ADVERSE HEALTH EFFECTS OF
In addition to actual toxic effects, medical authorities acknowledge
that pesticides can cause, precipitate, trigger, or exacerbate a number
of disease conditions, including:
~*~MIGRAINE AND "TOXIC HEADACHE"
~*~ASTHMA and RESPIRATORY DISEASE
~*~ANAPHYLACTIC AND ANAPHYLACTOID REACTIONS
~~*~~MIGRAINE AND "TOXIC HEADACHE"~~*~~
Medical authorities acknowledge that pesticides may cause migraine
and "toxic headache" pain and symptoms.
Please see the John Hopkins Intelihealth site, in the section
"Migraine Headache" under the heading "What is it?":
...Other triggers [of migraine headache] include ...
in certain chemicals (perfumes, *insecticides*, and
carbon monoxide), missing or delayed meals, altered
sleep-wake cycles, stress, depression, ... bright lights,
and excessive noise. ...
under Headache, Headache Zone Basic Info,
Migraine Information, and "What is it?"
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) site explains that
pesticides cause "toxic headaches" in the section "Headache:
Hope Through Research" under "Besides Migraine, What Are
Other Types of Vascular Headaches?":
...Toxic headaches can also result from the presence
of foreign chemicals in the body. ...
and under the heading "Chemical Culprits":
...Headache can also result from exposure to poisons,
even common household varieties like *insecticides*,
carbon tetrachloride, and lead. ...
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
at the National Institutes of Health: Other Types of Headache
The WebMD Medical Library lists a number of chemical migraine
triggers under the topic Heading Off Migraine Pain: Tracking Your
Triggers: Environmental Factors which include:
... perfumes, strong odors, fumes from industrial
air pollution, and secondhand cigarette smoke ...
Source: "Migraine: The Complete Guide," American
Headache Education, copyright 1994
Source URL: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1680.51677
WebMD Medical Library also notes under "Causes of Migraine Headache":
... Reduced Magnesium Levels. Researchers
have also noted a drop
in magnesium levels before or during a migraine attack. Magnesium plays
a role in nerve cell function; reduced levels could be a destabilizing factor,
causing the nerves in the brain to misfire, possibly even accounting
for the auras that many sufferers experience. ...
Destabilizing of the magnesium
metabolism is known to be an
extremely significant factor in "toxic headaches" precipitated by exposure
to a wide variety of organophosphate pesticides and solvents.
The phosphate complex of these OP compounds are known to severely
disrupt the magnesium mechanism of the cell triggering a biochemical
and neurological cascade, often culminating in migraine, sensitization,
or other neurological impairment and damage.]
Source URL: http://my.webmd.com/content/article/1680.51680
JAMA MIGRAINE: Migraine Information Center
The Journal of the American Medical Association
TYPES OF HEADACHE
In 1988, the International Headache Society composed a comprehensive
guide for classifying headache and facial pain. The system standardized
headache diagnosis for medical treatment and research. A headache may
fulfill criteria for more than one headache diagnosis; the symptoms may
change over time; or the headache itself may transform from one type to
another during a single episode. Even though there are 150 different headache
diagnostic categories, the most common headache syndromes are migraine,
tension-type headache, cluster, sinus, rebound, and menstrual.
WHAT IS MIGRAINE HEADACHE?
Migraine is a neurologic disorder that is characterized by recurrent
attacks of headache, with pain most often occurring on one side of the
head, accompanied by various combinations of symptoms such as
nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound. ...
Routine activity or slight head movement typically makes the pain worse.
These episodes can last from several hours to several days and are often
disabling. During the attack the pain may migrate from one part of the
head to another, and may radiate down the neck into the shoulder. Scalp
tenderness occurs in the majority of patients during or after an attack.
Following an attack, many individuals feel tired, washed
or listless or have impaired concentration. ... The more you understand
about migraine and its treatment, the better you can control its impact on
your physical well-being.
Common characteristics of migraine headache include
*A moderate to
severe headache that lasts from 4 to 72 hours.
*Pain is often, but not always, on one side of the head and throbbing.
*Pain is aggravated by movement or physical activity.
*Pain is often associated with nausea (and when severe, vomiting),
sensitivity to light, sound, and odors.
Source: JAMA Migraine Information Center - Types of Headache
WHAT CAUSES MIGRAINE?
The exact cause of migraine is uncertain, although various theories
are being studied. One theory favored by many researchers is that
migraine is due to a vulnerability of the nervous system to sudden
changes in either your body or the environment around you.
Many researchers believe that migraine sufferers have inherited a
more sensitive nervous system response than those without migraine.
During a migraine attack, changes in brain activity produce inflamed
blood vessels and nerves around the brain.
Migraine medication may produce relief by quieting sensitive nerve
pathways and reducing the inflammation response.
TRIGGERS OF PROVOKERS of Migraine
Certain factors can provoke or trigger migraine in some people.
If the pattern of your attacks of migraine suggests that you are
sensitive to stimuli or triggers that you can easily avoid, your
physician may help you modify your lifestyle. Keeping a migraine
headache diary will help you and your physician identify specific
triggers. Not all migraines have the same provoking factors nor
do all these factors necessarily provoke an attack ....
Environmental triggers of migraine headaches include ...
Source: JAMA Migraine Information Center - What Causes Migraine
COMMON MYTHS ABOUT HEADACHE PATIENTS
Headache causes personal suffering, disrupts families and interferes
with work and leisure time. Striking unpredictably, an attack shatters
a sense of self-control. Medications are often less than effective or
produce unwanted side effects.
Present day myths about headache often induce a sense of isolation,
shame and helplessness. Before healing can begin, the headache sufferer
needs to know that headaches are a treatable and significant disorder.
Psychological conflicts are generally the result, not the cause of
Fortunately, recent advances in research are expanding the medical
community's understanding of headache and creating effective treatments.
... Just as important as physician visits and drugs, the management
of headache involves understanding the headache problem, identifying
factors that precipitate headaches, and working with your physician
in a therapeutic partnership.
Myth # 1: Recurrent headaches mean I have a psychological problem.
Headaches are the result of biochemical
changes in the brain.
Stress, acting on the nervous system, makes headaches more likely to
occur. The stress may be chemical, emotional, biological or psychological.
Psychological problems can arise from poorly managed headaches but,
for the most part, psychological problems do not cause headaches. ...
JAMA Migraine Information Center - Common Myths About Headache Patients
Harvard University: New Understanding Of Migraines May
Lead To More Effective Treatments
BOSTON, MA -- April 27, 2000 -- The painfully sensitive skin that
accompanies many migraines has revealed a new understanding of the
debilitating headaches. The latest findings from Boston researchers are
the first human test of a migraine model that may explain why current
medications are ineffective in many cases and suggests a new target
for the next generation of migraine drugs. ...
Beth Israel Deaconess researchers documented extreme skin sensitivity
in 79 percent of migraine sufferers who were tested several hours after
their headache pain began. The other 21 percent of people with migraines
showed no increase in skin sensitivity. The study of 42 people is published
in the May issue of the Annals of Neurology.
"Patients tell us they can't brush their hair, wear earrings or eyeglasses,
or shave their beards because it's so painful," says first author Rami
Burstein Ph.D., a pain researcher in the Beth Israel Deaconess
anesthesiology department. "The immediate implication of this finding,
and the understanding of the neuronal mechanism behind it, is that
patients need to treat their migraines as soon as the pain starts."
Burstein is also an associate professor at Harvard Medical School.
Migraines affect an estimated 25 million Americans, mostly women.
There is no known cure for migraine disease, only treatments for the
symptoms, and the treatments are ineffective in many cases. In addition
to the throbbing pain in the head or around the eyes, migraine symptoms
can include flashing lights, zigzag lines, or temporary vision loss; speech
difficulty; tingling of the face or hands; and nausea.
Although hypersensitive skin may not come as a surprise to some patients
and experienced doctors, this is believed to be the first time these
symptoms have been documented in rigorous testing.
"This is the most important paper on headache in a long time," says Stephen
Silberstein, M.D., professor of neurology at Thomas Jefferson University
in Philadelphia and director of the Jefferson Headache Center. "It's a
logical approach to the problem of headaches, beginning with a laboratory
model, validating it in the clinic and suggesting therapeutic options."
The study verifies in humans for the first time a migraine model proposed
by Burstein and his colleagues four years ago in the journal Nature.
Experimental headaches in rats had suggested the underlying mechanism
of the throbbing, pounding sensation of migraines.
Pain signals from blood vessels inside the head made the nerves
hypersensitive, converting routine blood pulsing into throbbing pain
during a migraine.
Further animal studies also predicted increased
skin sensitivity in people,
especially around the eyes on the side of the head where the migraine occurs.
The same pain signals that sensitize the nerve also sensitize spinal cord
neurons at the base of the skull. There, where other nerves connect,
the sensitized neurons distort normal sensory signals from skin around
the eyes and send a message of pain up to the brain.
In the latest study, researchers were surprised to find that some people
in the study reported skin sensitivity at other places on their faces or heads,
not just around their eyes, and 42 percent of migraineurs with hypersensitive
skin reported sensitivity all over their bodies.
It's possible that hypersensitive neurons in the spinal cord at the base
the skull may sensitize yet another set of neurons, these ones in the thalamus.
This may explain why tight clothes, jewelry, a shower, and even the
weight of a blanket become painful and irritating. In turn, the thalamus
may misinterpret normal signals from other parts of the body as painful.
Burstein and his colleagues will return to the animal model to test the idea.
The researchers caution that the prevalence of increased
documented among patients at a pain center may be higher than among
migraine sufferers in a general population.
"This study breaks new ground in this field," says Michael Moskowitz
M.D., professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts
General Hospital. "It provides the first explanation of certain migraine
symptoms not previously understood."
Currently approved migraine medications act on the blood vessels and
the pain fibers that carry the initial pain signals, not at the level of the
spinal cord where the sensitization is taking place, Dr. Burstein says.
For people with skin sensitivity, the study suggests that current migraine
medications are most effective if taken immediately at the onset of a
Then, they can prevent the distorted signals from being sent to the brain.
Unfortunately, the cost of medications, the uncertainty of early migraine
warning signs, and the onset of migraines during sleep may discourage
effective use of current medications for some people.
The study suggests a target for a new generation of migraine drugs that
would prevent hypersensitivity of the spinal cord neurons at the base
of the skull. Dr. Burstein and his colleagues continue to work on understanding
the molecular basis of changes in the properties of the neurons in hopes
of eventually preventing changes or reversing the sensitization.
Source: Doctor's Guide -- New Understanding of Migraine (April 27, 2000)
WebMD Medical News has published some auxiliary details regarding
the Harvard University findings that the "excruciating pain" which occurs
during migraine headaches at even the slightest touch, movement, or change
in temperature is, in fact, precipitated by the process known as "neurological
Such "excruciating pain" often accompanies the migraines and "toxic headaches"
of those patients who experience debilitating pain which is triggered by strong
odors or by exposure to pesticides and petrochemicals.
For more information, please see:
Super-Sensitive Nerves Play Key Role in Migraine Pain,
Minor Sensations Become Excruciating Pain
WebMD Medical News
~~*~~ASTHMA and RESPIRATORY DISEASE~~*~~
Asthma, a chronic potentially fatal inflammatory disease of
the respiratory system, can be caused by pesticides.
The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (AAAAI)
the Section on Occupational Asthma states:
Occupational Asthma: Causes
Occupational asthma may be
caused by one
of three mechanisms.
*Direct irritant effects ...
*Allergy (long-term exposure) ...
Inhalation of some substances in aerosol form can
to the accumulation of naturally occurring chemicals in the body,
such as histamine or acetylcholine within the lung, which in turn
lead to asthma.
For example, insecticides, used in agricultural work [or in illegal,
indoor applications at Southwest Baptist University], can cause a
buildup of acetylcholine, which causes airway muscles to contract,
thereby constricting airways.
Asthma may also be triggered by pesticides and other
As the article "Effects of Odors on Asthma" in the Journal
of the American Medical Association (JAMA) indicates:
Asthma Triggers -- Percentage of Asthmatics Triggered by Substance
INSECTICIDE -- 85%
HOUSEHOLD CLEANERS -- 78%
CIGARETTE SMOKE -- 75%
FRESH PAINT -- 73%
PERFUME/COLOGNE -- 72%
CAR EXHAUST / GAS -- 60%
COOKING ODORS -- 37%
BODY ODORS -- 20%
MINT -- <10%
"Effects of Odors on Asthma." Shim, Chang, M.D., Williams,
M. Henry, Jr., The American Journal of Medicine, Volume 80,
January 1986, pp. 18-22
Also, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
website "Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma
Control of Factors Contributing to Asthma Severity" cites "irritants" --
including "sprays" and "strong odors" -- as triggering factor in
In the opinion of the Expert Panel, patients with asthma
at any level of severity should be queried about exposures
to *irritants*. ...
Patients also should avoid exposure to fumes from
unvented gas, oil, or kerosene stoves; wood-burning
appliances or fireplaces (Ostro et al. 1994); *sprays*;
and *strong odors* because they irritate the lungs
and can precipitate asthma symptoms. ...
JAMA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma,
Component 2: Control of Factors Contributing to Asthma Severity,
in the section -- "Irritants."
This is the link to the index of the JAMA Asthma Guidelines:
The JAMA website also warns that asthma may be initiated
by "sensitizing chemicals" [such as pesticides and solvents]
and describes a condition known as "reactive airway dysfunction"
resulting from an acute exposure to irritant fumes:
Workplace exposure to *sensitizing chemicals* or dusts
can induce asthma, which often persists after the
exposures are terminated (Chan-Yeung et al. 1987;
Pisati et al. 1993). ... Acute exposure to irritant
gases, dusts, or *fumes* can cause an asthma-like
condition (reactive airway dysfunction syndrome) .
(Brooks et al. 1985).
JAMA Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma,
Component 2: Control of Factors Contributing to Asthma Severity,
in the section -- "Occupational Exposures."
This is the link to the index of the JAMA Asthma Guidelines:
Repeated exposure to Diazinon may cause what the manufacturer
refers to as a *sensitization reaction* through a process
known as *SENSITIZATION* -- which involves changes in
metabolism and the depletion of various enzymes -- including the
enzyme cholinesterase and paraoxonase, or PON1 (which is
necessary to the body's detoxification of neurotoxic organophosphates,
such as the nerve gas, Sarin, and the related pesticide Diazinon).
As the Diazinon warning label states:
... May cause contact *SENSITIZATION* following
repeated contact with skin of susceptible individuals. ...
AVOID REPEATED CONTACT WITH SKIN.
IF *SENSITIZATION REACTION* RESULTS,
CONSULT A PHYSICIAN. ...
As the Dursban Plus warning label states:
Repeated exposure to
may, without warning, cause prolonged susceptibility
to very small doses of any cholinesterase inhibitor.
As well as sensitization reactions, pesticides, according
to health authorities, may also cause a variety of allergic
and immune reactions following repeated exposures.
As the John Hopkins, Intelihealth Allergy site describes:
Chemical Allergies: From fabrics to flooring, from
makeup to medicines, your world is full of chemicals--
and many can cause allergic reactions. Chemical
allergies typically affect the skin, but can also
cause respiratory problems or other allergic reactions...
Allergy section, under "Chemical Allergies."
Additionally, the section entitled, "Contact and Chemical
Allergy Chart" distinguishes chemical allergic reactions and
provides a chart of allergenic chemicals:
...In some people, simple exposure to a substance can
trigger allergic reactions ranging from swelling,
rashes and irritation to potentially fatal anaphylactic
reactions that could require emergency hospital care. ...
Within the chart itself, a number of volatile organic
compounds, solvents, and pesticides are listed as causing
allergic reactions, including *organophosphates* --
the class of pesticides to which Diazinon belongs.
Allergy section, under "Contact and Chemical Allergy Chart"
*For more information on allergic immune responses to toxic
chemicals, please see,
"Classic Toxicology: Chemically-Induced
Immune Response Explained," by Dr. Patrick Williams
~~*~~ANAPHYLACTIC AND ANAPHYLACTOID REACTIONS~~*~~
After repeated exposures to pesticides or other chemical allergens,
some individuals may develop the most severe and life-threatening
form of allergic reactions known as ANAPHYLAXIS.
Anaphylaxis - Life-Threatening Allergy
What is anaphylaxis?
Anaphylaxis is the word used
for serious and rapid allergic reactions
usually involving more than one part of the body which, if severe
enough, can kill.
coined when scientists tried to protect dogs
against a poison by immunising them with small doses. Far from being
protected, the dogs died suddenly when they got the poison again.
The word used for protection by immunisation is
'prophylaxis', so the
scientists coined the word 'anaphylaxis' to mean the opposite of protection.
What the scientists saw in the dogs helped them to understand that the
same can happen in humans. This helped us to understand asthma and
other allergies too, because they work in a similar way.
The National Jewish Medical and Research Center site describes
the symptoms of anaphylaxis:
Many people experience allergy symptoms which are
only a minor annoyance. However, a small number of
highly allergic individuals are susceptible to a
life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis.
... Symptoms usually appear rapidly -- within seconds
or minutes after exposure to an allergen (a substance
which causes an allergic reaction). In a few cases,
however, reactions have been delayed as much as 12 hours.
Symptoms Of Anaphylaxis
In anaphylaxis, cells of the immune system release
massive amounts of chemicals--particularly histamine.
As a result, blood vessels dilate and begin to leak
fluid into surrounding tissues, producing swelling.
Several organs can be affected:
*The skin frequently shows symptoms first.
Hives, itching, swelling, redness or a
stinging or burning sensation may develop.
*The loss of fluid from blood vessels causes
a drop in blood pressure and the individual
may feel light-headed or even lose consciousness.
*Anaphylaxis can cause obstruction of the nose,
mouth and throat. Individuals may first notice
hoarseness or a lump in the throat. If the
swelling is very severe, it shuts off the air
supply and the individual experiences severe
*The airways in the lungs can constrict, causing
chest tightness, shortness of breath and wheezing
-- the classic symptoms of asthma.
*The gastrointestinal tract often reacts, especially
if the allergen is something that was swallowed.
The person may experience nausea, vomiting,
cramping and diarrhea.
*Women may experience pelvic cramps due to
contractions of the uterus. ...
...When exposed to a foreign substance, some people suffer
reactions identical to anaphylaxis, but in which no allergy
is involved. These reactions are called anaphylactoid
(meaning anaphylaxis-like) reactions. ...
The National Jewish Medical and Research
Center is the only
medical and research center in the United States devoted entirely
to respiratory, allergic and immune system diseases ...
Website picture of "acute laryngeal edema"* that killed
a patient "due to an anaphylactic reaction to penicillin."
[*The swelling of the larynx or voicebox, the cartilaginous
structure at the top of the trachea which contains the vocal
For supplemental information Asthma, Allergies, or Anaphylaxis,
The Asthma and
Allergy Information Page
However, the primary mechanism by which pesticides, including
Diazinon and other organophosphates, cause both short-term and
long-term injuries is -- poisoning.
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