Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Eating large fish poisons young children?

The article below says it does. I guess we must not mention that tuna is a very large predatory fish, that the Japanese eats heaps of large tuna and that the Japanese have unusually long lifespans. Note that no actual harm was reported below -- just opinion. If I was a Leftist, I would accuse these guys of being in the pocket of the sardine industry

Parents have been warned against feeding large fish species such as swordfish, marlin and shark to young children because of the danger of mercury poisoning. High levels of mercury - linked to developmental delay and brain problems - have been found in three children in Sydney. Health officials said yesterday the children, aged 15 months to two years, had eaten fives times the recommended amount of fish. In all three cases, details of which were published in the Medical Journal of Australia, they were fed congee - a rice and fish porridge used in Asian communities as a weaning food.

Health experts yesterday said that "small children should eat small fish". NSW Health Minister Reba Meagher said too much of certain types of fish could be "detrimental to children's health". "Incorporating two to three serves of fish per week into kids' diets is a good thing, but some parents may be overdoing it with certain species known to be high in mercury," she said.

Study co-author Stephen Corbett, of the Sydney South West Area Health Service, said children should still have fish in their diets. "Including fish in an infant's diet has many health benefits including building a strong heart and nervous system," Dr Corbett said. "But some fish may also contain mercury which is not good for young, developing children. "It is important to be aware how children can enjoy the many important benefits of seafood while reducing exposure to mercury."

Acting Minister for Primary Industries Linda Burney said: "An easy rule ... is that when whole the fish should be the size of an average plate." Chief Scientist with the NSW Food Authority Lisa Szabo said most fish were low in mercury but longer-living predatory fish built up mercury levels. "These fish such as shark or flake, swordfish, marlin and broadbill should not be included in the diet of small children," Dr Szabo said. "If they are eaten they should be limited to one serve per fortnight with no other fish eaten that fortnight.

"Examples of low mercury fish commonly available are rainbow trout, ocean trout, flathead, kingfish and whiting - canned tuna and salmon are also good low mercury options." Processed fish products such as fish fingers, patties, cakes, balls and bakes are made from a variety of fish including species low in mercury such as hoki and hake.


The following excerpt from Wikipedia gives some background on tuna

Due to their high position in the food chain and the subsequent accumulation of heavy metals from their diet, mercury levels can be relatively high in some of the larger species of tuna such as bluefin and albacore. As a result, in March 2004 the United States FDA issued guidelines recommending pregnant women, nursing mothers and children limit their intake of tuna and other types of predatory fish. However, most canned light tuna is skipjack tuna and is lower in mercury

More medical ideology bites the dust

Drugs that are commonly used to treat aggressive or violent outbursts in intellectually disabled people are less effective than a placebo and should not be used as a standard form of treatment, research shows. The finding, by Australian and British experts, strongly challenges routine medical practice throughout the world of using antipsychotic drugs to treat aggression in intellectually disabled patients. Up to 45 per cent of people with an intellectual disability in hospital and about 20 per cent of those in the community are prescribed antipsychotic drugs, although there is no clear connection between aggressive behaviour and psychotic illness.

The study, published in The Lancet, examined 86 adults with a mild intellectual disability in group housing in England, Wales and Australia over more than a month of treatment. It found a 79 per cent reduction in aggressive behaviour among patients taking placebo pills, compared with a reduction of 65 per cent or less in those taking antipsychotic drugs. Researchers compared the placebo with two antipsychotic drugs - haloperidol and risperidone - although the findings would almost certainly apply to all similar medications, they said.

The lead author, Peter Tyrer, a professor of psychiatry at Imperial College London, said that although all treatments led to a reduction in aggression after four weeks, the greatest decrease was by those taking the placebo. "Our trial has shown that aggressive challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability decreases whether or not active medication is given," he said. There had been no differences between drugs and dummy pills when measuring aggressive behaviour, quality of life, effect on carers and adverse drug effects, Professor Tyrer said.

The study's authors, including researchers from the University of Queensland, said the results "should not be interpreted as an indication that antipsychotic drugs have no place in some aspects of behaviour disturbance". Dr David Harley, who worked on the study while at the Queensland Centre for Intellectual and Developmental Disability, said he was not surprised that the drugs had little more effect than the placebo, given they had not been used for the purpose in which they were created. "They are being used to treat [aggression] which is not a recognised medical diagnosis," he said. "We might expect drugs like this to work if the aggression was caused by schizophrenia or psychotic illness." Dr Harley said when intellectually disabled people became aggressive, doctors were left to feel "like the only avenue they have is to prescribe". He has been advocating against the use of medication in this group for years and preferred to treat most patients with behavioural therapy.

Philip Mitchell, head of the school of psychiatry at the University of NSW, said the study was a "wake-up call" to psychiatrists that the drugs were "of limited benefit" for patients with intellectual disability. "It should hopefully make clinicians and doctors more circumspect about their prescribing practices," he said.



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.

"What we should be doing is monitoring children from birth so we can detect any deviations from the norm at an early stage and action can be taken". Who said that? Joe Stalin? Adolf Hitler? Orwell's "Big Brother"? The Spanish Inquisition? Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde? None of those. It was Dr Colin Waine, chairman of Britain's National Obesity Forum. What a fine fellow!


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