Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays from Green Fertility

My Holiday card to you:

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stocking Stuffer: Sunbeam's 100% Beeswax Buddha

You know why you get grumpy during the winter months? It's not just the lack of Vitamin D/sun but also the lack of negative ions. You know how the air feels so great at the beach, or after a thunderstorm? It's because of the negative ions generated by Mom nature.

But in the winter when we're stuck inside, the dry heat tends to make static and positive ions, which are actually bad for you. The Santa Ana and mistral winds are those winds with a reputation for making people crazy or bringing bad vibes. Interestingly, they are also full of positive ions.

Beeswax candles are an awesome and fragrant way to get some cheer-making negative ions into your life. This smiling Buddha from Sunbeam Candles is the best. Not only that, but this company is RUN ON SOLAR POWER. What more could you ask for?

They also have a ton of other styles (e.g., plain votives) in case you have qualms about burning Buddha.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dutch Diplomat Abandons Adopted Child

Fertility gone wrong, here! I feel like they shouldn't let these people be parents! You can't treat a child like a Christmas present you can return to Home Depot. This guy didn't bother to get Dutch citizenship for his daughter for years...and he works in a consulate! WTF?

This comes in via G'OAL, the Global Overseas Adoptees link.

Couple gives up girl, 7, adopted here as a baby

December 10, 2007
HONG KONG ― A high-ranking Dutch diplomat and his wife, who adopted a 4-month-old Korean girl in 2000 when he was posted in Korea, gave up the child last year, officials here said. Now, officials here are looking for someone to take care of the school-age child.
The girl, Jade, is still a Korean citizen because the adoptive parents, whose names were not released, never applied to give her Dutch citizenship, according to an official at the Hong Kong Social Welfare Department.

She doesn’t speak any Korean. She speaks only English and Cantonese, according to people close to her. And she doesn’t have Hong Kong residency status, either.
The Hong Kong Social Welfare Department, where the Dutch diplomat left Jade in September last year, has had responsibility for her ever since, the official said.

Jade has been in Hong Kong’s foster care system, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post. The paper also reported that the diplomat, who has a senior management role at a European consulate in the city, said “the adoption had gone wrong,” without any further explanation.

“It’s just a very terrible trauma that everyone’s experiencing,” he told the paper. “I don’t have anything to say to the public. It is something we have to live with.”

The diplomat’s wife thought she was infertile when the couple adopted the Korean girl in 2000, the official said. After they moved to Hong Kong, the wife got pregnant. They now have two children of their own.

The story has fueled anger among the Korean immigrant community in Hong Kong, which criticized the diplomat couple for “irre-sponsibly renouncing their custody of a child who’d been with them more than six years after delaying the naturalization process in Netherlands for years.”

By Choi Hyung-kyu JoongAng Ilbo/ Lee Yang-kyoung Staff Reporter [ enational@joongang.co.kr ]

read more http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2883720

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Go Medieval

MAN Fertilitiy found this for me on the BBC. Does eating the glop they serve at the Renaissance Faire count?

Last Updated:
Tuesday, 18 December 2007, 01:11 GMT

Medieval diets 'far more healthy'
BBC's Robin Hood
The 'Robin Hood' generation did not go in for refined sugar
If they managed to survive plague and pestilence, medieval humans may have enjoyed healthier lifestyles than their descendants today, it has been claimed.

Their low-fat, vegetable-rich diet - washed down by weak ale - was far better for the heart than today's starchy, processed foods, one GP says.

And while they consumed more they burnt off calories in a workout of 12 hours' labour, Dr Roger Henderson concludes.

But the Shropshire GP accepts that life for even prosperous peasants was tough.

But after examining the available records, Dr Henderson suggests that medieval meals were perhaps even better than the much touted "Mediterranean" diet enjoyed by the Romans.

While this would have involved fish, fruit, whole grains and olive oil - as well as red wine - the rich often overindulged, while the poor may not always have been able to obtain them.

The average medieval peasant however would have eaten nearly two loaves of bread each day, and 8oz of meat or fish, the size of an average steak.

This would have been accompanied by liberal quantities of vegetables, including beans, turnips and parsnips, and washed down by three pints of ale.

Crucially, there was little refined sugar in their food, while modern eating habits are dominated by biscuits, cake and sweets.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Stocking Stuffer Idea

Check out this stylin' bag from Envirosax's ORGANIC SERIES. It's 45% bamboo, 55% linen. Witty graphic designs, and it has its own cute little pouch and comes packaged in a recycled cardboard box.

I took this shopping and was the belle of the farmers' market.

And of course, I'm nuts for anything bamboo...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Minn. to ban mercury in beauty products on Yahoo! News

Isn't it weird that you never know about the s*** that's in the products you use until there's some kind of foment to take it out?

Here's our previous post about lead in lipstick (and candy--yum!)

Minn. to ban mercury in beauty products

By MARTIGA LOHN, Associated Press Thu Dec 13, 5:23 PM ET

The quest for thicker lashes and defined eyes should get safer on Jan. 1, when Minnesota bans mercury from mascara, eye liners and skin-lightening creams.

The state apparently is the first in the nation to ban intentionally-added mercury in cosmetics. When the law takes effect, Minnesota will have a tougher standard than the federal government, which allows small amounts of mercury as a preservative in eye makeup.

Retailers who knowingly sell mercury-containing cosmetics could face fines of as much as $700. Penalties could reach $10,000 for manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

'Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities,' said Sen. John Marty, the Democrat from Roseville who sponsored the ban. 'Every source of mercury adds to it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't here.'

The cosmetics provision is part of a larger ban targeting better-known sources of mercury, such as thermostats, barometers, industrial switches and medical devices. The law also covers toiletries, fragrances and over-the-counter drugs such as eye drops, nasal sprays, hemorrhoid treatments and antiseptics."

Read more o fthe ApP story here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Live Christmas Trees Can Trigger Mold Allergies on Yahoo! Health

Okay, so here I am taking the fun out of your Christmas tree. Actually, MAN FERTILITY and I don't observe this practice even though he is part German. First, it seems sad to kill a tree, then there's the _%&_#)($ needles that get all over the place, plus we used to have this endearingly crazy cat. Now, decorating a rosemary bush is about as ambitious as I get.

As Grinchy as this sounds, if anyone in the household has asthma/allergies, it might be a nicer present to now have a tree. And puhleeeeeze don't get one of those artificial ones!

"FRIDAY, Nov. 16 (HealthDay News) -- While bringing home a live Christmas tree marks the beginning of the holiday season for many, the mold that thrives on its branches can trigger weeks of suffering for some, a new study shows. Connecticut researchers have found that the mold count from a live Christmas tree rose to five times the normal level two weeks after the tree was brought indoors, and that can prove problematic for people with mold allergies. Their research was presented this week at the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology annual meeting, in Dallas. 'Christmas trees are another possible source of mold exposure during the holiday season,' said study co-author Philip Hemmers, an allergist and immunologist with St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, Conn. 'Mold allergies peak in the fall, and we see a second peak with a lot of our mold-sensitive patients during the holiday season. Our finding correlates with this second peak of mold sensitivity.'"

read more here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Eco Stocking Stuffer Idea: Natural Rubber Pacifiers

Constant reader and eco-smart Mom Ali likes these all-latex paci's and so does her Sweetie Pie. Some people dont like to use pacis, but some think they are a mom's best friend.

Most pacifiers are made of silicone--we just threw out all our weird silicone baking stuff--so maybe you don't want to be putting it in your baby's mouth either. Zoe-B Organic has made these available in the US:

Natursutten all-natural rubber pacifiers, available online in the U.S. for the first time. These pacifiers are made of pure, natural rubber, with no artificial colors, chemical softeners, parabens, PVC, or phthalates.

Rubber pacifiers are softer than those made from silicone. Plus Natursutten pacifiers are extremely hygienic because they're molded in one piece--which means no joints or cracks where bacteria can accumulate.

Check it our here. This blog/website is also a great resource for organic baby and maternity products. Yay!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Hotel Room Drinking Glasses--eeeek!

Have you ever pondered how hotels, esp. if they don't have a restaurant, clean their in-room drinking glasses? Hidden dishwasher? Or, shortcut that is so disgusting that one can hardly begin to comprehend?

If you stay in hotels you MUST watch this hidden-cam video.

Click here.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Danger CSI Fingerprint Toy--bad gift!

From our friends at Environmental Working Group:

CSI Fingerprint Toy (dangerous powder included)

Beware if your children put the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation™ Fingerprint Examination Kit on their holiday wish lists.

It doesn't take a sleuth to detect danger in these kits -- the fingerprinting dust contains tremolite, one of the most lethal forms of asbestos.

Even worse, children are supposed to blow on the asbestos-contaminated powder after dusting for fingerprints, which means they will likely inhale lung-damaging, cancer-causing asbestos fibers.

Click here to learn more.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Physicians and Nurses take Supplements

I have my mom taking various supplements for her allergies and things, and while they work well, mostly, her doctor sort of makes fun of her for taking them sayin gthat they are unproven and a waste of money while these awful allergy medicines she prescribes (that don't work) are the cat's meow. I wonder if she secretly takes supplements, too.

Note that the majority of supps the physicans are prescribing are from OBs--probably the prenatal vitamins.

Newswise — The landmark “Life...supplemented” Healthcare Professionals (HCP) Impact Study found that more than three quarters of U.S. physicians (79 percent) and nurses (82 percent) recommend dietary supplements to their patients. The study also shows that an almost equal number—72 percent of physicians and 89 percent of nurses—personally use vitamin, mineral, herbal and other supplements either regularly, occasionally or seasonally, which is a higher percentage than the 68 percent1 of adults who report they take nutritional or dietary supplements.

With mainstream use of dietary supplements in the U.S.—more than 150 million Americans take them each year—the 2007 “Life…supplemented” HCP Impact Study on dietary supplements was designed to evaluate the personal attitudes and use of dietary supplements by physicians and nurses and to determine if those factors impact whether they recommend supplements for their patients. The study was sponsored by the “Life…supplemented” consumer wellness campaign, which is managed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition.

...Should Physicians Recommend More Supplements? The number of physicians recommending dietary supplements to their patients is highest among obstetrician/gynecologists (OB/GYNs) (91 percent), followed by primary care physicians (84 percent). In addition, the study shows that almost three quarters of physicians (72 percent) and more than three quarters of nurses (88 percent) say it is a good idea for patients to take a multivitamin.

The study found that almost half of physicians and nurses who take supplements most often do so for “overall health/wellness benefits,” while 41 percent of physicians and 62 percent of nurses who recommend supplements most often do so for the same reasons. Primary care physicians, OB/GYNs and nurses recommend supplements as often for “general well-being/prevention” as they do for special conditions, while other specialists recommend supplements more often for special conditions.

According to Dr. Moore, “It makes sense to me that OB/GYNs are the group most likely to recommend supplements, although I am concerned that not all OB/GYNs reported they recommend them for their prenatal patients, given that women’s health—especially prenatal—is one arena where the data supporting supplement use is overwhelmingly positive.”

Among the physicians surveyed, 51 percent use dietary supplements regularly, 19 percent use them occasionally and two percent use them seasonally. Among nurses, 59 percent use them regularly, 27 percent use them occasionally and 3 percent use them seasonally.

Initiating the Discussion. "Given the current state of the science, it is not surprising that increasing numbers of healthcare professionals are incorporating dietary supplements into their personal health routines. However, the fact that only 25 percent of physicians actively counsel patients regarding their dietary supplement use demonstrates an on-going and concerning problem that requires more outreach and education,” said Tieraona Low Dog, M.D, director of education, Program in Integrative Medicine, and clinical assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

NYT: Folic Acid in Flour

We were just talking about missing micronutrients in the typical American diet because even the organic chickens and chicken broth we buy are kind of dead and processed. But sad to say, even MACRO nutrients like folate are going all deficient in our diet, which might lead to totally preventable but devastating conditions like neural tube defects in babies. And what's the solution? Teach people to eat more whole foods and veggies? Nope, let's dump more synthetic folate in processed flour (eeek).

Remember: to prevent neural tube defects, you need the folate BEFORE you get pregant. Taking a good prenatal vitamin or a supplement like Fertility Blend isn't a bad idea, in my humble opinion.

From the NY Times:

A Growing Debate Over Folic Acid in Flour

Every year, an estimated 200,000 children around the world are born with crippling defects of the spinal column. Many are paralyzed or permanently impaired by spina bifida; some, with a condition called anencephaly (literally, “no brain”), survive in a vegetative state.

It is a stubborn and terrible problem, in the developed and developing worlds alike. But many experts believe it could be greatly eased by a simple government measure: requiring that flour be fortified with the dietary supplement folic acid, which has been shown to prevent these neural tube defects if taken by expectant mothers from before conception through the first trimester.

The debate over folic acid is a familiar one, and Americans could be excused for thinking it was over. Since 1998, the federal government has required that almost all flour be fortified with the supplement.

But in fact, the requirement has meant women receive an average extra dose of just 100 micrograms of folic acid a day — far below the levels that have been shown in studies to prevent spina bifida and other neural tube defects. For more than a decade, the Food and Drug Administration has resisted calls to require that the amount be doubled...

Folic acid’s promise emerged 40 years ago, when British obstetricians realized that spina bifida often occurred when mothers had a form of anemia caused by folic acid deficiency. Then, in a 1991 British study of mothers of children with spina bifida, Dr. Nicholas Wald, the lead investigator, found such extraordinary results that he stopped the trial prematurely. When the women took folic acid daily before their next conception and through the first trimester of pregnancy, spina bifida recurrences fell 72 percent...

And there is good reason to think that requiring more fortification may prevent more birth defects. Blood levels of folate among women have been declining, according to a C.D.C. study released last January, perhaps because of worsening obesity and the popularity of low-carbohydrate diets.

Read more here.

According to Susan Weeds Wise Woman Herbal for the Childbearing Year, here are some foods that are rich in folate:
  • whole grains
  • organ meats such as liver
  • leafy greens
  • parsley
  • chicory
  • amaranth
Other sources:

• 1/2 cup cooked lentils: 179 mcg

• 1 cup boiled collard greens: 177 mcg

• 1/2 cup canned chickpeas: 141 mcg

• 1 medium papaya: 115 mcg

• 1 cup cooked frozen peas: 94 mcg

• 4 spears steamed or boiled asparagus: 88 mcg

• 1/2 cup steamed broccoli: 52 mcg

• 1 cup strawberries: 40 mcg

• 1 medium orange: 39 mcg

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LEAD in lipstick

This sure gives "eat lead" a whole new meaning. Hm, I always thought this might be an urban legend, so I haven't posted it. But everyone knows how lead makes things stick better (that's why it's in almost all PVC products including kids' lunchboxes).

What's sad is that it's not the government that did these tests, but an independent, non government organization. The government probably doesn't want to piss off the cosmetics lobby. Don't forget, there are NO regulations governing what's in cosmetics, they don't even have to tell you what's in it (note, you will not see "lead" in the list of ingredients--although it's probably there to add color and act as a fixative). And $$$ brands are just as likely to have it as cheapo brands.

Here's the report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (p.s. why is there LEAD in CANDY????):

Lipstick manufactured in the United States contains “surprisingly high” levels of lead, according to a new study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

More than half (61 percent) of 33 name-brand lipsticks tested in September 2007 contained lead levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). One-third of the lipsticks had more lead than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy.

Although lipstick is ingested directly into your body, the FDA has not set a lead limit for the cosmetic. Among the brands with the highest lead levels were:

  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” -- 0.65 ppm
  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine” - 0.58 ppm
  • Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” -- 0.56 ppm
  • Dior Addict “Positive Red” -- 0.21 ppm
Lead is a known neurotoxin that can:
  • Cause learning, language, and behavioral problems
  • Cross the placenta and interfere with normal fetal development
  • Possibly cause infertility and miscarriage
The small amounts of lead in personal care products build up over time in your body, and can lead to a significant accumulation.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling for cosmetics makers to remove lead from their products, and for the FDA to more strictly regulate personal care products.

Lipsticks can be manufactured without lead, the Campaign pointed out, as 39 percent of lipsticks tested had no detectable levels of lead.


What should you do for the holiday season (besides not wear lipstick?) Well, our wacky friends in the EU won't allow any chemical that is 1. mutagenic 2. carcinogenic or 3. toxic to the reproductive system into their products, so you might want to opt for brands that meet EU standards.

Fun fact: did you know that when inspectors nab lead-filled and etc. products that don't meet EU standards what happens to them? Bingo! They are sent for resale in the US! Perfectly legal.

For cosmetics, I always like Dr. Hauschka products because they work well and are non toxic. Here's their statement on lead:

Ensuring the health and well-being of our customers is a foundational
mandate for Dr.Hauschka and manufacturer WALA Heilmittel. Our stringent
quality specifications for ingredients and formulations ensure that all
finished products, including Dr.Hauschka Lipsticks, test well below
maximum levels established by the U.S. and European Union for lead and
other metal contaminants in cosmetics. Though exposure to excessive
amounts of lead carries significant health risks, lead is a naturally
occurring element and exposure to it cannot be completely avoided. Dr.
Hauschka cosmetics, however, are not a significant source of lead

Monday, December 03, 2007

Well folks,

Here's Part II of Meeting the Meat. Last time, we were going to our friendly farmer to procure some of his beefalo.

For Thanksgiving, we had black-skinned chickens (very medicinal), grown by Chang, our friendly farmer. She grow veggies organically and sells them at the Brown Farmers' Market, and the chickens also run around her farm and get to eat old and expired veggies as well as whatever bugs and grubs they find. Apparently, it's the bugs and worms that give the chicken a nice Omega-3 profile, a huge advantage over non free range chickens (even if fed organic feed). Her chickens also make a broth that yields a lot of gelatin, which contains a lot of micronutrients that we often miss in our diets. Koreans love bone broths, even add hooves and things for extra gelatin. But when's that last time you saw someone (your grandma, maybe?) make chicken broth that didn't come out of a can or an aseptic-pack? You need your gel. (n.b. if you cook up a cheapo factory-farm chicken for stew and you won't get too much gel, either.)

Her chickens are very happy (until she starts chasing them with a net) at least as much as my anthropomorphizing mind thinks they are. I couldn't help her kill them (former vegetarian) but I did help her clean them (see photographic evidence). Watching the bird die also makes one so much more grateful. I made sure not to waste a thing. She even cleaned out the stomach so we could throw it in the soup, along with feet, head, etc.

Some of my inlaws complained that my participating in the killing of the chicken was mean, while they were okay with the prophylactic ingestion of an industrially raised turkey they'd cooked the night before. I think if we all participated in more in where our food comes from, meet our meat, we'd demand better treatment for the animals, and we'd get better, safer, more nutritious food. While we were there, we also got a dozen unwashed eggs gfresh from the chicken's butts--they look poopy and smeary and horrify people when they see them. But they are actually cleaner than the bleached and salmonella-y eggs you get at the supermarket (you just don't see the debeaked chickens sitting in s*** and so sick they need tons of antibiotics), and the yolks are an unbelievable color--the pathogens grow when you have dirty factorylike cages. Chang's chickens get plenty of light and air and they get to run around in the daytime like chickens are meant to. We can leave these eggs out unrefrigerated for week and they stay fresh, and we eat them raw, all the time. Of course, it took me a while to get here; I used to be a "sanitation" nut before...

Hm, maybe that's why my inlaws came into the house bearing McDonald's bags. We each have distinctly different ideas on which food is "safer" and "clean." Comments?

Here's an article from the WashPost on how while we subsidize the hell out of industrial farms for icky crops like GMO corn, the government makes regulations so onerous that organic farmers are having a hard time: Bitter Harvest for Small Farms

Friday, November 30, 2007

AP: Graveyard Shift Work LInked to Cancer

Maybe that's why they call it the graveyard shift. Check this out from the AP--kind of interesting considering yesterday's post on Vitamin D--sun--and cancer...


LONDON - Like UV rays and diesel exhaust fumes, working the graveyard shift will soon be listed as a "probable" cause of cancer.

It is a surprising step validating a concept once considered wacky. And it is based on research that finds higher rates of breast and prostate cancer among women and men whose work day starts after dark.

Next month, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization, will add overnight shift work as a probable carcinogen. The American Cancer Society says it will likely follow. Up to now, the U.S. organization has considered the work-cancer link to be "uncertain, controversial or unproven."

The higher cancer rates don't prove working overnight can cause cancer. There may be other factors common among graveyard shift workers that raise their risk for cancer.

However, scientists suspect that overnight work is dangerous because it disrupts the circadian rhythm, the body's biological clock. The hormone melatonin, which can suppress tumor development, is normally produced at night.

read more here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Global View Shows Link Between Endometrial Cancer and Vitamin D Status

Vitamin D is produced in your skin in reaction to sunlight. Sure, there's fortified milk, etc., but this is the very best way to get it. Don't be afraid of the sun, it's your friend!

Again, I don't use sunscreen for this very reason, among others. People look at me as if I am crazy/bad mom. We need natural light! We don't go out in the middle of the day, and no one's gotten burned during all our time at the beach this summer, btw. Having plenty of antioxidants helps!

Supplementing in the winter time might be a good idea. Here's health expert Dr. Christiane Northrup on Vitamin D and its link to breast cancer, and some supplementation guidelines.


Newswise — Using newly available data on worldwide cancer incidence, researchers at the Moores Cancer Center at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have shown a clear association between deficiency in exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B (UVB), and endometrial cancer.

UVB exposure triggers photosynthesis of vitamin D3 in the body. This form of vitamin D is also available through diet and supplements. Previous studies from this research team have shown associations between higher levels of vitamin D3 and lower risk of cancers of the breast, colon, kidney and ovary.

Approximately 200,000 cases and 50,000 deaths from endometrial cancer occur annually worldwide, including 41,000 new cases and 7,400 deaths in the United States.

The study will be published November 16, 2007, in the journal Preventive Medicine.

“This is the first study, to our knowledge, to show that higher serum levels of vitamin D are associated with reduced risk of endometrial cancer,” said Cedric F. Garland, Dr. P.H., professor of Family and Preventive Medicine in the UCSD School of Medicine, and member of the Moores UCSD Cancer Center. “Previous epidemiological studies have focused on estrogen levels – either natural or through hormone replacement therapy – which play the major role in development of the disease, and on fat intake, which plays a smaller role. Since most women cannot control their natural levels of estrogen, and very low levels of fat intake are not acceptable to most American women, this article provides evidence that vitamin D adequacy should be considered as part of a comprehensive program for prevention of this cancer.”

This paper used worldwide data only recently available through a new tool called GLOBOCAN, developed by the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. GLOBOCAN is a database of cancer incidence, mortality and prevalence for 175 countries.

The researchers created a graph with a vertical axis for endometrial cancer incidence rates, and a horizontal axis for latitude. The latitudes range from -50 for the southern hemisphere, to zero for the equator, to +70 for the northern hemisphere. They then plotted incidence rates for 175 countries according to latitude. The resulting chart was a parabolic curve that looks like a smile.

“In general, endometrial cancer incidence was highest at the highest latitudes in both hemispheres,” said Garland. “Even after controlling for known variables such as cloud cover, meat intake, weight, skin pigmentation and others, the association remained strong.”

In the paper, the authors caution that this was a study of aggregates, or countries, rather than individuals; findings that apply to aggregates may not apply to individuals. They recommend further research to study individuals for the effect of vitamin D from sunlight, diet and supplements on the risk of endometrial cancer.

This is the third environmental paper from this research team to show a strong association between vitamin D and cancer using global incidence data (GLOBOCAN). The first paper, which illuminated a similar pattern for kidney cancer, was published Sept. 15, 2006, in the International Journal of Cancer. The second, on ovarian cancer, was published Oct. 31, 2006, in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Overpriced Eggs?

Wow! This is an ad from the Brown Daily Herald, our student newspaper. They have ads like this all the time, but this one is the most $$$ I've ever seen--it's usually more like $50K. I can't imagine the PRESSURE on this poor little gamete.

I'm also not quite sure what the value system is here. Yours truly went to this fine institution, and as with anything, there were plenty of good eggs and bad eggs.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Deep Voiced Men Father More Children

From Newscientist.com:

In evolutionary terms, Barry White's rich, bass voice may hit all the right notes – a new study among modern-day hunter-gatherers shows that men with the deepest voices produce significantly more children than their more falsetto counterparts. The finding helps explain why men have evolved lower voices than women, say researchers.

Scientists have long known that women perceive men with deep voices as sexy, healthier, and more dominant. Previous studies have even shown that women show the strongest preference for low-pitched voices at the most fertile phase in their menstrual cycle.

This background research hinted that men with the deepest voices had the most luck with the ladies, giving them an evolutionary edge.

However, the use of modern-day contraceptives makes it difficult to link voice range with fertility. So experts lacked hard evidence to back up the notion that men with bass voices had any real reproductive advantage over those talking in tenor tones.

'Huge difference'

Coren Apicella at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, and her colleagues found a way around this challenge by studying the Hadza, one of the last remaining hunter-gatherer cultures in the world. The Hadza women generally dig for root plants and gather fruits, while men primarily hunt animals and collect honey. The Hadza, who live in Tanzania, have no modern birth control and practice serial monogamy.

Apicella recorded 49 Hadza men saying the Swahili word hujambo, which loosely translates as ‘hello’ in English, and calculated their voice pitch using computer analysis. She also recorded their age and the number of children they had fathered.

On average, the men had 4.8 children and a voice pitch of around 115 Hz. After controlling for possible confounding factors, such as age, researchers discovered that men with the lowest voices had the most children. For example, men who had an average voice pitch around 90 Hz had about two more children on average than those with a super-high voice around 160 Hz.

"That's a huge difference" in terms of reproductive success, says David Puts, an anthropologist at Penn State in University Park, Pennsylvania, US, who studies voice preferences.

Hormone link

Puts explains that men typically have deep voices as a result of high testosterone levels. High levels of this hormone cause the vocal cords to lengthen and thicken, and therefore vibrate at a lower frequency.

"Testosterone is associated with all sorts of things, like high libido and physical competitive ability," Puts notes. He adds that there appears to be a connection between testosterone and sperm quality, which might explain why the Hadza men with low-pitched voices fathered the most children.

Another possible explanation is that women prefer men with deep voices because such men are perceived as holding higher social status, says Puts.

Researchers speculate that evolution favoured men with deeper voices, and that this perhaps explains why men's voices are so much lower than that of women. For example, while Hadza men have an average voice pitch of 115 Hz, the women average around 210 Hz.

However, Apicella notes that some of the children listed by the Hadza men as being their own, might have in fact been fathered by other members of the group. This, she says, allows for an alternate explanation for her findings: "Maybe men with lower pitched voices feel more confident to say the children are theirs."

Journal reference: Biology Letters (DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2007.0410)

Monday, November 26, 2007

REVIEW: Enfusia Vanilla Body Lotion--Holiday Present idea?

The holiday season is here. So what to get fertile friends or self?

I'm not a big lotions 'n' potions kind of person.
Normally, I just use straight shea butter or olive oil or coconut oil as my simple and effective (and cheap!)

Not to mention non-toxic. We already know about how bad parabens are, but did you know artificial fragrances are a no-no (musks, for example, can even throw off your hormones, and they often put weird chemicals in them to disperse the fragrances)? Plain essential oils, ideally organic, are the way to go.

But sometimes it's nice to have a little treat, and I REALLY like this Enfusia Vanilla body lotion. It's very lightweight (too lightweight to use as a massage lotion) and an extra swipe of it can calm the frizzy ends of hair (how versatile). MAN FERTILITY commented on the fertility friendly* scent. Organic ingredients and no chemicals, and I have to admit, sometimes it's nice having a pump action dispenser instead of digging coconut oil out of a jar.

*Vanilla has good fertility mojo, historically a well-known aphrodisiac, according to the Susun Weed newsletter, as an "
essential oil that stimulates sexuality," along with rose, sandalwood, ylang/ylang, patchouli, cinnamon.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Are Antimicrobial Soaps Breeding Tougher Bugs?

I'm always puzzled about why we have to get so martial about everything, we must KILL all microbes, wage have a WAR on cancer, drugs, etc.

About maknig the world 100% sanitary (i.e., dead), so far doesn't seem too effective, probably only adds more carcinogenic chemicals to your load. Again, I repeat, we are made of microbes. If you read my Natural Health article, you'll see that adding a few nice bacteria via kimchi, etc., helps a lot more than trying to (to paraphrase Alice's Restaurant) Kill! KILL!!! KILLL!


Some Experts Say Risks Outweigh Benefits

By Ranit Mishori
Special to The Washington Post
Tuesday, November 13, 2007; Page HE01

If cleanliness is next to godliness, modern America is the land of the faithful -- fighting the good fight against today's so-called superbugs with sparkling countertops and well-washed hands.

Our culture's cleanliness obsession has been fed by a booming business in household products that promise the virtue of sterility. According to estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency, our antimicrobial crusade has us spending almost $1 billion annually on soaps and detergents, toys and cutting boards, bedsheets and toothbrushes, all of them treated with chemical compounds designed to kill the germs that cling to them. At the forefront of this product niche is the antimicrobial hand wash, commonly fortified with the bug-battling chemical triclosan.

It may be a dangerous, germ-filled world out there, but with your little bottle of -- choose one: Dial, Safeguard, Palmolive -- you can stroll worry-free through it.

Or so you may think.

The problem about our obsession with killing germs, some scientists and public health advocates warn, is that it may ultimately do us more harm than good.

read more here.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Paris Hilton 'Loves Everything About Korea'

See how healthy Paris Hilton will be, as she like Korean food (and, presumably, kimchi) From the Korea Times:

American celebrity Paris Hilton
By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Staff Reporter

A barrage of flashing cameras greeted hotel heiress and American celebrity Paris Hilton when she attended her first press conference in Seoul, Friday.

Hilton, who is currently in Seoul for a promotional tour sponsored by sportswear brand Fila Korea, smiled and showed off her trademark pose for photographers and cameramen at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

With her upswept blonde hair and glowing tan, Hilton wore a gold puffer vest, hot pink track jacket, gray tank top and purple track pants. Everything she wore, except for a pink Chanel purse, was from Fila's collection, which she is endorsing.

The 27-year old fashionista, who is often seen wearing high-end designer brands, declared she loves the Fila brand. ``I love Fila. Girls who wear Fila have great style too. I love to mix the colors. The Fila brand comes in all different colors, so I can mix and match them. My favorite color is pink, so I wore this today,'' she said.

This is her first time in Korea, so she gushed about the beautiful Korean scenery. Hilton also said she loved bibimbap and would like to eat more of it during her trip.

read more here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Who Are You Also Known As? Adoption and the American Family

Here's a great essay from Hollee McGinnis on the NYTimes blog:

Like many adopted people I never had a simple answer to the question, “Where did I come from?” For most people raised by their biological parents, this question can be answered by simply gazing at their parent’s face. There in the turn of a nose and the curve of the eye they are reminded of where they came from. bounded by blood, a part of a human continuum passed from mother to daughter, from father to son.

The author, the day she arrived in the United States, walking off the plane at J.F.K. airport. (Photographs courtesy of Hollee McGinnis.)

I, on the other hand, seemingly dropped out of the sky on a Boeing 747, walking, talking and potty trained. I was adopted in May 1975 at the age of 3 ½ with just the clothes on my back: a little red pant suit and vest, and white sweater trimmed in red. I have no memories of that day I arrived in America – but I have been told stories so many times that I feel like I remember: running up and down the escalators of John F. Kennedy airport after being cooped up in an airplane for 28 hours; my parents giving me lollipops because I was too big for a pacifier to quiet me on the ride to my new home in the suburbs of New York City; and pushing the Uncle Ben’s white rice on the floor the first morning and eating the Entenmanns’s coffee cakes instead.

My parents told me that summer of my arrival I would sing and talk in Korean. Of course they never knew what I was saying. They also told me that in those first weeks I would run up to the front door, throw my body up against it and cry and cry and say in Korean, “Jip e ka le!” My sister, born to my parents and age 9 at the time, thought it might be some strange Korean game. So she would run up to the door, throw her body against it and say, “Jip e ka le!” I can imagine my sister doing this over and over – and turning my tears into laughter. Years later my parents learned what my Korean words meant: I want to go home.

Read more here.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Article on Healing Fermented Foods in Natural Health

"10 Power Foods" is written by yours truly.

Check it out--I think the standard American diet (SAD)'s lack of "living" foods is another thing that leaves us vulnerable to superbugs like MRSA. Not only do we know someone who DIED after a routine surgery due to a clostridia difficile infection, almost everyone we know gets a staph infection.

Putting in just a little "good bacteria" can help keep the body in harmony instead of going in with the sledgehammer antibiotics that create more bugs via mutation (unless you are one of those Creationist believers and are therefore safe). When I was visitng my aunt in a hospital in Korea I noticed they give all patients a probiotic drink as part of their care--how smart.

Sorry, there's no link.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Telling the Stories Behind the Abortions

Telling the Stories Behind the Abortions

Anne Sherwood for The New York Times

"Because it is such a secret, we lose sight of how common it is." - Dr. Susan Wicklund

This is the flip side of fertility. I know a lot of pro-life people who have no problem with "selective reduction" of multiple embryos. Hey, people, that's abortion!

My other bugaboo is how being pro-choice is seen as being pro-abortion--nothing could be further from that! (p.s., and abortions went DOWN under Clinton....hm...), and I harbor particularly ire for people who try to tell others what to do and don't keep their own counsel. Here's my WashPost piece on my interesting experience at Planned Parenthood, with protesters

And by the way, pro-lifers take note, parts of the MMR vaccine are cultured in an aborted fetus (they need human tissue, but they can't use a miscarriage, because that would predispose DNA damage...). You can look this up in the Physicians' Desk Reference. I never understood why the Catholic church, et al never takes issue with this.

Published: November 6, 2007

Dr. Susan Wicklund took her first step toward the front line of the abortion wars when she was in her early 20s, a high school graduate with a few community college credits, working dead-end jobs.

She became pregnant. She had an abortion. It was legal, but it was ghastly.

Her counseling, she recalls, was limited to instructions to pay in advance, in cash, and to go to the emergency room if she had a problem. During the procedure itself, her every question drew the same response: “Shut up!”

Determined that other women should have better reproductive care, she began work as an apprentice midwife and eventually finished college, earned a medical degree and started a practice in which she spends about 90 percent of her time on abortion services. Much of her work is in underserved regions on the Western plains, at clinics that she visits by plane.

In her forthcoming book “This Common Secret: My Journey as an Abortion Doctor” (Public Affairs), Dr. Wicklund describes her work, the circumstances that lead her patients to choose abortion, and the barriers — lack of money, lack of providers, violence in the home or protesters at clinics — that stand in their way.

But she said her main goal with the book was to encourage more open discussion of abortion and its prevalence.

“We don’t talk about it,” she said in a telephone interview. “People say, ‘Nobody I know has ever had an abortion,’ and that is just not true. Their sisters, their mothers have had abortions.”

Dr. Wicklund, 53, said that at current rates almost 40 percent of American women have an abortion during their child-bearing years, a figure supported by the Guttmacher Institute, which researches reproductive health policy. Abortion is one of the most common operations in the United States, she said, more common than tonsillectomy or removal of wisdom teeth. “Because it is such a secret,” she said, “we lose sight of how common it is.”

But Dr. Wicklund acknowledges that abortion is an issue fraught with dilemmas. In the book, she describes witnessing, as a medical student, the abortion of a 21-week fetus. She writes that at the sight of its tiny arm she decided she would perform abortions only in the first trimester of pregnancy. She says late-term abortions should be legal, but her decision means she occasionally sees desperate women she must refuse to help.

Dr. Wicklund describes her horror when she aborted the pregnancy of a woman who had been raped, only to discover, by examining the removed tissue, that the pregnancy was further along than she or the woman had thought — and that she had destroyed an embryo the woman and her husband had conceived together. And she describes the way she watches and listens as the women she treats tell why they want to end their pregnancies. If she detects uncertainty or thinks they may be responding to the wishes of anyone other than themselves, she says, she tells them to think it over a bit longer.

On the other hand, Dr. Wicklund has little use for requirements like 24-hour waiting periods, or for assertions like those of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who said in a recent Supreme Court decision on abortion that the government had an interest in protecting women from their own decisions in the matter.

“It’s so incredibly insulting,” Dr. Wicklund said in the interview. “The 24-hour waiting period implies that women don’t think about it on their own and have to have the government forcing it on them. To me a lot of the abortion restrictions are about control of women, about power, and it’s insulting.”

Dr. Wicklund said she would put more credence in opponents of abortion rights if they did more to help women prevent unwanted pregnancies. Instead, she said, many of the protesters she encounters “are against birth control, period.” That is unfortunate, she said, because her clinic experience confirms studies showing that emphasizing abstinence rather than contraception may cause girls to delay their first sexual experience for a few months, but “when they do have intercourse they are much less likely to protect themselves with birth control or a condom.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, about a quarter of pregnancies in the United States end in abortion. Dr. Wicklund says that is why she believes far more people favor abortion rights than are willing to admit it in polls. For example, she said in the interview, an abortion ban that seemed to have wide support in South Dakota was put to a vote and “when people got behind those curtains and nobody was watching it was overwhelmingly defeated. Unfortunately, people are not willing to say what they really think.”

One of these people might be a woman she recognized as one of the protesters who regularly appeared, shouting, outside a clinic where she worked. Only now the woman was in the waiting room, desperate to end an unwanted pregnancy. Dr. Wicklund performed the procedure.

And then there is Dr. Wicklund’s maternal grandmother, a woman she was afraid would disapprove of her work. But it turned out that she had a story of her own. “When I was 16 years old, my best friend got pregnant,” is how the story began. Her friend turned to her and her sister for help. They did the only thing they could think of — putting “something long and sharp ‘up there,’ ” according to the book. The girl bled to death, and the cause of her death was kept secret.

“I know exactly what kind of work you do,” the grandmother told Dr. Wicklund, “and it is a good thing.” One question Dr. Wicklund hears “all the time,” she said, is how she can focus on abortion rather than on something more rewarding, like delivering babies.

“In fact, the women are so grateful,” Dr. Wicklund said in the interview. “Women are so grateful to know they can get through this safely, that they can still get pregnant again.

“It is one of the few areas of medicine where you are not working with a sick person, you are doing something for them that gives them back their life, their control,” she added. “It’s a very rewarding thing to be part of that.”

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Household cleaning sprays and air fresheners can raise the risk of asthma in adults

Yech. Why I like vinegar and baking soda:

Newswise — Using household cleaning sprays and air fresheners as little as once a week can raise the risk of developing asthma in adults, say researchers in Europe. Such products have been associated with increased asthma rates in cleaning professionals, but a similar effect in nonprofessional users has never before been shown.

“Frequent use of household cleaning sprays may be an important risk factor for adult asthma,” wrote lead author Jan-Paul Zock, Ph.D., of the Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology at the Municipal Institute of Medical Research in Barcelona, Spain.

The epidemiological study, the first to investigate the effects of cleaning products on occasional users rather than occupational users, appeared in the second issue for October of the American Thoracic Society's American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

The investigators used baseline data from the first phase of the European Community Respiratory Health Survey (ECRHS I), one of the world's largest epidemiologic studies of airway disease, and interviews conducted in the follow-up phase, ECRHS II. Altogether, the study included more than 3,500 subjects across 22 centers in 10 European countries. Subjects were assessed for current asthma, current wheeze, physician-diagnosed asthma and allergy at follow-up, which took place an average of nine years after their first assessment. They were also asked to report the number of times per week they used cleaning products.

Two-thirds of the study population who reported doing the bulk of cleaning were women, about six percent of whom had asthma at the time of follow-up. Fewer than ten percent of them were full-time homemakers.

The risk of developing asthma increased with frequency of cleaning and number of different sprays used, but on average was about thirty to fifty percent higher in people regularly exposed to cleaning sprays than in others. The researchers found that cleaning sprays, especially air fresheners, furniture cleaners and glass-cleaners, had a particularly strong effect.

“Our findings are consistent with occupational epidemiological studies in which increased asthma risk was related to professional use of sprays among both domestic and non-domestic cleaning women,” wrote Dr. Zock. “This indicates a relevant contribution of spray use to the burden of asthma in adults who do the cleaning in their homes.”

The design of the study was not intended to determine the biological mechanism behind the increase in asthma with exposure to cleaning sprays, but Dr. Zock and colleagues propose a number of hypotheses, including the possibility that asthma is partially irritant-induced, that sprays contain sensitizers that are specific to asthma, and/or that an inflammatory response is involved in asthma development. “There is a need for researchers to conduct further studies to elucidate both the extent and mechanism of the respiratory toxicity associated with such products,” noted Dr. Zock.

Despite the uncertainty of the biological mechanism, the findings have important clinical relevance. “Clinicians should be aware of the potential for cleaning products used in the home to cause respiratory symptoms and possibly asthma,” wrote Kenneth D. Rosenman, M.D., professor at Michigan State University, in an editorial in the same issue of the journal.

The research may have also significant implications for public health. “The relative risk rates of developing adult asthma in relation to exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15 percent, or one in seven of adult asthma cases,” wrote Dr. Zock.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Warning issued over egg freezing

I think this is kind of interesting. First, from a GreenFertility point of view for pretty much everything, fresh is better than frozen!

And in this "other" context (i.e., not the high-tech big promises marketing lit of the IVF clinic), you see how the chances of this fancy technology working are actually rather dismal.

From the BBC:


Mother and baby
Egg freezing should not be offered to women who want to put off having a family purely for lifestyle reasons, say experts.

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) warned the procedure was still experimental, and the chances of success poor.

It said it would be wrong to give women a false sense of hope. Instead they should be offered counselling...

Dr Marc Fritz, of the ASRM, said it would be wrong for women who have frozen their eggs to think they had ensured their future fertility.

He said: "Existing medical evidence simply does not justify that conclusion."

The ASRM estimates that the overall live birth rate from frozen eggs is as low as 2% per egg.

It warned the figures may be even lower for women over 35 - the age at which fertility begins to decline rapidly.

Dr Fritz said a 25-year-old woman freezing her eggs now would have more chance of achieving a pregnancy through IVF using her fresh eggs when she was 35.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reading in Mankato, MN

If you're happening to be around Mankato MN, please come see me read at the Good Thunder Reading Series:


Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Treat

Here's a neat deal. If you want to buy my novel, Somebody's Daughter, you can get it was 20% off and FREE SHIPPING.

Just click here and enter the code BEACONFF at checkout.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have A Happy Halloween

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while know that I have been ranting for over a year about thing liked lead in vinyl lunchboxes.

So I'm --please--asking you to be mindful of toxins in your Halloween fun. DON'T assume because it's for sale, it's been tested and okayed--uh, remember Thomas the Train? Most commercial makeup is petroleum based, glitter makeup may have heavy metals, vinyl and PVCs use lead as a fixer...

We're having J go as a pirate: a bandana on the head, scraggly cutoffs (and the old raisin-on-the-tooth trick) and we're ready to go.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orpah's Thyroid...and yours

Okay, if you've been reading this blog regularly, you know how central I feel the thyroid is to many bodily functions...including fertility. But the problem is, there's so much damn contradictory information out there, the labs can't even agree on "normal" ranges.

I always rely on Mary Shomon, About.com's Thyroid guide, not because she knows every single thing in the known world about thyroid (no one does, and don't let them tell you so), but because she is intellectually curious AND quite knowledgeable. Frankly, "experts" don't even know where autoimmune thyroid disease comes from, so I don't think anyone has all the "right answers," but Mary (and I add, she is an "advocate," not a health professional) has strong views but isn't afraid to backtrack or rethink things--an attitude the "experts" might benefit from.

So anyway, I don't watch TV, so I have no idea how big a story this has been (and I haven't followed it closely, but I caught something in some email about Orpah cured her hypothyroidism by going on vacation--???), but here's the most current post from Mary:

Why Thyroid Patients Should be Grateful to Oprah Winfrey

Thyroid patients should be grateful to Oprah Winfrey. As a thyroid patient myself, as well as an advocate for other patients, I am personally and professionally grateful. I know that this sounds strange, coming just a week after I've publicly criticized Oprah and her friend/guest Dr. Christiane Northrup for suggesting that thyroid disease is directly caused by stress or self-care, and that stress reduction and pampering are a cure. But after giving it some thought, I realize there are definitely reasons to thank Oprah for going public.

Read all about it here.

And here's Mary's interview with thyroid expert, Dr.Marie Savard.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Solar Roast Coffee

How about this: great organic fair-trade coffee with the most excellent carbon footprint? Check this out from Solar Roast coffee:

We at Solar Roast are dedicated to providing the best tasting coffee under the sun! All our coffees are roasting using our Solar-Powered coffee roaster.

Dubbed ‘Helios 1.2’, this roaster uses a 10ft solar array to focus the rays of sunshine onto a drum roaster. This roaster is capable of reaching temperatures upwards of 550 degrees F. The roaster swivels and tilts allowing it to track the sun throughout the day from sunrise to sunset.

The roaster does not burn any fossil fuels to create heat, and uses a solar panel to power all the electronic components on the device. We are the only coffee roaster in the world that can produce a 100% fossil-fuel free roasted coffee. And it is completely organic.

Our ecologically friendly coffee roasting methods, coupled with 100% organic / Fair trade coffee creates the most ‘Earth Friendly’ brew this planet has ever seen.

I say try the Zeus French roast--"dark and moody."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Protect Your Right to Eat Non Carcinogenic Almonds!

You might have heard about the boneheaded idea that we have to "pastuerize" almonds by coating them with a chemical that has been banned in the E.U. because it's a carcinogen. And when has an organic raw food ever hurt anyone? This battle (a losing one, as we ARE made up of bacteria) against microbes is exactly what's leading to those superbugs that are killing everyone in the hospital!

From the Organic Consumers Association:


Despite a negative backlash from almond producers, retailers and consumers, the USDA has implemented its ruling to require that all raw almonds sold in stores must be pasteurized. The rule went into effect on September 1st, and since then, all retail outlets have been forced to remove true raw almonds from store shelves. Consumers will be misled by this action as there will still be almonds on store shelves labeled as 'raw', but they will actually be pasteurized. One of the FDA-recommended pasteurization methods requires the use of propylene oxide, which is classified as a 'possible human carcinogen' by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and is banned in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Since the decision about the rule was made, Secretary of Agriculture, Mike Johanns, has stepped down. He is temporarily replaced by Chuck Conner. This may provide a new opportunity for reversal. Please contact Conner today to ask that the rule be suspended for 6 months while the public comment period is re-opened."

Sign the Petition: here

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lead and the link to violent Crime?

photo: Jim Krantz

Published: October 21, 2007

Has the Clean Air Act done more to fight crime than any other policy in American history? That is the claim of a new environmental theory of criminal behavior.

In the early 1990s, a surge in the number of teenagers threatened a crime wave of unprecedented proportions. But to the surprise of some experts, crime fell steadily instead. Many explanations have been offered in hindsight, including economic growth, the expansion of police forces, the rise of prison populations and the end of the crack epidemic. But no one knows exactly why crime declined so steeply.

The answer, according to Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, an economist at Amherst College, lies in the cleanup of a toxic chemical that affected nearly everyone in the United States for most of the last century. After moving out of an old townhouse in Boston when her first child was born in 2000, Reyes started looking into the effects of lead poisoning. She learned that even low levels of lead can cause brain damage that makes children less intelligent and, in some cases, more impulsive and aggressive. She also discovered that the main source of lead in the air and water had not been paint but rather leaded gasoline — until it was phased out in the 1970s and ’80s by the Clean Air Act, which took blood levels of lead for all Americans down to a fraction of what they had been. “Putting the two together,” she says, “it seemed that this big change in people’s exposure to lead might have led to some big changes in behavior.”

Reyes found that the rise and fall of lead-exposure rates seemed to match the arc of violent crime, but with a 20-year lag — just long enough for children exposed to the highest levels of lead in 1973 to reach their most violence-prone years in the early ’90s, when crime rates hit their peak.

Such a correlation does not prove that lead had any effect on crime levels. But in an article published this month in the B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Reyes uses small variations in the lead content of gasoline from state to state to strengthen her argument. If other possible sources of crime like beer consumption and unemployment had remained constant, she estimates, the switch to unleaded gas alone would have caused the rate of violent crime to fall by more than half over the 1990s....

“It really does sound like a bad science-fiction plot,” says Nevin, a senior adviser to the National Center for Healthy Housing. “The idea that a society could have systematically poisoned its youngest children with the same neurotoxins in two different ways over the same century is almost impossible to believe...”


read more here.
(use my info: Greenfertility for username/PW)

My thought: it's not just lead, let's add in pesticides, MSG, MERCURY in vaccines and fillings...there you go. Who's going to save us from us?

read more here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Rosehips Rheumatoid Arthritis Remedy?

We were at the beach this weekend, and because of global warming (who ever heard of going swimming in the ocean in New England in late October?) there were tons of wild rose hips all over the place. Not one to waste, I gathered a bunch because I like to make a vitamin-C rich tea or juice from these--rose hips also have a folk reputation as good for fertility. Plus, they are so pretty with their intense red color and just bursting with seeds. Now, isn't it interest that researchers have found it decreases TNF-alpha, an inflammatory that is also related to repeat miscarriages?

This is from the BBC.

Rose-hips (Science Photo Library)
Rose-hips could help some of the UK's 400,000 sufferers
Rose-hips could offer a cheap and effective way of treating debilitating rheumatoid arthritis, research from Germany and Denmark has suggested.

Seventy-four sufferers, mostly females, took part in the six-month trial.

Just under half took the rose-hip remedy LitoZin while the others took a placebo. Both groups continued to take their usual medication.

Activity among the first group improved by 20-25%, according to results presented at the annual Eular meeting.

The number of joints causing pain or discomfort fell by 40%, but did not change for those treated with the dummy.

"I think we were all surprised to see such meaningful results," said Professor Stefan Willich from the Charite University Medical Centre in Berlin, who conducted the German arm of the study.

"Rheumatoid arthritis is one of the most difficult conditions I'm aware of. It's a tough disease, which makes it all the more remarkable to find such beneficial effects from this remedy."

Anti-TNF (anti-tumour necrosis factor alpha) medication and the latest "smart" drugs which target different parts of the immune system are becoming available, but they are expensive, and there have already been complaints of "postcode lottery" access...

Researchers are unclear as to why exactly rose-hip has this effect, but the supplement appears to have both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

One of the key active ingredients in LitoZin - a type of sugary fatty acid called GOPO - was hailed by scientists involved in the research as a "plant version of fish oil", the supplement believed to have a host of health benefits.

Professor Alan Silman, the medical director of the Arthritis Research Campaign, said that if rose-hips were shown to have only limited side effects they could be a useful adjunct to conventional drug treatment for people with rheumatoid arthritis...


I think it's so funny that with pharma drugs we gloss over how powerful and toxic they can be, and here with rose hips look how bent out of shape they are about side effects! I wouldn't overdo it (and some people report a stinging sensation if they eat a bunch of whole rose hips), but in general they make great tea and jam.

read more here.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

'More sex needed' to boost sperm

Of course MAN FERTILITY sent this to me. From the BBC;

The more they get out, the better, the study suggests
Some men should have sex every day to maximise the chances of getting their partner pregnant, researchers say.

It is known for couples with fertility problems to abstain from sex for several days to boost sperm numbers before trying to conceive.

However, the Sydney University team, addressing the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference, said this could mean poorer quality sperm.

One UK expert said daily sex might be better for men with damaged sperm.

read more here.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Chocolate Aids Chronic fatigue syndrome

This is a nice Monday morning story.

MAN FERTILITY found this for me on the BBC. I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which is called Myalgic
Encephalopathy in the UK--which actually is a better descriptor because it has a lot more to do with the immune system, etc., than plain old "fatigue."
Chocolate 'aids fatigue syndrome'

Dark chocolate
The reduction was small but "noteworthy", researchers say
A daily dose of specially-formulated dark chocolate may help cut chronic fatigue syndrome symptoms.

Patients in a pilot study found they had less fatigue when eating dark chocolate with a high cocoa content than with white chocolate dyed brown.

Researchers from Hull York Medical School said the results were surprising but dark chocolate may be having an effect on the brain chemical serotonin.

Experts said patients should consume chocolate in moderation.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also known as ME, is a condition with a diverse range of symptoms but particularly characterised by profound muscle fatigue after physical exertion.

If you derive benefit, then it's a no harm, no risk situation
Professor Steve Atkin

Study leader Professor Steve Atkin, an expert in endocrinology, said the idea for the study came after a patient reported feeling much better after swapping her normal milk chocolate for dark chocolate with a high cocoa solid content.

He decided to see if other patients would benefit and carried out a trial of 10 patients who received a daily dose - 45g - of dark chocolate or white chocolate dyed to look like dark chocolate for two months.

The patients then had a month off before taking the other type of chocolate for two months.

Those taking dark chocolate reported significantly less fatigue and reported feeling more fatigue when they stopped eating it.


Professor Atkin said he was very surprised at the strength of the results.

"Although it was a small study, two patients went back to work after being off for six months."

He explained: "Dark chocolate is high in polyphenols, which have been associated with health benefits such as a reduction in blood pressure.

"Also high polyphenols appear to improve levels of serotonin in the brain, which has been linked with chronic fatigue syndrome and that may be a mechanism."