20825 July 2012 - Auckland, NZ - Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Health benefits under the stethoscope - University of New ZealandNutrition Symposium - Massey University, New ZealandOrganised by Massey University, New Zealand05/07/201205/07/2012
Hosted by Massey University’s Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, this symposium will put omega-3 fatty acids under the stethoscope and examine their relationship to health. It will cover the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for health, the use of supplements versus food sources, consider current recommendations and put forward evidence for best practice.
The programme presents a balanced mix of nutrition, science, research, recommendations and practical suggestions, all of which will be valuable and interesting to those working in health.
8:00 - Registration and coffee
8:45 - Opening address - Dr Laurence Eyres, Director at ECG Ltd, NZ
9:00 - Introduction to the omega-3 fatty acids - Associate Professor Welma Stonehouse, Massey University, NZ
9:30 - Omega-3 fatty acids, ADHD and children (title TBC) - Dr Alex Richardson, University of Oxford, UK
10:25 - Omega-3 fatty acids in New Zealand Beef and Lamb - Beef & Lamb
10:35 - Morning tea
11:00 - Healthy adults, cognitive function and omega-3 fatty acid supplements - Dr Cath Conlon, Massey University, NZ
11:30 - The role of omega-3 fatty acids in cognitive function/depression in the elderly - Dr Natalie Sinn, Research Fellow, University of South Australia, Australia
12:30 - Lunch
13:15 - Cardiovascular health & omega-3 fatty acids - Associate Professor Welma Stonehouse, Massey University, NZ
14:00 - Omega-3 fatty acids and bone health - Professor Marlena Kruger, Massey University, NZ
14:20 - The Omega-3 Centre - Kevin Krail, Executive Director, The Omega-3 Centre
14:30 - Afternoon Tea
15:00 - Sustainability of sources of omega-3 fatty acids - Peter Clough, Efamol, UK
15:20 - Intake of omega-3 fatty acids for optimal health - Associate Professor Barbara Meyer, University of Wollongong, Australia
16:05 - Panel discussion on current recommendations - what advice to give to patients and consumers
16:45 - Close
One dayAuckland, New ZealandThe Sir Neil Waters Lecture Theatres Gate One, Massey University, Albany, Auckland.firstname.lastname@example.org://www.massey.ac.nz/massey/learning/departments/institute-food-nutrition-human-health/human-nutrition/nutrition-symposium/nutrition-symposium_home.cfmFurther information and registration details here
20862 July 2012 - NutraIngredients - Vitamin B6 and B12 levels linked to mental function and depressionVitamin B6 and B12 levels linked to mental function and depressionLow levels of vitamins B6 and B12 are associated with an increased risk of impaired cognition, says a new study that adds support to links between B vitamin intake and cognitive function.04/07/2012
Data from an epidemiological study with over 2000 participants also indicated that low levels of vitamin B12 were associated with an increased risk of depression.
http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Vitamin-B6-and-B12-levels-linked-to-mental-function-and-depression/?c=rPAf6HZvi4%252FVkasSERDYXrv3gvKKIDHE&utm_source=Newsletter_Subject&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%252BSubjectRead this news item in full on the NutraIngredients website here
208429 June 2012 - PsychCentral - Scientists Discover How Omega-3 Improves MemoryScientists Discover How Omega-3 Improves MemoryEating fish is said to be good for the brain and for memory. Researchers have associated those benefits with the Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.01/07/2012
However, while researchers have observed the beneficial effects associated with Omega-3’s, they have been unable to describe the precise physiological changes influenced by the compound.
Now, University of Alberta researchers say they have discovered a possible explanation of how Omega-3s improve memory.
Their findings are published in the peer-reviewed journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism.
Yves Sauve, Ph.D., and his team discovered lab models fed a Omega-3 diet had 30 per cent higher levels of DHA (a form of Omega-3s) in the memory section of the brain, known as the hippocampus, when compared to animal models on a regular, healthy diet.
“We wanted to find out how fish intake improves memory,” says Sauve.
“What we discovered is that memory cells in the hippocampus could communicate better with each other and better relay messages when DHA levels in that region of the brain were higher. This could explain why memory improves on a high-DHA diet.”
Sauve surmised that when a diet is supplemented with DHA, additional stores of the Omega-3 fatty acid are deposited in the brain. His team confirmed this finding, a discovery other labs have noted as well.
This finding appears to support the theory that a diet high in Omega-3s and/or dietary supplementation with Omega-3s may protect memory.
Supplementing your diet with DHA, such as increasing fish intake or taking supplements, could prevent declining DHA levels in the brain as we age, Sauve said.
208828 June 2012 - FoodNavigator - Fatty food images may trigger hungerLooking at pictures of fattening foods can trigger reward and appetite centres of the brain - leading to increased hunger and a desire for food, say researchers.28/06/2012
New data reveals that images of high calorie foods results in an increased desire for food by stimulating the appetite control centre of the brain.
The research team at the University of California was led by Kathleen Page. The team used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fmri) to assess the brain responses of 13 obese people, finding that simply viewing images of high calorie foods such as ice cream and cupcakes activated brain regions that control appetite and reward, unlike pictures of non-foods.
http://www.foodnavigator.com/Science-Nutrition/A-picture-worth-a-thousand-calories-Fatty-food-images-may-trigger-hunger/?c=rPAf6HZvi48Vuc%252Ff%252FpS8t3vpNcBrPe1g&utm_source=Newsletter_Subject&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Newsletter%252BSubjectRead the full news item on Food Navigator here
2113Johnston et al 2012 - Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and neurocognitive performance in deployed U.S. Service membersRed blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and neurocognitive performance in deployed U.S. Service members.Red blood cell omega-3 fatty acid levels and neurocognitive performance in deployed U.S. Servicemembers.
Johnston DT, Deuster PA, Harris WS, Macrae H, Dretsch MN28/06/2012Nutr Neurosci. 2012 Jun 28.
To explore the cross-sectional relationships between blood eicosapentaenoic acid + docosahexaenoic acid (HSOmega-3 Index(®)) and sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and neurocognitiveperformance in Servicemembersdeployed to Iraq.
Servicemembers with mild-to-moderate depression by the Patient Health Questionnarie-9 from two US military camps were invited to participate in this study. A battery of validated psychosocial (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, and Zung Depression, Zung Anxiety, Epworth Sleepiness, and Combat Experiences scales) and computerized neurocognitive tests were completed by each participant. Five neurocognitive domain scores were calculated - Processing Speed, Complex Attention, Reaction Time, Cognitive Flexibility (CF), and Executive Function (EF). A drop of blood was also collected on an anti-oxidant-treated filter paper card and sent for HS-Omega-3 Index(®) analysis. An analysis of variance contrast was used to test for linear trends between quartiles of the HS-Omega-3 Index(®) for both EF and CF.
The mean HS-Omega-3 Index(®) was 3.5 ± 0.7% (n = 78). The HS-Omega-3 Index(®) was not significantly associated with scores for anxiety, depression, or sleep, whether assessed as continuous or dichotomous variables, but was directly associated with CF and EF (P Omega-3 levels above versus below the mean.
Optimal neurocognitiveperformance is essential during deployment. Our finding that EF and CF were positively related to HS-Omega-3 Index(®) suggests that improving omega-3 status through an increase in omega-3 intake may improve neurocognitiveperformance and confer an element of resilience to poor sleep.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Red%20blood%20cell%20omega-3%20fatty%20acid%20levels%20and%20neurocognitive%20performance%20in%20deployed%20U.S.%20Servicemembers%20View this and related abstracts on PubMed here
2087Moorthy et al 2012 - Status of Vitamins B-12 and B-6 but Not of Folate, Homocysteine, and the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism Are Associated with Impaired Cognition and Depression in AdultsStatus of Vitamins B-12 and B-6 but Not of Folate, Homocysteine, and the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism Are Associated with Impaired Cognition and Depression in Adults.Status of Vitamins B-12 and B-6 but Not of Folate, Homocysteine, and the Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase C677T Polymorphism Are Associated with Impaired Cognition and Depression in Adults.Moorthy D, Peter I, Scott TM, Parnell LD, Lai CQ, Crott JW, Ordovás JM, Selhub J, Griffith J, Rosenberg IH, Tucker KL, Troen AM27/06/2012J Nutr. 2012 Jun 27
The C677T polymorphism of the methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) gene differs in frequency in various ethnic groups that have differing prevalence of age-related cognitive impairments. We used a series of neuro-psychological tests to examine the association of the MTHFR C677T polymorphism with cognition and depression and also to assess whether genotype modifies the association of folate and homocysteine with these outcomes. This study analyzed pooled cross-sectional data from 2 ethnically diverse cohorts of community-living adults: the Boston Puerto Rican Health Study (n = 939) and the Nutrition, Aging, and Memory in Elders study (n = 1017). Individuals in both cohorts underwent anthropometric and laboratory measurements and dietary and health assessments using validated questionnaires between the years 2003 and 2007. Cognitive outcomes included measures of global cognition
Mini-Mental Status Exam (MMSE)
, depression (Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale), and 3 factor scores for the domains of attention, executive function, and memory that were derived from a detailed set of neuropsychological tests. Low plasma vitamin B-12 concentrations were associated with poorer MMSE scores and higher depression scores, and low vitamin B-6 concentrations were associated with lower MMSE and worse attention and executive function in the multivariate analysis. In contrast, MTHFR genotype, folate, and homocysteine were not associated with cognition or depression in either ethnicity-pooled or stratified analysis. The current study did not find evidence of an association between the MTHFR C677T TT genotype and impaired cognition or depression in a population with adequate folate status and a high prevalence of cognitive impairment and depression.
vitamin B6, B12, Cognitionhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22739363View this item and related abstracts on PubMed here
208320 June 2012 - BBC News - Doctors and heads call for free school breakfastsDoctors and heads call for free school breakfastsDoctors and head teachers are calling on the government in England to look at providing free breakfasts to children on free school meals.22/06/2012
They say such a move would help tackle health problems linked with poverty and boost academic achievement.
The call comes from the Royal College of GPs, the National Association of Head Teachers and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health.
A Guardian survey said half of teachers questioned gave food to pupils.
The newspaper's research involved 591 teachers in the UK.
Of those, half said they had taken food in to school to give to pupils who had not had breakfast. One in six said they had given pupils money to buy lunch.
Steve Iredale, a head teacher from Barnsley, said he had taught at six schools and had been aware of this going on in all of them.
"We have all done it, in all types of school. You find a way: keep biscuits in the office, bread in the office. Occasionally you see a distressed child who is hungry."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-18522789Read the full item on the BBC news website here
2085Connor et al 2012 - DHA supplementation enhances high-frequency, stimulation-induced synaptic transmission in mouse hippocampusDHA supplementation enhances high-frequency, stimulation-induced synaptic transmission in mouse hippocampusDHA supplementation enhances high-frequency, stimulation-induced synaptic transmission in mouse hippocampusConnor S, Tenorio G, Clandinin MT, Sauvé Y20/06/2012Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun 20
While some studies on dietary supplementation with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA, 22:6n-3) have reported a beneficial effect on memory as a function of age, others have failed to find any effect. To clarify this issue, we sought to determine whether supplementing mice with a DHA-enriched diet could alter the ability of synapses to undergo activity-dependent changes in the hippocampus, a brain structure involved in forming new spatial memories. We found that DHA was increased by 29% ± 5% (mean ± SE) in the hippocampus for the supplemented (DHA+) versus nonsupplemented (control) group (n = 5 mice per group; p < 0.05). Such DHA elevation was associated with enhanced synaptictransmission (p < 0.05) as assessed by application of a high-frequency electrical stimulation protocol (100 Hz stimulation, which induced transient (synaptic strength) to slices from DHA+ (n = 4 mice) hippocampi when compared with controls (n = 4 mice). Increased synaptic responses were evident 60 min poststimulation. These results suggest that dietary DHAsupplementation facilitates synaptic plasticity following brief high-frequency stimulation. This increase in synaptictransmission might provide a physiological correlation for the improved spatial learning and memory observed following DHAsupplementation.
DHA; Omega-3; Fatty Acids; Memory; Omega-3 and memory; fish oil and memory; DHA and memoryhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=DHA%20supplementation%20enhances%20high-frequency%2C%20stimulation-induced%20synaptic%20transmission%20in%20mouse%20hippocampusView this and related abstracts on PubMed here
208113 June 2012 - BBC News - Glasgow survey finds out of school lunchtime foods 'not healthy'Glasgow survey finds out of school lunchtime foods 'not healthy'School pupils in Glasgow who buy lunch outside school are likely to be consuming too much energy, fat and salt, a survey has found.18/06/2012
The Glasgow Centre for Population Health study bought 45 lunch items around five secondary school areas.
It found 37 samples did not comply with one or more of the nutrient standards for fat, saturated fat and salt.
The study concluded that more needed to be done to encourage healthier "stay-on-site" lunchtime eating among pupils.
The research was led by Fiona Crawford, from Glasgow Centre for Population Health.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-18413006Read the full news item on the BBC News website here7573961.jpgJunk food
2080Hardan et al 2012 - A Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Oral N-Acetylcysteine in Children with AutismA Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Oral N-Acetylcysteine in Children with AutismA Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of Oral N-Acetylcysteine in Children with AutismHardan AY, Fung LK, Libove RA, Obukhanych TV, Nair S, Herzenberg LA, Frazier TW, Tirouvanziam R.06/06/2012Biol Psychiatry. 2012 Jun 1;71(11):956-61
An imbalance in the excitatory/inhibitory systems with abnormalities in the glutamatergic pathways has been implicated in the pathophysiology of autism. Furthermore, chronic redox imbalance was also recently linked to this disorder. The goal of this pilot study was to assess the feasibility of using oralN-acetylcysteine (NAC), a glutamatergic modulator and an antioxidant, in the treatment of behavioral disturbance in children with autism.
This was a 12-week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of NAC in children with autistic disorder. Subjects randomized to NAC were initiated at 900 mg daily for 4 weeks, then 900 mg twice daily for 4 weeks and 900 mg three times daily for 4 weeks. The primary behavioral measure (Aberrant Behavior Checklist
irritability subscale) and safety measures were performed at baseline and 4, 8, and 12 weeks. Secondary measures included the ABC stereotypy subscale, Repetitive Behavior Scale-Revised, and Social Responsiveness Scale.
Thirty-three subjects (31 male subjects, 2 female subjects; aged 3.2-10.7 years) were randomized in the study. Follow-up data was available on 14 subjects in the NAC group and 15 in the placebo group. Oral NAC was well tolerated with limited side effects. Compared with placebo, NAC resulted in significant improvements on ABC irritability subscale (F = 6.80; p < .001; d = .96).
Data from this pilot investigation support the potential usefulness of NAC for treating irritability in children with autistic disorder. Large randomizedcontrolled investigations are warranted.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=A%20Randomized%20Controlled%20Pilot%20Trial%20of%20Oral%20N-Acetylcysteine%20in%20Children%20with%20AutismView this and related abstracts via PubMed here
207616 May 2012 - University of Oxford - Oxford experts call for sugary drinks tax in the UKOxford experts call for sugary drinks tax in the UKExperts at Oxford University are calling for the introduction of taxes on sugary drinks as one measure that would encourage healthier diets and help tackle the obesity crisis in the UK.23/05/2012
Dr Oliver Mytton and Dr Mike Rayner of the Department of Public Health at Oxford are the lead authors of paper in the BMJ summarising the evidence on health-related food taxes.
The researchers conclude that taxes on unhealthy foods do have the potential to improve health. They suggest that a taxation level of around 20% (equivalent to VAT) could have a meaningful reduction in disease within populations.
However, they say the evidence base needs strengthening to better predict the wider effects of introducing some of these taxes – such as 'fat taxes' or 'junk food taxes' – and understand what foods consumers might switch to.
Beyond their analysis in the BMJ of the existing evidence, Dr Mytton and Dr Rayner believe that the urgency of the health problems related to poor diets in the UK demands action now.
They believe a tax on sugary drinks would be a safe and reliable option to improve health.
Dr Rayner said: 'Obesity has rocketed recently and if anything our diet is getting worse. We need to take steps to tackle this problem as a nation. It's affecting our health and it’s affecting our wallets through the increased burden on the NHS and the taxpayer.
'David Cameron said that he wanted to look at fat taxes last October. He should now commission an independent review of the existing evidence that looks at the options for taxing unhealthy foods.'
The Oxford team argue that government intervention such as taxation can be justified when the market fails to provide the 'optimum' good for society's well-being, as with the duties on alcohol and tobacco, for example.
'It is basic economic theory that raising the price will change consumption, and we already use the taxation system in this way to influence behaviour,' explained Dr Rayner. 'We have taxes on unhealthy goods such as tobacco and alcohol. And we don't have taxes on books as they can be seen as a public good to be encouraged.'
He added: 'There would be benefits for the healthcare system too. It would save taxpayers' money through reduced NHS costs as well as combat diet-related disease such as obesity and heart disease.
'It is also likely that a tax on unhealthy foods would act as an incentive to encourage manufacturers to change what goes into their products and make them healthier over time.'
A tax on sugary drinks is not going to cure obesity by itself, Dr Rayner is careful to state. 'There is no single solution: we need an environment conducive for good health. We need a comprehensive strategy to deal with the affordability, the availability and the promotion of unhealthy foods.'
VAT is already applied to some foods and drinks in this country, but it is done inconsistently – as the recent pasty tax debate revealed. 'VAT should be totally reformed in line with health goals,' said Dr Rayner.
New taxes introduced in Denmark (on saturated fats) and France (on sweetened drinks) will provide the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of such measures in the coming years.
Taxes can have untoward or unexpected effects, and it is possible that a tax on saturated fats, like that introduced in Denmark, could be counter-productive, suggests Dr Rayner.
In avoiding some foods high in saturated fat, people could replace them with foods high in carbohydrates – food that also tends to be high in salt. The overall effect on health might be negative.
That is why Dr Rayner believes a tax on sugary soft drinks is the best option. Even if people moved to diet drinks instead, it would still be beneficial for health.
'A tax on sugary drinks is one measure that is a sure, safe bet that would change how many calories people consume across the nation and have a significant effect on obesity levels,' said Dr Rayner.
207215 May 2012 - Does Sugar Make You Stupid? Study Shows How A High-Fructose Diet Sabotages Learning, MemoryA study on rats suggests that eating a high fructose diet for as little as six weeks may make you stupid. Luckily, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can counteract this IQ loss, researchers suggest.A study on rats suggests that eating a high fructose diet for as little as six weeks may make you stupid. Luckily, a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids can counteract this IQ loss, researchers suggest.15/05/2012
Newswise - Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid.
A new UCLA study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption. The peer-reviewed Journal of Physiology publishes the findings in its May 15 edition.
"Our findings illustrate that what you eat affects how you think," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a professor of integrative biology and physiology in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "Eating a high-fructose diet over the long term alters your brain's ability to learn and remember information. But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage."
While earlier research has revealed how fructose harms the body through its role in diabetes, obesity and fatty liver, this study is the first to uncover how the sweetener influences the brain.
The UCLA team zeroed in on high-fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive liquid six times sweeter than cane sugar, that is commonly added to processed foods, including soft drinks, condiments, applesauce and baby food. The average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"We're not talking about naturally occurring fructose in fruits, which also contain important antioxidants," explained Gomez-Pinilla, who is also a member of UCLA's Brain Research Institute and Brain Injury Research Center. "We're concerned about high-fructose corn syrup that is added to manufactured food products as a sweetener and preservative."
Gomez-Pinilla and study co-author Rahul Agrawal, a UCLA visiting postdoctoral fellow from India, studied two groups of rats that each consumed a fructose solution as drinking water for six weeks. The second group also received omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which protects against damage to the synapses — the chemical connections between brain cells that enable memory and learning.
"DHA is essential for synaptic function — brain cells' ability to transmit signals to one another," Gomez-Pinilla said. "This is the mechanism that makes learning and memory possible. Our bodies can't produce enough DHA, so it must be supplemented through our diet."
The animals were fed standard rat chow and trained on a maze twice daily for five days before starting the experimental diet. The UCLA team tested how well the rats were able to navigate the maze, which contained numerous holes but only one exit. The scientists placed visual landmarks in the maze to help the rats learn and remember the way.
Six weeks later, the researchers tested the rats' ability to recall the route and escape the maze. What they saw surprised them.
"The second group of rats navigated the maze much faster than the rats that did not receive omega-3 fatty acids," Gomez-Pinilla said. "The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity. Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats' ability to think clearly and recall the route they'd learned six weeks earlier."
The DHA-deprived rats also developed signs of resistance to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar and regulates synaptic function in the brain. A closer look at the rats' brain tissue suggested that insulin had lost much of its power to influence the brain cells.
"Because insulin can penetrate the blood–brain barrier, the hormone may signal neurons to trigger reactions that disrupt learning and cause memory loss," Gomez-Pinilla said.
He suspects that fructose is the culprit behind the DHA-deficient rats' brain dysfunction. Eating too much fructose could block insulin's ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar for the energy required for processing thoughts and emotions.
"Insulin is important in the body for controlling blood sugar, but it may play a different role in the brain, where insulin appears to disturb memory and learning," he said. "Our study shows that a high-fructose diet harms the brain as well as the body. This is something new."
Gomez-Pinilla, a native of Chile and an exercise enthusiast who practices what he preaches, advises people to keep fructose intake to a minimum and swap sugary desserts for fresh berries and Greek yogurt, which he keeps within arm's reach in a small refrigerator in his office. An occasional bar of dark chocolate that hasn't been processed with a lot of extra sweetener is fine too, he said.
Still planning to throw caution to the wind and indulge in a hot-fudge sundae? Then also eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, walnuts and flaxseeds, or take a daily DHA capsule. Gomez-Pinilla recommends one gram of DHA per day.
"Our findings suggest that consuming DHA regularly protects the brain against fructose's harmful effects," said Gomez-Pinilla. "It's like saving money in the bank. You want to build a reserve for your brain to tap when it requires extra fuel to fight off future diseases."
This news item is reprinted from materials provided by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Health Sciences, via Newswise.
2077Mytton et al 2012 - Taxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve healthTaxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve healthTaxing unhealthy food and drinks to improve healthMytton OT, Clarke D, Rayner M15/05/2012BMJ2012;344doi: 10.1136/bmj.e2931(Published 15 May 2012)
An increasing number of countries are introducing taxes on unhealthy food and drinks, but will they improve health? Oliver Mytton, Dushy Clarke, and Mike Rayner examine the evidence
In the past year Denmark has introduced a “fat tax,” Hungary a “junk food tax,” and France a tax on sweetened drinks.12 Peru has announced plans to tax junk food, and other countries, notably Ireland, are also considering such taxes. Last year’s UN high level summit on non-communicable disease recognised a role for food taxes,3 and the UK prime minster, David Cameron has said the UK should consider them.4
Despite this recent interest among policy makers there has been relatively little critical analysis. Discussion of the evidence of health effects and the important question of what to tax has often been lacking. Government intervention in the food market, in the form of agricultural subsidies and taxation that is unrelated to health, is often overlooked.
The terms used in the debate can be unclear and misleading. A fat tax may refer to a tax on fat, saturated fat, or the dietary causes of obesity. We prefer the broader term: health related food taxes, which includes any tax levied at a higher rate on food items that are considered unhealthy. This suggests a focus on overall health, rather than just obesity, and opens up the possibility of targeting different nutrients or parts of the diet to maximise overall health gains. As the burden of diet related disease (cancer, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and dental caries) is large and greater than that attributed solely to obesity,5 this seems a more pragmatic approach.
The Hungarian and Danish health related food taxes are often held up as the first of a kind. While they are unusual in being explicit …
http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e2931View this article in the BMJ here
207114 May 2012 - BBC News - Only one in five eats five a day, poll suggestsJust one in five Britons eats the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, a poll for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggestsJust one in five Britons eats the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, a poll for World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) suggests14/05/2012
Kate Mendoza, head of education for the WRCF says:
"Getting at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day is the building block of a healthy diet. Not only are fruit and veg a good source of nutrients, they also tend to be low in calories and full of fibre and so help us maintain a healthy weight.
"A diet based on plant foods, such as wholegrains and pulses as well as fruit and vegetables, can reduce cancer risk as research shows they protect against a range of cancers. Recent research has confirmed that foods containing fibre reduce the risk of bowel cancer.
"Although people are more aware of the significance of eating five a day than they used to be, it is clear that there are still barriers to incorporating plant foods into our daily diets".
5-A-DAY - What Counts?
Almost all fruit and vegetables count towards your 5 A DAY, making it easier than you may think to get your recommended amount each day.
2064Devore et al 2012 - Dietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive declineDietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive declineDietary intakes of berries and flavonoids in relation to cognitive declineDevore EE, Kang JH, Breteler MM, Grodstein F30/04/2012Ann Neurol. 2012 Apr 26. doi: 10.1002/ana.23594
Berries are high in flavonoids, especially anthocyanidins, and improve cognition in experimental studies. We prospectively evaluated whether greater long-term intakes of berries and flavonoids are associated with slower rates of cognitive decline in older women.
Beginning in 1980, a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire was administered every 4 years to Nurses' Health Study participants. In 1995-2001, we began measuring cognitive function in 16,010 participants, aged ≥70 years; follow-up assessments were conducted twice, at 2-year intervals. To ascertain long-term diet, we averaged dietary variables from 1980 through the initial cognitive interview. Using multivariate-adjusted, mixed linear regression, we estimated mean differences in slopes of cognitive decline by long-term berry and flavonoid intakes.
Greater intakes of blueberries and strawberries were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline (eg, for a global score averaging all 6 cognitive tests, for blueberries: p-trend = 0.014 and mean difference = 0.04, 95% confidence interval CI = 0.01-0.07, comparing extreme categories of intake; for strawberries: p-trend = 0.022 and mean difference = 0.03, 95% CI = 0.00-0.06, comparing extreme categories of intake), after adjusting for multiple potential confounders. These effect estimates were equivalent to those we found for approximately 1.5 to 2.5 years of age in our cohort, indicating that berry intake appears to delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. Additionally, in further supporting evidence, greater intakes of anthocyanidins and total flavonoids were associated with slower rates of cognitive decline (p-trends = 0.015 and 0.053, respectively, for the global score).
Higher intake of flavonoids, particularly from berries, appears to reduce rates of cognitive decline in older adults. ANN NEUROL 2012.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22535616View this and related abstracts on PubMed here
206118 Apr 2012 - BBC News - Will adverts at the Olympics increase fast food consumption?Will adverts at the Olympics increase fast food consumption?Health campaigners are calling for restrictions on fast food adverts at large sporting events, but would limiting these adverts make any difference to rising levels of obesity?19/04/2012
It is almost impossible to go a day without seeing some form of advertisement, whether plastered across large billboards, interrupting television programmes or personalised adverts online, which track our shopping habits by monitoring the websites we visit.
Latest research suggests that almost a quarter of adults are obese, and campaigners from the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) say obesity is the "single greatest public health threat in the UK."
They are calling for companies like Coca-Cola and McDonald's to restrict advertising at the Olympics as it "completely sends the wrong message, especially to children," said Prof Terence Stephenson, a spokesman from AoMRC.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17744446The this news item in full and other related stories on the BBC website here7573955.jpg7573961.jpgJunk food
206218 Apr 2012 - BBC News - Drinking water improves exam grades, research suggestsStudents who take water into the examination hall may improve their grades, a study of 447 people found.Students who take water into the examination hall may improve their grades, a study of 447 people found.18/04/2012
Controlling for ability from previous coursework results, researchers found those with water scored an average of 5% higher than those without.
The study, from the universities of East London and Westminster, also noted that older students were more likely to bring in water to exam halls.
It says the findings have implications for exam policies on access to drinks.
The researchers observed 447 psychology students at the University of East London - 71 were in their foundation year, 225 were first-years and 151 were in their second year.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-17741653Read the full news item on the BBC website hereMP900400105.jpgBottle of water
205617 Apr 2012 - BBC News - Sugar warning for 'healthy' soft drinksSugar warning for healthy soft drinksPeople underestimate the amount of sugar in drinks which are perceived to be healthy17/04/2012
The Glasgow University study asked more than 2,000 people in the UK to estimate how much sugar was in a range of drinks.
While many overestimated the amount in fizzy beverages, they underestimated levels in smoothies and fruit juices.
The research also found soft drinks could be accounting for a large chunk of their recommended calorie intake.
The British Soft Drinks Association says the sugar in soft drinks is not hidden because beverages carry clear labelling of nutritional content, including calorie and sugar content.
After the chocolate egg indulgence of Easter, the children are back at school, and many parents will be trying to get their families back on track to a healthier diet. What better than smoothies and fruit juices to help with their five a day.
Perhaps this is not such a healthy option afterall. A new study from Glasgow University has found that 'healthy' drinks contain far more sugar than we realise and could be accounting for a large chunk of our recommended calorie intake. Read this BBC news item to get the full story.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-17731052?utm_source=Email+Campaign&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=265915-NH-eNews+-+April+17th+2012+Read the full news item on the BBC website here
2060Tolppanen et al 2012 - Association of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 with academic performance in childhood: findings from a prospective birth cohortAssociation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 with academic performance in childhood: findings from a prospective birth cohortAssociation of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 and D2 with academic performance in childhood: findings from a prospective birth cohort.Tolppanen AM, Sayers A, Fraser WD, Lawlor DA09/04/2012J Epidemiol Community Health. 2012 Apr 9
BackgroundHigher total serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations have been associated with better cognitive function mainly in cross-sectional studies in adults. It is unknown if the associations of different forms of 25(OH)D (25(OH)D(3) and 25(OH)D(2)) are similar.MethodsProspective cohort study (n=3171) with serum 25(OH)D(3) and 25(OH)D(2) concentrations measured at mean age of 9.8 years and academic performance at age 13-14 years (total scores in English, mathematics and science) and 15-16 years (performance in General Certificates of Education examinations).ResultsSerum 25(OH)D(3) concentrations were not associated with any educational outcomes. Higher 25(OH)D(2) concentrations were associated with worse performance in English at age 13-14 years (adjusted SD change per doubling in 25(OH)D(2) (95% CI) -0.05 (-0.08 to -0.01)) and with worse academic performance at age 15-16 years (adjusted OR for obtaining ≥5 A*-C grades (95% CI) 0.91 (0.82 to 1.00)).ConclusionThe null findings with 25(OH)D(3) are in line with two previous cross-sectional studies in children. It is possible that the positive association of 25(OH)D with cognitive function seen in adults does not emerge until later in life or that the results from previous cross-sectional adult studies are due to reverse causality. The unexpected inverse association of 25(OH)D(2) with academic performance requires replication in further studies. Taken together, our findings do not support suggestions that children should have controlled exposure to sunlight, or vitamin D supplements, in order to increase academic performance.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22493513View this and related abstracts on PubMed here. Free Full Text is available online
2059Agrawal et al 2012 - Metabolic syndrome in the brain: Deficiency in omega-3-fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognitionMetabolic syndrome in the brain: Deficiency in omega-3-fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognition"Metabolic syndrome" in the brain: Deficiency in omega-3-fatty acid exacerbates dysfunctions in insulin receptor signaling and cognitionAgrawal R, Gomez-Pinilla F02/04/2012J Physiol590(Pt 10):2485-99. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2012.230078. Epub 2012 Apr 2.
We pursued studies to determine the effects of the metabolicsyndrome (MetS) in brain, and the possibilities to modulate these effects by dietary interventions. In addition, we have assessed potential mechanisms by which brainmetabolic disorders can impact synaptic plasticity and cognition. We report that high-dietary fructose consumption leads to increase in insulin resistance index, insulin and triglyceride levels, which characterize MetS.
Rats fed on an n-3 deficient diet showed memory deficits in Barnes Maze, which were further exacerbated by fructose intake. In turn, n-3 deficient diet and fructose interventions disrupted insulin receptor signaling in hippocampus as evidenced by a decrease in phosphorylation of insulin receptor and its downstream effector Akt.
We found that high fructose consumption with n-3 deficient diet disrupts membrane homeostasis as evidenced by an increase in the ratio of n-6/n-3 fatty acids and levels of 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE), a marker of lipid peroxidation. Disturbances in brain energy metabolism due to n-3 deficiency and fructose treatments were evidenced by a significant decrease in AMPK phosphorylation and its upstream modulator LKB1 as well as a decrease in Sir2 levels. The decrease in phosphorylation of CREB, synapsin I and synaptophysin (SYP) levels by n-3 deficiency and fructose shows the impact of metabolic dysfunction on synaptic plasticity.
All parameters of metabolic dysfunction related to the fructose treatment were ameliorated by the presence of dietary n-3 fatty acid.
Results showed that dietary n-3 fatty aciddeficiency elevates the vulnerability to metabolic dysfunction and impaired cognitive functions by modulating insulin receptor signaling and synaptic plasticity.
Sugar, fructose, diabetes, insulin, cognition, Alzheimer's disease, omega-3 fatty acids, animal studyhttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=Metabolic%20syndrome%E2%80%9D%20in%20the%20brain%3A%20Deficiency%20in%20omega-3-fatty%20acid%20exacerbatesView this and related abstracts via PubMed here. Free full text is available online.
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