Just the Facts
These Guinea Pigs Really Are Guinea Pigs
Although hearing loss researchers have ample opportunities to test protective approaches in at-risk populations (factory workers, for example), some scientists continue to subject animals to painful experiments. Guinea pigs are the most often used species, then cats, then monkeys. Unlike human patients, these animals can’t report benefits to the researchers.
Source: “Beyond Animal Research,” January 2005
Bacteria Bites Back…Again
Hard-to-treat urinary tract infections might have a dietary link. Researchers at the University of California—Berkeley suspect that E. coli from infected cows and other farmed animals may be causing antibiotic-resistant UTIs. The growing problem of antibiotic resistance is caused in part by widespread use of antibiotics in factory farms and on crowded feedlots; the drugs are used to speed the animals’ growth and to prevent infection.
Source: Science News Online, Week of January 15, 2005
In the Name of Science
After spending two weeks on the Atkins diet in a research project funded by the British Heart Foundation, a team of scientists from Oxford University reported that half the team felt “really terrible.” Lead researcher and cardiologist Michaela Sheuermann-Freestone, M.D., suffered an arrhythmia and warned of the diet’s long-term effects.
Source: Oxford Student, January 20, 2005; and Cherwell Online, January 21, 2005
Give Me Your Chocolate and No One Will Get Hurt
Researcher Gene-Jack Wang, M.D., is studying whether overeaters, like drug addicts, suffer from a shortage of dopamine receptors. Since Dr. Wang’s previous research proved that food affects the release of dopamine in the brain, his new research could explain why overeaters go back for seconds.
EPA Gives away the Farm
The Environmental Protection Agency is pushing a new program that is supposed to help reduce factory farm pollution, but Environmental Defense calls it a “sweetheart deal” for polluters. Livestock producers worried about violating Clean Air Act emission standards can receive a blanket waiver simply by making small payments to an EPA fund set up to develop monitoring methods.
Source: Environmental Defense, news release, January 21, 2005
New Reason to Go Vegetarian
A Thai-language newspaper reports that the “gruesome task of retrieving the bodies of tsunami victims has turned many Thai rescue workers vegetarian.” One worker explained that vegetarian food made his team’s job easier. A survivor was quoted as saying that the smell of death made her lose her taste for meat.
Source: Reuters, January 14, 2005
Butcher, Baker, Toxicologist?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has added three compounds found in grilled meats and eggs to its growing list of cancer-causing agents. The heterocyclic amines MeIQ, MeIQx, and PhIP form when meat and eggs are grilled or cooked at high temperatures. They are also present in cigarette smoke.
Source: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, news release, January 31, 2005