Attention, college students cramming between midterms and finals: Binging on soda and sweets for as little as six weeks may make you stupid.
A new UCLA study is the first to show how a diet steadily high in fructose slows the brain, hampering memory and learning — and how omega-3 fatty acids can counteract the disruption.
Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) fed two groups of rats a solution containing high-fructose corn syrup – a common ingredient in processed foods – as drinking water for six weeks.
One group of rats was supplemented with brain-boosting omega-3 fatty acids in the form of flaxseed oil and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), while the other group was not.
Before the sugar drinks began, the rats were enrolled in a five-day training session in a complicated maze. After six weeks on the sweet solution, the rats were then placed back in the maze to see how they fared.
“The DHA-deprived animals were slower, and their brains showed a decline in synaptic activity,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. “Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier.”
In other words, eating too much fructose could interfere with insulin’s ability to regulate how cells use and store sugar, which is necessary for processing thoughts and emotions.
In the US, high-fructose corn syrup is commonly found in soft drink, condiments, applesauce, baby food and other processed snacks.
The average American consumes more than 40 pounds (18 kilograms) of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
A Mexican mother blinded her 5-year-old son in an apparent satanic ritual, authorities in the central state of Mexico said Thursday.
Carmen Rios Garcia, 23, is one of seven people in custody in connection with the crime, a municipal official in Nezahualcoyotl told Efe.
“What we think – it’s a hypothesis – is that it was a satanic ritual. They speak of a religious ceremony,” Mayra Perez said.
The incident occurred at 8:30 a.m. in the town of San Agustin Atlapulco, where 10 people, three of them minors, were inside a house performing “a religious ceremony,” she said.
One of those present, the brother of Rios Garcia, told the authorities that the woman “had the child in her arms” and asked the other attendees at the ceremony to close their eyes.”
It was then that Rios Garcia stuck her fingers into her son’s eyes, blinding him, claimed Perez.
Alerted by relatives of the boy, municipal police transported young Fernando to a nearby hospital, from where he was ultimately transferred to a better-equipped facility in Mexico City.
According to the boy’s uncle, Jesus Rios, several of the people present at the ceremony, which lasted several days, were under the influence of “some drug or in shock,” a condition that prevented them from helping the youngster.
The Mexico state Attorney General’s Office opened an investigation into the incident.
Besides the people arrested, a child of 8 and a 9-month-old baby were rescued from the home where the ritual occurred.
Regarding Fernando’s condition, officials at the Mexico City health department told Efe that he is under sedation and out of mortal danger, but he sustained severe trauma – and irreversible damage – to his eyes, and thus he will remain blind for life. EFE
The breastfeeding by humans of animals is a practice that is widely attested historically and continues to be practiced today by some cultures. The reasons for the practice are varied: to feed young animals, to drain a woman’s breasts, to promote lactation, to develop good nipples, to prevent conception and so on. One example of the practice being used for health reasons comes from late 18th century England. When the writer Mary Wollstonecroft was dying of puerperal fever in 1797 following the birth of her second daughter, the doctor ordered that puppies be applied to her breasts to draw off the milk, possibly with the intention of helping her womb to contract to expel the infected placenta that was slowly poisoning her. Similarly, English and German physicians between the 16th and 18th centuries recommended using puppies to “draw” the mother’s breasts, and in 1799 the German Friedrich Benjamin Osiander reported that in Göttingen women suckled young dogs to dislodge nodules from their breasts.
Religious and ceremonial reasons have also been a factor. Saint Veronica Giuliani (1660–1727), an Italian nun and mystic, was known for taking a lamb to bed with her and suckling it as a symbol of the Lamb of God. In far northern Japan, the Ainu people are noted for holding an annual bear festival at which a captured bear, raised and suckled by the women, is sacrificed. Bears were also suckled by the Itelmens of the Kamchatka Peninsula of Russia but in their case for economic reasons, to benefit from the meat when the bear was grown and to obtain highly-prized bear bile for use in traditional medicine.Elsewhere, animals have widely been used as “milk siblings” for infants to toughen the nipples and maintain the mother’s milk supply. In Persia and Turkey puppies were used for this purpose. The same method was practiced in the United States in the early 19th century; William Potts Dewees recommended in 1825 that from the eighth month of pregnancy, expectant mothers should regularly use a puppy to harden the nipples, improve breast secretion and prevent inflammation of the breasts. The practice seems to have fallen out of favour by 1847, as Dewees suggested using a nurse or some other skilled person to carry out this task rather than an animal. Tribal peoples around the world have used many types of animals for the same purpose. Travelers in Guyana observed native women breastfeeding a variety of animals, including monkeys, opossums, pacas, agoutis, peccaries and deer. Native Canadians and Americans often breastfed young dogs; an observer commented that the Pima people of Arizona “withdrew their breasts sooner from their own infants than from young dogs.