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My Mother Made Me Fat!

If it hadn’t been for the Big Macs that Joannie ate pretty much three times a week, she wouldn’t have gotten fat.  If she hadn’t been exposed while in her mother’s womb to chemicals x, y and z, Joannie wouldn’t have had the propensity to get fat.  And if Joannie’s mom had eaten more sensibly, both waistlines would be slimmer. Fat people most likely are programmed to become fat before taking their first sip of milk.  Today’s news is, that pesticides are among the chemicals responsible for this reprogramming. Two of three U.S. adults are now classified as overweight.  Type II diabetes has increased in like measure over the same decades, and so has heart disease.  This is not a coincidence.  These illnesses share common characteristics: they are triggered while in the womb by exposure to the same kinds of chemicals and the outcomes show up in adulthood.  Scientists now call this pattern “the fetal origins of adult diseases.” The most likely culprits are chemicals now grouped together under the rubric “endocrine disrupters.”  It’s been known for about two decades, though disputed by the manufacturers, that these chemicals alter the normal signaling pathways of hormones.  Think of Bisphenol A (BPA), right now the nation’s most celebrated endocrine disruptor. Pesticides, though not specifically thought of as endocrine disruptors nor regulated as such, can similarly knock normal development off track.  Research has just found that a family of pesticides among the most widely used in the world is connected to these three adult illnesses.  This is the family of organophosphates, concocted from petroleum with an addition of phosphoric acid. When lab rats are exposed to these pesticides through the mothers’ diet, at a time in their development equivalent to a human baby’s second trimester in the womb, their metabolism changes in two ways: their cholesterol and triglycerides rise.  These abnormal and lasting changes resemble the major factors that predict and lead, later in life, to obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular heart disease (specifically, atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty material collects along the arteries and hardens artery walls).  . These changes in metabolism happen at low levels, within the levels we are uniformly exposed to, which the Environmental Protection Agency declares as “safe” but are evidently not.  The changes are the strongest when the mother rats are fed a high-fat diet.  Human babies may even be underweight at birth (and there’s an epidemic of underweight babies in the U.S.), but quickly become overweight Humans run into these pesticides in our food and water.  Of course, children continue to be exposed once they are born and are in fact exposed more than adults because they eat and drink more in relation to their body weight and have a higher ratio of skin. The other groups of people exposed most to organophosphates and other pesticides are the same groups with the highest rates of obesity – people who live in run-down inner-city neighborhoods, the poor, and farmworkers.  Again, not a coincidence but a connection, a trigger. Dr. Ted Slotkin of Duke University, the researcher responsible for these discoveries, found another compelling clue: exposure caused harm to the rodent’s brain, as well as its metabolism.  Once the exposed lab animal was born and started to eat at will, its consumption of a high-fat diet reduced the adverse symptoms in its brain functioning.  As Dr. Slotkin muses, “If you’ve got neurofunctional deficits, and they can be offset by continually eating Big Macs, then you will naturally (but unconsciously) select that kind of food because it will make you feel better.”  Unfortunately, increased fat will further harm the animal’s, or human’s, metabolism. ——- Cross-posted from

To Vaccinate Your Teenage Daughter or Son….or Not?

As soon as a teenage girl walks into her pediatrician’s office, he will suggest another vaccination, to be delivered through a series of shots spaced out over six months.  This time the vaccine is Gardasil, intended to protect her from being infected by the human papilloma virus, HPV, which might cause cervical cancer later in […] Read More..

Kids in the Gulf

As the massive oil slicks from the BP Gulf spill advance upon shores and communities, everyone is worried about the effect on wildlife and the natural environment, but strangely silent about another unavoidable danger.  Substantial harm to the children of the Gulf Coast is now unavoidable. If you can smell oil in the air, as […] Read More..

A New Pediatrics to Heal Sick Children (and Keep Well Kids Healthy)

If your baby were suffering from colic, would you treat him with artificially dyed and sweetened simethicone (the chemical in drugs such as Mylanta and Mylicon) or first try an emulsion of fennel seed oil?  If your young daughter developed a persistent rash, would you prefer the doctor to prescribe antihistamines or a diet rich […] Read More..

The Girlcott – Compounded Green Consumer Power

Compounded Green Consumer Power One good aspect of our consumer-driven economy is, that each of us has the power to make change happen by the way we spend our money.  And some positive changes are happening, at least around the margins — the influx of stainless steel water bottles onto our supermarket shelves to replace […] Read More..

Of Teenagers and Whales

Yesterday evening, after my teenage granddaughter had finished her homework, we went at her request to a nearby mall.  We drove, of course. While she was hunting around for some new acquisition of the outlandish apparel teenagers relish these days, I sauntered idly around the shops.  The stores are all chains common to malls across […] Read More..