Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tuberculosis and illegal immigration

The article below is from a nationalist site but makes a good point. Why is London a world headquarters of TB? The demographics give a clear answer: Immigrants are only a small proportion of the overall British population but are a massive proportion of the TB sufferers. And since the immigrants concerned undoubtedly live at close quarters with others of similar ethnic origins, that some of those others become infected in no way detracts from the immigrant origin of the problem. Many of the "British born" TB sufferers mentioned would no doubt be relatives of immigrants. The fact that many sufferers lived in Britain for 2 years before presenting to a doctor is also of course meaningless, given the slow progress of TB. I presume that Britain, like any other advanced country, has some health screening for legal immigrants so the problem undoubtedly is a direct consequence of Britain's large illegal immigration problem

"Lazy hacks at the Labour supporting Daily Mirror have made some very strange claims concerning TB (Tuberculosis)!

Apparently, despite all the reports from various health agencies and trusts, TB has little to do with immigration and everything to do with poverty! That's why, presumably, it is at sky-high levels in places such as Leicester, Slough, Bradford, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney - but not in Liverpool, Newcastle, Swansea and Plymouth!

Daily Mirror claim: "Half of all TB diagnosed is in British People that were born in the UK!" and "It's a disease of the poor rather than a disease of immigrants"

Government's Health Protection Agency says: "As in previous years the London region accounted for a substantial proportion of cases in 2005 (43%) and had the highest rate of disease (46.3 per 100,000). Most tuberculosis cases continue to occur in young adults (61% were aged 15-44 years) and in the non-UK born population (72%)."

Daily Mirror claim: "Most immigrants with TB tend to have already lived here for two years and contract it due to stress and poor living conditions".

NHS says: "It is true that over half of the people diagnosed with TB in this country were born abroad but immigration alone does not explain the recent rise in TB cases. Around 40% of people born overseas who develop TB in this country have lived here for more than 10 years (but - presumably - have maintained physical contact with their home countries and with people from those countries - Ed.)

If the Mirror tells lies about TB what other subjects does this Labour supporting rag lie about?

And according to the World Socialist Web Site:

"Medical experts are warning about the developing threat of tuberculosis (TB) in Britain, and especially in London. The Annual Public Health Report 2000/2001 produced by the East London & The City Health Authority highlights some of the conditions that have enabled TB to take a hold."

"Districts in East London have been particularly affected: Newham with 108 cases per 100,000 of its population has made London "tuberculosis capital of the affluent Western world". The figures even put it ahead of Russia, where the collapse of the public health system has led to 91 cases per 100,000, whereas in India the figure is 41 per 100,000."

In other words your average Londoner has a higher chance of contracting TB in, say, Barking - than he ever has in, say, Turkey!"


Vitamins 'raise death risk', big study finds

The study below may not be the last word on ill-effects from vitamin supplements but I think it is clear that the "antioxidants" beloved of the health-food freaks at least do no good. The abstract of the original article by Bjelakovic et al is here. I also noted the mildly harmful effects of antioxidants on February, 16th. (Scroll down).

Antioxidant supplements including vitamins A and E, taken by millions to fight disease may actually raise the risk of death, a review of 68 studies on nearly 250,000 people has said. The report relates only to synthetic supplements and not to fruits and vegetables in everyday diets which are natural and contain less concentrated levels of antioxidants, said the study from the Centre for Clinical Intervention Research at Denmark's Copenhagen University Hospital. It said the increased death risk is about 5 per cent higher than those not given supplements and that figure is probably conservative. It was reported the study found Vitamin A was the worst offender, raising the death risk by 17 per cent.

The finding drew fire from critics who said it was flawed and based largely on studies of people who were already chronically ill before they were treated with the supplements. While the review did not pinpoint any biochemical mechanism that may be behind the increased death risk, it may be that "by eliminating free radicals from our organism, we interfere with some essential defensive mechanisms," the study concluded. Antioxidants are believed to fight free radicals, atoms or groups of atoms formed in such a way that they can cause cell damage.

"Beta carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E given singly or combined with other antioxidant supplements significantly increase mortality," the study found. It also found no evidence that vitamin C increases longevity and though selenium tended to reduce mortality, more research is needed on that topic.

Balz Frei, director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University, said the study and the data studied are both flawed because more than two-thirds of the previous research that was examined involved people with heart disease, cancer or other risks who were being treated to see if the supplements worked. "This kind of approach does not work," he said. "Over the years it has become clear from these clinical trials that antioxidants don't work in disease treatment."

The Complementary Healthcare Council (CHC), which represents the industry in Australia, said the results were based on old data [so old data is bad?? Goodbye history!] and included trials which allowed doses of vitamins not accepted in Australia. CHC executive director Tony Lewis would not comment on the study's claims but said the evidence was "weak".

Australian expert Luis Vitetta, from the Centre for Complementary Medicine and Research, said the results were "very concerning" and added strength to evidence that vitamins could do more harm than good. "There's a billion dollar vitamin industry based on this idea that people can prevent disease when they're actually just putting themselves at extra risk," said Professor Vitetta.

Australian Medical Association spokesman Chris Cain said there was really no need for anyone to take vitamin supplements unless prescribed by a doctor. "It is important for people to take these vitamins with the advice and support of their doctor," he said. "The reality is that if people have a healthy and balanced diet, they will get all of the vitamins they need. Of course there are special circumstances where people develop problems in metabolising vitamins, but in that case they will be prescribed them by a doctor."

The study, published in this week's Journal of the American Medical Association, said that 10 per cent to 20 per cent of adults in North America and Europe - up to 160 million people - may consume the supplements involved. "The public health consequences may be substantial," it said. "We are exposed to intense marketing" which holds the opposite view of what the researchers found, it added. "We did not find convincing evidence that antioxidant supplements have beneficial effects on mortality," concluded the study. "Even more, beta carotene, vitamin A and vitamin E seem to increase the risk of death."



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.