affecting your child

Preventing Health Defects in Children

A vitamin supplement composed of several different forms of folate may help prevent or even treat the brain defect hydrocephalus in children, according to a study conducted by researchers from the universities of Lancaster and Manchester, England, and published in the Journal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology.

“Hydrocephalus can cause severe disability and learning difficulties, so the possibility of prevention through a specific vitamin supplement is exciting,” said Andrew Russell, head of the Association for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus.

In hydrocephalus, cerebrospinal fluid abnormally gathers in the brain’s cavities, placing pressure on the tissues and leading to neurological dysfunction. Symptoms include an unusually large head, irritability, sleepiness, vomiting, drooping eyes, verbal aggression, hyperactivity and other abnormal behavior, and even seizures.

There is currently no cure for the condition, which is normally treated by installing shunt to divert the fluid from the brain to the heart or abdomen. These shunts must be cleaned with several surgeries throughout a lifetime, however, to prevent blockage and infection.

In the current study, researchers found that a folate mixture led to significant reductions in the rates of fluid buildup in the brains of hydrocephalic rats. They also found that the symptom’s conditions might come less from pressure caused by cerebrospinal fluid, and more from its chemical composition.

“Cerebrospinal fluid is not a liquid which simply cushions the brain and carries chemicals around it,” lead researcher Jaleel Miyan said. “It is actively produced and transported and plays an essential biological role in developing the brain.”

The researchers are now seeking to partner with a pharmaceutical company that can make the supplement into a pill, which can then be used in human clinical trials.

Folic acid, the naturally occurring form of folate, is known to prevent against neural tube defects such as spina bifida but has not proven effective in preventing hydrocephalus.

“There are so few things we can currently do to decrease the incidence of birth defects so these findings are really to be welcomed,” said Imogen Montague of the United Kingdom’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
It’s official: Vitamin D deficiency is so widespread in U.S. children that it poses a huge threat to the future health of an entire generation. A new study published in the journal Pediatrics paints a disturbing picture of vitamin D deficiency across the population of children aged 1 through 21. Three-fourths of young African American children, for example, are deficient in vitamin D. Much the same pattern holds true for Mexican American children. Even white kids, with their fairer skin and greater vitamin D production, hit the charts with 50% – 60% deficiency, depending on the age group.

Of course, in classic medical doublespeak style, health researchers don’t actually call it “deficiency.” (Because that would trigger a whole new urgency to correct the problem.) Instead, they call it “vitamin D insufficiency,” while reserving the term “deficiency” for children who have virtually no vitamin D in their blood whatsoever.

Of course, “insufficient” means “deficient” in the real world, since kids who are now labeled as “insufficient” in vitamin D are, of course, actually quite deficient in the nutrient. And keep in mind that these frighteningly common vitamin D deficiencies exist even when the accepted standards of vitamin D levels in the blood are artificially low to begin with. If you use real numbers of the vitamin D levels required for peak human performance, the truth is that as many as 90 percent of U.S. children are chronically deficient in vitamin D.

“It’s astounding,” said Michal L. Melamed of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, in a Washington Post report (source below). “At first, we couldn’t believe the numbers. I think it’s very worrisome.” But why are American kids so deficient in vitamin D in the first place?
The answer, of course, is because kids are sunlight deficient. And that’s due to a few reasons: First, too many kids today spend most of their hours in front of computers, televisions or gaming consoles. The live almost like vampires, staying awake all night, sleeping during the day, living off the flesh of other creatures (beef jerky and hamburgers…).

Many of their parents, too, are part of the problem. Today’s moms seem terrified that their kids might actually experience “the outdoors” for more than a few moments. They wait with air-conditioned cars at the school bus stops, then hustle their kids into pre-cooled cars to drive the quarter mile back to their artificially air-conditioned homes. Sunlight almost never touches these kids (they might turn to dust).

The sunscreen industry also shares some blame in all this, as it thrives on the silly idea that sunlight is bad for children and that all kids need to be smothered in sunscreen lotions before venturing outdoors. (Of course, they never admit their own sunscreen products are filled with cancer-causing chemicals in the first place…) Above all, the medical establishment is to blame for vitamin D deficiency. Rather than teaching parents and children about the importance of vitamin D, they seem to have declared a blackout on most useful information about the nutrient, preferring instead to prescribe toxic pharmaceutical drugs to treat the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency. Osteoporosis drugs, in particular, are made virtually obsolete by vitamin D alone. That’s why you don’t see any drug companies talking about vitamin D — it would destroy osteoporosis drug sales!
The entire “sick care” industry (including Big Pharma) actually depends on widespread nutritional deficiencies in order to create repeat business. Vitamin D deficiency, of course, figures prominently in this equation: It promotes cancer, bone loss, obesity, depression and heart disease. It’s no coincidence that these are some of the biggest profit earners for drug companies.
I wonder what the statistics are for Asian children? It might be a good idea for parents to get healthy before they have children.

be well

Dr Sundardas

www.naturaltherapies.com/cell rejuvenation program.htm

December 16, 2009 By : Category : About myself, Toxic Vaccines, Why soya is not good for you, What you can do about Cancer Screening. Not all essential fatty acids are equal,Dr.sundardas podcasts, Being Seduced by Shape. Is the FDA lo affecting your child childrens wellness Tags:Alternative medicine, children's health, Dr sundardas, Functional Medicine, Homeopathy, natural medicine, natural therapies, naturopathy
2 Comments

Are we protecting our children’s health

Pthalates used in food packaging could be linked to childhood obesity, according to two recent studies conducted by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that included research conducted on more than 900 children in East Harlem and surrounding communities. The studies have added to a growing body of evidence that link phthalates to health problems.

One of the studies, according to the Mount Sinai researchers, focused on 400 girls in the East Harlem community. The results showed that the heaviest girls had the highest levels of  HYPERLINK “http://www.naturalnews.com/phthalates.html” phthalates metabolites in their urine.

Another significant research project called Growing Up Healthy in East Harlem examined the diet and other factors for 520 East Harlem children aged 6-8 with the results indicating that the level of phthalates in the children tested was higher than the national average.

About 40 percent of children in East Harlem are considered to be overweight or obese. “When we say children, I’m talking about kindergarten children, we are talking about little kids,” said Dr. Philip J. Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai, one of the lead researchers on one of the East Harlem studies. “This is a problem that begins early in life.”

Health concerns over phthalates have been debated for more than 10 years, as shown by a New York Times article from 1999 that describes opposing views on their use and mentions an FDA investigation into the matter. At that time, a major concern was the use of  HYPERLINK “http://www.naturalnews.com/chemicals.html” chemicals in children’s toys.

Previous reports linking phthalates to  HYPERLINK “http://www.naturalnews.com/health.html” health disruptions have shown that they are connected to abdominal  HYPERLINK “http://www.naturalnews.com/obesity.html” obesity, insulin resistance, poor semen quality in men, and changes in reproductive organs in infant boys.

Phthalates can be found in personal care products like cosmetics, shampoos, soaps, lotions, paint and pesticides. They are also used to make  HYPERLINK “http://www.naturalnews.com/plastics.html” plastics more pliable. Phthalates are absorbed into the body and are a type of endocrine disruptor – a category of chemical that affects glands and hormones that regulate various bodily functions.

Increasingly when I am doing hair mineral testing on young children because of health issues, I am noticing higher amounts of toxic substances like lead, arsenic, mercury and tin. Substances like boron, copper and iron which are supposed to be nutritional become toxic at higher levels. The parents then ask me, “Where does it come from? How could all these heavy toxic substances and heavy metals be impacting them?” That’s when I tell them about the 100, 000 or more toxic substances that re now present in the environment that were not present before. The various authorities have not even established safety levels for multiple chemicals in the human body.

The FDA continues conducting ongoing investigations into potential risks, but notes that while there have been studies on laboratory animals demonstrating carcinogenic effects of certain chemicals, “there are no studies in humans that are adequate to serve as the basis for regulatory decision-making.”

Other packaging chemicals that have recently caused consumer concern include Biosphenol A (BPA) and perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). PFCs, which are found in grease-resistant packaging such as that used in microwaveable popcorn bags and pizza boxes, have been linked to infertility in women.

My wife’s colleague passed on this information to me. One of her friends whose father works for the government health inspection passed on his information. Their job is to inspect all hawkers, their cooked food, their store hygiene, etc. They found sugar cane juice has the highest content of bacteria among all food. In fact, it has exceeded the set limit.

Hence, these guys had to find out why. They went round all sugar cane stores and watched the way the hawkers handled their sugar cane, wash their glasses, their entire
procedure. But they couldn’t find the problem.

One day, they stayed till closing time and discovered some shocking facts! Whenever, the hawkers closed their stores, they would wash the floor with detergent.. As we know, the
remaining sugar canes will be placed at the back of the store, vertically standing and as sugar canes are very porous, they tend to absorb whatever liquid around them. Besides the soapy water, the dirt on hawkers’ boots, cats’ urine, etc, will all be absorbed?? Now, whenever I eat at a hawker centre, I would warn all my friends about this and of course I stopped drinking my favorite sugar cane juice.

A friend, who loved sugar cane juice, was pregnant. She was always drinking sugar cane juice. Anyway, one day she miscarried and the fetus was already like 6 or 7 months old,
I think. When the doctors did an autopsy to find out why all of a sudden the fetus had died inside her, they found traces of some chemical substance, which was found in cat urine… Large traces of it.

While it would not be able to harm adults, it was extremely toxic to babies, what more a fetus? So they tried to determine how this cat urine thing could have ended up in
the fetus. This meant that it had to be digested by the mother, right? And the only logical conclusion they could come up with was that since these sugar cane juice stall holders just leave the canes lying around on the wet and dirty floor, it would not be impossible to think that stray cats could have peed on those sugar canes or near those sugar canes. So think carefully the next time you order that favorite sugar cane juice!

Be well

Dr Sundardas

September 13, 2009 By : Category : affecting your child Are allergies/food sensitivitities affecting your child? General information Tags:Alternative medicine, Are we protecting our children’s health, dr s, Dr sundardas, Functional Medicine, Homeopathy, natural medicine, natural therapies, naturopathy
10 Comments

Are we destroying our genetic future?

For most of us, genetic inheritance plays a limited role in determining our health. More important is where and how we live, work, and play — the quality of what we drink, eat, and breathe. From the time of conception, throughout development, and into early and late adulthood, environmental factors either directly impact biological tissues or influence gene expression and shape subsequent disease risks.

Although links between exposures to environmental contaminants and health impacts have been known for centuries, recent research documents an expanding list of previously unrecognized effects occur after fetal or infant exposures. The developing fetus and child are particularly vulnerable to toxic insults. During this time cells are rapidly dividing, and growth is dramatic. Various events, including development of the brain and endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems, are uniquely susceptible to
disruption that is often permanent. To compound the problem, pound for pound, children are often disproportionately exposed to toxic environmental agents because of the way they breathe, eat, drink, and play. Moreover, immature detoxification pathways in children frequently result in increased impacts of toxic exposures when compared to adults.

To the limited degree that health care providers address environmental factors at all, most focus nearly all of their attention on personal behaviors, like smoking, substance abuse, or use of sunscreens. These are more easily addressed by individuals than more complex problems like air and water pollution, hazardous waste sites, agricultural systems that inevitably result in farmworker pesticide exposures, and mercury contamination of dietary fish. Global environmental conditions, however, are changing, along with the changing pattern of disease and disability, and our increasing understanding of the importance of environmental factors in determining the health of individuals and populations places a new and special responsibility on the medical profession.

Consider that

** The release of ozone-depleting chemicals used for industrial and agricultural purposes has depleted the stratospheric ozone layer and is likely a major contributor to the increased incidence of malignant melanoma.

** Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by nearly 30 percent in the last 150 years. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. Hazardous air pollution, in general, is the norm in most parts of the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.

** Humans are responsible for more atmospheric nitrogen fixation than all other sources combined. Nitrates contaminate groundwater, surface water, and air at toxic concentrations.

** Humans are responsible for most of the mercury deposition on the surface of the earth. Mercury makes its way into the food chain, where it bioconcentrates. In most states, freshwater and marine fish are sufficiently contaminated with mercury to require warnings to women of reproductive age to limit consumption because of risks to fetal brain development.

** In addition to naturally occurring products like lead and mercury that are mined from the earth, novel synthetic industrial chemicals contaminate the world’s ecosystems, its human and non-human inhabitants, their breast milk and egg yolk, ovarian follicles, amniotic fluid, and meconium. The toxicity of most is little known.

** Of the approximately 85,000 chemicals on the federal inventory, nearly 3,000 are produced in excess of 1 million pounds annually. For these high-production volume (HPV) chemicals, toxicity data are surprisingly sparse. Even basic toxicity testing results are not publicly available for 75 percent of them.In the U.S., according to the 2000 Toxics Release Inventory, over 6.2 billion pounds of the listed toxic chemicals, including 2 billion pounds of known or suspected neurotoxicants, were released into the environment by major emitters required by federal law to file reports. Emissions from
small industries and neighborhood shops are unquantified. The extent of exposure from these releases and from the use of various consumer products that contain them is also largely unknown, but population-based surveys give an indication of the ubiquity of exposures.

Small exposures to substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults, can permanently damage the developing brain of a child, if the exposure occurs during a window of vulnerability. Early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that bioaccumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections, risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures. Recent research from Sweden concludes not only that environmental factors play a more important role than genetic inheritance in the origin of most cancers, but also that cancer risk is largely established during the first 20 years of life.

Some birth defects, including disorders of the male reproductive system and some forms of congenital heart disease, are increasingly common. Sperm counts and fertility are in decline in some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world. Asthma is more common and more severe than ever before. Genetic factors explain far less than half of the population variance for most of these conditions. Although smoking and sun exposure are well-recognized risk factors for some conditions, improved understanding of development of the brain and the immune, reproductive, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems leads to the conclusion that other environmental factors play a major role in determining current patterns of disease.

Be well
Dr Sundardas

June 19, 2009 By : Category : affecting your child childrens wellness General information Tags:Alternative medicine, Are we destroying our genetic future?, Dr sundardas, naturopathy
2 Comments

Are we destroying our future? (children and genomics)

There is an ancient Chinese proverb or a curse depending on your perspective thatgoes something like, “May you live in interesting times”. And yes, we truly live in interesting times. The advances in Science, Technology and Medicine have been truly breathtaking and awe inspiring.

As we gambol merrily along our lives, we have to stop and think about the legacy that we are leaving our children in more ways than one. Are we giving our children a better standard of living? Are we leaving behind a better world? Are we leaving behind a happier world? As we look at these, the answers become a little more complex and less black and white. Yes, as we increase our income levels, they get to live in better quality buildings. Life gets more comfortable. There is access to increased medical care and better facilities. In most Asian countries as they rapidly modernize everything begins to look neater and cleaner. They never go hungry. They have access to appropriate educational facilities.

However lets look a little at the nitty gritty of the cleaner buildings and the other changes in the environment. Most of these changes are facilitated by the advent of modern technological changes. For one thing, every year there are 2000 new chemicals being introduced into the environment that were not there before. One estimate, is that from the time of our grandparents to date we have 100, 000 new chemicals that were not there before. If you ever go into a construction site, you would notice the use of glues, solvents and new chemicals that make the process of designing new buildings easy and the impact on biological systems traumatic. One of the most commonly used ingredients is formaldehyde. This was once primarily used to preserve dead animals It is a very toxic substance and is now used in 200 household items. Imagine what it does to the nerve and brain tissue of developing foetuses in the mother’s womb not to mention young children.

We are at the beginning of one of the most terrifying epidemics that is beginning to sweep the emerging first world economics ie. Asia, India and China. Its not SARs or even the swine flue. It’s the epidemic of Syndrome X. Syndrome X is the precursor to diabetes, heart disease and cancer. What is particularly pernicious about this is that the programming for this condition is in utero. The study of how genes are turned on or off by the environment (nutrition, diet, toxins and emotions) is called epigenetics. The implications of the epigenetic revolution are even more profound in light of recent evidence that epigenetic changes made in the parent generation can turn up not just one but several generations down the line, long after the original trigger for change has been removed.

In 2004 Michael Skinner, a geneticist at Washington State University, accidentally discovered an epigenetic effect in rats that lasts at least four generations. Skinner was studying how a commonly used agricultural fungicide, when introduced to pregnant mother rats, affected the development of the testes of fetal rats. He was not surprised to discover that male rats exposed to high doses of the chemical while in utero had lower sperm counts later in life. The surprise came when he tested the male rats in subsequent generations—the grandsons of the exposed mothers. Although the pesticide had not changed one letter of their DNA, these second-generation offspring also had low sperm counts. The same was true of the next generation (the great-grandsons) and the next.
Such results hint at a seemingly anti-Darwinian aspect of heredity. Through epigenetic alterations, our genomes retain something like a memory of the environmental signals received during the lifetimes of our parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and perhaps even more distant ancestors. So far, the definitive studies have involved only rodents. But researchers are turning up evidence suggesting that epigenetic inheritance may be at work in humans as well.
In November 2005, Marcus Pembrey, a clinical geneticist at the Institute of Child Health in London, attended a conference at Duke University to present intriguing data drawn from two centuries of records on crop yields and food prices in an isolated town in northern Sweden. Pembrey and Swedish researcher Lars Olov Bygren noted that fluctuations in the towns’ food supply may have health effects spanning at least two generations. Grandfathers who lived their preteen years during times of plenty were more likely to have grandsons with diabetes—an ailment that doubled the grandsons’ risk of early death. Equally notable was that the effects were sex specific. A grandfather’s access to a plentiful food supply affected the mortality rates of his grandsons only, not those of his granddaughters, and a paternal grandmother’s experience of feast affected the mortality rates of her granddaughters, not her grandsons.

The studies by Pembrey and other epigenetics researchers suggest that our diet, behavior, and environmental surroundings today could have a far greater impact than imagined on the health of our distant descendants. “Our study has shown a new area of research that could potentially make a major contribution to public health and have a big impact on the way we view our responsibilities toward future generations,” Pembrey says.

The logic applies backward as well as forward: Some of the disease patterns prevalent today may have deep epigenetic roots. Pembrey and several other researchers, for instance, have wondered whether the current epidemic of obesity, commonly blamed on the excesses of the current generation, may partially reflect lifestyles adopted by our forebears two or more generations back.

Michael Meaney, who studies the impact of nurturing, likewise wonders what the implications of epigenetics are for social policy. He notes that early child-parent bonding is made more difficult by the effects of poverty, dislocation, and social strife. Those factors can certainly affect the cognitive development of the children directly involved. Might they also affect the development of future generations through epigenetic signaling?

Be well
Dr Sundardas

May 13, 2009 By : Category : affecting your child childrens wellness Tags:Are we destroying our future? (children and genomics), children, childrens wellness, Dr sundardas, genomics, naturopathy, NTRC, Singapore, wellness
0 Comment

How to keep children safe

I have a special soft spot when it comes to children. Every time I see a disabled or handicapped child my heart goes out to the child. I also feel for the parents. When it comes to children in the Autism Spectrum Disorder however I also feel a little angry. Why? I am not angry with the parents (I feel for them). Nor am I angry with the children.

Sometimes when I look at them my heart breaks. I am angry that there is so much misinformation about the nature and conditions that surround the problem.

Of course every time I surf the web and read what others have to say, there seem to be a range of opinions. However, the bottom line is that no one concerted school of thought apart from the Defeat Autism Network and its philosophies and practices has consistently helped ASD children recover and experience a fuller range of life and experiences.

I don’t wish to outline a treatment protocol here for ASD ( this is covered in my clinic website www.NaturalTherapies.com). What I want to do is to outline an overall procedure so that children have a reasonable chance of growing up well physically, emotionally and mentally. This is based on my experience of working with 10, 000 people of which 1,000 were children suffering from ASD, infections and allergies and emotional issues. Every adult was a child once and when I saw them , I saw the scars of inappropriate parenting.

I think parents need to make sure that they are physically, emotionally and mentally prepared to have a child. Both parents need to prepare themselves physically first. Stop smoking, drinking alcohol and the use of recreational drugs. If that seems like too much work, then the next question to ask is, “Are you sure that you are ready for the rigours of childbirth and child raising which will last for at least twenty years?” If you have been smoking or drinking then make some attempts to detoxify your liver. Ensure to the best of your ability that you have lowered the level of toxic chemicals in your system like heavy metals like mercury and PCBS like dioxin. Correct as much of your deficiencies as possible. If you are both are physically healthy, your baby has that much more chance of being physically healthy.

The next step is to be in a happy marriage or relationship. Why this provisio? It stands to reason doesn’t it that if you and your partner are happy with each other when the baby is in the womb, the mother will produce “happy molecules of emotion” (neuropeptides). This will bio-chemically program the baby in utero to be a “happy little camper”. The positive emotions will also program the baby to have positive emotions and high self esteem. In many Asian cultures, the concept of in-utero programming was practiced. Now we have “hot- housing” for producing smart kids. I have spent twenty years researching the impact of all these variables and a few books on the topics are planned. What I am outlining here are the takeaways from the research.

The baby is born. Minimise as much trauma as possible. You cannot legally avoid vaccines. However you can delay them until they are at least 1 year old. The baby’s innate immune system is at an all time high for the first 6 months. Thereafter it starts declining and other mechanisms kick in. In my experience of working with ASD children, none of whom are born with ASD just the tendency towards it, the trigger seems to be some kind of infection or vaccine (normally MMR) impacting the baby’s immune system within the first few days to few months of the baby’s birth.

Thereafter breast feed to child for at least 9 months to a year. When you start weaning them and adding solids, go slow. Notice their responses to new items and watch out for skin responses (rash, itch, cradle cap), digestive responses (colic, diarrhoea and constipation). All of these are markers of food intolerances which will eventually lead to significant health issues.

Maintaining close contact between mother and child in the first 24 hours of birth creates close bonding that results in a young person who will bond with others and be emotionally healthy and well-adjusted. Birth trauma of any kind, lack of close emotional bonding will create a young person who can grow up to be angry, distant and even psychopathic and suicidal.

It is interesting to note that the care and concern that the that parents demonstrate in the first seven years of the child’s life will critically impact him/her for thye rest of their lives. This behaviour by the parents provides the basis for imprinting that would condition the child physically, emotionally and mentally if not spiritually as to what type of person he is and what type of world he lives in. This sets the Blueprint for his Life. The role modeling they provide creates the basis for healthy well functioning happy person or a chronically dependent dysfunctional person.

The Imprint period from birth to about age 7 is the time when we are like a sponge. We pick up and store everything that goes on in our environment. The basic programming occurs between the ages of 2 to 4, by which time the bulk of the programming is complete. We also get our basic programming, which includes drivers and the script at about this age many of the cases of child abuse and or incest that is repressed normally occur about this time frame.

During this time frame the child unconsciously picks up the parents’ behaviour. Many cases of deep-seated dysfunctional attitudes also tend to originate from this time frame. The very notion of imprinting comes from Konrad Lorenz who studied the behaviour of ducklings when they hatched. He discovered that baby ducks would imprint a mother figure in the first day or so of life. So if you wish your children to have happy, positive experiences, you the parents need to live powerfully positive and happy lives.

Be well
Dr Sundardas

April 20, 2009 By : Category : affecting your child Are allergies/food sensitivitities affecting your child? autism childrens wellness Tags:ASD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, childrens, childrens wellness, How to keep children safe
14 Comments

Why are children becoming more toxic?

Technological developments have dramatically reduced mortality resulting from many diseases. In many instances, however, disease incidence is increasing, although for some conditions without standardized tracking mechanisms, trends are difficult to determine accurately. The burden from current patterns of disease and disability is enormous and extracts a terrible toll from individuals, families, and communities. Nearly 12 million children in the U.S (17 percent) suffer from one or more developmental disabilities, including deafness, blindness, epilepsy, speech defects, cerebral palsy, delays in growth and development, behavioral problems, or learning disabilities. Learning disabilities alone affect 5 to 10 percent of children in public schools, and these numbers appear to be increasing.

Small exposures to substances like lead, mercury, or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which have no discernible impact on adults, can permanently damage the developing brain of a child, if the exposure occurs during a window of vulnerability. Early exposures to dioxin or polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), chemicals from industrial activities that bioaccumulate in dietary fat, damage the developing immune system, making the child more prone to infections. Risks of asthma and high blood pressure are increased by early environmental exposures. Recent research from Sweden concludes not only that environmental factors play a more important role than genetic inheritance in the origin of most cancers, but also that cancer risk is largely established during the first 20 years of life.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder conservatively affects 3 to 6 percent of all school children, and the numbers may be considerably higher. The incidence of autism seems to be increasing, though much of this apparent increase may be due to increased reporting. The age-adjusted incidence of melanoma, lung (female), prostate, liver, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, testis, thyroid, kidney, breast, brain, esophagus, and bladder cancers has steadily increased over the past 25 years.[ Some birth defects, including disorders of the male reproductive system and some forms of congenital heart disease, are increasingly common. Sperm counts and fertility are in decline in some areas of the U.S. and other parts of the world. Asthma is more common and more severe than ever before.

Genetic factors explain far less than half of the population variance for most of these conditions. Although smoking and sun exposure are well-recognized risk factors for some conditions, improved understanding of development of the brain and the immune, reproductive, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems leads to the conclusion that other environmental factors play a major role in determining current patterns of disease.

Infants of mothers who smoke may receive greater exposure to the products of tobacco smoke through breast milk than through environmental exposure, according to a study led by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). The study showed a 10-Fold Increase Over Environmental Exposure Alone According to the report appearing in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health, urine levels of cotinine, a substance produced by the breakdown of nicotine in the body, were 10 times higher in breast-fed children of smoking mothers than in bottle-fed children of smoking mothers.

Maria A. Mascola, MD, MPH, first author of the study says, “While we don’t know for sure whether the compounds present in breast milk are related to any of the harmful health effects seen in some children of smoking women—from reduced lung function to greater incidence of asthma and other illnesses—this does stress how important it is to help mothers refrain from smoking both during pregnancy and while they are nursing.” Mascola is director of Perinatal Epidemiology in the Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology Service at the MGH.

This investigation was part of the Maternal/Infant Lung Study, a long-term project conducted by the Channing Laboratories at BWH in collaboration with the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. The researchers examined data from 330 mother/infant pairs who received prenatal, obstetric and pediatric care through the East Boston Center, analyzing information about maternal smoking and the presence of other smokers in the home along with results of urine tests taken from the infants in the first year of life. While cotinine, the substance tested for, is not known to have any harmful effects itself, it is generally used as a marker for the presence of nicotine and other tobacco products.

As expected, cotinine levels in bottle-fed infants of smoking mothers were about eight times higher than in bottle-fed infants of non-smoking mothers. But among children of smoking mothers, infants who were breast-fed had cotinine levels ten times higher than those of bottle-fed infants. Type of feeding had no effect on the cotinine levels of infants of non-smoking mothers.The researchers also found significantly higher cotinine levels in infants of non-smoking mothers who were exposed to tobaccco through smoking by another household member, with no difference related to feeding. For infants of smoking mothers, the presence of another smoker in the household caused a small, statistically insignificant increase in cotinine. In addition, children of mothers who smoked in the same room as their infants also had a small, statistically insignificant increase in cotinine over children of mothers who always smoked in rooms away from their infants.

“Our 10-year study has looked at a lot of factors related to the ways kids can be exposed to tobacco smoke on a prenatal and postnatal level,” says John P. Hanrahan, MD, MPH, of the respiratory epidemiology section at Channing Laboratories and BWH, the study’s senior author. “A lot of people have assumed that the inhalation of passive smoke is totally responsible for the adverse health effects seen in children of smoking mothers. This study has widened our view of the ways smoking may be detrimental to the health of children.”

What are we doing to protect our children?

Be well

Dr Sundardas

April 2, 2009 By : Category : affecting your child childrens wellness Tags:children, children-wellness, children's health, wellness, Why are children becoming more toxic?
18 Comments
SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline