High-fructose corn syrup may modify memory

By Cheryl Gamachi

High-fructose corn syrup is linked with problems like weight gain, dental cavities, poor nutrition and now memory and learning abilities from a study published Tuesday, L’Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported. (Read the story here.)

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles formed two groups of rats and substituted their water with a solution containing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). One group was given Omega-3 fatty acids with brain-boosting qualities while the other wasn’t.

The rats were trained to go through a maze for five days, said AFP. It was found after six weeks the group of rats that were not given the fatty acids were slower.

“Their brain cells had trouble signaling each other, disrupting the rats’ ability to think clearly and recall the route they’d learned six weeks earlier,” said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, a professor of neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

“High-fructose corn syrup is the most common added sweetener in processed foods and beverages,” according to Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D.,L.D.

“Eating a high-fructose syrup diet over the long term alters your brain’s ability to learn and remember information,” said Gomez-Pinilla. “But adding omega-3 fatty acids to your meals can help minimize the damage,” according to LiveScience.

In 1977, a system of sugar tariffs imposed in the U.S. increase the cost of imported sugar. Producers were forced to find cheaper sources hence, HFCS. Domestic U.S. prices of sugar are twice the global price while corn costs were consistently low.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said the average American consumes more than 40 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup per year, according to the Tucson Sentinel.

HFCS first began in the food industry in the late 1970s which is when many Americans started gaining weight in the wrong places. The production process was made by Dr. Yoshiyuki Takasaki at the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology of Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Japan. HFCS was then introduced to processed foods and soft drinks in the U.S. and is still making a boom in today’s products.

Nelson advises Americans to cut back on high-fructose corn syrup by:

  1. Avoid sugary, non-diet sodas. Drink water or other unsweetened beverages instead.
  2. Don’t eat breakfast cereals that contain non-nutritious, sugary and frosted cereals.
  3. Eat fewer processed and packaged foods like cookies, cakes and come microwaveable meals.
  4. Snack on fruit, vegetables and low-fat cheese instead of candy and pastries.

Who will be Romney’s VP? Does anyone really want to be?

By Derek Evans

Mitt Romney says he is in the process  of choosing his vice presidential nominee. Like always there are rumors of who it might be; but those rumors proved to be insignificant in 2008. I don’t think one single rumor had John McCain’s  V.P. nominee being  Sarah Palin.
In reality the vice presidential pick really doesn’t have a huge impact on the election. Voters vote for a president, not vice president. Nominees do, however, prove to be interesting fodder for the media.
Romney will pick someone – but can any of us predict whom? No. Here are a few people I think would be the most likely choices. For one there is Ohio Congressman Rob Portman. Portman might be a safe pick for Romney since he’s from an important swing-state Ohio. He also wouldn’t outshine Romney. It was hard for journalists to ignore Palin in 2008.
Portman does have some baggage, however, because he served in the George W. Bush administration. He was U.S. trade representative under Bush from 2005 to 2006 and director of office of management and budget from 2006 to 2007. I don’t think Romney should choose anyone with any ties whatsoever to Bush, since he was a widely unpopular president. Another possible pick is Florida Congressman Marco Rubio. Rubio seems to be a young growing star in the Republican Party, much like Barack Obama was before the 2008 election. There is a caveat – I think Romney would look very hypocritical if he picks Rubio. In 2008, Republicans attacked Obama for lack of experience and being a one-term senator. Wouldn’t you know it, Rubio would also be a one-term senator, if selected. If Romney thinks simply adding Rubio will get him the Hispanic vote he is gravely mistaken. It might actually hurt him more with Hispanics, since they might see through the vapid and unmistakeable ploy. Romney’s ‘camp’ (volunteers and organizers) might think simply running with an Hispanic will get him the Hispanic vote and could be strongly urging him to consider Rubio. Another possibility might be Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal. Much like Rubio, however I don’t think Jindal is ready at all. And again, like Rubio, he could possibly run for president in 2016 if Obama is reelected. There is also New Hampisher Sen. Kelly Ayotte, but after Palin I highly doubt the Republicans would choose another woman. Another possibility I see is New Jersey Gov. Chris Chirstie; but I think he is too happy with his current job to leave. I beg the question, does any Republican really want to be Romney’s VP nominee that bad? If Romney losses it might kill his running mate’s political career.

Phoenix Suns should focus on present, future

By Derek Evans

The Phoenix Suns are watching this year’s playoffs from home, and if things don’t work out this summer, they could be watching it for a while. Just two years the Suns took the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers to a hard fought six games series in the Western Conference finals, but that seems so long ago. During that off-season they lost Amare Stoudemire to the Knicks. Then inevitable decline soon followed. Now this off-season Steve Nash is now a free agent. He says he’s considering changing teams. Suns’ fans better hope and pray he doesn’t. Nash has stated he is frustrated with the team’s apparent lack of energy to get talent around – and who could blame him. Nash is still a great premier NBA point guard, but the fact is, he isn’t getting any younger. He desperately wants to win an NBA Championship. Do the Suns have any chance to keep him? Their chances might be better if the team cans Head Coach Alvin Gentry; and maybe replacing him with a familiar face, say former head coach Mike D’Antoni? Would that be enough to keep Nash? Probably not, but it certainly would help. Re-signing Nash is so important for the Suns could set a precedent for the franchise for decades to come. Their ability to attract and retain quality players is paramount to the team’s financial and championship success. If the Suns don’t go out of their way to keep, they will be hard-pressed to find any big-name free-agents in the future.  This is a make-or-break off-season for the Suns. This summer could mean the difference between contending for the playoffs next year or watching from the sidelines year after year.

UA’s Online Education Program Off and Runing in Chandler

By The Gilbert Gumption

TUCSON, Ariz. – Monday marked the start of the Teach Arizona, fast-track, one-year masters of education program for the 2012-13 cohort. That’s not the news – it’s that the program has launched a satellite/online campus in the Chandler, Ariz. area. The courses are offered near downtown Chandler. Students will student-teach in-and -round the Greater Phoenix Metro Area this Fall and next Spring. Gilbert, Ariz. may benefit by having a few student teachers to help their district and surrounding districts that often serve the Greater Gilbert Area.

Check back later for more updates.

Can AZ go blue in Nov.? Possible, not probable

By Derek Evans

Arizonans know that in presidential politics, the State has been as red as the stripes in Old Glory.  In the past half century, the only time the State went blue was in 1996, when it went for Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Clinton, who beat Republican candidate Bob Doll. Arizona did an about face to the right, when the desert-dwellers elected George W. Bush in the 2000 and 2004 elections. The State’s own U.S. Sen. John McCain won in 2008. One would think this would make Arizona a shoe-in for Mitt Romney this year, but that’s not necessarily the case. For one, current Republican Gov. Jan Brewer isn’t exactly popular among her constituents. According to www.publicpolicy.com, only 46 percent of Arizonans approve of Gov. Brewer; while 47 percent disapprove. Voters in Arizona this November may see a little bit of Brewer in Romney. After all they are both strong supporters of Senate Bill (SB) 1070.

(Photo by Matt Lewis/The Gilbert Gumption)

I can’t see this going over very well with Arizona’s large Hispanic population. Romney will probably try to win-the-state-over by talking about the economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the current unemployment rate in Arizona is 8.6 percent; slightly higher than the current national average. This tactic alone, won’t help Romney to win Arizona. With this strategy he may even have difficulty winning on the national stage. Romney may very well be the most anti-immigration presidential candidates in American history. Bottom line, it’s possible President Barack Obama wins Arizona. Even if he doesn’t, by forcing the Romney camp to spend money in the state to defend what was once thought of as a Republican strong-hold, would be a major set-back.  Many pundits have not considered Arizona to be a swing-state, because of the number of Electoral College votes the State has.