• BPA Blood Levels

    Bisphenol A (BPA) is an organic compound. It is a colorless solid that is soluble in organic solvents, but poorly soluble in water. Having two phenol functional groups, it is used to make polycarbonate polymers and epoxy resins, along with other materials used to make plastics. It is a controversial component of plastic bottles and canned food linings that have helped make the world's food supply safer. It has the potential to mimic the sex hormone estrogen if blood and tissue levels are high enough. Now, an analysis of almost 150 BPA exposure studies shows that in the general population, people's exposure may be many times too low for BPA to effectively mimic estrogen in the human body. The analysis, presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting by toxicologist Justin Teeguarden of the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland, Wash., shows that BPA in the blood of the general population is many times lower than blood levels that consistently cause toxicity in animals. The result suggests that animal studies might not reflect the human BPA experience appropriately. >> Read the Full Article
  • Horse "Passports" Proposed in Europe as Meat Scandal Gallops On

    As the horsemeat-dressed-as-beef scandal continues to rock Europe's food industry, a number of organizations are calling on stricter European regulation, including an EU-wide horse passport register. The Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE) said creating a centralised record of horse passports would prevent the issuance of duplicate passports, thereby curbing the risk that horses banned from slaughter enter the food chain. There is no evidence that eating horsemeat in itself poses any health risk, but veterinarians give horses drugs which are banned from human consumption. >> Read the Full Article
  • Syncing Heartbeats

    It is said that when you're in love, your heart starts racing. Why? It's an adrenaline rush where our brains send signals to the adrenal gland, which secretes hormones that flow through the blood and cause our hearts to beat faster and stronger. Not only do our hearts race independently, but according to a University of California, Davis study, lovers' hearts indeed beat for each other, or at least at the same rate. >> Read the Full Article
  • Music and the Brain

    Music is an art that puts sounds together in a way that people like or find interesting. It may well teach too. Montreal researchers find that music lessons before age seven create stronger connections in the brain. If you started piano lessons in grade one, or played the recorder in kindergarten, thank your parents and teachers. The younger you started music lessons, the stronger the connections in your brain. A study published last month in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that musical training before the age of seven has a significant effect on the development of the brain, showing that those who began early had stronger connections between motor regions – the parts of the brain that help you plan and carry out movements. >> Read the Full Article
  • Autism and Schizophrenia Genes

    Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction and communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a breakdown of thought processes and by poor emotional responsiveness. Genes linked to autism and schizophrenia are only switched on during the early stages of brain development, according to a study in mice led by researchers at the University of Oxford. This new study adds to the evidence that autism and schizophrenia are neurodevelopmental disorders, a term describing conditions that originate during early brain development. >> Read the Full Article
  • Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC

    ext time you walk up to the seafood counter, look for products labeled with a blue fish, a check mark, and the words "Certified Sustainable Seafood MSC." Then ask yourself, "What does this label mean?" The MSC — Marine Stewardship Council — says that the "sustainable" label means that fishermen caught the seafood with methods that don't deplete its supply, and help protect the environment in the waters where it was caught. >> Read the Full Article
  • Myopia and Genes

    Myopia is commonly known as being nearsighted or shortsighted)and is a condition of the eye where the light that comes in does not directly focus on the retina but in front of it. This causes the image that one sees when looking at a distant object to be out of focus, but in focus when looking at a close object. In other words, close is good and far is blurry. Scientists have now discovered 24 new genes that cause refractive errors and myopia — an important cause of blindness and visual impairment worldwide, which has no cure to date. The findings, published in Nature Genetics, reveal genetic causes of the trait, and this may help in finding a solution. >> Read the Full Article
  • British horse meat scandal expands

    Swedish frozen-food company Findus withdrew all its beef lasagna ready meals from supermarkets after tests revealed they contained up to 100% horsemeat. But the investigation took an EU-wide dimension as British investigators found evidence of "gross negligence or possibly criminality" involving several countries. The Food Standards Agency (FSA), a British government body, held a meeting on Saturday (9 February) with UK regulators and food industry representatives in the ongoing contaminated meat incident. "This is a conspiracy against the public," said British farm minister Owen Paterson before convening the weekend meeting. "I've got an increasing feeling that it is actually a case of an international criminal conspiracy." >> Read the Full Article
  • How Can We Reduce Food Waste?

    It’s no secret that Americans throw away an enormous amount of food, sending day-old leftovers and slightly wilted spinach straight to the garbage. But what about the food that never even makes it to the kitchen table? A new report released by a British engineering society reveals that worldwide, billions of tons of food are squandered each year because of poor agriculture practices, which include inefficient harvesting and inadequate infrastructure and storage—and it’s depleting Earth's water supply. >> Read the Full Article
  • Omega and Liver Inflammation

    Omega-3 fatty acids are fats commonly found in marine and plant oils. Research at Oregon State University has found that one particular omega-3 fatty acid has a powerful effect in preventing liver inflammation and fibrosis – common problems that are steadily rising along with the number of Americans who are overweight. Some of the other potential health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids supplementation remain controversial. They are considered essential fatty acids, meaning that they cannot be synthesized by the human body but are vital for normal metabolism. >> Read the Full Article