In the news: “Good” and “bad” fats and tea towel food poisoning

Date: 14/06/2018 Written by: Rosie 3 minutes to read.
Research Review

Turning "bad" fats into "good" fats could help diabetes and obesity levels, modern students prefer studying over drugs, and tea towels can cause food poisoning. We want to get you thinking and talking, which is why we've given a brief overview of research covering a range of social issues that have caught our eye over the past few weeks.

Grenfell Tower fire mental health treatment ‘to cost £10m’

This week the Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust have stated that it had spent £4.1m on mental health services in the last financial year. Currently, ‘around 70 adults and children are being treated’ with the trust predicting an extra spend of £6.5m more in the year to April 2019.

Dr Alastair Bailey, from the Grenfell Health and Wellbeing Service has stated that demand for services has been “huge”. With the upcoming first anniversary of the fire approaching, distress is rising in the local community, placing extra strain on these mental health services.

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Converting bad fat to good fat: a new means of tackling obesity

A “radical approach” has been developed by scientists to tackle obesity. This approach consists of converting “bad” white fats to “good” brown fats that burn calories quicker. The technology has been tested in a bioreactor and mice, however, if the trials are promising then this technology “could prove to be an effective treatment for diabetes and obesity”.

Around 50-100g of brown fat is the approximate amount found in an adult “can account for 20% of a person’s daily energy expenditure”. Brian Gillette, a researcher at NYU Winthrop Hospital states brown fats are “one of the most metabolic tissues in the body.”

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Recycled plastic could supply three-quarters of UK demand, report finds

Research conducted by Green Alliance has revealed that three-quarters of “domestic demand” for products and packaging could be met through recycling, if the government took action to build the industry.

The UK “consumes 3.3m tonnes of plastic annually”, however exports two-thirds to be recycled. The report outlines three new measures that could be implemented to ensure the UK’s recycling efforts are improved.

Peter Maddox, director of Wrap UK has said “the UK had to take more responsibility for its own waste” and believes that “we need to design circular systems for plastics and other materials that are sustainable both economically and environmentally. This will require some fundamental changes from all of us.”

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Tea towels ‘can cause food poisoning’

The University of Mauritius has revealed research suggesting there is a link between tea towels and food poisoning. Scientists examined 100 towels that had been used for a month. For multi-purpose, damp or tea towels where meat was eaten, E. coli was more likely to be found.

49% of the towels analysed had bacterial growth. 36%.7% of these contained coliform bacteria, ‘a group which includes E. coli.’. Lead Author Dr Susheela Biranjia-Hurdoyal has stated that “The data indicated that unhygienic practices while handing non-vegetarian food could be common in the kitchen”.

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Modern students ‘prefer work to drugs’

Recent research suggests students are ‘more likely’ to want universities to take a ‘tougher line’ against drugs on campus. The study undertaken from the Higher Education Policy Institute discovered that 71% of students had not taken illegal drugs. However, almost 40% thought ‘their university had a “problem” with drug use’.

Just last week an annual study of students from Hepi suggested a cultural shift was in hand due to further evidence points towards a more ‘hard-working’ approach to studying. This, along with the negative view of drugs linked to mental health problems and encouraging criminality, the study has unveiled that students are more ‘concerned about excessive alcohol consumption than illegal drug use.’

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