Noise makes us ill and is a public health problem

Noise is one of the most important environmental stressors and represents a public health concern. Nowadays in Europe, 100 million people -one in five people- are exposed to high outdoor levels of road traffic noise (above 55dB) and 32 million to very high outdoor levels of road traffic noise (above 65 dB). In Spain, numbers are higher, with one in four people exposed above 55 dB. Despite emerging evidence from experimental and epidemiological studies, the effects of noise on health have captured little attention and are often disregarded. In one of the latest Health ISGLobal‘s blog posts, researchers Maria Foraster tells us more about this problem, including some … Continue reading Noise makes us ill and is a public health problem

“Air pollution is the major environmental contamination in the developed world”

The group directed by Jordi Sunyer is part of the Research Centre for Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL) and focuses on three research lines, which are based on general population studies. While two junior scientists analyze the effect of pollutants on the respiratory system and hormonal disruption, the main research of Jordi Sunyer himself focuses on the neurological development of children. To breastfeed or not to breastfeed  Sunyer, who is the co-director of CREAL and also the director of the epidemiology and public health programme of the IMIM, seeks to point out environmental factors to which the pregnant woman was or is … Continue reading “Air pollution is the major environmental contamination in the developed world”

“We have only one chance to develop a brain”

Philippe Grandjean, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard University, delivered a lecture in Barcelona invited by Jordi Sunyer, from the CREAL, a ‘model institution’ according to Grandjean. Sunyer introduced the talk about what the Danish-born scientist calls a ‘silent pandemic’: the effect of chemical pollutants on neurodevelopment. To what extent do in utero conditions affect adult health?  There are several studies that show that exposing pregnant women to mercury can affect the development of their children, even if they are not affected themselves. Minamata disease, a neurological syndrome caused in children whose mothers suffer severe mercury exposure, was discovered … Continue reading “We have only one chance to develop a brain”

Effects of chemical exposure and social environment on the developing brain

The developing brain is exceptionally sensitive to environmental influences, and two recent papers lead by scientists at the CREAL have analysed the effect of several variables – chemical exposure and social environment – in neurodevelopment of infants. In the specific cases studied, the effect didn’t seem to be very substantial. One of the articles was published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, and it focuses on the potential effect of prenatal exposure to mercury, since it is known that vulnerability of the central nervous system to this metal is increased during early development. The scientists examined 1,683 children who are … Continue reading Effects of chemical exposure and social environment on the developing brain

The effect of genes and environment on the consequences of ecstasy use

The Human Pharmacology and Clinical Neurosciences group of the IMIM-Hospital del Mar, lead by Rafael de la Torre, has published a paper in PLoS One  this week to try to clarify the association between cumulative use of MDMA (ecstasy), one of the most popular illegal psychostimulants abused among youth,  and cognitive dysfunction. They have also set to understand the potential role of candidate genetic polymorphisms in explaining individual differences in the cognitive effects of MDMA. Several studies have suggested that MDMA induces neurotoxicity, which primarily affects the serotonin system and is linked to memory dysfunction. There is also evidence that several gene polymorphisms may contribute to explain variations … Continue reading The effect of genes and environment on the consequences of ecstasy use