Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Rats go "Whee"

Motto: no day is wasted when you learn something new.

Example: Male rats raise their hands after ejaculation in a gesture clearly reminiscent of male humans on a roller coaster.

I learned this fact at a UT lecture on the effects of environmental contaminants on fertility, obesity, and intelligence, where the lecturer, Andrea Gore, showed us an experiment on how different female rats choose to mate depending on their exposure to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC's).

It seems the kind of information that people other than lab rats would have no business in knowing, but it was actually fascinating. It seems to me quite telling that female rats can tell if a male rat's great grandmother was exposed to EDC's, and will choose not to mate with that rat. Not only is this terrifying in terms of what these chemicals (which btw were banned in the 1970's but all of us have in our systems due to contaminated food webs) are doing to us, but also what they will do to our children and our children's children. (Check out her book here)
There is a correlation between the use of EDC and the raise in cancer, autism, and several other diseases in adults. This means that like in plants, what happens to the kid can then manifest dozens of years later in the adult.

Also right now, the chance of your child having one of the spectrum Autism disorders is 1 in 90.

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