Today’s Headlines: Car Crashes, Dementia, and High Fructose Corn Syrup

Study Finds Association between Dementia and Hearing Loss:  A study on US adults found that “those with hearing problems were 24 percent more likely to develop mental impairment over six years.” The researchers didn’t know if the hearing loss was directly related to the onset of dementia. One possible explanation involves the fact that older adults with hearing problems tend to withdraw socially more frequently.  They assessed over 1,000 adults in their 70s and 80s who showed some signs of hearing loss and compared them with those who had normal hearing.  (Health Day)

Obese Drivers More Likely to Die in Car Crashes:  According to a new study, “Obese drivers are more likely to die in collisions than people of normal weight.”  After examining data from the US Fatality Analysis Reporting system from 1996 to 2008, the researchers noted that the more obese the person is the greater the risk of death in a car accident. The authors suggest that the discrepancy may be partially due to the fact that  “an obese driver’s lower body is propelled farther upon impact before a seat belt engages the pelvis. The driver’s additional tissue prevents the belt from fitting snugly.” (USA Today)

US Use of High Fructose Corn Syrup Declining: “The amount of corn devoted to the sweetener this year will fall to its lowest level since 1997.” Manufacturers of a multitude of food products, from soda to ketchup, have been using the inexpensive sweetener for decades. However, it has come under scrutiny because of its ability to quickly pack on the pounds. In 2011, American consumed an average of 131 calories of the corn sweetener each day, which has decreased since 2007 and continues to fall. (Bloomberg News)