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Wed, 29 Mar 2017
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Health & Wellness


Child diabetes blamed on food sweetener fructose syrup

© Stewart Williams

Fructose syrup is increasingly being used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar
Scientists have proved for the first time that a cheap form of sugar used in thousands of food products and soft drinks can damage human metabolism and is fuelling the obesity crisis.

Fructose, a sweetener derived from corn, can cause dangerous growths of fat cells around vital organs and is able to trigger the early stages of diabetes and heart disease.

It has increasingly been used as a substitute for more expensive types of sugar in yoghurts, cakes, salad dressing and cereals. Even some fruit drinks that sound healthy contain fructose.

Cell Phone

Cell Phones and Brain Tumors - The Spin Machine is Alive and Well

According to headlines trumpeted around the world, cell phones are safe. This reassuring conclusion rests on an analysis of trends in brain cancer in Scandinavian countries up to 2003 which did NOT tie these trends in any way to actual patterns of use of cell phones.

However, Devra Davis, PhD, lead author of the recent white paper, "Cellphones and Brain Tumors: 15 Reasons for Concern" points out the dangers of believing this most recent media spin job.

"In Sweden, Norway and Finland, about half of all persons had cell phones in 2000," she says.
"It would be unreasonable to expect to see any general population effect from such phone use in such a short period of time. Scientists know that brain cancer can take a decade or longer to develop in adults.

In the case of the Hiroshima bombing that ended World War Two, brain cancers associated with that one time massive exposure to radiation did not become evident until forty years later."


Food Industry Faulted for Pushing High-Calorie, Low-Nutrient Products

A new study criticizes the nation's food and beverage industry for failing to shift their marketing efforts aimed at children. The report said television advertising continues to contribute to epidemic levels of obesity, despite industry promises of reform.

Children Now, a California-based public policy group that advocates for children, commissioned the study, conducted by Dale Kunkel, a professor of communication at the University of Arizona, and UA graduate students Christopher McKinley and Paul Wright. The study can be seen on the Children Now Web site.

The study -- "The Impact of Industry Self-Regulation on the Nutritional Quality of Foods Advertised on Television to Children" -- analyzes the impact of the 2007 Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative. It is the first ever independent, comprehensive evaluation of industry self-regulation on advertising food to children. Kunkel also will present his findings on December 15 at a Federal Trade Commission hearing in Washington.


How the Autistic Brain Distinguishes Oneself from Others

Scientists at the University of Cambridge have discovered that the brains of individuals with autism are less active when engaged in self-reflective thought. The study published in the journal Brain provides new evidence for the neural correlates of self-awareness and a new window into understanding social difficulties in autism spectrum conditions.

In the new study, Michael Lombardo, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen and colleagues from the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge used functional magnetic resonance (fMRI) imaging to measure brain activity of 66 male volunteers, half of whom have a diagnosis of an autism spectrum condition.

Lombardo asked the volunteers to make judgments either about their own thoughts, opinions, preferences, or physical characteristics, or about someone else's, in this case the Queen. By scanning the volunteers' brains as they responded to these questions, the researchers were able to visualise differences in brain activity between those with and without autism.

They were particularly interested in part of the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vMPFC), known to be active when people think about themselves. "This area is like a self-relevance detector, since it typically responds most to information that is self-relevant," Lombardo says.

Green Light

Adequate Sleep Tied to Healthier Diets in Truckers

Getting plenty of sleep not only helps keep truck drivers safe and alert on the road, it also seems to fuel healthy eating habits, new research hints.

In surveys of truckers working at U.S. trucking terminals, those who felt they regularly got adequate sleep tended to consume more fruits and vegetables and fewer sugary drinks and snacks, Dr. Orfeu M. Buxton, at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, and colleagues found.

These real-world findings are consistent with laboratory studies showing that insufficient sleep increases hunger and "induces greater eating, especially unnecessary snacking," Buxton noted in an email to Reuters Health.

Arrow Up

Study: Antioxidants May Boost Colon Health

Selenium-based antioxidant supplements may prevent the development of new colon polyps in people with a history of polyp formation, says a new study.

Over 400 people participated in the study, which saw them receive either placebo or a antioxidant-rich supplement containing selenomethionnine, zinc, and vitamins A, C, and E. At the end of the study people in the antioxidant group experienced a 40 per cent reduction in the incidence of new polyps of the large bowel.

"Our study is the first intervention trial specifically designed to evaluate the efficacy of the selenium-based antioxidant compound on the risk of developing metachronous adenomas," said lead researcher Luigina Bonelli, MD, from Italy's National Institute for Cancer Research in Genoa.


Can Delicious Crepes Create a Buckwheat Revival?

© April McGreger
Just add Paris: buckwheat crepes in their glory.
My love for buckwheat first blossomed in the Soba-ya shops of Japan. Years later, that love was rekindled on the sidewalks of Paris eating Galletes de Sarrasin, or Breton-style savory buckwheat crepes, washed down with hard apple cider in stoneware cups. I found the deep, pleasantly bitter, and earthy flavor of buckwheat satisfying and nourishing. The soba noodles were delicate and wholesome; the crepes were lacy yet substantial.

Buckwheat is a curious and misunderstood food. It's not a grain, but is treated like one. It's actually a shrub, related to rhubarb, and its seeds or kernels are what get ground into flour. Buckwheat has been a traditional food around the world, particularly in regions with short growing seasons and poor soil. Eastern Europeans eat a porridge of toasted buckwheat kernels, or groats, known as kasha. In the mountainous region of Lombardy, Italy, a buckwheat pasta, known as pizzoccheri, is a traditional winter fare. They toss it with butter, cabbage, cheese, garlic, and sage.

Buckwheat has a lot going for it: It offers dynamic flavor, contains no gluten, has as much as four times the fiber of whole wheat flour, and is a complete protein. I figured it was time buckwheat got its culinary due stateside.

Comment: For more information about Buckwheat and a crepe recipe read the thread on the Forum Buckwheat - A Super Food!


GAO: FDA Yet to Make Safety Changes Post-Vioxx

Washington - The Food and Drug Administration still hasn't restructured its staff to better monitor drug safety, more than three years after experts recommended key changes in the wake of the Vioxx scandal.

That's according to congressional investigators who found that the FDA has yet to follow through on changes suggested in 2006 to help the agency detect problems with drugs taken by millions of Americans. Those recommendations came after the embarrassing and dangerous episode with Vioxx, a blockbuster pain drug the FDA approved in 1999, only to pull from the market in 2004 after linking it to heart attack and stroke.

Agency officials have made some changes to drug oversight, according to a Government Accountability Office report, but the FDA continues to give the bulk of its decision-making power to scientists who approve new drugs, rather than those who monitor the side effects of drugs on the market.


Heavy Snoring Linked to Diabetes

© Unknown
Frequent snorers are reported to be at an increased risk of developing diabetes compared to those who sleep silently at night, a new study finds.

A previous study had reported that expectant mothers who are heavy snorers are more likely to develop gestational diabetes - a condition associated with various health problems in both the mother and baby.

According to the study conducted at Yale University, heavy snorers are 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes and the increased severity of snoring is associated with a raised risk of the condition.

"Sleep apnea is significantly associated with the risk of type 2 diabetes, independently of other risk factors such as age, race, sex or weight," scientists reported.


Full Moon Brings Out Inner "Werewolf"

Some people are more violent and exhibit ''werewolf'' tendencies during a full moon, a study published in the respected Australia Medical Journal reveals.

The findings of the 11-month research at the Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital could force police and other emergency services to shake-up how and when they deploy staff.

Many in the industry have already claimed for years there is a direct link between a full moon and more violent episodes, however, many police have disregarded anecdotal evidence as only a coincidence.

The hospital's clinical research nurse in toxicology Leonie Calver said the study centred on 91 patients who attended the emergency department, displaying ''violent and acute behavioral disturbance'' between August 2008 and July 2009.