When Dr. Paul Winchester, a pediatrician, moved to Indiana from Colorado in 2002, he noticed something disturbing—a high number of birth defects. "I was used to the number of birth defects I should see in a community hospital, and I saw many more in Indiana," said Winchester, who is medical director of the Neonatal and Intensive Care Unit at St. Francis Hospital in Indianapolis.
Winchester decided to investigate the reason for the higher numbers of birth defects. His research zeroed in on the herbicide atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the U.S. and the most commonly detected pesticide in U.S. drinking water.
Winchester and several other researchers including Michael Skinner, professor of biology at Washington State University's Center for Reproductive Biology, conducted a study to see if there was a link between atrazine in drinking water and birth defects.
Studies have found that atrazine is an endocrine disruptor, a substance that can alter the human hormonal system. Atrazine was banned by the European Union because of its persistent groundwater contamination.
In their study, Winchester and his team found that concentrations of atrazine in drinking water were highest in May and June when farmers sprayed their fields with the herbicide. They also found that birth defects peaked during the same months indicating a close correlation.
The doctor doesn’t quite make house calls, but this “Uber for blood” guy was the first indication that this was going to be an entirely different checkup. My Parsley Health experience started with a kindly bloodwork technician coming to me to draw a sample, pack it in his duffle bag, and drive away to the lab. The whole thing took less than five minutes—all while I was still in pajamas.
Later, I booked an in-office doctor’s visit online via a streamlined site that was more a Slack/ClassPass hybrid than any MyChart health portal. The only real work? An online medical questionnaire, covering everything from what type of birth my mother had (vaginal or C-section) to whether I ever had an eating disorder. The dozens of personal questions went far beyond the medical norm: Are you happy? Would you describe your childhood as secure? Are you satisfied with your sex life?
Once I arrived in the doctor’s office inside an L.A.-area WeWork, my appointment ran for 1.5 hours. A doctor, with my blood results already in hand, explored the physical and emotional issues affecting my well-being beyond the numbers. That can run the gamut from potential food allergies and environmental toxins to insomnia and stress.
Eccrine glands are the most numerous, harbored in places like the forehead, hands, and feet. These glands are activated at birth and do not secrete proteins or fatty acids.