Health & Wellness
Two nutrition experts argue that you can't take marketing campaigns at face value
With America's obesity problem among kids reaching crisis proportions, even junk food makers have started to claim they want to steer children toward more healthful choices. In a study released earlier this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 32 percent of children were overweight but not obese, 16 percent were obese, and 11 percent were extremely obese. Food giant PepsiCo, for example, points out on its website that "we can play an important role in helping kids lead healthier lives by offering healthy product choices in schools." The company highlights what it considers its healthier products within various food categories through a "Smart Spot" marketing campaign that features green symbols on packaging. PepsiCo's inclusive criteria--explained here--award spots to foods of dubious nutritional value such as Diet Pepsi, Cap'n Crunch cereal, reduced-fat Doritos, and Cheetos, as well as to more nutritious products such as Quaker Oatmeal and Tropicana Orange Juice.
© Ellen Nakashima -- The Washington Post Photo
George Church says his project could tell participants what diseases might lurk in their future.
George Church wants to put his personal genetic blueprint online for all to see -- the sequence of chemical bases that make him who he is, a lanky scientist of Scottish ancestry who has dyslexia, narcolepsy and motion sickness.
And he wants 99,999 other people to follow suit.
The Harvard genetics professor's Personal Genome Project is an attempt to build the only public genomic database that connects genes with diseases. With it, he believes, scientists could correlate more easily many millions of genetic variants with medical and other traits, from asthma to acne, eye color to perfect pitch.
An international team of researchers has shown that mercury is another important factor in cardiovascular disease as it changes the way arteries work. One of the possible sources of exposure of humans to mercury is by eating contaminated fish.
Geraldine Gittens Herald.ie
Mon, 27 Oct 2008 18:43 CET
Residents of a West Dublin housing estate, which lies next to a phone mast, are calling on the HSE to conduct a full health assessment in the area after an apparently large number of cancer diagnoses.
Neighbours in St Ronan's Gardens, Neilstown, and leaders of Mast Action Clondalkin (MAC) are continuing to voice their concerns about the mobile phone mast which stands in their local garda station.
"We did a survey of 150 houses and 38 people in those houses had cancer," says Gino Kelly, a member of MAC. "It's a very preliminary study but we went around and asked questions."
Thu, 26 Apr 2007 17:09 CEST
Modern humans are bacteria-killing machines. We assassinate microbes with hand soap, mouthwash and bathroom cleaners. It feels clean and right.
But some scientists say we're overdoing it. All this killing may actually cause diseases like eczema, irritable bowel syndrome and even diabetes. The answer, they say, is counterintuitive: Feed patients bacteria.
"Probiotics (pills containing bacteria) have resulted in complete elimination of eczema in 80 percent of the people we've treated," says Dr. Joseph E. Pizzorno Jr., a practicing physician and former member of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy. Pizzorno says he's used probiotics to treat irritable bowel disease, acne and even premenstrual syndrome. "It's unusual for me to see a patient with a chronic disease that doesn't respond to probiotics."
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Scientists have expressed genes from snapdragon in tomatoes to grow purple tomatoes high in health-protecting anthocyanins.
Anthocyanins are naturally occurring pigments found at particularly high levels in berries such as blackberry, cranberry and chokeberry. Scientists are investigating ways to increase the levels of health-promoting compounds in more commonly eaten fruits and vegetables.
© John Innes Centre
Purple, high anthocyanin tomatoes and red wild-type tomatoes.
"Most people do not eat 5 portions of fruits and vegetables a day, but they can get more benefit from those they do eat if common fruit and veg can be developed that are higher in bioactive compounds," says Prof Cathie Martin from the John Innes Centre.
Thu, 23 Oct 2008 09:12 CEST
Many pesticides used in the European Union may damage brain growth in foetuses and young children, according to a study published Friday.
The study urged the European Union to tighten restrictions.
"Toxicity to the brain is not routinely included in testing pesticides," Philippe Grandjean of the Havard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark told Reuters.
Researchers say finding could lead to treatment for compulsive, addictive disorders
Competition between two areas of the brain involved in learning may explain common memory lapses, suggest Yale University researchers, who add that their findings may help lead to new treatments for drug abusers and people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Researchers at the Heidelberg University Hospital have discovered a new genetic disease that can lead to severe liver damage. Because a protective component of the bile is missing, the liver cells are exposed to the toxic components of the bile, resulting in cirrhosis of liver, a transformation of liver cells into connective tissue with a gradual loss of liver function.
Fri, 24 Oct 2008 08:05 CEST
It may not be the cure for the common cold, but it may set the stage for a cure.
Canadian and U.S. researchers have found that the human rhinovirus, long blamed for causing the common cold, doesn't actually cause those annoying sniffles, sneezes, and coughs.
Instead, the ubiquitous virus alters genes in the body, which then results in the misery that afflicts most people every year or so, according to a study in the first November issue of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.