Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters

Sarah Treuhaft, PolicyLink
Allison Karpyn, The Food Trust
March 2010
“…..Inequitable access to healthy food is a major contributor to health disparities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, adult obesity rates are 51 percent higher for African Americans than whites, and 21 percent higher for Latinos.. ….”
An apple a day?
“…..For millions of Americans—especially people living in low-income communities of color— finding a fresh apple is not so easy. Full-service grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other vendors that sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy foods cannot be found in their neighborhoods.
What can be found, often in great abundance, are convenience stores and fast food restaurants that mainly sell cheap, high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods and offer few healthy options.

Global Minute for Peace


By John McConnell

Four billion years ago
Our lonely Earth
Set sail on cosmic seas
Guided by an unseen hand
Of nature, God or chance.

As life evolved
Through endles eco-cycles
Man was born, destined
To destroy or enrich
the Precious Ship.

And now his hand
Has seized the tiller
But his ear has not
Yet caught the Captain's
Quiet command.

The sails are down, the ship becalmed,
Its fragil life at stake.
No longer do we ride the gentle swells of
Silent seas and breathe
The fragrant air.

Broken are the rhythms
Of our cyclic plants
And other living things.

But now the Captain speaks again
Our quiet thoughts at last reveal his voice.

"Hoist the sails, Earth Man.
Set them for celestial winds.
Hold the tiler firm,
The course ahead is clear."

Be He nature, God or chance
His voice is heard
And we shall heed
The Captain's quiet command.

– Important Perennial Message from John McConnell – 
We urge world leaders to speak out for a Global Minute for Peace. Efforts by world leaders to speak out for this annual event could result in new hope and a new beginning for the whole human family. The date of December 22 can be designated Global Minute for Peace Day, and celebrated worldwide every year. 

"Minute for Peace -- December 22, 2008
Provides the Way to Global Peace"

The 2010 TIME 100

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva

When Brazilians first elected Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva President in 2002, the country's robber barons nervously checked the fuel gauges on their private jets. They had turned Brazil into one of the most inequitable places on earth, and now it looked like payback time. Lula, 64, was a genuine son of Latin America's working class — in fact, a founding member of the Workers' Party — who'd once been jailed for leading a strike.
By the time Lula finally won the presidency, after three failed attempts, he was a familiar figure in Brazilian national life. But what led him to politics in the first place? Was it his personal knowledge of how hard many Brazilians must work just to get by? Being forced to leave school after fifth grade to support his family? Working as a shoeshine boy? Losing part of a finger in a factory accident?
No, it was when, at age 25, he watched his wife Maria die during the eighth month of her pregnancy, along with their child, because they couldn't afford decent medical care.
There's a lesson here for the world's billionaires: let people have good health care, and they'll cause much less trouble for you.
And here's a lesson for the rest of us: the great irony of Lula's presidency — he was elected to a second term in 2006 and will serve through this year — is that even as he tries to propel Brazil into the First World with government social programs like Fome Zero (Zero Starvation), designed to end hunger, and with plans to improve the education available to members of Brazil's working class, the U.S. looks more like the old Third World every day.
What Lula wants for Brazil is what we used to call the American Dream. We in the U.S., by contrast, where the richest 1% now own more financial wealth than the bottom 95% combined, are living in a society that is fast becoming more like Brazil.
Moore's latest film is Capitalism: A Love Story
View the full list for "The 2010 TIME 100"

Read more:,28804,1984685_1984864,00.html#ixzz0mUea4t7H

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

CAC x Framingham for "substantial" atherosclerosis

CAC beats Framingham for "substantial" atherosclerosis

APRIL 26, 2010 | Emma Hitt
From Medscape Medical News—a professional news service of WebMD
New Haven, CT - Almost two-thirds of women and one-quarter of men with substantial atherosclerosis will be missed if subjects are excluded from further screening because they are in the Framinghamlow-risk category, according to a report published in the May 2010 issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology. [1]
"Many coronary events occur in patients without warning, and the need for an effective screening program has been recognized for many years. Historically, the Framingham risk score has been the dominant method of risk stratification in the US," write study coauthors Drs Kevin M Johnson (Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT) and David A Dowe (Atlantic Medical Imaging, Galloway, NJ)./.../

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Poços de água causam dezenas de tremores por dia

Quando os homens fazem a terra tremer
Poços de água causam dezenas de tremores por dia no interior paulista
Simulação: um hipotético tremor de terra abala a igreja matriz de Bebedouro
Como fazer a terra tremer mesmo sem tocar em uma banda de rock pesado? Basta perfurar um poço de pelo menos 100 metros de profundidade, deixar encher de água e aguardar. Provavelmente a água vai se infiltrar entre os blocos de rocha abaixo da superfície e precipitar o deslizamento dos que já estavam para se soltar. Como resultado, o chão vai tremer, embora seja impossível prever em que momento e com que intensidade. Dificilmente será algo tão dramático quanto os terremotos recentes no Chile, que deslocaram várias cidades. Mas talvez seja o bastante para causar trincas em paredes de casas, como está acontecendo há alguns anos na região de Bebedouro, norte do estado de São Paulo./.../

Earth Day 2010

April 23, 2010

Earth Day 2010

Yesterday was Earth Day, since 1970 it's been a day set aside to remember and appreciate the Earth's environment, and all of our roles within it. As a way to help appreciate and observe our environment, I've collected 39 recent images here, each a glimpse into some aspect of the world around us, how it affects and sustains us, and how we affect it. Here's hoping everyone had a great Earth Day yesterday. (39 photos total)

The most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth created to date. Using a collection of satellite-based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer of our planet. Much of the information contained in this image came from a single remote-sensing device-NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, or MODIS. Flying over 700 km above the Earth onboard the Terra satellite. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center)

Vacina para gripe protege o coração

Os paulistas estão re-descobrindo (como novidade) o que a AMICOR Maria Inês Reinert Azambuja já havia demonstrado desde a década de 80 e divulgado pelo mundo. Depois da notícia transcrevo um artigo  dela, do Lancet, relacionado com a matéria.
Segundo Incor, vacina para gripe comum também protege o coração
Pesquisadores do Incor descobriram que depois da imunização, as mortes por infarto caíram. Todo ano, mais de 80% dos idosos tomam a vacina contra a gripe comum.

E da Revista Lancet: Vol 10 March 2010

Infl ammation as the cause of coronary heart disease 

It was with great satisfaction that I saw, published in 
The Lancet Infectious Diseases, a Review by Charlotte 
Warren-Gash and colleagues1 on infl uenza as a trigger 
for acute myocardial infarction and cardiovascular 
diseases deaths.
Warren-Gash and colleagues review several recent 
studies and refer to historical studies published 
between the 1920s and 1970s, suggesting an 
association between infl uenza and increases in 
mortality due to coronary heart disease. But the 
bibliography shows that there were no publications 
on this topic during the 1980s and 1990s. The 
classifi cation of coronary heart disease as a 
degenerative condition had become so strong that it 
suppressed the knowledge of a link with infl uenza for 
more than 20 years. By 1990, I had been struggling 
for many years to fi nd an explanation for what I had
recognised as an epidemic of coronary heart disease.
Since epidemics refl ect not just an environmental 
exposure, but also a change in the rate of population 
vulnerability over time, I had been looking for what 
might have changed the vulnerability of the world 
population causing them to die from that so-called 
degenerative disease. Negative selection by two 
world wars, and smoking, both happened worldwide 
with eff ects expected to be limited to that period, and 
although possibly contributory, were not suffi cient to 
explain by themselves the noted patterns. I could not 
see any other alternatives. Then I read a 1988 editorial 
by Cunningham and Pasternack2 called The potential 
role of viruses in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Up 
to that point I had not considered the rise and fall in 
mortality due to coronary heart disease as having an 
infectious cause. There was one infectious event that 
fulfi lled the requirements of precedence, geographical 
extension, and size to be thought associated with 
the 20th century mortality due to coronary heart 
disease: the 1918 infl uenza pandemic! After that, it 
was not diffi cult to pull together the ecological and the 
biological evidence to propose an association between 
both events.3 
In a meeting on atherosclerosis in Montréal, in 1994, 
my abstract was the only one dealing with infection.3 
The fi rst international symposium on infection and 
atherosclerosis happened only in 1998, in France.
Several causes were being considered at that time,4 
but my abstract was the only one proposing a role for 
influenza.5 The fi rst paper in a peer-reviewed journal 
on an association between infl uenza and coronary 
heart disease was published in 2000.6 In 2002 I 
published my own work on this subject in Brazil,7,8 and 
in 2003 I was invited to the fi rst meeting on influenza 
and cardiovascular diseases held at the Texas Heart  
Institute.9,10 Since 2004, there has been growth in the 
number of investigations tackling the association 
between infl uenza and coronary heart disease, and
Warren-Gash and colleagues. do an excellent job 
reviewing them.
The time might have arrived to seriously consider 
substituting inflammation for degeneration as the 
pandemic is giving us the opportunity of widely 
reassess the role of infection, and particularly of 
influenza, on the cause of coronary heart disease.
The Review by Warren-Gash and colleagues is proof 
that change is already on its way. Now it is up to us 
to decide whether we are ready to advance, and how 

Maria Inês Reinert Azambuja
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, RS Brazil
I declare that I have no confl icts of interest.

1 Warren-Gash C, Smeeth L, Hayward AC. Infl uenza as a trigger for acute
myocardial infarction or death from cardiovascular disease: a systematic
review. Lancet Infect Dis 2009; 9: 601–10.
2 Cunningham MJ, Pasternack RC. The potential role of viruses in the
pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Circulation 1988; 77: 964–66.
3 Reinert-Azambuja M. 1918–19 infl uenza pandemic and ischemic heart
disease epidemic: cause and eff ect? 10th international symposium on
atherosclerosis; Montreal, QC, Canada; Oct 9–14, 1994. Abstract 277.
4 Dodet B, Plotkin SA. Infection and atherosclerosis, Am Heart J 1999;
138 (suppl 1): S417–18.
5 Reinert-Azambuja MI. 1918 Infl uenza pandemic and the rise in CHD
mortality: cause and eff ect? Symposium on infection and atherosclerosis;
Annecy, France; Dec 6–9, 1998.
6 Naghavi M, Barlas Z, Siadaty S, Naguib S, Madjid M, Casscells W.
Association of infl uenza vaccination and reduced risk of recurrent
myocardial infarction. Circulation 2000; 102: 3039–45.
7 Azambuja MI, Duncan BB. Similarities in mortality patterns from infl uenza
in the fi rst half of the 20th century and the rise and fall of ischemic heart
disease in the United States: a new hypothesis concerning the coronary
heart disease epidemic. Cad Saude Publica 2002; 18: 557–66.
8 Azambuja MI, Duncan BB. The authors reply. Cad Saude Publica 2002;
18: 571–77.
9 Madjid M, Aboshady I, Awan I, Litowski S, Casscells S. Infl uenza and
cardiovascular diseases—is there a causal relationship? Texas Heart Inst J
2004; 31: 4–13.
10 Azambuja MI. Spanish flu and early 20th century expansion of a
coronary heart disease-prone subpopulation. Texas Heart Inst J 2004;
31: 14–21.
11 Ridker PM. C-Reactive Protein and the prediction of cardiovascular events
among those at intermediate risk: moving an infl ammatory hypothesis
toward consensus. JACC 2007; 49: 2129–38.
12 Azambuja MI, Achutti AA, Levins R. The infl ammation paradigm: Towards a
consensus to explain coronary heart disease mortality in the 20th century.
CVD Prev Control 2008; 3: 69–76.
13 Azambuja MI. Connections: can the 20th century coronary heart disease
epidemic reveal something about the 1918 infl uenza lethality?
Braz J Med Biol Res 2008; 41: 1–4.
Acinetobacter baumannii infections in children
In their
 idea behind atherogenesis.11 The 2009 H1N1 

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Pill at 50: Sex, Freedom and Paradox

Combined monophasic early contraception pill, 1960. Pink contraceptive pills (marked 'PD') in a circular blue plastic dispenser.
There's no such thing as the Car or the Shoe or the Laundry Soap. But everyone knows the Pill, whose FDA approval 50 years ago rearranged the furniture of human relations in ways that we've argued about ever since.
Consider the contradictions: It was the first medicine ever designed to be taken regularly by people who were not sick. Its main inventor was a conservative Catholic who was looking for a treatment for infertility and instead found a guarantee of it. It was blamed for unleashing the sexual revolution among suddenly swinging singles, despite the fact that throughout the 1960s, women usually had to be married to get it. Its supporters hoped it would strengthen marriage by easing the strain of unwanted children; its critics still charge that the Pill gave rise to promiscuity, adultery and the breakdown of the family. In 1999 the Economist named it the most important scientific advance of the 20th century, but Gloria Steinem, one of the era's most influential feminists, calls its impact "overrated." One of the world's largest studies of the Pill — 46,000 women followed for nearly 40 years — was released this March. It found that women who take the Pill are less likely to die prematurely from any cause, including cancer and heart disease, yet many women still question whether the health risks outweigh the benefits./.../

Brain Exercises Don't Improve Cognition

artpartner-images / Photographer's Choice RF / Getty Images

Study: Brain Exercises Don't Improve Cognition

Read more:,8599,1983306,00.html?xid=newsletter-weekly#ixzz0mEOej4Kw
The study, published online on Tuesday by the journal Nature, tracked 11,430 participants through a six-week online study. The participants were divided into three groups: the first group undertook basic reasoning, planning and problem-solving activities (like choosing the "odd one out" of a group of four objects); the second completed more complex exercises of memory, attention, math and visual-spatial processing that were designed to mimic popular brain-training computer games and programs; and the control group was asked to use the Internet to research answers to trivia questions.You've probably heard it before: the brain is a muscle that can be strengthened. It's an assumption that has spawned a multimillion-dollar computer-game industry of electronic brainteasers and memory games. But in the largest study of these games to date, a team of British researchers has found that healthy adults who undertake computer-based "brain training" do not improve their mental fitness in any significant way./.../

Sunday, April 25, 2010



24 April 2010
No one knows for sure about the long-term effects of watching 3-D television
because it’s too new.
Take your thumb and hold it out directly in front of you, away from your face. Now close the left eye. Open it and close the right eye.
Your thumb appears to have moved, even though you didn’t move it with your arm. Three-D technology capitalizes on this effect, taking advantage of the brain’s ability to fuse two images into one. Those glasses that you have to wear when watching something in 3-D are basically helping your brain interpret two flat images as one object that has depth./.../

Hubble Celebrates 20 Years

NewsCenter image

Starry-Eyed Hubble Celebrates 20 Years of Awe and Discovery

In 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into its orbit around the Earth. Over the past two decades, the world has followed Hubble's saga, watching as image after image revealed another part of the cosmos that would otherwise be invisible to our eyes. We absorbed the discoveries that the pictures sparked and witnessed the astronaut missions that brought the telescope new technology and extended its life.

This year Hubble achieves its 20th anniversary, renewed and equipped by the latest servicing mission for many more years of astronomy. More than 30,000 objects have come under the telescope's gaze, each observation slotting another piece into the cosmic puzzle of the universe. Join us as we celebrate one of the world's most successful observatories, even now changing the face of astronomy, its final legacy still in the making.

“Mediterranean diet”

“Mediterranean diet” benefits partly due to oil: study
April 19, 2010
Courtesy of BioMed Central
World Science staff
In gre di ents of ol ive oil that sup press in flammation in the body are partly re spon si ble for the healthy effects of “Mediter ranean di ets,” sci en tists say in a new re port.

A Med i ter ra nean di et is gen er ally con sid ered to be one with plen ty of fruits, veg eta­bles, legumes, ce reals, some fish and al co hol, and lit tle dairy and meat. Ol ives and ol­ive oil are al so typ i cal fea tures of Med i ter ra nean di ets. Such reg i mens have been linked to a death ra te re duced by half in 70- to 90-year-olds, and ben e fits such as low er risk of car di o vas cu lar dis ease and Alzheimer’s dis ease.

Part of the ex plana t ion for such effects lies in a family of weakly acid ic, or gan ic chem i­cal com pounds called phe nols, found in ol ive oil, ac cord ing to Francisco Perez-Jimenez from the University of Cordoba, Spain, lead re searcher in the new study.

Phe nols have ef fects on genes in volved in in flamma t ion, he added, a pro cess in which blood flow to spe cif ic parts of the body in creases as part of an im mune res ponse. In­flamma t ion can be come an ab nor mal, chron ic con di tion in a num ber of dis eases, in­clud ing heart dis ease and ar thri tis.

The phe nols in vir gin ol ive oil sup press sev er al genes that pro mote in flamma t ion, said Perez-Jimenez. Vir gin ol ive oil is oil squeezed out of ol ives at rel a tively low tem per a­tures in a pro cess known as cold press ing. Vir gin and par tic u larly “extra-vir gin” ol ive oil, which comes from the first press ing of the ol ives, have the high est phe nol con tent, said Perez-Jimenez.

Perez-Jimenez and col leagues stud ied the ef fects of eat ing a break fast rich in phe nol com pounds on gene ac ti vity in 20 pa tients with met a bol ic syn drome, a com mon con di­tion as so ci at ed with in creased risk of car di o vas cu lar dis ease and type 2 di a be tes.

The study par ti ci pants ate con trolled break fasts, and for six weeks be fore the study they had to avoid all drugs, vit a min tablets and oth er sup ple ments. “We iden ti fied 98 dif fer en tially ex pressed [ac tiva ted] genes when com par ing the in take of phe nol-rich ol­ive oil with low-phe nol ol ive oil,” said Perez-Jimenez.

“Sev eral of the re pressed genes are known to be in volved in pro-in flam ma to ry pro­cesses,” he added. That sug gests the di et can switch the ac ti vity of im mune sys tem cells to a less harm ful “in flam ma to ry pro file,” he added.

“These find ings strength en the rela t ion ship be tween in flammation, obes ity and di et and pro vide ev i dence at the most bas ic lev el of healthy ef fects de rived from vir gin ol­ive oil con sump tion in hu mans. It will be in ter est ing to evalua te wheth er par tic u lar phe nolic com pounds car ry these ef fects, or if they are the con se quence of a syn er gic effect” of the en tire group of phenol compounds, he said.

The study is pub lished in the re search jour nal
BMC Ge nomics.


The Promise And Pitfalls of Bioplastic

Click here to find out more!
Tamara Shopsin for TIME
  • Regular, petroleum-based plastic doesn't biodegrade. But this year's crop of Earth Day — inspired ads shows plant-based plastics doing just that: an empty SunChips bag fading into the soil, a Paper Mate pen dissolving underground. Although the visuals suggest that these items simply disintegrate (Goodbye, landfill!), the reality is more complicated. Take the SunChips bag. It needs to go in a compost bin; the packaging is clear about that. Likewise, Paper Mate notes that the pen's outer casing will break down if buried in a backyard but that its innards should go in the garbage. Forget to separate them, and the outer part won't biodegrade in a landfill./.../

Friday, April 23, 2010


First Annual Malthus Lecture: "Meat"
  View webcast (Time: 1 hour)
  View question and answer session with Joel Cohen (Time: 41 minutes)

by Kata Fustos
(April 2010) The Malthus Lectureship, a partnership between the Population Reference Bureau and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), promotes the study of the connections among nutrition, food, agriculture, and population and invites an outstanding scholar or policymaker to give a presentation each year. The first Annual Malthus Lecture took place on March 3, 2010, in Washington, D.C.
Joel E. Cohen delivered the first Malthus Lecture, "Meat." He surveyed some of the strong demographic, economic, environmental, and cultural interactions between human and livestock populations and their implications for public policy. Cohen is the Abby Rockefeller Mauzé Professor of Populations at The Rockefeller University and the Earth Institute of Columbia University, and a PRB Trustee. He heads the Laboratory of Populations at Columbia and Rockefeller Universities. Cohen studies populations of living beings and their interactions by combining mathematical tools with observations of concrete problems in demography, epidemiology, and ecology. Cohen is the author or editor of 14 books and 360 articles, including How Many People Can the Earth Support?
During the 20th century, humans drastically expanded production of meat and other foods. Between 1961 and 2008, world meat production grew approximately fourfold, while the human population doubled. In total, meat production per capita increased from 23 kg/person/year in 1961 to 41 kg/person/year in 2008, driven in part by the combination of the growth in population and expanding economic demand.
Today, the populations of livestock animals greatly exceed the number of people in the world; in 2008, for example, chickens alone outnumbered people almost three to one. Yet livestock remains a relatively unproductive form of capital from an economic point of view. In 2003, 24 percent of the world's total assets were contained in the form of livestock, although livestock generated only 1.4 percent of world GDP. While the amount of cereal grain grown in 2008/2009 was enough to feed 9 billion to 11 billion people, humans consumed directly only 47 percent, while 33 percent went to feed animals. The distribution of food remains very unequal in the 21st century, despite unprecedented capacity to produce it. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated that in 2009, the number of undernourished people worldwide surpassed 1 billion, with the majority located in Asia and the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.

Kata Fustos is a communications intern at the Population Reference Bureau.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

World Bank gives free access to data

§  World Bank gives free access to data
The World Bank expanded the amount of data available for free download and use this week with the online release of upward of 2,000 data sets on its Open Data site. The release includes information once only available for a fee, covering finance, health, social welfare and other topics. "Statistics tell the story of people in developing and emerging countries and can play an important part in helping to overcome poverty," World Bank President Robert Zoellick said.InformationWeek/Government (4/21) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story

concept of “Third World” outdated

Old concept of “Third World” outdated, Zoellick says

New Multipolar global economy requires new approaches
Available in: ItalianoPortuguêsEspañol日本語FrançaisDeutschالعربيةрусский中文
Press Release No:2010/347/EXC
In Washington: David Theis

Washington, April 14, 2010 — Old concepts of the “Third World” no longer apply in the new multipolar global economy and new approaches are needed to take account for the interests of developing countries, said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick.

In a speech ahead of the Spring Meetings of the World Bank,Zoellick said the global economic crisis of 2009 and the rise of developing countries in the global economy was the death-knell of the old concept of the Third World as a separate entity just as 1989 was for the Second World of Communism. This has profound implications for multilateralism, global cooperative action, power relationships, development, and international institutions such as the World Bank Group, and necessitated approaching problems with a new perspective./.../