July 18, 2012
Oreos Look Big As Hockey Pucks
Are "Diet Goggles" a technological breakthrough in weight reduction, or the latest weight-loss gimmick destined for obscurity? The goggles, developed at the University of Tokyo, employ a shape-altering algorithm to make certain food items look larger than they are relative to the diner's hand. The idea is that a food item that appears larger than it is will lead the eater to feel sated sooner. It is claimed that a 50 percent increase in the apparent size of cookies resulted in goggle-wearers consuming 10 percent less of them. Unfortunately the goggles currently work primarily with food items in easily recognized shapes (round, oblong) and not with odd shapes such as bananas, require a human hand holding them to appear larger, and are still in experimental, and bulky, form.
1 in 10
Physical inactivity is responsible for 1 in 10 deaths worldwide find new studies that suggest that public health officials regard this as a pandemic. Harvard researchers say inactivity raises the risk for heart disease, diabetes, breast and colon cancers and caused more than 5.3 million deaths worldwide in 2008. Inactivity varies from country to country with the lowest levels in Bangladesh and the highest in Malta. They also found that inactivity rises with age and is higher in women and high income countries. Researchers commend the use of mass-media campaigns to promote exercise saying these have an effect on activity levels. They also promote the creation of public environments that are conducive to exercise, including bike lanes and walking trails.
Fight Fire with Fire
A new study reveals that gradual exposure to egg whites can reduce or eliminate egg allergies in children, but there’s a long way to go. A study that included children ranging in age from 5 to 11 had 40 children eat gradually increased doses of egg white power mixed with food while 15 kids in the control group had cornstarch as a placebo. 11 of the 40 subjects completely lost their hypersensitivity to eggs, with most displaying a significant reduction in sensitivity. However, more research needs to be done to improve the success rate and develop the safest procedure and parents are advised to not try similar techniques at home because of the risks involved. Both mild and severe adverse reactions were reported in 25% of the doses and several children withdrew because of allergic reactions.
Severely obese Americans have a new drug available to them: Qsymia, approved today by the FDA. Formerly called Qnexa, the new drug is part stimulant (phentermine) and part anti-seizure drug (topiramate). Qsymia is the second obesity drug that's gained approval from the FDA this summer. In June, the FDA approved Belviq. Qsymia experienced a long road to FDA approval due to concerns over side effects like metabolic acidosis, which can cause kidney stones, bone damage, coma or death. The drug may also cause a fast heart rate. MSNBC notes that while the FDA approves drugs for certain uses in particular groups of people, doctors can prescribe approved drugs how they see fit. Yet, drug manufacturer Vivus says they'll restrict who can prescribe the new weight loss drug and how it's prescribed.
Don't Ya Still Love Me?
The U.S. Potato Board is hoping to make you fall back in love with potatoes. They recently made spuds the star of a seven-course dinner for journalists and some "potato-friendly dieticians and nutritionists" at an upscale Washington, D.C. restaurant, notes NPR. Taters were used in gnocchi, mousse and a confit. The potato board is hoping to turn things around since the USDA notes that potato consumption in America fell from 145 pounds a person in 1996 to 118 pounds per person in 2011. The potato board blames the most recent decline in 2005 on the rise Atkins diet when the potato seemed to become suddenly vilified for causing high scores on the glycemic index. Yet, Meredith Myers with the potato board says that potatoes can be enjoyed in moderation. So, are you going to have fries with that?
Increased Ability to Clear Virus
Preliminary results from a new study involving 94 patients with hepatitis C found that adding vitamin B12 to the standard treatment of pegylated interferon and ribavirin make the drugs more effective. Individuals either received the standard treatment or the standard treatment plus 5,000 micrograms of vitamin B12 monthly for 6 months to a year. The sustained viral response which is the body’s ability to clear the virus six months after treatment has ended was boosted by 34 percent. Individuals with strain 1 and higher infection levels seemed to have a higher response with vitamin B12. For strain 1, a protease inhibitor is now part of the standard regimen and researchers want to determine if adding vitamin B12 to the three-drug combination would further increase the viral response.
Could Help in Prevention
New research supports the idea that ceramides, a type of fat molecule that circulates in the bloodstream, may be a reliable biomarker to determine who is at risk for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Ninety-nine 70 to 79 year old women without dementia participating in the Women's Health and Aging Study II had blood samples measured for ceramides and were classified as having high, medium or low levels. Over the nine year study period, 27 developed dementia and 18 developed probable AD. Women with the highest and middle ceramide levels were 10 times and eight times more likely to develop AD, respectively, compared to women who had the lowest levels. A simple and inexpensive test would give researchers and doctors an opportunity to prevent or delay the disease instead of treating it.
Wacky Wansink Is Back
"So … they're saying to use green plates on red tablecloths if you want to increase your veggie intake?"
- Rodrigo in the comments
Diners serve themselves smaller portions when the color of the food contrasts with the color of the plate that it's put on, and the effect is magnified when the plate color is close to the color of the table. These are the conclusions of Dr. Brian Wansink of Cornell University and Dr. Koert van Ittersum of Georgia Tech from an experiment they performed on unwitting attendees at a college alumni dinner (although the subjects probably knew in general that some sort of study was planned). Prof. Wansink had previously determined that larger plates lead to larger portions. The researchers believe that a plate that is similar in color to the food put upon it makes it harder for diners to judge the portion size, while a table that blends in with the plate reduces the urge to fill up the plate.
Stanford University Researchers
The cancer toll from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor accident after the magnitude 9.0 Tohoku earthquake will be about 130, according to a new paper in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. An additional 242 might have died had the reactor area not been evacuated, although ironically the evacuation itself is blamed for 600 deaths of elderly and infirm evacuees. This paper echoes the UNSCEAR report earlier this year that found that the health impact from Fukushima would be low. Over 15,000 died directly as a result of the Tohoku tsunami. Putting Fukushima in perspective, New Scientist pointed out last year that most nuclear deaths are among uranium miners, coal particulate matter kills 13,000 annually in the U.S., and hydroelectric dam failures killed 230,000 in China in 1975.
A Satirical Expression
The owner of New York's 666 Burger food truck admits that his $666 Douche Burger is a publicity stunt designed to poke fun at expensive hamburgers with too many toppings. The Douche Burger has a fois gras-filled Kobe beef patty wrapped in six sheets of gold leaf, topped with lobster, truffles, caviar, Gruyere cheese melted with champagne steam, and a barbecue sauce made from $600 per pound Kopi Luwak coffee beans, gathered from the fecal matter of the wild Asian palm civet, a cat-sized mammal native to Indonesia that eats and excretes the beans. Food truck owner Franz Aliquo told Bloomberg that it is "the most expensive, disgusting burger ever," and he's only sold one so far. His normal 666 Burger sells for $6.66 and features a bun branded with a pentagram.
United States Edges Out Mexico
Americans drink an average of 170 liters of soda per year, the most of any country in the world. Mexicans come in second at 146 liters, according to a new analysis by Slate.com and the New America Foundation. The only other countries to exceed 100 liters are Chile, Argentina, Uraguay, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, and Canada. Indians and Indonesians drink only three liters per year. Data was not available for all countries, including most of Africa. This ranking comes in the wake of New York Mayor Bloomberg's initiative to ban large servings of soda at eating establishments in New York City. There are about 85,000 calories in 170 liters of soda, which if not otherwise burned off would result in a weight gain of about 25 pounds per year.
Condition Is Medium Rare
Hours after being bitten by a lone star tick Michael Abley of Surry, Ill., swelled up in itchy hives, experienced shortness of breath, and passed out. His condition was diagnosed as red meat allergy, an allergy to mammalian meats discovered in 2006. According to the NIH the condition is rare in the general population and does not happen to everyone bit by the lone star tick. The most famous victim of red meat allergy is novelist John Grisham, who contracted it in 2002. During one of his early allergy attacks Grisham suddenly became so hot and itchy he frantically stripped down to his boxer shorts, turned up the car air conditioner to the max, and drove to the hospital. Red meat allergy victims can still eat chicken and fish, unless they also have a poultry allergy or fish allergy.
City Mandates GPS Spy Units
As if being only the third largest U.S. city after New York and Los Angeles were not enough of an indignity, Chicago also lags behind the big two in trendy food trucks. In fact, arguably even Seattle beats out Chicago in food trucks these days. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is butting up against the political muscle of the anti-food truck Chicago restaurant industry by pushing through an ordinance that would finally allow food trucks to cook food in the truck itself, as well as creating food truck zones and allowing trucks to operate on private property and in parking spaces. Nevertheless, the environment is still extremely unfriendly to food truck operators. They must stay 200 feet away from any restaurant and buy $600 GPS units to install in each truck so that the city can enforce this provision.
Pet Owners Need Respite
Two percent of Japan's dogs and cats are covered by pet health insurance, and owners are opting for more blood tests, drugs, surgery, and advanced treatments like radiation and chemotherapy, according to the Kyodo News. More and more Japanese are acquiring dogs and cats, particularly smaller breeds that can be kept indoors. And with veterinary diagnosis and treatment options increasing these animals are living longer and reaching geriatric ages where they need more attention than younger pets, often from owners who themselves are seniors. Hank, a shiba inu breed dog had a stroke two years ago, and owners Akira Ishii, 57, and his wife sleep next to the dog, turn him over to prevent bedsores, soak his pet food, and take him for walks in a pet stroller. Medicine has cost them almost $1,000.
Most Recent 100 Items
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- Marijuana Chemical Helps Fractures Heal (Faster Recovery, Stronger Bone)
- Wine Has Benefits for Type-2 Diabetics (Only in Moderation, Mind You)
- Dabbing Pizza with Napkin Cuts Fat by 1/3 (40 Fewer Calories Per Slice)
- Tall People Run a Higher Cancer Risk (Grim News for the NBA)
- Teen Girls Who Exercise Cut Cancer Risk (Hide Their Phones & Laptops)
- Midday Naps Linked to Lower Blood Pressure (And Taking Fewer Medzzzz)
- Spicy Food Eaters Have Lower Death Rates (The Goodness, It Burns)
- Viagra-Type Drugs Linked to Skin Cancer (Rock-and-a-Hard-Place Situation)
- Elliptical Machines Better Than Walking (For Burning Calories, Anyway)
- Long Work Hours Boost Stroke Risk (Over 55 Per Week, Look Out)
- Double Chins Now Removable by Injection (OK, Many Injections, but Still)
- Atkins Diet Can Raise Weight, Cut Lifespan (It’s the bane in Spain, anyway)
- 1/8 of Consumers Are "Failure Harbingers” (New Products They Like, Flop)
- Autism Increase Called Mostly Illusory (More Problems Are Now "Autism")
- Sugary Drinks Boost Liver Disease Risk (Like Booze Without the Buzz)
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- Sleep-Deprived Teens Are Big Drinkers (More Bingeing & Drunk Driving)
- B-Vitamins Tied to Childhood Obesity (Low Levels Mean Extra Fat)
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- Hospitals: Bad Places for Heart Attacks (Try to Have Yours Elsewhere)
- Fattest US Jobs: Cop, Firefighter, Guard (Math & Science Gigs Leanest)
- DQ Pulls Sugary Drinks from Kids’ Menus (Bowing to Parental Requests)
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- 80% of Sun-Protection Products Fail (So You Get Burned Twice)
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- Ominous Rise in White Collar Brain Doping (The Danger: Overconfidence)
- Treadmill-Caused Deaths Still Very Rare (Injuries Plentiful, However)
- “Healthy” Obesity Won’t Last for Most (1/3 Unhealthy After 5 Years)
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- Regular Sauna Use Boosts Heart Health (Sweaty but Longer-Lived)
- The Paradox of Reusable Bag Shoppers (Buy Organic but Also Buy Junk)
- Navajo Nation First in US to Tax Junkfood (2% Levy on Chips, Sodas, Etc.)
- Problem Drinkers Vital to Booze Industry (Over 50% of (hic!) Total Sales)
- FDA Approves New Anti-Obesity Implant (Boosts Weight Loss by 8.5%)
- 78% Polled Favor Obligatory Vaccination (Think of It As Vax Populi)
- Healthy School Lunch Rules Are Paying Off (Kids Eating More & Better)
- When Facebook Makes You Sad (Envy Not)
- Study Says Pot Is the Safest Drug by Far (Booze Called 114 Times Worse)
- Just Imagining Exercise Boosts Muscles (Gotta Put Your Mind to It)
- U.S. Government’s Anti-Pot Stance to End? (Surgeon General Hints It's Over)
- Light to Moderate Jogging Is Healthiest (Strenuous Joggers Die Sooner)
- Risk of Dying While Driving Falls by 42% (Nine Models Boast Zero Deaths)
- High Cholesterol Endangers Young Too (Worry About Numbers at 35)
- Southern States Are a Hotbed of STDs (7 of the 8 Highest Rates)
- Binge Drinking Deaths Peak in Middle Age (College Kids Get a Bum Rap)
- Head Start Program May Curb Childhood Obesity (Obesity Prevention That Works)
- Playing Catch May Help Seniors Avoid Falls (Break Out the Medicine Balls)
- UK Fans Upset over Cadbury Creme Egg Changes (US Eggs Safe from Change)
- Fast Food Linked to Poor Test Scores (Want Fries with That Dumburger?)
- Daily Cup of Blueberries Can Lower BP (Arterial Stiffness REduced Too)
- iPhone Separation is Bad for You (IPhone Close Keeps Anxiety Away)
- PTSD Linked to Greater Diabetes Risk in Women (Nearly Double the Risk)
- A Daily Avocado Lowers LDL Cholesterol (Look to the Hass)
- NIH Study Links Pesticides and Depression (Some Raise Risk by 90%)
- U.S. to Its Kids: Don’t Play Football (Spooked by Concussions, Etc.)
- Rx for Colds: Daily Sympathetic Hugs (Actually Eases Symptoms)
- New Spending Bill “Legalizes” Medical Pot (DEA Interference Now Outlawed)
- Advice to Seniors: Run, Don’t (Just) Walk (Health Benefits Boosted)
- CDC Mulling New Pro-Circumcision Stance (Focusing on Uncut Teenage Boys)
- Few Vegetarians Actually Stick with It (It Complicates Relationships)
- Flu Vaccine Won’t Offer Total Protection (One Targeted Strain Has Mutated)
- Hospital Patient Safety Much Improved (50,000 Lives Saved Since 2010)
- It's "Buyer Beware" for Store-Bought Pot (ThIs Is Not Your Father’s Weed)
- 70% of Those with HIV Go Untreated (In Most Cases, Knowingly)
- Secondhand Pot Smoke Bad for Blood Vessels (Majorly Massive Bummer, Dude)
- Record Low Number of U.S. Smokers (But 480,000 Per Year Still Die)
- Presidents Will Be Forgotten in 100 Years (President Who?)
- Four Ways to Improve Your Mood (Hint: Eating Doesn't Help)
- Trans Fat May Harm Memory (The More, the Worse)
- Double Mastectomy Rates Rise (For Cancer in One Breast)
- Medicare Weight-Loss Program Going Unused (Even Though It’s Free)
- FDA to Require Calorie Counts on Menus (Chain Restaurants Affected)
- Imagination, Reality Flow Oppositely in Brain (Scalp Sensors Tell All)
- Obesity a Huge Drag on World Economy (Costs It $2 Trillion. a Year.)
- Obesity Can Cause Silent Heart Damage (Troponin T Reveals Damage)
- Missing Work for Obesity Costs $8 Billion (Big Price Tag)
- Internet Use While Driving Is Soaring (Rate Has Doubled Since 2009)
- Democratic Republic of Congo Is Ebola-Free (Says WHO)
- Study Suggests Genetic Link for Homosexuality (“Giant Step Forward”)
- Soy Reduces Hot Flashes for Certain Women (Your Urine Tells)
- Herbs and Spices Reduce Triglyceride Levels (Reach for Rosemary and Oregano)
- Weight After Quitting Smoking Won't Kill You (Don't Sweat the Small Gain)
- Energy Drink ODs Hitting Kids Under Age 6 (Over 2,000 Reports Per Year)
- Women Exercise to Lose Weight but Gain It (Too Much "Reward” Eating?)
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- Ebola-Stricken Dr. Martin Salia Dies in U.S. (Arrived with Advanced Symptoms)
- Obese Americans Suffer More Chronic Pain (Over 25% Are Hurting)
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- Marriage Is Beneficial to Heart Health (Fewer Ills Than Singles, Exes)
- Kids Face Serious Risk from Laundry Pods (Big Risk from Small Pod)
- Woman Survives 45 Minutes with No Pulse (Dubbed "Miracle Woman")
- Kissing Bug Disease Found in U.S. (Could Be Deadly)
- Childhood Stress Linked to Adult Diseases (Alzheimer's, Diabetes, Cancer)
- Insomnia Is Problem in Addiction Recovery (High Rate of Insomnia Is Problem)
- School Lunches May Be Better Than Packed (Packed Lunches Exceeded Fat Rec)
- Warning for Young Kids Who Watch 3D Content (French Group Issues Warning)