Sunday, June 10, 2007


It would be surprising if it were not. The study below shows that old ladies who drink lots of milk and eat lots of cheese get less breast cancer. As usual, the reasons are speculative. Pinpointing vitamin D and calcium is just a pretense to knowledge. The effects were in any case tiny -- shown only by comparing extreme quintiles. So no general need to start making dairy farmers rich but those who drink no milk at all might do well to start drinking some

Intakes of Calcium and Vitamin D and Breast Cancer Risk in Women

By Jennifer Lin et al.

Background: Animal data suggest the potential anticarcinogenic effects of calcium and vitamin D on breast cancer development. However, epidemiologic data relating calcium and vitamin D levels to breast cancer have been inconclusive.

Methods: We prospectively evaluated total calcium and vitamin D intake in relation to breast cancer incidence among 10 578 premenopausal and 20 909 postmenopausal women 45 years or older who were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease at baseline in the Women's Health Study. Baseline dietary intake was assessed by a food frequency questionnaire. We used Cox proportional hazards regression to estimate hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals.

Results: During an average of 10 years of follow-up, 276 premenopausal and 743 postmenopausal women had a confirmed diagnosis of incident invasive breast cancer. Higher intakes of total calcium and vitamin D were moderately associated with a lower risk of premenopausal breast cancer; the hazard ratios in the group with the highest relative to the lowest quintile of intake were 0.61 (95% confidence interval, 0.40-0.92) for calcium (P = .04 for trend) and 0.65 (95% confidence interval, 0.42-1.00) for vitamin D intake (P = .07 for trend). The inverse association with both nutrients was also present for large or poorly differentiated breast tumors among premenopausal women (P = 04 for trend). By contrast, intakes of both nutrients were not inversely associated with the risk of breast cancer among postmenopausal women.

Conclusions: Findings from this study suggest that higher intakes of calcium and vitamin D may be associated with a lower risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer. The likely apparent protection in premenopausal women may be more pronounced for more aggressive breast tumors.

Arch Intern Med. 2007;167:1050-1059


Earth-shattering conclusion? That's what the paper below tells us. Don't ask me why it was thought to be worth publishing

Drinking Social Norms and Drinking Behaviours: a Multilevel Analysis of 137 Workgroups in 16 Worksites

By Tonatiuh Barrientos-Gutierrez et al.

Objectives: Previous studies on worksite drinking norms showed individually perceived norms were associated with drinking behaviours. This study examines whether restrictive drinking social norms shared by workgroup membership are associated with decreased heavy drinking, frequent drinking and drinking at work at the worker level.

Methods: The sample included 5,338 workers with complete data nested in 137 supervisory workgroups from 16 U.S. worksites. Multilevel models were fitted to examine the association between workgroup drinking norms and heavy drinking, frequent drinking and drinking at work.

Results: Multivariate adjusted models showed participants working in workgroups in the most discouraging drinking norms quartile were 45% less likely to be heavy drinkers, 54% less likely to be frequent drinkers and 69% less likely to drink at work than their counterparts in the most encouraging quartile.

Conclusions: Strong associations between work-group level restrictive drinking social norms and drinking outcomes suggest public health efforts at reducing drinking and alcohol related injuries, illnesses and diseases should target social interventions at worksites.

Occup Environ Med., 24 May 2007


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.


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