Mercury found in common sweetener
High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), an artificial sweetener, has replaced sucrose (cane sugar) in soft drink production due to its lower cost and longer shelf life.
A recent article published in Environmental Health reports that of 20 samples of HFCS taken from three manufacturers, nine contained detectable amounts of mercury.
Two manufacturers were responsible for eight of the nine mercury-positive results. According to the authors of the report, the presence of mercury indicates the use of outdated methods in the refining process, and no amount of mercury in food products should be acceptable.
Source: The Washington Post
NFL players prone to brain disease
Six deceased NFL players have been diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, arising from the multiple concussions that the players suffered on the field.
The six players tested were all between the ages of 36 and 50. CTE is a degenerative brain condition that is correlated with the onset of dementia in late middle age.
NFL players have all been made aware of the risks of multiple concussions and the importance of proper treatment.
Source: The New York Times
Salt intake levels under scrutiny
Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene of New York City, who pushed in years past for restaurants to publish calorie counts on their menus and to not cook meals using trans fats, is now targeting salt.
Frieden claims that Americans ingest an unhealthy amount of salt, more than 80 percent of which can be traced back to packaged foods and meals prepared in restaurants.
Frieden has also claimed that today, Americans have become accustomed to large amounts of salt in meals, and that central to his strategy is a gradual reduction.
He adds that lower sodium levels in food will lead to immediate improvement in public health.
Source: The New York Times
FDA allows stem cell trials in humans
In spite of policies set early during the Bush administration limiting the types of human embryonic stem cell research that could be funded federally, the FDA has cleared trials beginning this summer for stem cell treatment on patients suffering from complete spinal cord injuries.
A complete spinal cord injury entails complete loss of motor and sensory function below the point of injury. The California-based Geron Corporation has been developing the techniques for stem cell treatment and training personnel under its own funding. It applied for approval last March, but received it only recently. Thomas Okarma, president and CEO of the Geron Corporation, says that the trials will establish whether it is safe to inject patients with precursors of nerve cells, called oligodendrocytes. They will also be monitoring the patients for increase in function under the point of injury.