Friday, August 24, 2007


The abstract is below. What it shows is that nice middle class patients who do what the health gurus tell them live longer. But you would never guess that from what they say below. No hint of control for social class even though we already know that the poor have more health problems, live more dangerously and die younger. It's always these inconclusive epidemiological studies which support the "bad fat" religion. The double blind studies are the real criterion and they are un-co-operative with the men of faith. See the right-hand column of this blog on that

Association of Dietary Patterns With Cancer Recurrence and Survival in Patients With Stage III Colon Cancer

By: Jeffrey A. Meyerhardt et al.


Context: Dietary factors have been associated with the risk of developing colon cancer but the influence of diet on patients with established disease is unknown.

Objective: To determine the association of dietary patterns with cancer recurrences and mortality of colon cancer survivors.

Design, Setting, and Patients: Prospective observational study of 1009 patients with stage III colon cancer who were enrolled in a randomized adjuvant chemotherapy trial (CALGB 89803) between April 1999 and May 2001. Patients reported on dietary intake using a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire during and 6 months after adjuvant chemotherapy. We identified 2 major dietary patterns, prudent and Western, by factor analysis. The prudent pattern was characterized by high intakes of fruits and vegetables, poultry, and fish; the Western pattern was characterized by high intakes of meat, fat, refined grains, and dessert. Patients were followed up for cancer recurrence or death.

Main Outcome Measures: Disease-free survival, recurrence-free survival, and overall survival by dietary pattern.

Results: During a median follow-up of 5.3 years for the overall cohort, 324 patients had cancer recurrence, 223 patients died with cancer recurrence, and 28 died without documented cancer recurrence. A higher intake of a Western dietary pattern after cancer diagnosis was associated with a significantly worse disease-free survival (colon cancer recurrences or death). Compared with patients in the lowest quintile of Western dietary pattern, those in the highest quintile experienced an adjusted hazard ratio (AHR) for disease-free survival of 3.25 (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.04-5.19; P for trend <.001). The Western dietary pattern was associated with a similar detriment in recurrence-free survival (AHR, 2.85; 95% CI, 1.75-4.63) and overall survival (AHR, 2.32; 95% CI, 1.36-3.96]), comparing highest to lowest quintiles (both with P for trend <.001). The reduction in disease-free survival with a Western dietary pattern was not significantly modified by sex, age, nodal stage, body mass index, physical activity level, baseline performance status, or treatment group. In contrast, the prudent dietary pattern was not significantly associated with cancer recurrence or mortality.

Conclusions: Higher intake of a Western dietary pattern may be associated with a higher risk of recurrence and mortality among patients with stage III colon cancer treated with surgery and adjuvant chemotherapy. Further studies are needed to delineate which components of such a diet show the strongest association.

JAMA. 2007;298:754-764.


The following study shows that smokers have a considerably higher risk of one sort of blindness but whether that is because smoking is strongly class-related we do not know. It's mostly dummies who smoke these days as its contribution to lung cancer is clear. And intelligence IS related to mortality, unfashionable though it is to mention that

Smoking and the Long-term Incidence of Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Jennifer S. L. Tan et al.

Objective: To assess the association between smoking and long-term incident age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Methods: Of 3654 Australians 49 years and older examined at baseline (January 14, 1992, through December 18, 1993), 2454 were examined 5 years later (January 11, 1997, through February 23, 2000), 10 years later (July 10, 2002, through November 4, 2005), or both. Retinal photographs were taken to assess AMD. Smoking status was recorded at each interview.

Results: After controlling for age, sex, and other factors, current smokers had a 4-fold higher risk of late AMD than never smokers (relative risk, 3.9; 95% confidence interval, 1.7-8.8). Past smokers had a 3-fold higher risk of geographic atrophy (relative risk, 3.4; 95% confidence interval, 1.2-9.7). Joint exposure to current smoking and (1) the lowest level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, (2) the highest total to HDL cholesterol ratio, or (3) low fish consumption was associated with a higher risk of late AMD than the effect of any risk factor alone. However, interactions between smoking and HDL cholesterol level, ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, and fish consumption were not statistically significant.

Conclusion: Smoking strongly increased the long-term risk of incident late, but not early, AMD, with a possibly greater effect in persons with a low HDL cholesterol level, a high ratio of total to HDL cholesterol, and low fish consumption.

Arch Ophthalmol. 2007;125:1089-1095


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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