Sunday, November 07, 2010

The scientific journals are getting desperate -- reporting research as if it told us the opposite of what it does

The results below are NOT STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT -- meaning that they should be accepted as due to chance alone. It is fine to report non-significant results in the journals. I have done so on various occasions myself. But such results are normally of interest as DISPROOF of a theory. In the case below they are presented as PROVING a theory! Can medical research go any lower?

No mystery about why the article was published. It is part of a widespread obsession among the elitist Leftists who infest academe to show that anything popular must be rubbish or bad for you

The heading on the article below was "IVF 'could double risk of cerebral palsy'". A correct heading would have been "IVF procedures not found to produce cerebral palsy"

Several studies have shown that rates of the neurological condition, which can result in speech problems, muscular stiffness and curvature of the spine, are higher in couples who have undergone in vitro fertilisation (IVF).

But this is the first to suggest that the process of IVF itself could increase the risk, rather than it being a consequence of the parents' impaired fertility.

Researchers at the University of Aarhus in Denmark found that babies born by IVF were more than twice as likely to have cerebral palsy as those conceived naturally. The result held up even after adjusting for factors like the age of the mother, if she smoked, and whether the baby was premature or a twin.

Dr Jin Lieang Zhu, an epidemiologist, and his team concluded that IVF was probably the underlying cause by looking at how rates of cerebral palsy changed depending on how long it took the mother to conceive naturally. This is considered a good measure of underlying fertility.

They found no statistically significant difference in rates between those whose mothers took less than two months to conceive, and those who took more than a year. However, there was a much bigger difference between those who took over a year to conceive and those who only got pregnant thanks to IVF.

Even though this difference was not statistically significant, probably due to the small number of cases of cerebral palsy, the researchers concluded that IVF "confers a risk of cerebral palsy".

Dr Zhu stressed that the overall risk of having a child with cerebral palsy was still low. About one in 176 children born via IVF in the study had the condition, compared to the British average of about one in 400. He also said modern IVF techniques, such as only transferring one embryo to the womb, could eliminate the heightened risk altogether.

The study is published today in the journal Human Reproduction.


Possible early warning signs for prostate cancer discovered

Let's hope there's something in this. How many false positives you get from any resultant test would be the big issue

Scientists have discovered potential early warning signs for prostate cancer that could be used to spot the disease before symptoms emerge. Researchers at Bristol University identified two proteins that are present in higher levels in men with prostate cancer, which kills 10,000 a year in Britain.

The proteins are called 'growth factors' that regulate normal growth and development in organs and tissue, especially in the womb and during childhood.

Dr Mari-Anne Rowlands, a cancer epidemiologist and the lead author of the study, said: "It’s too early to be certain but these results suggest that we may have identified potential new biomarkers for very early prostate cancer in men with no symptoms.

"Now we need more research to determine whether levels of these potential biomarkers predict which prostate cancers detected by screening might progress to become life-threatening."

She and her colleagues compared a range of biomarkers, in 2,686 men with prostate cancer and 2,766 men without the condition. Currently doctors rely on measuring Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which rises in response to the presence of cancerous tissue. However, the test does not flag up the cancer very early and is also not very accurate. It often falsely indicates a problem where none exists.

Professor Malcolm Mason, of Cancer Research UK, said of the Bristol University research: "This study could be a very important step forward in identifying men who should be screened."

The results are being presented at the National Cancer Research Institute conference in Liverpool on Monday.


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