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Electrical stimulation 'aids memory'

Electromagnetic stimulation of a specific part of the brain may improve the ability to remember certain facts, researchers say.

Plain packs 'no effect on smokers'

A study of smokers in Australia suggests there is "no evidence" that the introduction of standardised cigarette packaging has changed the way people buy cigarettes.

Ebola Africa travel bans to be axed

West African health ministers meeting in Ghana follow WHO advice and lift travel restrictions on countries affected by the Ebola outbreak.

New hospital food rules introduced

Hospitals in England will be expected to provide a higher standard of food under new rules being introduced by the government.

Genetic clues to spread of Ebola

Scientists have tracked the spread of Ebola in West Africa, revealing genetic clues to the course of the outbreak.

Ebola region faces UK travel ban

All but essential travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia should be avoided, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office warns British nationals.

WHO warns 20,000 at risk of Ebola

The UN's health agency says the deadly Ebola outbreak in West Africa could infect more than 20,000 people, and urges airlines to resume flights.

NHS complaints rise to 480 every day

The number of complaints made about NHS care in England increased to an average of 480 every day, according to official data.

Ex dental prof loses dismissal claim

Prof Philip Lamey, a former professor of dentistry, has lost his case for unfair dismissal brought against Queen's University, Belfast.

Depression in cancer 'overlooked'

Three-quarters of cancer patients who are depressed are not getting the psychological therapy they need, researchers say.

Cancer drugs face NHS price squeeze

The government might threaten to stop buying some expensive cancer drugs if the companies that make them do not cut their prices, Newsnight learns.

Tomatoes linked with fighting cancer

Eating tomatoes may lower the risk of prostate cancer, research suggests.

Star Trek X Prize finalists named

Star Trek X Prize finalists named

Hormone 'protects premature babies'

The hormone erythropoietin (EPO) could prevent brain injuries in very premature babies, a study suggests.

Overseas nurses 'face shorter tests'

New rules mean nurses and midwives who have completed their training outside Europe will face shorter tests to check they are fit to work in the UK.

UK Ebola patient gets test drug

The British volunteer nurse William Pooley, who contracted Ebola while working in Sierra Leone, has been given the experimental drug ZMapp.

'Ban E-cig use indoors,' says WHO

The World Health Organization says there should be regulations preventing the use of electronic cigarettes indoors in public and work places.

Ebola: 'heavy toll' on health staff

An "unprecedented" number of doctors and nurses have been infected with Ebola virus in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization.

Gut bugs 'help prevent allergies'

Bacteria which naturally live inside our digestive system can help prevent food allergies, according to animal research.

Whole organ 'grown' in world first

A whole functional organ has been grown from scratch inside an animal for the first time, say researchers in Scotland.
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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