Thursday, November 04, 2010

Fad-prone San Francisco curbs Happy Meal toys

There are NO controlled trials showing McDonald's food as affecting morbidity or mortality. This is just business-hating Leftists getting their jollies

San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to pass a law that cracks down on the popular practice of giving away free toys with unhealthy restaurant meals for children. San Francisco's Board of Supervisors passed the law on Tuesday on a veto-proof 8-to-3 vote. It takes effect on December 1, 2011.

The law, like an ordinance passed earlier this year in nearby Santa Clara County, would require that restaurant kids' meals meet certain nutritional standards before they could be sold with toys.

Opponents of the law include the National Restaurant Association and McDonald's Corp, which used its now wildly popular Happy Meal to pioneer the use of free toys to market directly to children. "We are extremely disappointed with today's decision. It's not what our customers want, nor is it something they asked for," McDonald's spokeswoman Danya Proud said in a statement. "Getting a toy with a kid's meal is just one part of a fun, family experience at McDonald's," Proud said.

The San Francisco law would allow toys to be given away with kids' meals that have less than 600 calories, contain fruits and vegetables, and include beverages without excessive fat or sugar.

Backers of the ordinance say it aims to promote healthy eating habits while combating childhood obesity. "Our children are sick. Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of color," said San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar, who sponsored the measure. "This is a challenge to the restaurant industry to think about children's health first and join the wide range of local restaurants that have already made this commitment," Mar said.

McDonald's debuted the Happy Meal in the United States in 1979 with toys like the "McDoodler" stencil and the "McWrist" wallet. Modern offerings have included themed items from popular films like "Shrek" or sought-after toys like Transformers, Legos or miniature Ty Beanie Babies.


New drug may halt and even reverse effects of Alzheimer's Disease, study suggests

A drug derived from blood could halt and even reverse the effects of Alzheimer's Disease, a study has found. Early trials of Kiovig have shown that the new treatment had a significant stabilising effect on people with the degenerative disease – halting the shrinkage of the brain and maintaining memory and speed of thought.

Now Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York and the drug company Baxter International have launched a much larger trial to confirm the early results.

Dr Norbert Riedel, chief scientific officer of the company, said that the early results had been "striking". Kiovig, or Gammagard as it is known in the US, is the brand name of an immunotherapy product already used for the treatment of a variety of immune disorders.

The product, which is really a mix of antibodies derived from human blood, is known generically as immune globulin and is applied intravenously once a fortnight. It contains antibodies against a protein called beta-amyloid, which many Alzheimer’s researchers believe plays a pivotal role in the progression of the disease. Plaques of beta-amyloids are thought to "silt up" the brain and cause nerve death and loss of function.

One of the early trials, published in the journal Neurology, found that the drug reduced the progression of Alzheimer's by as much as 42 per cent. The latest trial involves 360 people suffering from the early symptoms of Alzheimer's.

One of the downsides of the drug is finding enough supplies of blood to manufacture it in large quantities.


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