Category Archives: medical

Update on Bisphenol A and Plastic Toxicity

It seems that our exposure to Bisphenol A, may be much greater than was previously assumed. Bisphenol A is an endocrine disrupter and can have a drastic effect on the endocrine system, especially in infants and children.

David Biello writes an excellent article in “Scientific American”:Plastic (Not) Fantastic: Food Containers Leach a Potentially Harmful Chemical

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found traces of BPA in nearly all of the urine samples it collected in 2004 as part of an effort to gauge the prevalence of various chemicals in the human body. It appeared at levels ranging from 33 to 80 nanograms (a nanogram is one billionth of a gram) per kilogram of body weight in any given day, levels 1,000 times lower than the 50 micrograms (one millionth of a gram) per kilogram of bodyweight per day considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the European Union’s (E.U.) European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).

This seems all well and good, the levels in human urine are less than the arbitrarily defined level deemed harmful by the EPA. I say arbitrarily defined as the more subtle, affects of Bisphenol A (sperm counts, developmenal anomalies, cancer rates i.e. non-lethal effects.) were examined. However, almost ALL urine samples had Bisphenol A. Further, it seems that humans can degrade Bisphenol A quickly.

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Product of Canada or not

Title: Product of Canada or not

I watched the CBC Marketplace epsiode “Product of Canada, Eh?”. In the episode, Wendy Mesley tracked down the origin of food products with the “Product of Canada” label. But, just because the label says product of Canada,this is not necessarily so.

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Possible breath-through with Diabetes

Researchers at Toronto and the University of Calgary found a reversal of type 1 diabetes in mice injected with substance P.

“What we really have discovered is that the immune system is under much closer control by the nervous system than we thought, that this control to a large extent involves sensory nerves,” said Dosch, explaining that such nerves are the same kind that signal the brain to send out pain messages when an ankle is broken or a finger is burned on a hot stove.
As part of their studies, the scientists knocked out specific pain-related nerve cells in newborn lab mice. These nerve cells secrete a chemical called “substance P,” which is known to amplify pain signals as well as boosting inflammation.
The mice were “perfectly fine . . . except that instead of getting diabetes 90 per cent (of the time), they got none or very little,” said Dosch. “Not only did they not get diabetes, but their pancreas was clean — there was no inflammation, no nasties that make the disease in the pancreas.”
“That was the real wow.”
In other words, a dysfunctional immune response is not the only thing needed to get diabetes — the nerve cells are also critical, he said.
In another experiment, the researchers injected substance P into mice whose islet cells were already inflamed and on the way to being destroyed. By the next day, the inflammation in the animals’ pancreatic islets had disappeared.
“That was our first shock. To make an islet clean that’s fully inflamed, that’s hard,” said Dosch.

The accepted reason for developing diabetes is that there is an autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic islet cells. However, this experiment seems to indicate that it is the diabetic pancreas producing too few neuropeptides that is the initial cause of pancreatic islet cell atrophy. Substance P is involved in the transmission of pain and increases inflammation. Apparently it is this increased nerve transmission cause by the Substance P that reverses the diabetes. I am a little confused as the article attributes a reduction of inflammation in the pancreas after the application of Substance P. However Substance P potentiates inflammation and nerve activity. Unfortunately I could not find the original paper.

This in not only an important finding trying to understand and hopefully cure diabetes, but it provides a new model of disease or rather extends the role of the nervous system as the cause of disease; disease that would not be immediately attributable to the nervous system. Perhaps altered neuronal activity is another mechanism through which acupuncture can work in seemingly non-neurological diseases.