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November 2017 News Letter


Welcome to our News Letter

November 2017




Despite Johnson & Johnson’s protestations and the reversal of two recent court awards there still remain more than 4,800 plaintiffs across America suing over the alleged association of baby powder with their or their family members’ cancers.

Processed from a soft mineral compound of magnesium silicate, and called talcum powder, baby powder or just talc, is still being commonly used to reduce rashes and diaper irritation in babies and infants. This regardless of the fact that this practice is dangerous because it can also result in the inhalation of significant amounts of powder, causing acute or chronic lung irritation, known as talcosis.

Manufactured by Johnson & Johnson, and widely distributed by Boots and most other pharmacies, women have been persuaded for years by advertisements, to dust themselves with talcum powder to mask body odour. Not surprisingly, this powder became a symbol of freshness and cleanliness for over five decades.

The first warning of the dangers of genital talc came as far
back as 1971 report on the identification of talc particles
in ovarian cancers, a finding sharply contested by Dr.
G.Y. Hildick-Smith, Johnson & Johnson’s medical
director. However, a subsequent publication in the
prestigious The Lancet warned that “The potentially
harmful effects of talc . . . in the ovary . . . should not be ignored.”

Again this warning was confirmed in a 1992 publication in Obstetrics & Gynecology which reported that a woman’s frequent talc use on her genitals increased her risk of ovarian cancer by threefold. The talc in question was simple brand or generic ‘baby powder.’

Subsequent to the 1992 report, at least a dozen other major science articles documenting the link between talc and ovarian cancer appeared in leading medical journals such as Cancer, The Lancet, and Oncology. The capstone of this research case against talc came in 2003 when the journal Anticancer Research published a ‘meta-analysis,’ or large scale review, of


16 previous published studies involving 11,933 women; a 33 percent increased risk of ovarian cancer was confirmed.

By some estimates, one out of five women regularly apply talc to their genitals, but women are not alone in this practice.


This product is also used by many men. Used regularly prior to
sexual intercourse this could considerably raise the risk of ovarian cancer to their partners.

All of this is easily avoidable as cornstarch powder is a less expensive, safe and reliable alternative.


The feeling of constantly being on edge, always having to take care of everything, not being able to find a balance: If an expectant mother is strongly stressed over a longer period of time, the risk of the unborn child developing a mental or physical illness later in life — such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or cardiovascular disease — increases. The precise mechanism of how stress affects the baby in the womb is not yet been completely clarified. In cooperation with the University Hospital Zurich and the Max Planck Institute Munich, researchers of the University of Zurich have discovered that physical stress to the mother can change the metabolism in the placenta and influence the growth of the unborn child.


When stressed, the human body releases hormones to
handle the higher stress, such as the so-called
hormone (CRH), which results in an increase in stress
hormone cortisol. This mechanism also persists during pregnancy, and the placenta, which supplies the fetus with nutrients, can also emit stress hormone CRH. As a result, a small amount of this hormone enters the amniotic fluid and fetal metabolism. Animal studies have shown that this hormone can boost the development of the unborn child: Unfavorable growth conditions in the woman lead to an increased release of the hormone, thereby improving the chances of survival in case of a premature birth. Under certain circumstances, however, this increase can also have negative consequences: “An excessive acceleration of growth may occur at the expense of the proper maturation of the organs,” says Ulrike Ehlert, psychologist and program coordinator.


How does mental stress to the mother affect the release of stress hormones in the placenta? The research team tested 34 healthy pregnant women, who took part in amniocentesis within the scope of prenatal diagnostics. Such a test constitutes a stress situation for the expectant



mother as her body secretes cortisol in the short term. To determine whether the placenta also releases stress hormones, the researchers compared the cortisol level in the mother’s saliva with the CRH level in the amniotic fluid — and determined that there was no connection: “The baby obviously remains protected against negative effects in case of acute, short-term stress to the mother,” Ehlert concludes.

The situation of the results regarding prolonged stress is completely different, as was determined using questionnaires for diagnosing chronic social overload: “If the mother is stressed for a longer period of time, the CRH level in the amniotic fluid increases,” says Pearl La Marca-Ghaemmaghami, psychologist and program researcher. This higher concentration of stress hormone in turn accelerates the growth of the fetus. As a result, the effect of the hormone on growth is confirmed
“The corticotropin-releasing hormone CRH obviously plays a complex and dynamic role in the development of the human fetus, which needs to be better understood,” La Marca- Ghaemmaghami summarizes.


Stress during pregnancy cannot always be avoided, however and “A secure bond between the mother and child after the birth can help neutralize negative effects of stress during pregnancy,” The psychologists advice to pregnant women who are exposed to longer-term stress

situations is to “seek support from a therapist to handle the stress better”. This is all well and good for those who can afford it plus we now know that ‘childhood lasts a lifetime’.

“Deprivation is undoubtedly the cause of much distress in low income families. The closure of the hundreds of family centres and cuts to the services they provide make it far more difficult to deliver support to those that need it. Babies as well as mothers need ‘trauma relief’ especially following a difficult confinement and/or delivery.

Until the supporters of the 1001 Critical Days Cross Party
Manifesto are able to implement some real and effective
changes, our mothers and children will continue to suffer and the long term effects on our children’s lives and the costs to our healthcare and prison services can only get higher.
So much can be done in these early months that can limit the long term effects of mother and baby trauma” Editor


Infant cries activate specific brain regions related to movement and speech, according to a study of mothers in 11 countries. The findings identify behaviors and underlying brain activities that are consistent among mothers from different cultures.

Infant cries activate specific brain regions related to movement and speech, according to a National Institutes of Health study of mothers in 11 countries. The findings, led by researchers at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human


Development (NICHD), identify behaviors and underlying brain activities that are consistent among mothers from different cultures. Understanding these reactions may help in identifying and treating caregivers at risk for child maltreatment and other problematic behaviors.

The study team conducted a series of behavioral and brain imaging studies using functional magnetic
resonance imaging (fMRI). In a group of 684 new mothers in Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Cameroon, France, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, South Korea and the United States, researchers observed and recorded one hour of interaction between the mothers and their 5- month-old babies at home. The team analyzed whether mothers responded to their baby’s cries by showing affection, distracting, nurturing (like feeding or diapering), picking up and holding, or talking. Regardless of which country they came from, mothers were likely to pick up and hold or talk to their crying infant.

Through MRI studies of other groups of women, the team found that infant cries activated similar brain regions in new and experienced mothers: the supplementary motor area, which is associated with the intention to move and speak; the inferior frontal regions, which are involved in the production of speech; and the superior temporal regions that are linked to sound processing.

Overall, the findings suggest that mothers’ responses to infant cries are hard-wired and generalizable across cultures. The study also builds upon earlier work showing that women’s and men’s brains respond differently to infant cries.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

1001 Critical Days

For Children’s Centre Staff Family Health Professionals and Parent Practioners
Two Day Teacher Training in Primary Trauma Relief and Developmental Baby Massage with Peter Walker UK/International – Recognized Teaching Certificate Fully accredited by
The Federation of Prenatal Education and the Independent Professional Therapists International

‘In House’ teacher training UK and International For further details on courses and content

Editor Peter Walker 2017