Thursday, July 10, 2008

Use it or lose it?

One sometimes wonders if medical researchers have ever heard of the chicken and egg conundrum. They certainly show little sign of it. They mostly seem to think that they can just intuit the direction of the causal arrow. I think I can leave it to readers to fill in the blanks regarding the nonsensical conclusions below

There's new advice for older men who want to preserve their sexual function: have sex, and have it often, researchers say. In a study that followed nearly 1,000 older Finnish men for five years, researchers found that those who were regularly having sex at the start of the study were at lower risk of developing erectile dysfunction (ED) by the study's end. In fact, the more often the men had sex, the lower their ED risk. The implication, say the researchers, is that men should be encouraged to stay sexually active into their golden years.

Dr. Juha Koskimaki and colleagues at the University of Tampere in Finland report the findings in the American Journal of Medicine. The study included 989 men who were between the ages of 55 and 75 at the outset.

Overall, those who said they had sex less than once per week were twice as likely to develop ED over the next five years as men who had sex at least once a week. Furthermore, compared with men who had sex three or more times per week, their ED risk was increased nearly four-fold.

A number of factors contribute to ED development, many of which could also affect a man's sexually activity -- such as age, diabetes and heart disease. However, after taking account of those factors, sexual activity itself remained linked to ED risk, Koskimaki's team found.

It may be a matter of "use it or lose it," according to the researchers. Just as exercise boosts physical fitness, they note, regular sexual activity may help a man preserve his erectile function. ED occurs when there are problems with blood flow to the penis. Regular sexual activity, Koskimaki's team writes, may help maintain healthy blood vessel function in the erectile tissue.


Journal abstract follows:

Regular Intercourse Protects Against Erectile Dysfunction: Tampere Aging Male Urologic Study

By Juha Koskimaki et al.


Erectile dysfunction is common among men aged more than 60 years. Its cause involves both physiologic and psychosocial factors.


To evaluate the effects of coital frequency on subsequent risk of erectile dysfunction, data were analyzed from a population-based 5-year follow-up study that was conducted in Pirkanmaa, Finland, using postal questionnaires. Assessment was based on the 5-item version of the validated International Index of Erectile Function. Men with erectile dysfunction at entry were excluded from the analysis. The study sample consisted of 989 men aged 55 to 75 years (mean 59.2 years). The most common comorbidities were hypertension (32%), heart disease (12%), depression (7%), diabetes (4%,) and cerebrovascular disorder (4%).


The overall incidence of moderate or complete erectile dysfunction was 32 cases per 1000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI], 27-38). After adjustment for comorbidity and other major risk factors, men reporting intercourse less than once per week at baseline had twice the incidence of erectile dysfunction compared with those reporting intercourse once per week (79 vs 33/1000, incidence rate ratio 2.2, 95% CI, 1.3-3.8). The risk of erectile dysfunction was inversely related to the frequency of intercourse. No relationship between morning erections and incidence of moderate or severe erectile dysfunction was found.


Regular intercourse protects against the development of erectile dysfunction among men aged 55 to 75 years. This may have an impact on general health and quality of life; therefore, doctors should support patients' sexual activity.

American Journal of Medicine. Volume 121, Issue 7, Pages 592-596 (July 2008)

The coffee merry-go-round again

Good for you, bad for you, Good for you, bad for you. It is of course just the usual epidemiological twaddle. Maybe women who are less vigorous drink more coffee to perk themselves up and it is the lesser vigour that leads to their pregnancy problems, not the coffee. It's all speculation but these epidemiological simpletons seem to feel that they "just know" what the causal path is. The fact that alcohol, an entirely different substance from caffeine, had similar effects, also points to a social explanation

FOUR cups of coffee a day seriously damage a woman's chances of having a baby or damage the unborn baby's health, Dutch research suggests. The Daily Mail reports that women drinking that much caffeine were 26 per cent less likely to have a baby adding to evidence that it can harm fertility and the health of an unborn baby. There is also caffeine in chocolate and some soft-drinks.Coffee has also been found to increase the risk of stillbirth and is linked to birth defects. Research has shown fit, young, healthy women take longer to get pregnant if they have lots of caffeinated drinks.

The Dutch researchers followed the health and habits of 9000 women with fertility problems for up to 13 years after they finished IVF treatment. Some of the women had a baby through IVF, others had not. Almost 1350 had babies after treatment ended, with most pregnancies occurring in the first year.

When the researchers from Radbout University in Nijmegen looked at why some women conceived naturally and others did not, they found lifestyle played a critical role. Having three or more alcoholic drinks a week had the same effect, while being slightly overweight cut the chances of getting pregnant.


British menus to list carbon footprint of dishes. Chinese and Indian food both bad

And French food too, no doubt. The nonsense is coming thick and fast today

BRITISH restaurants may have to identify the ''carbon footprint' of their dishes, possibly listing those items that are airfreighted to the country. The plans were outlined on Monday in the Cabinet Office report on the food strategy Britain should adopt for the 21st century. The document examines rising obesity rates, spiralling prices and the problem of millions of tonnes of good food going to waste.

Backed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown, it outlines far-reaching plans to improve the nation's diet. Fast food outlets, curry houses, kebab shops and even Michelin-starred restaurants will be given guidelines on how to deliver healthy food. They will come under pressure to list the amount of fat, saturated fat, salt and sugar included in items on the menu.

Britain could follow the example of New York, which has brought in laws to require chain restaurants in the city to list the calorie count of dishes. Restaurants may even be asked to follow the "traffic light" system of red, amber and green logos on dishes, used on supermarket ready-meals. The report recommends that food served by public bodies, from prisons to army barracks and hospitals, meets minimum nutrition standards. The Food Standards Agency would ensure restaurants deliver healthier dishes.

Recent studies have warned that single takeaway curries or Chinese dishes can contain more saturated fat than an adult should consume in a day.


1 comment:

Ashley said...

Cancer treatment most of the times leaves the patient with erectile dysfunction as a side effect. Be it the young or the old almost 50% of the men who undertake cancer treatments experience either partial, occasional, or permanent ED. Prescribed cialis is capable of curing ED that follows any form of cancer treatment.