Science Pick: Premature Aging and Waste Landfill Sites. April 17, 2012Posted by Nancy Hepp in breaking news, science pick.
Tags: pollution, premature aging, telomeres
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See the article in Gene: Telomere shortening in women resident close to waste landfill sites
In this study, scientists from the University of Naples collected blood samples from 50 apparently healthy pregnant women living in an area of Italy with a large number of waste dumps and from a control group of 50 healthy women living in an unpolluted area. The purpose of the study was to compare the length of telomeres on the ends of chromosomes in the cells from women from the two areas. Telomeres are caps on the ends of chromosomes that shorten successively with each cell division. Short telomeres are associated with cell senescence, diseases of aging, and cancer. Oxidative stress in the cells may explain how exposure to pollution causes shortening of telomeres.
After controlling for age of participants, telomeres on the chromosomes of white blood cells from women living in the polluted areas were determined to be significantly shorter than those from the control group. Moreover, teleomere length became progressively shorter the closer participants lived to the polluted area. Although this study did not include a direct measure of exposure to pollutants in individual participants, the results are highly suggestive of a causal relationship between exposure and shortened telomeres.
Previous studies have shown also reduction of telomere length associated with exposure to air pollution from traffic and other sources. These findings may help explain the increased risk of premature diseases of aging and cancer in populations exposed to various kinds of environmental pollution.
Phthalates and Diabetes: Is There a Connection? April 16, 2012Posted by Nancy Hepp in breaking news, science pick.
Tags: diabetes, phthalates, Uppsala University
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Coordinator of the CHE Diabetes-Obesity Spectrum Working Group
What did Dr. Lind and her colleagues find? That three of the four phthalate metabolites they measured were associated with diabetes in elderly Swedish adults—even after adjusting for obesity, smoking, exercise, and other factors linked to diabetes. People with higher phthalate metabolite levels had about twice the risk of diabetes as those with lower levels. In this study, the phthalate metabolites linked to diabetes included MMP, MEP, and MiBP, all of which are metabolites of phthalates used in personal care products. Taking the research one step farther, the authors found that MMP and MEP were related to insulin resistance, while MiBP was related to poor insulin secretion. (The phthalate MEHP, a breakdown product of the common plasticizer DEHP, was not related to diabetes or the other health effects). These four phthalate metabolites were detected in almost all study participants.