This Weeks Health News – 28/02/14

This weeks health news has covered new findings in the risk of developing age related dementia, a controversial study on breast milk and formula milk, and a child obesity....

This weeks health news has covered new findings in the risk of developing age related dementia, a controversial study on breast milk and formula milk, and a child obesity.


Roast pork in ovenCooking meat ‘may be dementia risk’

Browning meat in the oven, grill or frying pan produces chemicals which may increase the risk of developing dementia, US researchers suggest… Read more here, and the research paper here.

The BBC news headline is quick to condemn meat for some reason, but I think this is just shock tactics to promote the news article. In fact, the potential risk factor identified here is something called oxidant glycotoxins, which are ‘advanced glycation end products’ (aptly abbreviated to AGEs), and simply means a reactive sugar derived toxin. These AGEs are commonly by-produced when you cook meat or fat with sugars, and the higher the temperature the more AGEs seem to be produced. The main factors associated with AGE production seem to be processed foods and foods cooked at high temperatures. This research has shown that these AGEs may contribute to age associated dementia – something which is on the rise in the UK, and a concern for many. The research was only conducted in mice not humans, but it is likely to have similar effects in humans.

AGEs are found in every food, for example, celery contains about 43kU (kU = thousand units) of AGEs in 100g, so they cannot be completely avoided, but our body is able to cope with them in moderate dosages. Compare the celery to the 18,520 kU found per serving in BBQ chicken skin, or the 91,577 kU found in fried bacon you can that foods can very massively. From looking at these foods, it is clear that foods prepared in a highly reactive environment are likely to contain a higher amount of AGEs, so take care with your cooking! You can find a list of foods and their AGE content here.


Feeding babyIs breast really best? New study suggests feeding babies from breast over bottle ‘doesn’t have impact we think it does’

Breast-feeding babies may not actually have the wide-ranging long term health outcomes we think it does, according to new research published in the journal Social Science & Medicine… Read more here.

A study, which compared breast fed vs formula in siblings has suggested that breast feeding is not as beneficial as we all originally thought, and that it may actually (possibly) increase the risk of asthma.

I’ll be honest, I am skeptical. I haven’t managed to get my hands on the actual study, but there have been a number of studies showing that breast milk is in fact best. One study is not going to change my mind, especially when I cannot find who the study was funded by, or the methods used (if anyone can find a link to the study, please could you put it in the comments!). Statistics are very easy to manipulate and skew, and all too often we see that correlation is confused with cause. So if you were thinking of using formula milk over breast milk, I wouldn’t make the change based on this. I wrote a pretty thorough comparison of the nutrients in breast milk vs formula milk here if you were wanting to do some more reading on the topic.


Obese childMore than 70 morbidly obese children overfed by parents are taken into care

Scores of children were so badly overfed that they have been taken from their families for their own good, data acquired under freedom of information laws suggest… Read more here.

Overfeeding children is being seen as a form of child abuse, and in some cases, is so sever that the children are taken into care to help control their weight. Some of these children weighed as much as 20 stone, and to reach that weight in about 10 years of life is truly shocking and amazing.

It isn’t fair to the children really, and they certainly cannot be blamed. I know that parents don’t want their kids to go hungry, but something seems fundamentally wrong when children are reaching this weight, and I can see how it can be classed as a form of child abuse. It is setting kids on a road of poor health and developmental problems before they can even understand the risks, which can only worsen as they grow up. I think taking the children away form the parents so they can become a healthy weight is the better of the two evils in this situation.


Images courtesy of sickmouthyfui and Fhardseen.

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