Microcephaly truth or fiction? The Zika Virus
The microcephaly outbreak in Brazil, which coincided with the spread of the Zika virus, continues to stun the world, even months after the incident was first reported.
Pregnant women all over the world have been advised to take caution. The Zika virus infection has been linked to newborn babies with the birth defect microcephaly. This is a congenital condition in which babies are born with unusually tiny heads.
The notion, however, has recently been challenged by a group of Argentine physicians. The group suspects that the Zika virus is not to blame for the rise in microcephaly cases, but that a toxic larvicide introduced into Brazil’s water supplies may be the real culprit.
Not A Coincidence?
According to the Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was injected into Brazil’s water supplies in 2014 in order to stop the development of mosquito larvae in drinking water tanks.
The chemical, which is known as Pyriproxyfen, was used in a massive government-run program tasked to control the mosquito population in the country. Pyriproxyfen is a larvicide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a company associated [PDF] with Monsanto. However, PCST has referred to Sumitomo as a subsidiary of Monsanto.
“Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence,” the PCST wrote [pdf] in the report.
Link to the PCST report here.
Here's a great theoretical hypothesis on how the 'jumping genes' could have lead to Zika causing microcephaly. While many focus on the larvacide, knowing that millions of mosquitos that were supposed to die based on the proposed mechanism may have survived due to environmental exposure to tetracyclines would allow these 'jumping genes' hundreds of millions of opportunities to transfer into other places in the genome.
Interesting stuff, indeed.
Of the 30 or so countries with Zika, how many have had microcephaly outbreaks?
Of the 2,401 microcephaly cases 134 were confirmed as being related to Zika virus infection according to the applied case definition.
That's about 18%.
Mechanisms of aluminum adjuvant toxicity and autoimmunity in pediatric populations.
Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity (The Lancet Neurology)
[quote]"A meta-analysis of 27 cross-sectional studies of children exposed to fluoride in drinking water, mainly from China, suggests an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations. Confounding from other substances seemed unlikely in most of these studies. Further characterization of the dose–response association would be desirable."[/quote]
OK, so we've been doing a developmental neurotoxicity experiment on the entire population. All of our children are likely impaired at least slightly even if they show no signs of neurobehavioral problems.
And the experimental design goes something like this:
"We got all of these cool chemicals that help industry/our economy to varying degrees. Let's use them in such a way that everyone is exposed to them through air, water, soil, consumer goods, building materials, and food. They probably aren't a problem, but if any of them are, there is no need to make any effort to gather data, we'll just, uh, sort of notice. Since there will be alarmist who think they notice a problem when there isn't one, we'll set the highest standards for proof of harm and those of us who profit from the sale of the chemicals will dedicate some of our profits to lobby to reduce research funding, influence the outcomes of the research, and prevent legislative and regulatory action that limits our profits."
An awesome plan if I ever saw one.
[quote] "… an average IQ decrement of about seven points in children exposed to raised fluoride concentrations. Further characterization of the dose–response association would be desirable."[/quote]
Some important info is missing here: Raised by how much? Compared to what? This snippet sounds alarming but until we know the actual levels the children were exposed to we don't know what to think of it, or what it might have to say about water fluoridation in our own communities.
I noticed that paragraph because fluoride has recently been in the news here in Canada:
[quote] A newly published study compared Grade two students in both Edmonton and Calgary, and found that fluoride cessation in Calgary has had a negative impact on children’s health.[/quote]
Here's some history about how dentists figured out that fluoride was beneficial for teeth, and how that led to fluoridation of public water supplies: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm4841a1.htm
[quote] The hypothesis that dental caries could be prevented by adjusting the fluoride level of community water supplies from negligible levels to 1.0-1.2 ppm was tested in a prospective field study conducted in four pairs of cities (intervention and control) starting in 1945: Grand Rapids and Muskegon, Michigan; Newburgh and Kingston, New York; Evanston and Oak Park, Illinois; and Brantford and Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. After conducting sequential cross-sectional surveys in these communities over 13-15 years, caries was reduced 50%-70% among children in the communities with fluoridated water (emphasis added).[/quote]
More reading, from the World Health Organization:
The Fluoride Danger was first explained to me by my PhD/MD friend back in 2008 who left medicine in disgust. Over decades the displacement of calcium from bone and teeth by fluoride will result in bone breaks and cracked teeth. And if fluoride is so good for teeth why don't Germans have an epidemic of teeth problems given they don't add fluoride to drinking water. BTW if you have white spots on your teeth that is fluoride toxicity, something that happened to me as a kid playing sports 24×7 and drinking a lot of fluoridated municipal water when the add was insanely high.
[quote] if you have white spots on your teeth that is fluoride toxicity [/quote]
Maybe yes, maybe no. Excess fluoride can indeed cause spots on teeth, but it isn't the only possible cause.
In fact, it was dentists a century ago trying to figure out why mottled teeth were common in some regions who turned up evidence that up to a point, fluoride in the water correlated with better dental health (fewer cavities).
As with so many things in life, the keyword there is Up To A Point.