Quantum Sufficit

Just Enough

Am Fam Physician. 2006 Nov 15;74(10):1675.

▪ A glass of carrot juice each day may keep Alzheimer's disease away! According to a study in the American Journal of Medicine, consuming fruit and vegetable juices may delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease, particularly in patients at high risk for the disease. Researchers followed 1,836 Japanese Americans who were dementia-free at the start of the study. Participants who drank three or more servings of fruit and vegetable juices per week had a 76 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than those who drank less than one serving of juice per week. Among participants who drank one or two servings of juice per week, the risk of the disease was reduced by 16 percent. (Am J Med, September 2006)

▪ This is no ordinary wipe! Professors from Cornell University are developing a biodegradable wipe that detects chemicals and biohazards. Wiping the absorbent napkin across a surface activates nanofibers in the fabric. These nanofibers contain antibodies that change color when they come in contact with a biological or chemical agent. Although development of the biodegradable wipes is not yet complete, the researchers say that the product will be affordable and its use will not require specialized training. (Chronicle Online, September 11, 2006)

▪ McDonald's isn't “lovin' it” when it comes to breastfeeding in its fast-food restaurants, says an article from The Independent. For 211 British women surveyed by the U.K. National Childbirth Trust, the fast-food chain was rated the least friendly place to breastfeed. One woman was asked to breast-feed her six-month-old son in the restaurant's toilet stall. When she explained that she wouldn't eat her lunch in a restroom and didn't want her child to do so either, she was offered no alternative. Although McDonald's does have positive breastfeeding policies, the article notes that it has yet to implement them in its restaurants. In contrast, the same 211 women found Ikea, a Scandinavian furniture store, to be the friendliest place for mothers to breastfeed their children. (The Independent, September 1, 2006)

▪ Do child brainiacs become discretionary drinkers as adults? According to a study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, people who have above-average IQs in childhood are less likely to experience repeated alcohol-induced hangovers as adults. Researchers asked 7,184 adults who had high IQs at 11 years of age how many hangovers they had had in the previous year. With fewer than two occurrences a month—or four alcoholic drinks in one session—people with above-average IQs had fewer hangovers than those with average IQs. The findings suggest that people with higher IQs may respond better to advice not to binge drink. (J Epidemiol Community Health, October 2006)

▪ Do you tend to wear your heart on your sleeve? According to Reuters Health, European scientists have created a “smart” shirt that would make doing so even easier. The shirt, which integrates stainless steel threads into its viscose yarn to act as an electrode, monitors a patient's heart rate and can perform electrocardiography while a patient is on the move. The shirt has been tested on 15 volunteers and was found to be as reliable as traditional electrocardiography performed within a health care setting. Based on these preliminary findings, the researchers hope the shirt will allow them to safely monitor patients with cardiovascular problems at home rather than in the hospital. (Reuters Health, September 4, 2006)

▪ Snacking just got a lot healthier for 8,000 low-income and ethnically diverse elementary-school students, according to study results published in the American Journal of Public Health. In an effort to offer more fruits and vegetables to its students, boost nutrition, and save money, the menus of 44 after-school programs were changed to provide healthier alternatives. For example, rather than being given a brownie and milk as a snack, students received animal crackers and grape juice. The researchers found that the new menu increased fruit intake by 83 percent, cut daily intake of saturated fat by 42 percent, and decreased overall calorie intake by 7 percent. However, because many of the dairy products were removed from the menus, the children's daily calcium intake decreased by 67 percent, and vitamin A intake decreased by 79 percent. (Am J Public Health, Sepember 2006)


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