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Events

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Call to end FGM 'in this generation'

David Cameron has said female genital mutilation (FGM) and childhood forced marriage should be stopped worldwide "within this generation".

NHS staff balloted over strike action

Midwives, nurses and ambulance workers are among more than 400,000 NHS workers in England being balloted on industrial action, including strikes, over pay.

Three person IVF plans 'progress'

A public review into the three person IVF technique has been broadly supportive, says the Department of Health.

Fly in ear time-wasting call to 999

A man with a fly in his ear and a woman questioning if a green potato was poisonous were among thousands of non-urgent 999 calls made to the Welsh Ambulance Service last year.

NHS tests 'plaster' patient-monitor

The NHS is starting to test a sticking-plaster-sized patient-monitoring patch.

'Exciting' drug flushes out HIV

Scientists say they have made an "exciting" step towards curing HIV by forcing the virus out of its hiding places in the body.

'Large gene find in schizophrenia'

In the largest ever genetic study of the disease, scientists have discovered some 80 genes which could leave people at higher risk of schizophrenia.

First 'clean' hospital announced

Falkirk Community Hospital records the first perfect score in an initial Healthcare Environment Inspectorate review.

'Pain-patch' warning to patients

Patients using patches containing potent painkillers are being urged to ensure they are thrown away carefully.

FGM training for public sector staff

Extra training is to be given to teachers, doctors and social workers to help them to identify and assist girls at risk of female genital mutilation.

Early HIV drugs 'may not stop virus'

HIV can rapidly form invulnerable strongholds in the body, dashing hopes that early treatment might cure the virus, according to new research.

Social media 'aid doctor complaints'

A rise in complaints against doctors reflects the role of social media and negative press coverage of the medical profession, according to a report.

US HIV infection rate drops a third

The rate of HIV infections diagnosed in the United States has fallen by a third in the past 10 years, a new study finds.

Aids researchers on crashed plane

At least six passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane were heading to a major international Aids conference in Australia.

'Safer' kisspeptin IVF shows promise

Twelve babies have been born using a potentially safer way of getting eggs for use in IVF with the hormone kisspeptin, UK doctors say.

Assisted dying 'to lessen suffering'

Legalising assisting dying would mean "less suffering not more deaths", says Lord Falconer as his bill on the issue passes its second reading in the House of Lords.

Major A&Es miss target for 52 weeks

England's major A&E units have now missed the waiting time target for 52 weeks in a row, official figures show.

Food learning theory for obese women

Obese women may have a "food learning impairment" that could explain their attitude to food, research from Yale School of Medicine suggests.

'Most dangerous day of their life'

The first is the most dangerous of life

Admitting fewer patients 'won't cut costs'

The risks of a plan to admit fewer patients
Volume 10, Number 11 September 1, 2007

The Farmer

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Beware of High-fructose Corn Syrup

by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Mu’min Muhammad

According to an August 23, 2007 report from the American Chemical Society researchers have found new evidence that soft drinks sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may contribute to the development of diabetes, particularly in children. In the current study, Chi-Tang Ho, Ph.D., conducted chemical tests among 11 different carbonated soft drinks containing HFCS. He found 'astonishingly high' levels of reactive carbonyls in those beverages. These undesirable and highly-reactive compounds associated with "unbound" fructose and glucose molecules are believed to cause tissue damage, says Ho, a professor of food science at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J. By contrast, reactive carbonyls are not present in table sugar, whose fructose and glucose components are "bound" and chemically stable, the researcher notes.

HFCS is a sweetener found in many foods and beverages, including non-diet soda pop, baked goods, and condiments. It is has become the sweetener of choice for many food manufacturers because it is considered more economical, sweeter and more easy to blend into beverages than table sugar. The long standing boycott of Cuban cane sugar combined with the annual corn subsidy to U.S. farmers of over $10 billion explains why sugar costs more than corn fructose.

The figures from the USDA for 2003 are that the average world price of refined sugar is 11 cents per pound compared to 28 cents in the U.S.--more than twice as much due to subsidies and import quotas. Meanwhile, the price of HFCS is 14 cents per pound. However, corn prices are expected to rise because of corn increased use as a source of energy through ethanol production. This price rise plus new evidence of the dangers of HFCS may finally force the processing industry to cut back on its widespread use.

The process for making the sweetener high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) out of corn was developed in the 1970s. Use of HFCS grew rapidly, from less than three million short tons in 1980 to almost 8 million short tons in 1995. During the late 1990s, use of sugar actually declined as it was eclipsed by HFCS. Today Americans consume more HFCS than sugar.

From zero, the average consumption of HFCS in the U.S. has risen to over 60 pounds per person per year, on average. Starting in the early 1970’s, there has been a dramatic rise in the U.S. in the rate of obesity and its related ailments including type-2 diabetes and heart disease. This alarming development coincides almost exactly with the introduction and subsequent ramp-up of consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup. An estimated 16 million Americans have type-2 diabetes, making it the sixth leading cause of death overall. Studies have linked a high intake of refined carbohydrates such as fructose with a high "glycemic index" to the development of diabetes.

The processing industry argues that fructose is just another form of sugar and does no more damage than sugar. However, High Fructose Corn Syrup is an extremely refined version of the fructose naturally occurring in nature. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is produced by processing corn starch to yield glucose, and then processing the glucose to produce a high percentage of fructose. Three different enzymes, two of which have been genetically modified, are needed to break down cornstarch, which is composed of chains of glucose molecules of almost infinite length, into the simple sugars glucose and fructose.

A team of investigators at the USDA, led by Dr. Meira Field, compared the effects of sugar and fructose on laboratory rats according to the www.longlife.com article entitled "Should You Boycott High Fructose Corn Syrup?" This article points out that sucrose is composed of glucose and fructose. When sugar is given to rats in high amounts, the rats develop multiple health problems, especially when the rats were deficient in certain nutrients, such as copper.

The researchers wanted to know whether it was the fructose or the glucose moiety that was causing the problems. So they repeated their studies with two groups of rats, one given high amounts of glucose and one given high amounts of fructose. The glucose group was unaffected but the fructose group had disastrous results. The male rats did not reach adulthood. They had anemia, high cholesterol and heart hypertrophy--that means that their hearts enlarged until they exploded. They also had delayed testicular development. Dr. Field explains that fructose in combination with copper deficiency in the growing animal interferes with collagen production. In a nutshell, the little bodies of the rats just fell apart. The females were not so affected, but they were unable to produce live young.

"The medical profession thinks fructose is better for diabetics than sugar," says Dr. Field, "but every cell in the body can metabolize glucose. However, all fructose must be metabolized in the liver. The livers of the rats on the high fructose diet looked like the livers of alcoholics, plugged with fat and cirrhotic."

Going back to the research done by Chi-Tang Ho, his group is also probing the mechanisms by which carbonation increases the amount of reactive carbonyls formed in sodas containing HFCS. They note that non-carbonated fruit juices containing HFCS have one-third the amount of reactive carbonyl species found in carbonated sodas with HFCS, while non-carbonated tea beverages containing high-fructose corn syrup have only about one-sixth the levels of carbonyls found in regular soda.

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