Tag Archives: health

Billy Corgan on the Alex Jones show

Alex Jones joins Smashing Pumpkins singer Billy Corgan backstage prior to his show in Austin, Texas, to discuss the future of free speech.

Read more here…

Mike B: Always loved goin to his shows when I was a teen. Never knew one day he would be a great ally in the fight against a technocratic elite. Who knew?

 

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Study further confirms link between autism and pesticide exposure

Living near farms and fields can put a foetus at risk

(Andrew Stawarz / Flickr)

Complications during pregnancy, viral infections, and genetic disorders have all been associated with autism. But for the past few years, an increasing number of researchers have started to focus their attention on another important risk factor: environmental pollutants. These neurotoxins, which include everything from pesticides, to mercury and diesel, are thought to alter brain development in foetuses. Now, a new study further confirms this link by showing that pregnant women who live within a mile of farms and fields where pesticides are employed see their risk of having a child with autism increase by 60 percent — and that risk actually doubles if the exposure occurs in the third trimester.

“Pesticides are one of the toxicants that appear to have the strongest association with autism,” says Dan Rossignol, an autism expert at Jeff Bradstreet’s International Child Development Resource Center in Florida who did not participate in the study, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives. These latest results, he says, “strengthen that association.”


In the study, researchers linked data from the California Pesticide Use Report to the residential addresses of 970 children participating in the ongoing Childhood Autism Risks from Genes and Environment (CHARGE) study. This allowed the scientists to make connections between various developmental delays, and the types of chemicals that mothers may have been exposed to before conception, and during pregnancy. They also took note of prenatal vitamin intake, socio-economic status, and metabolic disorders during pregnancy to avoid interference by possible confounders.

“Women who live within a mile of organophosphate or pyrethroids agricultural pesticide applications were more likely to have a child with autism spectrum than women living further away,” said Janie Shelton, an epidemiologist at the University of California Davis and lead author of the study, in an email to The Verge. Currently, 1 in 68 American children have some form of autism spectrum disorder. But the risk could go up “as much as 3-fold” when women are exposed to organophosphates later in pregnancy, Shelton said. This means that scientists need to “investigate [these results] further, while taking preventive steps to decrease exposure to women during and just prior to conception.”

For Rossignol, “the only type of study that would have been better” would have been a study “where women were followed before, during, after pregnancy — as well as their babies — to determine if, over time, those higher exposure to pesticides had a higher risk of autism.” Richard Frye, an autism researcher at the University of Arkansas who was not involved in the study, agrees with Rossignol, and pointed out in an email that “there could be bias in the sample of patients because the participants volunteered for the study.” This means that these participants are the kinds of people that that “seek medical care for their children” — which isn’t necessarily representative of all parents. But overall, both scientists praised the study’s design.

Shelton and her team would like to continue the research — if they can get more funding. One of their goals is to find out if certain sub-groups are more vulnerable to pesticide exposure. But, regardless of the outcome, Shelton thinks the message is clear: Pregnant women should avoid contact with agricultural pesticides.

“The neurotoxicity of many agricultural agents have been suspected from animal studies for sometime,” Frye said, so “this information needs to be taken seriously for not only expecting women, but women who are planning to become pregnant.” He thinks that taking steps to prevent autism and other developmental delays is “much better for society” than treating children “once they have been born with such abnormalities.” But to do that, he said, we need to proactively educate mothers about the risks — and what they can do to fight back. “Simple things like proper nutrition and folate supplement [intake] is still suboptimal in some areas,” but these are “simple factors that can have a large impact at preventing autism and developmental disorders.”

Eye Cells Inkjet-Printed for First Time

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Using an inkjet printer, researchers have succeeded in printing adult eye cells for the first time. The demonstration is a step toward producing tissue implants that could cure some types of blindness.

Scientists have previously printed embryonic stem cells and other immature cells. But scientists had thought adult cells might be too fragile to print. Now, researchers have printed cells from the optic nerves of rats, finding the cells not only survived, but also retained the ability to grow and develop.

Why Can’t Humans Regenerate Body Parts?

The loss of nerve cells in the retina causes many eye diseases that lead to blindness, said Dr. Keith Martin, a professor of ophthalmology at the University of Cambridge, in England, and co-author of the study detailed online today (Dec. 17) in the journal Biofabrication. The work is preliminary, but eventually, the aim is to be able to print a replacement retina, Martin told LiveScience. [7 Cool Uses of 3D Printing in Medicine]

Martin and his colleagues separated retinal ganglion cells (which transmit signals from the eye to the brain) and glial cells (which provide support and protection for neurons) from the retinal tissue of adult rats. They used a piezoelectric inkjet printer to print both types of cells into a vial at a rate of about 30 mph, or about 100 cells per second, recording the process with high-speed video. Then they performed tests to see how well the printed cells survived and grew.

Despite the shearing forces the cells experienced during printing, the printed retinal ganglion cells (also called optic nerve cells) and the glial cells appeared to survive as well as nonprinted cells. In addition, the optic nerve cells retained the ability to sprout neurites, the fingerlike filaments that form connections with other nerve cells.

3-D Printed Body Parts, Finally!

The printed cells were indistinguishable from cells that hadn’t been printed,” Martin said. The researchers also printed the optic nerve cells onto a plate of glial cells, and this increased the growth of neurites.

However, the printed sample had fewer of both kinds of cells than the unprinted sample, and the researchers think this is because some of the cells got stuck in the printer nozzle.

Testing that the cells function like healthy optic nerve cells will be crucial, and these studies are currently underway, Martin said.

Now that the scientists have shown they can print retinal ganglion cells, they plan to print other types of retinal cells, such as light-sensitive photoreceptors. They also plan to print cells in patterns, and adapt the technology for commercial multinozzle print heads.

The work was partially funded by Fight for Sight, a nonprofit organization that supports new treatments for blindness.

This article originally appeared on LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. Copyright 2013, all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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