Today’s Headlines: Grapefruits, Air Pollution and Autism, and Gulf War Syndrome

Grapefruits May Trigger Overdoses of Medications: “It’s been known for a long time that eating grapefruit and taking certain prescription oral medications — including the cholesterol drugs atorvastatin, lovastatin and simvastatin as well as some cancer and heart drugs – doesn’t mix.” However, grapefruits may interact with more drugs than previously thought, especially with the advent of new drugs. The component furanocoumarins in grapefruit juice renders inactive an enzyme responsible for processing drugs. This allows drugs to remain in a patient’s system for too long. “The scientists urged physicians who prescribe these medications to learn more about the drugs’ interactions with grapefruit juice.” (LA Times)

Early Exposure to Air Pollution May Be Linked to Autism: “In a finding that points to a link between environmental toxins and autism, a new study shows that children who were exposed to the highest levels of traffic-related air pollution during gestation and in early infancy were 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental disorder than were those whose early exposure to such pollutants was very low.” (LA Times)

Gulf War Syndrome May Be Due to Autonomic Nervous System Damage: Gulf War illness plagues 1 out of 4 veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War — up to 250,000 veterans. It consists of various vague but debilitating symptoms including memory loss, chronic fatigue and headaches. A recent study revealed that it this syndrome results from damage to the autonomic nervous system. The researchers “sent 97 veterans through 25 tests, including brain imaging, in 7 days.” “For years, Gulf War veterans have been told the symptoms were all in their heads,” which isn’t true according to the study. (USA Today)