The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age

April 15, 2012

About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!

I lighten up this very serious topic by announcing that an unusually early hummingbird scout has arrived here in the Front Range of northern Colorado Rocky Mountains yesterday morning! And the tiny hummie is here today, too! In fact, two of them, the green-back variety!

But on Friday, it was a sad coincidence when, after I “shared” on Facebook the picture of a certain baby in need of a heart transplant, later in the day I happened on a related news. And I tweeted the allowed 140 characters thus: #Infertile #TryingToConceive Warning & clear explanation http://to.ly/cTP3 #IVF protocols seriously flawed – induce epigenetic damage.     

Sarah Christie, Facebook - Share this! If she gets 1,000 shares she gets her heart transplant for free.

Sarah Christie, Facebook – Share this! If she gets 1,000 shares she gets her heart transplant for free.
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=388139167870098&set=a.318579008159448.96351.100000220538357&type=1&ref=nf

In the above-linked summary of a Swiss study about children born by Artificial Reproductive Technology [ART] procedures, “ART children were found to have … a significantly higher risk of cardiovascular disease at a young age.”

Note: “Vascular dysfunction is related to ART per se rather than to parent-related factors. Oxidative stress may represent an underlying mechanism”. Cited from: “Systemic Vascular Dysfunction in Children Conceived by Assisted Reproductive Technologies” http://spo.escardio.org/eslides/view.aspx?eevtid=33&id=976 by Rimoldi SF, Sartori C, demarche SF, Stuber T, Garcin S, Duplain H, Germond M, Scherrer U, Allemann Y.

See also: “Systemic and Pulmonary Vascular Dysfunction in Children Conceived by Assisted Reproductive Technologies”, Circulation 2012; CIRCULATIONAHA.111.071183 published online before print March 20 2012 by Urs Scherrer et al. – http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/early/2012/03/13/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.071183.abstract : “…children conceived by ART display generalized vascular dysfunction. This problem does not appear to be related to parental factors, but to the ART procedure itself.”

This Circulation 2012 online article also summarizes the background, as follows: “Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves the manipulation of early embryos at a time when they may be particularly vulnerable to external disturbances. Environmental influences during the embryonic and fetal development influence the individual’s susceptibility to cardiovascular disease raising concerns regarding the potential consequences of ART on the long-term health of the offspring.”

And it is apparently even worse.

According to a position statement by European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), http://www.eshre.eu/binarydata.aspx?type=doc&sessionId=2zn3zp4523tjjg45tnjhaev1/Birth_defects_position_papers.pdf QUOTE:

“Children from couples who get pregnant after assisted reproduction techniques (ART), like IVF/ICSI, have a 40-50% increased risk for a birth defect.

A similar increased risk has been reported for subfertile couples who get pregnant spontaneously after a prolonged time period. This increased risk seems thus mainly be due to parental characteristics from the infertility status and not to the treatment given. A recent case-control study from USA has confirmed these findings.” END QUOTE.

Vanya Loroch, PhD is the author of the summary referenced in the tweet above, in the opening sentence about epigenetic damage due to IVF. Readers will benefit from watching his last listed reference, The Ghost in your Genes (at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=toRIkRa1fYU ).  As Dr. Loroch writes, it is a fascinating BBC show on the topic of human epigenetics. I would say, the movie should be a mandatory infotainment (viewing) material for all teenagers and young adults.

Vanya also provides a micro-primer on epigenetic alterations, which I recommend. It is at the mentioned http://www.loroch.ch/blog/public/danger-ivf-summary-findings (= the above-cited tweet’s short URL: http://to.ly/cTP3 ).

As one of the scientists there contemplates, in the last part of the film, this new epigenetic insight will make you think about being a guardian of your genome – for the sake of the future offspring of your offspring, not just for your own health’s sake. The environmental impact on the health of future generations (yes, in plural) is demonstrated there in a clear way, with very little scientific jargon and much BBC quality.

Incidentally, how the in vitro in IVF causes the epigenetic switch (damage) is shown there, too. Highly recommended. They don’t even mention uniparental disomy (UPD) as I do, below! After you’ve watched the movie, you’ll put it in context, for sure. Especially you, the female “uniparent”!

I’ve written previously about delayed parenting or, rather, mothering: Every year past the optimal fertile age of early twenties is making things harder – on would be Mom, on Baby, on healthcare system, on humankind. Consequences of conception difficulties should not be taken lightly (ref.: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/difficult-conception-tied-to-pregnancy-complications-addressed/ ). “High-risk pregnancies are more likely in women who have difficulty getting pregnant, with or without help from hi-tech fertility treatments.” That’s citing a specialist medical authority.

In my Facebook Note, titled “Bestia triumphans II and the International Women’s Day. A heresy?”, I put it rather mildly:

Ironically, the consequences of the sexual revolution [i.e., the introduction of the Pill in the 1960s] can only lead to the deterioration of the health of the human lot. The offspring of all those older mothers (and fathers) can hardly be expected to carry an improving human gene pool.

Anderle - Bestia triumphans II

Jiří Anderle / Jiri Anderle
Bestia triumphans II
lept, měkký kryt / etching, vernis mou
1984, opus 271, 65 x 95,5 cm
34.000,- Kč / CZK
http://www.galerieart.cz/prodej_anderle_2.htm
For the “triumphant beast” and Giordano Bruno’s story see http://twitpic.com/8r5lyi or click for the image Description

One of the references behind this statement is: Am J Med Genet. 2000 Dec 18; 95(5):454-60, “The contribution of uniparental disomy to congenital development defects in children born to mothers at advanced childbearing age”: This study confirms the hypothesis that uniparental disomy is a not negligible cause of congenital developmental anomalies in children of older mothers. QUOTE UNQUOTE.

Brief clarifications:

Uniparental disomy (UPD) occurs when a newborn receives two copies of a chromosome, or part of a chromosome, from one parent and no copies from the other parent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniparental_disomy ).

Maternal Age: Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. Therefore, when a woman is 30 years old, so are her eggs. … Errors can crop up in the eggs’ genetic material as they [the eggs, ova] age over time. Therefore, older women are more at risk of giving birth to babies with chromosome abnormalities than younger women. Since men produce new sperm throughout their life, paternal age does not increase the risk of chromosome abnormalities (http://www.genome.gov/11508982 ).

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love

Jiří Anderle
Láska za lásku / Love for Love
lept, pastel / etching, pastel, 1996
opus 535, 13 x 17 cm 7.400,- Kč / CZK
http://www.galerieart.cz/anderle_vystava_2011- 1990-1999.htm

Heresy or not, I exclaim in the vernacular used during my early adult years in Britain: Damn the bloody Pill!

And, from my even younger years in the “Old Country”, I recall the sadly funny outcry, Lide jsou blbe!, which translates – albeit without rhyming – as: People are imbecile! (daft, idiotic, …). These days, I would not use such language, of course. Not even to those whose job it is to look after healthcare.

The reasons for why I swear at the Pill and other Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals have been discussed previously in this bioZhena’s Weblog. See, for example, Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s (Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you) . You need the gist of the bad Pill effect, here and now? This is the bottom line: “After 3 and up to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced. … S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural estrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired…” and people wait with having kids until it’s too late.

While the Pill- and other drug-making and the various artificial reproductive technologies are a big business (much like war-making), I continue to try and clarify that natural reproductive women’s health management is a must. Gentlemen, we do have the technology for that. Ladies, quite a few of them, already know. Or at least a few of them do – globally. Look at the Blog Stats and the Flag Counter, on the right margin (of home page or of about page).

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Smoking affects the menstrual cyclic profile as captured by the Ovulona™, monitoring might help with smoking-cessation

February 21, 2012

80 percent of the 201,773 women who die prematurely from tobacco-related illnesses each year began smoking while they were adolescents. Evidence shows that those young people, who begin to use tobacco, do not understand the nature of the addiction. They believe they will be able to avoid the harmful consequences of tobacco use. They don’t know that “some researchers feel nicotine is as addictive as heroin. In fact, nicotine has actions similar to heroin and cocaine, and the chemical affects the same area of the brain.”

As someone has written, when most girls begin smoking, they are usually caught up in the immediate experience of what appears to be a “cool”, “adult”, or even “glamorous” behavior. They are naive about the powerful addictive nature of nicotine, which, for some adolescents, takes hold after only a few cigarettes.  Among those who had tried to quit smoking, 82 percent were unable to do so.

The tobacco industry spends vast sums of money on persuading people to take up or continue smoking. In its own words, the industry is “a monster which has to be fed”. The industry sees women as a territory to be conquered, and a large portion of the total marketing expenditure is aimed in their direction.

Women appear to be more susceptible to the addictive properties of nicotine and have a slower metabolic clearance of nicotine from their bodies than do men. Women also appear to be more susceptible to the effects of tobacco carcinogens than men, including higher rates of lung cancer.

Girls and women are significantly more likely than boys and men to feel dependent on cigarettes, and more likely to report being unable to cut down on smoking. While various smoking-cessation treatments and strategies appear to work similarly for both sexes, women may face different stressors and barriers to quitting smoking, such as greater likelihood of depression, weight control concerns, and child-care and family issues.

It is estimated that about 30% of deaths from cervical cancer are caused by smoking. Smoking and taking the Pill in combination can increase the risk of heart disease by up to ten times.

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love

Jiří Anderle, Láska za lásku / Love for Love lept, pastel / etching, pastel, 1996, opus 535, 13 x 17 cm 7.400,- Kč / CZK

Smoking is damaging to women’s reproductive health. It is associated with infertility, complications during pregnancy, and an earlier onset of menopause.

The estimated 20 percent of pregnant women who smoke during their pregnancies subject themselves and their fetuses and newborns to significant health risks, including miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-term delivery, low birth weight infants, and higher rates of infant mortality.

Smoking while pregnant has serious effects on the health of the baby. Untold adverse consequences affect the lives of those children and the people around them. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk by 50 percent of having a child with mental retardation; this increased risk rises up to 85 percent among those who smoke a pack or more of cigarettes each day. The risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases among infants who are exposed to intra-uterine smoke and to second-hand smoke after pregnancy.

The younger an adolescent is when she begins to smoke, the more severe her nicotine addiction is likely to be. Additional health effects of smoking are: respiratory problems (and decreased physical fitness), dental problems (including periodontal degeneration), coronary artery disease, mental health effects (including nervousness, depression, more high-risk behavior, etc.), health-damaging behaviors, and other negative effects on quality of life (bad breath, wrinkled skin, stained teeth, and other negative effects that influence how she looks and feels).

We have preliminary evidence on how the smoker’s lifestyle affects the FIV™ menstrual cyclic profile captured by the Ovulona™.

Non-baseline profiles flanking baseline subject's AM&PM profile

Baseline cyclic profile of a healthy 30-years old non-smoker woman (who, as a baseline subject, is not taking any medication or contraception) shown here between two cyclic profiles of a smoking mother. The baseline profile was taken twice a day, morning and evening, and the AM and PM records show not only the reproducibility but also how the post-ovulation follicular waves develop between the morning and evening hours. The smoker’s consecutive profiles are similar to the baseline but exhibit significant differences. Cycle 4 record captured a delayed ovulation and short luteal phase. Cycle 5 shows also a short luteal phase, an abnormality (the luteal phase should be about 14 days long, give or take a day or two).

Image file URL: https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/21/smoking-affects-the-menstrual-cyclic-profile-as-captured-by-the-ovulona-which-might-help-with-smoking-cessation/non-baseline-profiles-flanking-baseline-subjects-ampm-profile-t/

We can imagine that a young woman trying to quit smoking may be helped in her effort by the Ovulona device. The Ovulona could be prospectively proffered for that purpose as a kind of biofeedback tool.

It is envisaged that tobacco interference with the fertility cycle will be recognized and accepted as a powerful motivator in the hard battle with the extremely strong addiction. “Is appearing ‘cool’ worth the resulting difficulty in getting pregnant, having a healthy baby?”

With public health education, the healthcare providers will be able to use the FIV cyclic profiles of the addicted patients to point out the affected features, and to monitor effects of treatment. “We really want to see this part of your cyclic profile to look more like this…”

The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors

February 13, 2012

Don’t let them lead you by the nose with likely this and probable that! You need to know for sure.

When it comes to the crucial timing of ovulation, it is astonishing to see the fallacies and delusions propagated on the web – and that this includes even certain generally respected mainstream sources. How they declare, for example: If you’re trying to get pregnant, use this tool to find out when you likely ovulate and are most fertile.

Never mind that “most fertile” makes absolutely no sense because there is no such thing as a little fertile, more fertile and most fertile!

Ladies (and teenage young ladies included!), you either are fertile today or you are not: You either can conceive today or not.

It is either or.

You either are fertile today or you are not. It is not a little bit fertile, or more fertile, or most fertile. Like, you cannot be a little bit pregnant… you either are, or you are not.

Besides which, if you want to conceive a pregnancy, you must know with certainty that ovulation happens when you try to conceive – not merely that it is likely to happen. Unless you are reproductively ill or menopausal, it is always likely to happen at some point but the mere likelihood is not very helpful. Conception absolutely requires ovulation so that the released (ovulated) egg has a chance to be fertilized.

You must have a way of detecting ovulation at home and, based on that instrumentally recorded information, we will also help you with the Expected Date of Delivery (EDD), because that is how it works. Not the LMP (Last Menstrual Period) but the date of the conceptive ovulation — that’s the ovulation with which you became pregnant because your ovulated egg became fertilized. The date of ovulation is the date from which the EDD must be computed.

Ovulation caught on camera

Ovulation caught on camera by Dr. Donnez – impressive but not a practical method of detecting ovulation

Fast forward to the principle that’s behind the take-home message of this post and that’s systematically arrived at by the end of this post:

Briefly: Tracking systemic effects (hormones in circulation) is not good enough for fertility status determination, especially if the purpose is pregnancy avoidance.

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To be blunt about the language of “likely ovulate” and “most fertile”: Such language simply reflects their inability to be definitive about it – and they therefore resort to guesstimating ovulation, calling it a calculation.

Numerous websites proffer their ovulation calculators when you search online for “ovulation”. A free, printable ovulation calendar and ovulation calculator to help you…, ovulation calculator can help you find the best time to conceive (as if there was some worse time when to conceive!), a calculator to generate your ovulation calendar and determine the best time…, our free Ovulation Calendar helps you predict your most fertile time of the month (ovulation) so that you can achieve pregnancy. Etc.

Notably and significantly, they do NOT promote this for natural (behavioral) pregnancy avoidance (birth control) but only as a tool for assisting conception – as if these were not the two sides of the same coin. They do not because they would get into trouble if they did.

A common approach relies on detecting, in a woman’s urine, the luteinizing hormone (LH) that typically surges on the ovulation day. The LH surge (sharp narrow peak in LH concentration) occurs a few hours before ovulation. Because that is really too late for anticipating ovulation, a related but more sophisticated fertility monitor additionally detects also a metabolite of estrogen, i.e., another hormone, which anticipates the LH surge by about a day.

The worst flaw of systemic hormone monitoring

Fundamentally the most serious detriment is the fact that ovulation as such is not detected by said fertility device or any other such available in the marketplace. Ovulation is merely assumed to occur some hours after the LH surge – but the surge of the LH hormone is merely a trigger signal sent by the brain to the ovary. It says, “ovary, let go of the ovum in our dominant follicle”, but it does not say that the ovary in fact did (or does).

This is a fundamental flaw because ovulation is known to fail to occur in approximately 20% of the follicles. Those follicles, triggered by the LH, undergo the cyclic event of follicle rupture but, despite the rupture, the egg does not come out – there is no ovulation.

Human ovulation caught on camera

In 20% of LH-triggered cases, the egg is not released so ovulation, as photographed here by Dr. Donnez, does not occur

Ovulation also fails to occur with another type of follicles, the so-called luteinized unruptured follicles. Yet, the LH surge can be seen in either case, and is therefore a false indicator.

Furthermore, when stress causes a delay or absence of ovulation despite the LH surge signal (signal from the brain to the ovary), this cannot be detected and handled by the urinary hormone-based approach. As you can imagine, with our stressful lifestyle and environment, this is a very serious flaw that results in many disappointments.

George Condo - Field of Figures

George Condo – Field of Figures sold for $450,000 at Skarstedt Gallery’s booth Published: June 14, 2011

Since, unlike our Ovulona™ Smart Sensor™ technology, their method depends on biochemical reagents and since the supply of the reagents is limited, their product’s user has to estimate on which day of her menstrual cycle she should start using the hormone-monitoring device when peeing into a cup. She does the estimating based on her previous menstrual cycle(s) as though the length and the timing of the present menstrual cycle were the same as in her previous cycle(s). Alas, that’s not so. Because of the variable lengths of successive cycles in most women, this is a weak feature in their design (even though they are getting away with it).

A key practical problem of the referenced 2-hormone device (the Clearblue® Fertility Monitor) is that the monitored urinary concentration of the estrogen metabolite E3G peaks only about 12 to 24 hours prior to the LH surge. This is not early enough to serve as a marker of the beginning of the fertile phase.

Fertile day 1 not identified

Their research or marketing literature may claim that “a sustained rise in E3G can be used to identify the start of the fertile phase”, referring to the slow gradual increase that eventually becomes the peak of E3G concentration. However, the idea to use an ill-defined rise – rather than the peak in the cyclic profile of the estrogen metabolite – is not a viable solution to the fertile window problem.

Even if the ill-defined E3G rise in the urine were correlated with a clearly defined stage of the egg development towards ovulation, a serious problem is that the rate of the E3G rise differs from cycle to cycle, as do the blood concentrations of E3G. The initially slow increase of the E3G concentration in the urine proceeds at different rates in different cycles, not only at different rates in different women. The E3G rise cannot be predictably associated with the beginning of the fertile period, and it cannot serve as a marker.

Hypothalamus-Pituitary-Gonad Feedback Loop

Schematic diagram of interaction between the LH and FSH hormone-generating glands in the brain (hypothalamus and pituitary) and those of the ovary (female gonad) generating estrogen and progesterone

The reasons are as follows:

1. Estrogen is known to have both stimulatory and inhibitory effects on LH secretion and, to be effective as a stimulant, it must rise to its peak levels (> 150 to 200 pg/ml) and must remain elevated for at least 36 hours [J. Hotchkiss and E. Knobil in E.Y. Adashi, J.A. Rock and Z. Rosenwaks, editors: Reproductive Endocrinology, Surgery and Technology, Lippincott-Raven Publishers, 1996].

In fact, the E3G rise indicates something else:

2. The E3G profile does not reflect the local interplay of estrogen with progesterone because it only reflects clearance of one of at least 10 metabolites of estrogen from peripheral blood circulation into the urine, after oxidative conversion in the liver.

Whatever the rate of this clearance process in the given woman in the given menstrual cycle, there are “local mechanisms due to which the quantification of ovarian steroids in peripheral blood or in urine is rendered interesting but of little value in predicting the genital end-organ effect” [C.J. Verco, in A.M. Siegler, editor: The Fallopian Tube. Basic Studies and Clinical Contributions, Futura Publishing Company, 1986].

The decades old problem is fundamental

This makes for the same basic flaw as that suffered by other monitors of peripheral hormones whether the hormone be progesterone (BBT monitoring) or estrogen (conductivity of saliva or of vaginal fluids).

Thus, the 2-hormone approach is in the end as inaccurate as the other LH-detecting techniques (the OPKs, Ovulation Predictor Kits). Therefore, like the other hormone monitoring methods, it cannot be approved and proffered for pregnancy avoidance since the failure rate would be unacceptably high. In fact, a law suit ensued in England, when the original developer company did sell the LH-and-estrogen monitor as a “contraceptive system”, and a number of unintended pregnancies resulted to the users.

The fundamental point is this: The effects of the local and acute regulatory mechanisms (as referenced under 2 above) remain undetected by the old techniques that work with the peripheral biomarker variables.

Ovarian vein-to-artery exchange of steroids, prostaglandins and other bioactive substances is a local transfer mechanism which enables local regulation of ovarian, tubal and uterine functions. The local, as opposed to peripheral, blood concentrations of the steroid hormones are also believed to work with the innervation of the female genital tract (the cervix in particular).

The effects of these local and acute regulatory mechanisms remain undetected by the old so-called prior art techniques that work with peripheral biomarker variables. In contrast, our Ovulona™ detects them – via the cervix, the natural monitor of the female reproductive system.

Gustav Klimt - Medicine mural (complete view)

Gustav Klimt – Medicine mural – Klimt’s primary subject was the female body

The flawed assumption of similar timing of menstrual cyclic events from one cycle to another has been a problem for the BBT and the BBT thermometers. Since the late sixties, the microprocessor technology has been applied by a number of people to the well-tried basal body temperature [BBT] approach to family planning that was originally hoped to work for pregnancy avoidance.

Smart phone apps with the BBT?

The BBT approach is no longer recognized as medically valid even if it may be acceptable to some of the older physicians, and to the younger buyers of an expensive microcomputerized BBT monitor offered from Europe and/or to the users of one of the more recent smart phone apps based on BBT monitoring.

This is because the so-called basal body temperature is a systemic variable that reflects, among other things, progesterone rise in peripheral blood after ovulation, usually one or two days later.  It is a very indirect and non-specific biomarker. Even though in some women in some cycles a little-understood dip in the temperature graph may apparently be observed one day before the temperature rise, it is clear that the BBT method is of little value due to its lack of predictive capability and due to its fundamental unreliability. The BBT-rise data is known to have a large error bar since the rise can occur from 3 days before to 3 days after ovulation.

For a more detailed critique of the BBT monitoring approach and a rebuttal of a particular European product, peruse Critique of BBT monitoring – DuoFertility rebuttal. Also read a note on 3 things that differentiate our technique from the smartphone apps and particularly the most recent, Natural Cycles .

Briefly: Tracking systemic effects (hormones in circulation) is not good enough for fertility status determination, especially if the purpose is pregnancy avoidance.

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Purveyors of the old “prior art” technologies get away with it because of the high demand for any help with the serious and growing problem of sub-fertility, more commonly called trying-to-conceive or difficult getting pregnant. When the purveyors publish anecdotal evidence of “efficacy” in the form of thank-you letters from women who did achieve pregnancy, we should keep in mind that the women received help in focusing on trying to hit the fertile period regardless of whether the given technology actually did work or not.

If any of the “prior art” did work reliably, it would be used as a pregnancy-avoidance tool, which is not the case (with the one exception noted above, a reservation included suggesting that only women with self-assessed regular cycles opted to buy the BBT-and-calendar based app with its 11 “unsafe” days offered to the user instead of the true fertile window).

Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time (also called An Allegory of Venus and Cupid and A Triumph of Venus) is an allegorical painting by the Florentine artist Agnolo Bronzino. It is now in the National Gallery, London. Artist     Agnolo Bronzino Year     circa 1545 Type     Oil on wood Dimensions     146 cm × 116 cm (57 in × 46 in) Location     National Gallery, London Its meaning, however, remains elusive. Cupid, along with his mother (Venus) and the nude putto, to the right, are all posed in a typical Mannerist figura serpentinata form. The two central figures are easily identified by their attributes as Venus and Cupid. For example, she holds the golden apple she won in the Judgement of Paris, while he sports the characteristic wings and quiver. Both figures are nude, illuminated in a radiant white light. Cupid fondles his mother's bare breast and kisses her lips. The bearded, bald figure to the upper right of the scene is believed to be Time, in view of the hourglass behind him.[2] He sweeps his arm forcefully out to his right. Again, it is difficult to interpret his gesture with any certainty The old woman rending her hair (see detail at right) has been called Jealousy—though some believe her to represent the ravaging effects of syphilis[2] (result of unwise intercourse).

Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time (also called An Allegory of Venus and Cupid and A Triumph of Venus) is an allegorical painting by the Florentine artist Agnolo Bronzino – circa 1545.  The bearded bald figure to the upper right is believed to be Time…

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Now go see about “Instant detection of pregnancy and of Early Pregnancy Loss, EPL – the adversary of Trying To Conceive, TTC – especially after age 25″ at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/11/11/instant-detection-of-pregnancy-and-of-early-pregnancy-loss-epl-the-adversary-of-trying-to-conceive-ttc-especially-after-age-25/

And should you be an investor and/or wish to find out more, check out  Home Page of bioZhena’s Weblog

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Cervix uteri and seven or eight related things

February 7, 2012

It seems worthwhile to reblog the December 2007 post about the basics. Including “why the bioZhena technology had to be invented. One way of saying this is: The available means, methods or products, were not good enough. Another way of putting this is to quote from medical literature…”

And then see how none of the methods determined ovulation with the required accuracy to be useful either as a conception aid or especially for birth control.

3-day fertile window with gender preselection vs. inaccurate old methods

3-day fertile window with gender preselection vs. inaccurate old methods

Here is how our method (monitoring folliculogenesis in vivo) does it by generating the multi-featured cyclic profile that includes the definitive ovulation marker after the predictive signals, and here is how this compares with the older techniques. See how inaccurate is the ovulation assessment by the older means available to the users of NFP or FAM.

For more about the data in the above illustration, go see another old bioZhena post, “Regarding fetal sex preselection”, at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2007/12/02/regarding-fetal-sex-preselection/ .

bioZhena's Weblog

For these and other terms, see the Alphabet of bioZhena at /2007/11/28/the-alphabet-of-biozhena/

Rerum Naturare Feminina. A Woman’s Natural Thing. In the lingua franca of the ancients.

The reader of this bioZhena’s Weblog article will or should be well aware that a woman’s menstrual cycle lengths are quite variable, as is the timing of her ovulation within those menstrual cycles. For evidence of this variability, see another blog post at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/variability-of-menstrual-cycles-and-of-ovulation-timing/ (opens in new tab/window). Our focus on the cervix uteri is clarified below in this article.

Cervix:

The narrow lower part of the uterus (womb), with an opening that connects the uterus to the vagina. It contains special glands called the crypts that produce mucus, which helps to keep bacteria (and other microbes, including sperm for most of the cycle) out of the uterus and beyond. Sometimes called the neck of the womb, it protrudes into the vagina. The region…

View original post 1,356 more words

Stress and fertility: How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

February 2, 2012

This blog post appears as the third result in Google search on “bioZhena” (without the quote marks). The complete title is:

Stress and fertility

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

To read the whole post, click on either of the antique-book images or on Reblogged from bioZhena’s Weblog:

Before you go there, here is a little update. New research into stress and fertility was published since I wrote the blog post in December 2007, and here is a summary of an article titled “Stress puts double whammy on reproductive system, fertility” (see http://esciencenews.com/articles/2009/06/15/stress.puts.double.whammy.reproductive.system.fertility ).

 

QUOTE: The new research shows that stress also increases brain levels of a reproductive hormone named gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone, or GnIH, discovered nine years ago in birds and known to be present in humans and other mammals. This small protein hormone, a so-called RFamide-related peptide (RFRP), puts the brakes on reproduction by directly inhibiting GnRH.

The common thread appears to be the glucocorticoid stress hormones, which not only suppress GnRH but boost the suppressor GnIH – a double whammy for the reproductive system. END QUOTE

 

Unlike any other fertility monitoring technology, bioZhena’s Ovulona™ is a Smart Sensor™ in vivo monitor of folliculogenesis. Unlike any other fertility monitor, the Ovulona is basically involved with the always-present stress responses – through monitoring certain end-organ effects on folliculogenesis. The other techniques monitor only this or that circulating hormone – not good enough. The end-organ effect(s) is what counts.

 

Again, to read the whole post, click on either of the antique-book images or on Reblogged from bioZhena’s Weblog

 

For a 2012 update go to What is the mechanism of stress and how does it affect reproduction. An update. And: Be a young mother! (Ovulona™-related published scientific findings by others about disruption of fertility, about PCOS or Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, how stress suppresses ovulation, about the hypothalamic amenorrhea of stress and postpartum blues/depression, about a CRH placental clock which determines the length of gestation and the timing of parturition and delivery, and the role of CRH in premature labor. How old age affects folliculogenesis as a stressor. Even how acute stress may induce ovulation in women.)

bioZhena's Weblog

How stress affects the inherently narrow fertile window

Stress can do unwanted things to a woman and her menstrual cycle. In a nutshell, stress can make a woman completely infertile in this menstrual cycle (e.g., LPD, see below), or it can change the position of her fertile window (the time of ovulation included) within the menstrual cycle. Any of this can cause problems and lead to more stress…

The medical term is stress response, and it refers to the overall reaction of the organism to any adverse stimulus, whether it be of physical, mental or emotional kind, internal or external. The purpose is to adapt to challenge, and this goes on all the time. (C’est la vie! Real life is a never-ending series of stress responses.) Should the compensating reaction of the organism be inadequate or inappropriate, a pathological disorder may result.

The HPA axis, the immune system and the…

View original post 1,035 more words

Difficult to conceive – Google evidence that pregnancy complications and trying-to-conceive concerns shot up after the Pill launch in 1960s

December 18, 2011

Regardless of what contraceptive proponents tell you

On this day when Vaclav Havel passed away. In this post, I come out explicitly with an argument against the use of contraceptive pills and related agents (all Endocrine-Active Compounds [EACs]), because of the serious consequences of the sex steroid chemicals for women’s health. I start with evidence from Google statistics.

It is possible to examine the English-language literature for the frequency of addressing certain topics over a period of time. I already did this in the recent post “Seven billion people – after half a century with the Pill”.

Let’s look at data from Google Ngram Viewer about the statistics of the occurrence of certain topics (such as difficult birth) in all books published in English. The data is obtained via http://books.google.com/ngrams/info – for anyone to examine.

Briefly, when we enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how frequently those phrases occurred in a corpus of books (here English-language books) over the selected years (here 1900 to 2000). The data is normalized by the number of all books published in each year.

Here we have a comparison of statistics of three phrases:

pregnancy complications (blue),

difficult birth (red), and

trying to conceive (green).

Ngram 6: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, trying to conceive

Ngram 6: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, trying to conceive

The topic of difficult birth exhibits an almost linear growth over the century, even though there are discernible steps in the early years such as the step that followed the plateau (flat portion) lasting from about 1915 to just before 1930, when it “shoots up to catch up with” the overall trend. And, overall, the red curve grows steadily from 1900 to 2000.

In contrast, the blue curve of pregnancy complications and the green curve of trying-to-conceive both shoot up only after 1960, the decade of the introduction of the contraceptive pill. The steep rise in pregnancy complications books (blue) starts soon after 1960. The rise in the number of books about trying-to-conceive (green) starts in mid-1970s and is also distinctly faster than the steady growth over the century of books on difficult birth (red), although it is slower than the pregnancy complications that started going up some ten years earlier.

Of course, the green trying-to-conceive curve is not uninteresting in the early decades of the century, either, if only because it appears that the late Victorians had a significant interest in the topic, much higher than in the other two and especially as compared to pregnancy complications (blue). I’ll leave any discussion of the trend there to others, although the downward trend in the first half of the century would seem consistent with the rise of the birth control movement and with the consequences of two World Wars, and the Great Depression in between.

Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of War, c. 1628

Peter Paul Rubens, Allegory of War, c. 1628

Those two generations had it tough but, on the other hand, their health, the health of humankind, was not yet assaulted by the sex-steroid chemicals that were introduced in the 1960s.

In a previous bioZhena’s Weblog post, you can see evidence that oral contraceptive use directly and negatively impacts the cervical crypts, which brings about the difficulty to conceive. The bottom line is this: “After 3 and up to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced.” The S crypts are needed for conception.

To further cite Professor Erik Odeblad: “Complications arising from the use of the Pill are very frequent. Infertility after its use for 7-15 years is a very serious problem. S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural estrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired since the movement of sperm cells up the canal is reduced. Treatment is difficult.”

This is a serious problem because, according to medical literature, most American women, “approximately 85% of U.S. women will use the OC (oral contraception) for an average of five years.1 However, women’s OC use, similar to other chronic medications, is often inconsistent and transient.2 Reported six-month OC discontinuation rates vary from 18% to 50%.3,4,5 Unintended pregnancy often follows OC discontinuation” END OF QUOTE. (Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2007 April; 196(4): 412.e1–412.e7)

These data can be read and understood as the double-whammy put on or dealt to American reproductive and public health. That is the high prevalence of trying-to-conceive problems (sub-fertility and infertility) and at the same time the very high rate of unintended pregnancies.

Lion_Hunt_Mosaic in Pella

Lion_Hunt_Mosaic in Pella

zb.jpg

zb.jpg

While many proponents of chemical contraception minimize or gloss over the side effects of contraceptive chemicals, it is known that “OCPs (oral contraceptive pills) have several known metabolic effects including increased production of clotting factors resulting in increased risk of venous thromboembolism, increased gallstone formation during the first year of use, and increased risk of liver adenomas (Speroff and DeCherney 1993)” – cited from Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 October; 4(5): 905–911 (paper from University of Vermont College of Medicine and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Women’s Health Care Services)

That said, studies mainly focus on side effects such as amenorrhea, the incidence of breakthrough bleeding and spotting, compliance, discontinuation rates or patient satisfaction, headaches, genital irritation, tiredness, bloating, and menstrual pain.

To cite from said medical publication “Evaluation of extended and continuous use oral contraceptives”, Ther Clin Risk Manag. 2008 October; 4(5): 905–911 QUOTE [emphasis mine]:

In a normally menstruating woman who is not taking contraceptive hormones, progesterone is only present in appreciable quantities during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle [meaning: after ovulation], after the development of the endometrium. When combination OCPs are administered, the effect of the progestational agent takes precedence over the estrogen component in the reproductive tract, and the endometrium demonstrates this progestin effect (Moyer and Felix 1998). The result is a thin, decidualized (transformed) endometrium with atrophied glands that is not receptive to embryo implantation. Progestins also cause thick, impermeable cervical mucus, preventing sperm from reaching the uterine cavity, and also decrease tubal mobility, altering the movement of sperm and oocytes through the fallopian tube (Johnson et al 2007; Rossmanith et al 1997) END OF QUOTE.

This is consistent with the Erik Odeblad findings about the fine structure of the cervical tissues. http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/18/9/1782

Edward_Burne-Jones_Maria_Zambaco_1870

Edward_Burne-Jones_Maria_Zambaco_1870

Further to the examples of studies about the mainly short-term effects of chemical contraception, here are examples of published findings about the harmful long-term effects of the sex steroid chemicals administered to healthy women. This is not a systematic review, merely a couple of examples.

BONE HEALTH:

The conclusion of “Effects of Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate and 20 μg Oral Contraceptives on Bone Mineral Density” [Obstet Gynecol. 2008 October; 112(4): 788–799]is as follows:

QUOTE Use of very low-dose OCP (Oral Contraceptive Pill) may result in a small amount of bone loss. DMPA (depot medroxyprogesterone acetate) use results in greater bone loss, but this is largely reversible at the spine. Use of very low-dose OCPs after DMPA discontinuation may slow bone recovery.

As a result, the Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in 2004 advising women to limit its use to ≤2 years.

Oral contraception (OC) containing only 20 μg ethinyl estradiol (EE) may also adversely affect bone health, especially if used during adolescence. END OF QUOTE [emphasis mine].

HEART HEALTH:

According to J Clin Endocrinol Metab. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 November 9 (Published in final edited form as: J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 August; 92(8): 3089–3094), “whether OCP use in healthy young women is associated with increased CV (cardiovascular) risk is controversial. However, a recent meta-analysis of 14 studies showed that current use of low-dose OCPs increased the risk for myocardial infarction by 84% (37). More data are available regarding CV risk associated with estrogen/progestin use in older women… The Heart and Estrogen/Progestin Replacement Study showed an early increase in events and no benefit overall in women with known CV disease, and the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial demonstrated an increase in CV events in healthy women (38, 39).” END QUOTE.

René Boyvin, The rape of Europa, c. 1545-55

René Boyvin, The rape of Europa, c. 1545-55

In Greek mythology Europa (Greek Ευρώπη Eurṓpē) was… seduced by the god Zeus in the form of a bull, who breathed from his mouth a saffron crocus[14] and carried her away to Crete on his back… and so see Wikipedia for the whole story. Oh, and should this not be clear, the metaphor here pertains to the man-made OCP [Oral Contraceptive Pill] accomplishment…

Max Beckmann, The rape of Europa (1933)

Max Beckmann, The rape of Europa (1933)

Returning to Odeblad’s results on the consequences of the Pill for the cervix uteri, that is on how contraceptive chemicals make it difficult to conceive later – and reiterating the take-home message put forward previously in “About atrophy, reproductive aging, and how it’s really not nice to fool Mother Nature – or with”:

Natural aging of cervical S crypts (= cervical aging of a woman never pregnant and never on the Pill):

S crypts, which are needed for conception, are down to 20% at 40 years of age, at the natural aging rate -2% per year. Here you have the reason why a too mature age leads to sub-fertility and to infertility. My remark: The optimal age for motherhood has always been and always will be the early twenties of a woman’s life.

Atrophy acceleration effect of 10 years on the Pill:

S crypts are down to mere 10% at 40 years of age. Here is why it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature, why it’s not good to mess with her design. Fertility is drastically reduced. The Pill is an archetypal anthropogenic Endocrine-Active Compound [man-made EAC]. It was brought up previously in this blog how there are very many of these EACs, all insulting the female body and health; some – like chemical contraceptives – by design. Having invoked the design, I am reminded that the original designers of the Pill had no idea about contraception – they were pushing the frontiers of steroid chemistry… (not this particular application of one kind of steroids).

Atrophy slow-down or beneficial effect of pregnancies:

S crypts only down to 40% at 40 years of age. Here you see Mother Nature’s design in action. Pregnancy slows down the inherent rate of natural cervical aging (atrophy, deterioration). The effect of 4 pregnancies was measured in the Odeblad research. This is not to argue for 4 pregnancies per lifetime – it’s merely how the difference between with and without was made more “easily” measurable in the very difficult studies.

And again, the bottom line is this: “After 3 and up to 15 months of contraceptive pill use, there is a greater loss of the S crypt cells than can be replaced. …S crypts are very sensitive to normal and cyclical stimulation by natural estrogens, and the Pill causes atrophy of these crypts. Fertility is impaired since the movement of sperm cells up the canal is reduced.” END QUOTE.

In case you’d like to view the Carlo Adelio Galimberti picture accompanying the concluding words, please re-visit the cited earlier post. The concluding words were and still would be: While the story of Laodamia and Protesilao is touching, I merely want to ask that girls, ladies and their physicians do not moon the messenger.

P. S.

Vaclav Havel would smile at the image of “mooning” Laodamia. I smile at the thought of his riding the children’s scooter (kolobezka) along Saint Peter’s heavenly corridors (looking for Olga? Since Pani Dagmar remained down there?). He reportedly did that scooter-running in the “labyrinthine” corridors of Prague Castle…

STOP PRESS

And now, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/

Much in women’s health revolves around folliculogenesis – from teen age to peri-menopause

November 30, 2011

In this article I sketch for you the usefulness of the Ovulona™ Smart Sensor™ throughout a woman’s life, with particular attention paid to the extremes of the reproductive lifespan.

We outline the significance of the cervical tissue biosensor for a woman’s health management from adolescence (the teen years) to peri-menopause. This schematic diagram is a pictorial synopsis of the multi-purpose utility of the Ovulona throughout most of a woman’s lifetime.

Ovulona throughout a woman's life

As you recall from prior posts on this blog, FIV™ stands for FOLLICULOGENESIS IN VIVO™, which translates as the sequence of menstrual cyclic records that will be captured and stored (automatically saved) in the Ovulona during normal use by a woman at home. The data is available for transfer to healthcare providers’ Ovulograph™ for medical uses during the reproductive years.

The reproductive age is officially defined as 14 to 44 but we’d encourage, for health reasons, to chop off a few years at both ends from the actual reproductive (high end) or sex-exploration activities (low end). When folliculogenesis – i.e. menstrual cycling – ceases in menopause, hormone therapy and cervical tissue health screening are the two components of menopause and post-menopause health management, to which the Ovulona is applicable.

In this article, I address very briefly (tweetingly!) the two “boundary conditions” of said reproductive years.

I’ll deal with the young boundary condition, i.e. adolescence or teen age, in the style popular nowadays especially at that stage of life . That is, I let speak a few tweets.

When you look at the tweetingly referenced papers (click the short URLs below), you will see how the teen cramp sufferer needs our Ovulona. That’s because she must take the anti-inflammatory medication before the ovulation-linked pain hits, otherwise the med would not work. She – or is it you? – must be able to anticipate ovulation. You need the Ovulona. The timing is crucial, similar to the right timing for conception purposes… (Recommended reading: http://endometriosis.org/treatments/painkillers/ = http://to.ly/6ZsS in the #NSAIDs tweet below).

If it’s menstrual bleeding (not ovulation) that pains you, the Ovulona will tell you when you expect that – whether it is ovulation + 14 days or, probably more likely at this young age, ovulation + irregular number of days. You’ll then see on the display your recorded min and max, with respective probabilities the more accurate the longer you’ve used the Ovulona. That’s this app’s meaning of Smart Sensor™ for you! (And that is because we don’t track just this or that hormone in your pee! Or your BBT, or your signs…)

As for the STD screening aspect of those young years, indicated in the pictorial synopsis above, I refer you to the recent posts in this blog; and the sex ed use of the Ovulona – or rather its recorded data and their discussions in classes – is self-explanatory.

But then there is the subject of chemical contraception, the Pill. So, here, a couple of tweets.

A teenage girl has a #dilemma . With the #Pill she brings on herself a significantly earlier #menopause & likely difficulty to #conceive when desired http://to.ly/5f2W

#Menstrual #cramps are bad but don’t allow them – by taking the #Pill – to cause you the much worse #pain of TTC #infertility http://to.ly/5f2W    [TTC = Trying To Conceive. That’s the phrase and acronym used by people who have difficulty getting pregnant.]

http://to.ly/5f2W Even with just 3-15 months of #contraceptive #pill use you suffer greater loss of S crypt cells than can be replaced. Then difficult TTC is likely [S crypts are part of the microscopic structure of the cervical epithelium, of the tissues.]

Here now are those few tweets referring to dysmenorrhea, the menstrual pain which causes so much suffering and so many lost hours at school and/or at work. In this day and age!

#NSAIDs against #endometriosis pain http://to.ly/6ZsS Since you must take the meds BEFORE expected #cramps you need our Ovulona tool to anticipate ovulation http://to.ly/MJS [NSAIDs = Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs]

@bioZhena/fertility    http://to.ly/MJS Why most girls get cramps What goes on there Why & what’s PCOS See it with Ovulona [Obese girls tend to grow into women with PCOS = Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome, the cause of major killer diseases, and often causing infertility.]

Folliculogenesis #InVivo for Why Do Most Girls Suffer With #dysmenorrhea #cramps http://to.ly/MJS #womenshealth #diagnostic #medicaldevice

Ovulona for etiology & management of  #dysmenorrhea Why do teen girls suffer with #cramps?   http://to.ly/MJS #pharma #medtech #medicaldevice [etiology = the cause or origin of a disease]

Re: etiology of adolescent #dysmenorrhea Prostaglandin theory & treatment known since the 1980s. Why are period cramps still so bad?

I leave you and this “boundary condition for Ovulona’s use” with two Google Insights graphs. Look here how the worldwide interest level in the subject of period cramps has been increasing since 2004.

Period cramps worldwide searches from 2004 by Google Insights

Period cramps worldwide searches from 2004 by Google Insights

Don’t ask me why the recorded public interest is emanating from those particular English-speaking countries and not from numerous others, and look for details at http://www.google.com/insights/search/#cat=0-45&q=period%20cramps&cmpt=q (you can change the selected parameters and observe the effect of the changes).

I merely note the periodicity developing in the data in recent years on top of the clear upward trend, the periodicity indicative of highest interest in summertime (such as in July 2011 as captured in the screen shot in the illustration)…

This trend is, of course, the same in the next graph, where I added dysmenorrhea (red) for comparison. That’s a difficult word, so it is not as much searched on as the colloquial cramps – except for, if you look closely, in (Southeast)Asia.

Period cramps & dysmenorrhea worldwide searches since 2004 by Google Insights

I’ll now use one more tweet to segue into the other end of the span of reproductive years.

#estrogen can be a good medication but we need #personalizedmedicine tools. We must measure & titrate #hormone uptake http://t.co/CeCsWgn

The following illustration shows that we at bioZhena have the technology with which to do that, i.e. a tool with which to adjust treatment to suit a given female patient.

The illustration is a graph of the effects of estrogen and progesterone monitored with our technology in an ovariectomized pig. Ovariectomy is the removal of the ovaries. It is the animal equivalent of surgical hysterectomy, which causes surgical menopause since the reproductive system no longer produces said sex hormones, the sex steroids estrogen and progesterone.

In the illustrated experiment, the steroids were later given to the animal (after recovery from surgery), and the result was that progesterone drove the sensor signal down versus estrogen drove it up (as seen in FIG. 5 below, excerpted from our patent portfolio). This is a useful finding, for example for monitoring the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). 

Graph of estrogen and progestagen effects on porcine cervix

Graph of estrogen and progestagen effects on porcine cervix

We also have the proof of the concept generated by a menopausal woman, using a Premarin treatment in that experiment (Premarin is an estrogen medication used for treating the symptoms of menopause including hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.). The data was used in another patent in our portfolio.

Background on menopause, HRT and bioZhena can be found in the early blog post at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2007/12/18/menopause-hrt-and-biozhena/ .

Experts advocate that women in their 30s and 40s should look at menopause now. Health maintenance depends on diagnostic tools. We propose that the preparation for menopause be done – in a simple quick daily routine – by systematically monitoring the Ovulona menstrual cyclic profile, and how it changes over the years. How it responds to pregnancy and birth, to things like diet, exercise, various ills, various medications, stress… in the particular woman user, not some statistical average. For evidence-based personalized health care.

That’s the broader meaning and the purpose of the folliculogenesis cyclic profile generated by the Ovulona. It’s not merely (“merely”!) for helping to get pregnant or for avoiding pregnancy without chemicals, as is illustrated and described in “Pregnancy and birth control how-to by bioZhena” at this Photobucket site. In the third graphic, on this page, see the follicular waves that relate to follicular age, i.e. how fast is menopause approaching, after pregnancies were successfully achieved and then regulated in this Ovulona-guided manner.

This is because the cervix monitors the physiological inputs after conception and after pregnancy just like it does the monitoring before fertilization and before birth. We pick up the diagnostically useful information from this key female organ. We speak of end organ effects.

For a still broader perspective, including symptometric monitoring correlated with folliculogenesis, go to “Far more than a tool for reproductive management”.

STOP PRESS

And after all that, go and check out the 2012 post “The fallacy of ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating-hormone detectors” at https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/the-fallacy-of-ovulation-calculators-calendars-and-circulating-hormone-detectors/

Seven billion people – after half a century with the Pill

November 14, 2011

More than a week before the numerologically so exciting (!!) date of November 11 this year of AD 2011, the population of the world officially reached the count of 7 billion – and this should not go unnoticed in a blog that is about women’s health and human reproduction management. Why, by the time the 11-11-11 day came about, more than 2.5 million more babies were born around the world.

Eyeball the “infographic” data below here, accepting that the image contains one of the small European languages. You can handle this because it is a graphic representation of the world and its population. The data is based on a United Nations Report about the State of the World Population. I did not find anything like this infographic when I googled for said UN report, and the bigger languages of Europe were presumably preoccupied by other concerns (like the economy, and the associated politics, stupid…).

So, we refer to this source with all those un-English letters with diacritical marks [RB, Lidové noviny. From: http://www.lidovky.cz/je-nas-7-miliard-lidstvo-v-budoucnu-uzivi-jen-zemedelska-revoluce-phq-/ln_zahranici.asp?c=A111031_085513_firmy-trhy_mev ]. It’s the numbers and symbols that matter, including the relative sizes of the circles. And note also that the blue circles represent the size of the respective continents’ populations in 2010 versus the red projected population sizes in the year 2050.

By 2050, only Europe’s population will have decreased (projected by 19 million), while all the other continents’ populations will have continued to grow. North America’s population, by the way, is projected to grow only due to immigration, otherwise it would be dropping, too. At least the USA’s would.

World population

World population

http://www.lidovky.cz/foto.asp?foto1=MEV3ed992_2poulaceTTTa.png

12 years times 365 days/year = 4,380 days

Population growth = 1,000,000,000 people / 4,380 days =  228,310.5 people born per day  (2,511,415.5 babies in 11 days = 1 billion divided by 4,380 days in 12 years times 11 days)

Check out the arithmetic of the global population growth in recent days, if you like. It is based on the birth rate of 1 billion births per 12 years. That is indicated in the bottom part of the infographic, showing the worldwide number of people in increasing billions against the years at which the given billion count was reached up to now, and is projected to be reached in the future [rok means year and pocet obyvatel means number of people]. It’s noticeable that the UN-projected future growth rate slows down: see how 16, 29, 27 years between additional billion increments are projected for the next 3 one-billion increments.

I won’t go into the (serious) economic and political consequences of these numbers. Rather, I ask you to note that the current birth rate (1 billion per 12 years) has held steady for the last 3 or 4 one-billion increases in world population. Over most of the last half a century, world population grew in steps of one billion per 12 years.

We see that reaching the first billion of humans took more than 18 centuries (including BC). The second billion then took 123 years and the third 33 years, both these surely influenced by the two world wars. After that, the Pill notwithstanding, almost quarter of a million new people have been and are born globally every day (1B / 4,380 days of 12 years = 228,310.5 births per day).

Evidently, the introduction of the oral contraceptive pills and related contraceptives has NOT quite stopped the global population explosion. But then, what about the United Nations-projected drop in the population of Europe (which is a continent where the Pill is surely available)?

Well, I propose to share with you some data from Google Ngram Viewer, about the statistics on the recent historical occurrence of certain topics (such as contraception) in all books published in English, the data obtained via http://books.google.com/ngrams/info .

Briefly, when you enter phrases into the Google Books Ngram Viewer, it displays a graph showing how much those phrases have occurred in a corpus of books (here English-language books) over the selected years (here 1900 to 2008).

And an important point, also cited from there.

Question: Many more books are published in modern years. Doesn’t this skew the results?

Answer: It would if we didn’t normalize by the number of books published in each year.

Here is an example of the occurrence of three phrases (topics) in English-language books over the century from 1900 till 2008, the latest year available. The topics are: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, and birth complications.

Ngram 1: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, birth complications

Ngram 1: pregnancy complications, difficult birth, birth complications

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=pregnancy+complications%2Cdifficult+birth%2Cbirth+complications&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=5

The N numbers (or the number of phrase occurrences relative to all books) for the three topics are on the same scale as indicated on the vertical axis, and the graph shows that the number of books on difficult birth (red curve) rose steadily over the century – but the books on pregnancy complications (blue curve) and birth complications (green curve) shot up after 1960. These N numbers eventually level off and/or begin to decline after the year 2000. (As though everything has been written up, nothing new to publish?)

There were many more books written about birth control over the same period of 108 years. We can detect this in the N count on the vertical axis, which here has only 3 leading zeros as opposed to the 5 leading zeros at the maximum level in the previous graph (a hundred times as many books, even in 2008, after the decline from the mid-1970s). The initial rise from 1910 to 1930 must have been not on chemical contraception but (mostly) on the then happening calendar method of Ogino and Knaus, i.e. the later discarded so-called “Vatican Roulette”. That approach to birth control did not work – it could not work – so Margaret Sanger took it on herself (and on her wealthy-widow friend, Katharine McCormick) to cause the “magic bullet” of a pill to be developed. Some magic!

Ngram 2: birth control

Ngram 2: birth control

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=birth+control&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

One more Ngram Viewer graph, since they say that three is a charm! The following graph compares the number of books on infertility (blue) with the number of books on contraception (red), and it is on the same scale as the birth control graph above (with only slightly lower maximum level, 0.00035% here vs. 0.00045% above).

Ngram 3: infertility and contraception

Ngram 3: infertility and contraception

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=infertility%2Ccontraception&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

Three may be a charm, but I will show you one more, so that you (or your friendly gynecologist) will not accuse me of trying to show that chemical contraception has caused infertility (the infertility epidemic). I have merely shared Google’s Ngram Viewer statistics on books written on given topics. Discourses written on contraception preceded those on infertility by at least 10 years, and the number of infertility books was still rising when contraceptive books were already declining in numbers in the 1980s.

Here then is one more Ngram comparing N numbers of books on behavior problems (blue), mental problems (red), and books on birthing (green curve).

Ngram 4: behavior problems, mental problems, birthing

Ngram 4: behavior problems, mental problems, birthing

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=behavior+problems%2Cmental+problems%2C+birthing&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

You see that there are four leading zeros in the scale on the vertical axis, so the order of magnitude of the graphed N numbers is between the two orders of magnitude discussed above (it’s an order of magnitude below infertility and contraception). All three of the numbers in this Ngram rise around 1970, behavior problems books before, birthing books after.

Why did the numbers of books on birthing rise so sharply some 15 years after 1960? I don’t know that there is such a thing as invalid questions. The curves for mental health and birth are correlated, rising around 1970, too (not shown here).

Chemical contraception has not worked to reverse the global population explosive growth although it appears to have reduced the extent of the explosion.

But at what cost? Do look at the last Ngram, below, which compares the number of books on birth control (blue), sexually transmitted diseases (red), STD (green), VD (yellow), and STDs (dark blue). It is on the same scale as the birth control graph above (the second in the series). The green spike after 1960 is STD in singular, as opposed to sexually transmitted diseases (red) and STDs (dark blue), which you see rising slowly after 1980, paralleled by the higher green curve in those years, which starts going up even earlier.

This can be rationalized by the fact that earlier on there was merely one STD (or two), called VD in Britain and in Europe (yellow curve), where the rise occurred somewhat later than in the U.S., along with the slight delay in the “sexual revolution” and its consequences or rather the concerns about those consequences. The broad green, red and dark blue hills of elevated N readings before year 2000 reflect the multitude of STDs today, which numbers did not exist before the sexual revolution. The singular VD has morphed into the plural STDs and sexually transmitted diseases.

Ngram 5: birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, STD, VD, STDs

Ngram 5: birth control, sexually transmitted diseases, STD, VD, STDs

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=birth+control%2Csexually+transmitted+diseases%2CSTD%2CVD%2CSTDs&year_start=1900&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

I leave the “now what” maybe for another time, but a follower of this blog will have an idea.

As of this writing, to cite the three bioZhena’s Weblog Top Posts (the past week):

Trying to conceive, #ttc, or the frustration of sub-fertility & infertility in 2010/2011          40 views

Saint Nicholas Day, his legend, and our modern day’s prematurity, EDD calculation, gestational age, problem with LMP          33 views

Critique of birth control efficacies in NFP as published by Marquette University researchers          21 views

Why screen for cervical cancer (and for the other STIs, sexually transmitted infections)?

July 29, 2011

Why all women need to screen for cervical tissue health, whether or not they accept that Nature is powerful. 

I will tell you why screening for this sexually transmitted infection (STI) is much needed, if you promise that you will not shoot the messenger. Exaggerating? Not really, if or when you realize that chances are that you yourself are already infected.

Is it so serious?

I say that because “current evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of sexually active women have been infected with one or more types of HPV”. Most people with HPV have no symptoms. When the infection is present, symptoms may or may not include genital warts.

HPV stands for Human Papilloma Virus. That is the virus that causes cervical cancer, and goes slowly about it, which is both good and bad. Good because the disease can be treated before it kills, and bad because it may take so long before it raises its ugly head that it can come completely unexpected in the mature middle age and even later. That is why vigilance (meaning, screening for it) throughout one’s lifetime is well worth it – unless you are a fatalist.

Collage of drevoryt woodcuts Dekameron, Ceský dekameron, Bakchanálie by Zdenek Mézl 1980

Collage of drevoryt woodcuts Dekameron, Ceský dekameron, Bakchanálie by Zdenek Mézl 1980     Links:      http://www.ikup.cz/item.php?id=600279&lan=EN        http://www.galerieart.cz/mezl_cesky_dekameron_I.JPG              http://www.galerieart.cz/prodej_mezl_staroveke_baje.htm

“Furthermore, the potential risk of infection from non-penetrative sexual contact remains undetermined, including the possible association between oral-penile contact and oral HPV, which is associated with oral cancer.” You can read this online in the peer-reviewed scientific publication Am. J. Epidemiol. (2003) 157(3): 218226. The experts give a reference (ref. 3) for the 50%+ statistic, and elsewhere the Medical Institute for Sexual Health writes http://www.medinstitute.org/public/92.cfm  : “About half of all sexually active 18- to 22-year-old women are infected with it (ref. 10 = J Infect Dis. 2001;183(11):1554-1564)”.

Either way, let’s watch out for the killer disease, which fortunately is curable – if caught early. If not caught early (that is, if not detected, diagnosed and treated), The Ravisher wins.

Cervical cancer causes about the same number of deaths as HIV/AIDS every year [two references for this statement are cited in the above Medical Institute article http://www.medinstitute.org/public/92.cfm ].

Young Woman Attacked By Death (or The Ravisher) - Albrecht Durer

Young Woman Attacked By Death (or The Ravisher) – Albrecht Durer

Get this! The most common STI. Both young and mature women in danger

Get this: The human papilloma virus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the world, and it is the most important cause of cervical cancer, a major killer of women worldwide (the second biggest).

Another horrible statistic is that, according to a CDC study, one in four (26 percent) young women, girls between the ages of 14 and 19 in the United States – or 3.2 million teenage girls – are now infected with at least one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Those are human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, herpes simplex virus, and trichomoniasis. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080312084645.htm .

A bad news for the mature women, who are past their best years for birthing, is this: “Cervical cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women worldwide. Human papillomavirus (HPV) has been shown to be the precursor of cervical cancer in over 99% of the cases. … Although women aged 40 and above are not specifically considered high risk for HPV infection, many women are testing positive in this age group and are facing the impact of an HPV diagnosis that implicates a sexually transmitted disease and is known to be a precursor to cervical cancer.” So is written in J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2010 Feb; 22(2):92-100, in a paper titled “The human papillomavirus in women over 40: implications for practice and recommendations for screening”.

The Plague by Arnold Böcklin, 1898

Arnold Böcklin, The Plague, 1898

Pap smear test. Important. But problematic

While the Pap smear diagnostic screening has significantly improved the situation over the many years since its introduction (first published by the inventor, Dr. Georgios Nicholas Papanikolaou late in the decade of “the swinging 1920s” but only recognized in the 1940s), at least 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year in the United States, accounting for at least 4,000 deaths. Statistics cited from J Sch Nurs. 2007 Dec; 23(6):310-4.

As commented in June 2011 at http://to.ly/aCD3 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/news/8554793/Women-making-excuses-to-avoid-cervical-cancer-smear-tests.html ), #Cervical #cancer “smear tests are invasive, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and often are badly diagnosed”. Another reader concluded: “De-stigmatize cervical  cancer and do some work to make the test less unpleasant – more #women will go” (will go to get the expensive test at a clinic, hoping for a negative result – and for not getting an unexpected huge bill, whether insured or uninsured in the U.S.).

Additional to the advantage of an objective electronic test over the subjective evaluation of a Pap smear: Is there a better way to avoid stigmatization than testing for cervical health in the privacy of one’s home, and in so doing making the test incomparably less off-putting, painless and perfectly affordable for anyone?

Similar to what the Pap smear can do, our tissue biosensing technique should detect the pre-cancerous tissue aberration called squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL) or dysplasia, which is the earliest form of pre-cancerous lesion recognizable by a pathologist. Refer to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carcinoma_in_situ .

Unlike the pathologist’s subjective assessment of the Pap smear sample, our in vivo monitoring method provides for an objective electronic evaluation.

In countries like India, the cervical cancer prevalence statistics are much worse, an order of magnitude higher. A big problem is that, among the general population, “knowledge about the relationship of HPV to cervical cancer is low even in the United States and the United Kingdom”. [Rapose A., Human papillomavirus and genital cancer. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2009;75:236-44.] So therefore, we are trying to do something about that.

Screening is really necessary. Here is why

There are two main reasons why screening for cervical cancer is and will continue to be necessary.

1. One is that the recently introduced HPV vaccines are far from perfect, and they explicitly require continued screening. Even the most expert proponents of HPV vaccination, and not just the vaccine manufacturers, say and write that.

Antonín Procházka, Milenci s knihou, litografie/lithograph, 1941

Antonín Procházka, Milenci s knihou, litografie/lithograph, 1941

2. Then there is the other reason for the necessity of continued cervical cancer vigilance. It is that, contrary to the oft trumpeted exclamations, the classic “invention of a certain doctor Condom” does not make for safe sex, because it (the condom) only reduces, and certainly does not eliminate, not only the chances of becoming pregnant but also the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection. These are medico-scientifically proven facts.

The condom and similar barriers do not completely and reliably eliminate the chances of pregnancy if you happen to have sex during the mere three fertile days of your menstrual cycle (when you are outside of the fertile window, pregnancy simply cannot occur). And, condoms and similar barriers do not completely eliminate – they only reduce – the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections including HPV.

Sources, evidence – cervix is vulnerable

For sources of this statement of fact, see for example the already referenced http://www.medinstitute.org/public/92.cfm : “Each year, there are about 19 million new infections; half of these are in people under 25 (ref. 2). Many of these STIs have no cure. Untreated STIs can cause infertility, cancer and even death.” In that article is also where you see the references for the statements that “If you use condoms every time you have vaginal sex, you can cut your chance of getting HPV by up to half (references 6,7,8,9)… In women, cervical cancer causes about the same number of deaths as HIV/AIDS every year (refs. 12,13).”

Note this: Evidence shows that HPV is contracted if sex is had at too early an age and/or if sex is had promiscuously as a one night stand entertainment, or even too early into a relationship.

The cervix is particularly vulnerable to infection between the first menstruation and the age of sixteen because there are still many undifferentiated cells at the surface of the cervix, which is therefore  susceptible to HPV infection [http://www.mendeley.com/research/early-first-intercourse-risk-factor-cervical-cancer/]. As cancer is a disease of failure of regulation of tissue growth, HPV causes these cells to transform into cancer cells by altering the genes which regulate cell growth and differentiation.

Edgar Degas - Young Spartans Exercising, circa 1860

Edgar Degas – Young Spartans Exercising, circa 1860

An interesting story associated with the Degas painting includes “that the work could encompass a variety of meanings”, and that the fully dressed onlookers in the background are the youths’ mothers with Lycurgus, the legendary lawgiver of Sparta, who established the military-oriented reformation of Spartan society in accordance with the Oracle of Apollo at Delphi.

Reflecting on research findings

This blog post is not some exercise in moralizing. I am merely reporting or reflecting on medico-scientific findings. The above-referenced epidemiologists, Winer et al. [Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:218-26], evaluated young college women in Washington State and found that the risk factors for acquiring a new HPV infection included:

  • sex with a new person in the previous 5-8 months,
  • smoking, and
  • use of oral contraceptives.
  • Always using condoms did not provide protection according to this study.

The experts concluded that “in this population of female university students, the risk of infection associated with new partner acquisition is independent of prior sexual experience”, and that a “…finding suggests that an increased risk of incident HPV infection is more strongly associated with sex with a new partner than with sex with ongoing partners.” Thus written.

Peter Paul Rubens - The Union of Earth and Water, c. 1618

Peter Paul Rubens – The Union of Earth and Water, c. 1618                                  For the sake of appropriate symbolism, her name should be Aphrodite or Venus, of course, the promiscuous  goddess of love, beauty and sexuality!

The authors wrote (and here we cite selected notions to reinforce the mentioned ones).

QUOTE:

  • We detected a significant association between current smoking and incident HPV infection…
  • We also observed a significant association between current oral contraceptive use and incident HPV infection.
  • Having known a new partner for less than 8 months before vaginal intercourse was associated with an increased risk of HPV infection.
  • Reporting a new sex partner who has had one or more or an unknown number of prior female sex partners was also a significant predictor of incident HPV infection.
  • [Data] seems to suggest that the better and longer a woman knows her partner before intercourse, the less her risk of becoming infected with HPV.
  • Consistent with previous studies (4, 7, 11, 17, 29, 30), we observed no protective effect associated with condom use. … Since HPV is transmitted presumably through skin-to-skin contact, condoms may not protect against HPV because the virus can be transmitted through non-penetrative sexual contact.
  • Although vaginal intercourse is clearly the predominant mode of genital HPV transmission … any type of non-penetrative sexual contact was associated with an increased risk of HPV infection in virgins.
  • At 24 months, the cumulative incidence of first-time infection was 32.3%… [FYI: That’s 32% of the 603 young women studied between September 1990 and September 1997 by interview and a standardized pelvic examination every 4 months, including HPV DNA analysis from separate cervical and vulvovaginal swab specimens.]
  • Smoking, oral contraceptive use, and report of a new male sex partner –in particular, one known for less than 8 months before sex occurred or one reporting other partners– were predictive of incident infection. Always using male condoms with a new partner was not protective.
  • The data show that the incidence of HPV associated with acquisition of a new sex partner is high and that non-penetrative sexual contact is a plausible route of transmission in virgins.
  • HPV infections are highly prevalent, and current evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of sexually active women have been infected with one or more types (3).

In conclusion, the present study showed that the incidence of genital HPV associated with acquisition of a new sex partner is high, and that risk of infection is especially high if a partner has been known for less than 8 months and if a partner reports having had sex with other partners.

END OF QUOTES

[from Winer et al., that’s Rachel L. Winer, Shu-Kuang Lee, James P. Hughes, Diane E. Adam, Nancy B. Kiviat and Laura A. Koutsky, in Am J Epidemiol 2003;157:218-26, “Genital Human Papillomavirus Infection: Incidence and Risk Factors in a Cohort of Female University Students”. Let’s also reference http://www.google.com/search?q=Koutsky+LA%2C+Kiviat+NB.+Human+papillomavirus+infections.+In%3A+Holmes+KK%2C+Mardh+PA%2C+Sparling+PF%2C+et+al%2C+eds.+Sexually+transmitted+diseases.+3rd+ed.+New+York%2C+NY%3A+McGraw-Hill%2C+1999%3A347%E2%80%9360.+&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a].

Conclusion: Nature is powerful. Nature regulates

My conclusion for you is no preaching but an observation that all this is because Nature is powerful. As simple as that.

In terms of a clarification, or rather a rationalization of the reported findings, since you have an inkling about tissue rejection problems in organ transplantation (you’ve heard about that, haven’t you), I can draw a parallel for you. Think of the meeting of the male and female flesh as a short-lived tissue implant. If the two tissues don’t know each other, if the female has not known the male for sufficiently long, there is a natural reaction, which the cited experts have found manifested as HPV infection (a hint at how that happens: a stranger’s DNA attacks the recipient).

And what’s all this about that Nature is powerful? Well, it is simply to keep in mind that there are some natural laws and principles, such as the one about action and reaction. And, it’s about that Nature regulates

So, there will be a reaction to too much of a good thing (or a bad thing, any thing). I don’t want to get into this too much except to recall that, since the sexual revolution of the 1960s, there has been an enormous increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Had Georgios (“Pap”) not invented his test in “the swinging ‘20s”, someone would have had to do it in the “revolutionary ‘60s”

As it was, Mrs. Sanger had persuaded her wealthy-widow investor friend that this particular “magic bullet”, her idea of a “magic pill”, was the right approach to reproductive management. Thanks to the Pap, the Western world was sort of ready for the consequences of the Pill at least in terms of the ensuing epidemic of STDs, if not of the epidemic of infertility and of other as yet poorly recognized consequences of this fooling with Mother Nature (à la Ms. Sanger and Mrs. McCormick – “as easy to take as an aspirin”).

The fact is that “while an estimated 1 in 4 Americans will get an STD (sexually transmitted disease) in their lifetime,4 … the United States continues to have the highest STD rates of any country in the industrialized world.2 No effective national program for STD prevention exists… and the American public remains generally unaware of the risk for STDs and the importance of prevention and screening” (per the Kaiser Family Foundation and American Social Health Association).

The National Cervical Cancer Coalition writes:

“By age 24, at least one in three sexually active people are estimated to have had an STD. Teenage girls are especially vulnerable to contracting gonorrhea and chlamydia, which can more easily infect the immature cervix.”

Perhaps you have gathered, from the various bioZhena’s Weblog articles and from our other web information, that we propose to do something about it – about making possible private screening at home for early warning devoid of the problems associated with the Pap smear test.

Oskar Kokoschka, Rejected lover, 1966

Oskar Kokoschka, Rejected lover, 1966

Originally, I intended to illustrate these concluding thoughts with a painting by the grandson of Sigmund Freud, Lucian or Lucien, who passed away the other day (a painting of a sad woman’s face showing from under a bed cover, with a clothed man – guess who – standing hands in pockets and just staring at her – it’s #5 in http://pul.se/muse_Cleveland-Cleveland-OH-caroline-blackwood-2LYALDu533r,d5oww4DQguiE).

But then, Oskar’s more colorful impressionist image seems, well, more colorful, and less realistic… as paintings go.

On the issue of cervical cancer, after remembering Jan Hus – and heresy

July 10, 2011

The other day I tweeted: July 6 1415 Jan #Hus was burnt at the stake in Konstanz DE for #heresy against #doctrines of #Catholic #Church http://t.co/lM1SlwF

So what, you think to yourself? Okay, sure, you and many others have other things to be concerned about – and who cares about a 15th century heretic? Well, maybe some of us do, and I might on this occasion talk some heresy myself. How ’bout that?

But first, let’s be clear about what heresy is, and what Jan Hus’ heretic speech was about, very briefly. This, in case you don’t read the Wikipedia article http://t.co/lM1SlwF about the medieval thinker, a Czech priest, philosopher, reformer, master and rector at Charles University in Prague, chaplain to the royal court, confessor to the queen,  a key predecessor to Luther and the Protestant movement of the 16th century. It was only some 150 years later that “in 1567 Pope Pius V canceled all grants of indulgences involving any fees or other financial transactions” [indulgence = remission before God of the temporal punishment due for a sin after its guilt has been forgiven].

Master Jan Hus Preaching At the Bethlehem Chapel by Alphonse Mucha, 1916

Master Jan Hus Preaching At the Bethlehem Chapel by Alphonse Mucha, 1916

The Czech king (“Good King Wenceslas” of the English Christmas carol fame) supported Hus preaching against indulgences and other such corruption of “the substance and spirit of the gospel“, but the church’s hierarchy, having declared war on Naples, needed vast revenues to fund the war effort… When the sales of indulgences continued, riots broke out in Prague. Three pro-Hus students were beheaded, and then buried to public acclaim in the Bethlehem Chapel. The hierarchy countered by excommunicating Hus (for the second time). The archbishop “interdicted” the city; that is, he deprived the people of al the spiritual resources of the church, a terrifying development in the middle ages.

This is citing from http://www.victorshepherd.on.ca/Heritage/Jan Hus.htm ; there too you can get the rest of the story about the General Council in Constance, which city was then in Switzerland, with Hus guaranteed a “safe conduct”.

You could see at http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/heresy that the dictionary defines heresy as (1) an opinion or doctrine at variance with the orthodox or accepted doctrine, especially of a church or religious system, and (2) as the maintaining of such an opinion or doctrine. In our time, reference could also be to other types of system or establishment.

More to the point of the Master Jan Hus anniversary, and for a scholarly treatise on the punishment that the medieval intellectual received from the then establishment, treat yourself to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_by_burning .

Preparing the execution of Jan Hus

Preparing_the_execution_of_Jan_Hus --- Müller-Baden, Emanuel (Hrsg.): Bibliothek des allgemeinen und praktischen Wissens, Bd. 2. - Berlin, Leipzig, Wien, Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlaghaus Bong & Co, 1904.

For, now that I gave you a preamble, I’ll go into a bit of potentially or mildly heretical talk myself, in relation to cervical cancer (and other STDs, sexually transmitted diseases). It is not heresy to remind ourselves that the HPV vaccines do not cure cervical cancer nor do they prevent infection by all strains of HPV – but it could be heretical to discuss that there has been a grave concern among the public about adverse effects, injuries and even deaths in some young recipients of the vaccines.

And even more so to point out that behavior control (the personal health practices referred to below) is advisable in view of the fact that the cancer is associated with early start of sexual activity and with promiscuity. “It is well known that more than 90% of cases of anogenital warts are caused by HPV. HPV has been implicated in cancers of the cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus, and oropharynx. The virus is a necessary cause of cervical cancer. [Note that] as many as 24 million American adults–that is, 1 in 5–may be infected with HPV.”

Sadly, and dangerously for the health of all of us, the above-cited phrase about “It is well known” is misleading because it pertains only to medical people (not even to all of them) as opposed to the general population. “Knowledge about the relationship of HPV to cervical cancer is low even in the United States and the United Kingdom.” One of the sources, on which this assessment is based, concludes: Cervical cancer risk factor knowledge, especially knowledge about HPV is low, even among women with the history of cervical cancer. Younger and more educated women are more likely to have HPV and cervical cancer knowledge accuracy. The importance of personal health practices and the focus on health education should be equally emphasized to achieve successful cancer prevention through vaccination. [Emphasis mine.]

In May, @bioZhena tweeted some on this subject. –

@bioZhena:                                                                                               Can #cervicalcancer #screening be done #simply at home as part of a precise determination of #fertile days? http://to.ly/xEO #womenshealth

@bioZhena:                                                                                               Why is it important to do regular #cervicalcancer #screening – besides the fact that #Merck says so? #Gardasil Why the Ovulona? http://to.ly/xEO

RT @BelievnTomorrow Julie Hewett by @bioZhena:                        The Pope, Condoms and HPV: What Pope Benedict May Not Know #PreventCC #HPV http://ow.ly/4Vo4W

@bioZhena:                                                                                            #fem http://bit.ly/k7As90 GARDASIL does NOT prevent all of #cervical #cancer Merck says: It’s important to continue regular #cervicalcancer #screening

@bioZhena:                                                                                     #Gynecology experts divided http://to.ly/awuh whether deaths & blood clots serious but rare side effects of the #HPV #vaccine #Gardasil #fem

@bioZhena:                                                                                       #Gardasil unexplained death http://to.ly/aB9A Coroner raises questions about #HPV #vaccination ¬es 78 US deaths related to Gardasil (51 by CDC)

@bioZhena:                                                                                               The Truth About #Gardasil http://to.ly/awu9 by @mariangreene04 No known treatment to help these girls as they suffer in silence #womenshealth

@bioZhena:                                                                                                             http://to.ly/awun reports of injury, death related to #Gardasil #HPV #vaccine It prevents positive #Pap – not CC [Cervical Cancer] Think Ovulona http://to.ly/xEO  AND THINK ABOUT THE BOLD-FONT STATEMENT JUST ABOVE.

Alphonse Mucha: Madonna Of The Lillies

Alphonse Mucha: Madonna Of The Lilies

There then appeared a physician’s tweet “in defense of” the HPV vaccines, dismissive of the public concerns:

@DrJenGunter tweeted:                                                                              @bioZhena don’t use media sources as references, there are excellent reviews of VAERS and Gardisil in real journals

@DrJenGunter tweeted:                                                            @bioZhena all the US deaths post Gardisil have been investigated and no causal relationship identified. Several good publications.

@bioZhena responded with a request for the source of the info, i.e., for those “several good publications”.

@bioZhena:                                                                                              Thanx @DrJenGunter for your msg on #Gardasil #Cervarix safety. Would you share references? I got CDC http://to.ly/aB3v                8% VAERS were serious (defined) = 1,468.

@bioZhena:                                                                                @DrJenGunter #Gardasil http://to.ly/aB4c ~half the adverse reactions required a trip to the ER & about 20% of those girls “Did Not Recover”

@bioZhena:                                                                                                 RT @DrJenGunter: @bioZhena 2011 meta analysis in peer reviewed journal > 44,000 girls no increase in adverse events with Gardasil vs. control #vaxfax — Any chance that you’d share the 2011 meta analysis reference, please?

@bioZhena:                                                                                             #Gardasil Gardisil Silgard Re: @DrJenGunter 2 @bioZhena “don’t use media sources as references, there are excellent reviews of VAERS and Gardisil in real journals”. Please cite them disproving deaths, harm. Email:  vaclavkirsner@yahoo.com . I look forward to hearing from you. Hard data is indeed necessary.

Did not receive any, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, the government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – in “Reports of Health Concerns Following HPV Vaccination” http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/vaccines/hpv/gardasil.html – states, among other things (albeit not “in real journals”):

Blood Clots
There have been some reports of blood clots in females after receiving Gardasil. These clots have occurred in the heart, lungs, and legs. Most of these people had a risk of getting blood clots, such as taking oral contraceptives (the birth control pill), smoking, obesity, and other risk factors.
Deaths
As of February 14, 2011, there have been 51 VAERS reports of death among females who have received Gardasil. Thirty two of these reports have been confirmed and 19 remain unconfirmed due to no identifiable patient information in the report such as a name and contact information to confirm the report. A death report is confirmed (verified) after a medical doctor reviews the report and any associated records. In the 32 reports confirmed, there was no unusual pattern or clustering to the deaths that would suggest that they were caused by the vaccine and some reports indicated a cause of death unrelated to vaccination. END QUOTE.

Whereupon @bioZhena suggests: The anti-Hippocrates harm does not go away, and cervical cancer screening is no less needed post-vaccination than without it. That’s why @bioZhena’s interest in the topic, as we propose to introduce a better screen than the Pap – but this requires some funding. With our screen done automatically by women at home (in the background of the primary use of the Ovulona™ monitor), the concern that the Pap frequency would suffer in the West is or can be answered, and providing the screen to the population in the non-West countries is a big plus.
Posted by: http://twitter.com/bioZhena   5/26/2011 12:48:52 AM from Twitzer

@bioZhena:                                                                                                  India halts #HPV #vaccine trial after 6 girls die, US does nothing – 67 deaths http://to.ly/aALf #Gardasil & #Cervarix #cervical #cancer

@bioZhena:                                                                                       #vaxfax #womenshealth Worth repeating: Vaccination does NOT replace routine #cervicalcancer screening – does NOT protect against all #HPV types http://to.ly/aB3v And: Vaccines do NOT cure cervical cancer

@bioZhena:                                                                                              #HPV #PreventCC even vaccinated must screen4CC [must screen for cervical cancer]: 20-30 yrs old screen every 2 yrs, 30-65 yrs every 3 yrs if Pap is normal http://to.ly/aGu3

RT @MedscapeOBGYN by @bioZhena:                                             Cervical Cancer Screening Every 3 Years for Most Women http://bit.ly/mhop42

@bioZhena:                                                                                              #Vaccination does not replace routine #cervicalcancer screening! Vaccines don’t protect against all #HPV types http://to.ly/aB3v & they don’t cure it

Alfons Mucha, Malířství

Alfons Mucha, Malířství

@bioZhena:                                                                                     Comment from http://to.ly/aCD3 #Cervical #cancer “smear tests are invasive uncomfortable embarrassing & often are badly diagnosed”. Hear hear!

@bioZhena:                                                                                                  Comment from http://to.ly/aCD3 “De-stigmatize #cervical #cancer and do some work to make test less unpleasant – more #women will go”. Hear hear!

@bioZhena:                                                                                       #womenshealth RT @BelievnTomorrow #HPV and #cervical #cancer – (We can do better!) http://ow.ly/506ha ->Easy home screening http://to.ly/weK

@bioZhena:                                                                                                e-tech #medtech 4 getting #women everywhere screened 4 early signs of #cervical #cancer http://to.ly/aGtS  Innocuous, affordable.

That’s it – we can do better than the Pap.

But does anyone hear this?

@bioZhena:                                                                                             What is the significance of the #HPV epidemic? http://to.ly/aB44 Already in 1842 a Verona #doctor observed: #cervicalcancer is due to sexual activity http://to.ly/aB46

#Women who get #STD screening can avoid #infertility caused by #STDs http://to.ly/aIyq  Future home screen http://to.ly/xEO http://yfrog.com/kfgl0dfj

@bioZhena:                                                                                              Here is a thought. Daughters of @BarackObama too will benefit from our #medtech #fertility #cervical #cancer screen. See about the Ovulona at http://to.ly/xEO

Is this a heresy?


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