Monday, April 16, 2007

Breast cancer linked to alcohol

This appears to be a "consensus" arrived at in a "conference" so may well be wrong. If I know anything about what can be expected of the evidence, it will depend on tiny group differences that can only be fished out with the usual special medical statistics

DRINKING alcohol directly causes two common cancers, breast and bowel, a landmark international study has found. The World Health Organisation says there is enough evidence to add breast and colorectal (colon or bowel) cancer to the list of cancers already associated with drinking alcohol, which include mouth, throat and liver cancer.

WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimated those who drank 50 grams of alcohol a day - the equivalent of five standard drinks - were 40per cent more at risk of getting colorectal cancer than non-drinkers. Women who drank 50grams a day faced a 50per cent increased risk of breast cancer. Even women who had 18grams a day - less than two standard drinks - showed a significant increase in cancer risk. The type of alcohol had no impact, with beer, wine and spirits all considered to have a carcinogenic effect.

IARC director Peter Boyle said the link between cancer and alcohol consumption was more likely than previously thought and a major concern "in view of the changing drinking patterns of women in many countries". The findings are the work of 26 scientists from 15 countries and are published in the April issue of Lancet Oncology.


There is a general syndrome of biological bad functioning

Ever since the longditudinal studies of high IQ kids by Terman and Oden (beginning in the 1920s) we have known that high IQ tends to indicate a syndrome of generally good biological functioning so it is no surprise that the opposite is found too. The article below has the expected nonsensical interpretation of the causal chain but the underlying findings seem sound

ANTISOCIAL behaviour doesn't just harm society - it may also harm the perpetrators' health. That's the message of a 30-year study examining the hidden costs of petty crime to society. The researchers, who monitored 500 children for 30 years, found that naughty boys who didn't reform in adulthood suffered worse health than their peers, including many who were equally deprived in childhood. The researchers are now seeking a way of identifying those who are most likely to become persistent offenders, with a view to intervening before it is too late.

"It's the first study to demonstrate the link between children who engage in antisocial behaviour and deficits in physical health when they grow up," says study leader Candice Odgers of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London. As well as accounting for more than their share of crime in later life, "they also incur hitherto unrecognised medical costs", she says.

Odgers analysed data on more than 500 men in their early 30s from a range of socio-economic backgrounds in Dunedin, New Zealand. The results, published in Archives of General Psychiatry (vol 64, p 476), show that individuals whose bad behaviour began in childhood and persisted into adulthood were twice as likely to be infected with the herpes virus and three times as likely to suffer from chronic bronchitis or gum disease as those who never engaged in bad behaviour.

Although these individuals accounted for just 10 per cent of the sample, they were responsible for 18 per cent of traffic injuries, 29 per cent of the days spent in psychiatric hospitals, 72 per cent of the months spent in jail and 42 per cent of the total months where study members were homeless or taken in by others. Persistent offenders also had three times the healthy blood level of C-reactive protein, a marker that indicates raised risk of heart attacks or stroke. It is surprising to see this marked risk for heart disease in such young men, Odgers says. "As we follow them to their 50s and 60s, the health burden will likely get even worse."

Her analysis so far suggests that nurture plays a strong role in determining who is most likely to offend, and their subsequent health. For example, 40 per cent of persistent offenders came from families of low economic status, and 23 per cent experienced maltreatment as a child - at least double that in any other group.

Odgers's study reinforces previous research that early intervention could help. Around a quarter of the sample were badly behaved as children, but reformed at adolescence. Many of them had the same deprived backgrounds as the persistent offenders, yet by the age of 32 they were almost as healthy as the controls. The key question, says Odgers, is how to identify which boys are most likely to offend in later life. Possible markers include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - which affected 38 per cent of persistent offenders - and a family history of alcohol addiction. Further analyses are under way to assess the impact of genes.



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.