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Topic summary contributed by volunteer(s): John

The brain is packed with an enormous number of different types of connected and adjacent cells. ‘Brain tumors’ is a broad term referring to ‘tumors’ (cluster of abnormally multiplying cells) of any of the brain’s many cells. The abnormal multiplication is believed to arise from changes to the genetic material of the cells in the tumor.

Toxins and the Brain

The brain has a safety cover called the “blood-brain barrier,” but some toxins (including those that may be potentially carcinogenic). In one study, children of farm workers, who may be exposed to large amounts of pesticides, fertilizers, and many other substances, had about twice the rate of leukemia and brain tumors.

Pesticides and the Brain

Pesticides can get into our blood from foods we eat. In separate studies, subjects alternately ate non-organic and organic foods. In going from non-organic to organic, within days to a week, there were significant reductions in pesticide levels in blood; and vice-versa for the reverse switch.

Ionizing radiation such as dental X-rays can easily penetrate the blood-brain barrier. For non-dental X-rays, very high X-ray exposure comes from CAT scans, which has been estimated to cause 29,000 new cancers each year. Yet dental X-rays greatly outnumber CAT scans, coming in at a hundred million every year. One study also found that patients who got a bitewing X-ray had about twice the odds of developing a brain tumor, and those who got a full-mouth X-ray before age 10 were five times as likely to develop a brain tumor. The American Dental Association cautions that dentists only obtain X-rays for diagnosis or treatment decisions rather than routine screening.

 

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