Lourdes Salvador's Column
...Co-founder of MCS America discusses the latest Multiple Chemical Sensitivity issues.
Lourdes Salvador is the founder of MCS America, a science writer, and a social advocate for the greater awareness of environmental contamination, human toxicology, and propagation of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) as a disorder of organic biological origin induced by toxic environmental insults.
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Research Finds Ancestors’ Chemical Exposure Linked to Obesity and Autism
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by Lourdes Salvador
Researcher David Crews and colleagues of the University of Texas at Austin believes that environmental damage to cells can cause inherited changes and susceptibility to disease and his research into the phenomenon has uncovered evidence showing that genetic alterations from chemical exposure in the 1940's passed down two generations might explain the current rates of obesity and autism.
Using rats, Crews research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that descendants exposed to a crop fungicide known as vinclozolin are more obese, less sociable, and more anxious than unexposed offspring.
Autism and obesity rates have increased dramatically in the current generation. Crews believes that the findings, which demonstrate a causal relationship to environmental contamination, are applicable to humans as well as rats.
The descendant rats were never exposed to the chemical. A single exposure carried genetic alterations down two generations, leading to increased rates of autism and obesity.
Crews also tested stress reactions in the descendant rats and found they either were obese or had less social interest in new companions and choose to spend more time in social isolation than rats whose ancestors were unexposed.
Other newly developed chemicals used in the 1940’s, including DDT and many newly developed soaps, fertilizers, and plastics.
Similar studies have shown that chemical exposure can affect the fertility of offspring.
Reference: Crews, D. et al. Epigenetic transgenerational inheritance of altered stress responses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Published online before print May 21, 2012, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1118514109. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/05/15/1118514109.full.pdf+html
For more articles on this topic, see: MCSA News.
Copyrighted 2012 Lourdes Salvador & MCS America