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Elevated Lead in Childhood may lead to Violent and Aggressive Behavior and May Contribute to a Significant Amount of Violent Crime

Feb 21, 2005

Lead from the environment, left over as a contaminant of lead paint, leaded gasoline, in the water or from the soil ism more dangerous than thought. According to Dr H Needleman, a professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, exposure to lead, at levels below those that would alarm a doctor, not only affects a chills intelligence and impulsiveness, but may lead to antisocial and criminal behavior and may contribute to causing them to commit a violent crime. He sites a number of studies to support his theory:

  • Average levels of lead in the bones of 190 juvenile delinquents were higher than in adolescents not charged with a crime
  • In 300 juvenile delinquents those reporting more aggressive feelings or having behavior disorders also had higher levels of lead
Dr Needleman states that levels of lead below the toxic level in children is associated with increased aggression, disturbed attention, and delinquency. He states that between 18% and 38% of delinquent crimes in the Pittsburgh area could be attributed to elevated lead in adolescents. The paper was presented at the February 2005 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC.

Artemisinin with Iron may Help to Fight Cancer

Artemisinin is a phytochemical derived from the herb Artemisia Annua Vera. It has been used to treat malaria and parasitic infections. Artemisinin reacts with iron to create free radicals that are toxic to the malaria causing parasite. In this study scientists attached Artemisinin to transferrin. Transferrin is a large protein in the blood plasma that carries iron so it can be used to create hemoglobin. Because cancer cells take up more iron than normal cells the researchers wanted to test an increased ability to target cancer cells. Once in the cancer cell the Artemisinin and the iron would be released allowing them to interact. Artemisinin attached to transferring was added to healthy human white blood cells and to human leukemia cells (a cancer of the white blood cells). The compound selectively destroyed the leukemia cells but had little effect on the healthy cells. By itself, Artemisinin is approximately 100 times more selective in killing cancer cells as opposed to killing healthy cells. The new Artemisinin compound was 34,000 times more potent in killing cancer cells as opposed to killing similar but healthy cells. The research was performed at the University of Washington in Seattle and is published in the January 28th issue of Life Sciences.