Tags: breast cancer, cancer, diabetes, Dr. Ted Schettler, ecological paradigm of health, nutrition, obesity, Parkinson's disease, pesticides
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Yes! Magazine’s Fall 2012 issue features an interview with Dr. Ted Schettler, CHE’s science director:
Talking with Dr. Ted Schettler is probably unlike any conversation you have had with your physician. Raise the topic of breast cancer or diabetes or dementia, and Schettler starts talking about income disparities, industrial farming, and campaign finance reform.
The Harvard-educated physician, frustrated by the limitations of science in combating disease, believes that finding answers to the most persistent medical challenges of our time—conditions that now threaten to overwhelm our health care system—depends on understanding the human body as a system nested within a series of other, larger systems: one’s family and community, environment, culture, and socioeconomic class, all of which affect each other.
Paternal Age, de Novo Mutations and Autism Risk August 30, 2012Posted by Nancy Hepp in breaking news.
Tags: autism, autism incidence, de novo mutations, father's age
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Ted Schettler, MD, MPH
A recent study of paternal age, de novo DNA mutations, and autism risk in Iceland, published in the journal Nature, has received considerable attention. The authors of the study found more de novo DNA mutations in children with autism and those mutations were largely traced to fathers rather than mothers. Increasing numbers of mutations were also associated with increasing paternal age. The authors wondered if recent increases in autism were largely attributable to the increasing age of fathers.
The New Yorker said, “What was surprising was how that news, which one of the study’s lead authors described as “sort of a little bit of our side story,” obscured the implications of the paper’s main findings—namely, that the genetic health of the species is now facing a serious threat.” Read more. Important as this is, most reports have failed to comment on another observation in the paper. The authors said this:
“There has been a recent transition of Icelanders from a rural agricultural to an urban industrial way of life, which engendered a rapid and sequential drop in the average age of fathers at conception from 34.9 years in 1900 to 27.9 years in 1980, followed by an equally swift climb back to 33.0 years in 2011, primarily owing to the effect of higher education and the increased use of contraception. On the basis of the fitted linear model, whereas individuals born in 1900 carried on average 73.7 de novo mutations, those born in 1980 carried on average only 59.7 such mutations (a decrease of 19.1%), and the mutational load of individuals born in 2011 has increased by 17.2% to 69.9. Demographic change of this kind and magnitude is not unique to Iceland, and it raises the question of whether the reported increase in ASD diagnosis lately is at least partially due to an increase in the average age of fathers at conception.”
Science Pick: More Evidence of Declining Sperm Quality. August 21, 2012Posted by Nancy Hepp in science pick.
Tags: declining sperm count, sperm count, sperm quality
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Karin Gunther Russ, MS, RN
Coordinator of the Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group
The role that environment plays in male fertility has been debated over the years. A landmark study by Dr. Carlsen et al in 1992 demonstrated an approximately 50% decline in sperm counts in Danish military recruits over a 50 year period. Dr. Jorgensen and colleagues published a study this summer showing sperm counts in Danish men have increased somewhat in recent years, but are still significantly lower than sperm counts in a population of infertile men in Denmark studied in the 1940s. This new study again gives reason for concern about trends in male fertility. Looking at data from Israeli sperm banks, the authors found the average sperm concentration dropped from ~106 million spermatozoa/ml to ~68 million/ ml over the study period. The authors state: “The rapid deterioration of sperm quality among fertile semen donors is alarming and may lead to cessation of sperm donation programs.”
Haimov-Kochman R, Har-Nir R, Ein-Mor E, Ben-Shoshan V, Greenfield C, Eldar I, Bdolah Y, Hurwitz A. Is the quality of donated semen deteriorating? Findings from a 15 year longitudinal analysis of weekly sperm samples. Israel Medical Association Journal. 2012. Jun;14(6):372-7.
From the abstract: Studies suggest that global semen quality is declining, but the debate remains open owing to geographic variation. This study evaluates temporal trends of sperm parameters—namely concentration, motility and total motile sperm count—in sperm donated during the period 1995-2009 in Israel. Despite the lowering of criteria for sperm parameters satisfactory for donation that were implemented in 2004, 38% of applicants for sperm donation are now rejected based on semen quality.