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Canary seed ideal for gluten-free diet

A new variety of canary seeds bred specifically for human consumption qualifies as a gluten-free cereal that would be ideal for people with celiac disease (CD).

Joyce Irene Boye and colleagues point out that at least 3 million people in the United States alone have CD.

They develop gastrointestinal and other symptoms from eating wheat, barley, rye and other grains that contain gluten-related proteins.

Boye’s team sought to expand dietary options for CD — which now include non-gluten-containing cereals like corn, rice, teff, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and sorghum.

They describe research on a new variety of “hairless,” or glabrous, canary seed, which lacks the tiny hairs of the seed traditionally produced as food for caged birds.

Those hairs made canary seed inedible for humans. It verified that canary seed is gluten-free.

Laughing gas does not increase heart attack risk

 Nitrous oxide — best known as laughing gas — has been one of the world’s oldest and most widely used anesthetics.

However, despite its popularity, experts have questioned its impact on the risk of a heart attack during surgery or soon afterward.

But those fears are unfounded, a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suggests.

“It’s been known for quite a while that laughing gas inactivates vitamin B12 and, by doing so, increases blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine,” lead author Peter Nagele, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology and genetics, said.

“That was thought to raise the risk of a heart attack during and after surgery, but we found no evidence of that in this study,” he said.

Nitrous oxide normally is used as an adjunct during general anesthesia because by itself the drug isn’t strong enough to keep patients unconscious during surgical procedures.

The drug’s influence on B vitamins and homocysteine is unrelated to its anesthetic effects.
Nagele and his colleagues followed 500 surgery patients at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis who had been diagnosed with coronary artery disease, heart failure or other health problems that could contribute to a heart attack.

Losing weight boosts memory in older women

 Weight loss could result in improved memory in older, overweight women, a new small study has suggested.

Additionally, the study also showed that the women’s brain activity actually changes in the regions of the brain vital for memory tasks after weight loss, the Huffington Post reported.

Lead author Andreas Pettersson, M.D., a Ph.D. student at Umea University in Sweden, said in a statement that their findings suggest that obesity-associated impairments in memory function are reversible, adding incentive for weight loss.

The researchers studied 20 overweight, post-menopausal women with an average age of 61, and randomly assigned them to one of two healthy diets for six months.

They measured their body mass index (BMI) before and after the diet, and tested their episodic memory by making them remember unknown pairs of faces and names, then recall which letter each person’s name began with.

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