Sunday, January 01, 2012

More epidemiological nonsense about statins

Good to see a bit of humility in the last sentence. People who are robust enough to endure the side effects of statins are of course highly likely to be unusually healthy in other ways

Taking statins to cut cholesterol can help to reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer, says researchers. The findings back up previous studies suggesting that controlling cholesterol, a ‘key nutrient’ for cancer cells, can have multiple benefits.

Study author Stephen Marcella said: ‘People may be on these medications for their heart but it may be doing them some good for their prostate.’

Dr Marcella and his colleagues collected the medical records of 380 men who had died of prostate cancer and another 380 of the same age and race without prostate cancer or with non-lethal cancer.

Most of the men were white and in their mid- to late-60s, on average and close to one in four of the men in both groups combined had ever taken a statin.

The researchers found that men who died of prostate cancer were half as likely to have taken a statin at any time, and for any duration, than men in the 'control' group.

When they accounted for whether or not men were overweight and their other health problems and medications, it turned out that those with fatal cancers were 63 per cent less likely to have ever taken a statin, according to findings published in the journal Cancer.

'If a person's on the fence about taking a statin medication for their heart, this is another potential benefit they may have by taking one of these,' he said. But, Dr Marcella added, 'I would not tell a person if they don't have a risk of heart disease... to take a statin just to prevent lethal prostate cancer.'

Around seven million Britons currently take statins. Meanwhile some 34,593 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer last year - a ten per cent annual rise. The illness is by far the most common form of cancer in men and one in nine will develop it at some point during their lives.

The researchers also found that while high-potency, newer statins were linked to a decreased risk of fatal prostate cancer, the same was not so true of lower-potency drugs. This suggests that it is something about the drugs themselves that lower men's chances of dying from prostate cancer, Dr Marcella said.

The researchers added that cholesterol is a 'key nutrient' for cancer cells, so lower cholesterol levels in the body could prevent more aggressive forms of cancer from developing.

But they said that to prove that statins protect against aggressive cancer would require a much larger study in which cancer-free men, or those with early-stage disease, are randomly assigned to take statins or not and then tracked for years to see how many of them die from the disease.


Obama's Fascist FDA

The raw milk battle reveals them in their true colors

The FTCLDF is a 501(c)(4) organization, which means that it exists to promote the social welfare of its members and community. They define their reason for being in one sentence:
Sustainable farming and direct farm-to-consumer transactions further the common good and general welfare of all Americans.

Their Mission Statement says, in whole:
The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund is a 501 (c) (4) non-profit organization made up of farmers and consumers joining together and pooling resources to:

Protect the constitutional right of the nation’s family farms to provide processed and unprocessed farm foods directly to consumers through any legal means.

Protect the constitutional right of consumers to obtain unprocessed and processed farm foods directly from family farms.

Protect the nation’s family farms from harassment by federal, state, and local government interference with food production and on-farm food processing.

On behalf of its members and for all family farms in the US, the FTCLDF filed a lawsuit against the FDA, claiming "that the federal regulations (21 CFR 1240.61 and 21 CFR 131.110) banning raw milk for human consumption in interstate commerce are unconstitutional and outside of FDA's statutory authority as applied to FTCLDF's members and the named individual plaintiffs in the suit."

The FDA responded by claiming a number of things, including the absurd idea that the FTCLDF has no standing to file the case! That is, they're claiming that the organization that represents the people who have been harmed by the FDA's actions does not actually represent them. They claim that no harm has been shown, in spite of the fact that the FDA's actions have prevented farmers from producing and selling raw milk and their customers have lost the ability to obtain it.

The FDA's Response and Claims

The FDA makes several statements in response to the lawsuit. The implications for personal freedoms are frightening.

No Fundamental Right to Raw Milk

The FDA claims that "...plaintiffs' assertion of a new 'fundamental right' under substantive due process to produce, obtain, and consume unpasteurized milk lacks any support in law." This implies that no rights exist unless they have been specifically granted. This concept runs completely counter to the basic concepts of the nation. The Declaration of Independence states:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

A basic notion in the founding of the nation is that rights do not have to be delineated. The rights identified in the Declaration of Independence clearly stated that they are merely "among" the obvious rights of people. How could anyone suggest that obtaining one's food of choice is not an inherent right?

FDA Has the Right to Set the Rules for How They May Be Controlled

The FDA claims that, before filing a lawsuit, the FTCLDF should have filed a petition with the FDA. In other words, they're claiming that they have the right to set the rules by which they may be accessed and controlled. If the FDA has such a right, then it is unaccountable to the people.

No Historical Tradition of Access to Food of Choice

The FDA states that "there is no 'deeply rooted' historical tradition of unfettered access to food of all kinds." This implies that one does not have the right to a vegetable garden containing one's choice of foods, or that choosing organic over petroleum-based fertilizer is not a right, or that one has no right to choose to eat a vegetarian diet.

"There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health."

This title quotes the title of a section of the FDA's response to the lawsuit. If that doesn't terrify you, then nothing can. The FDA is, literally, claiming that they have the right to take a person's health if it suits them. The section uses specious logic, claiming that there is no right to bodily and physical health because, according to them, there is no right to food choice, which is a claim that only the FDA could make.

It's interesting that the FDA is implicitly acknowledging that there is a connection between food and health, though they deny that one has a right to either freedom of food or pursuance of bodily and physical health.

"There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract."

Another section of the FDA's response is the above title claiming that individuals do not have the right to engage in contracts as they choose. This flies in the face of the basic right implied in the Constitution and strengthened by the 5th and 14th amendments. Limitations have been placed when contractual rights conflict with personal rights.

However, the inherent right to freedom of contract has not been abrogated, in spite of the FDA's claims. Their reference to it as "anachronistic" says more about the FDA's attitude towards the people than it does about the intent of the law.

"FDA's Regulations Rationally Advance the Agency’s Public Health Mission."

This statement by the FDA—again, the title of a section of its response—is made without a shred of documentation in support. It is nothing more than a self-congratulatory statement of opinion, one that a large section of the American public does not accept. Indeed, the illogic and arrogance of the FDA's entire response to the FTCLDF lawsuit tends to deny their claim to rationality.

The FDA's Logic

The logic the FDA is using seems to be: If it isn't specifically named in the Constitution, then there is no such right. The absurdity of that logic is revealed by suggesting that you don't have the right to breathe because it wasn't specifically granted by the Constitution.

What could be more basic to life and the right to live than the right to eat as we wish and obtain the food we wish to eat? We have the right to free speech and assembly. In light of that, how can the FDA claim that we don't, by definition, have the right to eat what we choose?

Could the Founding Fathers have possibly envisioned a government that would infringe on an individual's right to choice in food?

Nonetheless, we need to understand that, in one sense, the FDA is right. Unless we act to stop their intrusions into our rights, then their claims will, effectively, become law. They've almost accomplished it now.


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