Sunday May 26, 2019

‘Amputees living near cellphone towers may suffer from increased pain’

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New York: A new research suggests that amputees living near cellphone towers that produce radio-frequency electromagnetic fields may suffer from increased pain.

“Our study provides evidence, for the first time, that subjects exposed to cellphone towers at low, regular levels can actually perceive pain,” said senior study author Mario Romero-Ortega, associate professor of Bioengineering at University of Texas at Dallas, US.

Until this study, published online in the journal PLOS ONE, there was no scientific evidence to back up the anecdotal stories of people, who reported aberrant sensations and neuropathic pain around cellphone towers, the researchers said.

“Our study also points to a specific nerve pathway that may contribute to our main finding,” Romero-Ortega noted.

Most of the research into the possible effects of cellphone towers on humans has been conducted on individuals with no diagnosed, pre-existing conditions.

This is one of the first studies to look at the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in a nerve-injury model, Romero-Ortega said.

The team hypothesized that the formation of neuromas — inflamed peripheral nerve bundles that often form due to injury — created an environment that may be sensitive to EMF-tissue interactions.

To test this, the team randomly assigned 20 rats into two groups — one receiving a nerve injury that simulated amputation, and the other group receiving a sham treatment.

Researchers then exposed the rats to a radio frequency electromagnetic antenna for 10 minutes, once per week for eight weeks.

The antenna delivered a power density equal to that measured at 39 meters from a local cellphone tower.

Researchers found that by the fourth week, 88 percent of rats in the nerve-injured group demonstrated a behavioral pain response, while only one rat in the other group exhibited pain at a single time point, and that was during the first week.

“Our model found that electromagnetic fields evoked pain that is perceived before neuroma formation; subjects felt pain almost immediately,” Romero-Ortega said.

The researchers believe that the protein TRPV4, which is known to be a factor in heat sensitivity, could be a mediator in the pain response for these rats. (IANS)(Photo: www.networkedindia.com)

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East African Countries Set to Ban Skin-Lightening Products Containing Hydroquinone

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health

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skin-lightening products
FILE - Aranmolate Ayobami, plastic surgeon at Grandville Medical and Laser clinic in Lagos, holds a tube of Skinlite a skin lightening product used at his clinic, on July 17, 2018, in Lagos, Nigeria. VOA

East African countries are set to ban skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent linked to health problems when used in high concentrations. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution calling for a region-wide ban on the manufacturing and importation of products containing hydroquinone.

At a beauty parlor in Arusha, 52-year-old Rose Mselle has been using skin-bleaching products since she was a teenager. She says women like her want to be beautiful. “And in the process of looking for beauty, or for our skin color to shine, we use things that we shouldn’t,” she added.

At a nearby market, 32-year-old clothing vendor Janet Jonijosefu used skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone, a medical agent used to treat dark spots, for years. She stopped after her skin became fragile.

She said the beauty products containing hydroquinone badly affected her skin. She started developing patches on her face. She went to the doctor and was advised to stop using products containing hydroquinone and instead use aloe vera.

skin-lightening products
FILE – A shop sells skin-lightening products in Accra, Ghana, on July 3, 2018. VOA

Skin-lightening products often use high concentrations of hydroquinone, which can cause skin problems or become toxic when mixed with other bleaching chemicals.

Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and South Africa ban or regulate the agent in cosmetics. Tanzania bars imports. The East African Legislative Assembly last week passed a resolution on a region-wide ban of hydroquinone’s manufacture and importation.

Suzan Nakawuki, a member of the regional assembly from Uganda, noted that hydroquinone is not only used by women but also men. “We have seen men bleaching seriously even more than women,” she said. “But it’s becoming a problem. If we don’t regulate it, it is going to become very problematic.”

When used medically, hydroquinone can be an effective treatment for skin discoloration. Some East African lawmakers spoke out against a blanket ban. Aden Abdikadir, a lawmaker from Kenya, said he is concerned a blanket ban will cause “serious trade disruption” for cosmetics.

skin-lightening products
If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. Wikimedia Commons

If signed by heads of state, the ban becomes law in all six East African Community states, which include Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Critics point out bans on hydroquinone have failed to stop smuggled products from being sold openly. Cosmetics labeled as having hydroquinone are on display at shops in Arusha.

If bans are not backed by enforcement, they will have little effect on the use of the high demand skin-lightening products, despite the risk to health. (VOA)