Kids / Teen Health
Some experts are worried about the chemicals and materials used to make feminine hygiene products.
From deodorant and perfume to cleaning products, the chemicals we spread, spritz and spray onto our bodies and around our homes are a growing area of concern for health scientists.
In particular, a group of chemicals sometimes referred to as “endocrine disrupters”—because they may mess with the hormones your body’s endocrine system regulates—have been linked to brain disorders, reproductive issues, obesity and cancer. (Recent reports from Europe pegged the healthcare costs of these chemicals somewhere north of $200 billion.)
Unfortunately, experts say tampons belong on this growing list of potentially hazardous personal care products.
Unlike something you swallow or rub on your skin, substances you place inside your vagina are not broken down by any of your body’s digestive or metabolic processes, says Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental health at George Washington University. Instead, tampon chemicals are absorbed by the vaginal mucosa, and from there are able to pass almost directly into your bloodstream.
Zota’s research shows fragranced feminine care products may raise a woman’s exposure to phthalates, a class of suspected endocrine disrupters some research has linked to developmental issues like lower IQs and higher rates of asthma.
Another group of chemicals are dioxins, which are byproducts of the bleaching process involved in the manufacture of tampons. Dioxins are also a big concern; the World Health Organization calls dioxins “highly toxic” and categorizes them as a “known human carcinogen.”
“The amount of dioxin in tampons is low today in comparison to when manufacturers used different bleaching methods,” says Philip Tierno, a professor of microbiology and pathology at New York University. “But it’s still present, and its effect is cumulative.” Even if your dioxin exposure from each tampon is very small, Tierno explains, a lifetime of tampon use could theoretically increase your risks for disease.
Tierno has spent decades looking into the health issues surrounding feminine care products—especially women’s risks for toxic shock syndrome (TSS). His research in the 1980s helped show that that certain super-absorbent tampons caused a number of bacteria-related TSS deaths.
Since then, manufacturers have cut out most of the chemicals linked to TSS. But Tierno says the condition persists, though it’s not as common as it used to be. Just how common toxic shock and other tampon-related risks are today is tough to judge because, Tierno says, there’s very little research into any of these health risks.
“There are many existing data gaps,” Zota says. Despite their wide use, tampons and feminine products have received “relatively little attention from the scientific community,” she adds.
Considering tens of millions of American women use these products on a monthly basis, what accounts for this lack of scientific scrutiny? “We have these societal stigmas into menstruation that stifle discussion and investigation,” says Christina Bobel, president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. “There’s a ‘just shut up and clean it up’ approach.”
Bobel mentions a Congressional bill—first introduced in the 1990s and named after Robin Danielson, a woman who died of toxic shock syndrome—that calls for more funding into feminine hygiene products. New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has introduced the bill more than a dozen times over the past two decades, most recently in 2015. It has never passed, and the latest attempt is currently stuck in committee.
“We’re just looking for good information at this point, not action or regulation,” Bobel says.
Expert calls for more information also extend to manufacturer labels for tampons. Unlike cosmetics or other personal care products, tampons are considered “medical devices” by the FDA, says Sarada Tangirala of Women’s Voices for the Earth, a non-profit that works to limit people’s exposures to harmful chemicals.
“Because tampons are considered medical devices, there’s no labeling requirement for ingredients,” Tangirala says. “So for allergens or chemicals linked to cancer or other toxicity, even if you want to avoid them you can’t because you can’t see them.”
The FDA says the “available scientific evidence” does not support concerns about dioxin or other tampon ingredients. But that’s exactly the problem: there just isn’t much evidence available, Bobel says.
So how can women protect themselves? First, try to avoid all fragranced products, Tangirala and others advise. That goes for vaginal douches and powders as well as tampons. “We also recommending looking for products from companies who list their ingredients and are transparent about what goes into them,” she says.
“We need to start talking about this more,” Bobel adds. “And we need to insist that manufacturers explain what these products are made of, and to convince us that they’re safe.”
Source : Time.com
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Lavender Aromatherapy Improves Sleep Quality in College Students
Lillehei AS, Halcón LL, Savik K, Reis R. Effect of inhaled lavender and sleep hygiene on self-reported sleep issues: A randomized controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2015;21(7):430-438.
Sleep problems are associated with numerous health concerns such as anxiety, depression, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, inflammation, obesity, impaired glucose tolerance, and diabetes. Essential oils, such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae) flower, which have sedative or hypnotic properties, have been evaluated for sleep therapy. The purpose of this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was to evaluate the effect of inhaled lavender essential oil on sleep quality and quantity in college students.
Students (n = 79, aged 18-36 years) with self-reported sleep issues (difficulty falling asleep, frequent awakenings during the night, or daytime sleepiness) were recruited from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, campus. Students were excluded if they were pregnant, working a night shift, or used prescription sleep medication. All subjects received sleep hygiene information based on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommendations—specifically, (1) maintain a regular sleep schedule; (2) avoid fluid intake before bed and food, caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine late in the day; (3) create a good sleeping environment (e.g., wear ear plugs and a sleep mask, and avoid screens and texting); (4) create a relaxing bedtime routine; (5) keep up with school work; and (6) exercise regularly.
Each 3-cm adhesive patch contained a 1-cm disc of absorbent material impregnated with 55 µL lavender oil (supplied by Wyndmere Naturals, Inc.; Minnetonka, Minnesota) or left blank (placebo). Based on the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis provided to the principal investigator, "the essential oil used was chemically consistent with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for L. angustifolia."The patch (supplied by Bioesse Technologies, LLC; Minnetonka, Minnesota) had a skin-barrier backing to prevent skin absorption of the essential oil and a time-release function to last 6-8 hours. For 5 consecutive nights, subjects applied a patch on their mid-upper chest at bedtime and removed it in the morning.
Sleep quantity was measured via a Fitbit® tracker (to measure movement during sleep) and sleep diary, and sleep quality was measured with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the NIH Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) sleep disturbance short form. Subjects also completed a sleep hygiene survey (SHS). Assessments were made at baseline, at day 5, and 2 weeks after the completion of treatment.
The majority of the subjects were white (67%) and female (69%); both treatment groups had similar demographics. There were technical issues with the Fitbit, resulting in unacceptable levels of missing data (only 14% of the data were recovered). The patches were reported to have fallen off during sleep in 37% of the person nights (n = 146); however, the data analysis indicated that the patch falling off was not a significant covariate. Based on SHS scores, sleep hygiene was better during the 5-day treatment phase compared to baseline and post-treatment in both groups; there were no significant differences in SHS scores between groups at any time point. Based on the PSQI, both groups had poor sleep before the intervention, and there was no difference between groups at baseline.
Post-treatment, sleep quantity did not significantly differ between groups; both groups had a significant decrease in awakenings (P = 0.02) and increase in being able to fall asleep easily (P = 0.001).
The PSQI and PROMIS assessments indicated that sleep quality was significantly better for the lavender group compared with the sleep hygiene-only group at day 5 (P = 0.01 and P = 0.04, respectively) and at follow-up (P ≤ 0.001 and P = 0.007, respectively). Better sleep hygiene was also associated with better sleep quality but to a much lesser degree at day 5 (P = 0.02 and P = 0.03, respectively) and at follow-up (P = 0.03, PROMIS only). The lavender group had a clinically significant improvement in sleep quality, while there was no clinically significant change in sleep quality in the sleep hygiene-only group. The lavender group had less daytime fatigue at day 5 and follow-up (P = 0.02 and P = 0.009, respectively) and was more likely to wake refreshed at day 5 (P = 0.01). The 4 adverse event reports (minor skin irritation, each lasting 1 night) were attributed to the patch adhesive.
The authors conclude that, in college students with self-reported sleep issues, lavender essential oil inhalation improved sleep quality, and the effect persisted for 2 weeks after lavender aromatherapy was suspended. "The persistent effect of lavender on sleep quality at two-week follow-up suggests a re-balancing or long-acting effect on the sleep cycle, although the exact mechanism of action is unknown." The limitations of the study were the lack of statistical power to evaluate potential differences due to race or ethnicity, the loss of objective Fitbit data regarding sleep quantity, the subjective self-reporting nature of the data, the lack of standardized dosages due to the poor patch adherence, and the potential failure of subject blinding due to the lavender scent. The authors conclude that this trial "supports the use of lavender and sleep hygiene as safe, accessible, and effective interventions for self-reported sleep issues in college students. Further research to study their effect on other populations and additional studies exploring the duration of intervention effects are needed."
—Heather S. Oliff, PhD
Source : American Botanical Council, Herbclip
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Evaluation of a spirituality informed e-mental health tool as an intervention for major depressive disorder in adolescents and young adults – a randomized controlled pilot trial
- Badri Rickhi,
- Ania Kania-Richmond
- Sabine Moritz,
- Jordan Cohen,
- Patricia Paccagnan,
- Charlotte Dennis,
- Mingfu Liu,
- Sonya Malhotra,
- Patricia Steele and
- John Toews
Depression in adolescents and young adults is a major mental health condition that requires attention. Research suggests that approaches that include spiritual concepts and are delivered through an online platform are a potentially beneficial approach to treating/managing depression in this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an 8-week online spirituality informed e-mental health intervention (the LEAP Project) on depression severity, and secondary outcomes of spiritual well-being and self-concept, in adolescents and young adults with major depressive disorder of mild to moderate severity.
A parallel group, randomized, waitlist controlled, assessor-blinded clinical pilot trial was conducted in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The sample of 62 participants with major depressive disorder (DSM-IV-TR) was defined by two age subgroups: adolescents (ages 13 to 18 years; n = 31) and young adults (ages 19 to 24 years; n = 31). Participants in each age subgroup were randomized into the study arm (intervention initiated upon enrolment) or the waitlist control arm (intervention initiated after an 8-week wait period). Comparisons were made between the study and waitlist control arms at week 8 (the point where study arm had completed the intervention and the waitlist control arm had not) and within each arm at four time points over 24-week follow-up period.
At baseline, there was no statistical difference between study and waitlist participants for both age subgroups for all three outcomes of interest. After the intervention, depression severity was significantly reduced; comparison across arms at week 8 and over time within each arm and both age subgroups. Spiritual well-being changes were not significant, with the exception of an improvement over time for the younger participants in the study arm (p = 0.01 at week 16 and p = 0.0305 at week 24). Self-concept improved significantly for younger participants immediately after the intervention (p = 0.045 comparison across arms at week 8; p = 0.0175 in the waitlist control arm) and over time in the study arm (p = 0.0025 at week 16). In the older participants, change was minimal, with the exception of a significant improvement in one of six factors (vulnerability) in study arm over time (p = 0.025 at week 24).
The results of the LEAP Project pilot trial suggest that it is an effective, online intervention for youth ages 13 to 24 with mild to moderate major depressive disorder with various life situations and in a limited way on spiritual well-being and self-concept.
Source : BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
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A randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial investigating the behavioural effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 fatty acid supplementation in typically developing adolescent schoolchildren
Jonathan D. Tammama1 c1, David Steinsaltza2, D. W. Bestera2, Turid Semb-Andenaesa1 and John F. Steina1
a1 Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3PT, UK
a2 Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX1 3TG, UK
Nutrient deficiencies have been implicated in anti-social behaviour in schoolchildren; hence, correcting them may improve sociability. We therefore tested the effects of vitamin, mineral and n-3 supplementation on behaviour in a 12-week double-blind randomised placebo-controlled trial in typically developing UK adolescents aged 13–16 years (n196). Changes in erythrocyte n-3 and 6 fatty acids and some mineral and vitamin levels were measured and compared with behavioural changes, using Conners’ teacher ratings and school disciplinary records. At baseline, the children’s PUFA (n-3 and n-6), vitamin and mineral levels were low, but they improved significantly in the group treated with n-3, vitamins and minerals (P=0·0005). On the Conners disruptive behaviour scale, the group given the active supplements improved, whereas the placebo group worsened (F=5·555, d=0·35; P=0·02). The general level of disciplinary infringements was low, thus making it difficult to obtain improvements. However, throughout the school term school disciplinary infringements increased significantly (by 25 %; Bayes factor=115) in both the treated and untreated groups. However, when the subjects were split into high and low baseline infringements, the low subset increased their offences, whereas the high-misbehaviour subset appeared to improve after treatment. But it was not possible to determine whether this was merely a statistical artifact. Thus, when assessed using the validated and standardised Conners teacher tests (but less clearly when using school discipline records in a school where misbehaviour was infrequent), supplementary nutrition might have a protective effect against worsening behaviour.
Source : British Journal of Nutrition
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Yoga to Reduce Trauma-Related Distress and Emotional and Behavioral Difficulties Among Children Living in Orphanages in Haiti: A Pilot Study
Kathryn A. Culver, MSc,1,* Kathryn Whetten, PhD,1,2,3 David L. Boyd, PhD,1 and Karen O'Donnell, PhD2,4,5
1Duke Global Health Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC.
2Center for Health Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC.
3Terry Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC.
4Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC.
5Center for Child and Family Health, Duke University, Durham, NC.
Objectives: To measure trauma-related distress and evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary efficacy of an 8-week yoga intervention (YI) in reducing trauma-related symptoms and emotional and behavioral difficulties (EBD) among children living in orphanages in Haiti.
Design: Case comparison with random assignment to YI or aerobic dance control (DC) plus a nonrandomized wait-list control (WLC) group.
Setting: Two orphanages for children in Haiti.
Participants: 76 children age 7 to 17 years.
Intervention: The YI included yoga postures, breathing exercises, and meditation. The DC group learned a series of dance routines. The WLC group received services as usual in the institutional setting. After completion of data collection, the WLC group received both yoga and dance classes for 8 weeks.
Outcome measures: The UCLA PTSD Reaction Index and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire were used to indicate trauma-related symptoms and EBD, respectively. A within-subject analysis was conducted to compare pre- and post-treatment scores. A post-treatment yoga experience questionnaire evaluated acceptability of the YI.
Results: Analyses of variance revealed a significant effect (F[2,28]=3.30; p=0.05) of the YI on the trauma-related symptom scores. Regression analyses showed that participation in either 8 weeks of yoga or dance classes suggested a reduction in trauma-related symptoms and EBD, although this finding was not statistically significant (p>0.05). Respondents reported satisfaction with the yoga program and improved well-being.
Conclusions: Children with trauma-related distress showed improvements in symptoms after participation in an 8-week yoga program compared to controls. Yoga is a feasible and acceptable activity with self-reported benefits to child mental and physical health. Additional research is needed to further evaluate the effect of yoga to relieve trauma-related distress and promote well-being among children.
Source : Journal Alternative and Complementary Medicine
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Sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and age at menarche in a prospective study of US girls
- J.L Carwile1,
- W.C Willett1,2,3,
- D. Spiegelman1,3,4,
- E. Hertzmark3,4,
- J. Rich-Edwards1,3,5,
- A.L Frazier3,6 and
- K.B Michels1,3,7,*
STUDY QUESTION Is sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption associated with age at menarche?
SUMMARY ANSWER More frequent SSB consumption was associated with earlier menarche in a population of US girls.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY SSB consumption is associated with metabolic changes that could potentially impact menarcheal timing, but direct associations with age at menarche have yet to be investigated.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION The Growing up Today Study, a prospective cohort study of 16 875 children of Nurses' Health Study II participants residing in all 50 US states. This analysis followed 5583 girls, aged 9–14 years and premenarcheal at baseline, between 1996 and 2001. During 10 555 person-years of follow-up, 94% (n = 5227) of girls reported their age at menarche, and 3% (n = 159) remained premenarcheal in 2001; 4% (n = 197) of eligible girls were censored, primarily for missing age at menarche.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS Cumulative updated SSB consumption (composed of non-carbonated fruit drinks, sugar-sweetened soda and iced tea) was calculated using annual Youth/Adolescent Food Frequency Questionnaires from 1996 to 1998. Age at menarche was self-reported annually. The association between SSB consumption and age at menarche was assessed using Cox proportional hazards regression.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE More frequent SSB consumption predicted earlier menarche. At any given age between 9 and 18.5 years, premenarcheal girls who reported consuming >1.5 servings of SSBs per day were, on average, 24% more likely [95% confidence interval (CI): 13, 36%; P-trend: <0.001] to attain menarche in the next month relative to girls consuming ≤2 servings of SSBs weekly, adjusting for potential confounders including height, but not BMI (considered an intermediate). Correspondingly, girls consuming >1.5 SSBs daily had an estimated 2.7-month earlier menarche (95% CI: −4.1, −1.3 months) relative to those consuming ≤2 SSBs weekly. The frequency of non-carbonated fruit drink (P-trend: 0.03) and sugar-sweetened soda (P-trend: 0.001), but not iced tea (P-trend: 0.49), consumption also predicted earlier menarche. The effect of SSB consumption on age at menarche was observed in every tertile of baseline BMI. Diet soda and fruit juice consumption were not associated with age at menarche.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION Although we adjusted for a variety of suspected confounders, residual confounding is possible. We did not measure SSB consumption during early childhood, which may be an important window of exposure.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS More frequent SSB consumption may predict earlier menarche through mechanisms other than increased BMI. Our findings provide further support for public health efforts to reduce SSB consumption.
Source : Journal Human Reproduction
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Herbal triplet in treatment of nervous agitation in children
Inga Trompetter, Bianka Krick, and Gabriele Weiss
Emotional and behavioral problems in children and adolescents are no exception. To what extent a fixed plant extract combination is able to support children suffering from nervous agitation due to agitated depression among others for approximately 2 years has been investigated in a multicenter, prospective observational study (2008) with 115 children between 6 and 12 years. Assessments of the parents showed a distinct improvement in children who had attention problems, showed social withdrawal, and/or were anxious/depressive. Based on the physicians’ assessment, 81.6–93.9 % of the affected children had no or just mild symptoms at the end of observation concerning nine of thirteen evaluated symptoms such as depression, school/examination anxieties, further anxieties, sleeping problems, and different physical problems. Therapeutic success was not influenced by additional medication or therapies. The treatment was well tolerated. The used plant extracts have been gained from St. John’s Wort herb, valerian root, and passionflower herb.
Source : Wien Med Wochenschr.
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Why children absorb more microwave radiation than adults: The consequences
Children absorb more microwave radiation (MWR) than adults.
MWR is a Class 2B (possible) carcinogen.
The fetus is in greater danger than children from exposure to MWR.
The legal exposure limits have remained unchanged for decades.
Cellphone manuals warnings and the 20 cm rule for tablets/laptops violate the “normal operating position” regulation.
Computer simulation using MRI scans of children is the only possible way to determine the microwave radiation (MWR) absorbed in specific tissues in children. Children absorb more MWR than adults because their brain tissues are more absorbent, their skulls are thinner and their relative size is smaller. MWR from wireless devices has been declared a possible human carcinogen. Children are at greater risk than adults when exposed to any carcinogen. Because the average latency time between first exposure and diagnosis of a tumor can be decades, tumors induced in children may not be diagnosed until well into adulthood. The fetus is particularly vulnerable to MWR. MWR exposure can result in degeneration of the protective myelin sheath that surrounds brain neurons. MWR-emitting toys are being sold for use by young infants and toddlers. Digital dementia has been reported in school age children. A case study has shown when cellphones are placed in teenage girls’ bras multiple primary breast cancer develop beneath where the phones are placed. MWR exposure limits have remained unchanged for 19 years. All manufacturers of smartphones have warnings which describe the minimum distance at which phone must be kept away from users in order to not exceed the present legal limits for exposure to MWR. The exposure limit for laptop computers and tablets is set when devices are tested 20 cm away from the body. Belgium, France, India and other technologically sophisticated governments are passing laws and/or issuing warnings about children's use of wireless devices.
Source : Journal of Microscopy and Ultrastructure
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Psychological, immunological and physiological effects of a Laughing Qigong Program (LQP) on adolescents
One objective of this study was to assess the effects of laughter on the psychological, immunological and physiological systems of the body. Another objective was to introduce the Laughing Qigong Program (LQP), as a method of standardization for simulated laughter interventions.
A randomized, prospective, experimental study of the LQP was conducted in a group of adolescents (n = 67) in Taiwan. During study-hall sessions, experimental subjects (n = 34) attended the LQP for eight-weeks. Simultaneously, control subjects (n = 33) read or did their homework. All subjects were tested before and after the intervention on the following: Rosenberg Self-Esteem scale (RSE), Chinese Humor Scale (CHS) and Face Scale (FS) as psychological markers; saliva cortisol (CS) as an immunological marker; blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and heart rate variability (HRV) as physiological markers of the body's response to stress. Mood states (FS) were measured before/after each LQP session.
Mood states (p = .00) and humor (p = .004; p = .003) improved in the experimental group; no significant changes were found in the controls (p = 69; p = 60). The immunological marker of stress, cortisol levels, decreased significantly for those who participated in the LQP (p = .001), suggesting lower levels of stress after completion of the program.
The LQP is a non-pharmacological and cost-effective means to help adolescents mitigate stresses in their everyday life.
Source : Complementary Therapies in Medicine
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Mindfulness Meditation May Reduce Risk of Suicidal Thoughts in Middle Schoolers
Results of a recent pilot study suggest that middle school-aged students who meditated during a 6-week, classroom-based mindfulness meditation program were significantly less likely than non-meditators to develop suicidal thoughts or self-harming thoughts or behaviors. The study also found that both mindfulness meditation and a matched activity condition showed improvements in internalizing problems, externalizing problems, attention problems, and affect, but there were no statistically significant differences between the groups. Findings from the study, co-funded by NCCAM, were published in the Journal of School Psychology.
A total of 100 sixth graders were randomly assigned to an Asian history class with daily mindfulness practice or an African history class with a matched activity (control group) that involved constructing a life-sized model of a Pharaoh’s coffin. During the study, the teacher in the meditation group led students in silent meditation at the beginning of the class. The initial meditation periods lasted 3 minutes, and the final meditation periods lasted up to 12 minutes. Participants learned breath awareness and breath counting, labeling of body sensations, labeling of thoughts and emotions, and body sweeps. During the final 2 weeks, students could choose any of the various meditation techniques. Participants completed questionnaires before and after the 6-week study period.
Although the children in the meditation group had a reduced risk of developing suicidal thoughts and thoughts of self-harm compared with the control group, the researchers noted that the small sample size and limited followup make it difficult to conclude that these effects were due to meditation. They suggested further research with a larger sample to determine the extent to which meditation can produce long-term beneficial effects.
- Britton WB, Lepp NE, Niles HF, et al. A randomized controlled pilot trial of classroom-based mindfulness meditation compared to an active control condition in sixth-grade children. Journal of School Psychology. 2014;52(3):263–278.
Source : NCCAM
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Relation between dietary acrylamide exposure and biomarkers of internal dose in Canadian teenagers
Benjamin Brisson1,2, Pierre Ayotte1,2, Louise Normandin1, Éric Gaudreau1, Jean- François Bienvenu1, Timothy R Fennell3, Carole Blanchet1, Denise Phaneuf1, Caroline Lapointe4, Yvette Bonvalot4, Michelle Gagné1, Marilène Courteau1, Rodney W Snyder3 and Michèle Bouchard5
- 1Institut national de santé publique du Québec, Québec, Canada
- 2Université Laval, Québec, Canada
- 3RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA
- 4Santé Canada, Longueuil, Québec, Canada
- 5Département de santé environnementale et santé au travail, Chaire d’analyse et de gestion des risques toxicologiques, Institut de recherche en santé publique, Université de Montréal, Montréal, Québec, Canada
Acrylamide (AA) is a probable human carcinogen found in several foods. Little information is available regarding exposure of adolescents, a subgroup potentially consuming more AA-rich foods. We investigated the relationship between dietary AA intake and levels of biomarkers of exposure (urinary metabolites and hemoglobin adducts) in 195 non-smoking teenagers of Montreal Island aged 10–17 years. Dietary habits and personal characteristics were documented by questionnaire. AA and its metabolites were quantified in 12-h urine collections by LC-MS/MS. Hemoglobin adducts from 165 blood samples were also analyzed by LC-MS/MS. Most prevalent urinary metabolites were NACP and NACP-S, with respective geometric mean concentrations of 31.2 and 14.2 μmol/mol creatinine. Geometric mean concentrations of AAVal and GAVal (hemoglobin adducts of AA and glycidamide (GA) with N-terminal valine residues) were 45.4 and 45.6 pmol/g globin, respectively. AA intake during the 2 days before urine collection was a significant predictor of NACP+NACP-S urinary concentrations (P<0.0001). AA intakes during the month before blood collection (P<0.0001) and passive smoking (P<0.05) were associated with adduct levels. Levels of hemoglobin adducts were above biomonitoring equivalent values corresponding to a 1 × 10−4 excess cancer risk, which may indicate the need to reduce AA exposure in the population.
Source : Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology
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What is Acrylamide and How is it Involved with Food and Health (Click) - The Worlds Healthiest Foods - whfoods.com
Your highest-risk foods for acrylamide exposure fall into three basic categories: (1) fried, processed foods like potato chips and french fries; (2) baked snack foods containing wheat and sugar, including cookies and crackers; and (3) processed foods involving toasted grains, including toasted wheat cereals, and roasted grain-based coffee substitutes. Roasted cocoa beans (and the chocolate made from them), some dehydrated soup mixes, and some canned black pitted olives can also fall into this higher-risk category in terms of acrylamide exposure.
With Lavender Aromatherapy, Children Required Fewer Analgesics following Tonsillectomy
Soltani R, Soheilipour S, Hajhashemi V, Asghari G, Bagheri M, Molavi M.
Evaluation of the effect of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil on post-tonsillectomy pain in pediatric patients: A randomized controlled trial. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013;77(9):1579-1581.
Tonsillectomy is among the most common childhood surgeries. One of its main complications is pain, which can cause poor oral intake and dehydration post-surgery, leading to morbidity and delayed recovery. No ideal treatment is available. Because children may also experience postoperative nausea and vomiting, pain relievers delivered through non-oral routes are needed. Many aromatic and medicinal plants contain chemical compounds that make them appropriate for aromatherapy, which is noninvasive and can be applied continuously to patients. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is used in traditional medicine for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. These authors, from Iran, explain that in Iranian folk and traditional medicine, lavender is used as a carminative, diuretic, antiepileptic, antirheumatic, and pain reliever. They conducted a randomized, controlled, prospective research study to evaluate the effectiveness of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil on post-tonsillectomy pain in children.
The study, conducted at Isfahan (Iran) University of Medical Sciences, included 48 patients aged 6 to 12 years who underwent tonsillectomy. Following surgery, all patients received acetaminophen (10-15 mg/kg per dose) every 7 hours for pain. The patients in the treatment group (n=24) also inhaled lavender essential oil every 6 hours by applying 4 droplets of the oil on their palm, rubbing their hands together, and inhaling it for 3 minutes. Neither the manufacturer of the lavender essential oil nor the oil's chemical profile was included in the article.
The frequencies of daily use of acetaminophen and nocturnal awakening due to pain, as well as pain intensity, were recorded for each patient for the first 3 days after surgery. Pain intensity was assessed by using a visual analog scale (VAS).
The authors report that the use of lavender essential oil significantly reduced the frequency of acetaminophen use during each of the 3 postoperative days (P<0.001). It did not, however, significantly impact pain intensity or frequency of nocturnal awakening.
The authors explain that the lack of effect on pain severity in this study and in previous studies may be due to the use of analgesic agents in both groups, making the assessment of pain intensity more difficult, and to the subjective nature of the VAS in measuring pain intensity.
The lack of a placebo in the control group and the small sample size are limitations of this study. Details regarding the essential oil should have been included in this article.
The authors conclude, "This study suggests that aromatherapy with lavender essential oil decreases analgesic requirement following tonsillectomy in pediatric patients. This could be a cost-effective, available and safe treatment option."
Source : American Botanical Council
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Vitamin A Deficiency Is Associated with Gastrointestinal and Respiratory Morbidity in School-Age Children1,2,3
- 4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
- 5Foundation for Research in Nutrition and Health (FINUSAD), Bogotá, Colombia; and
- 6Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Infection is an important cause of morbidity throughout childhood. Poor micronutrient status is a risk factor for infection-related morbidity in young children, but it is not clear whether these associations persist during school-age years. We examined the relation between blood concentrations of micronutrient status biomarkers and risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory morbidity in a prospective study of 2774 children aged 5–12 y from public schools in Bogotá, Colombia. Retinol, zinc, ferritin, mean corpuscular volume, hemoglobin, erythrocyte folate, and vitamin B-12 concentrations were measured in blood at enrollment into the cohort. Children were followed for 1 academic year for incidence of morbidity, including diarrhea with vomiting, cough with fever, earache or ear discharge with fever, and doctor visits. Compared with adequate vitamin A status (≥30.0 μg/dL), vitamin A deficiency (<10.0 μg/dL) was associated with increased risk of diarrhea with vomiting [unadjusted incidence rate ratio (IRR): 2.17; 95% CI: 0.95, 4.96; P-trend = 0.03] and cough with fever (unadjusted IRR: 2.36; 95% CI: 1.30, 4.31; P-trend = 0.05). After adjustment for several sociodemographic characteristics and hemoglobin concentrations, every 10 μg/dL plasma retinol was associated with 18% fewer days of diarrhea with vomiting (P < 0.001), 10% fewer days of cough with fever (P < 0.001), and 6% fewer doctor visits (P = 0.01). Every 1 g/dL of hemoglobin was related to 17% fewer days with ear infection symptoms (P < 0.001) and 5% fewer doctor visits (P = 0.009) after controlling for sociodemographic factors and retinol concentrations. Zinc, ferritin, mean corpuscular volume, erythrocyte folate, and vitamin B-12 status were not associated with morbidity or doctor visits. Vitamin A and hemoglobin concentrations were inversely related to rates of morbidity in school-age children. Whether vitamin A supplementation reduces the risk or severity of infection in children over 5 y of age needs to be determined.
Source : The Journal of Nutrition
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Boys in USA, like girls, showing signs of early puberty
American boys are showing signs of starting puberty six months to two years earlier than they did 30 to 40 years ago, finds new research out today.The new study found signs of puberty in white boys — genital and pubic hair growth and early testicular development — at 10.14 years old, more than a year earlier than in a classic British study of white boys in 1969 (11.60 years). And African-American boys in the new study showed signs of puberty even earlier, at 9.14 years old; Hispanic boys did at 10.40 years old.
The new findings follow widely accepted research documenting earlier physical maturation among U.S. girls, and are in line with other research finding earlier puberty onset among boys in Denmark, Sweden, Great Britain, Italy and China, according to the study in November's Pediatrics. It was released today at the American Academy of Pediatrics' annual meeting in New Orleans.
There has been considerable research on the start of puberty in girls, "but boys have not been studied nearly as much," says Marcia Herman-Giddens, an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina School of Public Health in Chapel Hill, and lead author of both the new study and a landmark 1997 study on girls.
The findings do not come as a complete surprise, she says, noting similar findings in a recent longitudinal study on boys and puberty, and recent growth data showing boys achieving their mature height earlier. "They can't do that without entering puberty earlier."
For the study, researchers analyzed data on 4,100 boys ages 6 to 16 collected from 144 pediatric offices in 41 states. It was designed to report only physical changes and not hormonal, social or psychological changes associated with puberty.
That African-American boys were more likely to start puberty earlier than whites or Hispanics "is consistent with the data for girls as well," says pediatrician Frank Biro, director of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Biro, who studies early maturation in girls, was not involved in the new study.
It's "a gross oversimplification" to assume differences in onset of puberty are related only to genetic differences between racial and ethnic groups, he says. "Race and ethnicity incorporate a lot of different factors, some of them genetic, some of them cultural." Dietary habits and socioeconomic issues, for example, can be significant, he adds.
The research did not look at what caused the onset of earlier puberty, but authors say that "current environmental factors, including exposure to chemicals, changes in diet, less physical activity and other modern lifestyle changes and exposures, may be related."
Whatever the cause, the outcome has consequences, says Herman-Giddens: "They're going to be interested earlier in sexual activity and other behaviors associated with adolescence that may be high-risk behaviors."
Their brains, however won't necessarily be prepared to follow their bodies. "Their brains are taking their own sweet time to mature," she says.
"Kids who mature physically at a younger age tend to be placed in situations that are consistent with how they look, which is older than they really are," says assistant professor of human development Jane Mendle, director of the Adolescent Transitions Lab at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y.
But "just because a child looks mature doesn't mean he is necessarily ready for the social and emotional challenges, which come along with that level of maturity."
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A Dire Sign Of The Obesity Epidemic: Teen Diabetes Soaring, Study Finds
Karlton Hill was only 12 years old when when he found out he had diabetes. Even though he was only in seventh grade, Karlton knew what diabetes was; he had watched the disease destroy his great-grandmother's life.
"I was really upset. I cried," he says. "I didn't want any of this to happen to me. I was like, 'Why is this happening to me?' "
Public health experts have been worrying for years that the obesity epidemic would lead to an epidemic of Type 2 diabetes among kids.
Now, for the first time, researchers have direct evidence that those fears are coming true — that Karlton Hill is far from alone. Researchers analyzed data from 3,383 youths ages 12 to 19 who participated in a federal survey and found that the proportion of those with diabetes or "prediabetes" increased from 9 percent in 1999 to 23 percent in 2008, according to a paper published in the journal Pediatrics.
"It's concerning," says Ashleigh L. May of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, who led the study.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, is a condition that until recently doctors almost never saw in kids. But that was before the childhood obesity epidemic.
"That's a shockingly high figure that has dire implications to the health of this entire generation of children. This report really sounds the alarm," says David S. Ludwig, a childhood obesity expert at Children's Hospital in Boston.
Diabetes can cause all sorts of other problems, including blindness, nerve damage, heart attacks and strokes.
"It's one thing for an overweight or obese 55-year-old gaining an extra few pounds a year to develop diabetes at age 65 and then have a heart attack. It's a very different thing if the clock starts ticking at age 10," Ludwig says. "Children have so many more years to suffer from the consequences from these serious medical problems related to obesity.
So many other diseases that used to hit only older people could also start showing up in large numbers when folks are in the prime of their lives.
"We're looking at the prospect of heart attack, stroke and kidney failure becoming common complications of young adulthood," Ludwig says.
The new study also found disturbingly high levels of other problems that increase the risk for heart attacks and strokes in kids, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
"The impact of the epidemic will continue to mount for many years as this generation of children carry these increased risk factors into adulthood and carry the burden of chronic disease for so many years longer than ever has been the case in history," he says.
Researchers are especially concerning about the high rate of diabetes among teenage girls.
"These are teen girls — adolescent girls — who are going to become mothers in the next five to 10 years. And if their weight is not healthy, we're going to have another generation of these children with metabolic problems that lead to diabetes and prediabetes," says Melinda S. Sothern of Louisiana State University.
To fight this trend, more and more children are facing a lifetime of struggling to keep their blood sugar under control.
"It requires a long period of medication use, strict diet, exercise and surveillance, all of which is quite expensive," says Vivian Fonseca at the American Diabetes Association. And that, she says, will be hard on them and society.
So Karlton Hill, who lives in New Orleans and is now 15, works hard to keep his diabetes under control. He jogs and does pushups every day; he takes the anti-diabetes drug metformin and is careful about what he eats. But he can't help worrying.
"I'll open a book and I'll see what's happened to somebody else, and I'll really say — it will kind of scare me for a second — it'll be like, 'Whoa that's, that could be me if I do something wrong,' " he says. "If I do one wrong move, that could end up being me."
Source : NPR
Today's Teens Will Die Younger of Heart Disease
A very sad article in e Science News state that "Today's Teens Will Die Younger of Heart Disease" read the study below.
A new study that takes a complete snapshot of adolescent cardiovascular health in the United States reveals a dismal picture of teens who are likely to die of heart disease at a younger age than adults do today, reports Northwestern Medicine research. "We are all born with ideal cardiovascular health, but right now we are looking at the loss of that health in youth," said Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., chair and associate professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Their future is bleak."
Lloyd-Jones is the senior investigator of the study presented Nov. 16 at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando.
The effect of this worsening teen health is already being seen in young adults. For the first time, there is an increase in cardiovascular mortality rates in younger adults ages 35 to 44, particularly in women, Lloyd-Jones said.
The alarming health profiles of 5,547 children and adolescents, ages 12 to 19, reveal many have high blood sugar levels, are obese or overweight, have a lousy diet, don't get enough physical activity and even smoke, the new study reports. These youth are a representative sample of 33.1 million U.S. children and adolescents from the 2003 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.
"Cardiovascular disease is a lifelong process," Lloyd-Jones said. "The plaques that kill us in our 40s and 50s start to form in adolescence and young adulthood. These risk factors really matter."
"After four decades of declining deaths from heart disease, we are starting to lose the battle again," Lloyd-Jones added.
The American Heart Association (AHA) defines ideal cardiovascular health as having optimum levels of seven well-established cardiovascular risk factors, noted lead study author Christina Shay, who did the research while she was a postdoctoral fellow in preventive medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School. Shay now is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center.
"What was most alarming about the findings of this study is that zero children or adolescents surveyed met the criteria for ideal cardiovascular health," Shay said. "These data indicate ideal cardiovascular health is being lost as early as, if not earlier than the teenage years."
The study used measurements from the AHA's 2020 Strategic Impact Goals for monitoring cardiovascular health in adolescents and children. Among the findings:
Terrible Diets: All the 12-to-19-year-olds had terrible diets, which, surprisingly, were even worse than those of adults, Lloyd-Jones said. None of their diets met all five criteria for being healthy. Their diets were high in sodium and sugar-sweetened beverages and didn't include enough fruits, vegetables, fiber or lean protein.
"They are eating too much pizza and not enough whole foods prepared inside the home, which is why their sodium is so high and fruit and vegetable content is so low," Lloyd-Jones said.
High Blood Sugar: More than 30 percent of boys and more than 40 percent of girls have elevated blood sugar, putting them at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Overweight or Obese: Thirty-five percent of boys and girls are overweight or obese. "These are startling rates of overweight and obesity, and we know it worsens with age," Lloyd-Jones said. "They are off to a bad start."
Low Physical Activity: Approximately 38 percent of girls had an ideal physical activity level compared to 52 percent of boys.
High Cholesterol: Girls' cholesterol levels were worse than boys'. Only 65 percent of girls met the ideal level compared to 73 percent of boys.
Smoking: Almost 25 percent of teens had smoked within the past month of being surveyed.
Blood Pressure: Most boys and girls (92.9 percent and 93.4 percent, respectively) had an ideal level of blood pressure.
The problem won't be easy to fix. "We are much more sedentary and get less physical activity in our daily lives," Lloyd-Jones said. "We eat more processed food, and we get less sleep. It's a cultural phenomenon, and the many pressures on our health are moving in a bad direction. This is a big societal problem we must address."
Source : eScience