Friday December 6, 2019

Mother’s Exposure to Some Chemicals During Pregnancy Linked to Lower IQ in Kids: Study

This study, published in the journal Environment International, is among the first to look at prenatal suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical mixtures in relation to neurodevelopment

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Pregnancy
The scientists measured 26 chemicals in the blood and urine of 718 mothers during the first trimester of Pregnancy in the study of Swedish mothers and children, known as SELMA. Pixabay

Exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy to certain chemicals found in plastic food and drink containers and other chemicals found in consumer products is related to lower IQ in children by age 7, warns a study.

Some of these chemicals cross the placenta during pregnancy, exposing the foetus and potentially causing irreversible developmental damage, said the study.

“This study is significant because most studies evaluate one chemical at a time; however, humans are exposed to many chemicals at the same time, and multiple exposures may be harmful even when each individual chemical is at a low level,” said Eva Tanner, postdoctoral researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

This study, published in the journal Environment International, is among the first to look at prenatal suspected endocrine-disrupting chemical mixtures in relation to neurodevelopment.

The scientists measured 26 chemicals in the blood and urine of 718 mothers during the first trimester of their pregnancies in the study of Swedish mothers and children, known as SELMA.

These chemicals included bisphenol A (BPA), which is found in plastic food and drink containers, as well as pesticides, phthalates, and other chemicals found in consumer products.

Some of the 26 chemicals are known to disrupt endocrine (hormone) activity in humans; others have been shown to do so only in animals, or are suspected of endocrine disruption because they share chemical features with known disruptors.

Researchers later followed up with the children at age 7 and found that those whose mothers had higher levels of the chemicals in their system during pregnancy had lower IQ scores –particularly boys, whose scores were lower by two points.

Within the mixture, bisphenol F (BPF), a BPA-replacement compound, made the highest contribution to lowering children’s IQ, suggesting that BPF is not any safer for children than BPA.

Pregnancy
Exposure during the first trimester of Pregnancy to certain chemicals found in plastic food and drink containers and other chemicals found in consumer products is related to lower IQ in children by age 7, warns a study. Pixabay

The study found that other chemicals of concern in the mixture were the pesticide chloropyrifos; polyfluoroalkyl substances, which are found in cleaning products; triclosan, a chemical found in antibacterial soaps; and phthalates, which are found in soft polyvinyl chloride plastics and cosmetics.

Many of the chemicals only stay in the body a short time, meaning that even a short-term exposure may be detrimental.

So the researchers believe this indicates that preventing exposure to pregnant women or women trying to become pregnant is critical to preventing neurological harm to children.

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It shows that exposure to mixtures of chemicals in ordinary consumer products may affect child brain development and that some chemicals believed to be safer, like BPF, may not be any safer for children, said Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, Professor at Karlstad University in Sweden. (IANS)

 

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Start Checking Your Cholestrol Level from Mid-20s to Avoid Heart Disease: Study

Cholesterol is a fatty substance - a lipid - found in some foods and also produced in our liver

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Heart
Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of Heart disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more. Pixabay

A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke.

The study, published in “The Lancet”, is the most comprehensive yet to look at the long-term health risks of having too much “bad” cholesterol for decades, the BBC reported.

Researchers maintain that earlier the people take action to reduce cholesterol through diet changes and medication, the better.

Cholesterol is a fatty substance – a lipid – found in some foods and also produced in our liver. It is needed to make hormones like oestrogen and testosterone, Vitamin D and other compounds.

While High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is “good” as it keeps the body healthy, Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is “bad” as it can clog arteries.

Researchers analysed the data obtained from almost four lakh persons in 19 countries and found a strong link between bad-cholesterol levels and risk of cardiovascular disease from early adulthood over the next 40 years or more.

They were able to estimate the probability of a heart attack or stroke for people aged 35 and over, according to their gender, bad-cholesterol level, age and risk factors such as smoking, diabetes, height and weight, and blood pressure.

The BBC quoted the report’s co-author Stefan Blankenberg of the University Heart Center in Hamburg: “The risk scores currently used in the clinic to decide whether a person should have lipid-lowering treatment only assess the risk of cardiovascular disease over 10 years and so may underestimate lifetime risk, particularly in young people.”

Heart
A study has said that people should get their cholesterol levels checked from their mid-20s as the readings can be used to calculate lifetime risks of Heart disease and stroke. Pixabay

Blankenberg told BBC: “I strongly recommend that young people know their cholesterol levels and make an informed decision about the result – and that could include taking a statin.”

However, he added, there is a danger that people could rely on statins rather than leading a health lifestyle and although they were usually well tolerated, studies had not been done on the potential side-effects of taking them over decades.

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British Heart Foundation medical director Nilesh Samani said: “This large study again emphasises the importance of cholesterol as a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

“It also shows that for some people, taking measures at a much earlier stage to lower cholesterol, for example by taking statins, may have a substantial benefit in reducing their lifelong risk from these diseases.” (IANS)