Hyperactive brains

Hyperactive children and teens have slightly smaller brains than those without the

disorder, a study shows. Why this is so is still not clear, but researchers said the smaller brain volume does not appear to be related to the use of hyperactivity drugs such as Ritalin, as some parents had feared. The researchers said it appears that that the brains of hyperactive children develop at a normal pace but never entirely catch up in size with the brains of other youngsters. However, they said that people with smaller brains are not necessarily less intelligent. — AP

New no-calorie fat

A new no-calorie fat substitute is being tested in several food laboratories, and the product’s maker hopes it could eventually be used to slash calories in everything from cookies to burgers. A government scientist invented Z-Trim, an insoluble fiber that goes through the body without being digested. It’s intended to replace some of the fat, including unhealthy trans fat, found in processed foods. It can be used in the manufacturing process to cut calories and fat by up to half in many different foods. The list includes cream cheese, salad dressings, cookies, crackers, mayonnaise and hamburgers. Because it doesn’t contain any calories, Z-Trim could help ease the nation’s obesity problem, says its inventor, George Inglett. — USA Today

Breast milk still best

Experts say new mothers should not abandon breast feeding because of two recent

studies that have found high levels of toxic flame retardant additives in the breast milk of American women. The additives, polybrominated diphenyl ethers or PBDEs, permeate the environment, experts say whatever exposure babies get through breast milk would be minor

compared with the impact of exposure in utero. The health effects of exposure to PBDEs in humans are unknown. Studies in rats and mice have found that low levels may cause cognitive and behavior changes during development. Research shows breast milk has immunological qualities that help protect babies and help babies fight environmental contaminants. — AP