A new understanding of brown fat cells—the “good” fat that keeps us warm—may lead to new obesity treatments.
Researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, used a single molecular switch to turn immature muscle cells into brown fat in the lab, suggesting brown fat may be more like muscle than conventional white fat. A second team at the Joslin Diabetes Center, Boston, found a protein key for bone growth promoted brown fat tissue in mice. Brown fat cells release energy; white fat stores energy. Researchers think coaxing the body to make more brown fat might help weight loss. (Reuters)
Popping a pill? We trust you’re reaching for a glass of water. A new study finds drugs shouldn’t be taken with fruit juices, as they can decrease oral absorption of certain drugs. At the annual national meeting of the American Chemical Society this month, researchers said grapefruit, apple, orange and other juices shouldn’t be taken with certain drugs commonly prescribed for heart disease, infections, allergies, cancer, and organ-transplant rejection. “I’m sure we’ll find more and more drugs that are affected this way,” says David G. Bailey of University of Western Ontario, lead author of the study. (Seema Singh)
US consumers worried about salad safety may soon be able to buy spinach and lettuce treated with just enough radiation to kill E. coli and a few other germs. A new food and drug administration (FDA) regulation allows vendors to take that extra step as outbreaks of illness from raw produce have increased. It does not excuse dirty produce, said Laura Tarantino, FDA’s chief of food additive safety. Farms must still follow standard hygiene rules; consumers should also wash leaves before eating.
Irradiated meat has been around for years, particularly ground beef.(AP)
Long-term use of incense might increase the risk of respiratory-tract cancer, says the first investigation of a prospective connection between incense burning and cancer, to be published in the October issue of the journal ‘Cancer’. The study involved 61,320 Singapore Chinese in the 45-74 age group who were free of cancer. However, the researchers have shown that burning incense, which is made of plant materials mixed with oils, produces a mixture of possible carcinogens, including polyaromatic hydrocarbons, carbonyls and benzene. (Seema Singh)