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Period: November 15, 2012 to December 1, 2012
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends
Research, Studies, Advice  

High Vitamin D Levels Among Pregnant Women Protects Them – But Not Their Babies – From MS

A Swedish study involving 164,000 people found that women who had high levels of vitamin D in their blood were 61 percent less likely to develop multiple sclerosis (MS) compared to those who had low levels of vitamin D. However that protective effect did not extend to their babies. Few of the people in the study, who were generally from the northern half of Sweden, had high levels of vitamin D. In fact, only seven of the 192 people who developed MS had high vitamin D levels, compared to 30 of 384 controls without the disease, or eight percent. The researchers found no association between the mothers' vitamin D level and whether their children would later develop MS.

"Vitamin D as a protective factor in multiple sclerosis", Neurology, November 19, 2012

Vitamin C Deficiency In Pregnant Women Can Lead To Irreversible Brain Damage In Infants

A lack of adequate vitamin C intake by pregnant women can lead to irreversible brain damage, according to a new study by Danish researchers. The problem is global, the researchers said, because population studies show that as many as one in five people around the world do not get enough vitamin C in their diet. Even a marginal vitamin C deficiency in an expectant mother stunts the fetal hippocampus, the important memory center, by 10 to 15 percent. That prevents the brain from developing optimally, and damage cannot be repaired, even when vitamin C is given to the baby after birth. 

"Maternal Vitamin C Deficiency during Pregnancy Persistently Impairs Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Offspring of Guinea Pigs", PLoS ONE, November 16, 2012

Key Protein Molecules Promote Better Wound Healing In Diabetics

New research from France offers some hope for diabetics who suffer from chronic wounds such as foot ulcers that lead to 80 percent of lower leg amputations. The researchers showed in diabetic rats that a high protein diet rich in the molecules arginine and proline leads to better wound healing. Animals fed high protein diets – one with arginine and proline, one without – had better nitrogen balance than those fed the standard diet. But the wounds of the rats on the arginine/proline diet showed more new blood vessel growth by the fifth day. New blood vessel growth is essential to wound healing because blood vessels supply nutrition and oxygen to growing tissue.

"Arginine plus proline supplementation elicits metabolic adaptation that favors wound healing in diabetic rats", AJP: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, November 15, 2012

Preschool Children At High Risk For Exposure To Food-Borne Toxins

U.S. researchers who measured exposure to food-borne toxins among children and families that preschool children in families were at high risk for exposure to arsenic, dieldrin, DDE (a DDT metabolite), dioxins and acrylamide – compounds that have been linked to cancer, developmental disabilities and birth defects. All 364 children in the study – 207 preschool children aged two yo seven and 157 children aged five to seven – exceeded cancer benchmarks for arsenic, dieldrin, DDE and dioxins. Ninety-five percent of preschool children exceeded non-cancer risk levels for acrylamide, a cooking byproduct often found in processed foods like potato and tortilla chips.

"Cancer and non-cancer health effects from food contaminant exposures for children and adults in California: a risk assessment", Environmental Health, November 13, 2012

Fast-Food Chains Add Healthier Menu Items, But Average Calorie Counts Change Little

A study by U.S. researchers finds that though healthy items – oatmeal with fruit, salads with grilled chicken, etc. – have been added to major fast-food restaurant menus, the average calorie counts changed very little between 1997 and 2010. Menu offerings and nutrient composition information were analyzed using archival versions of a food and nutrient database. Menus from McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Taco Bell, KFC, Arby's, Jack in the Box and Dairy Queen were included in the database. Researchers found a 53 percent increase in the total number of offerings over 14 years across the restaurants. Fast-growing additions to the menus included the number of entree salads, which increased from 11 to 51, and sweetened teas, which went from zero to 35. However, the authors found no large changes in the median calorie content of entrees and drinks.

"Energy Content of U.S. Fast-Food Restaurant Offerings", American Journal of Preventive Medicine, November 13, 2012

Link Between Increased Intake Of Calcium, Reduced Hip Fractures, And Cost Savings – Study

French and Dutch researchers have developed a simplified method of assessing the economic impact of food products containing calcium on health, well-being and costs. Their study specifically analyzed the health economics of increased dairy food consumption and reduced bone fracture risk among people over age 50. The researchers calculated time lost because of hip fractures associated with low calcium intake and the number of hip fractures that might be prevented if calcium intake were to increase. Using their model, they found that the benefits were highest in France with 2,023 prevented hip fractures, followed by Sweden (455) and the Netherlands (132). Health cost savings would be about €129 million, €34 million and €6 million respectively in these countries.

"Dairy foods and osteoporosis: an example of assessing the health-economic impact of food products", Osteoporosis International, November 13, 2012

Carcinogenic Compound Forms When Foods Are Fried, Roasted Or Baked

A report by a Hong Kong newspaper warns of a potentially carcinogenic compound found in some fried and baked foods sold in the former British colony. Scientists have shown  that high levels of the fatty acid ester form of 3-MCPD – produced when foods are cooked at high temperatures – affect the kidneys, central nervous system and male reproductive systems of lab rats. Hong Kong’s Centre for Food Safety said that while there is a potential danger for humans, the average daily intake of the chemical in people is unlikely to cause health problems. High levels of 3-MCPD have been found in biscuits, snacks and Chinese pastry. The ester is formed when foods containing fat and salt are processed at high temperatures in frying, deep frying, roasting and baking.

"Cancer link to foods cooked at high heat", South China Morning Post , November 08, 2012

Functional Wheat-Rye Bread Could Help Treat Diabetes

Scientists from Slovakia who developed a functional wheat-rye bread said a small clinical trial showed that the formula reduces glucose levels after it is eaten, and could be used in diabetes and obesity treatment programs. The bread is enriched with cereal dietary fiber (10 percent wheat germ), beta-glucan hydrogel (12.5 percent) and sourdough starter (lactobacilli) culture. The higher acidity levels caused by the lactobacilli strains may reduce acute glycemic and insulinemic responses. The sourdough, beta-glucan and extruded wheat bran changed biologically active compounds, such as polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acids. Higher levels of polyphenols and flavonoids led to increased antioxidant activity.

"Fortified wheat-rye bread could aid diabetes and obesity prevention, study", Bakery and Snacks, November 02, 2012

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