The Everyday Toxins that Harm Our Brains
Toxic chemicals affect developing brains much more severely than they do adult brains, and researchers now recognize that the months spent in the womb are the most crucial time for brain development.
What's the Latest?
A silent pandemic of toxins is currently damaging the brains of America's children in utero, say professional health and neuroscience experts from Harvard University and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in Manhattan. "The experts named 12 chemicals—substances found in both the environment and everyday items like furniture and clothing—that they believed to be causing not just lower IQs but ADHD and autism spectrum disorder. Pesticides were among the toxins they identified." The greatest concern, say the researchers, lies in what we're exposed to and don't yet know to be toxic.
What's the Big Idea?
Toxic chemicals affect developing brains much more severely than they do adult brains, and researchers now recognize that the months spent in the womb are the most crucial time for brain development. In other words, damage done during pregnancy can be especially harmful. "During these sensitive life stages," the authors of a new study write, exposure "can cause permanent brain injury at low levels that would have little or no adverse effect in an adult." By eating organic food, mothers reduce the risk of exposing the fetus to toxic chemicals by 80 to 90 percent.
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Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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