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The most toxic element Plutonium found in Japan soil

The most toxic element Plutonium found in Japan soil

What does it mean to you when Plutonium, the most toxic element, was found in Japan soil? We have heard iodine I-131, I-133 and Uranium-238 found in air, seawater, and soil in the last few days. However, more radioactive elements has been found by the Japanese Government,  including the deadly Plutonium 239. What does it means to us?

Plutonium is raw materials used to make nuclear weapon. It accumulates in bone marrow and causes leukemia and bone cancer. It has a  half-life of up to 24,000 years, which requires a very long time to be decomposed in the environment. Plutonium is worse than iodine, cesium and other radioactive materials; its has long term effects on generations to come.  If plutonium contamination spreads to underground water, the situation is even worse.  The Japanese Authority may have to shut down nuclear power plant and  spend decades on  cleaning up the nuclear contamination.

Some scientists have stated that five grams of Plutonium 239, which is approximately the size of one cube of sugar,  can kill all humans and living creatures in the world!! However, this highly radioactive Plutonium particles cannot travel in long distances. It does harm to you when you inhale them; it does not penetrate through human skin. Also, their deadly radiation nature increase the risk of bone cancer, liver cancer, and leukemia.


Radiation and Pregnancy

Radiation and Pregnancy

People panic about radiation. Physician stated that organs begin to form in fetus between 2 to 7 weeks of pregnancy; 8 to 15 weeks of pregnancy is the early formation of the fetus. These stages are most vulnerable to effects of radiation. However,  radiation must reach 100 to 200 millisieverts  (mSv) to cause fetal malformations.

If a pregnant women is affected by 50 to 500 millisieverts (mSv) of radiation during these two stages,  central nervous system will be affected and the main organs of the fetus will be developed abnormally. Growth may slow down and lead to severe mental retardation. If affected by over 500 millisieverts (mSv), it will increase the chances of miscarriage. If the fetus has reached 26 to 38 weeks, the rate of stillbirth or dead of premature newborn may increase significantly.

The child may have cancer when grown up regardless of the degree of radiation exposure; especially leukemia, the risk of the child having leukemia increase by 12% for every 1,000 mSv of radiation. The average IQ will also drop from 25 to 31 points; the child may be 3 to 4% shorter than the average height by the age of 18.

However, 1,000 mSv of radiation would mean going though X-ray procedures continuously for a couple of hundred times, therefore, when living in a  environment with an acceptable level of radiation, pregnant women do not need to be overly worried.


Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Is saving cord blood a waste of money?

Ever since the concept of  cord blood stem cell therapy appears, it has been packaged by the cord blood banking business industry as "the way" to treat a variety of of serious diseases. Therefore,  many parents are willing to pay to save their child's cord blood as an additional health coverage for their newborn.  However, a well-known stem cells scientist questioned the efficacy of cord blood and stated that it may have been exaggerated. He urged parents to think seriously before making a decision to save cord blood to avoid a waste of money.

Agence France-Presse reported that Irving Weissman, the director of   California Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine Institute of Stanford University, had stated, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science Annual Meeting, that cord blood contains hematopoietic stem cells. It is  just enough to maintain the blood of a young child. Cord blood hematopoietic stem cells  can also derive stromal cells (Mesenchymal cells), its ability is limited to  create scars, bone, and adipose tissue, but not to the extend of producing brain, blood, heart and skeletal muscle (skeletal muscle), as some had stated. Weissman also criticized that some cord blood banks charge a lot of money for umbilical cord blood storage, claiming that cord blood stem cells can be used to treat serious illness; without mentioning the fact that medical expenses can be costly when it comes to stem cell transplant and treatment, which may not be something every family can afford. In addition, some countries have public cord blood bank. Cord blood is collected through donation. Cord blood is available to the public to those in need. Therefore, the cost- effectiveness of saving cord blood is  something parents should consider. U.S. National Institutes of Health had estimated the need for a newborn to use his/her own cord blood is 1 to 20,000.

Cord blood not enough to treat leukemia during adulthood.

Other research data have shown that leukemia patients that were successfully treated with cord blood transplant were  mostly children under the weight of 40 kilograms.  This is due to the fact that hematopoietic stem cells contained in cord blood are just enough to treat a child. Therefore, if someone is diagnosed in adulthood,  save cord blood is usually not enough.


Why save cord blood

Why save cord blood?

Cord blood transplantation may be used as a secondary method to cancer treatment for certain types of cancer. It has less side effects comparing to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Cord blood stem cell transplantation can help malignant blood diseases (malignant hematological diseases) such as: leukemia (leukemia), lymphoma (lymphoma).

Because cord blood transplantation has many advantages, it was suggested to keep the umbilical cord blood after birth instead of throwing it away as waste. It should be reserved for the children as it is an  important biological resource.  Saving the child's cord blood is equivalent to buying  life insurance for the child.

Cord blood is blood left over the placenta and umbilical cord blood after a baby is delivered; it is usually discarded as medical waste.  Over the last decade, studies have found that cord blood contains hematopoietic  stem cells that  can be reconstruct blood and the immune system, which can be used in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for the treatment of many diseases. Therefore, cord blood has become an important source of hematopoietic stem cells, in particular, for unrelated sources of hematopoietic stem cells.  It is  also a very important human biological resources.

Why is cord blood can save lives?
Hematopoietic stem cells in cord blood is the basis of  saving lives.  Hematopoietic stem cells are the seeds of blood cells; it is the origin of cells of various blood cells in vivo, there were blood cells, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and many more by its differentiation and development from.  Hematopoietic stem cell is self-complementary, thus going. Hematopoietic stem cells using this regeneration, through the shift lever healthy hematopoietic stem cells that can treat many "incurable", such as blood diseases, congenital immune defects, genetic diseases, and prevent cancer radiotherapy and chemotherapy on bone marrow hematopoietic function inhibition.  With scientific and technological progress, people also found that hematopoietic stem cells under certain conditions can be induced to differentiate into other cells. People look forward to using this method of tissue repair for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and  spinal cord injury.

Why is cord blood transplantation is effective?
China now has blood diseases, genetic diseases, AIDS and tens of millions of cancer patients, including leukemia and regenerative anemia patients with an annual increase of 4 million to  5 million of other genetic blood diseases and congenital patients has also increased. From the bone marrow,  peripheral blood and fetal cord blood,  hematopoietic stem cell transplantation may treat various blood diseases, congenital disease, AIDS and cancer patients. However, lack of bone marrow donor, and peripheral blood, and it is  vulnerable to viruses and tumor cells contamination.  The umbilical cord blood transplantation is effective, it produces fewer side effects and it is cost-effective.  However, matching between non-identical relative probability is  low, and cord blood at birth must be dealt with quickly and properly preserved. There is an urgent need to establish a cord blood bank.

Any risks of collecting umbilical cord blood ?
The process of collecting cord blood does no harm to the mother and the baby. After birth, both ends of the umbilical cord  are tided  immediately, while the infant and umbilical cord are separated by a doctor leading the hypodermic needle into the umbilical cord vein, taking the cord blood. This process is very simple, it can be done in just a few minutes. And it is  different from the traditional bone marrow collection, it does not require anesthesia, no pain, no side effects, it can be completed in the maternity hospital.  It is reported that the placenta, umbilical cord and the fetus were originally thrown away as waste after birth. The collection process is done when the placenta and umbilical cord are completely separated from the mother and the baby, therefore it has no adverse effects.