Monday, March 12, 2007

Now sitting down is bad for you

Office workers are more at risk of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) than passengers sitting for long spells on long-haul flights, according to startling new research. Sitting immobile at a desk for hours at a time has also been revealed as a serious risk factor for so-called "economy class syndrome".

A study - due to be presented at the annual conference of the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand - has found prolonged immobility at work is the most common factor shared by DVT patients. Researchers found one in three people attending an outpatient clinic reported sitting for eight hours or longer before suffering a venous thromboembolism, whereas only one in five had travelled on a long-haul flight. The worst-affected were managers, IT workers and taxi drivers, according to the new studies carried out by the Medical Research Institute in Wellington, New Zealand.

Latest figures show that Australians work among the longest hours in the world, with many spending more than 50 hours of their working week at their desks, and almost a third regularly working on weekends.

DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most commonly in the legs, which may cause death if left untreated. Symptoms include pain, swelling, redness and dilated surface veins seen on the skin. Immobility from sickness or post-surgery, taking the oral contraceptive pill, obesity and air travel are among other risk factors. Reg Lord, professor of surgery at the University of Western Sydney and a leading expert in thrombosis, said that sedentary workers were at risk because blood flow was impeded. "If you get someone in a sitting position and look at the blood flow in their veins, you can see that it is reduced," he said.


Frozen food now a danger for children

Any hope regarding Crohn's disease is however welcome

World-first research by Melbourne experts has found that frozen food may be the cause of a dramatic rise in immune disorders in children. Studies reveal a bacteria that thrives in freezing temperatures is present in almost half of Victoria's cases of childhood chronic inflammatory bowel disease. Murdoch Children's Research Institute and Royal Children's Hospital experts proved Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis is present in the digestive system in about half of newly diagnosed cases of Crohn's disease. It is also found in cattle and it is the first time it has been linked to Crohn's disease in children.

More than 45,000 Australians diagnosed with the incurable disease and the youngest patient is only two. The breakthrough research could relieve sufferers, who have difficulty eating and can have weight loss, diarrhoea, fatigue and stunted growth. "The worldwide increase in Crohn's disease far exceeds anything that can be explained by a genetic predisposition alone," RCH head of gastroenterology Dr Tony Catto-Smith said. "We know the bug is present in our environment. And 41 of the 100 CD cases have the bug present in blood, and biopsy suggests some form of association. Whether this bacteria is the trigger is unknown, though."



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 and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they 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.