Just the Facts
A noninvasive brain scanner developed by researchers at Aston University in England is advancing human brain research and helping to replace brain experiments on primates, cats, and other animals. Researchers with the University of Oxford recently used the scanner, called MEG (short for “magnetoencephalography”), to determine a neurological basis for parenting instincts, a finding that could eventually help treat women suffering from postpartum depression.
It’s a Big World After All
Disneyland has temporarily closed the “It’s a Small World” ride for renovation. The boats, originally built to accommodate average-size Americans 40 years ago, have been damaged by today’s overweight visitors. The ride is now being renovated to hold today’s “average-size” American.
Show Me the Money
The National Institutes of Health recently ordered the University of Connecticut Health Center to return $65,005 given to the school for David Waitzman’s monkey experiments, due to recent Animal Welfare Act violations. For 15 years, Waitzman inflicted brain damage on rhesus monkeys to study the effect on eye movements. His experiments never led to any clinically relevant treatments.
Heavy Metal Sushi
Recent tests of tuna sushi samples from 20 Manhattan restaurants and stores found such high mercury levels that just six pieces a week could exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s acceptable levels of mercury. Five of the 20 samples had so much mercury that the Food and Drug Administration could take legal action to remove the fish from the market.
Big Trouble in Mississippi
A bill proposed by three Mississippi legislators would forbid restaurants in the state from serving food to people who are obese and would allow health inspectors to take permits from any restaurant that repeatedly serves extremely overweight customers. About two-thirds of people in Mississippi are considered overweight or obese, according to federal health data.
A recent congressional investigation raised questions about data used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in approving the use of carbon monoxide gas as a method of maintaining a reddish color in older cuts of meat that would otherwise be discolored. Scientists with Cargill and Hormel Foods, two of the companies promoting this new technology, have questioned the validity of their own safety tests. The use of carbon monoxide treatment for beef is banned in Europe, Canada, and Japan because it can mask spoilage.
Thank Heaven for 7-Eleven
Move over beef jerky and cherry Slurpees! 7-Eleven is now featuring Moshe’s brand vegan faux-chicken, seitan steak, falafel, and tofu “egg-salad” sandwiches at several locations around Philadelphia. 7-Eleven’s Philadelphia market manager has reported that the sandwiches will eventually be sold at all 7-Eleven stores in the city.
McDonald’s recently agreed to stop advertising its Happy Meals on report cards in Seminole County, Fla., after thousands of parents complained when 27,000 children from kindergarten to fifth grade came home with report cards that promised a free Happy Meal to any student with good grades, attendance, or behavior. McDonald’s had picked up the $1,600 printing bill for the report cards but did not advertise that some Happy Meals contain as many as 28 grams of fat and more than 700 calories. PCRM was one of the first organizations to oppose this promotion.
Pig Brain Mist Sickens Slaughterhouse Workers
Twelve employees of a meatpacking plant that slaughters almost 2,000 pigs a day in southern Minnesota have reported sensations of burning, numbness, and weakness in the arms and legs. Doctors believe the neurological disease may be caused by the employees inhaling microscopic flecks of pig brain that enter the air when the pigs’ brains are removed with compressed air forced into the skull through the hole where the spinal cord enters. The brains from this plant are shipped to other countries for human consumption.
PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall