Tuesday, February 19, 2008


You might think so from the results below but look again. It appears that it was only CHANGES in folate that were correlated with dementia onset. Having low folate levels at the beginning was no problem. The inference is that folate levels and dementia have a common cause rather than one causing the other. Note also this recent expert comment about folates causing bowel cancer. And that this study showed that folate INCREASES dementia. So even if the results below were more positive, it would still be unwise for oldies to take folate. Abstract below:

Changes in folate, vitamin B12, and homocysteine associated with incident dementia

By Jae-Min Kim et al.

Objectives: Prospective findings have not been consistent for folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine concentrations as predictors of dementia. This study aimed to investigate both baseline concentrations of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine and changes in these concentrations as predictors/correlates of incident dementia.

Methods: Of 625 elderly patients without dementia at baseline, 518 (83%) were followed over a 2.4 year period and were clinically assessed for incident dementia and Alzheimer's disease (AD). Serum concentrations of folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine were measured at the baseline and follow-up assessments. Covariates included age, sex, education, disability, depression, alcohol consumption, physical activity, vascular risk factors, serum creatinine concentration, vitamin intake and weight change.

Results: Only baseline lower folate concentrations predicted incident dementia. The onset of dementia was significantly associated with an exaggerated decline in folate, a weaker increase in vitamin B12 concentrations and an exaggerated increase in homocysteine concentrations over the follow-up period. These associations were reduced following adjustment for weight change over the same period.

Conclusions: Incident dementia is more strongly associated with changes in folate, vitamin B12 and homocysteine than with previous concentrations. These changes may be linked to other somatic manifestations of early dementia, such as weight loss.



Effect of training and lifting equipment for preventing back pain in lifting and handling: systematic review

By Martimo KP et al.

OBJECTIVES: To determine whether advice and training on working techniques and lifting equipment prevent back pain in jobs that involve heavy lifting.

DATA SOURCES: Medline, Embase, CENTRAL, Cochrane Back Group's specialised register, CINAHL, Nioshtic, CISdoc, Science Citation Index, and PsychLIT were searched up to September-November 2005. Review methods The primary search focused on randomised controlled trials and the secondary search on cohort studies with a concurrent control group. Interventions aimed to modify techniques for lifting and handling heavy objects or patients and including measurements for back pain, consequent disability, or sick leave as the main outcome were considered for the review. Two authors independently assessed eligibility of the studies and methodological quality of those included.

For data synthesis, we summarised the results of studies comparing similar interventions. We used odds ratios and effect sizes to combine the results in a meta-analysis. Finally, we compared the conclusions of the primary and secondary analyses.

RESULTS: Six randomised trials and five cohort studies met the inclusion criteria. Two randomised trials and all cohort studies were labelled as high quality. Eight studies looked at lifting and moving patients, and three studies were conducted among baggage handlers or postal workers. Those in control groups received no intervention or minimal training, physical exercise, or use of back belts. None of the comparisons in randomised trials (17,720 participants) yielded significant differences. In the secondary analysis, none of the cohort studies (772 participants) had significant results, which supports the results of the randomised trials.

CONCLUSIONS: There is no evidence to support use of advice or training in working techniques with or without lifting equipment for preventing back pain or consequent disability. The findings challenge current widespread practice of advising workers on correct lifting technique.



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!


1 comment:

ianric said...

Speaking of heredity, the other day a Swedish newspaper wrote about the fact that people in northern Europe and Scandinavia in particular are able to drink milk as adults. Most of us are able to metabolise lactose. This is due to quote "a genetic defect" unquote. How can the ability to metabolise a source of nutrition be labeled as a defect? Imagine a future mutation allowing humans to metabolise cellulose. Suddenly fibre would be nourishment. I wouldn't call that a defect.