Thursday, April 30, 2009

To Mammogram or Not to Mammogram

If you're like most women in the Western world, you probably think that routine mammograms (along with breast self exam) are your best weapon against breast cancer. Increasingly, the benefits of such routine screening are being scrutinized.

NY Times article on risks/benefits of routine mammography

Typically excellent article from the National Women's Health Network re pros & cons of baseline mammography

Sunday, April 19, 2009

If Male Amphibians Are Being Born With Ovaries (Or 6 Legs), What's Happening To Us?

photo by Yamanaka Tamaki

This Week: "Poisoned Waters" (120 minutes),
Tuesday April 21st at 9pm on PBS (Check local listings)
You can also watch this show online.


For years, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hedrick Smith has reported from the corridors of power in Washington, on Wall Street, and overseas. But these days, he's worried about something that he's found much closer to home -- something mysterious that's appeared in waters that he knows well: frogs with six legs, male amphibians with ovaries, "dead zones" where nothing can live or grow.

What's causing the trouble? Smith suspects the answers might lie close to home as well.

This Tuesday night, in a special two-hour FRONTLINE broadcast --"Poisoned Waters"-- Smith takes a hard look at a new wave of pollution that's imperiling the nation's waterways, focusing on two of our most iconic: the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound. He also examines three decades of environmental regulation that are failing to meet this new threat, and have yet to clean up the ongoing mess of PCBs, the staggering waste from factory farms, and the fall-out from unchecked suburban sprawl.

"The environment has slipped off our radar screen because it's not a hot crisis like the financial meltdown, war, or terrorism," Smith says. "But pollution is a ticking time bomb. It's a chronic cancer that is slowly eating away the natural resources that are vital to our very lives."

Among the most worrisome of the new contaminants are "endocrine disruptors," chemical compounds found in common household products that mimic hormones in the human body and cause freakish mutations in frogs and amphibians.

"There are five million people being exposed to endocrine disruptors just in the Mid-Atlantic region," a doctor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health tells Smith. "And yet we don't know precisely how many of them are going to develop premature breast cancer, going to have problems with reproduction, going to have all kinds of congenital anomalies of the male genitalia that are happening at a broad low level so that they don't raise the alarm in the general public."

Can new models of "smart growth" and regulation reverse decades of damage? Are the most real and lasting changes likely to come from the top down, given an already overstretched Obama administration? Or will the greatest reasons for hope come from the bottom up, through the action of a growing number of grassroots groups trying to effect environmental change?

Join us for the broadcast this Tuesday night. Online, you can watch "Poisoned Waters" again, find out how safe your drinking water is, and learn how you can get involved.

Ken Dornstein
Senior Editor of Frontline

Sunday, April 12, 2009

More awesome events in NYC

This blog isn't meant to be an events calendar (esp as we have lots of readers outside of NY), but there are so many great things going on lately, I feel compelled to let you know about at least some of them. As always, readers outside of NY might want to note the books, organizations and websites mentioned in these postings, as you can read the books or check out the orgs even if you aren't lucky enough to live in this happening burg. And if you do live here, for goodness sake, get out there and dig in. 

(1) Reading and signing of Attached at the Heart: 8 Proven Parenting Principles for Raising Connected and Compassionate Children. Meet Attachment Parenting International co-founders and authors Barbara Nicholson and Lysa Parker.  

Metro Minis 821 Park Ave (@ 75th St), 212.313.9600.
Tuesday, April 28, 2pm - 4pm

Attached at the Heart is available now at Metro Minis, your local bookstore,
or .

Out of towners: Check this page for readings in other parts of the US.

(2) Fertility Event for women who are trying to become pregnant or considering it. Hosted by The Pregnant New Yorker  with a fabulous list of guest speakers . Go here to read more and to register. Note that The Pregnant New Yorker has ongoing events so check their site to see what else they've got going on.

Wednesday April 22nd, 6:30-8:30pm
at Renew Physical Therapy
149 Madison Avenue, Suite 903 (btwn 31st and 32nd Street)
$10 per person
(3) This one's for women only, and requires a bit of explanation. My friend, the artist & activist Alexandra Jacoby is a woman of many talents, and for several years she has been working on a project called Vagina Verite . Though the title mentions vaginas, it's actually centered around Alexandra's portraits of women's vulvas (meaning the parts you can see, not the internal bits). Periodically Alexandra hosts "salons" where you can view the portraits, and where memorable discussions take place. The next salon will be held on Sunday, May 3rd, and will feature (along with Alexandra herself), the "luscious lifestyle diva" Yolanda (Shoshi) Shoshana . The topic of this salon is "Pleasure."

Sunday May 3rd, 3pm - 6pm
Midtown east location; rsvp by 4/30 for location & directions