Published on Monday, 25 June 2012 11:22
Here we are again sharing a new study released this past weekend that links the chemicals used in plastics to obesity in children. A story written by HealthDay reporter Barbara Bronson Gray covers the release of new data at the Endocrine Society’s annual meeting being held in Houston, Texas. Here is a highlight (or lowlight) of the story:
“It's hard to imagine a pacifier or a rubber ducky making your child fat.
But new research suggests that chemicals called phthalates, which are found in the plastics that pacifiers and toys are typically made of, may be linked to higher rates of obesity in children.
The chemical, called di-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), is suspected of being able to alter biological functions involved in fat metabolism. In the study, children with the highest DEHP levels had nearly five times the chance of being obese compared with those who had the lowest DEHP levels.”
We cannot stress to our readers enough how important it is to be an informed consumer today. With the constant cuts to government agencies and the political power of organizations (and their members) such as the American Chemical Council makes it nearly impossible for proper oversight and consumer protections by agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.
You can read more about ingredients to avoid in food and consumer products by visiting Coily Embrace’s “Our Toxic World” pages. The other website that we find helpful is that of the Environmental Working Group.
We want to close by thanking Barbara and HealthDay for providing news coverage of this new study.
Published on Monday, 18 June 2012 11:18
A new study published in the medical journal Endocrinology demonstrates once again that Bisphenol A is a chemical that needs regulation by our government. The study conducted by faculty at the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the University of Missouri found the following:
“Bisphenol A (BPA) is a plasticizer and an endocrine-disrupting chemical. It is present in a variety of products used daily including food containers, paper, and dental sealants and is now widely detected in human urine and blood. Exposure to BPA during development may affect brain organization and behavior, perhaps as a consequence of its actions as a steroid hormone agonist/antagonist and/or an epigenetic modifier. Here we show that BPA produces transgenerational alterations in genes and behavior. Female mice received phytoestrogen-free chow with or without BPA before mating and throughout gestation. Plasma levels of BPA in supplemented dams were in a range similar to those measured in humans. Juveniles in the first generation exposed to BPA in utero displayed fewer social interactions as compared with control mice, whereas in later generations (F2 and F4), the effect of BPA was to increase these social interactions. Brains from embryos (embryonic d 18.5) exposed to BPA had lower gene transcript levels for several estrogen receptors, oxytocin, and vasopressin as compared with controls; decreased vasopressin mRNA persisted into the F4 generation, at which time oxytocin was also reduced but only in males. Thus, exposure to a low dose of BPA, only during gestation, has immediate and long-lasting, transgenerational effects on mRNA in brain and social behaviors. Heritable effects of an endocrine-disrupting chemical have implications for complex neurological diseases and highlight the importance of considering gene-environment interactions in the etiology of complex disease.”
So what should we take from this new study? First is that the prenatal exposure of rats in this to BPA levels similar to those found in pregnant women in this study caused the first generation to display “unusually reduced social behavior”. The second point is that this prenatal exposure to BPA affects did not stop with the juvenile but was passed along to future generation. So BPA exposure hurt the babies but also hurt future generation of rats.
We know the American Chemistry Council and those more worried about profits than health will say this was a study conducted on rats and that means nothing for humans. What they will not say in the same statement is that it is unethical to conduct similar human studies (you know like the Tuskegee Experiment) and it is studies like these that we must depend on to formulate public policy and safety standards. But hey, we expect that from the industry.
The real thing to watch with this study is will those agencies in our government that are responsible for protecting consumers, like the EPA and FDA, finally stop worrying about corporate profits and start worrying about the public health like they are supposed to. At some point the FDA and EPA should get the guts to join the European Union, Canada, Saudi Arabia, China (yes China) and other nations to restrict the use of BPA in baby bottles, toys and food containers.
While we wait for someone in Washington, D.C. to actually do their job we at least have companies like Amy’s, Whole Foods and Kroger that are taking BPA out of consumer items.
You can read the abstract of the study by following the link to Endocrinology. We want to close by thanking the following researchers for sharing this study with the public:
Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Michelle Edwards, Savera R. J. Shetty, Jessica D. Gatewood, Julia A. Taylor, Emilie F. Rissman and Jessica J. Connelly
Published on Monday, 04 June 2012 10:11
We love coming across stories that highlight the positives of going natural. Today we share a story from Cleveland, Ohio by NBC affiliate WKYC Channel 3 that highlighted the efforts of the women behind the natural hair support group Women In Natural Kinks and Kurls (WINKK).
Here is just a taste from the WKYC story:
“Courtney Cave is cutting off her chemically treated, straightened hair, leaving only natural curl.
"I had relaxed my hair and colored my hair. Some of it started falling out. I have so many women saying they wish their mother did not give them a relaxer at age 3 or 4," she said.
Marla-Lynn Green specializes in helping African American women find styles that embrace their hair's natural texture.
They never knew how beautiful their own hair was because they were taught to have it straightened out.
"I think you do feel pressure by society to wear your hair straight, especially in professional environment to where you want to fit in," she said.”
You can read and view the story by following the link to WKYCs site. Thanks to the wonderful 120 plus women in WINKK for pushing a positive story about our natural hair.
Published on Tuesday, 05 June 2012 09:18
The Los Angeles Times is running a story this morning regarding a newly released study that demonstrates that exercise is not as beneficial for African American girls in fighting obesity as it is for “white” girls.
“The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that among black adolescent girls who moved the most at age 12, obesity at age 14 was nearly as likely as it was for those whose activity rates were far lower.
For white girls, by contrast, regular exercise at 12 appeared a nearly sure way to head off obesity at 14. That finding held, even when the calorie intakes of an African American youngster and her white counterpart were the same.”
Of course the immediate question is why? The researches express that part of the problem is that African Americans are at a metabolic disadvantage. In other words African American girls don’t burn fat as effectively as “white” girls.
But we wonder if it could be more than that. The authors of the study said the differences were true even when caloric intake was the same. But not all those calories are equal. For many African Americans their economic situation requires them to dine off the 1$ menu at places like McDonalds that have highly processed foods and use such ingredients as high fructose corn syrup. We believe that the culprit for African Americans and obesity is that our food choices are poor and we expose ourselves to chemicalized foods that are bodies do not know how to process effectively.
The First Lady has been pushing her “Just Move” campaign for three years now. While her program focuses on exercise, it also focuses on making good food choices and eating the right type of food. It is time for our community to move away from the $1 menu and start eating healthier organic foods. For many that will be an economic challenge because organic/healthy food costs more. The cost factor though should be a reason for our elected officials to push for policies that bring the costs of those foods down. We know firsthand it that it costs less for our society to provide easier and cheaper access to organic foods than it is to treat chronic and debilitating diseases such as diabetes.
We also want to stress that this type of information raises the question of why we do not have a unified effort to create research centers that focus on the healthcare issues that affect our community. With so many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) we should be able to pool our resources and create the research centers that we need to combat these types of health issues. If we are not willing to do the research, no one else will.
You can read the abstract of the study conducted by James White, PhD and Russell Jago, PhD by following the link to the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. You can read the L.A. Times article by following the link. We hope you will share this story with friends and family and have the discussion on you can improve your diets.
Published on Tuesday, 29 May 2012 08:53
If you ask many of our readers to name the most important television show containing African Americans, the answer will usually be the Cosby Show. Bill Cosby brought to our home each week an image of African Americans that many of us (or the world) had never seen on T.V. before. During its eight seasons on NBC, The Cosby Show allowed America to see a family that consisted of two professional African Americans and their children. There was no glamorization of poverty. There was no silly humor that made an entire group of people look ridiculous. What we saw each week was a picture of America. It was an American family that actually valued family and embraced the importance of obtaining an education as key to achieving a piece of the American Dream.
Since the Cosby show went off the air in 1992, we have not seen as many positive African American images on T.V. as we had hoped. This was especially true for our small children. Outside of Sesame Street, it seemed that children’s TV was still lacking the representation of diversity that made up the United States. But that has all changed with one new children’s program.
We have written a couple of entries in our blog about why we love Disney’s Doc McStuffins. We have discussed how we believe that this program featuring a little African American girl and her family is crucial to changing the future of this nation.
We also started a campaign to express our thanks to Disney and Brown Bag Films for creating, producing and airing Doc McStuffins. What started out as a simple collage of a few African American women physicians expressing thanks to Disney and Brown Bag Films has now taken on a life of its own. When we first started the collage we never thought we would get anywhere close to the current number of physicians who have agreed to lend their image to this project. But here we stand today with what we believe may be one of the most moving visual images of African American women in some time.
Our latest version of the We Are Doc McStuffins collage is made up 131 African American women physicians from around the world. They represent physicians from Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, Pediatric Anesthesiology, Ob/gyn, Cardiothoracic surgery, Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Orthopedic Surgery, Occupational Medicine, Emergency medicine, Internal medicine, Family medicine, Dermatology, Cardiology (Electrophysiology), Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery, Neuro-otology , Otolaryngology (ENT), Sports Medicine , Urgent Care, Pediatric Hospitalist, Geriatrics , Medical Oncology, Infectious disease, Preventive Medicine, Allergy & Immunology, Naturopathic medicine, Pediatric Emergency medicine, Physical Medicine & Rehab (PM&R), Naturopathic endocrine/oncology, Urogynecology & Reconstructive Pelvic surgery, Maternal Fetal Medicine, Transplant surgery, Internal medicine hospitalist, General Surgery, Med/peds, Nephrology, Podiatry, Psychiatry and Public Health/Community medicine.
These strong women are graduates of some of our nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher education. The list includes Johns Hopkins, Harvard, Brown, Stanford, MIT, Xavier University of Louisiana, UC Berkeley, UCSF, Univ of Pennsylvania, Columbia, USC, UCLA, Princeton, Purdue, Yale, Duke, Georgetown, Emory, Howard, Morehouse, Baylor, Case Western, University of Arkansas, University of Washington, Temple, SW College of Naturopathic Medicine, UT Houston, UT Austin, UNT Health Science Center, Spelman College and the University of Alabama. A special note is that 44 of these great physicians are products of America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
These amazing women are providing healthcare in every major US city, plus South Africa, France, the Caribbean and Italy! We are trailblazers. We are women of color. We are physicians. We ARE role-models. We are Doc McStuffins all grown up!
We hope that our efforts to thank Disney will not go unnoticed by our community. We strongly believe that images such as Doc McStuffins, her mother physician and her stay at home father are crucial to the future success of the next generation. It is about time that we have an image on children’s daytime T.V. that we can proudly share with our children as an example that they truly can achieve anything.
We close by once again thanking Disney Jr. and Brown Bag Films for this great new role model for our children. We also want to extend a special thanks to the very talented creator of Doc McStuffins, Chris Nee. Chris your show has touched many women who get up each day to live out that childhood dream of becoming a physician. We appreciate you capturing the hopes and dreams we all held as a little girl and sharing them with the world.