Breast is best for babies with the right gene

breastfeeding a newborn Breast-feeding boosts children’s IQs by 6 to 7 points over the IQs of kids who weren’t breast-fed, but only if the breast-fed youngsters have inherited a gene variant associated with enhanced biochemical processing of mothers’ milk, reports a team led by psychologist Avshalom Caspi of King’s College London Ninety percent of youngsters possessed the critical FADS2 gene variant. It sounds like non-random natural selection to me.

Eating breakfast doesn’t make teens lose weight

Eric at The Futile Cycle had this to say:

A lot of news stories are once again talking about breakfast and its connections to weight and obesity. Consider this BBC article as one example. This Reuters article hypes breakfast as magically keeping teens skinny. The original Pediatrics journal article is here.

What’s wrong with all of this? The research doesn’t say whether eating breakfast makes someone lose weight. All it says is that skinnier teens eat breakfast more often than more obese teens, on average. That doesn’t mean that suddenly eating breakfast more will make you lose weight. [Read more]

Ironman nutrition in Madison

For the past few days, I’ve been trying to stick to a Weight Watchers plan and LotStreetWiz has been trying to eat healthily for an athlete’s training plan. He gets to eat about 4,200 Calories a day. It’s hard to eat healthily while travelling.

The Chicago Grill Uno Pizzeria was delicious, but the individual pizzas were almost 2,000 Calories each with 4 ounces (130 grams) of fat. My meal there blew away my whole diet budget for the week. No wonder half the patrons were blimps. They should rename it Fat City:


The star is the Panera Bread restaurant. The food is delicious, with sandwiches made with fresh bread, salads, robust mixing of flavours, and home-made soups. There’s a bakery with home-made desserts and good coffee. And there’s free wireless Internet access. So we’re here.

Nestle is still endangering babies

For years, Nestlé has promoted the use of formula in poor countries – where families can not afford to keep buying it, where bottles won’t be sterilized, where it won’t be made with clean water. In those conditions, babies are much safer drinking breast milk. But once a baby has been drinking formula for a while, breasts are running dry and mothers lose confidence. They feed diluted formula. Babies don’t get enough food, or they do get gastroenteritis. Thousands of babies die of it.

Maybe Nestlé has stopped dressing its sales people as nurses in these countries. But it is still trying to make those sales.

Now Nestlé is saying that it doesn’t believe this is promoting their products. Then why are they doing it?

A Guardian investigation in Bangladesh found widespread use of “prescription pads”, where Nestlé reps give health workers tear-off pads, with pictures of their products, for them to pass on to mothers. Nestlé spokesman Robin Tickle said he did not believe the pads equated to promotion of the company’s formula milks. The device was “a safety measure”, to help mothers to be sue the milk they were buying was the right kind for their baby.

What meat inspectors look for

If you eat meat, you should know about meat inspection. That is a health service in which federal inspectors (all two of them) inspect all slaughterhouses to ensure that only healthy animals are sold as food. This interesting link shows some of the things that meat inspectors are looking for: meat inspection for general pathological conditions.

I found a picture of a liver affected by Fusobacterium necrophorum bacteria (see Lemierre’s Syndrome in previous post).


And here is the accompanying text:

Judgement : The judgement of animals and carcasses affected with abscesses depends on findings of primary or secondary abscesses in the animal. The portal of entry of pyogenic organisms into the system is also of importance. The primary abscess is usually situated in tissue which has contact with the digestive tract, respiratory tract, subcutaneous tissue, liver etc. The secondary abscess is found in tissue where contact with these body systems and organs is via the blood stream. The brain, bone marrow, spinal cord, renal cortex, ovary and spleen (Fig. 31) may be affected with secondary abscesses. In judgement of the carcass, the inflammation of the renal medulla and contact infection in the spleen and ovaries must be ruled out. A single huge abscess found in one of the sites of secondary abscesses may cause the condemnation of a carcass if toxaemia is present. In pigs an abscess is frequently observed in the jaw and in the spine. Spinal abscesses in pigs are commonly caused by tail biting (Fig. 32). The bacterial agent from the tail penetrating the spinal canal could be arrested in the lumbo-sacral and cervical spinal enlargements, initiating an abscess formation.

Inspectors should differentiate the abscesses in the active and growing state from the older calcified or healed abscesses. In domestic animals, the primary sites of purulent infections are post-partum uterus, umbilicus or reticulum in “hardware disease”. Secondary abscesses are frequently observed in distant organs. Small multiple abscesses may develop in the liver of calves as a result of infection of the umbilicus (“sawdust liver”, Fig. 33). Carcasses with such condition should be condemned.

The animals affected with abscesses spread through the blood stream (pyemia) are condemned on antemortem if the findings of abscesses are over most areas of the body and systemic involvement is evident as shown in elevated temperature and cachexia.

On postmortem examination, the carcasses are condemned for abscesses, if the abscesses resulted from entry of pyogenic organisms into the blood stream and into the abdominal organs, spine or musculature. An abscess in the lungs may require condemnation of the lungs and an passing the carcass if no other lesions are noted. Liver abscesses associated with umbilical infection require condemnation of the carcass. If no other infection is present the abscess is trimmed off and the liver may be utilized for human or animal food depending on the regulations of the respective country. Multiple abscesses in the liver require condemnation of the organ.

The audience for this guideline is meat inspectors in developing countries. English might not be their first language. I wonder if the Food and Agriculture Organization would be interested in a plain language rewrite, considering that all Web pages are now supposed to be accessible to the general public–and that means using very readable language.

Take Vitamin D to prevent cancer

A study in the U.S. suggests that taking a Vitamin D supplement can cut your risk of developing cancer by 60%. The Canadian Cancer Society recommends vitamin D after

…a flurry of research suggesting the low-cost vitamin confers a high degree of protection against a wide variety of cancers. There are also striking study results suggesting that people who develop the disease often have low blood levels of vitamin D.

The recommendation:

The society says whites should take supplements containing 1,000 international units a day during fall and winter, the six months of the year when sunlight falling on Canada isn’t strong enough for skin to fulfill its vitamin D role. Those with dark skin, who don’t go outside frequently or wear full body clothing for cultural or religious reasons, such as veiled women, should take 1,000 IU year-round.

Afarensis: "Polynesians beat Columbus to America"

Via Afarensis comes this proof that Polynesians brought chickens (and probably sweet potatoes) to the Americas long before Columbus managed to reach the West Indies. Chicken bones found in Chile were carbon-dated at 1301-1407.

Read the comments, too: they are most informative.

Melamine-tainted food was fed to "wild" fish

Since so many wild-caught salmon a d trout start their lives in hatcheries, when young they eat what humans feed them. Unfortunately, some of their fish kibble contained ingredients from China. And in China, the suppliers routinely adulterated the food with melamine to make it appear to have more protein than it does. A Canadian supplier of fish food has recalled the fish-food sent to almost 200 U.S. hatcheries and 60 Canadian ones.

See also “Tainted pet food gets into our food supply through chickens.”

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