Proximity to Oil Refineries and Risk of Bladder Cancer

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Stephen B. Williams, MD, FACSChief, Division of UrologyAssociate Professor, Urology and RadiologyRobert Earl Cone ProfessorshipDirector of Urologic OncologyDirector of Urologic ResearchCo-Director Department of Surgery Clinical Outcomes Research ProgramUniversity of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

Dr. Williams

Stephen B. Williams, MD, FACS
Chief, Division of Urology
Associate Professor, Urology and Radiology
Robert Earl Cone Professorship
Director of Urologic Oncology
Director of Urologic Research
Co-Director Department of Surgery Clinical Outcomes Research Program
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

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

Response: Despite prior studies evaluating cancer in those living near and working in oil refineries, there remains a gap in knowledge regarding proximity to oil refineries and risk of bladder cancer.

Aromatic amines have been associated with increased risk of various cancers including bladder cancer. Texas is a home to the largest numbers of oil refineries in the US. Our goal was to evaluate if there was a link between bladder cancer and living in close proximity to an oil refinery in Texas.

Our data did suggest that living within 10 miles of an oil refinery was associated with a small increase in risk of bladder cancer. These data support further research to validate these findings.

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Urban Youth Exposed to Air Pollution Have Greater Risk of Psychotic Experiences

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“air pollution, beijing” by 大杨 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Joanne B. Newbury, PhD
ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow
King’s College London
Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre
Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience
London, United Kingdom

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

Response: Urban living is one of the most well-established risk factors for adult psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, less is known about the role of the urban environment in subclinical psychotic experiences in childhood and adolescence, such as hearing voices and extreme paranoia. These early psychotic experiences are a developmental risk factor for adult psychotic disorders and a range of other serious mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.

It is therefore important that we understand what factors might contribute to the development of early psychotic experiences so that we might be able to intervene and prevent their onset and progression.

In a cohort of over 2000 UK-born children (The Environmental Risk Longitudinal Twin Study), we have previously shown that subclinical psychotic experiences are also around twice as common among children and teenagers raised in urban versus rural settings. We have also shown that this appears to be partly explained by social features in urban neighbourhoods such as higher crime levels and lower levels of social cohesion.

However, no studies have examined the potential link between air pollution and psychotic experiences. This is despite air pollution being a major health problem worldwide (particularly in cities), and despite emerging evidence linking air pollution to the brain.  Continue reading

Prenatal Exposure to Air Pollution May Affect Newborn’s Thyroid Function

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carrie Breton ScD Associate Professor and Director of the MADRES Center  Division of Environmental Health Los Angeles, CA 90032

Dr. Breton

Carrie Breton ScD
Associate Professor and Director of the MADRES Center
Division of Environmental Health
Los Angeles, CA 90032

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

Response: I am interested in how the environment can influence our very early development, starting in the womb. I have studied the health effects of air pollutants on children for several years and wanted to focus now on the earliest windows of susceptibility.  Thyroid hormones play a critical role in fetal growth and development. We knew we could get information on newborn thyroid levels from the California Department of Public Health’s newborn screening program therefore look at this question in our study population.

We found that exposure to high levels of PM2.5 and PM10 throughout most of pregnancy affected TT4 levels in newborns. Continue reading

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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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

Chronic NOISE Exposure Linked To Heart Disease

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Siren” by Michael Pereckas is licensed under CC BY 2.0Professor Dr. med. Thomas Muenzel

Universitätsmedizin Mainz
Zentrum für Kardiologie, Kardiologie I

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

Response: The background for this review is that people more and more acknowledge that noise is not just annoying the people as reported for many years, evidence is growing that chronic noise can cause cardiovascular disease including metabolic disease such as diabetes type II and mental disease such as depression and anxiety disorders and noise impairs as well the cognitive development of children.

More recent studies also provided some insight into the mechanisms underlying noise-induced vascular damage. Noise interrupts communication or sleep and thus is causing annoyance. If this occurs chronically the people develop stress characterized by increased stress hormone levels. If this persists for a long time people develop cardiovascular risk factors on tis own such as diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, one measures an increase of the blood to coagulate and the blood pressure will increase. To this end people will develop cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease, arterial hypertension, stroke, heart failure an arrhythmia such as atrial fibrillation.

So, there is no doubt that noise makes us sick ! Continue reading

US Heat-Related Deaths Disproportionately Affect Non-Citizens

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“Wood for Heat” by Alternative Heat is licensed under CC BY 2.0
Ethel V. Taylor, DVM, MPH
Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects
National Center for Environmental Health,
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Atlanta, GA

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

Response: CDC sought to identify and measure whether or not differences exist for deaths associated with extreme heat among non-citizens, who had been identified by previous studies as higher risk due to occupation.

CDC compared heat-related deaths among non-US and US citizens from 2005-2014. Heat-related deaths accounted for 2.4% of all deaths among non-U.S. citizens (n=999) compared to 0.02% of U.S. citizens (n=4196).

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Decorative Drinking Glasses Can Contain Harmful Levels of Metals

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Themed Merchandised products affectedDr Andrew Turner

Reader in Environmental Science (Biogeochemistry and Toxicology)
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Plymouth, UK

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

Response: We had a project looking at toxic metals in consumer plastics and paints and as part of the study analysed decorated glassware product. With respect to the latter, and from a health perspective, it is concerning that metals that have been banned or restricted by so many industries over the past few decades are still used to decorate contemporary drinking glassware. Drinking glasses that are most hazardous are those where the décor extends into the lip area within 2 cm of the rim, and those that target children.

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Air Pollution Linked To Increased Mortality, Especially In Developing Cities

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
“air pollution, beijing” by 大杨 is licensed under CC BY 2.0Longjian Liu, M.D., Ph.D. MSc (LSHTM), FAHA

Associate Professor
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Dornsife School of Public Health, and
Adjunct Associate Professor,
College of Medicine
Drexel University
Nesbitt Hall-RM515, 3215 Market ST
Philadelphia PA, 19104 

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

Response: This is an international collaborative project, supported by Drexel Office of International Programs, and Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The main findings are air pollution has posted a serious public health issue in China, specifically in urban cities.

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

Response: Air pollution is an international issue, we must take action, specifically in developing counties with rapid urbanization, like China.  

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Most Gymnasts Regularly Exposed to Flame Retardants

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Courtney Carignan PhD Research Fellow Department of Environmental Health Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

Dr. Courtney Carignan

Courtney Carignan PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

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

Response: We collected urine samples from a team of 11 collegiate gymnasts before and after a gymnastics practice. There were higher levels of flame retardants in samples collected after practice compared to before, indicating that the gymnastics training environment is a source of exposure to these chemicals. We previously measured elevated levels of flame retardants in the air and dust of the gym. Foam equipment appears to be the primary source of flame retardants to the gym, especially foam in the loose foam pit, which is used by gymnasts to learn new skills safely.

Over the past several decades, flame retardant chemical have been used in foam, such as in upholstered furniture, and electronics. They easily escape these products and enter the air, dust and our bodies. Most Americans have flame retardant chemicals in their bodies. There is growing concern about the harmful effects of many of these chemicals such that some have been phased out of use.

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Increased Asthma Hospitalizations Associated With Living Near Fracking Sites

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Sara Rasmussen PhD Student Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Department of Environmental Health Sciences Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Baltimore, Maryland

Sara Rasmussen

Sara Rasmussen PhD Student
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health
Department of Environmental Health Sciences
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Baltimore, Maryland

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

Response: Residents of communities undergoing unconventional natural gas development (the “fracking” industry) and those nearby can be exposed to noise, light, vibration, heavy truck traffic, air pollution, social disruption, and anxiety related to rapid industrial development of one’s community. In Pennsylvania, development began in the mid-2000s and by 2012, 6,253 wells were drilled.

In our study, we found increased odds of asthma hospitalizations, asthma emergency department visits, and asthma oral corticosteroid medication orders (a medication used for asthma exacerbations) among asthma patients residing near bigger or larger numbers of active unconventional natural gas wells compared to those residing farther away.

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