring their social and communication difficulties.  The data were part of the Children of the 90s study (Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children – ALSPAC), which is based in Bristol, UK.

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First Potential Treatment For Brain Damage From Cosmic Radiation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Space Shuttle Model” by terren in Virginia is licensed under CC BY 2.0Susanna Rosi, PhD
Director of Neurocognitive Research
Brain and Spinal Injury Center
Professor in the departments of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science and of Neurological Surgery
UCSF

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: NASA and private space companies like SpaceX plan to send humans to the red planet within the next 15 years — but among the major challenges facing future crewed space missions is how to protect astronauts from the dangerous cosmic radiation of deep space.

In this study we identified the first potential treatment for the brain damage caused by exposure to cosmic rays — a treatment can be given after exposure and that prevents memory impairment in mice exposed to simulated space radiation.

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EWG Urges Sunscreen Companies and Consumers To Go Oxybenzone-Free By 2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sunscreen” by Tom Newby is licensed under CC BY 2.0Carla Burns, M.S.

Environmental Working Group
She is one of the coauthors of the 2018 Guide to Sunscreens. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for the EWG report? 

Response: Environmental Working Group (EWG) published its first Sunscreen Guide in 2007.

When we first started the guide, many sun protection products sold in the U.S. were not as safe and used misleading marketing claims.

Throughout the years, EWG has continued to find that a common sunscreen ingredient, oxybenzone, poses a hazard to human health and the environment. Despite EWG’s efforts to draw attention to the health hazards associated with this ingredient over the last 12, oxybenzone remains widely used in chemical-based sunscreens. So, this year, we are ramping up our efforts to rid the market of this ingredient by launching a campaign to urge companies and consumers to go oxybenzone-free by 2020.

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LOUD Outdoor Concerts Lead To Temporary Hearing Loss, esp in Men

Christine Marie Durand, M.D. Assistant Professor of Medicine Johns Hopkins Medicine MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr. Véronique J. C. Kraaijenga
 MD
Department of Otorhinolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery
Brain Center Rudolf Magnus, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands


MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: During the past two decades, the frequency of hearing loss among young people has increased and going to music concerts, clubs and festivals may part of the reason. Noise-induced hearing loss because of recreational noise exposure is reduced by using earplugs.

Our study evaluated 51 adults who attended an outdoor music festival in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in September 2015. The study measured music festival visit for 4.5 hours (intervention); temporary hearing loss (outcome).

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Air Pollution Linked To Increased Respiratory Infections in Kids

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology Intermountain Heart Institute Intermountain Medical Center Salt Lake City, Utah 

Dr. Horne

Benjamin D. Horne, PhD
Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology
Intermountain Heart Institute
Intermountain Medical Center
Salt Lake City, Utah 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Evidence suggests that short-term elevations (even for just a few days) of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5, which is particulate matter less than 2.5 um or about one-thirtieth the diameter of a human hair) is associated with various poor health outcomes among adults, including myocardial infarction, heart failure exacerbation, and worsening of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease symptoms. Studies of long-term exposure to moderately elevated levels of PM2.5 indicate that chronic daily air pollution exposure may contribute to death due to pneumonia and influenza.

Research regarding the association of short-term elevations in PM2.5 has provided some limited evidence of a possible association between short-term PM2.5 increases and infection with respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) or bronchiolitis in children, but scientifically these reports have been weak and unreliable, probably because they have only looked at a period of a few days to a week after short-term PM2.5 elevations. An evaluation of a very large population in a geographic location that provides a wide variation in PM2.5 levels from lowest to highest levels and that examines longer periods of time after the PM2.5 elevations is needed to determine whether a PM2.5 association with lower respiratory infection exists.

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Current Lead Levels in Flint Michigan Children at Historic Lows

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Hernan F. Gomez MD Department of Emergency Medicine, Hurley Medical Center, Flint, MI Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 

Dr. Gomez

Dr. Hernan F. Gomez MD
Department of Emergency Medicine, Hurley Medical Center
Flint, MI
Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 

MedicalResearch.com: Why did you decide to do this study?

Response: Although the Flint water crisis drew recent, national attention to childhood lead exposure, environmental lead exposure has been a longtime, widespread problem in the United States.

I have recollections of far higher blood lead levels in children during my training as a young pediatrician in an economically challenged city with roughly the same population as Flint. As a medical toxicologist I have not seen any children with lead levels requiring medical treatment in years. The last time a child required inpatient chelation treatment for elevated lead levels in Flint was during the 1980s.

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USPSTF: Behavioral Counseling of Children and Teens to Prevent Skin Cancer Recommended

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

John W. Epling, Jr., M.D.

Dr. Epling

John W. Epling, Jr., M.D., M.S.Ed., Task Force Member
Dr. Epling is is a professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine in Roanoke, VA. He is also the Medical Director of Research for Family and Community Medicine, Medical Director of Employee Health and Wellness for the Carilion Clinic, and maintains an active clinical primary care practice. 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the U.S., affecting millions of people every year. The Task Force looked at the latest research to see if clinicians can help people prevent skin cancer by providing counseling about ways to reduce risk, including using sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding sunlight during peak hours.

Sunburn damaged skin - wiki image

Sunburn damage – wiki image

Based on our review of the evidence, we found that counseling younger patients with a fair skin type and their parents is effective at encouraging these sun protective behaviors. By helping reduce their patients’ exposure to harmful UV rays, clinicians can decrease their risk for skin cancer. As such, we recommend that clinicians provide counseling to people who are six months to 24 years old and have a fair skin type. For adults over 24 with a fair skin type, clinicians should consider the individual’s risks for skin cancer when deciding whether or not to provide counseling.  Continue reading

Study Finds Adults Who Used Sunscreen Slightly More Likely To Get Sunburned

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Sunburn” by Beatrice Murch is licensed under CC BY 2.0Dawn Holman, MPH
Behavioral Scientist Division of Cancer Prevention and Control
CDC

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sunburn at any age increases a person’s chances of developing skin cancer in the future. Using a combination of strategies including staying in the shade, wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs, wearing a hat with a wide brim, and wearing sunscreen (SPF 15+) on exposed skin can protect skin from sun damage and reduce risk of sunburn.

This study used national data to examine how often US adults used these sun protection strategies when outdoors in the sun for an hour or longer and how many US adults got sunburned in 2015.

Among adult women, staying in the shade and using sunscreen were the most common sun protection methods. About 40% of women regularly used these strategies. Women were less likely to wear a wide-brimmed hat (14%) or wear clothing covering their arms (11%) and legs (23%).

Among adult men, wearing pants or other clothing covering their legs and staying in the shade were the most common sun protection methods. Just over 30% of men regularly used these strategies. Men were less likely to use sunscreen (22%), wear a wide-brimmed hat (14%) or wear a shirt with long sleeves (13%).

About one-third of US adults got sunburned in 2015. Sunburn was even more common among certain groups. For example, about half of individuals with sun-sensitive skin and about half of adults aged 18-29 got sunburned.

Certain behaviors and health conditions were related to sunburn. For example, adults who used sunless tanning products to darken their skin, binge drank, engaged in aerobic activity, or were overweight or obese were more likely to get sunburned compared to other adults. Adults who regularly stayed in the shade when outdoors or avoided long periods of time in the sun were slightly less likely to get sunburned compared to other adults.

Adults who regularly used sunscreen were slightly more likely to get sunburned. Continue reading

Endocrine Disrupter PFAS Chemicals Linked To Weight Regain, Especially in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Gang Liu, PhD Postdoctoral Research Fellow Department of Nutrition Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Gang Liu

Gang Liu, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Department of Nutrition
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Although many approaches can be used to achieve a short-term weight loss, maintenance of weight loss has become a key challenge for sustaining long-term benefits of weight loss. Accumulating evidence has suggested that certain environmental compounds may play an important role in weight gain and obesity development.

The potential endocrine-disrupting effects of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), which are extensively used in many industrial and consumer products including food packaging, paper and textile coatings, and non-stick cookware, have been demonstrated in animal studies, but whether PFASs may interfere with body weight regulation in humans is largely unknown.

In a 2-year POUNDS Lost randomized clinical trial that examined energy-restricted diets on weight changes, baseline plasma concentrations of major PFASs were measured among 621 overweight and obese participants aged 30-70 years. Body weight was measured at baseline, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months. Resting metabolic rate (RMR) and other metabolic parameters, including glucose, lipids, thyroid hormones, and leptin, were measured at baseline, 6, and 24 months.

We found that higher baseline levels of PFASs were significantly associated with a greater weight regain, primarily in women. On average, women in the highest tertile of PFASs regained 1.7-2.2 kg more body weight than women in the lowest tertile. In addition, higher baseline plasma PFAS concentrations, especially perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), were significantly associated with greater decline in RMR during the first 6 months and less increase in RMR during weight regain period.  Continue reading

Daytime Light Important For Brain Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program Michigan State University East Lansing, MI 48824 

Dr. Lily Yan

Dr. Lily Yan MD PhD
Department of Psychology & Neuroscience Program
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824 

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

  • The effects of light on cognitive function have been well-documented in human studies, with brighter illumination associated with better cognitive performance. However, the underlying neural mechanisms are not well understood.
  • In this study, we explored the mechanisms of how light modulates spatial learning and memory, using diurnal Nile grass rats. In contrast to most laboratory animals that are active at night and fall asleep following light exposure, these animals are active during the day, thus an ideal model for understanding the effects of light on humans.
  • When the animals were housed in dim light during the day, mimicking the cloudy days or typical indoor lighting, the animals had a ~30% reduction in the dendritic spines, which make the connection between brain cells, within the hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory. Animals housed in dim light also performed poorly in a water maze, compared to those housed in bright light.
  • When the animals that had been in dim light were then housed in bright light for 4 weeks, the connections in their hippocampus and performance in the water maze recovered fully. 

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