Sunday, March 24, 2013

Eating too much salt blamed for 2.3 million deaths a year worldwide... ten times more than sugary drinks (?)

This is just epidemiological batshit -- based  on the profound wisdom that correlation is causation.  I would like to see just ONE case of a person eating normal foods and in normal health who clearly died of excess salt consumption.  And even the epidemiology is not kind to the claim.  Japanese eat huge amounts of salt but are unusually long-lived.  That's one heck of an "outlier"

Excessive salt consumption accounts for an estimated 2.3 million deaths a year overshadowing the dangers of consuming sugary drinks.

Fifteen per cent of all deaths from heart attacks, strokes and other heart-related diseases throughout the world in 2010 were caused by eating too much salt according to research presented at the American Heart Association.

A recent Harvard study had found that sugary drinks contribute to the deaths of around 180,000 people annually, but these latest finding are much more worrying.

'National and global public health measures, such as comprehensive sodium reduction programs, could potentially save millions of lives,' said lead author of the study and associate professor of medicine and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health Dariush Mozaffarian.

'The burden of sodium is much higher than the burden of sugar-sweetened beverages.  'That’s because sugar-sweetened beverages are just one type of food that people can avoid, whereas sodium is in everything.'

The researchers analyzed 247 surveys of adult sodium intake, stratified by age, gender, region and country between 1990 and 2010 as part of the 2010 Global Burden of Diseases Study, an international collaborative study by 488 scientists from 303 institutions in 50 countries around the world.

Nearly one million of these deaths – 40 percent of the total -- were premature, occurring in people 69 years of age and younger.

Sixty per cent of the deaths occurred in men and 40 percent were in women. Heart attacks caused 42 percent of the deaths and strokes 41 percent. The remainder resulted from other types of cardiovascular disease.

Eighty-four percent of these deaths due to eating too much sodium were in low and middle-income countries, rather than high-income countries.


Computer games: Court rightly finds a scientific "consensus" to be wrong

Do gooders regularly condemn computer games despite a lot of evidence that they do no harm.  The collective body of American psychologists has regularly ignored the body of research in their own field and joined the alarmists.  Chris Ferguson has written a long paper showing that SCOTUS was right to hose down the alarmists.  Below is just the summary.  I wonder what, if anything,  the obnoxious Susan Greenfield will have to say about it

In June 2011 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that video games enjoy full free speech protections and that the regulation of violent game sales to minors is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court also referred to psychological research on violent video games as “unpersuasive” and noted that such research contains many methodological flaws. Recent reviews in many scholarly journals have come to similar conclusions, although much debate continues.

Given past statements by the American Psychological Association linking video game and media violence with aggression, the Supreme Court ruling, particularly its critique of the science, is likely to be shocking and disappointing to some psychologists.

One possible outcome is that the psychological community may increase the conclusiveness of their statements linking violent games to harm as a form of defensive reaction. However, in this article the author argues that the psychological community would be better served by reflecting on this research and considering whether the scientific process failed by permitting and even encouraging statements about video game violence that exceeded the data or ignored conflicting data.

Although it is likely that debates on this issue will continue, a move toward caution and conservatism as well as increased dialogue between scholars on opposing sides of this debate will be necessary to restore scientific credibility.

The current article reviews the involvement of the psychological science community in the Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association case and suggests that it might learn from some of the errors in this case for the future.


1 comment:

John A said...

"Premature (under age 70 years)" death sodium (i.e. NaCl) study -

"Eighty-four percent of these deaths due to eating too much sodium were in low and middle-income countries, rather than high-income countries."

Golly, people in Somalia or Zimbabwe [or on Easter Island, if not Chile] usually die at a younger age than people in Japan or France?

And of course, this all means that the US, UK, Germany etc should cut sodium from their national diets.