Friday, April 20, 2007


This is completely desperate stuff. The minute elevation of risk reported below is way below the 100% increase normally considered necessary for a finding in a low-incidence area to be taken seriously. To sum up: It is just scare-mongering HOKUM. What the data really shows is that HRT is a NEGLIGIBLE risk. Yet again the once-reputable "Lancet" publishes garbage. They just KNOW what is good for you -- like the Leftists they generally are

Women were advised yesterday to think "very carefully" about taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) after evidence was published showing that it has killed 1,000 women in Britain since 1991 by increasing their risk of ovarian cancer. HRT increases the risk of the disease by 20 per cent, the biggest investigation of links between HRT and cancer has found. Although the absolute risk is low, millions of women took HRT in the 1990s and so the total impact is large: an extra 1,300 cases of the disease and 1,000 deaths between 1991 and 2005, according to the Million Women Study.

Previous results from the same study have linked HRT with an increased risk of breast and womb cancer. The latest findings suggest that HRT raises the combined risk of all three diseases by more than 60 per cent, the researchers say. Despite a sharp decline in recent years in HRT use, there are believed to be about one million women in Britain still on it.

Valerie Beral, director of the Cancer Research UK epidemiology unit at the University of Oxford, said: "The results of this study show that not only does HRT increase the risk of getting ovarian cancer, it also increases a woman's risk of dying of ovarian cancer." Ovarian cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women in Britain. Each year about 6,700 women develop the disease and 4,600 die from it.

The findings come from a study of 948,576 post-menopausal women, or a quarter of all women aged 50 to 64 in the country. It was largely funded by Cancer Research UK. About a third of those in the study were taking HRT, and another fifth had taken it in the past. The women were followed for an average of more than five years for signs of ovarian cancer, and seven years for death. During the follow-up period a total of 2,273 women developed ovarian cancer and 1,591 died from it.

These results imply that the use of HRT - of whatever sort - increased the risk of developing and dying from ovarian cancer by 20 per cent, the team reports in the online version of The Lancet. To put the findings in perspective, they mean that over a period of five years there is likely to be one extra case of ovarian cancer among every 2,500 women receiving HRT, and one additional death for every 3,300 women on the therapy.

HRT is used to combat unpleasant symptoms of the menopause, including hot flushes, vaginal dryness and night sweats. It was promoted strongly by doctors in the 1970s, and many women claimed that it had transformed their lives. But in recent years numbers have plummeted after a series of health scares. According to the GP Research Database, the number of women in Britain on HRT fell from two million in 2002 to one million in 2005. John Toy, the medical director of Cancer Research UK, said: "Considering this alongside the increases in risk for breast and endometrial cancer, women should think very carefully about taking HRT. Women who choose to take HRT should aim do so for clear medical need and for the shortest possible time."

The findings were challenged by John Stevenson, of the Royal Brompton Hospital in London and the chairman of the charity Women's Health Concern. "The study grossly overestimates the breast cancer risk, and now we have findings from a five-year study that have to be extended to a 14-year time frame to make them more sensational," he said. "This is not science, and the findings themselves fly in the face of cancer biology."

Breast, ovarian and endo- metrial cancer, which affects the womb lining, account for almost 40 per cent of cancers in women in Britain, and a quarter of female cancer deaths. HRT appears to raise the combined risk of all three diseases by 63 per cent, according to the Million Women Study. "When ovarian, endometrial and breast cancer are taken together, use of HRT results in a material increase in these common cancers," the study authors wrote.

Journal abstract below:

Breast cancer and hormone-replacement therapy in the Million Women Study

Background: Current use of hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) increases the incidence of breast cancer. The Million Women Study was set up to investigate the effects of specific types of HRT on incident and fatal breast cancer.

Methods: 1084110 UK women aged 50-64 years were recruited into the Million Women Study between 1996 and 2001, provided information about their use of HRT and other personal details, and were followed up for cancer incidence and death.

Findings: Half the women had used HRT; 9364 incident invasive breast cancers and 637 breast cancer deaths were registered after an average of 2·6 and 4·1 years of follow-up, respectively. Current users of HRT at recruitment were more likely than never users to develop breast cancer (adjusted relative risk 1·66 [95% CI 1·58–1·75], p<0·0001) and die from it (1·22 [1·00–1·48], p=0·05). Past users of HRT were, however, not at an increased risk of incident or fatal disease (1·01 [0·94–1·09] and 1·05 [0·82–1·34], respectively). Incidence was significantly increased for current users of preparations containing oestrogen only (1·30 [1·21–1·40], p<0·0001), oestrogen-progestagen (2·00 [1·88–2·12], p<0·0001), and tibolone (1·45 [1·25–1·68], p<0·0001), but the magnitude of the associated risk was substantially greater for oestrogen-progestagen than for other types of HRT (p<0·0001). Results varied little between specific oestrogens and progestagens or their doses; or between continuous and sequential regimens. The relative risks were significantly increased separately for oral, transdermal, and implanted oestrogen-only formulations (1·32 [1·21–1·45]; 1·24 [1·11–1·39]; and 1·65 [1·26–2·16], respectively; all p<0·0001). In current users of each type of HRT the risk of breast cancer increased with increasing total duration of use. 10 years' use of HRT is estimated to result in five (95% CI 3–7) additional breast cancers per 1000 users of oestrogen-only preparations and 19 (15–23) additional cancers per 1000 users of oestrogen-progestagen combinations. Use of HRT by women aged 50–64 years in the UK over the past decade has resulted in an estimated 20000 extra breast cancers, 15000 associated with oestrogen-progestagen; the extra deaths cannot yet be reliably estimated.

Interpretation: Current use of HRT is associated with an increased risk of incident and fatal breast cancer; the effect is substantially greater for oestrogen-progestagen combinations than for other types of HRT.

Correspondence to: Prof Valerie Beral, Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit, Gibson Building, Radcliffe Infirmary, Woodstock Road, OxfordOX2 6HE, UK

"Speed" gives you brain haemorrhages

Journal abstract (Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2007;64:495-502) below:

Stroke in Young Adults Who Abuse Amphetamines or Cocaine

A Population-Based Study of Hospitalized Patients

By Arthur N. Westover et al

Context: The abuse of stimulant drugs is increasing in the western United States. Although numerous case reports and animal studies suggest a link with stroke, epidemiologic studies have yielded conflicting results.

Objective" To test the hypothesis that young adults who abuse amphetamines or cocaine are at a higher risk of stroke.

Design, Setting, and Participants: Using a cross-sectional design and from a quality indicators' database of 3 148 165 discharges from Texas hospitals, we estimated the secular trends from January 1, 2000, to December 31, 2003, in the abuse of various drugs and of strokes. We developed separate logistic regression models of risk factors for hemorrhagic (n = 937) and ischemic (n = 998) stroke discharges of persons aged 18 to 44 years in 2003, and for mortality risk in patients with stroke.

Main Outcome Measure: Incidence of stroke using definitions from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's stroke mortality Inpatient Quality Indicator.

Results: From 2000 to 2003, the rate of increase was greatest for abuse of amphetamines, followed by cannabis and cocaine. The rate of strokes also increased, particularly among amphetamine abusers. In 812 247 discharges in 2003, amphetamine abuse was associated with hemorrhagic stroke (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 4.95; 95% confidence interval [CI], 3.24-7.55), but not with ischemic stroke; cocaine abuse was associated with hemorrhagic (OR, 2.33; 95% CI, 1.74-3.11) and ischemic (OR, 2.03; 95% CI, 1.48-2.79) stroke. Amphetamine, but not cocaine, abuse was associated with a higher risk of death after hemorrhagic stroke (OR, 2.63; 95% CI, 1.07-6.50).

Conclusion: Increases in stimulant drug abuse may increase the rate of hospital admissions for strokes and stroke-related mortality.

Note the contrast between this study and the HRT study above. Where the HRT study showed a meaningless 20% increase in risk (off a tiny base), the drug study above showed a nearly 500% increase in risk


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.