Chairman's Comments

Comments on Nutrition and its interaction with us and our offspring, from Simon House, the new Chairman of the McCarrison Society 

Evolutionary Psychiatry - Autism, Inflammation, Nutrition

And so we come round again to autism. . .It seems that a combination of genetic, environmental, neurological, and inflammatory factors contribute to the development of autism. Today I would like to focus specifically on the inflammation and other evidence of nutritional contributing factors. 
The best evidence of the actual inflammatory damage comes from the work of some neurologists and pathologists at Johns Hopkins. . . They found that the most striking differences between autistic and normal brains were loss of the purkinje cell layer in the cerebellum, and also a marked activation of the microglia, which are cells in the central nervous system that are central to the inflammatory response. . .
The researchers in this paper spent a great deal of time reviewing the statistics and making sure every last variable was accounted for (including age of mother, previous children with autism, age of father,education of everyone, etc.).  They didn't spend a lot of time trying to figure out why the pregnancy interval timing would matter in the discussion, but they did briefly mention possible depletion of folate,omega 3 fatty acids, or stress (it is, obviously, very stressful to have a young baby and to be pregnant at the same time).   . .
Since, during pregnancy, the fetus will tend to suck whatever nutrients are needed straight from mama, whether she can spare them or not, it is sensible that a nutritional explanation could account for the increased risk of autism in second children when the pregnancies are closely spaced.  By nutrition, I mean anything from deficiencies in omega 3 fatty acids, to minerals such as zinc, magnesium or selenium, or depletion of the B vitamins, including folic acid.  My suspicion is that small differences in nutritional status can increase risk at vulnerable times in the development of the fetus.  The absolute causes, however, are yet to be discovered.

Trans Fats – The stealth killers lurking in our food

from Food and Behaviour Research

One of the most worrying aspects of the western diet today is not so much the amount of fat, but the type of fat it contains.  
We have long been warned about the risks from diets high in saturated fats, but in fact, the trans fats found in most processed foods are a far worse problem.
Listen Again to Radio 4's The Food Programme, Sheila Dillon investigates the issue of trans fats in our food.  You can listen here:  The Food Programme  - Trans Fats .  
She will be asking whether a voluntary agreement by the food industry to eliminate them by the end of the year is enough to prevent the kind of health problems associated with a diet heavy in industrial cooking fats.  Among the contributors to the programme is Dr Alex Richardson of FAB Research <> .
This programme will also be repeated at 16.00 on Monday, 11th July.
We have compiled a free fact sheet for you about hydrogenated and trans fats, and how they affect your health.  Download it here FAB Research Fact Sheet - Trans Fats <;list_id=list1-253&amp;list_index=4> .

Low-calorie diet offers hope of cure for type 2 diabetes

British study finds two-month extreme diet can cure type 2 diabetes and overturns assumptions about 'lifelong' condition
The Guardian, Friday 24 June 2011
People who have had obesity-related type 2 diabetes for years have been cured, at least temporarily, by keeping to an extreme, low-calorie, diet for two months, scientists report today.