Pollutants cause huge rise in brain diseases

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Pollutants cause huge rise in brain diseases

Postby Felly » Sun Aug 15, 2004 11:14 am

This is an article from The Guardian, a leading and very well respected UK broadsheet newspaper.

Although the article doesn't directly mention MS it would be difficult to rule pollution out of the equation as a potential contributory factor to some sub types of MS.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/medicine/stor ... 88,00.html
Pollutants cause huge rise in brain diseases

Scientists alarmed as number of cases triples in 20 years

Juliette Jowit, environment editor
Sunday August 15, 2004
The Observer
The numbers of sufferers of brain diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, have soared across the West in less than 20 years, scientists have discovered.
The alarming rise, which includes figures showing rates of dementia have trebled in men, has been linked to rises in levels of pesticides, industrial effluents, domestic waste, car exhausts and other pollutants, says a report in the journal Public Health.

In the late 1970s, there were around 3,000 deaths a year from these conditions in England and Wales. By the late 1990s, there were 10,000.

'This has really scared me,' said Professor Colin Pritchard of Bournemouth University, one of the report's authors. 'These are nasty diseases: people are getting more of them and they are starting earlier. We have to look at the environment and ask ourselves what we are doing.'

The report, which Pritchard wrote with colleagues at Southampton University, covered the incidence of brain diseases in the UK, US, Japan, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Spain in 1979-1997. The researchers then compared death rates for the first three years of the study period with the last three, and discovered that dementias - mainly Alzheimer's, but including other forms of senility - more than trebled for men and rose nearly 90 per cent among women in England and Wales. All the other countries were also affected.

For other ailments, such as Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, the group found there had been a rise of about 50 per cent in cases for both men and women in every country except Japan. The increases in neurological deaths mirror rises in cancer rates in the West.

The team stresses that its figures take account of the fact that people are living longer and it has also made allowances for the fact that diagnoses of such ailments have improved. It is comparing death rates, not numbers of cases, it says.

As to the cause of this disturbing rise, Pritchard said genetic causes could be ruled out because any changes to DNA would take hundreds of years to take effect. 'It must be the environment,' he said.

The causes were most likely to be chemicals, from car pollution to pesticides on crops and industrial chemicals used in almost every aspect of modern life, from processed food to packaging, from electrical goods to sofa covers, Pritchard said.

Food is also a major concern because it provides the most obvious explanation for the exclusion of Japan from many of these trends. Only when Japanese people move to the other countries do their disease rates increase.

'There's no one single cause ... and most of the time we have no studies on all the multiple interactions of the combinations on the environment. I can only say there have been these major changes [in deaths]: it is suggested it's multiple pollution.'

Pritchard's paper has been published amid growing fears about the chemical build-up in the environment. A number of studies have pointed to serious problems. TBT is being banned from marine paints after it was blamed for masculinising female molluscs, causing a dramatic decline in numbers. A US report linked neurological disorders to pesticides. And testing by WWF (formerly the World Wildlife Fund) found non-natural substances such as flame retardants in every person who took part.

WWF has named chemical pollution as one of the two great environmental threats to the world, alongside global warming, and is particularly worried about 'persistent and accumulative' industrial chemicals and endocrine - hormone distorting - substances linked to changes in gender and behaviour among animals and even children.

'We've started seeing changes in fertility rates, the immune system, neurological changes [and] impacts on behaviour,' said Matthew Wilkinson, the charity's toxics programme leader.

Pesticides and pharmaceutical chemicals must now undergo rigorous testing before they can be used. But there are an estimated 80,000 industrial chemicals and the 'vast majority' do not need safety regulation or testing, said Wilkinson.

However, the chemical industry strongly rejects what it claims are often unproven fears. Just because chemicals are present does not mean they are at dangerous levels.

But critics are not reassured. 'It is true that just because we find a chemical does not mean it is dangerous,' said Wilkinson. 'But it is equally true that for the vast majority of chemicals we have so little safety data that the regulatory authorities have no idea what a safe level is.'

The Royal Society of Chemistry also said quantities of pesticides were declining. 'Improvements in analytical chemistry mean that lower and lower levels of pesticides can be detected,' said Brian Emsley, the society's spokesman. '[But] because you can detect something doesn't necessarily mean it is dangerous.'
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Postby mscaregiver » Sun Aug 15, 2004 2:17 pm

Thank for the post Felly, I was just reading the article and was on my here to post, very interesting and frightning article..

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Postby billf » Mon Aug 16, 2004 8:44 am

It would be interesting to see if there is any correllation between geographic distribution of any type of high pollutants and the geographic distribution of MS. There was a study done correlating global distribution of MS and concentrations of bedrock that produce radon (not really a "pollutant" in the same sense). I can't remember the name of the study.
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Postby lottydotty » Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:50 am

I personaly beleive my MS comes from years of working in the auto repair business. I was exposed daily to exhaust, solvants, paints, dry cleaning chemicals, etc. The building was built in the 20's or 30's and was a gas station for many many years. although the tanks were removed before we set up shop.
Right before my diagnoses I moved into a house that is infested with ants. Lots and lots of pesticides and boom! I start having neurological problems. Coincidence?
I'm a smoker. Nobody would think it a coincidence if I got lung cancer!
Anyway, I don't work anymore and I'm finaly moving out of the ant house. Terminix is out on a weekly basis and they can't even get control of the problem! Crazy!
I think all the chemicals from work and the pesticides were just too much for my body to handle and it went haywire. Now with all the medications my body is just torn up. The doctors don't want to accept this as a posability. They just say, MS, take this this and this and be on your way. At least that's how I get treated.
and oh ya,I live by a major airport! just adds jet fuel to the mixture!
MS is the gift that keeps on giving.
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Postby Shayk » Tue Aug 17, 2004 7:34 pm

Thought I would weigh in on this one. In the US
The proportion of women living with MS jumped by 50% between the 1980s and the 1990s.
The number of MS cases increased by 50 percent from the early 1980s to the mid 1990s from 75 per 100,000 women to 113 per 100,000. In the same time period, the number of cases of MS among men remained relatively constant.
From an article http://www.womens-health.org/press/NewsService/ems.htm

Now, one of the authors, Noonan, says the increase may be due to better disease detection and improved treatments, but if that were the case, one would expect to see a similar increase in prevalence among men.

Environmental toxins certainly can't be doing any good. But at least in the US, why the increase in women but not men? One source I've read wildly speculated that at least in the US, the increase may be due to increased stress among working women, with children, managing households who have burned out their adrenal glands.

As someone said, speculation is fun. :wink:

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Postby Felly » Thu Aug 19, 2004 11:33 am

It could also be because women are more susceptible to many more chemical pollutants than men.

According to The Who more than 15,000 synthetic chemicals contained in household products or dispersed in the environment are endocrine-disrupters and women are much more vulnerable to these than men.

The Who say
'Some chemical agents mimic or inhibit natural hormones, or may alter the normal regulatory function of the immune, nervous and endocrine systems. Breast cancers and endometriosis are some of the diseases suspected to be caused by environmental endocrine disrupters. '

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Postby Shayk » Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:29 pm


That's an absolute excellent point. From the "diagnose-me" link someone posted a while back I checked out "Progesterone Low or Estrogen Dominance". Per that site

Another major factor contributing to this imbalance between estrogen and progesterone is the industrialized world we now live in, immersed in a rising sea of petrochemical derivatives. They are in the air, food and water and include pesticides and herbicides...as well as various plastics....and PCBs. These estrogen-mimics are highly fat soluble, not biodegradable or well excreted, and accumulate.......they are taken up by the estrogen receptor sites in the body, seriously interfering with natural biochemical activity.....These mimics are linked to.....neurological disorders

Anyway, I checked out low progesterone/estrogen dominance because I finally got my hormone test results, and, guess what, next to no progesterone. 8O

Could be the environmental hazards played a big role in that. :?:

Changing "gears", the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has a a bit on MS and Endocrine Disruption research that they're doing. www.atsdr.cdc.gov/HEC/HSPH/v12n2-1.html for people who are interested.

Take care all

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