Saturday, October 25, 2008

Compassionate Kitty

Oscar, a cat who lives in a nursing home, has an uncanny ability to predict when patients are about to pass away. When staff members see Oscar curling up with a patient, they call the family and give them an opportunity to say goodbye to their loved one. His ability to correctly predict patients’ deaths was described by Dr. David Dosa, geriatrician and assistant professor of medicine at Brown University, in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Prescription for Life

This whimsical work of art introduces your patients to the importance of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans in cancer prevention and survival. It also tells how to obtain free information about nutrition, recipes, and classes from The Cancer Project.

Food for Life for Diabetes

More than 20 million Americans are living with type 2 diabetes, and many are looking for a healthy way to manage their condition. PCRM’s new diabetes Web site provides easy-to-understand nutrition information, healthy recipes, and a step-by-step guide for making diet changes. Visitors will find a video support group featuring presentations by PCRM president Neal Barnard, M.D., and cooking demonstrations from staff dietitians. PCRM nutrition experts also monitor the Get-Healthy Club, an online message board where people ask questions and share stories about using a low-fat vegan diet to manage their diabetes. Visit to take advantage of any of these free resources.

Pass the Virtual Scalpel

Thanks to advances in technology, students can now learn vertebrate anatomy without harming animals, using the “digital scalpel” in a virtual dissection program called Digital Frog. PCRM has given away almost 4,000 copies of Digital Frog II to students, teachers, and parents who requested a copy through our Web site. Digital Frog II is an interactive CD-ROM that uses animation, video, narration, and still images to create a realistic—and harmless—dissection experience for students.

Logging On to Better Health

This spring, PCRM launched, a comprehensive Web site that helps health care professionals and consumers understand the links between healthy eating and good health. The site offers hundreds of recipes, tips on weight management, and information on the risk factors, typical treatments, and nutritional considerations for dozens of medical conditions, from acne to Alzheimer’s disease. There’s also a meal planner that helps users select a healthful meal plan, along with nutrient analyses, recipes, and a shopping list.

The Hazards of School Lunch

More and more children are gaining excess weight. According to a recent report in the International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, nearly half the children in North America will be overweight or obese by 2010. Along with those extra pounds come an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and some forms of cancer later in life. According to a report in The New England Journal of Medicine, today’s youth may be the first generation to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

Healthful diets rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and other vegetarian foods help children stay healthy and trim. Unfortunately, many kids don’t always have the chance to eat healthful meals—at least not during the school day. The meaty, cheesy fare many schools serve is fanning the flames of the obesity epidemic.

That’s why PCRM is working to improve school lunches. PCRM tracks school policies across the country and makes suggestions for improvements, rewards innovative food service professionals, provides nutrition resources for parents and schools, and promotes changes to federal nutrition policy to make healthful food more accessible.

Resources for Schools and Parents

School lunch offerings have slowly improved over the last several years, but most schools have a long way to go. PCRM offers resources for parents and schools at, including helpful links, book titles, and downloadable booklets and fact sheets. And more nutrition tips and healthful recipes for students, parents, and the whole family are available at
Winter 2008• Volume XVII, Number I

The End of “Dog Lab,” the Beginning of a New Kind of Medicine

Winter 2008• Volume XVII, Number I

The past year saw several important steps forward. The number of medical schools using animal laboratories has fallen from more than 100 when we began 20 years ago, to 25 in 2005, to about 15 last year at this time, and to just 10 today. The latest to end these cruel exercises were Washington University, New York Medical College, Saint Louis University, Stony Brook University, Duke University, and Texas A&M.

As of late last year, dogs are no longer used in medical education at any U.S. school. And we are pushing hard on those 10 remaining schools to end their use of other species—pigs, ferrets, and others—in medical coursework. Not only can the animals breathe easier, but the students can, too. No one will ask them to choose between their ethics and their careers.

Read whole article:

PCRM Report Card Reveals School Lunch Disparities

PCRM Online, September 2007

It’s 12 o’clock: Do you know what your child is eating for lunch? A staggering 80 percent of schools do not meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) nutrition requirements, which mandate that schools serve meals deriving less than 30 percent of calories from fat and less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat. In its sixth School Lunch Report Card, PCRM has determined which school districts make the grade in the lunchroom—and which schools need to make improvements.

Organic Produce

Not Just Cleaner—They’re More Nutritious
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, found not only that organic produce is lower in pesticide residue but that it may also be better than conventionally grown fruits and vegetables for overall and cardiovascular health. Organic tomatoes have almost twice the amount of flavonoids, important disease-fighting antioxidants that reduce heart attack and stroke risk, lower blood pressure, and may aid in preventing some types of cancer and dementia.