Daily Rounds: Hormone-Changing Chemicals; The Varied Vagina; UMass Hiring Spree; A Real Girl Fights Seventeen

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How Chemicals Affect Us (The New York Times) — "Endocrine disruptors are everywhere. They’re in thermal receipts that come out of gas pumps and A.T.M.’s. They’re in canned foods, cosmetics, plastics and food packaging. Test your blood or urine, and you’ll surely find them there, as well as in human breast milk and in cord blood of newborn babies. In this campaign year, we are bound to hear endless complaints about excessive government regulation. But here’s an area where scientists are increasingly critical of our government for its failure to tackle Big Chem and regulate endocrine disruptors adequately. Last month, the Endocrine Society, the leading association of hormone experts, scolded the Food and Drug Administration for its failure to ban bisphenol-A, a common endocrine disruptor known as BPA, from food packaging. Last year, eight medical organizations representing genetics, gynecology, urology and other fields made a joint call in Science magazine for tighter regulation of endocrine disruptors. Shouldn’t our government be as vigilant about threats in our grocery stores as in the mountains of Afghanistan?"

Vaginal Microbes Vary Over Time (Medical News Today) --"Scientists say that new research might be the starting point for personalized medicine for women. Research undertaken by The University of Maryland School of Medicine's Institute for Genome Sciences and the University of Idaho shows that the delicate balance of microbes in the vagina can vary dramatically, even over short periods of time. Just as there are good and bad bacteria in the intestinal tract, the female system is a home to a variety of symbiotic bacteria that help maintain good health. A woman's susceptibility to infection and other diseases can obviously be affected by this balance. In the same way that probiotics are sometimes needed to balance the intestinal florar,"

UMass Medical Center Quietly Gaining Star Quality (The Boston Globe) — "In a state that prides itself on its medical and scientific prowess, UMass is perhaps its best-kept secret. The medical school is undergoing a tremendous growth spurt that has been little noticed by the general public but has caught the attention of those at the cutting edge of scientific research. Ceol is one of the newer recruits to the Worcester campus - part of a hiring spree that is adding 100 faculty to fill a $400 million biomedical research building set to open this year. "

A Real Girl, 14, Takes a Stand Against the Flawless Faces in Magazines (The New York Times) — “I look at the pictures and they just don’t look like girls I see walking down the street and stuff,” said Julia, who turned 14 last month. A blogger for the last year with Spark, a project that fights the sexualization of girls, Julia had given the subject some thought, and talked it over with the other bloggers. Then she started an online petition drive through asking Seventeen to “commit to printing one unaltered — real — photo spread per month.” “We brought Seventeen magazine to lunch and showed it to a bunch of kids to see if they agreed with the petition,” she said. “A lot of them signed it.”

This program aired on May 4, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.