Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Vitamin B6 and protein reduces lung cancer risk

Hmmm... I'm dubious about this. How would nutrients reduce cancer? It seems to me more likely that well-off people are both better fed and in general more healthy. So the factors are associated but one is not the cause of the other. I note that income does not appear to have been controlled for.

The journal article is "Serum B Vitamin Levels and Risk of Lung Cancer". There is a fuller summary of the study here with some worthwhile cautions expressed.

SMOKERS with higher levels of vitamin B6 and a certain essential amino acid have less risk of developing lung cancer than those lacking the nutrients. A study of nearly 400,000 participants that included current and former smokers in 10 European countries found that people with high levels of vitamin B6 and the essential amino acid methionine - found in most protein - were at least half as likely of getting lung cancer.

But the researchers did not conclude that consuming more of the nutrients reduced risk of lung cancer, the deadliest cancer worldwide, and stressed the importance of quitting smoking. "Similar and consistent decreases in risk were observed in never, former, and current smokers, indicating that results were not due to confounding (factors that can influence outcomes) by smoking," the researchers wrote. "The magnitude of risk was also constant with increasing length of follow-up, indicating that the associations were not explained by preclinical disease."

Former and current smokers with higher serum folate levels - in addition to high amounts of vitamin B6 and methionine in their blood - also had 67 per cent less risk of developing the disease.

Lung cancer claims some 1.3 million lives worldwide each year, accounting for nearly 18 per cent of all cancer deaths, according to the World Health Organization.

The researchers, whose study was published in today's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, also noted that many former smokers have lung cancer and that a "non-trivial" number of people who never smoked get the disease, especially among women in parts of Asia.

Paul Brennan of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, led the study of nearly 900 lung cancer patients.


Violent videogames harmless for most kids: studies

"Baroness" (brown-nose) Greenfield won't want to know about this

Violent videogames can increase aggression and hostility in some players but they can also benefit others by honing their visual/spatial skills and improving social networking ability, scientists said.

In a special issue of the journal Review of General Psychology published by the American Psychological Association, researchers said the games can also help to control diabetes and pain and work as a tool to complement psychotherapy.

"Violent video games are like peanut butter," said Christopher J. Ferguson, of Texas A&M International University. "They are harmless for the vast majority of kids but are harmful to a small minority with pre-existing personality or mental health problems."

He added that studies have revealed that violent games have not created a generation of problem youngsters.

"Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests," Ferguson, a guest editor for the journal, explained.

Patrick Markey, of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, found in a study of 118 teenagers that certain personality traits can predict which children will be negatively influenced by videogame. If someone is easily upset, depressed and emotional or is indifferent to the feelings of other people, breaks rules and fails to keep promises, they may be more likely to be hostile after playing violent videogames.

"These results suggest that it is the simultaneous combination of these personality traits which yield a more powerful predictor of violent video games," Markey said. "Those who are negatively affected have pre-existing dispositions, which make them susceptible to such violent media."

But on a more positive note Pamela Kato, of University Medical Center in Utrecht in the Netherlands, showed in her research that specially tailored games can help to prevent asthma attacks, and ease pain management and diabetes treatment.


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