Today’s Headlines: Contaminated Spices, Early Aging and New Hope for Diabetes

12 percent of U.S. spice imports contaminated, F.D.A. finds: Inspection of imported spices by the Food and Drug Administration has found that “about 12 percent of spices brought to the United States are contaminated with insects parts, whole insects, rodent hairs and other things.” Authorities also discovered that “nearly 7 percent of spice imports examined by federal inspectors were contaminated with salmonella, a toxic bacteria.” The bugs were consistent with types that typically live in warehouses and storage facilities and may be infesting spices during processing rather than harvesting. (New York Times)

Twin study ‘proves’ smoking causes premature aging: The results of a new study appears to prove what scientists and doctors have long thought: smoking makes skin age faster. The study shows that “twins who smoke show more signs of premature facial aging compared with their identical twins who are non-smokers or smoked at least 5 years less.” When researchers compared close-up photographs of identical twins with different smoking habits, they noticed that “smokers demonstrated more sagging of the upper eyelids and more bags of the lower eyelids and under the eyes. They also had higher scores for facial wrinkles, specifically wrinkling of the upper and lower lips, sagging jowls (lower part of the cheek), and more pronounced lines between the nose and mouth.” (Medical News Today)

New two-hormone Roche drug shows promise in diabetes, obesity: Very early tests of a new drug that “mimics the effects of two naturally occurring hormones appears to work significantly better than existing single-hormone medicines against diabetes and obesity,” researchers say. The new molecule works by targeting “receptors for hormones known as GLP-1 and GIP that play a critical role in regulating the body’s metabolism.” The drug has the potential to be given at lower doses than current similar drugs, which could reduce side effects. However, further testing will be required before any definitive conclusions are made. (Reuters)