How a Hungry Brain Acts, & Other News of Note
Posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011
Hungry Brain Craves High Calorie Treat (Futurity.org)
If the brain goes hungry, Twinkies look a lot better, a new study shows.
Brain imaging scans show that when glucose levels drop, an area of the brain known to regulate emotions and impulses loses the ability to dampen desire for high-calorie food, according to the study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
“Our prefrontal cortex is a sucker for glucose,” says Rajita Sinha, a professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Yale University and one of the study’s senior authors…MORE…
The Great Lakes have faced various threats for years, from industrial pollution to invasive species, but another challenge worries many researchers these days — the emerging chemical threat.
It’s not just pesticides, as scientists are finding worrying levels of pharmaceutically active compounds such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, anti-epileptics, and beta blockers in lake water. As well, hormones, pesticides and alkylphenols have been identified as threats.
These products and medicines flushed down toilets and dumped into sinks are not stopped at water treatment plants, which are not geared to deal with them…MORE…
Gender-Bent Fish Found Downstream of Pharmaceutical Plants (Environmental Health News)
A French study finds that more than three-quarters of wild gudgeon fish examined had a mix of male and female traits in their sex organs if they lived directly downstream to a plant that manufactures pharmaceutical drugs.
Exposure to the chemical mix discharged from the nearby drug plant may contribute to the abnormalities, the researchers report in the journal Environment International. The study is important because it is the first to link discharge from a drug manufacturing plant – rather than a sewage treatment plant – with physical and chemical changes in fish living downstream…MORE…
Behind two days of talks at the United Nations and a unanimously adopted 13-page document about the need to fight noncommunicable diseases around the world is a fierce struggle between commercial and health interests that has only just begun.
Some of the issues, and some of the partisans, are the same ones at the heart of two other huge health campaigns in the past 20 years — the battle against smoking and the effort to bring AIDS drugs to poor countries. But the stakes here are much bigger, given the number of lives and sums of money at play.
That’s because noncommunicable diseases — heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and emphysema — are deeply entangled with important global industries, not only tobacco but also food, pharmaceuticals, advertising, transportation and construction. And they are the globe’s biggest health problem, responsible for 63 percent of all deaths each year, with incidence growing steeply in the low-income, rapidly urbanizing nations of the world…MORE…
From ice cream to salad dressing, and potato chips to pet food, health-conscious grocery shoppers can choose an “all natural” version of just about anything.
But one item ingredient-conscious consumers can’t pluck off the shelves: an official definition of “natural.”
A recent spate of consumer lawsuits allege that food companies are playing fast-and-loose with the “all natural” designation, effectively committing fraud against the shopping public. But determining fraud becomes complicated when the federal government itself concedes the rule book is vague…MORE…
Feed Your Genes: How Our Genes Respond to the Foods We Eat (ScienceDaily)
What should we eat? Answers abound in the media, all of which rely on their interpretation of recent medical literature to come up with recommendations for the healthiest diet. But what if you could answer this question at a molecular level – what if you could find out how our genes respond to the foods we eat, and what this does to the cellular processes that make us healthy – or not? That’s precisely what biologists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology have done.
If you could ask your genes to say what kinds of foods are best for your health, they would have a simple answer: one-third protein, one-third fat and one-third carbohydrates. That’s what recent genetic research from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) shows is the best recipe to limit your risk of most lifestyle-related diseases…MORE…