Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Closure to homoSOYxuality

I have been a vegetarian for 20 years now, give and take. I've had my share of soy in the meals I cook, and also in the ones I have in restaurants. So far I can assure you that I still feel the same man, i.e., deeply in love with my wife, still feel attracted to the opposite sex (especially to anyone looking like Jennifer Lawrence, Natalie Portman, Monica Belluci or Charlize Theron), no shrinkage of penis has occurred so far (you'll have to trust me on that for I'll never post any proof on Instagram :P, I don't even have an Instagram account), and I am not infertile (two beautiful babies so far, but I'm stopping there and it's not about the soy beans, it's really that now I need to enjoy the kids and travel with them, show them the world, the different cultures and diversities so they don't blame soy beans for male homosexuality in the future).

I understand the political stance played by a scapegoat decoy, but we must be truthful to the available scientific data collected thus far. The best practice is actually to kind of lightly x-ray the previously referred literature (see post here) and see exactly what was measured, what agents were scrutinised and reference levels suggested to produce significant alterations (reference to these articles can be found in the previous post). Let's start then:

"Altered sexualy dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA) volume in adult Long-Evans rats by dietary soy phytoestrogens"

A study using Long-Evans female and male rats where a Phytoestrogens-rich diet and a Phytoestrogens-free diet are put to test. There is a significant reduction in body weight and prostate weight observed, however, testosterone levels are not affected by the different diet treatments; and finally the Phytoestrogens-rich lifelong diet delays puberty onset without impacting on the cycle. The study does not check impact on humans and to be fair never intended to, but other questions we can distill are, for example, how many of us humans would indeed make a life based on phytoestrogens-rich diets? Most likely, no one. And how much phytoestrogens is too much? Where is the threshold? What other foods that make part of our diet also contain high levels of phytoestrogens, and what is a 'high level of phytoestrogens'???!

Again, this is not a judgmental analysis of the study, actually it's quite far from that, but instead a judgmental analysis of anyone using it as proof of soy impacting on human sexual maturation, per se.

"A soy supplement and tamoxifen inhibit sexual behaviour in female rats"

A study focusing on the patterns of sexual behaviour in rodents (rats) based on 'chemotrophism' triggered by progesterone and oestrogen. Diets containing different soy contents were studied as impacting agents on sexual mating behaviour a few hours after ingestion and analysed against a progesterone injection. Overall, the results indicated soy supplement as an oestrogen antagonist - bad news to certain people,  crude news in the overall picture -, but again, how much soy is too much, where's the threshold? I am not considering the study a limited one as to be fair it did study what was proposed in itself, but who can consider phenotypical/biochemical/endocrine changes to male biology simply based on these values? No one.

And to be fair I could go on and one with every single study discussed in the previous soy post, but it wouldn't take us anywhere. So I chose to discuss the hot topic, the one that really has been driving criticism against soy presence in diets go crazy, i.e., soy-based infant formulas.

"Safety of soy-based infant formulas containing isoflavones: The clinical evidence"

For starters, soy-based infant formulas provide a healthy alternative to those children who are lactose-intolerant. Moreover, they agree with the most strict regulatory and safety standards. A comparison study conducted at the University of Iowa, comparing between soy-based infant formula (SBIF) and human milk/cow's milk, and analysing mean weight in infants, resulted in no differences in the first 4 months of development. And a follow-up study of the adults who were fed either SBIFs or cow's milk showed that no differences were produced in their adult weight, for both males and females.

In terms of reproductive development the presence of isoflavones that some scientists attribute to impacting agents affecting sexual maturation stages of those fed with SBIFs, was also evaluated. But this article refers also other research articles written by intelligent people and not by lazy prophets of doom, that backup the complexity of extrapolating potential adverse effects (seen occurring in animal models) into the human biology.

I must quote the article on a few remarkable/excellent observations:

"...rodent studies investigating in utero exposure to isoflavones need to be interpreted in the light of the relatively lower estradiol levels in pregnant rodents compared with pregnant women. The fetal rat is exposed to picomole levels of estradiol whereas the human fetus is exposed to micromole levels of estradiol" [1].

"Fielden et al (2003) [2] studied the effect of gestational and lactational exposure to genistein on testicular weight and sperm quality in adult mice at levels comparable with or greater than human exposure. Results showed no significant treatment-related effects on male offspring body weight, anogenital distance, seminal vesicle weight, or testis weight. However, not all studies concur with these findings [3]". 

"In contrast, clinical studies showed that infants fed SBIF have normal reproductive development and later health. In an abstract, Businco et al (1999) [4] studied 34 children who had been fed SBIFs who were then evaluated at a median age 29 mo. A detailed physical exam included signs of sexual maturation and bone density, metabolic markers of bone, and one marker of estrogen. The investigators’ conclusion was that phytoestrogens in SBIFs did not induce hormonal effects".

And we could go on and on for weeks and get exactly the same feedback we have been comprising thus far. There isn't enough evidence that can suggest that phytoestrogens, to the levels that are fed to people, especially infants, can impact on sexual maturation. As to people turning gay because they are fed SBIF, what can I say???? Homosexuality has been among us since ever and now we need to blame soy for personal options??? What are people going to come up with next? That our politicians don't really want to corrupt, it's the air we breath that is making them selfish pricks?

Well, the judge is still out there for an eventual need to relate phytoestrogens to different sexual orientations. In terms of sexual maturation and aberrant sexual organs' development, we could very much blame parents for smoking, the tones of rubbish put into consumed meat, the completely makeshift foods that are sold in our supermarkets, the quality of our lives filled up with stress and anxiety, the incredible irrational intake of sugar and hydrogenated fats that are generating super obese newborns, the levels of lead that back in the 60s was present in the paint used in cradles and other furniture for children, or even the nail polish solvent ethyl acetate in toothpaste,  etc etc etc. 

I might bring up some hysterical/historical facts on that matter if you guys comment on this post and make me believe it's worth. See you soon and keep using soy, moderately as anything else... you wouldn't drink a whole cow would you? 

Bye!


[1] Clark, J. H. (1998) Female reproductive and toxicology of estrogen. Korach, K. S. eds. Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology 1998:259-276 Marcel Dekker New York.

[2] Fielden, M. R., Samy, S. M., Chou, K. C. & Zacharewski, T. R. (2003) Effect of human dietary exposure levels of genistein during gestation and lactation on long-term reproductive development and sperm quality in mice. Food Chem. Toxicol. 41:447-454.

[3] Wisniewski, A. B., Klein, S. L., Lakshmanan, Y. & Gearhart, J. P. (2003) Exposure to genistein during gestation and lactation demasculinizes the reproductive system in rats. J. Urol. 169:1582-1586.

[4] Businco, L., Bruno, G., Giampietro, P. G. & Furcolo, G. (1999) No oetrogens hormonal effects in long-term soy formula fed children. J. Allergy Clin. Immunol.103:S169.






Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The only thing missing is the acid spurting



video

Alien, what a movie. I should see the trilogy again some time soon. My friend Licinia just made my day when earlier today she sent her own reenacting of the iconic terror-embedded moment when Sigourney Weaver is noticed by the Xenomorph XX121. All is there, the terror, the thrilling cold anxiety, the creature, the babe... the only thing missing is the toxic acid spurting.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Stolen Freedom, Violated Future, Cultural Arrest

I am in shock at the abysmal reality to which I have been recently exposed to... Shocking, to say the least. I can very briefly summarise the facts for you just to get you to better feel and understand how perplex the situation has made me. But let me warn you though that some people view it with cultural eyes. Therefore, they don't really understand that what I am about to tell you is nothing more than proof of the extreme need for educating people against a stolen freedom and a violated future.

Women do indeed empower their profiles when armed with qualifications; it's the only way men and women in this world can once for all individually evade a life marked by opression that due to traditionalist cultural arrest endanger the dream of a fairer world.

So let's go straight to the point 

I have been for many years now, monthly supporting two children as part of a project where I contribute £25 (each child) for their food, health and education. Well, in our western reality that doesn't seem much, but considering that this is something I am capable of providing with a lot of personal effort, and also considering that these children are based in Mozambique and Guatemala, it glows differently.

But I have been doing it with love, kindness and a deep belief that one day I can actually change the lives of these children. If they become properly educated they will be able to exit a cycle marked by limited options, poverty, social imbalance, broken dreams. The investment we put into one child will generate positive changes in all lives to him/her related.

Very well, I was eager to maintain the status quo of that financial support and I even had the dream of, later in their lives, becoming alongside my wife, a sponsor for their further higher education. I was really considering helping these two lives blossom into fully accomplished existences. That was deeply hurt, wounded and scarred when I got a phone call from one of the NGO members informing me that one of the girls I have been supporting had just married at the age of 14!

They were really nice in informing me promptly. All the details were there, they even mentioned that this is typical of rural areas and offered me the opportunity to replace this child (who was now to exit the program) by another one in desperate need for help. I obviously accepted. But I can't get rid of this sense of void, a certain sense of betrayal that destiny decided to inflict me with. How can a child who is barely 14 years old be given to someone, so to become the wife of him?, the wife of a male either as immature as herself or much older (and if that is the case, oh my, oh my...?)!!!?

I now remember the letters exchanged with this child through the charity's program, and her words 'tainted' with hopes and dreams of becoming a teacher later in life... that she loved school so much...

I can't help but wonder how much would that still be true for her life. It's even worse when one reads in the "The Guardian", a week ago or so, what a desperate life most of these young women are going through in their lives. Yes, this 'child' is from Guatemala.

Guatemalan children's shelter fire: death toll rises to 40 as demonstrations erupt

Friday, 17 March 2017

So far behiiiiiind

I know I haven't been posting recently. 

Bear with me until I have cleared some of the workload I have on my desk... 

Until then... IMMORTALITY!


Monday, 6 March 2017

Super quick guide to understand medical jargon

It is quite understandable that whenever medical doctors speak about the different conditions that affect us humans, we might blackout and go in-and-out consciousness for a while. Such happens because there is so much professional jargon spat a us that the normal brain would take in just the minimum bearable; that being - "Doc? Am I gonna be fine?".

Before your doctor comes up with yet another one of those super long terminology rampages that scare you more than the actual illness, it is time to breathe. The trick to understand that foreign 'Aramaic' language, regurgitated from the depths of some cold Alma Mater lost in both space and time, is actually reasonably simple.

Just close your eyes, listen to the word and break it into parts. 

I think I fool no one when I say that the secret, as in any other realm of knowledge, lies in the breaking of the whole into its component units. Is that Gestaltism? I remember vaguely something about it from my Psychology classes during my secondary school years... That and my professor's purple hair,..., oh and those five girls who never wanted to go out with me because apparently I was "too weird" for them.

Anyway, just look at the word has being made of two to three parts, tops: a prefix, a root and finally a suffix. The prefix, when present, either reinforces or changes the meaning of the word, as for example with the word 'Aniridia':

An - indicating absence or negation

Iridia - related to the iris of the eye

Then we have the root as being the central object (iris - in the previous example), and finally the suffix that is usually the action produced by or on the object.

But before you follow any of this as rule for life protected in the guts of some Ark of the Covenant, mind that I'm no linguist, and my intention here is just to help you at least understand what that guy in the white masonic gown is bragging about, so you avoid misinterpretations as the ones suggested in the picture.

Let's take a look at yet another example with the word 'Abiotrophy'. This means a progressive loss of an organ's/tissue's vitality that can result in loss of function. Now we Shogun-knife-cut-it-into-parts:

A - (prefix) meaning absence/negation of

Bio - (core object) meaning life

Trophy - (suffix action) meaning development

Now imagine you get the latest doctor's newsletter on the observations taken from your medical exams. You read that your records all point towards 'Thrombocytopenia'. "That can't be good, man, there's penia there" you think it to your self. But rather than immediately checking your parts for something wrong with the supposed 'penia', you can just apply the aforementioned method and break the word into its constituting parts:

Thrombo - relates to blood clots.

Cyto - relates to cells.

Penia - relates to deficiency.

Immediately you know your penis is actually fine! The issue is now to make sense of this big word by learning the meaning of these individual parts. You go with 'deficiency'... 'of cells'... 'of blood clots'. Hmmmmm! After a while, if you're not versed in the ways of medicine like most people aren't, you can at least comprehend that what is suggested is that you might have a low blood platelet count.

And this system works quite well for a lot of other really weird ailments, such as:


Osteopenia = Osteo + Penia = Bone + Deficiency = low bone density.


Myositis = Myo + Itis = muscle + inflammation = inflammation of the muscle tissue.

Hepatomegaly = Hepato + megaly = liver + large = enlarged liver condition.

***

You have now, at least, the very basics to understand health care professionals. What you really need now is a very basic, very straightforward list that can offer you some direct understanding of the human body and its conditions. I tried and did that for you! In this table you can find the most popular human bits and bobs, some suffixes that can guide you to an understanding of the ulterior condition. It's not the ultimate encyclopaedia, but I'm sure it will be helpful:

Human Bits and Bobs
Core word (few examples)
Actions (few examples)
Brain
Encephalo-
Condition = -pathy
Bone
Osteo-
Infection/inflammation = -itis
Hair
Hirsute- 
Pain = -algia, -dynia
Ears
Vestibular-, Labyrinth-, Acoust-, Audit-
Deficiency = -penia 
Eyes
Cornea-, Retina-, Iridia- 
Enlargement = -dilat 
Nose
Sinus- 
Death = -nephrosis 
Mouth
Gingiv-, Laryng-
Excessive = -hyper
Skin
Derma-, Derm-, Dermat-
Insufficient = -hypo
Abdomen
Abdomin-
Weakness = -paresis
Spine
Spin- 
Respiration = -pnea
Heart
Endocard-, Myocard-
Paralysis = -paresia 
Blood
Haemo- 
Degeneration = -(a)trophy 
Trachea
Trachea- 
Blood condition = -emia
Lungs
Pneum-, Pulmonar-, Bronchi-
Irritation = -erethism
Stomach
Gastro-
Formation = -genesis
Neck
Cervic-
Abnormal condition = iasis
Kidneys
Nephr-
To reduce = -lytic
Liver
Hepato-
To breakdown = -lysis
Pancreas
Pancrea-
To cut = -spadia, -sect
Intestines
Entera-
Bring forth = -para
 Spleen

Spleen-To lead to = -duct

Well, for what is worth this is a mere guide to help you make a bit more sense of all those complicated terms. But my advice is that you resort to your healthcare professional for he/she is the one that can easily unblock any confusion resulting from complicated medical jargon.

See you soon!

Friday, 3 March 2017

International Women's Day: Be bold for change, invest in her


If you wish you can join my giving team here.

We have been lending towards Health & Education, mostly.

Cheers.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Introduction to HomoSOYxuality

Every month I try my very best to get in touch with my relatives, especially now that I live over 985 miles from what used to be home. In one of those events I routinely label 'The Round', I call basically all my family (usually my aunts and grandma because I come from a very matriarchal family).  They love hearing from us, knowing about how the kids are growing so fast, their funny personalities, my day-to-day chores, how I've recently been threatened by a right-wing extremist in the middle of the streets, the good and the bad of a migrant's life. Some calls get to be super funny because one of my aunts always falls for my classic pranks where I play the role of a Brazilian salesman trying to get her to buy the newest internet package, or a Ukrainian construction engineer asking for a cab... I don't know why, but her naivety is so contagious that the whole family ends up laughing of her incapacity to recognise me amongst my million voices.

In one of those calls I ended up talking to my godmother. She is a secondary school teacher... I guess she is retired now, but the indoctrination spirit is still there, and quite alert! And she loves pharmacology in the 'hypochondriac' way. Well, not that she is a hypochondriac, I must say, but she knows basically everything a real hypochondriac needs to know to be a hardcore professional hypochondriac. 

And on that specific day she went on and on about stuff I am still trying to digest, advice after advice, nothing very technical or scientific in the data sense of the topic; but quite accurate, to say the least. It was all good until she started, like many other times in the past, complaining about my vegetarian options and my soy milk breakfasts. Straight away she told me she read somewhere, somewhen, that soy milk breakfasts end up giving you soy milk breasts... 'Do not feed that to your child, please avoid it'. I came to know that the web is filled with scare-articles about boys growing with reduced-size testicles and boobies so big they look like silicon implants. 

But what is in fact true about this new wave of articles relating soy (and its potent phytooestrogen daidzein - belonging to a group of isoflavones) to the appearing of female traits in male children? I had to investigate.

I immediately recalled having read an article, long time back, written by a redneck religious prophet bragging about soy being the cause of high homosexuality incidence rates in America. And when I read that article I honestly felt towards those prophets, like Albert Camus, when he once said:


But after, I realised that the best way to refute a secular supposed scientific preconception is by analysing the alleged scientific foundations that give roots to such false-belief. Could it be possible that there was a dash of scientific grounds to even remotely assume that soy consumption, due to its high oestrogen levels, can make you physically/behaviourally effeminate? I had to go straight to the scientific facts, the studies with no moral judgements from any third-parties whatsoever. I needed to make sure the assessed studies were based on physical and endocrine alterations and not a witch hunt everyone is already so sick of.

Study Title
Methodology and/or Goals
Relevant Endocrine/Physical observations
Altered sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA) volume in adult Long–Evans rats by dietary soy phytoestrogens [1]
Animals were fed either a phytoestrogen-rich (Phyto-600) or a phytoestrogen-free (Phyto-free) diet. And also males or females fed the Phyto-600 diet (from birth) were switched to the Phyto-free diet. 
Consumption of phytoestrogens via a soy diet, significantly: (1) decreases body and prostate weight, (2) delays puberty onset, and (3) alters SDN-POA volumes during adulthood.
A soy supplement and tamoxifen inhibit sexual behaviour in female rats [2].

 Examined the impact of the selective oestrogen receptor modulator tamoxifen and a popular soy phytoestrogen dietary supplement on female sexual behaviour in rats. Ovariectomised female rats were given either tamoxifen or the soy supplement, then injected with oestradiol benzoate or oil (followed with an injection of progesterone) and tested for sexual behaviour after the progesterone injection. 
Soy significantly attenuated paced mating behaviour in animals compared to controls acting as an oestrogen antagonist on female rats.
Safety of Soy-Based Infant Formulas Containing Isoflavones: The Clinical Evidence [3].
Discusses the available clinical evidence regarding isoflavones in soy infant formulas in relation to nutritional adequacy, sexual development, neurobehavioral development, immune function, and thyroid disease.
Available evidence from adult human and infant populations indicates that dietary isoflavones in soy infant formulas do not adversely affect human growth, development, or reproduction.
Oestrogens and phytoestrogens: brain plasticity of sexually dimorphic brain volumes [4].

Examined the consumption of phytoestrogen (using a phytoestrogen-rich versus a phytoestrogen-free diet) s from conception to adulthood (and shifting) to characterise (a) circulating plasma phytoestrogen levels, (b) testosterone levels in males, (c) sexually dimorphic brain volumes and (d) the presence of apoptotic cells in these brain structures in Long-Evans rats. 
Consumption of dietary phytoestrogens can alter hormone-sensitive hypothalamic brain volumes in rodents during adulthood.
Changes in male reproductive system and mineral metabolism induced by soy isoflavones administered to rats from prenatal life until sexual maturity [5].
Determined the influence of high-dose soy isoflavones (daidzein and genistein) administered from prenatal life to sexual maturity on testosterone and oestradiol levels, testicular and epididymal morphology, the number of epididymal spermatozoa, and mineral metabolism in rats.
 Relatively mild effects of phytoestrogen administration on the morphology of testes and epididymides and the number of epididymal spermatozoa were observed despite the high dose used. 
Soy, phyto-oestrogens and male reproductive function: a review [6].
Examined the evidence regarding the potential detrimental effects of soy and phyto-oestrogens on male reproductive function and fertility in humans and animals.
Overall, there are some indications that phyto-oestrogens, alone or in combination with other endocrine disruptors, however, these results must be interpreted with care, as a result of the paucity of human studies and as numerous reports did not reveal any adverse effects on male reproductive physiology.


After analysing the overall observation of these carefully selected studies I came to the easy conclusion that there are so many latent questions to answer that it is almost impossible to do a proper job with a single post. Questions as simple as what can be considered a soy-rich diet, how much is too much for the human endocrine system, what daily consumption can be assumed to produce significant results, what exact indicators shift behaviour, and what is their significance in the holistic perspective of things?..., etc etc etc.

Like most of these articles suggest, the results need extreme care in their analysis and none favour a specific trend or school of thought. They are in need of yet a lot more data to actually impose anything conclusive. Therefore, I decided to give it yet another go. In the next post I'll be summarising the significant physical/endocrine/behavioural alterations that are indeed observed and described in the above mentioned articles.

***


[1] Lund, T. D., Rhees, R. W., Setchell, K. D. R., Lephart, E. D. (2001). "Altered sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (SDN-POA) volume in adult Long–Evans rats by dietary soy phytoestrogens". Brain Research, 914(1-2), pp. 92-99.         

[2] Patisaul, H. B., Luskin, J. R., Wilson, M. E. (2004). "A soy supplement and tamoxifen inhibit sexual behavior in female rats". Hormones and Behavior, 45(4), pp. 270-277.
                       
[3] Merrit, R. J. and Jenks, B. H. (2004). "Safety of Soy-Based Infant Formulas Containing Isoflavones: The Clinical Evidence". The Journal of Nutrition, 134, pp. 1220S-1224S.


[4] Lephart, E. D., Rhees, R. W., Setchell, K. D. R., Bu, L. H., Lund, T. H. (2003). "Estrogens and phytoestrogens: brain plasticity of sexually dimorphic brain volumes". The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 85 (2-5), pp. 299-309. 


[5] Piotrowska, K. et al. (2011). "Changes in male reproductive system and mineral metabolism induced by soy isoflavones administered to rats from prenatal life until sexual maturity". Nutrition, 27(3), pp. 372-379.


[6] Cederroth, C., Auger, J., Zimmermann, C., Eustache, F., Nef, S. (2009). "Soy, phyto-oestrogens and male reproductive function: a review". International Journal of Andrology, 33(2), pp. 304-316.