Dr Dingle's Blog / dementia

Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Environmental Estrogens and Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's)

Since the 1980's, there has been a growing amount of research toward the potential interaction between these environmental estrogens and wild animals, with a number of reports detailing the emergence of 'feminised wildlife’ around the world, and a range of adverse effects in humans including decreased sperm count, increased cases of testicular cancer and testicular abnormalities, increased breast cancer in men and women and premature or precocious puberty. Other adverse health outcomes linked with EDC’s include headache, migraine, depression, gastrointestinal disturbances, insomnia, changes in breast tissue and in vaginal bleeding. More chronic symptoms affect the cardiovascular system, the skin (itching, rash, abnormal pigmentation), the gallbladder, and tumours particularly of the breast but also uterus, cervix, vagina and liver. While other studies have shown increases in the organ weight of estrogen-sensitive tissues such as the uterus, and calcium and bone metabolism are all examples of the estrogenic effects. Even how we age and age at menopause can be affected by these chemicals. In support of this at least one professional and very conservative group, the Endocrine Society, has concluded that sufficient evidence now exists linking endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) to adverse human reproductive effects, including possible epigenetic and trans-generational effects.

Unfortunately, our babies are being born pre-polluted with chemicals detectable in their blood, in the placenta and in amniotic fluid because of exposure to these chemicals during pregnancy and throughout the mother’s life. The placental barrier has been shown to allow these chemicals to cross, as many of them have been measured in human fetal cord blood, fetal serum, human amniotic fluid and even newborn stools (meconium). Exposure to these chemicals before birth poses a serious health risks to developing fetus, infants and young children as shown by the increasing adverse effects including negative birth outcomes, childhood obesity and increasing intellectual disabilities. It is believed that current levels of environmental estrogen exposure results in lower birth weights, smaller head circumferences, poorer neuromuscular maturity and visual recognition, delays in psychomotor development, short term memory problems, and growth retardation in newborn babies. Fetal exposure to these environmental estrogens are suspected of disrupting thyroid functioning, sexual differentiation of the brain in foetal development and cognitive motor function and cause anxious behaviour. They are also able to bind to neurotransmitters such as epinephrine, neuroepinophrine and dopamine enabling estrogens to influence the body's central nervous system (CNS). Environmental estrogens have also been shown to effect the body’s immune system.

Studies have found strong links with exposure to excessive levels of estrogen in males with penis abnormalities, lower libido, congenital anomalies, failure of the testes to descend and testicular cancer, reduced penis size and increased embryo mortality.

What is most concerning regarding control of these chemicals is that there are no indications given or regulations set regarding the minimal age at which they should be used or exposed to them. Increasingly, pregnant mothers, infants, pre-pubescent and pubescent children are being exposed to a large number of products containing these chemicals, with no research to show that exposure is safe during these critical periods of development.

Equally strong is the evidence that these same chemicals can cause some of the most common cancers: prostate and testicular cancer in men and breast cancer in women. One of the most troubling is their association with breast cancer. Breast cancer is the major cancer affecting women in the Western world and one of the most disturbing and well documented current trends is the alarming increase in breast cancer incidence over the past few decades. Fifty years ago the risk rate was one woman in 20; today it is one in 8 and approximately two-thirds of breast tumors are estrogen receptive, and environmental estrogens like parabens, phthalates and BPA are known to bind to estrogen receptors. Estrogen-dependent cancers, such as breast cancer, are known to be highly responsive to estrogens for growth. Even more disturbing is the increase in numbers of young girls developing breast cancer.

 

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Positive attitude decreases the risk of dementia by 50%

Positive attitude decreases the risk of dementia by 50%

One of the strongest risk factors for dementia is the ε4 variant of the APOE gene. One quarter of the population carries the ε4 variant of the APOE gene, which is one of the strongest risk factors for dementia. Yet, many who carry it never develop dementia. This study examined perceptions about various aspects of old age, reduces the risk of dementia for APOE ε4 carriers as well as older individuals in general.

In this study of 4,765 Health and Retirement Study participants who were aged 60 or older and dementia-free at the beginning. Among those with APOE ε4, those with positive age beliefs were 49.8% less likely to develop dementia than those with negative age beliefs. The results of this study suggest that positive age beliefs, which are modifiable and have been found to reduce stress, can act as a protective factor, even for older individuals at high risk of dementia.

Considerable research has found that positive age beliefs predict better cognitive performance; whereas, negative age beliefs predict worse cognitive performance. The pattern of age beliefs predicting cognition has been supported many studies, together with three meta-analyses. Further, a recent study found that negative age beliefs predicted the development of Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers.

Short- and long-term randomized controlled interventions conducted with older participants have shown that positive age beliefs can be bolstered and negative age beliefs can be mitigated with corresponding changes in cognitive and physical performance.

Recent studies found that negative age beliefs can exacerbate stress; in contrast, positive age beliefs can help buffer against the deleterious effects of stress. While another set of studies suggests that stress can contribute to the development of dementia.

However, underlying all this is inflammation and oxidation. The increased negative attitude leads to increased stress which leads to increased inflammation and oxidation which leads to increased dementia. Stop the downward cycle by lowering the inflammation and bolstering the positive thoughts.

The reduction of stress by positive age beliefs could potentially contribute to a lower incidence of dementia among older individuals in general and specifically among those with APOE ε4.

source

Levy BR, Slade MD, Pietrzak RH, Ferrucci L (2018) Positive age beliefs protect against dementia even among elders with high-risk gene. PLoS ONE 13(2): e0191004. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0191004

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