Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Two glasses of wine a day could increase breast cancer risk by 50 per cent

But it DECREASES your risk of a heart attack! How comical! But both findings are epidemiological garbage. Correlation is not causation

Women who drink just two glasses of wine a day are 50 per cent more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t drink at all, a major study has found.

Even those who indulge in only three or four glasses of wine over an entire week – well within the Government’s recommended limits – are putting themselves at risk.

Researchers also warn that women who drink regularly in their 20s and 30s are far more likely to develop the illness in later life, regardless of whether they subsequently cut back.

The Government recommends that women should drink no more than 14 units a week, which is about seven medium glasses of wine or 14 measures of spirits.

But this study found that even half this amount – seven units a week – could raise the risk of breast cancer by 15 per cent.

And women who drank nearly four units daily – two glasses of wine – increased the likelihood by 50 per cent.

Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham And Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, looked at the records of 105,986 women aged 30 to 55 who completed surveys on their current drinking habits and how much they drank when they were younger. Over a period of nearly 30 years they monitored how many of the women developed breast cancer.

Their findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, show that women who drank nearly four units a day were 50 per cent more at risk than teetotallers.

Those who drank less than this amount but at least two and a half units daily were 28 per cent more at risk.

Women who drank between just over one unit and two and a half units daily were 15 per cent more at risk.

The study also found that women who drank two and a half units a day for a period of five years at any point between the ages of 18 and 40 were a third more likely to get the illness, even if they later cut down.

Breast cancer is by far the most common form of the illness in women and statistics show that one in eight will develop it at some point in their lives. Around 48,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK every year and the majority of sufferers are over 50.

Scientists think that alcohol raises levels of the female sex hormone oestrogen, which is believed to trigger the growth of tumours.

Professor Karol Sikora, cancer specialist and medical director of the private cancer clinic company CancerPartnersUK, said: ‘The relationship between alcohol intake and breast cancer is very complex.

‘We’ve known for some years now that even small amounts of alcohol can change hormone patterns. But not all women are equally affected. This very large study from a much-respected source suggested that just a few glasses of wine a week increases breast cancer risk significantly throughout adult life.’

Sarah Williams, health information officer at Cancer Research UK, said: ‘This study adds to already strong evidence that drinking even small amounts of alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer.

‘Cutting down on alcohol can reduce the chance of developing breast cancer – as can keeping a healthy weight and being physically active.’


Red wine ingredient protects against heart disease and diabetes?

A sample of 11 obese men??? How's that for generalizability?

An active ingredient in red wine could protect people at high risk from heart disease and diabetes, according to scientists. Researchers from Maastricht University have discovered that an antioxidant found in red grapes can lower blood sugar levels and reduce blood pressure.

Known as resveratrol, the wonder substance which found in the skin of red grapes, is also thought to increase life expectancy.

A team from the Netherlands analysed the biological effects of resveratrol supplements in a group of 11 obese men. Obesity increases the likelihood of developing metabolic syndromes, which in-turn raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

After 30 days all of the men experienced a lower metabolic rate, less liver fat, lower blood sugar levels and reduced blood pressure.

Lead researcher Dr Patrick Schrauwe said: 'We saw a lot of small effects but consistently pointing in a good direction of improved metabolic health.'

The men, who were obese but otherwise healthy, were given a dietary supplement containing 150 milligrams of purified resveratrol every day for a month.

During this time they underwent tests to measure a wide range of effects including energy expenditure, fat storage, blood sugar and pressure, and gene activity.

Two of the most striking findings were a marked drop in metabolic rate during sleep, and a five millimeters of mercury reduction in maximum blood pressure. No serious side effects were observed.
Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes as well as other fruits

Resveratrol is found in the skin of red grapes as well as other fruits

Dr Schrauwe's team concluded that the findings show 'resveratrol has promising beneficial metabolic effects' and that the antioxidant has the 'potential to improve metabolic health in subjects at risk for developing the metabolic syndrome.'

The changes mirrored those of severe calorie restriction, which has been shown in animals to make cells operate more efficiently.

Cutting calories by up to 50 per cent is known to reduce the risk of age-related diseases such as diabetes and cancer and promote longer life span.

The team now hope that the results will encourage more research to see if it resveratrol could be helpful in people with type 2 diabetes.

Dr Schrauwe' added: 'This is very positive news.m 'Now we have shown for the first time that resveratrol works in humans. 'We need further studies, but I would advise people to use resveratrol.'

He noted resveratrol is found is very small quantities in red wine - around one milligram per glass - and two gallons of wine a day would be the equivalent of a concentrated dosage as used in the study.

The research was published in the journal Cell Metabolism.


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