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BPA linked to higher risk for obesity among young girls

A chemical commonly found in plastic food containers, water bottles and canned foods called bisphenol-A (BPA) has long been linked to serious health issues, including infertility and birth defects.Now, researchers say exposure to BPA may also be associated with a higher risk for obesity among puberty-age girls. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers measured the levels of BPA present in urine samples from 1,326 children between the ages of 9 and 12. Researchers discovered that girls who had higher levels of BPA in their urine had a greater risk for being overweight. The effect was not seen in the boys involved in the study. Girls who had more than 2 micrograms per liter of BPA in their urine were twice as likely to be overweight, compared to girls with below normal levels of BPA in their urine. And girls that had more than 10 micrograms of BPA per liter in their urine had a ten times greater risk for obesity. Dr. Di-Kun Le, the study’s principal investigator and a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., has been studying the effects of BPA for years. “Animal (studies) started to show that BPA can impact metabolic processes, which often leads to obesity and diabetes,” Le told FoxNews.com. “So we decided to look at it (in humans).” Le noted that though he expected to find a link between obesity and BPA levels, he didn’t expect it to be such a strong correlation.   While the research does not necessarily prove BPA is the reason for the girls’ obesity, Le said that the effect is likely caused by the fact that BPA is an endocrine disrupter and acts similarly to the hormone estrogen, which impacts metabolic function. Because of the damage that BPA incurs on the endocrine system, Le believes exposure to BPA is contributing to the global obesity epidemic.   “Overeating a little won’t cause obesity, but (by) having this kind of endocrine damage without knowing it, and adding more food, the consequences are magnified,” Le said. Though Le said there are currently no Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations forcing manufacturers to label how much BPA is used in packaging, he hopes this research will add to the body of evidence mounting against the chemical. He warns that people should try to avoid products containing BPA as much as possible. “Buy BPA-free containers, particularly containers used for kids. Kids and fetuses are the most affected populations,” Le said. “Also try to reduce using plastics. It’s not feasible to use none, but reduce exposure to plastic containers…and reduce the use of canned foods.” Le hopes to study the effects of BPA further, by testing its impact on unborn babies. “I want to look when pregnant women, and their fetuses, are exposed to even small amounts of BPA, how it’s going to damage (them),” Le said. “When you damage the fetus, you damage the rest of their life.”source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/13/bpa-linked-to-higher-risk-for-obesity-among-young-girls/

Medical marijuana for your pet?

More people are using medical marijuana to treat pets for a variety of conditions, ranging from separation anxiety and noise phobia to cancer, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) News. Now, as more states begin to legalize the drug for humans, veterinarians and pet owners are calling for more research into the use and safety of the drug in pets. After using medical marijuana to treat his own chronic back pain, Enest Misko, a 77-year-old from Chatsworth, Calif., decided to use a form of the drug to treat his pet cat, Borzo, who was having difficulty walking. Misko gave the cat a glycerin tincture of marijuana made for pets, and within a few days of taking the drug, Misko said the cat appeared to be pain-free. The drug can be found in licensed medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. “I don’t get high from (marijuana), but the pain goes away. So I tried it on my cat, my 24-year-old cat, who’s feeling better,” Misko told the JAVMA News. Within the past few years, veterinarians have noticed an uptick in people claiming to use medical marijuana treatments for their pets and some have even begun to experiment with it on their own pets.  Dr. Douglas Kramer, a veterinarian in Los Angeles, Calif., who runs a mobile office focused on pain management and palliative care for pets, noted that approximately 300 people have told him they’ve treated their pets with medical marijuana since 2011. Kramer became intrigued by the drug’s potential when his Siberian husky, Nikita, was diagnosed with terminal cancer. “Nikita was wasting away, and she’d stopped eating,” he told JAVMA News. “I’d exhausted every available pharmaceutical pain option, even steroids. At that point, it was a quality of life issue, and I felt like I’d try anything to ease her suffering.” After Kramer began feeding Nikita small amounts of marijuana, the dog’s appetite returned, and she rested more comfortably during her final months. Based on his own reviews of medical marijuana research, Kramer believes the drug may be suitable for use in veterinary patients and that it deserves more attention from the veterinary research community. “I don’t want to come across as being overly in favor of giving marijuana to pets,” Kramer told JAVMA News. “My position is the same as the (American Medical Association’s position). We need to investigate marijuana further to determine whether the case reports I’m hearing are true or whether there’s a placebo effect at work. We also need to know what the risks are.” Other veterinarians note that medical marijuana has the potential to be used in pet treatments but agree that more research needs to be done. Dr. Dawn Boothe, director of the Clinical Pharmacology Laboratory at Auburn University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, said it wouldn’t surprise her to see FDA-approved drugs made from cannabinoid derivatives being used in pets one day. “My gut reaction is they do probably provide some therapeutic effect benefit,” said Boothe. “But, I’m never going to say there’s enough benefit that marijuana should be given to pets. I’m saying there’s enough justification that we need to study it.” Click for more from the JAVMA News.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/31/medical-marijuana-for-your-pet/