3193Sapone et al 2011 - Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivityDivergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.Divergence of gut permeability and mucosal immune gene expression in two gluten-associated conditions: celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Sapone A, Lammers KM, Casolaro V, Cammarota M, Giuliano MT, De Rosa M, Stefanile R, Mazzarella G, Tolone C, Russo MI, Esposito P, Ferraraccio F, Cartenì M, Riegler G, de Magistris L, Fasano A09/03/2011BMC Med. 2011 Mar 9;9:23
Celiac disease (CD) is an autoimmune enteropathy triggered by the ingestion of gluten. Gluten-sensitive individuals (GS) cannot tolerate gluten and may develop gastrointestinal symptoms similar to those in CD, but the overall clinical picture is generally less severe and is not accompanied by the concurrence of tissue transglutaminase autoantibodies or autoimmune comorbidities. By studying and comparing mucosal expression of genes associated with intestinal barrier function, as well as innate and adaptive immunity in CD compared with GS, we sought to better understand the similarities and differences between these two gluten-associated disorders.
CD, GS and healthy, gluten-tolerant individuals were enrolled in this study. Intestinal permeability was evaluated using a lactulose and mannitol probe, and mucosal biopsy specimens were collected to study the expression of genes involved in barrier function and immunity.
Unlike CD, GS is not associated with increased intestinal permeability. In fact, this was significantly reduced in GS compared with controls (P = 0.0308), paralleled by significantly increased expression of claudin (CLDN) 4 (P = 0.0286). Relative to controls, adaptive immunity markers interleukin (IL)-6 (P = 0.0124) and IL-21 (P = 0.0572) were expressed at higher levels in CD but not in GS, while expression of the innate immunity marker Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2 was increased in GS but not in CD (P = 0.0295). Finally, expression of the T-regulatory cell marker FOXP3 was significantly reduced in GS relative to controls (P = 0.0325) and CD patients (P = 0.0293).
This study shows that the two gluten-associated disorders, CD and GS, are different clinical entities, and it contributes to the characterization of GS as a condition associated with prevalent gluten-induced activation of innate, rather than adaptive, immune responses in the absence of detectable changes in mucosal barrier function.
celiac disease, gluten sensitivityhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Sapone%20A%2C%20Lammers%20KM%2C%20Casolaro%20V.%20et%20al.%202011.%20Divergence%20of%20gut%20permeability%20and%20mucosal%20immune%20gene%20expression%20in%20two%20gluten-associated%20conditions%3A%20celiac%20disease%20and%20gluten%20sensitivity.%20BMC%20Medicine%209%3A23doi%3A10.1186%2F1741-7015View this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Full free text is available online
18014 March 2011 - Nutraingredients - Refining the omega-3 'policy gap' that feeds global deficienciesomega-3 policy07/03/2011By Shane Starling in Bruges, 04-Mar-2011
The omega-3 industry must devote more resources to lobbying and educating government, health care professionals and the general public to help plug a ‘policy gap’ that is contributing to a growing epidemic of cognitive disorders, a congress has been told.
The two-day omega-3 summit in Bruges, Belgium, had a scientific and sustainability focus but UK-based independent researcher, Dr Jack Winkler, from the Nutrition Policy Unit, noted in his presentation that the long-chain omega-3 message remained, “criminally under the radar” among global policy makers.
Dr Winkler echoed the calls of veteran omega-3 researcher, professor Michael Crawford, who 30 years ago predicted that humanity was in danger of becoming, “a race of morons” if long-chain DHA and EPA omega-3 dietary intakes were not increased, a prediction Crawford lamented was in danger of coming true as rates of depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders spiral in the western world.
“There are many scientific congresses but what we need to do is work on solving the problem about the actions required to increase long-chain omega-3s in the diet,” Dr Winkler said, noting industry and consumers had to look beyond under-threat fisheries for oil supply to include controversial options such as genetically modified plants and fish.
“The fact is most policy makers think fish is about protein. The understanding of the man on the street and even those who work in research institutes is extraordinarily low. That can be a criticism of the omega-3 industry. We haven’t lobbied hard enough in the corridors of power so that is what we will be doing more of.” “You mean there are different fatty acids?”
The congress heard that while such cognitive disorders had surpassed heart problems in public health costs in the UK, pushing through €120bn per year, and estimated at more than €400bn across the European Union, ignorance of the fatty acids remained high among health policy officials and the medical profession.
Examples were given of high-ranking health policy officials in the UK National Health Service and the US National Institutes of Health who when presented with omega-3 data remarked, “You mean there are different fatty acids?”
The long and short of omega-3
Dr Alex Richardson, a senior research fellow at Oxford University and founder of UK charity, Food and Behaviour Research, joined the call and warned that confusion over varying omega-3 forms was contributing to the problem.
“These problems are costing governments more than heart health and cancer combined but there remains a lot of confusion about omega-3, especially between ALA and EPA and DHA,” she said referring to EU-wide recommended daily intakes that did not discriminate between the long and short chain fatty acids.
ALA (Alpha-linolenic acid) converts to the heart and brain usable long-chain fatty acids like EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) but at low, some say, negligible rates.
However plant-based ALA suppliers at the meeting said the real issue was reducing consumption of omega-6 oils, that blunted the bioavailability of omega-3 forms.
That debate is one that has raged for a long time and was part of the reason the Global Organization for EPA and DHA omega-3s (GOED) was established in 2007, to clarify the differences in the way different fatty acids function in the body, but the Salt Lake City-based group counts ALA suppliers as members.
Indeed as NutraIngredients went to press a consensus document from stakeholders and academics was produced by attendees of the conference that emphasised the need for education along with: Reducing LA (omega-6) and increase ALA in human and animal diets Increasing the availability of LC-Omega-3 (especially DHA) for human consumption in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way Having the omega-3 index confirmed as a validated biomarker and public health targets and promoting the message that omega-3 indexes between 8-11 using highly unsaturated fatty acids would protect 98 per cent of global population against omega-3 deficiencies.
While raising the profile of omega-3 remains a key challenge, other challenges remain, with one large infant formula manufacturer noting DHA fortification continued to present formulation issues in both taste and shelf life.
A German government report that raised the issue of adverse reactions due to over-consumption of omega-3s was also noted, a report Dr Winkler said was out of step with omega-3 science that is the second-most researched substance after aspirin, according to GOED executive director Adam Ismail.
Ismail noted the success of omega-3 fortified foods, of which there had been more than 3000 since the first in 1988, while Martek-DSM representatives noted Martek DHA featured in more than 450 foods and drinks with more than 75 per cent still on-market.
Ismail valued the global DHA/EPA raw material supply at around €1bn.
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Health-condition-categories/Cardiovascular-health/Refining-the-omega-3-policy-gap-that-feeds-global-deficiencies/?utm_source=Newsletter_Product&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BProductView this news item and more on the Nutraingredients.com website
1800ESPA Research (Autism Research Unit) ESPA; Autism Research Unit07/03/2011
ESPA Research is a not-for-profit, wholly-owned subsidiary of ESPA (Education and Services for People with Autism) based in Sunderland, UK.
ESPA Research is committed to continuing the research carried out by the Autism Research Unit into autism spectrum and related conditions for public benefit. Further information about ESPA Research can be found on their 'about us' page.
Their current portfolio of investigations includes studies examining the use of gluten- and/or casein-free diets for people with autism and related conditions alongisde the discovery of biological entities that may provide insight into any underlying metabolic conditions including best- and non-responders to various interventions. Details of their recent 2-year randomised-controlled trial (RCT) of a gluten- and casein-free diet with children with autism spectrum conditions (ScanBrit) can be found in their research section.
Updates on the various investigations on-going at ESPA Research can be found in their 'Latest news' section and via their downloadable 'Newsletter'.
Various information is available on this website including details of our peer-reviewed published research (see 'Publications') and a number of free-to-view published papers written by members of ESPA Research (see 'Free downloads').
You can also follow 'ESPA Research' on Facebook.
http://www.espa-research.org.uk/index.htmlVisit ESPA Research hereESPA.jpgESPA logo
16913-4 March 2011 - EVENT - Global Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behaviour - Bruges, BelgiumGlobal summit on nutrition, health and human behaviourOrganised by: Health Claims Europe03/03/201104/03/2011
THIS EVENT HAS NOW TAKEN PLACE.
Sustainable LC-Omega-2 for a Better World
The world's foremost authorities in neuroscience warn that the new epidemic of mental illness and brain dysfunction is exponentially broadening due to inadequate long chain fatty acid intake. This leads to a cost to society higher than the cost of the worldwide obesity issue.
The Global Summit on Nutrition, Health and Human Behaviour will bring high-level industry people, top scientific research and government and policymakers together with the objective of developing new product strategies and policies for meeting lc-omega-3 requirements.
2017Blasbag TL et al 2011 - Changes in consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the United States during the 20th centuryChanges in consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the United States during the 20th centuryChanges in consumption of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in the United States during the 20th centuryBlasbalg TL, Hibbeln JR, Ramsden CE, Majchrzak SF, Rawlings RR02/03/2011Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 May;93(5):950-62. Epub 2011 Mar 2.
The consumption of omega-3 (n-3) and omega-6 (n-6) essential fatty acids in Western diets is thought to have changed markedly during the 20th century.
We sought to quantify changes in the apparent consumption of essential fatty acids in the United States from 1909 to 1999.
We calculated the estimated per capita consumption of food commodities and availability of essential fatty acids from 373 food commodities by using economic disappearance data for each year from 1909 to 1999. Nutrient compositions for 1909 were modeled by using current foods (1909-C) and foods produced by traditional early 20th century practices (1909-T).
The estimated per capita consumption of soybean oil increased >1000-fold from 1909 to 1999. The availability of linoleic acid (LA) increased from 2.79% to 7.21% of energy (P < 0.000001), whereas the availability of α-linolenic acid (ALA) increased from 0.39% to 0.72% of energy by using 1909-C modeling. By using 1909-T modeling, LA was 2.23% of energy, and ALA was 0.35% of energy. The ratio of LA to ALA increased from 6.4 in 1909 to 10.0 in 1999. The 1909-T but not the 1909-C data showed substantial declines in dietary availability (percentage of energy) of n-6 arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). Predicted net effects of these dietary changes included declines in tissue n--3 highly unsaturated fatty acid status (36.81%, 1909-T; 31.28%, 1909-C; 22.95%, 1999) and declines in the estimated omega-3 index (8.28, 1909-T; 6.51, 1909-C; 3.84, 1999).
The apparent increased consumption of LA, which was primarily from soybean oil, has likely decreased tissue concentrations of EPA and DHA during the 20th century.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21367944View this and related abstracts on PubMed here.
1792Carter et al 2011 - Children's understanding of the selling versus persuasive intent of junk food advertising: Implications for regulationChildren's understanding of the selling versus persuasive intent of junk food advertising: Implications for regulationChildren's understanding of the selling versus persuasive intent of junk food advertising: Implications for regulationCarter OB, Patterson LJ, Donovan RJ, Ewing MT, Roberts CM.22/02/2011Soc Sci Med. Feb 22. [Epub ahead of print]
Evidence suggests that until 8 years of age most children are cognitively incapable of appreciating the commercial purpose of television advertising and are particularly vulnerable to its persuasive techniques.
After this age most children begin to describe the 'selling' intent of advertising and it is widely assumed this equips them with sufficient cognitive defences to protect against advertisers' persuasion attempts.
However, much of the previous literature has been criticised for failing to differentiate between children's awareness of 'selling' versus 'persuasive' intent, the latter representing a more sophisticated understanding and superior cognitive defence. Unfortunately there is little literature to suggest at what age awareness of 'persuasive intent' emerges; our aim was to address this important issue.
Children (n = 594) were recruited from each grade from Pre-primary (4-5 years) to Grade 7 (11-12 years) from ten primary schools in Perth, Western Australia and exposed to a McDonald's television advertisement. Understanding the purpose of television advertising was assessed both nonverbally (picture indication) and verbally (small discussion groups of 3-4), with particular distinction made between selling versus persuasive intent.
Consistent with previous literature, a majority of children described the 'selling' intent of television advertising by 7-8 years both nonverbally and verbally, increasing to 90% by 11-12 years. Awareness of 'persuasive' intent emerged slowly as a function of age but even by our oldest age-group was only 40%.
Vulnerability to television advertising may persist until children are far older than previously thought. These findings have important implications regarding the debate surrounding regulation of junk food (and other) advertising aimed at children.
food advertising, children, cognition, food policy, regulation, human studyhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21349621View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
Kids Company was founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh in 1996. They provide practical, emotional and educational support to vulnerable inner-city children.
Their services reach 14,000 children across London, including the most deprived and at risk whose parents are unable to care for them due to their own practical and emotional challenges. For many, the roles of adult and child are reversed and, despite profound love, both struggle to survive.
These exceptionally vulnerable children not only negotiate significant challenges in their family homes, they also face immense threat within their neighbourhoods. Often they are exposed to relentless violence, some are forced into working as drug couriers or prostitutes, and many experience chronic abuse.
Kids Company provides a safe, caring, family environment where support is tailored to the needs of each individual. Their services and support empower children who have experienced enormous challenges to lead positive and fulfilling lives. Despite great difficulties, the children they work with are hugely courageous and embrace the support offered.
In 2007 Kids Company was awarded the Liberty and JUSTICE Human Rights Award. In 2010 they were selected as a ‘Child Poverty Champion’ by the End Child Poverty project for their success in enabling children to achieve their full potential.
http://www.kidsco.org.ukVisit the Kids Company website hereKids Company.jpgKids Company
1706School Food TrustSchool Food TrustEat Better Do Better22/02/2011
The School Food Trust is an independent body with the unique remit of transforming school food and food skills. It was set up as Non Departmental Public Body in 2005 with £15 million of funding from the then Department for Education and Skills (replaced by Department for Children, Schools and Families, DCSF and subsequently by the current Department for Education (DfE) to promote the education and health of children and young people by improving the quality of food supplied and consumed in schools. In April 2007 the Trust became registered as a Charity.
The remit of the School Food Trust is to transform school food and food skills, promote the education and health of children and young people and improve the quality of food in schools.
An excellent resource with sections aimed at:
school cooks and caterers
school heads and school teachers
parents and carers
children and young people
those working in health or school food at National, Regional and Local Authority level
http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/Visit the School Food Trust website hereSchool Food Trust.jpgSchool Food Trust
170918 Feb 2011 - Nutraingedients - Omega-3 may improve depression measures for seniors: StudyOmega-3 for depression in the elderlyDaily supplements of omega-3 fatty acids may improve measures of depression in seniors with mild to moderate depression, according to new findings from Iran. 18/02/2011By Stephen Daniells
Writing in the peer-reviewed European Archives of Psychiatry & Clinical Neuroscience, researchers from the Tehran University of Medical Sciences report that six months of supplementation with 300 mg of both eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) resulted in significant improvements in depression scores, as measured by the Geriatric Depression Scale-15.
“In this study, low-dose omega-3 PUFAs had some efficacy in the treatment of mild to moderate depression in elderly participants,” wrote the researchers.
Jury’s still out?
The link between omega-3 and mood is complex and data to date is contradictory. For example, researchers from Norway reported that regular and long-term intake of omega-3 fatty acid-rich cod liver oil may protect people from symptoms of depression.
The study, published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, followed 21,835 subjects aged between 40 and 49 and 70 and 74 years, and found that the prevalence of depressive symptoms was 29 per cent lower in regular cod liver oil users than the rest of the population.
Moreover, a joint Anglo-Iranian study reported that depression ratings were cut by 50 per cent following daily one gram supplements of EPA, an effect similar to that obtained by the antidepressant drug fluoxetine, according to findings published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry.
"To our knowledge this is the first report of EPA monotherapy in major depressive disorder," wrote the researchers from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Swallownest Court Hospital in Sheffield (UK).
When the researchers provided the omega-3 supplement in combination with fluoxetine, depression ratings were cut by 81 per cent.
Despite this growing number of studies, the science overall is unsufficient to support a link between omega-3 and depression, said the British Medical Journal's Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin (DTB) in February 2007.
"Despite observational evidence linking depression with reduced intake of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, there is no convincing basis for using these nutrients as a (means of alleviating) the condition," stated the DTB.
The review also states that, when used in combination with antidepressant drugs, there is also only limited evidence.
The new Iranian study adds to the ongoing debate, and concludes that omega-3 fatty acids were “clinically more effective in treating depression in comparison with the placebo”.
The researchers recruited 66 over-65 year olds and randomly assigned them to receive an omega-3 supplement – one gram of fish oil per day, providing 300 mg of both EPA and DHA – or placebo for six months.
Results of the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study indicated that “after adjusting for cholesterol, BMI, and history of thyroid dysfunctions, a statistically significant difference was seen in GDS-15 scores between both groups”, said the researchers.
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) from fish oil include EPA and DHA. EPA is proposed to function by increasing blood flow in the body. It is also suggested to affect hormones and the immune system, both of which have a direct effect on brain function. DHA, on the other hand, is involved in the membrane of ion channels in the brain, making it easier for them to change shape and transit electrical signals.
http://www.nutraingredients.com/Product-Categories/Nutritional-lipids-and-oils/Omega-3-may-improve-depression-measures-for-seniors-Study/?utm_source=Newsletter_Product&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%2BProductView this and related articles via the Nutraingredients website here
2018Harper KN et al 2011 - Maternal serum docosahexaenoic acid and schizophrenia spectrum disorders in adult offspringMaternal serum docosahexaenoic acid and schizophrenia spectrum disorders in adult offspringMaternal serum docosahexaenoic acid and schizophrenia spectrum disorders in adult offspringHarper KN, Hibbeln JR, Deckelbaum R, Quesenberry CP Jr, Schaefer CA, Brown AS15/02/2011Schizophr Res. 2011 May;128(1-3):30-6. Epub 2011 Feb 15.
It is believed that during mid-to-late gestation, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an n-3 fatty acid, plays an important role in fetal and infant brain development, including neurocognitive and neuromotor functions. Deficits in several such functions have been associated with schizophrenia. Though sufficient levels of DHA appear to be important in neurodevelopment, elevated maternal DHA levels have also been associated with abnormal reproductive outcomes in both animal models and humans. Our objective was to assess whether a disturbance in maternal DHA levels, measured prospectively during pregnancy, was associated with risk of schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum disorders (SSD) in adult offspring. In order to test the hypothesis that abnormal levels of DHA are associated with SSD, a case-control study nested within a large, population-based birth cohort, born from 1959 through 1967 and followed up for SSD from 1981 through 1997, was utilized. Maternal levels of both DHA and arachidonic acid (AA), an n-6 fatty acid, were analyzed in archived maternal sera from 57 cases of SSD and 95 matched controls. There was a greater than twofold increased risk of SSD among subjects exposed to maternal serum DHA in the highest tertile (OR=2.38, 95% CI=1.19, 4.76, p=0.01); no such relationship was found between AA and SSD. These findings suggest that elevated maternal DHA is associated with increased risk for the development of SSD in offspring.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21324652View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
1690FOOD, Inc. Food inc; food production; meat production14/02/2011
An excellent and powerful documentary film called ‘Food, Inc.’, which covers many issues about food production that are relevant to the lives of us all, and which could do with being brought to the attention of as many as possible.
Film Education, in partnership with the A-Team Foundation, the Soil Association and Dogwoof, are making this DVD available free of charge to the first 2000 teachers to order. An accompanying CD-ROM resource is designed for use with students at KS3, KS4 and 16+.
Follow the link below to sign up for a copy for your school whether you are a teacher or a parent.
http://www.filmeducation.org/foodinc/Read more about Food Inc and sign up for your copy hereFood inc.jpgFood inc
169411 Feb 2011 - Nutraingredients - 'Restricted diet' linked to reduction in ADHD: StudyDiet and ADHD, Lancet study11/02/2011by Nathan Gray
A restrictive diet, which bans processed foods, may reduce the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in young children, according to a new study.
New research published in The Lancet, suggests that a diet restricted to just a few basic ingredients could be “a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food.” In the new study, children with ADHD were put on a ‘restricted elimination diet’ – containing only rice, meat, vegetables, pears and water – for five weeks. The authors found that ADHD symptoms were reduced in 78 per cent of children placed on the diet.
“A strictly supervised restricted elimination diet is a valuable instrument to assess whether ADHD is induced by food,” wrote the researchers, led by senior author Professor Jan Buitelaar from Radboud University, The Netherlands.
“We think that dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a five-week period, and provided expert supervision is available,” they said.
However, writing in an accompanying comment piece for The Lancet, Dr Jaswinder Ghuman from the University of Arizona said that in her opinion, the diet should not be continued for more than five weeks, “because long-term effects of dietary elimination on the child's nutritional status are not known.”
The authors said that several genetic and environmental factors are involved in the development of ADHD. One of the many environmental factors proposed to have an effect on ADHD development is diet.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), parents have long suspected that sugary foods, additives, and colours, may play a role in inducing symptoms, however there is very little evidence to support such theories.
Prof. Buitelaar and colleagues noted that some children have negative physical reactions to certain foods, and suggested that foods may also affect the brain in ways that result in changes in behaviour.
They explained that ADHD may be triggered by a hypersensitivity reaction to certain foods, adding that some complementary medicine practices test for the antibody IgG (immunoglobulin G) and recommend eliminating foods high in IgG for ADHD. However, they noted that IgG testing is unproven to work, and remains controversial among mainstream physicians.
The new research investigated the link between ADHD and diet by recruiting 100 children diagnosed with ADHD (between the ages of 4 and 8), and putting them on a restricted food (hypoallergenic) diet. After this a ‘food challenge’ was given to the children to test whether foods high in IgG re-triggered ADHD symptoms.
Of the children to complete the restrictive diet phase of the trial, 78 percent had reduced ADHD symptoms, compared with no improvement in the controls.
After five weeks, children on the restricted diet received food challenge diets, in which certain foods (either high or low in IgG) were re-introduced into the diet.
Buitelaar and co workers reported “a substantial relapse in behaviour in 63 per cent of children” when previously restricted processed foods were put back in the diet. However they said that no differences in relapse or behavioural effects were seen between high- and low- IgG foods.
Commenting on the study Dr Ghuman said: “IgG levels against foods did not predict which foods might lead to a negative effect on behaviour because an equal number of low and high IgG food challenges resulted in relapse of ADHD symptoms.”
Ghuman warned that the new study does not answer a number of questions, such as whether or not the elimination diet reduces symptoms long-term, and said that clinical practice should not be changed based on the results of one study.
The authors also noted that the study had potential limitations, due to the fact that it was open-label.
“Expectations of the parents cannot be fully ruled out as a possible cause of the behavioural improvements … We (also) cannot rule out that the behavioural improvements during the first phase might have been caused by increased attention for the child in the diet group,” they said.
Source: The Lancet Volume 377, Issue 9764 , Pages 494-503, doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(10)62227-1 “Effects of a restricted elimination diet on the behaviour of children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (INCA study): a randomised controlled trial” Authors: L. Pelsser, K. Frankena, J. Toorman, H.F. Savelkoul, A.E. Dubois, R.R. Pereira, et al
“Restricted elimination diet for ADHD: the INCA study” Author: J.K. Ghuman
Results of this randomised controlled trial indicate that ADHD symptoms in many children may be reduced by dietary modifications - specifically, the elimination of all processed foods and drinks, as well as some other foods that are common triggers for food allergies or intolerances.
As usual, reactions to the publicaton of this study have varied considerably (see 'ADHD Diet Plan gets mixed reviews'). The fact that the parents, children and others involved could not be fully 'blinded' to the dietary intervention is enough for some commentators to dismiss the entire study - although this is almost impossible to achieve in studies of real diets in free-living individuals.
The study authors themselves accept that some of the improvements found may have reflected parental expectations - or the structured attention paid to the children given the exclusion diets. Whatever the reasons, significant improvements were seen in no less than 64% of ADHD children (63% of whom relapsed on the re-introduction of excluded foods).
This suggests that there could be significant benefits (for a variety of reasons) if parents were encouraged simply to provide more structured diets for their ADHD children, excluding highly processed foods and drinks (which often have little or no nutritional value in any case). This would also be likely to benefit their general health.
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/Restricted-diet-linked-to-reduction-in-ADHD-Study/?c=ntB9Yoe71WZkDmXb0LbfRw%253D%253D&utm_source=newsletter_daily&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%252BDailyView this and related articles via the Nutraingredients website here
1687Cornwell & McAlister 2011 - Alternative thinking about starting points of obesity. Development of child taste preferences Alternative thinking about starting points of obesity. Development of child taste preferences children's taste preferences; Fast-food; Advertising; Consumer behavior; Public policy; Children; Preschool; Obesity; Sugar/fat/salt palate; sfs palateCornwell TB, McAlister AR10/02/2011AppetiteVolume 56, Issue 2428-439Science Direct
Food marketers are at the epicenter of criticism for the unfolding obesity epidemic as societies consider banning advertising to children and taxing “junk” foods.
While marketing's role in obesity is not well understood, there is clear evidence that children are regularly targeted with calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food. Much of the past research seeks to understand how marketing influences brand preference and child requests.
The authors argue that understanding palate development offers new insights for discussion. Two studies consider whether a sugar/fat/salt (SFS) palate is linked to children's knowledge of food brands, experience with products, and advertising.
In study 1, the authors develop a survey measure of taste preferences and find that a child's SFS palate (as reported by parents) relates significantly to children's self-reported food choices.
Study 2 examines how knowledge of certain branded food and drinks is related to palate. Findings show that children with detailed mental representations of fast-food and soda brands – developed via advertising and experience – have higher scores on the SFS palate scale.
Fast-food; Advertising; Consumer behavior; Consumer behaviour; Public policy; Children; Preschool; Obesity; sfs palate; sugar/fat/salt palate, sugar, salt, fat, HFSS foods, experimental studies
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21238522View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
16838 Feb 2011 - BBC News - Healthy diet 'boosts childhood IQ'junk food; children's diets; food and behaviourEating chips, chocolate and cake may be damaging to a child's intelligence, according to researchers at Bristol University.08/02/2011
Their study suggests a link between a diet high in processed foods and a slightly lower IQ.
Writing in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, they suggest poor nutrition may affect brain development.
The British Dietetic Association said more young parents needed to be educated about healthy eating.
The researchers said three types of diet emerged: Processed diets which were high in fat, sugar and convenience foods, traditional diets of meat, potato and vegetables, and health conscious diets of salads, fruit and fish.
The children all took IQ tests when they were eight and half.
The researchers found a link between IQ and diet, even after taking into account other factors such as the mother's level of education, social class and duration of breast feeding.
A diet high in processed food at the age of three was linked to a slightly lower IQ at the age of eight and a half, suggesting early eating habits have a long term impact.
Dr Pauline Emmett, who carried out the study at Bristol University, said: "Brain development is much faster in early life, it's when it does most of its growing. It seems that what happens afterwards is less important."
Although the relationship between diet and IQ was very strong, the impact was quite small. Processed foods were linked with IQs only a few points lower.
Experts in the field said the results had confirmed common sense.
Fiona Ford, spokesperson for the British Dietetic Association, said: "It's well worth looking at the long term impact of diets, everyone's familiar with the short term.
"The research confirms the type of advice we already know, but that's not always enough. Sometimes a society has to help a person change, we need to be educating more young parents about healthy eating."
Kristian Bravin, dietician at Leicester Royal Infirmary, said: "Most people know what they should do, some people don't have the inclination to cook good meals.
"I'm all in favour of a little bit of what you fancy, but when you're doing it every week it's a problem.
"People should seek advice from a registered dietician, but simply it's a message of moderating fat intake, five fruit and veg a day and whole grain starchy foods."
The findings reported here are based purely on observational data, and so strictly speaking, it is not possible to be completely sure that there is a causal relationship between the childrens' early diets and their IQ scores as measured at later ages.
However, the relationship found was independent of a very wide range of other factors known to affect IQ (i.e. the researchers took these into account). Furthemore, plenty of existing evidence already supports a causal link between 'processed food' diets and sub-optimal brain development and function.
It is already known that the poor diets consumed by many children are damaging their physical health. These findings add to the existing evidence that diets rich in processed foods can also compromise children's mental health and performance.
169503 Feb 2011 - ADHD Diet Plan Gets Mixed ReviewsADHD and Diet03/02/2011By Kristina Fiore, Staff Writer, MedPage Today
A limited diet that focuses on a few selected foods including rice, meat, and vegetables may provide symptom relief for children with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, researchers said, but skeptics question the validity of their study.
After five weeks, 64% of those on a restricted diet had significant improvement in symptoms; no improvement was seen in those who were not on the restricted diet, Lidy Pelsser, MD, of the ADHD Research Center in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and colleagues reported in The Lancet.
"We think that dietary intervention should be considered in all children with ADHD, provided parents are willing to follow a diagnostic restricted elimination diet for a five-week period, and provided expert supervision is available," they wrote.
In a comment to ABC News and MedPage Today, David Rosenberg, MD, a child psychiatrist at Wayne State University, said that the finding "is not unexpected and lends additional evidence that diet and other environmental factors may be important in ADHD."
He said he would be willing to try a restricted elimination diet, "and in some ways we already do this for certain patients and with their parents, although not necessarily the systematic approach studied here."
Others contacted by ABC News and MedPage Today, however, were skeptical of the findings.
Harvey Leo, an allergist and immunologist at the University of Michigan, said in an e-mail, "There are severe limitations to this study, and after reviewing the current paper, I do not think any of the data presented have any true validity."
He noted the lack of strict monitoring of compliance with the dietary recommendations and the lack of information on the exact makeup of the diet.
He said the benefits observed were likely due to enrollment in the study and rigorous monitoring -- rather than an effect from diet modification -- because children with ADHD respond to structure and organization.
"If the parent was truly committed to the diet," Leo said, "I think the child would see some benefit in behavior."
Michael Daines, MD, a pediatric allergist and immunologist at the University of Arizona, called the study "interesting, but flawed," pointing to the lack of blinding in the study groups, which would potentially affect all of the data.
Also wary of the findings was William Pelham, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Buffalo, who cited studies conducted over the past 30 years that have failed to support a consistent relationship between dietary manipulations and ADHD symptoms.
"One open study allegedly demonstrating a relationship does not change my mind," he wrote in an e-mail.
Foods can cause physical reactions, such as eczema and asthma, that affect other organs, so it's been suggested that what patients eat may also affect the brain. Thus, diets built around hypoallergenic foods are believed by some to be effective for ADHD.
Pelsser and colleagues conducted the Impact of Nutrition on Children with ADHD (INCA) Study, a randomized controlled trial that enrolled children ages 4 to 8 from the Netherlands and Belgium who'd been diagnosed with the disease.
The children were assigned to either five weeks of a restricted diet, or were given written instructions about a healthy diet and placed on a waiting list. The researchers used the few-foods diet, which includes rice, meat, vegetables, pears, and water, and can be complemented with specific foods such as potatoes, fruits, and wheat.
After the initial five weeks, those in the restricted-diet group who had improved ADHD symptoms entered a four-week, double-blind, crossover food challenge phase, in which they ate high-IgG or low-IgG foods to assess specific reactions.
A total of 100 children were enrolled; most were boys and the mean age was 6.9.
The researchers found that at the end of the first, five-week diet phase, symptoms of ADHD and oppositional defiant disorder significantly improved in 64% of children in the diet group; there was no improvement among controls.
The mean difference in ADHD Rating Scale (ARS) score after five weeks was significantly lower in the diet group than in the control group for both masked pediatrician and unmasked teacher ratings (P<0.0001).
Scores on the abbreviated Conners' scale (ACS) -- which assesses hyperactivity, impulsivity, attention, mood, and temper tantrums -- were also significantly lower in the diet group for parent and teacher ratings (P<0.0001).
The researchers saw no increase in IgE levels associated with clinical response, which suggests that the underlying mechanism of food sensitivity in ADHD is nonallergenic.
In the second phase of the study, the 30 children who responded to the restricted diet proceeded to the challenge phase, which involved two weeks of three high-IgG and three low-IgG foods added to their regimen.
The researchers saw that 19 of these children (63%) had a relapse in ADHD symptoms after one or both challenges.
In his comments, Daines said that the fact that one-third did not regress makes "the interpretation (of the study findings) even more suspect."
The IgG levels produced in response to certain foods didn't predict which ones might lead to a negative effect on behavior, as an equal number of low and high IgG challenges resulted in relapse, the researchers said.
"These results suggest that use of IgG blood tests to identify which foods are triggering ADHD is not advisable," they wrote, noting that in complementary care, the tests are offered even though there is no evidence for their efficacy.
Added Rosenberg, "It is not surprising that IgG blood tests did not predict relapse of ADHD symptoms as this is a multifactorial, extremely heterogeneous illness. However, it is an important lead and suggests that diet, immunologic, and other factors are clearly involved in ADHD."
The researchers acknowledged that the study may have been limited because the parents, teachers, and researchers couldn't be blinded to the diets.
Still, they concluded that restricted diets may be considered in children with ADHD, and that those "who react favorably to this diet should be diagnosed with food-induced ADHD and should enter a challenge procedure to define which foods each child reacts to, and to increase the feasibility and to minimize the burden of the diet."
In an accompanying comment, Jaswinder Kaur Ghuman, MD, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, wrote that the study was "well-designed and carefully done, showed benefit with a supervised elimination diet, and provides an additional treatment option for some young children with ADHD."
But Ghuman noted that 36% of the children either didn't respond to the diet or were noncompliant, so it would be "helpful to know which children can be predicted to respond to the diet."
He also cautioned that a "stringent elimination diet should not continue for more than five weeks without obvious benefit because of the time, effort, and resources required to implement the restricted diet and because long-term effects of dietary elimination on the child's nutritional status are not known."
Ghuman called for more research on the specific foods responsible for hypersensitivity reaction.
This article shows the wide variety of reactions to a study published in the Lancet (see Pelsser et al 1991) which adds to the existing evidence that diet can influence ADHD symptoms in many children.
That evidence is now substantial - and yet many critics continue to deny it - insisting that benefits for all children with ADHD must be shown to result from exactly the same dietary intervention - and that the intervention must be 'double-blind'.
ADHD is known to be a purely descriptive diagnosis, with many possible causes for the 'symptoms'. Adverse food reactions in children that increase their ADHD symptoms have already been well-documented in many double-blind trials, but these reactions are known to differ between individual children.
Dietary interventions are never easy to implement. Professional assistance is usually needed to ensure that any 'special' diet will still provide a healthy balance of all essential nutrients - but given that most 'ordinary' diets consumed by children in developed countries do not do this, it might be rather more helpful to give our health professionals better training in nutrition and its importance for the brain as well as the body.
Clinicians who are open to the actual evidence on this controversial subject may find useful the clinical protocol published 10 years ago by leading UK researchers, which acknowledged the importance of dietary modifications for some ADHD children (see Hill et al 2001). Those with closed minds will of course carry on denying the abundant evidence for the importance of diet to mental as well as physical health.
http://www.medpagetoday.com/Pediatrics/ADHD-ADD/24685View this and related articles via the MedPage website here
1722Tsai et al 2011 - Usefulness of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in predicting the nutritional status of people with mental disorders in Taiwan.Usefulness of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in predicting the nutritional status of people with mental disorders in Taiwan.Tsai et al 2007 - Usefulness of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (MNA) in predicting the nutritional status of people with mental disorders in Taiwan.
Tsai AC, Chou YT, Chang TL.01/02/2011J Clin Nurs. 20(3-4):341-50.
OBJECTIVE:The study was to evaluate the ability of the Mini Nutritional Assessment in predicting malnutrition in people with three subtypes of mental disorder (schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder) in Taiwan.
DESIGN:The study involved a convenience sample of 120 residents of psychiatric wards managed by a hospital in central Taiwan (52 with schizophrenia, 36 with major depression and 32 with bipolar disorder) classified according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria.
METHODS:A structured questionnaire elicited subjects' personal data, disease history and answers to questions in the Mini Nutritional Assessment. Serum and anthropometrical parameters were measured. Nutritional status was evaluated with a content-equivalent version of the Mini Nutritional Assessment (Taiwan version-1, T1).
RESULTS:The Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 was effective in assessing the nutritional status of people of all three subtypes of disorder. Nutritional statuses predicted with the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 agreed well with other nutritional indicators such as BMI, waist circumference and appetite status. According to the Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1, people with major depression were more likely to be at risk of undernutrition, whereas people with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder were more likely to be at risk of overnutrition.
CONCLUSION: The Mini Nutritional Assessment-Taiwan version-1 can effectively grade both undernutrition and overnutrition of people with schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:The Mini Nutritional Assessment enables nurses to monitor emerging nutritional problems in people with psychiatric disorder without relying on subjective judgement. With proper intervention, it can help reduce nutrition-related chronic conditions in these individuals and save on healthcare cost.
schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, mental health, nutrition, diet, dietary assessment, nutritional status, human study, surveyhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21219517View this and related abstracts via PubMed here
168931 Jan 2011 - ScienceNow - Do Gut Bugs Practice Mind Control?Do Gut Bugs Practice Mind Control?Are you a worrier? Low on energy? You might be able to blame your state of mind on the bugs in your gut. 31/01/2011by Elizabeth Pennisi
Researchers studying behavior and gene activity in mice have found that these microbes appear to help shape brain development. If the findings translate to humans, they could lead to new ways to treat depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Twenty years ago, people would have laughed at the suggestion that gut microbes could influence brain function, says immunologist Sven Pettersson of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. But in the past decade, researchers have come to appreciate that the bacteria living in and on our bodies—collectively called the human microbiome —play a role in how our bodies work, affecting everything from allergies to obesity.
Pettersson began to suspect a mind-microbe link 5 years ago when he and genomicist Shugui Wang of the Genome Institute of Singapore found through gene-expression studies that gut microbes regulated the activity of a gene important to the production of serotonin, a key brain chemical.
He then initiated a collaboration with Karolinska Institute neurobiologist Rochellys Diaz Heijtz to assess behavioral differences between germ-free mice—which have been bred to lack any microbial partners—and mice with intact gut bacteria. The researchers also dissected out major regions of the brain and measured gene activity in each region in both types of animals.
The team found differences in activity and anxiety levels. Germ-free mice spent more time roaming about an open arena than other mice did. They were also more daring. When placed in a box with light and dark compartments, most mice tend to seek refuge in the dark sections—but not the germ-free mice. That indicates that they are less anxious than normal mice, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Pettersson and his colleagues also found that exposing germ-free mice to gut microbes during pregnancy made the resulting offspring less active and more anxious, further showing a role for the microbiome in shaping behavior.
Heijtz, Pettersson, and colleagues then analyzed the chemistry and gene activity in the brains of these mice. They found that germ-free mice broke down brain chemicals associated with anxiety, such as noradrenaline and dopamine, faster than did the other mice. In all, activity levels of dozens of genes in the brain were distinct between the two types of mice, they report. Two genes associated with anxiety were less active in the germ-free mice, for example.
The presence of microbes also reduced the amounts of two proteins important to nerve-cell maturation, suggesting how the microbiome leads to the differences in behavior. During pregnancy, gut microbes may release chemicals that affect fetal brain development, the researchers say.
How these results might translate into therapies for mental illness is still uncertain. But the findings point to “clear effects of the microbiome on brain development and behavior,” says John Bienenstock, an immunologist at McMaster University in Hamilton, Canada, whose own work has found behavioral differences between germ-free and other mice.
“It never occurred to me that microflora would have anything to do with brain development,” adds Bryan Kolb, a neurobiologist at the University of Lethbridge in Canada who has studied brain development for 35 years. “It tells us that neurodevelopmental disorders (such as schizophrenia) may be profoundly influenced by the microflora in the gut.”
This study confirms that gut bacteria can influence brain development and function, modifying gene expression and the availability of key signalling molecules such as serotonin.
These and other findings on the fundamental links between the gut, brain and immune system have important implications for understanding the development of many behavioural conditions, including anxiety, ADHD, autism and schizophrenia.
167430 Jan 2011 - Scientific American - Diets Low In Omega-3 Linked to Depressive Behavior In Micefatty acids and depression; omega 3 and depression; omega 3 and mood disorders; fatty acids and mood disordersNew research shows why some individuals deficient in beneficial fatty acids might be more prone to mood disorders30/01/2011
Although most people in developed countries get plenty of calories each day, their diets are often lacking in key nutrients that their bodies have evolved to expect. Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as those found in fish and walnuts, are one category of crucial ingredients that the body cannot make on its own. Although these beneficial fatty acids are known to be good for heart health, researchers are just beginning to learn how omega-3s impact our brains—and by extension, our moods and behavior.
Lipids are integral to the central nervous system, and as studies of statins and diabetes drugs have shown, dropping levels of some lipids can have deleterious cognitive effects. Omega-3 deficiencies specifically have been linked to mood disorders, such as depression, but the underlying neural mechanism has been subject to debate.
New research in mice, published online January 30 in Nature Neuroscience, offers insights into just how dietary intake of these fatty acids might alter the brain's function. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)
"Our results can now corroborate clinical and epidemiological studies which have revealed associations between an omega-3/omega-6 imbalance and mood disorders," scientists behind the new study commented in a prepared statement.
The group, led by Mathieu Lafourcade, of Unité Inserm's Neurocentre Magendie in France, found that mice reared on an omega-3-deficient diet had lower levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, such as docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), in their brains as well as higher overall levels of the more harmful omega-6. These mice also went on to exhibit a range of depressive symptoms in behavioral tests. The deficient animals, for example, gave up more easily in a classic forced swimming test, were less inclined to explore and were more inclined to stay near the wall of a cage, "a widely accepted index of anxiety," the researchers noted in their study.
More specifically, the team found that a diet lacking ample omega-3 decreased the function of presynaptic cannabinoid receptors, part of the brain's signaling network that is thought to be involved in pain and appetite regulation. By getting down to synaptic levels in the brain—even if only in mice—the researchers seem to have taken a step toward explaining why omega-3 trials in humans have shown some success in treating mood disorders.
Others who have been following the links between nutrition and neuroscience are excited about the findings. "I think it's an important paper," says Gregory Asnis, a professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx and who was not involved in the new study. "This raises concern about the true effect of omega-3 on behavior in human beings."
Omega-3 has already been used to treat depression in adults as well as children, but as Asnis points out, "not every depressed patient has omega-3 deficiencies." And although clinical data has shown it to be effective in some patients, "it's not a knock-you-head-over kind of data," he says.
Researchers can now measure a person's omega-3 levels relatively accurately via a blood test. Now that this test is available, "this research is really going to blossom," Asnis says. He suggests that screening might soon become routine for people with depression as well as other key populations, such as pregnant women.
Although malnutrition during pregnancy is known to lead to poor outcomes for babies, "the functional long-term consequences of maternal malnutrition on the brains and behavior of their progeny are mostly unknown," noted the researchers.
"It makes sense" that a baby born to a mother who was not consuming enough omega-3s might be at higher risk for neural deficiencies, Asnis says. Offspring are wholly dependent on their mothers to supply these fatty acids both while in utero and during breastfeeding. And the researchers found that mice born to mothers who had been fed an omega-3-deficient diet and were then themselves given poor diets also suffered from negative behavioral changes.
Omega-3s are of course not the sole actor in neurological development and health. "Behavior is multi-determined, affected by so many things," Asnis says. And depression and other mood disorders can vary widely among individuals.
Animal models for diseases such as cancer have frequently been found lacking and for neurological disorders they also do not always translate synapse-by-synapse to humans. But Asnis notes that there have been reassuring precedents in studying depressive behavior in animals, such as work with serotonin and tryptophan. "I think there might be a paradigm" that could translate to humans, he says. "It seems like an important discovery that manipulating omega-3 levels can have behavioral effects."
And even if the findings prove relevant only for a subpopulation of patients with depression and omega-3 deficiencies, the implications are substantial. With omega-3-rich fish and flaxseed oils now common in grocery and drug store supplement sections, maintaining a diet replete in these crucial fatty acids is not as hard as it once was. And the promise of being able to treat some depressed individuals—and perhaps prevent the condition in others—with "something that's so easy to give," Asnis says, is incredibly appealing.
Many previous studies have shown that relative deficiencies of omega-3 fatty acids in maternal diets during pregnancy are associated with increased risks of depression, anxiety and related problems in the offspring.
This study reveals a specific mechanism by which omega-3 deficiency, which corresponds to omega-6 excess, could produce these effects. Omega-3 deficiency in early life was found to downregulate receptors that are usually sensitive to endocannabinoids - and this reduction in sensitivity appeared to be permanent.
Endocannabinoids are substances involved in the regulation of pain, temperature, appetite and many other functions in the brain and body, and the most abundant forms are produced from the key omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid.
168228 Jan 2011 - Food Navigator - Study begins to unlock the development of child taste preferencesfast food; children's appetites; children's taste preferences; sugar/fat/salt palate; child palate; early food-related behaviour; obesityChildren's knowledge and consumption of fast food has a significant impact on their palate and preference for foods that are high in added sugars, salt and fats, according to new research.28/01/2011by Nathan Gray of Food Navigator
The findings, published online in the journal Appetite suggest that children with detailed mental representations of fast food and soda brands – as developed by advertising and experience – have higher scores on an ‘added flavour’ sugar/fat/salt (SFS) liking palate.
“If taste preference is playing a role in the obesity epidemic, how can we identify a starting point for change? … It seems that we must begin by addressing the development of palate and the preference for particular foods and thus, we must start with young children,” said the authors, co-author Dr. T. Bettina Cornwell from the University of Oregon.
“This research on child palate contributes to the potential for change by firstly identifying that early food-related behaviours are important to the discussion and by offering a new focus for food manufacturers, policy, and future research,” they said.
Food for children is an area of growing interest, particularly in light of burgeoning obesity rates. Indeed, FoodNavigator’s focus on Kids’ Food last year showed the importance of this market segment. Bill Patterson, a senior analyst at the market research organization Mintel, told FoodNavigator-USA that children have become more independent in their food choices, but what is available to them is changing.
Picking up on these concerns, Cornwell and colleagues said that food marketers are at the “epicenter of criticism for the unfolding obesity epidemic as societies consider banning advertising to children and taxing “junk” foods.”
They noted that whilst marketing's role in the development of obesity is not well understood, there is clear evidence that children are regularly targeted with calorie-dense, nutrient-poor food.
“How is it that food and drink manufacturers and restaurant chains have come to offer so many products high in sugar, fat, and salt? … One possible answer is that it has occurred in the pursuit of taste preference. Competitive market forces continually push companies to offer products that are preferred over others,” said the researchers.
They noted this consumer demand for sugar, fat, and salt products, which is then met by manufacturer supply of foods that contribute to unhealthy eating habits appears to have become “a self-perpetuating cycle.”
Much of the previous research has looked to understand how marketing influences brand preference and child behaviour, however the authors argued that understanding palate development may offer new insights for discussion.
Cornwell and co-workers developed two studies to consider whether a sugar/fat/salt (SFS) palate is linked to children's knowledge of food brands, experience with products, and advertising.
In the first study, they developed a survey to measure taste preferences and find whether a child's SFS palate as reported by parents relates significantly to children's self-reported food choices. Whilst the second study examined how children’s knowledge of certain branded food and drinks related to palate.
The researchers reported that children aged between three and five showed a higher preference for the taste of flavour-added foods compared with natural foods. The relationship between parent SFS palate and child SFS palate was also found to be significantly mediated by the child’s fast-food consumption.
The studies also revealed a significant indirect effect of fast-food consumption on child SFS palate, with children’s knowledge of brands as the mediator. The authors reported that brand knowledge is a significant predictor of SFS palate, and SFS palate is a significant predictor of a child's choice of foods that provide “flavour-hits”.
Cornwell said that the research goes further than previous studies by identifying some of the likely antecedents of brand associations from TV viewing and consumption experiences.
“The main argument by the food industry to justify marketing to children is that companies only influence brand preferences, not preferences for categories of foods … But findings from the present research show that food marketing may not just influence category consumption but also fundamentally change children's taste palates to increase their liking of highly processed and less nutritious foods,” said the researchers.
They said that as a result food and drink manufacturers should “critically examine their role in creating brand associations to food experiences.”
Cornwell said that the findings of the study presented “a public policy message”.
“If we want to pursue intervention, we probably need to start earlier,” she said.
Source: Appetite Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2011.01.010 “Alternative thinking about starting points of obesity. Development of child taste preferences” Authors: T. B. Cornwell, A.R. McAlister
166826 Jan 2011 - Science Daily - Eating Poorly Can Make You Blue: Trans-Fats Increase Risk of Depression, While Olive Oil Helps Avoid RiskEating Poorly Can Make You Blue: Trans-Fats Increase Risk of Depression, While Olive Oil Helps Avoid Risk
Researchers from the universities of Navarra and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria have demonstrated that the ingestion of trans-fats and saturated fats increase the risk of suffering depression, and that olive oil, on the other hand, protects against this mental illness. 27/01/2011
They have confirmed this after studying 12,059 SUN Project volunteers over the course of six years; the volunteers had their diet, lifestyle and ailments analyzed at the beginning of the project, over its course and at the end of the project. In this way the researchers confirmed that despite the fact that at the beginning of the study none of the volunteers suffered from depression, at the end of the study 657 new cases had been detected.
Of all these cases, the participants with an elevated consumption of trans-fats (fats present in artificial form in industrially-produced pastries and fast food, and naturally present in certain whole milk products) "presented up to a 48% increase in the risk of depression when they were compared to participants who did not consume these fats," affirmed Almudena Sánchez-Villegas, Associate Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, first author of the article.
In addition, the study demonstrated a dose-response relationship, "whereby the more trans-fats were consumed, the greater the harmful effect they produced in the volunteers," the expert stated.
Furthermore, the team, directed by Miguel Ángel Martínez-González, Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Navarra, also analyzed the influence of polyunsaturated fats (abundant in fish and vegetable oils) and of olive oil on the occurrence of depression. "In fact, we discovered that this type of healthier fats, together with olive oil, are associated with a lower risk of suffering depression," emphasized the researcher and director of the SUN Project.
150 MILLION PERSONS DEPRESSED WORLDWIDE
Thus, the results of the study corroborate the hypothesis of a greater incidence of the disease in countries of the north of Europe compared to the countries of the south, where a Mediterranean dietary pattern prevails. Nevertheless, experts have noted that the incidence of the disease has increased in recent years, so that today some 150 million persons are affected worldwide, where it is the principal cause of loss of years of life in those countries with a medium-to-high per capita income.
This is due, according to Almudena Sánchez Villegas, "to radical changes in the sources of fats consumed in Western diets, where we have exchanged certain types of beneficial fats - polyunsaturated and monounsaturated in nuts, vegetable oils and fish - for the saturated and trans-fats found in meats, butter and other products such as mass-produced pastries and fast food."
In addition, the research - published in the online peer reviewed journal PLoS ONE - has been performed on a population with a low average intake of trans-fats, given that it made up only 0.4% of the total energy ingested by the volunteers. "Despite this, we observed an increase in the risk of suffering depression of nearly 50%. On this basis," concluded Miguel A. Martínez, "we derive the importance of taking this effect into account in countries like the U.S., where the percentage of energy derived from these foods is around 2.5%."
Finally, the analysis, headed by the University of Navarra and the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, suggests that both depression as well as cardiovascular disease are influenced in a similar manner by diet, and might share similar mechanisms in their origin. This hypothesis is further suggested by numerous studies that indicate the harmful effect of trans-fats and saturated fats on the risk of cardiovascular disease.
This study reports an association (correlation) between the type of dietary fat consumed and risk for depression. Higher intakes of trans fats (and lower intakes of natural polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats), predicted a higher risk of subsequent depression in a large cohort of healthy Spanish graduates.
The press release (and some of the researchers comments quoted) imply that this is a causal effect, although other data would be needed to confirm this.
There are, however, various plausible mechanisms for such an effect. Trans fats are toxic. They are known to promote inflammation (associaed with depression) and to raise the risk for cardiovascular disease (also associated with depression). They are twisted, mis-shapen versions of the natural omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturates needed for healthy brain structure and function, and if consumed, are likely to compete with and displace these essential fats.
These findings are also consistent with other data from prospective observational studies showing that diets high in processed foods (the major source of trans fats) raise the risk of future depressive illness (e.g. Akbaraly et al, 2009)
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