Sunday, November 26, 2006


Read the following and see what you conclude:

High levels of the fatty acid DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) found in fish could protect against dementia and Alzheimer's disease, says a study in the Archives of Neurology this week. The study involved 899 men and women with an average age of 76 years. Participants underwent psychological testing, gave blood samples, and were followed for an average of nine years. Of these participants, 488 also completed a diet survey, including their consumption of fish. Participants were free from dementia at the start of the study, and were screened every two years to detect its development. Over nine years, 99 participants developed dementia, including 71 that were diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Men and women with the highest DHA levels (in the top 25 per cent) had a 47 per cent lower risk of developing dementia, and 39 per cent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease than those with lower DHA levels. Those with the highest DHA levels reported eating an average of three serves of fish per week.


Pretty clear that fish fights Alzheimer's, isn't it? But it's a lie. In the originating journal, we read: "Fish consumption was positively correlated with plasma DHA but was not statistically significantly associated with incident Alzheimer disease". In other words, eating fish did NOT reduce risk of Alzheimer's. It's amazing the garbage that the media feed people. The journal abstract is here

New antiviral drug -- may boost defence against bird flu pandemic

A new flu drug that can kill deadly strains of bird flu is promising to transform global preparations for an influenza pandemic. Peramivir, an antiviral agent, could provide the world with a critical new line of defence against flu viruses with the potential to cause millions of deaths, such as the H5N1 avian strain, research has suggested.

Studies in the United States show that it should be more powerful and easier to give to seriously ill patients than either Tamiflu or Relenza, the two existing drugs for H5N1 flu. Flu experts said that the advent of a third effective option could save hundreds of thousands of lives if H5N1 acquires the ability to pass easily from person to person — the key trigger for a pandemic. H5N1 has already infected 258 people and killed 153, mainly in South-East Asia, and it has recently mutated in ways that make human infections more probable.

“We need as many good antiviral drugs for flu as we can develop,” said Frederick Hayden, a World Health Organisation medical officer who has studied peramivir. “Having multiple options with different antiviral spectra is very desirable.”

Peramivir has two important advantages over the other therapies. Tamiflu, which is taken orally, and Relenza, which is inhaled, are difficult to administer to unconscious patients. Peramivir does not have this problem because it is injected, and the first human studies have shown that it also reaches the bloodstream in higher concentrations and remains active for longer.

The new drug would also provide a valuable alternative if a pandemic strain were to evolve resistance to Tamiflu, the front-line treatment that has been stockpiled by many countries, including Britain. Some H5N1 viruses have already shown resistance to Tamiflu, and if such a strain became dominant the drug would become useless. This week, a report from the Royal Society urged the Government not to rely on it exclusively.

Laboratory tests show that peramivir is effective against every known variant of H5N1, and its greater potency means that the virus is less likely to acquire resistance.

It is also simple to manufacture from synthetic raw materials that are readily available in bulk. Tamiflu production has been delayed by a shortage of star anise, the plant from which the active ingredient comes.

Peramivir was developed by BioCryst Pharmaceuticals, based in Alabama. It said that facilities already exist that could make a billion doses a year; Roche can make only 400 million doses of Tamiflu a year. BioCryst recently completed successful safety trials on human volunteers, which also proved that both intramuscular (IM) and intravenous (IV) injections deliver high levels of the drug to the bloodstream.

Phase 2 trials of the IM formulation will start testing peramivir’s effectiveness in more than 100 patients with seasonal flu from next week, and a similar study of the IV injection is due to begin in January. If these are successful, larger phase 3 trials would take place during next winter’s flu season, and the drug could be marketed within two to three years. If a flu pandemic were to start before then, peramivir could be made available as an emergency measure, as it already has a good safety record.


Young mothers' firstborn live long: "Firstborn children of women younger than 25 are about twice as likely to surpass the average life span and go on to live beyond 100, according to a new study. Leonid Gavrilov and his colleagues at the University of Chicago's Center for Aging have studied a wealth of data on centenarians to figure out why so many firstborns seem to outpace their younger siblings in the longevity race. Although there is no clear answer yet, scientists believe the phenomenon may be related to the physical youthfulness of young mothers and the eggs they produce. They found that firstborn children are 1.7 times more likely to live to a ripe old age. The scientists studied a variety of factors, and what stood out strongly was the age of the mother."


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter? It is just about pure fat. Surely it should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). For a summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and no lasting harm from them has ever been shown.


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