November 18, 2010

National Pork Board

1 McRib Was Developed by Skunkworks Federal Agency

Their assignment: Increase consumption of pork in the United States. Thirty years ago a little-known federal agency tasked with promoting American pork developed a gimmicky ground pork sandwich containing a patty shaped like a miniature rack of ribs. They then approached McDonald's, one of the country's largest purchasers of beef, and convinced them to sell it. McDonald's introduced the McRib sandwich in 1981 and it has periodically appeared on the menu, most recently in a promotion that is set to end after December 5. Consisting of a patty on a roll with a sweet barbecue sauce, pickles, and onions, the sandwich was developed by the federal government's National Pork Board, set up to aid farmers in marketing pork in the United States, says Tufts University professor Dr. Parke Wilde.

More at U.S. Food Policy | Hat tip to Parke Wilde | Posted 7 years ago by Mark

Tags: McDonald's, McRib Sandwich, Parke Wilde, U.S. Food Policy Blog, Tufts University, National Pork Board, Department of Agriculture

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (45%) / No! (55%)

Improves Brain Function

2 Exercise May Ward off Cognitive Decline

Exercise may protect those who are at risk for cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease, by promoting changes in the brain, according to research conducted by the U of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The study included a group of adults who carry a gene for Alzheimer’s and a group of healthy adults without the gene and determined that physically active people who had the gene had more brain activity in memory-related areas of the brain than those who are sedentary. But of particular interest to researchers was that physically-active people with the gene showed more brain activity than physically-active people who do not have the gene. "Using more areas of their brain may serve as a protective function, even in the face of disease processes,” says researcher J. Carson Smith.

More at Eurekalert.org | Posted 7 years ago by Melody Lesser

Tags: Alzheimer's Disease, Cognitive Decline, Exercise, Exercise and Cognitive Decline, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, J. Carson Smith

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (42%) / No! (58%)

Millions Exposed

3 Smoking Indoors at One in Four Airports in U.S.

Smoking indoors is still allowed at one in four U.S. airports, find researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director, wrote in a statement that banning smoking at airports is the sole method of fully eliminating secondhand smoke exposure of individuals in airports. Previous research has shown that even brief exposure to secondhand smoke is enough to trigger a heart attack in some people, says CBS News. Since smoking is still allowed at one in four U.S. airports, workers at airports and millions of people passing through while traveling have to endure the potentially deadly effects of secondhand smoke.

More at CBS News | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Secondhand Smoke Dangers

Tags: Secondhand Smoke, Secondhand Smoke Dangers, Airports That Allow Smoking Indoors, Dangers of Secondhand Smoke, Health Risks of Secondhand Smoke, Secondhand Smoke Exposure in Airports, Thomas R. Frieden

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (44%) / No! (56%)

Many Don't Get Help

4 One in Five Suffered Mental Illness Last Year

One in five U.S. adults faced mental illness in 2009 and most didn't get help, reveals a new survey released today by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The survey found that 45 million adults suffered from some form of mental illness last year. The problems included major depression and suicide attempts. Research also showed that fewer than four in 10 got treatment. Researchers uncovered a strong link between alcoholism and drug abuse and mental health illnesses. Those who were mentally ill were more likely to be unemployed individuals, women or young adults. One million people tried to commit suicide, and eight million had serious thoughts of suicide.

More at CBS News | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Severe Acne Increases Suicide Risk

Tags: Number of People Depressed in 2009, Mental Illness in 2009, Suicide Rates in America, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, How Many People Tried to Kill Themselves, How Many People Think About Suicide, Alcoholism and Suicide, Suicide and Drug Abuse

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (43%) / No! (57%)

Fending off Infections

5 Pomegranate Juice May Help Kidney Patients

Pomegranate juice could help kidney disease patients fight off infections and reduce cardiovascular events, claim researchers. Preliminary study findings, presented at American Society of Nephrology's annual meeting, suggest that pomegranate juice may help to protect against several complications experienced by kidney disease patients on dialysis. Researchers say that consuming a controlled amount of pomegranate juice with a monitored potassium content could help reduce death from cardiovascular-related causes and hospitalizations for infections in dialysis patients. However, they note it's important to consider the risk of potassium overload in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients on dietary potassium restriction.

More at EureakAlert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Dietary Potassium Restriction, Kidney Disease Patients, American Society of Nephrology, Benefits of Pomegranate Juice, Reducing Complications in Kidney Disease Treatment

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (44%) / No! (56%)

First Recorded Case

6 Facebook Blamed for Asthma Attacks

An 18-year-old man experienced Facebook-induced asthma attacks each time he read his ex-girlfriend's status updates, reports MSNBC. Experts say that while this may be a new problem, it's certainly possible that stress from reading personally upsetting Facebook profiles can cause asthma attacks. The young man in question was upset that his ex friended so many other young men quickly after their breakup. Even though his asthma had been under control, the young man still had attacks when checking his ex's Facebook profile. He was only able to control his attacks by stopping his Facebook stalking.

More at MSNBC | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Previously: Tylenol Causes Asthma

Tags: Asthma Attacks in Kids, Asthma Triggers, Status Updates, Dangers of Facebook, Facebook Stalking, Asthma Risks, Facebook Triggers Stress Asthma Attack

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (52%) / No! (48%)

Helping Big Cats Make It

7 Tracking Tigers in the Wild to Ensure Survival

Only about 3,000 tigers are living in the wild, mostly in India, but researchers may now have a new method of tracking their numbers, helping to ensure survival of the big cat. Next week marks the beginning of a Tiger Summit to be held in St. Petersburg, Russia. Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala of the Wildlife Institute of India, lead author of a new study, has said that it's possible to accurately predict the number of tigers in the wild by monitoring both paw prints and feces, a method that costs a fraction of what's spent using camera traps. "This approach could be applied to monitoring other endangered species across vast landscapes," comments Dr. Jhala. He also notes that tiger feces is often accompanied by a urine spray that seems like well-cooked basmati rice!

More at EureakAlert | Posted 7 years ago by Peggy Rowland

Tags: Tiger Conservation, Dr. Yadvendradev Jhala, Wildlife Institute of India, Basmati Rice Scent, How Many Tigers Survive in Wild, Tigers Endangered, Tiger Summit

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (41%) / No! (59%)

Biasing Effect by Vendors

8 Consumers Easily Fooled by Food Labels

Food and drink vendors have more of an impact on our consumption habits than do nutrition guidelines. According to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research, researchers from Koc University in Instanbul and the University of Michigan found that inconsistent portion sizes contribute to the confusion over the appropriate amount of food to eat. They demonstrated that the use of different size labels for the same product affects the amount consumed. When a large item was labeled as small, for example, participants ate the whole portion and felt less guilty about it. The authors call this “guiltless gluttony” and assert that it is a factor contributing to the obesity problems in the United States. They call for stricter size labeling laws to help guide consumers.

More at Medical News Today | Posted 7 years ago by Denise Reynolds

Previously: More Consumers Reading Food Labels

Tags: Food Labels, Food Packaging, Portion Sizes, Consumer Habits

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (41%) / No! (59%)

Five a Day for Good Health

9 Adults and Kids Still Not Eating Enough Produce

Despite years of encouragement, both children and adults are still too low on fruit and vegetable consumption. The recommendation of the government’s dietary guidelines are for adults to consume 4 to 6 cups a day (or roughly 5 to nine servings a day), however, most people consume less than 2 cups according to a recent survey by the NPD group. Children are recommended to consume 2 and one-half to 4 and one-half cups but are only getting just under 1 and a half. The most popular fruit is the apple; most popular vegetable is broccoli. On a positive note, people do eat slightly more than five years ago, says Elizabeth Pivonka, president of the Produce for Better Health Foundation. “I don’t think people fully understand how good fruits and vegetables are for them,” she said.

More at USA Today | Posted 7 years ago by Denise Reynolds

Previously: Americans Still Don't Eat Enough Vegetables

Tags: Dietary Guidelines, Fruits, Fruits and Vegetables, Produce, Vegetables

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (49%) / No! (51%)

On to the House!

10 Senate Clears Food Safety Bill

"I feel terribly sad, angry and so very disappointed that the freedom to choose how we grow our food and what we eat is being controlled"
- Samika in the comments

The US Senate has finally passed a bill which will provide the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with more authority over ordering recalls, monitoring fruit and vegetable shipments, and setting improved standards for food manufacturers. The Senate agreed to limit debate on the bill, called S. 510, and a final approval vote is expected today. If passed, the bill would then be passed onto the House of Representatives for its approval. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said that she was hopeful that the House would accept this version of the bill by the end of the congressional year. According to the CDC, 76 million people are sickened with food borne illnesses each year in the US, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths.

More at Wall Street Journal | Posted 7 years ago by Denise Reynolds

Previously: Meat Linked to More Illnesses Than Other Foods

Tags: Food and Drug Administration, Food Borne Illness, Food Safety

Read the Comments (30) | Was this Interesting? Yes! (40%) / No! (60%)

Seeing Is Believing

11 Laser Increases Precision of Cataract Surgery

3D imaging and a laser make cataract surgery more precise than the current procedure that involves a microblade and removing the cataract with ultrasound, according to a new study. Called a femtosecond laser, it creates a more delicate and clean cut compared the microblade. The current procedure does have a 98 percent success rate and ultrasound is still used, but the laser is customized to an individual's eye measurements before cutting. Lead researcher Daniel Palanker explained that "It takes some skill and energy to break the lens with the ultrasound. . .The laser helps to speed this up and make it safer." No side effects were reported in the 50 patients who underwent the surgery. The next step is to determine if patients who are operated on with lasers have better vision after surgery.

More at Yahoo! HealthDay | Posted 7 years ago by Kristie Hayes

Previously: Ginger May Prevent Diabetic Cataracts

Tags: Cataracts, Cataract Surgery, Femtosecond Laser

Comment on This | Was this Interesting? Yes! (43%) / No! (57%)

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