Just the Facts
M&M’s on Steroids
Targeting the adult market with a $10 million advertising blitz, Masterfoods USA introduced a new supersize version of M&M’s this summer. These “Mega” candies come in such mature colors as teal, maroon, and beige and are 55 percent larger than the original M&M’s. A cartoon on one package promises there’s “more of me to love.”
This Record-Setting Ultramarathoner Runs on Vegan Fuel
A Seattle athlete who holds the record for the grueling Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run won an even longer race this summer, the Badwater Ultramarathon. Scott Jurek, a physical therapist and coach, finished the 135-mile race through the California desert in just over 24 hours and 36 minutes. Jurek, who competes in 10–12 ultramarathons a year, has been a vegan since 1999.
For more information, visit www.scottjurek.com.
Simulator Training Saves Money
Simulators that replace animals in training exercises are not just humane—they are also an economic boon to medical centers. By training on simulators, obstetricians and anesthesiologists at all Harvard-affiliated hospitals now receive special discounts on their annual malpractice insurance premiums. And recent return-on-investment studies have shown that simulators can pay for themselves in a matter of weeks when compared to other training methods. There’s no better indicator that state-of-the-art simulation is where it’s at for medical education.
Fake Research a Real Problem
Some U.S. researchers are falsifying research results. In a survey published this spring in the journal Nature, one in every three researchers admitted to some sort of professional misbehavior, and 1.5 percent acknowledged that they had plagiarized or falsified data. The federal Office of Research Integrity, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, deals with the results of such behavior. The department received a record number of complaints in 2004, 50 percent more than in 2003.
Abuses in Canine Cloning Experiments
This summer, South Korean scientist Woo-Suk Hwang announced he had successfully cloned a dog, an Afghan named Snuppy (short for Seoul National University puppy). Cloned animals suffer from all kinds of abnormalities, including compromised immune systems and higher rates of infection and tumor growth. About 90 percent of cloning attempts fail to produce viable offspring. In Snuppy’s case, scientists had subjected 123 other dogs to repeated procedures—using more than 1,000 embryos—in an attempt to “create” a clone. Only three pregnancies resulted; one dog miscarried and another’s puppy died after just 22 days.
Meat Industry Rallies against Safety Regulations
The U.S. Department of Agriculture sponsored a public meeting on meat safety this summer at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul. Participants bemoaned huge economic losses if stricter regulations to protect against bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) are ever implemented. Panelists included the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Renderers Association, the National Milk Producers Association, and numerous other meat industry groups. Not one health, consumer, or animal protection group was included in the discussion.
Candied Milk, Anyone?
In its efforts to boost ever-declining milk sales, the dairy industry is rolling out new high-calorie concoctions with names like “Cookies & Cream,” “Milky Way,” and “Starburst.” Some are even carbonated. Although unflavored cow’s milk is fattening enough—an eight-ounce glass contains 8.2 grams of fat and 150 calories—these new products are packed with extra sugar. And unlike typical soft drinks, they also contain milk’s usual load of saturated fat.
PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall