Glucose vs. Fructose – Switching On The Addiction Switch

sugar-cubesGlucose and fructose are both simple sugars–and equal parts of each is the recipe for table sugar. High-fructose corn syrup is a bit more intensely sweet because it’s made up of 55% fructose. But scientists have long suspected there are differences in the way the human body processes these two forms of carbohydrate. A study published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism raises more questions than it answers.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University scanned the brains of nine healthy, normal-weight  subjects in the minutes after each got an infusion of equal volumes of glucose, of fructose and of saline. The brain scans aimed to capture activity in a relatively small swath of the human brain in and around the hypothalamus, which plays a key but complex role in setting appetite levels and directing production of metabolic hormones.

The researchers found that “cortical control areas”–broad swaths of gray matter that surrounded the hypothalamus — responded quite differently to the infusion of fructose than they did to glucose. Across the limited regions of the brain they scanned, Purnell and his colleagues saw that glucose significantly raised the level of neural activity for about 20 minutes following the infusion. Fructose had the opposite effect, causing activity in the same areas to drop and stay low for 20 minutes after the infusion. Saline–the control condition in this trial–had no effect either way.

What does a different response in “cortical control areas” mean? Within some of the “cortical control areas” where differences were seen, lie some important neural real estate, including regions where notions of reward and addiction are processed. As scientists have a closer look in future studies, they should be able to zero in on which specific areas are affected differently by the two forms of sugar.

Tips to Avoid Dental Fluorosis in Children

dental fluorosis







40% children have dental fluorosis so avoid the extra fluoride found in toothpaste, municipal drinking water, canned foods, nursery water and fluoride treatments, if possible. The CDC reports that the number of children with fluorosis is increasing

Tooth care tips for babies and children:

Only non-fluoride toothpaste under 2 years.

Only use fluoride toothpaste after 2 years every 2-3 days and non-fluoride toothpaste on the other days.

Start children flossing at 7-8 years old.

Avoid any toothpaste with sodium lauryl sulfate – this abrades the teeth.

There are also other health concerns with fluoride. Visit for additional information.

Homemade Vapor Rubs

Homemade Vapor CreamMost over-the-counter cold medications – including decongestants and cough syrups – have been shown to be useless or potentially dangerous in children.

But one old-fashioned topical treatment – a vapor rub combination of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oils – can provide nighttime relief in children with cold symptoms.

The Journal of Pediatrics reports that children treated with vapor rub had improved sleep – as did their parents – when compared with children given a placebo or no treatment.

Vapor rubs allow for improved sensation of airflow by activating cold receptors in the airway so (the children) feel as if they are breathing better.

Vapor rubs have been used for a century but in high concentrations camphor can be dangerous, especially for children. Prior to 1994, before the FDA regulated camphor, there were problems with ingestion, particularly in the form of camphorated liquid oils. But the FDA has since reduced the maximum allowable concentration to below 11 percent, where there is very little chance for toxicity.

I recommend not using commercial salves with a petroleum base. Petroleum is a toxin and known carcinogen.

Instead you can make your own:


Simply melt the oil and beeswax in a pan and then add the essential oils. Pour into your metal tin(s) or other container. And that’s it!

The salve will harden within 10-15 minutes. If you find it is too soft, like the consistency of an ointment, you can scoop it back into the pan, remelt it and add more beeswax. If it is too hard, remelt and add more oil. I’ve also remelted to add more essential oil when I wasn’t satisfied with the strength of the oils.

What’s in Your Baby?

home-shows-toxic-everyday-exposures-toxinsA growing number of studies are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in the bodies of mothers, and subsequently, in their babies after birth.

While there is no science that demonstrates a conclusive cause-and-effect relationship between chemicals children are born with and particular health problems, studies are finding associations between elevated levels of chemicals in a baby’s body and their development.

Dr. Frederica Perera, director of the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health has been following hundreds of pregnant women over the past 12 years to measure chemicals entering the womb during pregnancy.

The women trudge through New York City for 48 hours wearing special backpacks, each with a long tube that is slung over the shoulder. The tube, resting inches below the pregnant mom’s mouth, sucks air into a special filter, giving an approximate measurement of the air that she is breathing.

The backpack is designed to measure ambient toxics spewed by vehicles and pesticides, along with chemicals from common household products.

It surprised me when we analyzed the air samples [from the backpacks] and found 100 percent of them had detectable levels of at least one pesticide and the air pollutants we were interested in,” said Perera.

So far, the toxics measured in the backpacks match what scientists are finding in the cord blood of the babies once they are born. Small studies by other groups also are finding common household chemicals in babies.

“We’ve measured hundreds and hundreds of toxic chemicals in the blood of babies that are still in the womb,” said Ken Cook, president of the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit environmental advocacy organization. “Flame retardants, the chemicals in consumer products like personal care products, makeup, shampoos. It’s a very long list.”

The organization’s study found an average of 232 chemicals in the cord blood of 10 babies born in late 2009. They are chemicals found in a wide array of common household products, including shampoos and conditioners, cosmetics, plastics, shower curtains, mattresses, and electronics like computers and cell phones.

Perera and her colleagues are following the children in their study from the uterus, through birth, and up to their first several years of life. They recently published a study in the journal Pediatrics demonstrating an association between the chemicals they found in babies’ cord blood and later problems on intelligence tests and development.

Fifteen percent of children [in our study] have at least one developmental problem,” Perera said.

The amount of chemicals measured in the cord blood of the babies seems to matter. The higher the concentration, the more the IQ among children seems to dip. The study is also being conducted among pregnant women in Poland and China, and finding similar results.

Teach New Baby to Sleep by 3 months old

babyzzzs243Infants are capable of sleeping through the night by 3 months of age. But most textbooks, and pediatricians, will tell parents that infants should sleep through the night by 12 months of age.  A new study in the Journal of Pediatrics investigated whether infants really could sleep through the night. It explored three different criteria for sleeping through the night: midnight to 5 a.m.; for eight hours; or for the eight hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. (the pattern that most likely matches the family pattern of sleep). The researchers asked parents of infants to keep sleep diaries for six days each month for a year. The infants were also monitored by a time-lapse video recorder.

Surprise! Infants are capable of sleeping through the night by 3 months of age regardless of which of the three criterion was used to define sleeping through the night. Although it was harder for infants to meet the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. goal by 3 months of age, many could do so. 

After the infant is 1 month old, parents should begin planning, and working with the pediatrician, on getting the infant to sleep through the night.