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The Physicians Committee

Just the Facts

frolicking coupleNature’s Viagra
Move over Viagra—watermelon is here! The flesh and rind of watermelon contain citrulline, which can trigger the production of a compound that helps relax the body’s blood vessels, including the vessels responsible for male sexual function. When consumed in large quantities, citrulline changes into arginine, an amino acid that benefits the heart and the circulatory and immune systems.

One Smart Dummy
The United Kingdom’s University of Portsmouth has a new mannequin for training medical personnel. It vomits. It sweats. It even bleeds. The remote-controlled dummy is designed to replicate a human’s anatomical structure and can suffer a heart attack, have an allergic reaction to a drug, and even get goose bumps.

Can’t Weight to Have a Baby?
Research shows that obese men have more abnormal sperm and produce less semen than men with a normal weight, according to study results presented at a Spanish scientific conference. Recent research had already shown that obese women are more likely to be infertile. Perhaps the newest fertility drug could be a vegan diet.

Mommy, Wow! I’m a Big Kid Now
An increasing number of American children are taking medication for conditions linked to obesity, according to a new study in Obesity Reviews. Hundreds of thousands of children are taking medication to treat type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, and acid reflux. These conditions, all related to obesity, were almost nonexistent in children just a few years ago.

fish interviewFish Talk
Researchers have stumbled on evidence that fish vocalize. The neural circuits related to vocalization were found in the developing brains of larval midshipman fish, with similarities to those found in a range of other animals, including primates. One can only imagine what the fish wanted to say about the experimenters.

Not So Fast, Food
The Los Angeles City Council has placed a moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in the low-income neighborhood of south Los Angeles. The yearlong ban is an attempt to reverse the city’s obesity epidemic by attracting more healthful restaurants and grocery stores to the area.

Obesity and Pregnancy
Not to say that overweight women cannot get pregnant. In fact, one in five women who gives birth in the United States is obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Doctors in maternity wards are seeing more women who are morbidly obese, some weighing up to 600 pounds. Obese women have a higher risk of complications, including hypertension and diabetes, and also have an increased chance of delivering prematurely.

grim reaper with cereal boxHealth Food or Junk?
Foods with kid-friendly packaging may not be as wholesome as parents think. Almost 90 percent of products marketed as fun, kid-friendly foods do not meet established nutritional standards, according to a new study from Canada. Sixty-two percent of foods that were of “poor nutritional quality” made positive nutritional claims on the package.

Cloned Cows?
The European Union’s top food safety agency has called for further study to determine whether products from cloned animals are safe. Officials are concerned that the impact of cloning on animal health and welfare could negatively affect food safety.

Ethical Tissue
Ethical Tissue is a research tissue bank that collects, stores, and supplies a wide range of human tissues, cells, and fluids to medical research groups, obviating the use of animals in research. Ethical Tissue’s innovative approach ensures that biosamples are made available to researchers in the shortest time period and with minimum paperwork.

PCRM Illustrations - Doug Hall

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