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High vit-D bread may solve insufficiency

For those who don’t get enough vitamin D from sunlight or foods, scientists are suggesting that a new vitamin D-fortified food — bread made with high-vitamin D yeast — could solve the problem.

Connie Weaver and colleagues cite studies suggesting that up to 7 in 10 people in the United States may not get enough vitamin D, which enables the body to absorb calcium. Far from just contributing to healthy bones, however, vitamin D seems to have body-wide beneficial effects. Vitamin D insufficiency has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, allergy in children, and other conditions.

With few good natural sources of vitamin D, milk producers long have added it to milk. Weaver explains, however, that dairy products do not provide enough. The body makes its own vitamin D when the skin is exposed to sunlight. But people are not exposed to sun in winter and are avoiding the sun and using sun blocks in summer. Scientists thus have been looking for new ways to add vitamin D to the diet.

“Our results suggest that bread made with high vitamin D yeast could be a valuable new source of vitamin D in the diet,” the researchers said.

Insecticides used in homes delay mental development

A new study has found that a common insecticide used in homes is associated with delayed mental development of young children.

Pyrethroid insecticides are commonly used in many homes but its safety remained unclear, as they had never been evaluated for long-term neurotoxic effects after low-level exposure.

Now, scientists at the Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health have found a significant association between piperonyl butoxide (PBO), a common additive in pyrethroid formulations, measured in personal air collected during the third trimester of pregnancy, and delayed mental development at 36 months.

The study was conducted with a subset of 725 pregnant women participating in a prospective longitudinal study of black and Dominican women living in upper Manhattan and the South Bronx underway at the Columbia Centre for Children's Environmental Health (CCCEH).

The insecticide permethrin was selected for the evaluation because it is one of the most common pyrethroid insecticides used in US homes, as well as the most commonly sold pesticide, according to a nationally representative sample.

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