Friday, 28 April 2017

A database for those looking for hope

You might have noticed that in the databases links column there is a brand new link that will take you to the Clinical Trials (dot) Gov Home Page. This is a very useful database that works as "a registry and results database of publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants conducted around the world". A place where one can "learn more about clinical studies,..., including relevant history, policies and laws".

All you have to do is pay the website a visit entirely free of charge and enter details of your health issue. If anything is happening you will get that information straight. Currently, as the picture above so well informs the visitor, there are over 40 thousand studies taking place worldwide.

I just tried t look for any studies world wide on Sjogren's Syndrome and there are actually 43 registered in the database. If you narrow it to the United Kingdom, there is five that are actually currently recruiting:

(click to enlarge, image from ClinicalTrials.Gov)

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Best weaponry for fighting Sjogren's Syndrome - Division Human Shield - Part 1 of 3

Sjogren's syndrome is, in simple terms, an autoimmune disease where the person's immune system attacks glands that secrete fluid, be it saliva, tears, etc. Known by many as the sicca syndrome or dry syndrome (since dry eye and mouth are the simplest of the symptoms one can associate to Sjogren's) this syndrome can reveal itself a complicated 'disease' to bear due to its arthritic profile. On the other hand, this syndrome increases in 5% the chances of a person to develop Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (cancer of the lymphatic system that does not involve the Reed-Sternberg cells).

Among a vast list of complications that can go from glandular manifestations (parotitis, mouth dryness [xerostomia] and eye dryness [xerophtalmya], cornea abrasion, infection or inflammation [keratoconjunctivitis sicca], gum disease, difficulty swallowing, accelerated tooth decay, etc) to extraglandular manifestations (fatigue, tiredness, joint pain, arthritis [joint inflammation], lung inflammation, heartburn, gastroesophageal reflux disease, etc etc etc). The list is extensive even in regards to other associated complications, such as Lupus (also an autoimmune disease where the body attacks different tissue parts of the same) or the Hashimoto's thyroiditis (in which the immune system attacks specifically the thyroid resulting in low levels of thyroid hormones [hypothyroidism]). 

This is a syndrome - some even challenge the definition and actually call it a disease - that usually affects women in between their 40s to 60s. Well, I'm a man, last time I checked, that at the age of 36 was diagnosed with it, but I honestly believe that I've been dealing with it from my early 20s, however the most severe signs started back in 2008.

I 'postulated' (not so arrogantly as the word implies) in this blog several ideas of what I believe is behind the 'uprising' of Sjogren's, to a certain extent, obviously. One of many valid ideas that start emerging since doctor's don't know a lot about the etiology of this syndrome, or even how to cure it, let alone tackle it efficiently (regardless of what they might say this is an irrefutable fact as we speak). Based on an extensive literature review I was able to generate changes in my lifestyle that increased tremendously my quality of life and assured me to counteract efficiently the chronic progression of a health issue that I very much want to erase from my life. Bear in mind that when I looked for help with specialists from the UK and Germany no one offered me a proper diagnosis or even a mild solution. I was the one that in 2015 researched intensively and told the doctor with an open heart and 'humility' in my voice "Doctor, I believe I have Sjogren's". After a sialographic analysis (a radiographic examination of my parotid gland) the typical lesions were confirmed. However, no one told me what to do, what to take, what to think, or even where to go. They just did the best possible to assure that it wasn't progressing to something more serious. This does not intend to say doctors are dumb. This just attests of their limitations as any other human being confronted with the novel, with the unknown.

Like any other autoimmune disease, Sjogren's comes with a panoply of metabolic disorders. Some so immediate and severe that changed my whole life style, and I was already a vegetarian when I was diagnosed. I am taking no pharmaceuticals if not very occasionally when nothing else (not even prevention) works. And this weaponry I am sharing with you today is what in my personal case made the whole difference. It might work for you but not for your neighbor, so don't make it a gospel. However, it is based on scientific facts that I want to share with you.

Welcome to the Dos and Don'ts of my human shield against Sjogren's Syndrome and the reason why this is working 'so well' thus far. Bear in mind that I still think my case is mild as there are people with a lot worse signs and symptoms. Having said that, do not avoid a visit to your doctor before anything else. What might be good for one could very easily trigger something bad in another person:

Turmeric (curcumin)

[Image from Authority Nutrition]

What? The powder of grind Turmeric (Curcuma longa), an anti-inflammatory botanical spice part of the ginger family. 
Why? It addresses the underlying cause of inflammation so much better than them non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that simply counteract the symptom. Contrarily to drugs, curcumin (the active ingredient) have minimal side effects and proven results against leukemia, colon, melanoma and breast cancer cell lines [1]. It triggers mechanisms that produce a decreased expression of pro-inflammatory cell signals (NF-kappaB, prostaglandins, etc) [2].
How? A teaspoon.
When? Every single morning and evening mixed in with my smokin' green tea.

Green Tea 
(Camellia sinensis L. leaves)

[Image from Nutrition-Group]

What? The leaves of the smoke-scented Camellia sinensis L. shrub available at any supermarket these days under the commercial name of 'Green Tea'. 
Why? Its flavonoids content is reportedly associated to antioxidant properties [3], but above all also correlated to anti-inflammatory processes, showing antimicrobial effects (read my posts on the link between H. pylori and Sjogren's to better understand why it's so important), and preventive of tooth decay [4] (anti-xerostomia? Sign me in!!!!). So many ticks in the Sjogren's symptom's list that we should grow the tree ourselves.
How? 3 large warm cups every day.
When? Morning to night.


[Image from Insight Himachal]

What? Walnuts, what else to say. They just taste great!
Why? Because I'm a vegetarian I'm not the richest of the guys in what concerns the fatty acid omega-3 that fishes give you. I have to resort to nuts but don't fool yourself, it is scarce the presence of omega-3 in traditional nuts like almonds, cashews, hazels, pistachios, therefore walnuts gain an enormous relevance. Omega-3 fatty acids need to be consumed within a reasonable ratio to become effective in terms of its anti-inflammatory role and aid against symptoms of dry eye and dry mouth. The omega-3 fatty acids help prevent arthritis and indirectly act in the lacrimal gland to prevent the death of secretory epithelial cells [5]. In addition, the immunomodulatory activity of this polyunsaturated fatty acid is incredibly important for tackling rheumatoid arthritis [6]. 
How? At least 30 g every single day.
When? Any time of the day.

And there is a lot more to tell you, so stay tuned because next posts will bring a lot more DOs and also a lot of NO NOs. As usual, if you'd like to contribute with your personal experience, by all means, just let me know by commenting on this post.

[1] Ramsewak, R. S., DeWitt, D. L., Nair, M. G. (2000). "Citotoxicity, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities of Curcumins I-III from Curcuma longa". Phytomedicine, 7(4), pp.303-308.

[2] Daniel, J. W. (2005). "The Sjogren's Book". Oxford University Press. The Sjogren's Syndrome Foundation. 4th Edition.

[3] Sharangi, A. B. (2009). "Medicinal and Therapeutic Potentialities of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) - A review". Food Research International, 42 (5-6), pp. 529-535.

[4] Chattopadhyay, P., Besra, S. E., Gomes, A., Das, M., Sur, P., Mitra, S., Vedasiromoni, J. R. (2004). "Anti-nflammatory activity of tea (Camellia sinensis) root extract". Life Sciences, 74(15), pp. 1839-1849.

[5] Roncone, M., Bartlett, H., Eperjesi, F. (2010). "Essential fatty acids for dry eye: A review". Contact lens and anterior eye, 33(2), pp. 49-54.

[6] Simopoulos, P. A. (2002). "Omega-3 fatty acids in inflammation  and autoimmune diseases". Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 21(6), pp. 495-505.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Did you know that...

Children under age 6 account for about half of the more than 2 million poisonings reported each year to U.S. poison centers, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Learn from how to prevent this from happening, here.

US lawmakers introduced legislation that would provide a tax credit for new antibiotics and diagnostic tests. Get to know the opinion of the blog "Antibiotics - The Perfect Storm" on this matter, here. You can also read the original news here.

A new browser extension that allows those with limited resources to be made aware of the existence of free versions of a wanted article, has been introduced to the public in a post by the Ronin Institute. This is an incredibly good tool for those intelligent enough not to pay millions for science articles that should be of public domain. Find it here.

The Poison Review is slowly becoming my favourite science blog. They just impressed me tremendously after the last published podcast on 
The Assassination of Kim Jong-Nam. Read it here.

Finally, on this recovered smart-ass posting, let me tell you about a blog that is getting increasingly interesting for early science students. It's called Microbiology Info and they have some nice super short and summarised posts teaching loads of interesting matters. The last one is on 
blood cells and their functions. Visit here.

Monday, 3 April 2017

What's that coming over the hill, is it a Monster, is it a Monster? NO, it's Vietnamese Panga and Norwegian Salmon Fish :P

Every time I jump in the car after picking my boy up from his nursery, he wants me to play music I randomly buy for a pound from Poundland. Most of the times I just drop in into a local Poundland shop, look for something that might resemble my musical taste and buy a few CDs. With this practice I have been super lucky and found Franz Ferdinand's "The Fallen" or some really good stuff by the Kings of Leon. However, I've also been unlucky and got some very messed up choices... sorry Manic Street Preachers :P

The last time I went music-shopping at Poundland I got the album "Not accepted anywhere" by the Welsh band "The Automatic". And boy oh boy my son loves that "Monster" track. I play it every single day like 3/4 times for the kid's amusement. Hey, Kasabians of this world, bear in mind my kid is 3 and a half! 

Also recently, he has been into eating fish because of his nursery's menu; and I, being a vegetarian, cannot really advise him anything fishy for his meals. That's why I resorted to my wife who has a BSc in Marine Biology, and asked her for some tips on the matter. She is now an accountant and immediately jerked that responsibility to her mum, a really nice 'amateur chef' who immediately told us - "BUY ANYTHING BUT JUST DON'T GIVE HIM ANY NORWEGIAN SALMON OR VIETNAMESE PANGA FISH. THE MOST POISONOUS FISHES ON EARTH!"

Well, alarm bells rang in my head. I had to look into it... that's Toxicology right there asking to be investigated. And so I started reading, listening to stuff, inquiring until I found this incredible documentary entitled "Poisonous Fish: The Big Health Lie" starring a world renown environmentalist fighting alongside the Greenwarriors of Norway that goes by the name Kurt Oddekalv (for copyright reasons I can't embed the video here). But I am serving you the saucy facts right below, so steaming hot that you will learn that even schools are murdering their pupils with them poisonous food choices.


(Image from Raincoast Conservation Foundation)

Fact 1 - Over 2 million specimen cohabit restricted salmon farm spaces where disease, like the parasite sea lice that lodges onto the fish flesh and potentially kill them, spread and force the farming companies to spray their farming waters with neurotoxic pesticides. Sea-lice can become resistant to treatment which reinforces the use of more potent pesticides by desperate farmers. [1]

(Image from undercurrentnews)

Fact 2 - Due to low prices derived from modern farming conditions and due to market demands (Panga has become famous because it is odourless and tasteless, so chefs can add any flavour to it), the Vietnamese Panga Fish is now of the most consumed fishes in schools these days. 99% of the world production of Panga fish comes from Vietnam where poliphosphates are constantly used as practice. Even though poliphosphates do not represent an immediate health threat (they're just additives that facilitate freezing and artificially increase the fishes weight because they absorb water), they have been increasingly used these days in many other fish cultures. Gastric over exposure to this product might become a concern. For example, they are very common in codfish preservation (see post here). [2]

(Image from Slow Food)

Fact 3 - Most Panga fish are sick because of the river pollution where they are farmed in. These rivers have highly concentrated values of bacteria and algae that cause eutrophisation that is responsible for the low oxygen levels in these waters. In addition, farmers battle diseases by pumping enormous quantities of drugs to fight issues like bleeding in the fin area and liver disease. Antibiotics like sulphadiazine (used to treat meningitis) are regularly administered to the fish ponds generating ever more drug-resistant bacteria which in fact forces the farmers to administer even higher concentrations of antibiotics. And these antibiotics produce residues that are excreted or lost to nature and spread out, as well as accumulating in the tissues of the fishes. [3]

(Image from The Project Avalon Forum)

Fact 4 - In Norway, some of the pesticides used to combat diseases present in these salmon farms are the same that were used during the 1st world war to gas people, as believed by Kurt Oddekalv. [4] [5]

(Image from The Project Avalon Forum)

Fact 5 -  If it was only Panga and Salmon, but no, it's with the environmental conditions and not the subject animal farmed. Cods have been suffering genetic mutations that occasionally result in a mouth defect where they cannot close their mouths. A problem that in nature, according to Kurt Oddekalv, would take eight generations to clear out from their genotype.

(Image from The Hearty Soul)

Fact 6 - A wild salmon contains roughly 5-7% fat, but a farmed one will contain approximately in between 14.5% and 24% fat. Bearing in mind that the toxicants deposit predominantly in the fat tissue, these farmed salmons are large vessels of poisonous fat that researchers (e.g. Jérôme Ruzzin from the University of Bergen in Norway) have already related to increased obesity and diabetes, in studies conducted on rodents. The different pollutants found altogether in farmed salmon samples are among several others: endosulfan sufate (a highly toxic endocrine disruptor), and Dieldrin (a highly toxic pesticide likely to be carcinogenic and to act also as an endocrine disruptor). [6] [7]

(Image from esri)

Fact 7 - Surprisingly its not the pesticides sprayed onto the farming waters that represent the biggest threat, but those already incorporated in the dry pellets that are fed to these fishes. These pellets are concentrated protein and fat tablets that are made by companies specialised in fish feeds. In Europe, these companies buy mostly fatty fish coming from the Baltic sea, one of the most polluted seas in the entire world for it is surrounded by nine industrialised countries that dispose of their toxic residues into the Baltic waters. [8]

(Image from ChemService Inc.)

Fact 8 - Protein powders contain an antioxidant called Ethoxyquin (also known as Santoquin, Santoflex or Quinol) created in the labs by Monsanto (a biotechnology company).  This chemical was registered in 1959 as a pesticide to treat rubber, fruits and vegetables but can be found nowadays well above the 50 ug per kilogram concentration permitted by law in fishes analysed by the Swiss anti-fraud labs. Because of discrepancies in communications between parts (pellet-makers and fish-farmers) Ethoxyquin is being used well above what is supposed to. More surprisingly, this product has no specific toxicity studies performed (I could only find a review article) and the one Norwegian researcher who dedicated her PhD studies to the study of this pesticide lost her job and was forbidden to publish her findings. [9] [10]

(Image from The Budapest Beacon)

Fact 9 - Corruption to the highest level with terrifying impact on public health - It's a fearful former postgraduate that explains to us that there are no studies performed by the creators of Ethoxyquin on its safety. She discovered that the pesticide has the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier, a boarder that should be impermeable to all toxic substances humans are exposed to. It's a startled former researcher that 'admits 'pressure from above organised in the shape of an old-time Italian Mafia. On the possible top of the pyramid we can find that research funding in Norway was cut to projects studying the toxicity of Ethoxyquin. And this entanglement of dark connections goes to the person responsible for the whole food security system in Norway; the same one holding stock participations and previous work relations with the world leader in dry-fish meal pellets. The moment you watch the whole video, find it here if it still is available on the web, you will find conflict of interest all over that network.

(Image from

Fact 10 - With an ever growing demand for food from the Western contemporary 'obese and diabetic' societies, no fish is going to waste. The fish skin, let's take cod as an example, is used for cosmetics, the spines and heads are crushed into a pulp that is used in ready-meals and pet food. All that wouldn't be a problem if the list of ingredients was compliant with an honest description of the real product used. That is because a 'fish fillet' is one thing and a pulp comprised of fat, bone and sparse fish meat is yet a completely different thing.

I told my wife the other day that outside Portugal there's loads of corruption, to a degree that fortunately we don't even see in my home country. However, the impact in countries with the economy of Portugal is much bigger because for a country as rich as Norway one can hardly see the impact of such level of corruption if not in the long term. However, the impact on the health of those consuming fish coming from the Norwegian fjords, or even from Vietnam, where regulations are overlooked either due to an entangled mob-like networking or simply because of a relaxed supervision from authorities, will always constitute a crime against humanity... regardless of what they might say.

[1] Jansen, P. A., Grontvedt, R. N., Tarpai, A., Kelgesen, K. O., Horsberg, T. E. (2016). "Surveillance of the sensitivity towards antiparasitic bath-treatments in the salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis)". PLoS One, 11(2): e0149006. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149006.

[2] Sheard, P. R., Nute, G. R., Richardson, R. I., Perry. A., Taylor, A. A. (1999). "Injection of water and polyphosphate into pork to improve juiciness and tenderness after cooking". Meat Science, 51(4), pp. 371-379.

[3] Huysveld, S., Schaubroeck, T., Meester, S. D., Sorgeloos, P., Langenhove, H. V., Van linden, V., Dewulf, J. (2013). "Resource use analysys of Pangasius aquaculture in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam using exergetic life cycle assessment". Journal of Cleaner Production, 51, pp. 225-233.

[4] Smith, A. G and Gangolli, S. D. (2002). "Organochlorine chemicals in seafood: occurence and health concerns". Food and Chemical Toxicology40(6), pp. 767-779.  

[5] Shaw, S. D., Brenner, D., , Berger, M. L., Carpenter, D. O., Hong, C. S., Kannan, K. (2006). "PCBs, PCDD/Fs, and organochlorine pesticides in farmed Atlantic salmon from Maine, eastern Canada, and Norway, and wild salmon from Alaska". Environmental Science & Technology, 40(17), pp. 5347-5354.

[6] Ruzzin, J., Rasmus, P., Meugnier, E., Madsen, L., Lock, E-J., et al (2010). "Persistent organic pollutant exposure leads to insulin resistance syndrome". Environmental Health Perspectives Research Triangle Park, pp. 465-471.

[7] Aksnes, A., Gjerde, B., Roald, S. A. (1986). "Biological, chemical and organoleptic changes during maturation of farmed Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar". Aquaculture, 53(1), pp. 7-20.

[8] Rheinheimer, G. (1998). "Pollution in the Baltic Sea". Naturwissenschaften, 85(7), pp. 318-329.

[9] Blaszczyk, A., Augustyniak, A., Skolimowski, J. (2013). "Ethoxyquin: An antioxidant used in animal feed". International Journal of Food Science, Volume 2013, pp. 1-12.

[10] Ethoxyquin:EFSA safety assessment inconclusive, European Food Safety Authority, [], last visited on the 5th of April 2017, last update unknown.

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? 


[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


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