Wednesday, April 16, 2014

War on salt has cut heart deaths (?)

Do I have to say it again?  Correlation does not prove causation.  The only salt-related deaths I know of are from TOO LITTLE salt. It's just guesswork below

Falling salt consumption has played an “important role” in the plummeting number of deaths from heart disease in Britain, researchers have said.

Between 2003 and 2011 average salt intake in England reduced by around 15 per cent while the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke fell by 40 per cent, their study found.

Health campaigners said the changes showed the success of efforts to persuade food manufacturers to reduce the salt content in a host of foods.

High salt intake is linked to raised blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

The research by Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry and Queen Mary University, London, examined more than 30,000 patients over an eight year period.

It found falls in blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as other changes, such as a fall in smoking rates, and an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.

Meanwhile salt intake was measured from 3,000 Britons over the same period - and showed that over the same period, consumption fell by an average of 1.4 grams a day - a 15 per cent reduction in intake.

Researchers said the significant reduction in salt was likely to have “played an important role” in the falling deaths over the period.

Other changes over the same period include an increase in the prescribing of statins, to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure and improvements in the treatment of patients who suffer from heart disease.

But researchers said the research found that blood pressure fell even among those who were not taking medication, suggesting that a reduced salt intake was likely to have made a significant contribution to the fall in deaths.

Author Prof Graham MacGregor, of the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, said: “It’s a success story - the UK is leading the world in salt reduction.

“Basically many other countries are now copying what we did in the UK when we started putting pressure on food companies to reduce salt levels around 10 years ago.

“This paper shows that it works. Cutting down salt will cause a major reduction in strokes and heart attacks. If you get salt down then blood pressure comes down, it’s very simple really.”

Researchers said that 80 per cent of daily salt intake comes from foods such as cereals, bread, meat products, ready meals, rather than being added to food.

However, experts said most people still eat too much salt, with average intake at 8.1 grams a day - well above Government recommendations of 6 grams a day.

Victoria Taylor, a senior dietician at the British Heart Foundation, said: “While the reductions in average intakes of salt are a positive change, we mustn’t forget that they are still well above the recommended maximum of six grams a day for adults.”


Idea of New Attention Disorder Spurs Research, and Debate

This "new" disorder is probably just low IQ

With more than six million American children having received a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, concern has been rising that the condition is being significantly misdiagnosed and overtreated with prescription medications.

Yet now some powerful figures in mental health are claiming to have identified a new disorder that could vastly expand the ranks of young people treated for attention problems. Called sluggish cognitive tempo, the condition is said to be characterized by lethargy, daydreaming and slow mental processing. By some researchers’ estimates, it is present in perhaps two million children.

Experts pushing for more research into sluggish cognitive tempo say it is gaining momentum toward recognition as a legitimate disorder — and, as such, a candidate for pharmacological treatment. Some of the condition’s researchers have helped Eli Lilly investigate how its flagship A.D.H.D. drug might treat it.

The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology devoted 136 pages of its January issue to papers describing the illness, with the lead paper claiming that the question of its existence “seems to be laid to rest as of this issue.” The psychologist Russell Barkley of the Medical University of South Carolina, for 30 years one of A.D.H.D.’s most influential and visible proponents, has claimed in research papers and lectures that sluggish cognitive tempo “has become the new attention disorder.”

In an interview, Keith McBurnett, a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, and co-author of several papers on sluggish cognitive tempo, said: “When you start talking about things like daydreaming, mind-wandering, those types of behaviors, someone who has a son or daughter who does this excessively says, ‘I know about this from my own experience.’ They know what you’re talking about.”

Yet some experts, including Dr. McBurnett and some members of the journal’s editorial board, say that there is no consensus on the new disorder’s specific symptoms, let alone scientific validity. They warn that the concept’s promotion without vastly more scientific rigor could expose children to unwarranted diagnoses and prescription medications — problems that A.D.H.D. already faces.

“We’re seeing a fad in evolution: Just as A.D.H.D. has been the diagnosis du jour for 15 years or so, this is the beginning of another,” said Dr. Allen Frances, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University. “This is a public health experiment on millions of kids.”

Though the concept of sluggish cognitive tempo, or S.C.T., has been researched sporadically since the 1980s, it has never been recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which codifies conditions recognized by the American Psychiatric Association. The editor in chief of The Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Charlotte Johnston, said in an email that recent renewed interest in the condition is what led the journal to devote most of one issue to “highlight areas in which further study is needed.”

Dr. Barkley declined repeated requests for interviews about his work and statements regarding sluggish cognitive tempo. Several of the field’s other key researchers, Stephen P. Becker of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Benjamin B. Lahey of the University of Chicago and Stephen A. Marshall of Ohio University, also declined to comment on their work.


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