IN BRIEF

The Baltimore Sun

Cheers! Study sees more wine benefits

You've heard about the health benefits of red wine, which is rich in antioxidants. Now there is even more good news for moderate drinkers: A recent study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles found that healthy people age 50 and older who drink small-to-moderate amounts of alcohol appear less likely to suffer from age-related physical disabilities than people who don't drink.

The report, published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology, defines light-to-moderate drinking as less than 15 drinks per week with a daily maximum of five drinks for men and four for women.

People over 50 who drink within these limits have about 25 percent lower chance of being unable to carry out daily activities such as walking, dressing, running errands or doing chores.

The apparent health benefits of alcohol do not apply to binge drinkers or to people who are already in poor health.

The Washington Post

Researchers find mercury in corn-syrup samples

A new study suggests that food made with corn syrup could be delivering tiny doses of mercury.

For the first time, researchers say they have detected traces of the toxic, silvery metal in samples of high-fructose corn syrup, a widely used sweetener that has replaced sugar in many processed foods. The study was published last week in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health.

Eating high-mercury fish is the chief source of exposure for most people. The new study raises concerns about a previously unknown dietary source of mercury, which has been linked to learning disabilities in children and heart disease in adults.

The source of the metal appears to be caustic soda and hydrochloric acid, which manufacturers of corn syrup use to help convert corn kernels into the food additive.

A handful of plants across the nation still makes the soda and acid by mixing a briny solution in electrified vats of mercury. Some of the toxic metal ends up in the final product, according to industry documents cited in the study.

Corn-syrup manufacturers insisted their products are mercury-free. But the study said at least one maker of caustic soda that has used the mercury-based technology listed the corn-syrup industry as a client.

Chicago Tribune

Report: Preservative thimerosal not harmful

A new study from Italy adds to a mountain of evidence that a mercury-based preservative once used in many vaccines doesn't hurt children, offering more reassurance to parents.

In the early 1990s, thousands of healthy Italian babies in a study of whooping-cough vaccines got two different amounts of the preservative thimerosal from all their routine shots.

Ten years later, 1,403 of those children took a battery of brain-function tests. Researchers found small differences in only two of 24 measurements and those "might be attributable to chance," they wrote in this month's issue of the journal Pediatrics.

Only one case of autism was found, and that was in the group that got the lower level of thimerosal.

Autism is a complex disorder featuring repetitive behaviors and poor social interaction and communication skills. Scientists generally believe genetics plays a role in causing the disorder; a theory that thimerosal is to blame has been repeatedly discounted in scientific studies.

Associated Press

Poor nutrition choices by many who eat on the go

How many times have you seen someone hurrying down the street with a BlackBerry in one hand and a sugary coffee or doughnut in the other? Turns out, young professionals and college students are among the worst offenders when it comes to eating on the run, researchers at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis report.

In a survey of nearly 1,700 college-age adults - published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association - 35 percent of men and 42 percent of women said they lacked time to sit down for meals.

It is a recipe for poor nutrition. People who eat and run too often opt for fast food and consume higher amounts of saturated fat and soft drinks. Those who sit down for meals eat better and often have more fruit and vegetables in their diets.

So, as difficult as it may sound, set aside time in your day to take a break for meals with friends or family.

But, if you must eat on the go, choose healthful fare such as fresh or dried fruit, veggies, whole-grain crackers and cheese.

The Washington Post

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