Sunday, December 23, 2007

Shorties less healthy

I get a bit tired of singing the same old song but once again we see that the role of social class is neglected. I can't be bothered to look up the studies but it has often been found by psychologists that taller people are more successful in life -- so shorties are more likely to be working class and working class peoiple are less healthy anyway. So what we observe below could well be a class effect rather than a shortness effect. That the effect is noticeable among women only may mean that tall women are particularly desired by high-status men. Note that models are always tall

Women with shorter legs may have an increased risk of liver disease, an extensive UK study suggests. Researchers looked at 4,300 women between the ages of 60 and 79. They found the shorter-legged women had higher levels of four liver enzymes which indicate how well the organ is working and if it has been damaged.

There is a growing body of evidence to link leg length and health, the Bristol University team wrote in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. The reserachers randomly selected participants from the British Women's Health and Heart Study. They were drawn from 43 British towns.

Both leg and full height were measured, and blood samples taken to measure four liver enzymes: ALT, GGT, ALP and AST. The longer the leg length, the lower the levels of three of these enzymes. The team, led by Dr Abigail Fraser, speculated that their findings were linked to upbringing.

"Our interpretation of the results is that childhood exposures, such as good nutrition that influence growth patterns also influence liver development and therefore levels of liver enzymes in adulthood and/or the propensity for liver damage," they wrote. At the same time, they added, "greater height may boost the size of the liver, which may decrease enzyme levels so ensuring that the liver is able to withstand chemical onslaught more effectively." "This is a very interesting study and we would be keen to see any further research relating to these initial findings," said a spokesperson from the British Liver Trust.

"The study clearly asserts the importance of a healthy lifestyle [Rubbish!] particularly from a young age. We would like to encourage everyone to maintain a healthy diet in order to prevent themselves from fatty liver disease - something which is not alcohol related - which affects an estimated one in five people in the UK."


Lung cancer 'link to lack of sun'

Groan! This time it is possible genetic and environmental differences that are overlooked. That the people of tropical and non-tropical climates ARE genetically different can be seen from skin-colour alone -- but I guess we are not allowed to mention that

Lack of sunlight may increase the risk of lung cancer, a study suggests. Researchers found lung cancer rates were highest in countries furthest from the equator, where exposure to sunlight is lowest. It is thought vitamin D - generated by exposure to sunlight - can halt tumour growth by promoting the factors responsible for cell death in the body. The University of California, San Diego study appears in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

Experts warn that exposure to sunlight is still the major cause of skin cancer - a disease which is on the increase around the world. Lung cancer kills more than one million people every year around the globe. The researchers examined data from 111 countries across several continents. They found smoking was most strongly associated with lung cancer rates - accounting for up to 85% of all cases. But exposure to sunlight, especially UVB light, the principal source of vitamin D for the body, also seemed to have an impact.

The amount of UVB light increases with proximity to the equator. The analysis showed lung cancer rates were highest in those countries furthest away from the equator and lowest in those nearest. Higher cloud cover and airborne aerosol levels were also associated with higher rates of the disease.

Lead researcher Dr Cedric Garland said lung cancer, in common with many other forms of the disease, usually began in the epithelial cells that line the surface of the tissues in the organ. Cancer results when cells start to divide in an uncontrolled fashion. He said vitamin D stimulated the release of chemicals which, in combination with calcium, formed a glue-like substance which bind these cells tightly together, and put a brake on their division. There was also evidence that vitamin D may also slow the progress of cancer once it develops.

Dr Garland also stressed that moderate exposure to sunlight did not significantly raise the risk of the most serious form of skin cancer, melanoma. He said the only form of skin cancer that was related to ordinary, moderate exposure to sunlight was squamous cell carcinoma, which killed far fewer people than lung cancer, and other forms of the disease which might also be prevented by moderate exposure to the sun. Moderate exposure would be five to 15 minutes per day within two hours of midday, on mainly clear days, when season and temperature allow, with 40% of skin area exposed. A hat with a wide brim should be worn when in the sun for more than a few minutes, but sunscreen should be skipped during this period, as it prevents vitamin D synthesis.

Dr Kat Arney, of the charity Cancer Research UK, stressed that smoking was by far the biggest cause of lung cancer. She said: "There is growing evidence that vitamin D could help to reduce the risk of some cancers, such as bowel cancer, but the link between vitamin D and lung cancer is still unclear. "In this case, the researchers have not actually measured people's vitamin D levels, and there may be several other factors that need to be taken into account. "These include differences in sun protection behaviour in various countries, as well as differences in the way that cancer cases are registered. "We know that vitamin D is essential for good health, but the time in the sun needed to get enough vitamin D is much less than the time it takes to tan or burn."



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].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correlation coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic conditions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his analysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.


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