Thursday, July 21, 2011

Vegetarian diet 'helps protect against common bowel disorder'

More speculation. Vegetarians undoubtedly differ from normals in all sorts of ways. They probably take more care of their health generally, for instance. They may also do more exercise and are usually slimmer. So there is no knowing which factor led to the reduced bowel disorder observed

A vegetarian diet could help protect against a common bowel disorder, research has suggested. Vegetarians were found to be a third less likely to get diverticular disease, a condition thought to be caused by eating too little fibre. It causes cramps, bloating, wind, constipation and diarrhoea.

A study led by Dr Francesca Crowe from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at Oxford University, published online by the British Medical Journal, looked at 47,033 British adults, of whom 15,459 were vegetarian.

After an average follow-up of 11.6 years, there were 812 cases of diverticular disease. Vegetarians in the group had a 30% lower risk of having the disease, compared to those who ate meat, fish or both.

The authors said the reason could be the consumption of meat altering the metabolism of bacteria in the colon, and therefore weakening the colon wall and increasing the risk of diverticular disease. They found nothing significant about the amount of meat eaten.

The potential protective benefits of vegetarianism could be obtained even in a short time, the study found.

There also seemed to be a link between eating more fibre and being at lower risk of the disease. Patients who consumed the most fibre, more than 25.5g per day for women and more than 26.1g for men, had a 42% lower risk than those who ate less than 14g per day.


Why taller women are a third more likely to be diagnosed with cancer

This is one finding that is NOT due to social class, as upper class women tend to be taller. Anecdotes prove nothing but I cannot help mentioning that for a time in Britain, I went out with a woman who was 5'10" tall, which is tall for a woman. She traced her ancestry back 1,000 years. On the principle of parsimony, the explanation for the finding below is most likely to be the one I have highlighted in red

Taller women are more likely to get cancer, research reveals today. Their risk of developing some of the most common forms is up to a third greater.

Scientists believe being tall may increase the levels of certain hormones known to trigger tumours.

A study carried out at Oxford University found the risk of cancer increased by around 16 per cent with every four inches of height. The scientists studied the link between height and ten of the most common forms of cancer including breast, bowel, kidney, womb, ovarian and leukaemia by looking at the medical records of one million British women. They found those who were 5ft 9in tall were more than 33 per cent more likely to get cancer than those who were just 5ft.

Researchers say the link may explain why cancer rates have risen so much over the past few decades when our average height has also progressively increased. Over the course of the last century the height of adults in Europe has gone up by more than a third of an inch (1cm) every ten years. And figures show that cancer rates have increased by about 3 per cent every decade. The scientists suggest an increase in height can explain up to 15 per cent of the rise in cancer cases seen over the past century.

They believe one reason for the link is that tall girls tend to start puberty earlier and this is when their bodies begin producing large amounts of the hormone oestrogen, known to trigger the growth of tumours.

The scientists also point out taller people have more cells in their body so they have a higher chance that one will become cancerous.

Jane Green, from the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford, said: ‘The fact the link between height and cancer risk seems to be common to many different types of cancer suggests there may be a basic common mechanism, perhaps acting early in peoples’ lives, when they are growing. ‘Of course people cannot change their height. And being taller has been linked to a lower risk of other conditions, such as heart disease.’

Sara Hiom, director of health information, at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘Tall people need not be alarmed. Most people are not a lot taller than average and their height will only have a small effect on their individual cancer risk. ‘This study confirms the link between height and cancer paving the way for studies to help us understand why this is so.’

This study only involved women so it is not clear whether tall men are at risk. But past research has linked height with increases in prostate and testicular cancer.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Also, the absolute risk increase is small.