Trans fats linked to poor memory

Higher consumption of dietary trans fatty acid (dTFA) is linked to worsened memory function in men 45 years old and younger says a new study published in PLoS One. The research was carried out at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and looked at data from 1,018 men and women who were asked to complete a dietary survey and memory test involving word recall. The study concluded, “Greater dTFA was significantly associated with worse word recall in younger adults.” In an interview lead author and professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, Beatrice A. Golomb, said, “Trans fat consumption has previously shown adverse associations to behavior and mood — other pillars of brain function. However, to our knowledge a relation to memory or cognition had not been shown … As I tell patients, while trans fats increase the shelf life of foods, they reduce the shelf life of people.”

HPV vaccine given market authorisation

Sanofi Pasteur MSD’s GARDASIL 9 has been granted marketing authorisation by the European Commission. Dr Jean-Paul Kress, President of Sanofi Pasteur MSD, has said, “We are delighted to receive the EU Commission approval for this important vaccine … by vaccinating boys and girls we can prevent not only 90% of cervical cancers but also implement effective immunisation programmes to address other types of HPV related diseases such as anal, vulvar and vaginal cancers for which there is no current systematic screening.” The marketing authorisation was granted a clinical programme initiated in 2007 and seven trials that evaluated more than 15,000 individuals across 30 countries. Our recent update to ANH-Intl’s HPV vaccine campaign page will allow you to make your own informed decision as to whether this is a “significant step forward for public health” in Europe.

Fluoride tooth varnish for kids

Public health officials are urging the use of a fluoride varnish in children to prevent tooth decay. Following a successful scheme in Scotland, Hull City Council is conducting a feasibility study into its effectiveness, but the Local Dental Network, the Local Dental Committee (LDC) and dental care project Teeth Team believe this to be a waste of time as Scotland’s success should be enough. The fluoride varnish would be applied twice a year but Chris Groombridge, chairman of Teeth Team and secretary of the LDC, thinks that, “At the moment, it [public health department] appears to be reluctant to introduce fluoride varnish…” It’s another technology where, because of the extreme reactivity of fluoride, you are essentially exposing children to a potentially significant risk that hasn’t been adequately established. You are also encouraging children to rely on the fluoride varnish rather than helping them to develop proper dental hygiene techniques.  

Kids not drinking enough water

A new nationwide study has found that more than half of US children and teenagers might not be drinking enough water. The research looked at 4,134 participants aged 6 to 19 years, and found that 54.5% were inadequately hydrated. Boys were more likely to be inadequately hydrated than girls, and lead author Erica Kenney was surprised to find that nearly one in four kids reported drinking no water at all during the course of the day. Mild dehydration could result in cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases, and symptoms include fussiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and a lack of tears when the child is crying. Professor of nutrition in the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and director of the Intervention and Policy Division, Dianne Ward, recommends that parents remind their children to drink water. A child’s thirst mechanism isn’t as highly developed as an adult’s which inherently makes them more susceptible to dehydration.

Séralini continues on the GM warpath

Professor Gilles-Eric Séralini has once again led a team of French researchers to study 13 samples of commonly used rat feeds for traces of 262 pesticides, 4 heavy metals, 17 dioxins and furans, 18 PCBs and 22 GMOs. The results were overwhelming and have led the team to warn about the use of historic industry safety data for pesticides and genetically modified (GM) foods. All of the feeds studied contained “significant concentrations” of the afore-mentioned products, and all at levels likely to cause disease and disruption of the hormonal and nervous system. These feeds have been historically used as control diets in research investigating GM foods. Séralini and his team warn that the studies using these feeds as control diets are obviously flawed, but Monsanto commented and said, “This paper irresponsibly misleads readers by insinuating conclusions that the authors did not even study and by calling into question every rodent toxicological study ever conducted – including their own.”

German beekeepers want nationwide ban on GM

The German Beekeepers Association (DIB) represents around 100,000 beekeepers and has called for a nationwide ban on cultivating genetically modified (GM) plants. This comes after the decision to allow member states to opt-out of the cultivation of GMOs that have been approved at the EU level. German Agriculture Minister, Christian Schmidt (CSU), wants each state to make an individual decision, but the beekeepers argue that because bees travel up to 8 km in search of food it would render any GM-free zones futile. The DIB pointed out, “Bees know no borders." Dr H Christoph von Heydebrand of the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture believes that a nationwide ban on GMO cultivation would be much harder to justify under the new law than a regional or local ban. Matthew Moore, a lawyer from the EU Council, holds the view that opt-outs, if allowed to stand, could create divisions in the European single market and might bring the member state into conflict with the ECJ.  But surely a biological conflict with the bees is more important than a legal conflict with the ECJ, given bees are seminal to successful agriculture and therefore the food supply of Europeans?

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