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.
Estrogen receptor beta assists in fertility
New research suggests that medications commonly referred to as fertility drugs may be ineffective for women who lack a gene called the estrogen receptor beta. The study showed that fertility drugs did not improve ovulation rates in mice that were genetically engineered to lack estrogen receptor beta. The estrogen receptor beta is one of two estrogen receptor proteins which mediate the effects of estrogen hormones and are present throughout the female reproductive tissues. These new data indicate that this receptor plays a critical role in ovulation, and suggests that women who do not have this receptor may benefit more from alternative infertility treatments.
Tags: women's health
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.
Women can pass lead to infants via breast milk
Children's health researchers discovered that lead that has accumulated in a woman's bones from earlier exposures can be released during pregnancy and transferred to breast milk during lactation.
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.
Animal models confirm drug DES' role in abnormal development of offspring
Scientists developed an animal model that predicts and confirms that exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES), a drug that was prescribed during pregnancy for women from 1938 to 1971 to prevent miscarriages and premature deliveries, can result in various reproductive abnormalities in both male and female offspring. NIEHS children's health researchers have continued to expand research linking early environmental exposures to adult diseases.