Just the Facts
MRIs Predict Neurological Recovery
Researchers are better able to predict the likelihood of recovery in people with acute spinal cord injuries by using magnetic resonance imaging, according to a study in the journal Radiology. Images taken within 48 hours of injury can predict the extent of recovery and may justify more aggressive treatments for patients who have sustained severe damage but are capable of recovery.
Genetic Experiments Push U.K. Mouse Use to New High
Genetically modified mice are used in experiments now more than ever, and that’s pushed Britain’s number of animal “procedures” to its highest level in 15 years. Britain’s Home Office recently announced that more than three million experiments were carried out in 2006, which is a 4 percent increase compared with 2005 statistics.
With the demand for ethanol driving up corn prices, farmers have taken to mixing some cheaper alternatives into cattle feed. According to The Wall Street Journal, a Georgia feedlot operator feeds cows a mixture that includes chocolate bars and “party mix” —a blend of popcorn, pretzels, potato chips, and cheese curls.
What’s the best way to make sure another case of mad cow disease doesn’t show up in America? Don’t test for it. Believe it or not, that was the U.S. government’s position in response to a Kansas beef producer who wanted to test his entire herd. Currently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture tests less than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for mad cow disease. Three cases have shown up in the United States, and universal testing remains banned because of the possible harm it could do to the cattle industry.
Oscar, a cat who lives in a nursing home, has an uncanny ability to predict when patients are about to pass away. When staff members see Oscar curling up with a patient, they call the family and give them an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one. His ability to correctly predict patients’ deaths was described by Dr. David Dosa, geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University, in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Going Meatless Saves Money
A vegetarian diet trims grocery bills and long-term health care costs, according to a recent article on the MSN.com Web site. That’s because the healthy staples of a plant-based diet, including beans, lentils, and rice, are much less expensive per pound than chicken, tuna, or beef. People who follow a vegan diet also have less risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic illnesses, which means they don’t spend as much money on doctors, drugs, and hospitals as do meat-eaters.
Not Just Cleaner—They’re More Nutritious
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found not only that organic produce is lower in pesticide residue but that it may also be better than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables for overall and cardiovascular health. Organic tomatoes have almost twice the amount of flavonoids, important disease-fighting antioxidants that reduce heart attack and stroke risk, lower blood pressure, and may aid in preventing some types of cancer and dementia.
PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall