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Grains Lower Diabetes Risk
African-American women may be able to lower their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by eating plenty of magnesium-rich foods, especially whole grains, such as millet and barley, according to a recent report in Diabetes Care. Participants in the Black Women’s Health Study who consumed the most magnesium had a 31 percent lower risk of developing diabetes compared with those who consumed the least amount of magnesium.

Diabetes Care, October 2006.

Mirror Shatters Myth
elephantHappy, a 34-year-old female elephant at the Bronx Zoo, and her pachyderm friends recently proved that elephants can recognize themselves in a mirror. When Happy looked in the tall mirror researchers had placed inside the elephant enclosure, she repeatedly used her trunk to touch the “X” painted on her head, which she could not feel or have known was there without understanding her reflection. One of Happy’s elephant companions, 35-year-old Maxine, used the mirror to get a better peek inside her mouth.

Some researchers had previously held that humans, great apes, and bottlenose dolphins were the only animals able to show self-awareness. The experiment proves that even these researchers can gain better awareness.

Bridges, A. “Mirror Test Implies Elephant Self-Aware,” The Associated Press, October 30, 2006.

gasGas Pains
A recent study revealed that 938 million more gallons of gasoline go into noncommercial vehicles each year because Americans are significantly heavier than they were in 1960, when the average adult male weighed 166 pounds and the average adult female weighed 140 pounds. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, those averages were 191 and 164, respectively, in 2002. It takes more gas to transport our ever-fatter bodies.

Colker, D. “Our Appetite for Food Boosts Consumption—of Gasoline.” The Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2006.

PCRM’s Insulin Assay: Preferred by Most Researchers
PCRM’s cruelty-free insulin assay is now marketed by Millipore (formerly Linco Research) as the company’s preferred insulin assay. Millipore has sold enough kits to run almost 10,000 insulin tests, and researchers are so pleased with the accurate results that PCRM’s cruelty-free assay has replaced the conventional kit sold by the company. In 2005, PCRM worked with researchers to develop an insulin assay without the use of painful in vivo procedures, such as growing antibodies in the abdomen of mice, and without fetal-calf serum, a cruel slaughterhouse byproduct that can harbor bacteria and viruses.

Veggies Keep Us Young
New research suggests that eating vegetables helps slow mental decline as we age. In a six-year study, people 65 years of age or older who ate more than two servings of vegetables a day had about 40 percent less mental decline than people who ate few or no vegetables. Spinach, kale, and collards were among the most beneficial vegetables. Researchers suspect that is because they contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.

Morris MC, Evans DA, Tangney CC, Bienias JL, Wilson RS. Associations of vegetable and fruit consumption with age-related cognitive change. Neurology. 2006;67:1370-1376.

Food Fight
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently restored part of a lawsuit in which the parents of two minors claim that McDonald’s used deceptive ads to sell unhealthy food products that increased their daughters’ risk of heart disease and led to diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol. New York Judge Robert Sweet, who dismissed the complaint in 2003, issued a new ruling allowing claims that McDonald’s engaged in a scheme of deceptive advertising about the health benefits of its products between 1987 and 2002.

Hamblett, M. “Court Allows McDonald’s Food Fight,” New York Law Journal, September 21, 2006.

Mad Bee Disease
beeAlmost 60 cases of grayanotoxin intoxication, which stems from the consumption of “mad honey” made by bees who visit toxic rhododendron plant flowers, have been reported in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey. This condition causes adverse effects on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, including dizziness and hypotension, and, in serious cases, impaired consciousness, seizures, and atrioventricular block. Honey from the common oleander and almond blooms may also be toxic to humans.

Gunduz A, Turedi S, Uzun H, and Topbas M.  Mad honey poisoning. Am J Emerg Med. 2006;24(5):595-598. Available at Accessed: September 17, 2006.

PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall

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