Saturday, February 09, 2008

Get lazy, age faster

This seems reasonable enough. We didn't evolve to sit in armchairs all day. But the stuff below is little more than speculation. There's still a lot we don't know about telomeres and their regeneration

People who are physically active in their spare time seem biologically younger than sedentary types, researchers report. Regular exercisers are already known to have lower rates of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, obesity and osteoporosis, according to scientists. But beyond this, "inactivity. may influence the aging process itself," the researchers wrote, reporting their findings in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

Lynn F. Cherkas of King's College London and colleagues studied 2,401 white twins who filled out questionnaires on physical activity, smoking habits and socioeconomic status, and provided blood samples for DNA tests.

The researchers measured the length of segments of chromosomes called telomeres. Their length, which decreases throughout a person's life, is seen by some biologists as a possible marker of biological age. [Hmmm... ]

People who were less physically active in their leisure time had shorter telomeres in their white blood cells than those who were more active, Cherkas and colleagues found. "The most active subjects had telomeres the same length as sedentary individuals up to 10 years younger, on average," they wrote. The relationship "remained significant after adjustment for body mass index, smoking, socioeconomic status and physical activity at work."

Sedentary lifestyles shorten telomeres probably through a process called oxidative stress, in which oxygen, although essential to life, causes chemical damage to cells, the researchers said. Exercise may also reduce psychological stress, they added, and this may affect aging.

"U.S. guidelines recommend that 30 minutes of moderateintensity physical activity at least five days a week can have significant health benefits," the authors wrote. "Our results underscore the vital importance of these guidelines. adults who partake in regular physical activity are biologically younger than sedentary individuals."


Beware of raw eggs

The owner of a cafe that infected scores of patrons with salmonella has apologised to those who became ill. Venus cafe owner Maree Little cried yesterday as she spoke of the devastation of knowing food prepared at her Rosny Park eatery had made at least 79 people seriously ill, including mourners at funerals which her business had catered for. She too became ill after eating food from the cafe, which had been made unknowingly with contaminated eggs. She said she felt compassion for all those who had been sick, including her five-year-old granddaughter and five Venus staff who were all hospitalised.

"I want to sincerely apologise to all of our loyal customers, staff and other members of the community who've fallen ill as a result of eating food from Venus cafe," she said. "We profoundly regret that our business has been associated with this salmonella outbreak and we feel for everyone who has been admitted to hospital, or become sick as a result of eating at our cafe. "It has devastated me and the staff as well. Our heart certainly goes out to those (sick) people because we know what they are going through." The apology came after the Mercury revealed a 66-year-old Hobart man was struck down with salmonella after lunching at Venus and spent the past 12 days in hospital. The hospitalised man was finally able to go home yesterday and said he was grateful that Venus had apologised and that the Tasmanian Greens were pushing for regulatory changes to prevent further salmonella outbreaks.

The Health Department has confirmed the outbreak at Venus was caused by an aioli salad dressing and dipping sauce which was made from raw eggs. The contaminated food was served in the cafe on January 24-25 and at several catered functions including funerals at Millingtons in Mornington. Ms Little said it was unfortunate that her business had unknowingly used contaminated eggs provided by an external egg supplier. She said her business, which she had run for 16 months, would not use raw egg in any product ever again.



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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