Global climate change paper identifies 11 key categories for study
An NIEHS-led interagency effort identified 11 key categories of diseases and other health consequences of global climate change. As part of an ad hoc interagency working group on climate change and health, NIEHS teamed up with other government and international researchers to address public health concerns and vulnerability related to climate change. Discussions demonstrated that climate change mitigation strategies, in addition to reducing greenhouse gases, have additional benefits for public health. The group issued its report on Earth Day, April 21, 2010, as a supplement to the NIEHS journal, Environmental Health Perspectives. In 2009, the Institute of Medicine Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research and Medicine concluded that research on climate change needed to be reframed to emphasize human health impacts and research gaps. As a result, the working group was formed. Researchers following up on the group’s report will develop strategies to promote health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Mitigation strategies include reducing household energy emissions, reducing motor vehicle use, developing and using low-carbon electricity, and reducing meat consumption.
Artificial light stimulates breast cancer tumors
NIEHS-funded research showed that nighttime exposure to artificial light can stimulate the growth of breast tumors in mice by suppressing the levels of a key hormone called melatonin. Blood extracted from sleeping volunteers could actually prevent tumor growth in an animal model. Extended periods of nighttime darkness were shown to greatly slow the growth of these tumors. Blood from women whose sleep was interrupted lost much of its cancer-prevention ability. These results might explain why female night shift workers have a higher rate of breast cancer, and may offer an explanation for the rise in breast cancer incidence in industrialized countries.
Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Programs established
Work began on four new centers to study the prenatal-to-adult environmental exposures that may predispose a woman to breast cancer. The centers were jointly funded by NIEHS and the National Cancer Institute and included transdisciplinary teams of scientists, clinicians, and breast cancer advocates. The centers were established at the University of Cincinnati; Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia; the University of California, San Francisco; and Michigan State University. The program has since moved into a second phase that replaces the centers with an expanded set of investigator and community partners around the nation and a reorganized advisory committee that represents scientific expertise and the breast cancer survivor and advocacy community.
Tags: breast cancer
No link found between DDT, PCBs and breast cancer
Data from five large studies of women in the northeastern U.S. revealed no link between exposure to the pesticide DDT and the widespread industrial chemical polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and elevated rates of breast cancer.
Researchers identify first breast, ovarian cancer gene: BRCA1
NIEHS and collaborators at the University of Utah isolated a tumor-suppressor gene known to play a critical role in the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer. BRCA1 was the first breast cancer gene to be identified.