- New York Times reporter Amelia Gentleman offers up an in depth look at the recent pesticide problems Coke and Pepsi have encountered in India:
The Center for Science and the Environment announced in August that drinks manufactured by Coca-Cola and PepsiCo in India contained on average more than 24 times the safe limits of pesticides, which could come from sugar, water and other ingredients.
When those reports appeared on the front pages of newspapers in India, Coke and Pepsi executives were confident that they could handle the situation. But they stumbled.
They underestimated how quickly events would spiral into a nationwide scandal, misjudged the speed with which local politicians would seize on an Indian environmental group’s report to attack their global brands and did not respond swiftly to quell the anxieties of their customers.
- UroStream might be a highly educated doctor, but even still, she admits “the single hardest phrase to utter as a practicing physician is ‘I don't know what is wrong.’”:
This is an especially difficult admission for younger docs who are just starting their practice and I have discovered that part of the maturing process as a physician is to accept that you simply cannot have all the answers. Naturally you should not proclaim ignorance too many times or you would be just plain incompetent. As a specialist, I am also very aware of the fact that I should know "my" area of the body more thoroughly, and that patients have been specifically referred to me because of this knowledge.
- Hilary E. MacGregor of The Los Angeles Times reports soon cold cuts will come with a side of viruses. It’s gross, but true:
The bacteriophage additive was approved for use on ready-to-eat meats, which are normally consumed without additional cooking, said Andrew Zajac, acting director of the division of petition review in the FDA Office of Food Additive Safety.
These foods can become contaminated with listeria when they are made, and because they're not cooked the contaminants won't be killed. The phage product will be sprayed on meats before packaging so that contaminated meats will be purged of listeria before the products reach the consumer.
- Blogging Baby talks about a new study designed to determine whether changes in school food and physical education will help prevent type 2 diabetes in children:
Hundreds of sixth graders in 42 middle schools will begin taking part in a study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The HEALTHY study will determine if changes in school food services and physical education classes, along with activities that encourage healthy behaviors, lower risk factors for type 2 diabetes, an increasingly common disease in youth. Participating schools will be randomly assigned to a program group, which implements the changes, or to a comparison group, which continues to offer food choices and PE programs typically seen in middle schools across the country. Students in the program group will have healthier choices from the cafeteria and vending machines (e.g., lower fat foods, more fruits and vegetables, and drinks with no added sugar) longer, more intense periods of physical activity, and activities and awareness campaigns that promote long-term healthy behaviors. After 2.5 years, all students will be tested for diabetes risk factors, including blood levels of glucose, insulin, and lipids. They will also be measured for fitness level, blood pressure, height, weight, and waist circumference.
- According to the Associated Press some US health officials doubt the results of a costly cancer study. Kevin Freking reports:
Under the program, the federal government paid $130 each time a chemotherapy provider assessed a Medicare patient's pain, fatigue and nausea. The payments were designed to encourage doctors to report information that might one day lead to improved care for cancer patients.
In a report to be released Wednesday, the inspector general for the Health and Human Services Department cast doubt on whether the money was well-spent. He questioned the integrity of the data that doctors submitted.
What remains baffling to the scientists is "why a sour receptor would come to be." They can explain 'bitter' as our way of avoiding poisonous substances, and 'sweet' as our way of knowing what to eat when we need a boost in energy. But sour??? They still don't know why we would need to detect sour food items.