Sunday, January 14, 2007


They'll get us all eventually. First they came for the obese ....

The journal abstract below reports an Italian study based on just 20 women. No double blind controls or any of that nonsense, of course:

Normal-weight obese syndrome: early inflammation?

Antonino De Lorenzo et al.

Background: In obese subjects, the adipose mass represents an important source of proinflammatory cytokines. We have identified a new syndrome-the normal-weight obese (NWO) syndrome-in women with normal weight and body mass index but whose fat mass is >30% of their total body weight and whose risk of developing obesity-related diseases is likely increased.

Objective: The aim of the present study was to verify the hypothesis that NWO women are characterized by early inflammation, related to body fat mass, and that their plasma proinflammatory cytokine concentrations are greater than those of nonobese women.

Design: Twenty NWO, 20 preobese-obese, and 20 healthy (nonobese), age-matched white Italian women were studied. Anthropometric variables and plasma concentrations of proinflammatory cytokines and cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors were measured and compared between groups.

Results: Plasma values and body-composition measures were significantly different between the preobese-obese and nonobese women. No significant differences in body weight, laboratory values, or CVD risk factors were found between the NWO and nonobese groups. Compared with concentrations in the NWO women, plasma concentrations of interleukin (IL)-1alpha were significantly lower in the nonobese group and were significantly greater in the preobese-obese group. IL-6 and alpha concentrations were related to fat mass distribution in the NWO women.

Conclusions: The proinflammatory cytokines could be regarded as significant prognostic indicators of the risk of obesity, CVD, and the metabolic syndrome in NWO women.


Journal abstract below:

Effects of Folic Acid Supplementation on Hearing in Older Adults

Background: Age-related hearing loss is a common chronic condition of elderly persons. Low folate status has been associated with poor hearing.

Objective: To determine whether folic acid supplementation slows age-related hearing loss.

Design: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial conducted from September 2000 to December 2004.

Setting: The Netherlands.

Participants: 728 older men and women recruited from municipal and blood bank registries with plasma total homocysteine concentrations 13 æmol/L or greater serum and vitamin B12 concentrations 200 pmol/L or greater at screening, and no middle ear dysfunction, unilateral hearing loss, or pathologic ear conditions unrelated to aging.

Intervention: Daily oral folic acid (800 æg) or placebo supplementation for 3 years.

Measurements: 3-year change in hearing thresholds, assessed as the average of the pure-tone air conduction thresholds of both ears of the low (0.5-kHz, 1-kHz, and 2-kHz) and high (4-kHz, 6-kHz, and 8-kHz) frequencies.

Results: Initial median hearing thresholds were 11.7 dB (interquartile range, 7.5 to 17.5 dB) for low frequencies and 34.2 dB (interquartile range, 22.5 to 50.0 dB) for high frequencies. Sixteen participants (2%) were lost to follow-up. After 3 years, thresholds of the low frequencies increased by 1.0 dB (95% CI, 0.6 to 1.4 dB) in the folic acid group and by 1.7 dB (CI, 1.3 to 2.1 dB) in the placebo group (difference, -0.7 dB [CI, -1.2 to -0.1 dB]; P = 0.020). Folic acid supplementation did not affect the decline in hearing high frequencies.

Limitations: The strict criterion for participation on the basis of serum homocysteine concentrations limits extrapolation to the general population. Folic acid fortification of food was prohibited in the Netherlands during the study, so baseline folate levels in participants were about half of those found in the U.S. population.

Conclusions: Folic acid supplementation slowed the decline in hearing of the speech frequencies associated with aging in a population from a country without folic acid fortification of food. The effect requires confirmation, especially in populations from countries with folic acid fortification programs.


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].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.

The use of extreme quintiles (fifths) to examine effects is in fact so common as to be almost universal but suggests to the experienced observer that the differences between the mean scores of the experimental and control groups were not statistically significant -- thus making the article concerned little more than an exercise in deception


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