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EHP: The Researcher's Perspective
14 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
The Art of the Algorithm: Machine Learning in Environmental Health Research, with Nicole Kleinstreuer
We live in a time when investigators have overwhelming amounts of health-related data at their fingertips. In this podcast, Nicole Kleinstreuer explains how environmental health scientists are using machine learning to make sense of the information in those data—for example, predicting toxicological end points based on large curated data sets. But even as machine learning advances, researchers are working to set realistic expectations and performance thresholds for these new methods. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
12 minutes | Nov 12, 2019
The Global Burden of Mercury Exposure, with Niladri Basu
Methylmercury, the most toxic form of mercury, is found in seafood around the world, and it can cause severe health effects in people who are exposed to it. Governments are working to reduce the amount of mercury that finds its way into the environment. Dozens of countries have pledged to implement measures to reduce mercury pollution. In this podcast, Niladri Basu discusses his recent systematic review, which estimates global baseline mercury exposures. These estimates will help countries gauge the success of their control measures. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
12 minutes | Oct 1, 2019
Green and Serene? Exploring the Relationship between Vegetation and Mental Health, with Rachel Banay
Can living in green surroundings make you healthier and happier? It’s a tantalizing idea. In this podcast, guest Rachel Banay discusses her recent EHP study on depression in older women in relation to the amount of greenness near their homes. The study is part of a growing body of research that suggests there may, in fact, be health benefits associated with spending time in or near green spaces—although it is too soon to draw any firm conclusions about the nature and direction of the relationship, if it exists. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
14 minutes | Jul 22, 2019
Key Characteristics: A New Approach to Identifying Potential Toxicants, with Martyn Smith
It would be nearly impossible using current methods to test all the chemicals in use for toxic effects. So how do we prioritize which ones to study? In this podcast, Martyn Smith describes how he and his colleagues are developing lists of “key characteristics” shared by toxicants that cause specific adverse health effects, such as cancer or male or female reproductive toxicity. Risk assessors can use this information to predict the toxicity of other chemicals in an organized, systematic way. This approach may be useful in prioritizing chemicals for more detailed evaluation. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
11 minutes | May 20, 2019
Wind Turbines and Health: The Noise Connection, with Aslak Harbo Poulsen
For some people, the whoosh of wind turbines is the sound of clean energy. For others, it is the sound of an environmental exposure that could possibly cause adverse health effects. Wind turbine noise has been studied in relation to diabetes, hypertension, preterm birth, and more. In this podcast, Aslak Harbo Poulsen discusses his research on wind turbine noise in relation to two more outcomes: likelihood of filling prescriptions for sleeping pills or antidepressants, and risk of heart attack or stroke. Visit the podcast webpage to download a full transcript of this podcast.
15 minutes | Mar 14, 2019
A Regrettable Substitute: The Story of GenX, with Jane Hoppin
DuPont introduced GenX almost 10 years ago as a chemical substitute for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Although GenX was intended to be less environmentally persistent than PFOA, it has turned out to be what is known as a “regrettable substitute,” whose effects may be as bad as or even worse than the chemical it replaced. In this podcast, guest Jane Hoppin discusses her work assessing exposures to GenX and related chemicals in people living in the Lower Cape Fear River Basin of North Carolina. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
12 minutes | Jan 28, 2019
Arsenic and Obesity: A Compound Risk Factor for Diabetes? with Mirek Stýblo
Although obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, certain environmental agents, such as arsenic, also appear to contribute to the disease. There is evidence that an individual’s risk of arsenic-related disease depends on how efficiently he or she metabolizes arsenic. But what if that individual is both obese and exposed to arsenic? In this podcast, guest Mirek Stýblo discusses his recent work exploring the role that diet plays not just in arsenic metabolism but also in the diabetogenic effects of arsenic. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
10 minutes | Mar 1, 2013
Phthalates and Childhood Asthma, with Randi Bertelsen
Several studies have reported links between asthma in children and the presence of phthalates in dust from the children’s homes. But the presence of a chemical is not the same thing as exposure, so Norway’s Environment and Childhood Asthma Study has taken the research a step farther by measuring phthalates in the urine of children with and without asthma. In this podcast Randi Bertelsen discusses her recently published findings. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
11 minutes | Feb 1, 2013
An Unlikely Duo: Air Pollution’s Link to Low Birth Weight, with Tracey Woodruff
When you think about the health effects of air pollution, what comes to mind? Lung disease? Cancer? One health effect you might not immediately think of is low birth weight, a risk factor for a variety of other health problems later in life. Yet a growing body of evidence indicates that birth weight and other gestational outcomes can be influenced by a mother’s exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution. In this podcast Tracey Woodruff discusses new findings on this link from a global consortium of investigators who, between them, have analyzed more than 3 million births. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
8 minutes | Jan 2, 2013
The Secret Life of Fat, with Michele La Merrill
Your bulges are busier than you may think…Many people see adipose tissue—fat—as nothing more than lumpy extra baggage. But fat serves several important functions in the body. It helps us store energy and endocrine hormones that can affect behavior, energy regulation, immune and vascular function—to name a few. It also protects against toxic effects of persistent organic pollutants, or POPs. In this podcast, Michele La Merrill talks with host Ashley Ahearn about the diverse ways that fat interacts with these chemicals as both a modulator and a target of POP toxicity. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
10 minutes | Dec 1, 2012
Leaded Aviation Gasoline and Child Blood Lead Levels, with Marie Lynn Miranda
Despite dramatic decreases in atmospheric lead levels over the past few decades, lead exposure remains a problem, especially for children. In this podcast, Marie Lynn Miranda discusses one remaining, albeit relatively minor, source of lead exposure: leaded aviation gasoline. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
10 minutes | Nov 1, 2012
Exploring Links between Arsenic and Diabetes, with Ana Navas-Acien
Arsenic is a problem in communities around the world, from Bangladesh to New Hampshire. It’s one of the environmental chemicals the National Toxicology Program explored at a recent workshop as possibly contributing to the worldwide rise in diabetes. In this podcast, Ana Navas-Acien talks about a new review by investigators at that workshop, who summarize the evidence for a link between arsenic exposure and diabetes. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
10 minutes | Oct 1, 2012
Post-Katrina Asthma in the Children of New Orleans, with Patricia Chulada
New Orleans is already known as a hot, moist place—ideal growing conditions for mold. Now factor in Hurricane Katrina, which hit the city in August of 2005, leaving behind even more indoor mold and other asthma-causing allergens. Host Ashley Ahearn talks with Patricia Chulada about research to study and improve post-Katrina asthma symptoms in the children of New Orleans. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
8 minutes | Sep 1, 2012
Epigenomics and Maternal Smoking, with Bonnie Joubert and Stephanie London
Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have problems like low birth weight, asthma, and possibly obesity, cancer, and high blood pressure. For clues into the mechanism behind these effects, scientists are looking to the epigenome, the personalized set of directions that tells our cells how and when to produce proteins, which is one of the ways gene activity is controlled. In this podcast Stephanie London and Bonnie Joubert discuss the results of their recent study in which they identified a set of genes with methylation changes present at birth in children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
13 minutes | Aug 1, 2012
Climate Change and Migration, with Celia McMichael and Jon Barnett
Over the past million years humans have migrated in response to food shortages, droughts, ice ages, and many other reasons, but in the coming decades, migrations related to climate change are expected to increase, perhaps dramatically. Different circumstances—be it forced displacement, a planned resettlement, or migration into a city—can present different humanitarian and health adversities, but population movements also can offer benefits for migrants themselves, the communities they left, and the communities where they land. In this podcast, Celia McMichael and Jon Barnett tell host Ashley Ahearn about research and policy steps needed in advance of the rising tide of climate change–related migration. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
9 minutes | Jul 2, 2012
What Do We Know about Obesogens? with Bruce Blumberg
Human beings, as a species, are putting on weight. Obesity rates are rising in rich and poor countries alike for a variety of reasons, from changing dietary habits and activity levels to exposure to artificial nighttime light. Mounting evidence from over the past decade suggests that certain chemicals may be playing a role as well. For some people, so-called obesogens may be altering their metabolism and fat cell development, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. In this podcast, host Ashley Ahearn talks with Bruce Blumberg about the state of our understanding of obesogens. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
9 minutes | Jun 1, 2012
Low-dose Effects of Endocrine Disruptors, with Laura Vandenberg
Reproduction, growth, behavior, and sleep patterns are just a few of the bodily functions controlled by hormones. Researchers around the world are examining what happens if chemical substances we’re exposed to in our daily lives interrupt or imitate natural hormonal messages. The body of scientific evidence so far suggests that even at very low doses, exposures to endocrine disruptors may have very real effects, and that low-dose effects may disappear at higher doses, giving an illusion of safety if chemicals are not tested at low-enough doses. In this podcast, host Ashley Ahearn talks with Laura Vandenberg about her recent review of the evidence on health effects of low-dose exposures to endocrine disruptors. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
8 minutes | May 1, 2012
Bite of Arsenic, with Kathryn Cottingham
Many organic foods and high-energy products are sweetened with brown rice syrup as an alternative to high-fructose corn syrup. Consumers who eat these products may be avoiding high-fructose corn syrup, but they also may be exposed to arsenic that's been absorbed by the rice plants from which the syrup is made. In this podcast, Kathryn Cottingham talks with host Ashley Ahearn about her recent market-basket study of products containing brown rice syrup and other rice-based ingredients. Arsenic was detected in all the products tested, although Cottingham cautions it's too soon to say what this means in terms of potential health effects. Visit the podcast webpage to download the full transcript of this podcast.
9 minutes | Apr 1, 2012
Global Mortality from Outdoor Smoke, with Fay Johnston and Sarah Henderson
Burning forests, grasslands, and fields have been part of the landscape probably for as long as humans have been on the planet. But it's only in recent years that we've begun to explore the health effects of exposure to landscape fire smoke, which is now known to exacerbate preexisting disease and induce new disease. In some parts of the world, people are chronically exposed to smoke from landscape fires that burn for a large portion of the year. In other areas, exposure is sporadic and short-term. In this podcast, host Ashley Ahearn talks to Fay Johnston and Sarah Henderson about their their study in which they estimate the number of deaths worldwide attributable to smoke from landscape fires. Visit the podcast webpage to download a full transcript of this podcast.
5 minutes | Mar 1, 2012
Phthalates in Medicinal Products, with Katherine Kelley
Americans are widely exposed to phthalates in soft plastic products from toys to medical equipment. A perhaps lesser-known potential source of exposure is the timed-release coatings on certain pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, which enable active ingredients to reach the correct part of the gastrointestinal tract for working properly. In this podcast, host Ashley Ahearn talks to Katherine Kelley about her new study on the extent to which phthalates are used in medicinal products. Visit the podcast webpage to download a full transcript of this podcast.
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