Congratulations to our center researchers for being one of the three papers selected as an NIEHS Extramural Paper of the Month. The Extramural Papers of the Month are selected based on their important findings and potential for public health impact. The new study, “Sources of clinically significant neonatal intensive care unit phthalate exposure,” funded by NIEHS identified noninvasive respiratory support equipment — specifically, nasal prongs that deliver oxygen and air pressure — as a source of phthalate exposure in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Although multiple studies have demonstrated elevated phthalate markers in NICU patients, specific sources of phthalate exposure were not previously identified. According to the authors, their discovery of the source of potentially neuroactive phthalate exposure provides an avenue to reduce phthalate exposure among NICU patients. To see the papers for November, visit the NIEHS Environmental Factor website.
Dr. Robert Wright provided commentary for the American Academy of Pediatrics October 2018, VOLUME 142/Issue 4–“Motherless Children Have the Hardest Time”: Epigenetic Programming and Early Life Environment. Dr. Robert Wright discussed how the environment early in life can program health effects that manifest years or even decades later. His new commentary explains the importance of identifying risk factors for stress from infanthood. To read the AAP commentary click here.
Dr. Emily Moody presented on the effects of lead in adults at the 20th National Environmental Conference at Tar Creek and was interviewed by the Joplin Globe. Dr. Moody said she’s always been interested in recognizing the differences of toxic metals and how it affects people. “Any exposure that we do have (to lead) comes from our own history,” Moody said. “We mined lead and have used it in many products over a millennia, and that’s how it gets into our environments and our bodies.” Lead affects adults and children differently. The toxic metal affects children’s overall growth and development. Exposures to lead in children can cause decreased bone and muscle growth, lower IQ, nervous system damage, kidney damage and learning disabilities. In adults, lead is stored in the bones and can affect the kidneys, the cardiovascular system, the reproductive system, the nervous system and the digestive system. To read the full article click here.
On September 18, 2018, Dr. Rosalind Wright was interviewed by Daily Mail to discuss how mothers who experienced trauma are more likely to have underweight baby boys. Researchers from our center at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York say that their new study, published in the Journal of Pediatrics, found those exposed to serious trauma at some point and who secreted high levels of cortisol in late pregnancy were prone to low birthweight sons. Dr. Rosalind Wright explains “given the disproportionate exposure to stressors among racial minorities and women of lower socioeconomic status, there are important implications for understanding intergenerational perpetuation of health disparities and for understanding how to intervene.” To read the full Daily Mail article click here.
The NIH Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) highlighted our Artificial Turf & Children’s Health Factsheet as part of their Featured Material newsletter. The infographic describes how artificial turf poses a health risk to children and provides tips for safer play on artificial surfaces. To read more about PEPH and Materials in Action click here.
On September 05, 2018, The American Thoracic Society Morning Minute highlighted our paper, “Prenatal Particulate Air Pollution and Asthma Onset in Urban Children. Identifying Sensitive Windows and Sex Differences.” This is the first study to leverage weekly PM2.5 exposure estimates over gestation combined with data-driven statistics to characterize susceptibility windows, removing the subjectivity that currently guides the decision of when to assess exposure effects. These data demonstrate that increased prenatal PM2.5 exposure at mid-gestation (16–25 wk gestation) was associated with asthma development by age 6 years in boys. To read more about ATS and our paper click here.
Allan Just, PhD, P30 center member at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Itai Kloog, PhD, from the Ben-Gurion University of Negev in Israel and Adjunct Professor in EMPH, are collaborating on a new research program focused on temperature variability, air pollution, and birth outcomes in a changing climate. This work will be undertaken in collaboration with Joel Schwartz, PhD, from the Harvard School of Public Health and is funded by the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF)
The U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF) promotes scientific relations between the U.S. and Israel by supporting collaborative research projects in a wide area of basic and applied scientific fields, for peaceful and non-profit purposes. Eligible projects must demonstrate outstanding scientific merit and clear collaboration between Israeli and American researchers from institutions throughout the two countries. Congratulations to Allan Just and Itai Kloog for receiving this award!
On July 25, 2018, Dr. Manish Arora was interviewed by NY1 to discuss how teeth may be key in diagnosing autism earlier. Dr. Arora and researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital collected the baby teeth of sibling pairs and analyzed layers in teeth like growth rings in trees. “Just like you can count back the rings and make assumptions about past weather, we can count rings in baby teeth and we can make very precise measurements of all the exposures we experienced even before we were born,” explained Dr. Arora. “These early life signatures, even present at birth, can predict the emergence of autism later in childhood, with about 90 percent accuracy. So we are very excited about this but this is just a first step,” Dr. Arora noted. The hope is the findings will lead to a diagnostic test for autism and potential new therapies. To read the full article and watch the interview, click here.
On July 23, 2018, Dr. Galvez was mentioned in CNN Article discuss how certain chemicals might have a range of side effects, especially for children. A policy statement published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, a leading US medical organization representing more than 60,000 pediatricians, recommended that parents and children avoid certain chemicals used in food processing and called for the government to adjust its methods of deeming substances to be safe. Dr. Galvez further elaborated on the importance of regulating chemicals before entering the market “Chemicals used in everyday products need to be rigorously evaluated for their full potential of human health impacts before they are made widely available in the marketplace. To read the full CNN article click here.
On July 02, 2018, Drs. Manish Arora and Paul Curtin were featured in NYT Article “In Baby Teeth, Links Between Chemical Exposure in Pregnancy and Autism” to discuss the association of past environmental exposures and autism. Dr. Arora and a team of researchers developed an innovative technique using baby teeth, which start to develop toward the end of the first trimester, and form a new layer each day, growing in what he called an “incremental archival manner.” The layers can capture traces of chemicals, so that they serve as “biologic hard drives,” records of what exposures occurred during fetal development, and when they occurred, in a manner similar to the rings on trees. Using the teeth that children have shed between the ages of 6 and 12, Dr. Arora said, it’s possible to look back at exposures during fetal development, and at other aspects of early metabolism to see whether children who later go on to develop autism are biologically different early on. In a study published in Science Advances in May, scientists used this technique to compare early zinc and copper metabolism in children with autism with their siblings without autism.Dr. Arora said this could lead to a biomarker for autism, a diagnostic test which could be administered before a child shows behavioral differences. To read more click here.