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2 September 2008

How MSG MakesYou Fat

Consumption of the widely used food additive monosodium glutamate, or MSG, may increase your likelihood of being overweight.

Researchers studied more than 750 men and women in three villages in China where about 80 percent of people add MSG in cooking. They found that those who used the most MSG were almost three times as likely to be overweight.

The mechanism for the connection between MSG and obesity as yet remains unclear.


* New York Times August 26, 2008

Be Careful of Incense as it Can Cause Cancer

Regularly inhaling incense smoke could put people at risk of cancers of the respiratory tract, according to new research.

In a study of more than 61,000 people who were followed for up to 12 years, investigators found a link between heavy incense use and various respiratory cancers.

Incense is usually derived from fragrant plant materials such as tree bark, resins, roots, flowers and essential oils. Past research has already found that burning these materials can produce potentially cancer-causing substances, including benzene and polyaromatic hydrocarbons.


* Reuters August 25, 2008

Autism Statistics Alarm Somalis

Educator Anne Harrington and pediatrician, Dr. Dan McLellan both noticed an unusual number of Somali children turning up in their autism programs in Minneapolis, and began to wonder why.

Now that question has captured the attention of Minnesota state and federal health officials, as fears about a possible surge in autism sweep Minnesota's Somali community.

Autism, a brain disorder that can cause disruptive and withdrawn behavior, has been rising rapidly throughout the country. The discovery of a cluster among Somalis could be significant, or could just be a statistical fluke.

Last year, Somali children made up just under 6 percent of the school population, but 17 percent of those in early childhood autism programs. The numbers have been creeping up for several years, especially among young children.


* Star Tribune August 24, 2008