33MD for February 2, 2009

POSTED: Monday, February 2, 2009 - 6:47pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 10:57pm

The nationwide salmonella outbreak has put the spotlight on food safety. Some scientists say outbreaks like the one that made 500 people sick can be prevented. All it takes: irradiation techniques that kill germs. Contrary to what some believe, doctors say the technology is safe and does not kill nutrients. Dr. Leigh Vinocur of University of Maryland Medical School says, “The studies that the FDA has done has not shown that’s its depleted the nutrients that much so that’s not an issue. People are also afraid is it gonna be radioactive, but the truth of the matter is it is not. It’s a gamma ray.” Experts say the technology is very high tech, which means it’s also very expensive.

And speaking of irradiation, could a blue light be the key to “zapping” the super bug? The staph bacteria, MRSA, is resistant to many antibiotics. But now, preliminary research shows a type of blue light may help to kill it. In a new study, scientists exposed two strains of MRSA to a wavelength of blue light in a process called photo-irradiation. The light destroyed more than 90% of the bacteria.

It can be embarrassing to talk about, but an estimated 13 million women have bladder control problems. A new study says losing weight may help. Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham enrolled women in a 6-month program that focused on diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes. Scientists say the women lost an average of 17 pounds and lowered incontinence episodes by almost half.

If your children eat lunch at school, they could be lacking in some key areas of nutrition. While the majority of school meals meet the minimum criteria for vitamins, calcium, and protein, they’re still way too high in salt and saturated fat. That’s the finding from the USDA. The report also indicates kids in the program are not eating enough fruits, veggies, and whole grains.