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Just the Facts

On Second Thought, Make Mine Organic

Manufacturers have promoted genetically engineered soybeans that can withstand sprayings with glyphosate herbicide. However, Marc Lappé of the Center for Ethics and Toxics of Gualala, Calif., recently found "herbicide-tolerant" soybeans to be 12 to 14 percent lower in cancer-fighting phytoestrogens, compared to normal soybeans. It is not clear whether the change in nutritional value is due to genetic alteration, herbicide use, or both.

Dairy Industry Targets China

The dairy industry is targeting China, where the 95 percent prevalence of lactose intolerance has kept cow’s milk from gaining a major foothold. Xu Dingyi, director of the National Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Service in the Ministry of Agriculture, hopes to attract foreign investors to set up dairy ventures in China.

Meanwhile, 500 Beijing students will be enrolled in the School Milk Supplementation Trial, a Chinese-Australian research project that aims to show the health benefits of milk. Ironically, osteoporosis is much more prevalent in North America and Scandinavia, where milk consumption is much more common. Chronic health problems are expected to rise as animal products increase in Asian diets.

Dog Uninjured in Incident

Former U.S. Surgical chairman Leon Hirsch, 71, who has aggressively promoted animal use in laboratories, from his use of thousands of live dogs for surgical stapling exercises to setting up "Americans for Medical Progress" to promote animal experiments, recently found a dog on his Connecticut property. As Hirsch attempted to maneuver the dog back to his neighbor’s lawn, the dog bit him. The canine was quarantined for 14 days but has not shown any signs of illness as a result of the contact.

Spam Stock Plummets

The advent of fire advanced the intelligence and culture of early humans, not because it permitted them to cook meat, but because it expanded their range of edible plants, say Gregory Laden of the University of Minnesota and Richard Wrangham of Harvard. Their work in Kenya suggests that humans have used fire for 1.9 million years, much longer than the 200,000 to 500,000 years previously estimated. Fire does not alter the available caloric content of meat but greatly alters the nutrition available from root vegetables and other plants. Their findings are presented in the December 1999 Current Anthropology.

Monkeys Have Better Eating Habits Than Humans

Leaf-eating monkeys get ten times more vitamin C than typical humans, as well as much more potassium and other healthful nutrients, according to Katharine Milton of the University of California at Berkeley. She followed four monkey species living on Barro Colorado Island, a Panamanian nature preserve, and analyzed the food they dropped from trees.

Andrew Jackson Had Lead Poisoning?

Andrew Jackson’s persistent abdominal cramps, constipation, and extremity pains may have been caused by lead poisoning, according to pathologist Ludwig M. Deppisch, who analyzed hair samples from 1815 and 1839. The likely sources were a bullet in his left shoulder acquired during a gunfight in 1913 and not removed until 1932 and a second bullet in his lung that was never removed.

Let’s Make This Relationship Work

University of Iowa researchers tested the theory that the loss of a symbiotic relationship with intestinal parasites may be partly to blame for inflammatory bowel disease. They fed six suffering, yet courageous, volunteers parasite eggs and found that two to three weeks later, five of the six were symptom-free.

There’s Always Room for Veg-ello

Purdue University students Ryan Howard and Fay Mulvaney have whipped soybeans into a dessert that looks and tastes like Jell-O but is not made from boiled skin, bones, and other body parts. The hoofless dessert won a Purdue University agricultural contest. It is rich in isoflavones, calcium, and vitamin C, unlike real Jell-O, which is, well, more modest in nutritional value.

New Microsurgical Trainer

Rats are often used by surgeons practicing their microsurgical skills. A new latex simulator, PVC-Rat, allows careful practice in reconnecting arteries and nerves, without the use of animals. PVC-Rat is manufactured by Belgium-based Solvay Pharmaceuticals. It was designed by Microsurgical Developments (P.O. Box 2045, 6201CC, Maastricht, Netherlands; www.microdev.nl).

TOP PHOTO: © 1999, PHOTODISC




Autumn 1999 (Volume VIII, Number 4)

Autumn 1999
Volume VIII
Number 4

Good Medicine
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