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Harvard Links Developmental Problems To Increasing Chemical Use

daily alternative | alternative news - Harvard Links Developmental Problems To Increasing Chemical Use

According to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPS) and the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, toxic chemicals are likely triggering the recent increases in neurodevelopmental disabilities seen among children — such as autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and dyslexia. Whereas the rise in the prevalence of autism has often been attributed to more efficient testing methods (and by some to vaccines or diet), myriad of factors coming into play which have the potential to result in higher rates of autism and other disorders.

Neurodevelopmental disabilities among children have been on the rise in recent years, and the researchers of the study have stressed the need for a new global prevention strategy, which they insist should be urgently orchestrated in order to help control the use of these substances.

“The greatest concern is the large numbers of children who are affected by toxic damage to brain development in the absence of a formal diagnosis. They suffer reduced attention span, delayed development, and poor school performance. Industrial chemicals are now emerging as likely causes,” said Philippe Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health at HSPH.

Research concluded that manganese, fluoride, chlorpyrifos and DDT (pesticides), tetrachloroethylene (a solvent), and the polybrominated diphenyl ethers (flame retardants), among other industrial chemicals, have been identified as “developmental neurotoxicants”. Manganese is suggested to be associated with diminished intellectual function and impaired motor skills, several pesticides can cause cognitive delays, as well as a myriad of other health problems. Additionally, solvents have been linked to hyperactivity and aggressive behavior.

The authors of the study suggest that mandatory testing of industrial chemicals should take place worldwide, the formation of a new clearinghouse which will evaluate industrial chemicals for potential neurotoxicity. Foremost, they stress the urgency to have these chemicals controlled in order to help protect the brain development of children worldwide.

As we continue to see a rise in the prevalence of developmental disorders around the world such as dyslexia, a variety of autism spectrum disorders (one in 50 children in the U.S.) and many others, it’s evident that these harmful chemicals cause irreparable damage and their lucrative and unchecked usage needs to be addressed. These problems are in addition to the plethora of problems caused by endocrine disruptors (also known as xenohormones) in our water, soil, and food, which are largely unregulated worldwide.

It appears that various government organizations haven’t made it their top priority to be concerned with the harmful chemicals that have been shown to stunt brain development, and on the contrary they wish to frequently side with biotechnology companies that prefer to assault the environment with their toxic garbage; poisoning communities and environments – most likely never to see any real consequence or punishment.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Harvard Links Developmental Problems To Increasing Chemical Use

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Health & Science

Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

A controversial deal between tech giant Google and the National Health Service (NHS) will allow artificial intelligence units access to 1.6 million confidential medical records. Since 2014, Google has partnered with several scientists in an attempt to understand human health, but a new report reveals the data gathering goes far beyond what was originally anticipated.

According to documents obtained by the New Scientist, the data sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust gives access to the sensitive healthcare data of millions of NHS patients. The chilling and wide-reaching deal allows DeepMind access to the medical records of the 1.6 million people passing annually through the three London hospitals owned by the Trust — Barnet, Chase Farm, and the Royal Free.

The Google-owned A.I. firm announced in February it was working with the NHS to build an app called Streams — intended to help hospitals monitor patients with kidney disease. However, the new information has revealed that the extent of the data being shared goes much further and includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, records of the location and status of patients, and even logs of who visits them and when.

Results of pathology and radiology tests are also shared, as is information from critical care and accident and emergency departments. In addition, DeepMind’s access to the centralised records of all NHS hospital treatments in the U.K. means the tech company can access historical data from the last five years, all while receiving a continuous stream of new data.

At the same time, DeepMind is developing a platform called Patient Rescue, which uses hospital data streams to build tools to carry out analysis and support diagnostic decisions. The New Scientist explained how it works:

Comparing a new patient’s information with millions of other cases, Patient Rescue might be able to predict that they are in the early stages of a disease that has not yet become symptomatic, for example. Doctors could then run tests to see if the prediction is correct.

While the Royal Free has not yet responded to the question of what — if any — opt-out mechanisms are available to patients, the New Scientist suggests this is unlikely to be a straightforward process. Despite the agreement stating Google cannot use the data in any other part of the company’s business, many will be seriously wary of the access the online tech giant now has to the confidential data of millions of people.

As the New Scientist wrote:

Data mining is the name of the game in the burgeoning field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and there’s no company in the world better at that than Google.

 

daily alternative | alternative news – Google Now Has Access To Millions of Patients’ Medical Records

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