On February 26, 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency published an article highlighting an air quality study led by Dr. Laura McGuinn from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Ward-Caviness colleagues. The researchers observed that long-term exposure to PM2.5 increased the number of small, cholesterol particles in the bloodstream of the individuals who underwent cardiac catheterization and therefore may make susceptible populations more prone to cardiovascular disease. The study is the first of its kind to describe these new cholesterol biomarkers that focus on size rather than total cholesterol in the blood. The results are published in the January issue of the journal Environmental International. To read the full article click here.
On February 15, 2019, Dr. Roberto Lucchini spoke to Vox about the rise of chronic kidney disease in Central America and how it could be linked to the rise in temperatures. When people are exposed to long stretches of extreme heat, they sweat more. If they don’t rehydrate, or don’t have access to clean drinking water, the kidneys, which are supposed to filter waste and regulate fluid in the body, get stressed. Over time, that stress can lead to kidney stones and chronic damage. Dr. Lucchini, an environmental and public health professor at Mount Sinai, who’s been studying the phenomenon, calls this the first epidemic that’s directly attributable to climate change. “It was not recognized before the rise in temperatures,” he said, “and the epidemic of these cases is currently observed in the countries that are more affected by [global warming] in the last decades,” from Central America to India and Southeast Asia. To read the full article click here.
On February 03, 2019, Dr. Scott Sicherer spoke to CBS news about gene-environment interactions and their role in allergy development. Dr. Scott Sicherer, who directs the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says there are a lot of theories as to why there’s been an increase in food allergies: “It goes from everywhere from what we call the hygiene or cleanliness hypothesis to vitamin D, to the way that the biology of our body may have changed, or even the food supply.” To read the full article click here.
On January 30, 2019, Dr. Shann Swan’s spoke to Cape Gazette on her recently published research that found language delays in children could be linked to phthalates in the environment. The study included 963 children and mothers from Sweden who participated in the Swedish Environmental Longitudinal Mother and Child, Asthma and Allergy Study, and 370 mothers and children from the United States who participated in the Infant Development and the Environment Study. Study author Shanna Swan said, “When you compare the risk of language delay in mothers with high exposure versus low exposure, it was double the risk. They were twice as likely to have language delay.” Swan is a professor in the department of environmental medicine and public health at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine. To read the full article click here.
On January 22, 2019, Dr. Supinda Bunyavanich spoke to Chemical & Engineering News about gut microbiota and it’s linkage to the presence of food allergy. “I think it’s important to keep in mind that it’s not going to be a single bullet you can use to treat food allergy,” says Supinda Bunyavanich, an allergy expert at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Gut bacteria act in communities, she says, and that the different species may influence how the immune system acts. To read the full article click here.
On January 06, 2019, Dr. Luz Claudio discussed how genetically modified houseplant could effectively reduce the levels of several common indoor air pollutants in Healthline article. Researchers from the University of Washignton genetically modified the pothos ivy to help remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air in homes at useful rates, according to a new study published in the journal of Environmentl Science and Technology. Air Pollution is a major contributing facor in diseases, including cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases such as asthma, and potentially brain development in children,” said Dr. Claudio. “We have better control of the environment inside our homes, so it’s worth having clean air indoors as much as possible,” Dr. Claudio said. To read the full article click here.
Dr. Manish Arora was featured in Spectrum Article, “How Pregnancy may shape a child’s autism”, to discuss how chemical exposures may affect a child’s odds of autism. Dr. Arora’s work is part of a growing field that is attempting to decipher what kinds of environmental exposures increase the odds of autism and how they interact with human biology and genetics. Researchers cannot easily collect blood or saliva samples from fetuses to see what’s circulating through them. Instead, they try to discern fetal exposures by using the mother’s environment as a proxy. If a pregnant woman takes a particular medication, for instance, researchers can extrapolate that the fetus, too, was exposed. To read full article click here.
P30 Center Director, Dr. Robert Wright, featured in the news article “The Brain before Birth: Using fMRI to Explore the Secrets of Fetal Neurodevelopment” for Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP). The article appears in the November 2018 issue of EHP. To access the article click here.
P30 Center Director, Dr. Robert Wright, contributes to a new report from NASEM that recommends the creation of a health monitoring and research program (HMRP) on Gulf War and post 9/11 veterans. The committee that carried out the study and wrote the report assessed the available evidence on the reproductive, developmental, and generational health effects related to exposures that may have occurred during the Gulf War and post-9/11 conflicts. While there is a growing base of human and animal evidence on the reproductive and developmental effects of many toxicants of concern, there is a dearth of information on the specific effects of veterans’ exposures on their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. To read the full report click here.
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.