Daily Rounds: Organics Scrutinized; Autistic Kids Bullied; Examining Inflammation; Contaminated Antibiotics

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Stanford Scientists Cast Doubt On The Advantages Of Organic Meat And Produce (The New York Times) — "The findings seem unlikely to sway many fans of organic food. Advocates for organic farming said the Stanford researchers failed to appreciate the differences they did find between the two types of food — differences that validated the reasons people usually cite for buying organic. Organic produce, as expected, was much less likely to retain traces of pesticides. Organic chicken and pork were less likely to be contaminated by antibiotic-resistant bacteria. “Those are the big motivators for the organic consumer,” said Christine Bushway, the executive director of the trade association. The study also found that organic milk contained more omega-3 fatty acids, which are considered beneficial for the heart."

Almost Half Of Teens With Autism Bullied: Study (Reuters) — "Close to half of all teenagers with an autism spectrum disorder are bullied at school, says a survey of their parents.The results, published Monday in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, suggest that rate is much higher than the estimated 11 percent of bullied kids in the general population. Previous studies have found kids and teens who are bullied tend to be more depressed, lonely and anxious and do worse in school than those who aren't picked on, according to the researchers. That means bullying could make things extra difficult for those with autism, who may already struggle more in school than other kids."

Trying A New Line Of Attack In Heart Disease (The Wall Street Journal) — "Two major clinical trials are testing for the first time whether treating inflammation can reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke, potentially opening up a new line of attack in the battle against cardiovascular disease. 'This goes beyond simply asking, is inflammation a marker of risk to asking if it's a target for therapy,' said Paul M. Ridker, who is leading the two trials. Until now, strategies to fight these killers have focused largely on well-known risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. The new studies, one sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the other by pharmaceutical giant Novartis SA, NOVN.VX -0.97% will test the hypothesis that inflammation plays a crucial role in the underlying biology that makes heart disease and stroke the No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death in the U.S., respectively. Inflammation is part of the body's normal healing response to injury. When the walls of the coronary arteries or the vessels that carry blood to the brain suffer injury from the effects of smoking, obesity and abnormal cholesterol, for instance, the immune system as part of the inflammatory response dispatches cells to repair the damage, researchers say. But in the face of a constant assault by such irritants over decades, possibly abetted by genetics, that system can go into overdrive. Instead of protecting the vessels, inflammation becomes chronic, leading to the accumulation and potential rupture of arterial deposits called plaque that can cause heart attacks and strokes."

China Probes Use Of Gutter Oil In Antibiotics (CBC News) — "Chinese authorities are reportedly investigating allegations that several makers of antibiotics in China used so-called gutter oil — repurposed oil salvaged from restaurant waste, gutters, drains and animal fat — in their products instead of more expensive soy bean oil. The state news agency Xinhua and other Chinese media reported that several pharmaceutical companies used gutter oil instead of the more expensive soy bean online in the manufacture of 7-aminocephalosporinic acid, or 7-ACA, a chemical used to produce a class of antibiotics called cephalosporins."

This program aired on September 4, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.