The Plain Truth

The Plain Truth
God's Hand Behind the News

Friday, October 29, 2010

BPA Linked to Low Sperm Count

Chinese factory workers exposed to high levels of the plastics chemical BPA had low sperm counts, according to the first human study to tie it to poor semen quality.

The study is the latest to raise health questions about bisphenol-A and comes two weeks after Canada published a final order adding the chemical to its list of toxic substances.

Whether the relatively low sperm counts and other signs of poor semen quality translate to reduced fertility is not known. Study author Dr. De-Kun Li, a scientist at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., noted that even men with extremely low sperm counts can father children.

But Li said finding that BPA may affect sperm is troubling because it echoes studies in animals and follows his previous research in the same men that linked BPA exposure with sexual problems.

If BPA exposure can reduce sperm levels, "that can't be good" and means more study is needed to check for other harmful effects, Li said.

The study was published online Thursday in the journal Fertility and Sterility. The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health funded the research.

Andrea Gore, a pharmacology and toxicology professor at the University of Texas who was not involved in the research, called it an important but preliminary study.


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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Milk From Grass-Fed Cows Healthier

If milk does a body good, it might do the heart better if it comes from dairy cows grazed on grass instead of on feedlots, according to a new study.

Earlier experiments have shown that cows on a diet of fresh grass produce milk with five times as much of an unsaturated fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than do cows fed processed grains. Studies in animals have suggested that CLAs can protect the heart, and help in weight loss.

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Calcium supplements linked to heart attacks: study

Ordinary calcium supplements taken by the elderly to strengthen bones may boost the risk of heart attacks, according to a study released Friday.

The findings, published in the British Medical Journal, suggest that the role of calcium in the treatment of osteoporosis should be reconsidered, the researchers said.

Calcium tablets are commonly prescribed to boost skeletal health, but a recent clinical trial suggested they might increase the number of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems in healthy older women. MORE>>>>>>

Is All Animal Flesh GOOD FOOD?

by Herbert W. Armstrong


Were all animals made clean? What about the unclean animals shown to Peter in a vision? Here is a straightforward Bible answer, giving the New Testament teaching. This subject is important to your health and well-being!


AFTER THOUSANDS of years of human experience on earth, it seems there still is nothing people know less about than food.

Observe a little baby. It seems to think that anything and everything its little chubby hands can get into its mouth is good to eat and everything baby gets his hands on goes straight to his mouth! How often must young parents take things away, and try to teach the lovely little bundle of humanity that everything one's hands can touch is not necessarily good for the digestion!

We're Just Grown-up Babies!

Well, one might wonder if any of us has grown up! Most of us adults still seem to think that anything we can stuff in our mouths is good for food. About the only difference between us and the baby is that baby puts into his mouth whatever looks good, while we employ the sense of taste in deciding what goes into our mouths.

Your stomach is your fuel tank. Your automobile's tank is its stomach. You wouldn't think of pouring just any old thing that will pour into the "stomach" of your car. You know that your car was not made to consume and "digest" fuel oil, water, milk, or kerosene.

Yes, we are very careful what we "feed" our automobile--and totally careless and indifferent about what we feed ourselves and our children!

What happens to the food you eat? In the stomach the digestive process takes place. And, once digested--if you have eaten fit and digestible food--a portion of the essential minerals and vitamins--the life-giving properties in the food--filter through the intestinal lining into the bloodstream to replenish and build up decaying cells, to provide energy, body warmth, good health.

Your body is wonderfully made! It is the most wonderful mechanism in the world.

But, just as you must use the right kind of gasoline in the gas tank and the right kind of oils and greases in the other parts of your car or impair its performance, so you must put the right kind of food into the most delicate mechanism of all, your body.

If you tried to oil a fine watch with axle grease you wouldn't expect the watch to keep good time.

And when you put into your stomach all kinds of foul things which the Great Architect who designed your human mechanism never intended, you foul up your body and bring on sickness, disease, aches, pains, a dulled and clogged-up mind, inefficiency and inability--and you commit suicide on the installment plan by actually shortening your life!

The God who designed, created, and made your body has revealed some essential basic knowledge about which meats will keep that body functioning in tip-top shape. Why does humanity refuse His instructions?

You Are Eating Poison!

You don't eat every plant that grows out of the ground. Some things that grow are poison, not food.

But did you know there are many kinds of poisons? Potassium cyanide will kill you very quickly. Some poisons will result in death within a few hours or a few days. But very few seem to know there are other poisons people mistakenly eat as foods which result in premature death after continuous usage for, say, ten, or thirty, or fifty years.

The only difference between these poisons we falsely call foods and potassium cyanide is the relative number of minutes, hours, or years it takes to accomplish its mission.

Just as every plant that God caused to grow out of the ground was not designed for food, so it is with animal flesh. Some will say, "Well, if swine's flesh isn't supposed to be eaten as food, what did God create swine for?" You might as well ask, what did God create weeds and poison vines for? Everything may have been created for a purpose, but not everything for the purpose of eating.

Now some believe that in the original creation--in the Garden of Eden God did not intend any animal flesh to be eaten. God's revelation on that point is vague, and many have argued it both ways. However, God has clearly revealed that certain animal meats may be eaten as food now, in this age, and Jesus who came to set us an example did eat flesh as well as vegetables and fruits, and so do I.

What the Great Architect of Your Stomach Instructs

When the first written revelation of God came to man through Moses, God instructed man as to which kinds of animal flesh man ought or ought not to eat. You will find this list in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14.

This is a basic law--a revelation from God to man about which kinds of flesh will properly digest and assimilate in the human system, and which will not. It is not a part of God's great spiritual law, summed up in the Ten Commandments. Neither is it part of the ceremonial, ritualistic, or sacrificial laws later abolished at the crucifixion of Christ.

It is necessary to recognize that God is the Author of all law, and there are countless laws in motion. There are laws of physics and chemistry. You know of the law of gravity. There is the great immutable spiritual law to regulate man's relationship to God and to fellow men--the law of love--the Ten Commandments. God gave His nation Israel civil statutes and judgments--national laws for the conduct of the national government. Israel was His Church, under the Old Covenant. And for the dispensation then present God gave Israel rituals and ceremonial laws for the conduct of religious services, laws relating to typical and temporary sacrifices, meat and drink offerings--temporary substitutes for Christ and the Holy Spirit. Those laws, of course, ended when the Reality came.

And then, we must realize, there are physical laws working in our bodies, regulating our health. This meat question has to do with these laws.

I know of men who make a hobby of bitterly accusing others of sin for eating pork, oysters, and clams.

Let us get this straight and clear!

We usually speak of sin in its spiritual aspect. That is the aspect in which it is considered in the New Testament. The Bible definition of it is this: "Sin is the transgression of the law" (I John 3:4).

The penalty for violation of that spiritual law is death--not the first or physical death, but the second, of spiritual and eternal death in the "lake of fire" (Rev. 20:14).

Now the eating of wrong food is not a transgression of this spiritual law, and is not a sin. To violate the physical laws of health often brings the penalty of disease, disability, pain, sickness, and sometimes the first death. It is not necessarily spiritual sin.

That is what Jesus made plain, as recorded in Mark 7:14-23. Here Jesus was speaking of spiritual defilement, not physical health. Not that which enters into a man's mouth, but the evil that comes out of his heart, defiles the man spiritually. What defiles the man--and he is speaking of defiling the man, not injuring the body--is transgression of the Ten Commandments--evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, blasphemy (verses 21-22). These things have nothing to do with the physical laws of health. He was making a point concerning spiritual defilements, not physical health.

Specifically, on the physical level, He was referring to a possible particle of dirt which might get on the food from dirty and unwashed hands--He was not here speaking of clean or unclean meats at all.

No Change in Structure of Animal Flesh at Cross

The animals whose flesh properly digests and nourishes the human body were so made in the original creation. No change was ever made in the structure of men's bodies at the time of the flood, or at the time of Jesus' death, or any other time. Neither did God make some sudden change in the structure of animal flesh, so that what once was unfit for food will now digest properly and supply the body's needs.

The unclean animals were unclean before the flood.

Notice, before the flood, Noah took into the ark of the clean animals, to be eaten for food, by sevens; but of the unclean, of which he was not to eat during the flood, by two's--only enough to preserve their lives. The inference is inescapable that the additional clean animals were taken aboard to be eaten for food while Noah and his family were in the ark.

Prior to the flood, clean animals were usually offered as sacrifices. Those who ate the sacrifices often partook of the animal flesh, but vegetables were the main constituent of diet. After the flood God gave Noah not merely the green herb--vegetables--as the major part of diet, but of every type of living creature--clean animals, clean fish, clean fowl (Genesis 9:3 and Leviticus 11).

Genesis 9:3 does not say that every living, breathing creature is clean and fit to eat, but that "as the green herb have I given you all things." God did not give poisonous herbs as food. He gave man the healthful herbs. Man can determine which herbs are healthful, but man cannot by himself determine which flesh foods are harmful. That is why God had to determine for us in His Word which meats are clean. Since the flood every moving clean, healthful, nonpoisonous type of animal life is good for food--just as God gave us the healthful, nonpoisonous herbs.

This does not give us permission to do as we please!

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Horror disease hits Uganda


In this photo of Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, Anatoli Alemo 40 a resident of Kamuli district in eastern Uganda displays his hands and feet infested by ji AP – In this photo of Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2010, Anatoli Alemo 40 a resident of Kamuli district in eastern …

KAMPALA, Uganda – A disease whose progression and symptoms seem straight out of a horror movie but which can be treated has killed at least 20 Ugandans and sickened more than 20,000 in just two months.

Jiggers, small insects which look like fleas, are the culprits in the epidemic which causes parts of the body to rot. They often enter through the feet. Once inside a person's body, they suck the blood, grow and breed, multiplying by the hundreds. Affected body parts — buttocks, lips, even eyelids — rot away.

James Kakooza, Uganda's minister of state for primary health care, said jiggers can easily kill young children by sucking their blood and can cause early deaths in grown-ups who have other diseases. Most of those infected, especially the elderly, cannot walk or work.

"It is an epidemic which we are fighting against and I am sure over time we will eradicate the jiggers," Kakooza said.

The insects breed in dirty, dusty places. The medical name for the parasitic disease is tungiasis, which is caused by the female sand fly burrowing into the skin. It exists in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, besides sub-Saharan Africa.

Kakooza said health workers are telling residents of the 12 affected districts in Uganda that jiggers thrive amid poor hygienic conditions.

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Love is a powerful painkiller, study finds

Sooner or later, love usually ends up hurting. But in its early, blissful throes, it actually lessens pain — at least of the physical kind. That's the finding, reported Wednesday, of a study by pain scientists and a psychologist who studies love.

The study, published online in the journal PLoS ONE, sprang from a meeting of minds between Arthur Aron of State University of New York at Stony Brook, a longtime researcher of the science of love, and Dr. Sean Mackey, a pain scientist at Stanford University. The two shared a hotel room while attending a neuroscience conference a few years back. Their epiphany came one evening over drinks.

"I'd had a couple glasses of Zinfandel and was chatting about pain and the brain systems involved … and he was chatting about love and the brain systems involved," Mackey said. "And we realized, you know, they could be influencing each other."

Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science

(THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD READ THE BIBLE AND EAT THE THINGS GOD TELLS US TO DO-- In it The Bible - is the secret of life!)

Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice? Dr. John Ioannidis has spent his career challenging his peers by exposing their bad science.

By David H. Freedman

Image credit: Robyn Twomey/Redux

In 2001, rumors were circulating in Greek hospitals that surgery residents, eager to rack up scalpel time, were falsely diagnosing hapless Albanian immigrants with appendicitis. At the University of Ioannina medical school’s teaching hospital, a newly minted doctor named Athina Tatsioni was discussing the rumors with colleagues when a professor who had overheard asked her if she’d like to try to prove whether they were true—he seemed to be almost daring her. She accepted the challenge and, with the professor’s and other colleagues’ help, eventually produced a formal study showing that, for whatever reason, the appendices removed from patients with Albanian names in six Greek hospitals were more than three times as likely to be perfectly healthy as those removed from patients with Greek names. “It was hard to find a journal willing to publish it, but we did,” recalls Tatsioni. “I also discovered that I really liked research.” Good thing, because the study had actually been a sort of audition. The professor, it turned out, had been putting together a team of exceptionally brash and curious young clinicians and Ph.D.s to join him in tackling an unusual and controversial agenda.

Last spring, I sat in on one of the team’s weekly meetings on the medical school’s campus, which is plunked crazily across a series of sharp hills. The building in which we met, like most at the school, had the look of a barracks and was festooned with political graffiti. But the group convened in a spacious conference room that would have been at home at a Silicon Valley start-up. Sprawled around a large table were Tatsioni and eight other youngish Greek researchers and physicians who, in contrast to the pasty younger staff frequently seen in U.S. hospitals, looked like the casually glamorous cast of a television medical drama. The professor, a dapper and soft-spoken man named John Ioannidis, loosely presided.

One of the researchers, a biostatistician named Georgia Salanti, fired up a laptop and projector and started to take the group through a study she and a few colleagues were completing that asked this question: were drug companies manipulating published research to make their drugs look good? Salanti ticked off data that seemed to indicate they were, but the other team members almost immediately started interrupting. One noted that Salanti’s study didn’t address the fact that drug-company research wasn’t measuring critically important “hard” outcomes for patients, such as survival versus death, and instead tended to measure “softer” outcomes, such as self-reported symptoms (“my chest doesn’t hurt as much today”). Another pointed out that Salanti’s study ignored the fact that when drug-company data seemed to show patients’ health improving, the data often failed to show that the drug was responsible, or that the improvement was more than marginal.

Salanti remained poised, as if the grilling were par for the course, and gamely acknowledged that the suggestions were all good—but a single study can’t prove everything, she said. Just as I was getting the sense that the data in drug studies were endlessly malleable, Ioannidis, who had mostly been listening, delivered what felt like a coup de grĂ¢ce: wasn’t it possible, he asked, that drug companies were carefully selecting the topics of their studies—for example, comparing their new drugs against those already known to be inferior to others on the market—so that they were ahead of the game even before the data juggling began? “Maybe sometimes it’s the questions that are biased, not the answers,” he said, flashing a friendly smile. Everyone nodded. Though the results of drug studies often make newspaper headlines, you have to wonder whether they prove anything at all. Indeed, given the breadth of the potential problems raised at the meeting, can any medical-research studies be trusted?

That question has been central to Ioannidis’s career. He’s what’s known as a meta-researcher, and he’s become one of the world’s foremost experts on the credibility of medical research. He and his team have shown, again and again, and in many different ways, that much of what biomedical researchers conclude in published studies—conclusions that doctors keep in mind when they prescribe antibiotics or blood-pressure medication, or when they advise us to consume more fiber or less meat, or when they recommend surgery for heart disease or back pain—is misleading, exaggerated, and often flat-out wrong. He charges that as much as 90 percent of the published medical information that doctors rely on is flawed. His work has been widely accepted by the medical community; it has been published in the field’s top journals, where it is heavily cited; and he is a big draw at conferences. Given this exposure, and the fact that his work broadly targets everyone else’s work in medicine, as well as everything that physicians do and all the health advice we get, Ioannidis may be one of the most influential scientists alive. Yet for all his influence, he worries that the field of medical research is so pervasively flawed, and so riddled with conflicts of interest, that it might be chronically resistant to change—or even to publicly admitting that there’s a problem.

The city of Ioannina is a big college town a short drive from the ruins of a 20,000-seat amphitheater and a Zeusian sanctuary built at the site of the Dodona oracle. The oracle was said to have issued pronouncements to priests through the rustling of a sacred oak tree. Today, a different oak tree at the site provides visitors with a chance to try their own hands at extracting a prophecy. “I take all the researchers who visit me here, and almost every single one of them asks the tree the same question,” Ioannidis tells me, as we contemplate the tree the day after the team’s meeting. “‘Will my research grant be approved?’” He chuckles, but Ioannidis (pronounced yo-NEE-dees) tends to laugh not so much in mirth as to soften the sting of his attack. And sure enough, he goes on to suggest that an obsession with winning funding has gone a long way toward weakening the reliability of medical research.

He first stumbled on the sorts of problems plaguing the field, he explains, as a young physician-researcher in the early 1990s at Harvard. At the time, he was interested in diagnosing rare diseases, for which a lack of case data can leave doctors with little to go on other than intuition and rules of thumb. But he noticed that doctors seemed to proceed in much the same manner even when it came to cancer, heart disease, and other common ailments. Where were the hard data that would back up their treatment decisions? There was plenty of published research, but much of it was remarkably unscientific, based largely on observations of a small number of cases. A new “evidence-based medicine” movement was just starting to gather force, and Ioannidis decided to throw himself into it, working first with prominent researchers at Tufts University and then taking positions at Johns Hopkins University and the National Institutes of Health. He was unusually well armed: he had been a math prodigy of near-celebrity status in high school in Greece, and had followed his parents, who were both physician-researchers, into medicine. Now he’d have a chance to combine math and medicine by applying rigorous statistical analysis to what seemed a surprisingly sloppy field. “I assumed that everything we physicians did was basically right, but now I was going to help verify it,” he says. “All we’d have to do was systematically review the evidence, trust what it told us, and then everything would be perfect.”

It didn’t turn out that way. In poring over medical journals, he was struck by how many findings of all types were refuted by later findings. Of course, medical-science “never minds” are hardly secret. And they sometimes make headlines, as when in recent years large studies or growing consensuses of researchers concluded that mammograms, colonoscopies, and PSA tests are far less useful cancer-detection tools than we had been told; or when widely prescribed antidepressants such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Paxil were revealed to be no more effective than a placebo for most cases of depression; or when we learned that staying out of the sun entirely can actually increase cancer risks; or when we were told that the advice to drink lots of water during intense exercise was potentially fatal; or when, last April, we were informed that taking fish oil, exercising, and doing puzzles doesn’t really help fend off Alzheimer’s disease, as long claimed. Peer-reviewed studies have come to opposite conclusions on whether using cell phones can cause brain cancer, whether sleeping more than eight hours a night is healthful or dangerous, whether taking aspirin every day is more likely to save your life or cut it short, and whether routine angioplasty works better than pills to unclog heart arteries.

But beyond the headlines, Ioannidis was shocked at the range and reach of the reversals he was seeing in everyday medical research. “Randomized controlled trials,” which compare how one group responds to a treatment against how an identical group fares without the treatment, had long been considered nearly unshakable evidence, but they, too, ended up being wrong some of the time. “I realized even our gold-standard research had a lot of problems,” he says. Baffled, he started looking for the specific ways in which studies were going wrong. And before long he discovered that the range of errors being committed was astonishing: from what questions researchers posed, to how they set up the studies, to which patients they recruited for the studies, to which measurements they took, to how they analyzed the data, to how they presented their results, to how particular studies came to be published in medical journals.

This array suggested a bigger, underlying dysfunction, and Ioannidis thought he knew what it was. “The studies were biased,” he says. “Sometimes they were overtly biased. Sometimes it was difficult to see the bias, but it was there.” Researchers headed into their studies wanting certain results—and, lo and behold, they were getting them. We think of the scientific process as being objective, rigorous, and even ruthless in separating out what is true from what we merely wish to be true, but in fact it’s easy to manipulate results, even unintentionally or unconsciously. “At every step in the process, there is room to distort results, a way to make a stronger claim or to select what is going to be concluded,” says Ioannidis. “There is an intellectual conflict of interest that pressures researchers to find whatever it is that is most likely to get them funded.”

Perhaps only a minority of researchers were succumbing to this bias, but their distorted findings were having an outsize effect on published research. To get funding and tenured positions, and often merely to stay afloat, researchers have to get their work published in well-regarded journals, where rejection rates can climb above 90 percent. Not surprisingly, the studies that tend to make the grade are those with eye-catching findings. But while coming up with eye-catching theories is relatively easy, getting reality to bear them out is another matter. The great majority collapse under the weight of contradictory data when studied rigorously. Imagine, though, that five different research teams test an interesting theory that’s making the rounds, and four of the groups correctly prove the idea false, while the one less cautious group incorrectly “proves” it true through some combination of error, fluke, and clever selection of data. Guess whose findings your doctor ends up reading about in the journal, and you end up hearing about on the evening news? Researchers can sometimes win attention by refuting a prominent finding, which can help to at least raise doubts about results, but in general it is far more rewarding to add a new insight or exciting-sounding twist to existing research than to retest its basic premises—after all, simply re-proving someone else’s results is unlikely to get you published, and attempting to undermine the work of respected colleagues can have ugly professional repercussions.

In the late 1990s, Ioannidis set up a base at the University of Ioannina. He pulled together his team, which remains largely intact today, and started chipping away at the problem in a series of papers that pointed out specific ways certain studies were getting misleading results. Other meta-researchers were also starting to spotlight disturbingly high rates of error in the medical literature. But Ioannidis wanted to get the big picture across, and to do so with solid data, clear reasoning, and good statistical analysis. The project dragged on, until finally he retreated to the tiny island of Sikinos in the Aegean Sea, where he drew inspiration from the relatively primitive surroundings and the intellectual traditions they recalled. “A pervasive theme of ancient Greek literature is that you need to pursue the truth, no matter what the truth might be,” he says. In 2005, he unleashed two papers that challenged the foundations of medical research.

He chose to publish one paper, fittingly, in the online journal PLoS Medicine, which is committed to running any methodologically sound article without regard to how “interesting” the results may be. In the paper, Ioannidis laid out a detailed mathematical proof that, assuming modest levels of researcher bias, typically imperfect research techniques, and the well-known tendency to focus on exciting rather than highly plausible theories, researchers will come up with wrong findings most of the time. Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right. His model predicted, in different fields of medical research, rates of wrongness roughly corresponding to the observed rates at which findings were later convincingly refuted: 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials. The article spelled out his belief that researchers were frequently manipulating data analyses, chasing career-advancing findings rather than good science, and even using the peer-review process—in which journals ask researchers to help decide which studies to publish—to suppress opposing views. “You can question some of the details of John’s calculations, but it’s hard to argue that the essential ideas aren’t absolutely correct,” says Doug Altman, an Oxford University researcher who directs the Centre for Statistics in Medicine.

Still, Ioannidis anticipated that the community might shrug off his findings: sure, a lot of dubious research makes it into journals, but we researchers and physicians know to ignore it and focus on the good stuff, so what’s the big deal? The other paper headed off that claim. He zoomed in on 49 of the most highly regarded research findings in medicine over the previous 13 years, as judged by the science community’s two standard measures: the papers had appeared in the journals most widely cited in research articles, and the 49 articles themselves were the most widely cited articles in these journals. These were articles that helped lead to the widespread popularity of treatments such as the use of hormone-replacement therapy for menopausal women, vitamin E to reduce the risk of heart disease, coronary stents to ward off heart attacks, and daily low-dose aspirin to control blood pressure and prevent heart attacks and strokes. Ioannidis was putting his contentions to the test not against run-of-the-mill research, or even merely well-accepted research, but against the absolute tip of the research pyramid. Of the 49 articles, 45 claimed to have uncovered effective interventions. Thirty-four of these claims had been retested, and 14 of these, or 41 percent, had been convincingly shown to be wrong or significantly exaggerated. If between a third and a half of the most acclaimed research in medicine was proving untrustworthy, the scope and impact of the problem were undeniable. That article was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Driving me back to campus in his smallish SUV—after insisting, as he apparently does with all his visitors, on showing me a nearby lake and the six monasteries situated on an islet within it—Ioannidis apologized profusely for running a yellow light, explaining with a laugh that he didn’t trust the truck behind him to stop. Considering his willingness, even eagerness, to slap the face of the medical-research community, Ioannidis comes off as thoughtful, upbeat, and deeply civil. He’s a careful listener, and his frequent grin and semi-apologetic chuckle can make the sharp prodding of his arguments seem almost good-natured. He is as quick, if not quicker, to question his own motives and competence as anyone else’s. A neat and compact 45-year-old with a trim mustache, he presents as a sort of dashing nerd—Giancarlo Giannini with a bit of Mr. Bean.

The humility and graciousness seem to serve him well in getting across a message that is not easy to digest or, for that matter, believe: that even highly regarded researchers at prestigious institutions sometimes churn out attention-grabbing findings rather than findings likely to be right. But Ioannidis points out that obviously questionable findings cram the pages of top medical journals, not to mention the morning headlines. Consider, he says, the endless stream of results from nutritional studies in which researchers follow thousands of people for some number of years, tracking what they eat and what supplements they take, and how their health changes over the course of the study. “Then the researchers start asking, ‘What did vitamin E do? What did vitamin C or D or A do? What changed with calorie intake, or protein or fat intake? What happened to cholesterol levels? Who got what type of cancer?’” he says. “They run everything through the mill, one at a time, and they start finding associations, and eventually conclude that vitamin X lowers the risk of cancer Y, or this food helps with the risk of that disease.” In a single week this fall, Google’s news page offered these headlines: “More Omega-3 Fats Didn’t Aid Heart Patients”; “Fruits, Vegetables Cut Cancer Risk for Smokers”; “Soy May Ease Sleep Problems in Older Women”; and dozens of similar stories.

When a five-year study of 10,000 people finds that those who take more vitamin X are less likely to get cancer Y, you’d think you have pretty good reason to take more vitamin X, and physicians routinely pass these recommendations on to patients. But these studies often sharply conflict with one another. Studies have gone back and forth on the cancer-preventing powers of vitamins A, D, and E; on the heart-health benefits of eating fat and carbs; and even on the question of whether being overweight is more likely to extend or shorten your life. How should we choose among these dueling, high-profile nutritional findings? Ioannidis suggests a simple approach: ignore them all.

For starters, he explains, the odds are that in any large database of many nutritional and health factors, there will be a few apparent connections that are in fact merely flukes, not real health effects—it’s a bit like combing through long, random strings of letters and claiming there’s an important message in any words that happen to turn up. But even if a study managed to highlight a genuine health connection to some nutrient, you’re unlikely to benefit much from taking more of it, because we consume thousands of nutrients that act together as a sort of network, and changing intake of just one of them is bound to cause ripples throughout the network that are far too complex for these studies to detect, and that may be as likely to harm you as help you. Even if changing that one factor does bring on the claimed improvement, there’s still a good chance that it won’t do you much good in the long run, because these studies rarely go on long enough to track the decades-long course of disease and ultimately death. Instead, they track easily measurable health “markers” such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood-sugar levels, and meta-experts have shown that changes in these markers often don’t correlate as well with long-term health as we have been led to believe.

On the relatively rare occasions when a study does go on long enough to track mortality, the findings frequently upend those of the shorter studies. (For example, though the vast majority of studies of overweight individuals link excess weight to ill health, the longest of them haven’t convincingly shown that overweight people are likely to die sooner, and a few of them have seemingly demonstrated that moderately overweight people are likely to live longer.) And these problems are aside from ubiquitous measurement errors (for example, people habitually misreport their diets in studies), routine misanalysis (researchers rely on complex software capable of juggling results in ways they don’t always understand), and the less common, but serious, problem of outright fraud (which has been revealed, in confidential surveys, to be much more widespread than scientists like to acknowledge).

If a study somehow avoids every one of these problems and finds a real connection to long-term changes in health, you’re still not guaranteed to benefit, because studies report average results that typically represent a vast range of individual outcomes. Should you be among the lucky minority that stands to benefit, don’t expect a noticeable improvement in your health, because studies usually detect only modest effects that merely tend to whittle your chances of succumbing to a particular disease from small to somewhat smaller. “The odds that anything useful will survive from any of these studies are poor,” says Ioannidis—dismissing in a breath a good chunk of the research into which we sink about $100 billion a year in the United States alone.

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All over 40s should consider daily dose of aspirin: leading expert

Prof Peter Rothwell of Oxford University has found that taking the painkiller daily for five years can reduce the chance of developing colorectal cancer by a quarter and cut deaths from the disease by a third.

He said these results are the 'tip of the iceberg' and are likely to be an underestimate of its benefit in colorectal cancer prevention.

n addition he believes a similar effect is likely in other cancers such as breast, ovarian, womb, stomach and small bowel.

Prof Rothwell who is 46 said he and his wife both started taking low-dose aspirin themselves in order to reduce the chance of cancer several years ago and others in their 40s and 50s should consider it.

"The whole approach to aspirin is likely to change over the next few years. Currently people take it to prevent vascular events (such as heart attacks and stroke) but it is likely that in five years people will be taking it to prevent non-vascular diseases like cancer as well."

The drug, which is over 110 years old, was originally formulated as a painkiller but researchers are increasingly finding new benefits for it in diseases ranging from heart disease to dementia.

Prof Rothwell examined trials in which people took 75mg of aspirin a day for an average of five years and followed them up for 20 years.

The findings are published in The Lancet medical journal.

This is a lower dose than when used as a painkiller and costs the NHS just three pence per patient per day.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in Britain with around 39,000 people diagnosed each year and around 16,000 die annually.

Prof Rothwell, of the John Radcliffe Hospital and Oxford University, said the trials looked at the benefits of taking aspirin for five years but he suspects the effect of taking it for longer would 'undoubtably be much larger'.

He said as colorectal cancers start to appear in the people aged 55 and older and take around ten years to develop, the ideal time to start taking aspirin would be in the 40s and continue with it until around the age of 75 when the side effects of aspirin start to outweigh the benefits. The effect of taking aspirin may continue for around ten years after stopping it, he said.

The major side effect of aspirin is internal bleeding because it can disturb the lining of the stomach but this is reduced at lower doses.

The Department of Health has announced that pilots of a new colorectal screening programme will start next year in people using a scope to look for changes in the bowel that could signal cancer.

Prof Rothwell said use of aspirin would dovetail perfectly with the new programme as the drug prevents more cancers at the top of the bowel which will not be detected by the screening test.

There was a 70 per cent reduction in cancers and deaths from cancers in the upper colon among those taking aspirin for five years, the analysis found.

Aspirin blocks the effects of substance called cyclo-oxygenase and is produced by some forms of cancer which is why Prof Rothwell believes other cancers will respond to aspirin.

Other experts have now called for guidelines to be drawn up on how aspirin should be used to prevent cancer.

Dr Robert Benamouzig and Dr Bernard Uzzan, of the Avicenne Hospital, in Bobigny, France, wrote in an accompanying editorial: “This interesting study could incite clinicians to turn to primary prevention of colorectal cancer by aspirin at least in high risk-populations. Specific guidelines for aspirin chemoprevention would be the next logical step."

Mark Flannagan, Chief Executive of Beating Bowel Cancer said: “These are very positive results. This was a big study over a long period of time and reinforces the message that aspirin may be important in significantly reducing the number of cases and deaths from bowel cancer.

"The results suggest that taking aspirin in conjunction with a healthy diet and lifestyle might reduce your risk of developing bowel cancer. However, anyone considering starting a course of medication should first consult their GP.

“As Professor Rothwell suggests, a low dose of aspirin may fit well with the flexible sigmoidoscopy screening programme that will be launched by the Government next year. We will have to see how these results might be considered during the roll out of flexible sigmoidoscopy.”

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The Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex: A Deadly Fairy Tale

Dr. Doug Henderson and Dr. Gary Null
Global Research

It has been a particularly bad month for the pharmaceutical industrial complex in its ongoing litigations in American courts. Among the main pharmaceutical headlines, Merck’s Gardasil vaccine for HPV, now being widely administered to pre-teens, was found to be linked to amyltrophic lateral sclerosis, commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease; following a $1.4 billion fine in promoting one of its blockbuster drugs Zyprexa off-label, deceptive correspondence was uncovered by Eli Lilly gaming the system again by promoting another one of its drugs, Cymbalta, off-label for fibromyalgia; AstraZeneca was fined $160 million for scamming the Medicaid system in Kentucky after being fined $215 million for ripping off Alabama; Glaxo lost a Pennsylvania trial for failing to warn doctors and pregnant women of the dangers of its antidepressant drug Paxil related to birth defects; and Pfizer scored a record-breaking fine of $2.3 billion for illegally marketing several drugs over the years: Bextra, Zyvox, Geodon and Lyrica. These kinds of charges, among the many others, have become a habit for drug makers for the past dozen years.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Drug Companies Paid 17,000 Docs to Promote Products

More than 17,000 doctors and other healthcare providers have taken money from seven major drug companies to talk to other doctors about their products, a joint investigation by news organizations and nonprofit groups found.

More than 380 of the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other professionals took in more than $100,000 in 2009 and 2010, according to the investigation released on Tuesday. The report said far more doctors are likely to have taken such payments, but it documented these based on information from seven drugmakers.

The payments are not illegal and usually not even considered improper. But

Sunday, October 17, 2010

6 Powerful Food Combos that Fight Cancer

Remember the old jingle that said you can "double your pleasure, double your fun" if you chew Double-Mint chewing gum because it combines two different mints? It turns out that combining ingredients may also be a good idea for warding off cancer.

Researchers have discovered that eating certain foods in combination may give more protection than eating either of the foods alone. While you may not be able to actually "double" your protection against all cancers, you may well be able to boost it by doubling up on certain foods, Karen Collins, who is the nutrition adviser for the American Institute for Cancer Research, told the Bottom Line.

The components of one combination chicken and broccoli actually boost cancer-fighting power 13 times more than either alone. Use these six combos to boost your cancer protection:

broccoli, tomatoe, lycopene, cancer

1. Tomatoes and broccoli

This is a particularly potent combination, says Collins. Rats with tumors fed a diet of both tomatoes and broccoli had much smaller tumors than those fed either tomatoes or broccoli alone. The combination works so well because tomatoes are rich in lycopene, an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals that can damage DNA, while the compounds in broccoli help flush carcinogens from the body.


1

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Famous Smoking Chimpanzee Dies At 52

Forward: Yes, even a smoking chimp lives longer than average! Smoking has been demonized by the liberal left (most who smoke by the way) in order to control every aspect of your life! Read our smoking many reports HERE , Here and Here

Charlie the chimp, known for his cigarette habit, has died at his home in a South African Zoo.

After picking up a smoking habit because of cigarettes being thrown into his enclosure at the Mangaung Zoo in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Charlie began to bum smokes from zoo visitors by gesturing to his mouth with two fingers, mimicking the actions of smokers he'd watched. (See photos of the world's most endangered primates)

Visitors continued to indulge the chimp, bringing on a hailstorm of accusations from animal rights activists when videos surfaced online not long after, prompting Bloemfontein zoo officials to try to cut Charlie's nicotine supply off entirely.

Zoo officials claim that smoking was not a factor in the Charlie's death, who at 52, lived ten years beyond the normal life expectancy of the average chimpanzee.

Read more PLUS VIDEO

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Is Your Favorite Organic Egg Brand a Factory Farm in Disguise?

Kiera Butler
Mother Jones

The chickens pictured on the egg producer Chino Valley Ranchers' Simply Organic site look pretty happy. And from the description of their digs, it sounds like they'd have good reason to be: "When you walk into the chicken houses and you see all the birds scratching around in the dirt, running around, flapping their wings and hear the soft clucking from each of them, you can feel their contentment," the copy below the little fuzzballs reads. "It is the way nature intended."

An industrial henhouse jam-packed with 36,000 birds, on the other hand, is probably not "the way nature intended." But that is exactly what investigators from the organic food advocacy group Cornucopia Institute found when they visited a Wisconsin henhouse that supplies Chino Valley Ranchers with organic eggs.

And Chino Valley isn't alone. A recent Cornucopia investigation revealed that conditions at many facilities that produce organic eggs are often just as crowded and industrial as those at conventional egg farms. And although US organic standards require outdoor access for laying hens, Cornucopia found that at many organic farms, "outdoors" often consists of nothing more than a tiny concrete screen porch adjoining the tenement-like henhouse.

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Dana Delany Recalls Her Botox and Eating-Disorder Nightmares

Courtesy Prevention

Think getting Botox is just a silly little procedure with no potential long-term downside? Listen to actress Dana Delany’s story. “Seven years ago, I had never heard of Botox,” the former Desperate Housewives star tells Prevention magazine in its November issue. “My dermatologist was saying, ‘You should try it.’ He injected my forehead, hit a nerve, and created a huge hematoma. The nerve has been dead ever since. It affected the muscle in my right eye, so my eye has started to droop a little bit.” The experience left Delany, 54, wary of plastic surgery, and impressed by women in Hollywood who shun it. “I won’t do it, no,” she says. “My hat’s off to Jamie Lee Curtis. She’s so smart, and she doesn’t dye her hair or anything. And Meryl Streep still looks like herself. Diane Keaton, too. I think the really great actresses don’t worry about that kind of thing.” Delany, who stars in the new ABC medical drama Body of Proof, also relates her struggles as a young woman with an eating disorder. “When I was a teenager and in my twenties, I had eating issues,” she says. “I binged. I starved. I was one step from anorexia — a piece of toast and an apple would be all I would eat in a day.” But despite her misadventures with Botox and food, Delany says she has a healthy outlook when it comes to the heaviest issue of all — her own mortality. “I think I have a pretty good relationship with death,” she says. “Ever since I was a little kid, it wasn’t something I feared.” To hear more from Dana’s interview visit prevention.com, or pick up the November issue of Prevention magazine, on newsstands tomorrow. –Tim Nudd

Courtesy Prevention

Fitness & Diet Trends: Then and Now

The Oxford English Dictionary defines “trend” as a "general direction in which something is developing or changing." The world of fitness is no stranger to trends and fads of its own, some more successful than others. Who recalls the vibrating belt machines of the 1960s or the grapefruit diet? Most of these fads proved ineffective or only temporarily successful, inspiring dieticians, doctors and fitness experts to go back to the drawing board to devise other methods of effective exercise and weight loss.

Increasing obesity rates
According to the 2010 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a whopping 63 percent of adult Americans are overweight or obese, but as the Boston Globe reported in 2008, only 26 percent of women and 16 percent of men are on diets, which may signal the frustration that many face in attempting regimens that promise quick weight loss, but result in even greater weight gain down the road.

The essentials of maintaining a healthy weight remain unchanged: eat right and engage in a few hours of exercise every week to stay healthy. With busy lifestyles and work schedules, though, many Americans are looking for alternative ways to stay fit without having to resort to expensive face-to-face personal training sessions at the gym or costly fad diets that are hard to stick to.

Online fitness programs
One solution has presented itself in the form of online fitness programs like FitOrbit and GymAmerica, which cost a fraction of in-person personal training sessions at the gym or pricey diet programs, while offering substantial benefits. With FitOrbit, for example, you train at your own leisure, whenever and wherever you want. Your personal trainer serves as a round-the-clock motivation expert, providing you with customized workout and meal plans. The main benefit of online programs -- which are also being embraced by celebrity fitness gurus like Jillian Michaels -- is that you lose weight and work out at your own pace in the comfort of your own home, all without breaking the bank.

Past and present trends
Exercise and diet trends have come and gone over the years, as doctors and fitness trainers have concluded that instead of extreme diets or rigorous workouts, it’s best to cultivate a “healthy lifestyle” -- embracing both moderate exercise and nutritious meal plans. Here's a trip down fitness memory lane, and the current trends that have replaced them:

Then: The grapefruit diet was a hit way back when, promising rapid weight loss by consuming a great many citrus fruits throughout the day. The result? Rapid weight loss initially (mainly water weight, according to experts) followed by inevitable weight gain after one presumably tires of eating all that grapefruit.
Now: The current craze is gluten-free food, which is actually used to treat patients with celiac disease. Popular with a number of celebrities, this diet eliminates gluten, which can be found in foods such as wheat and rye.

Then: Aerobics became the craze in the early '80s, and developed legions of fans who followed in the footsteps of Jane Fonda to group classes in gyms across the nation. “Step” aerobics took off in the late '80s, promising a more rigorous workout by jumping on and off the "step," thereby increasing one's heart rate.
Now: You can’t throw a stone without hitting a Zumba enthusiast these days. The workout is more of a dance routine set to peppy Latin music. Its popularity appears to be based on the idea of revolving a workout around fun dance moves, which feature aspects of Latin dance.

Then: Dr. Robert Atkins hit the jackpot with his revolutionary low-carb Atkins Diet, which no doubt made him a very rich man at the height of the craze (although Atkins Nutritional eventually filed for bankruptcy). The low-carb fad was popular for many years until some health experts started questioning its benefits, and dieters gradually opted for more balanced meal plans.
Now: A new trend comes courtesy of Twitter. Dieters are actually tweeting about their food intake and overall weight-loss progress. The moral of the story is: Would you really eat that gallon of ice cream and then tweet about it to others? Probably not.

Then: Commercials featuring Suzanne Somers and the Thigh Master bombarded TV sets in the '90s. The small, simple contraption was designed to exercise your lower and upper body, and proved to be a hit -- it’s still on the market and has inspired copycat versions.
Now: Bikram or ‘hot’ yoga studios are springing up everywhere. Hot yoga requires a sequence of 26 postures. The catch is that you do this in a hot room --at a temperature of 105 Fahrenheit -- which, according to founder Bikram Choudhury, helps make the body more flexible.

Studies: Beetroot Juice Increases Energy, Exercise Stamina small

When Chris Carver ran an ultra-marathon in Scotland last year, which challenges athletes to run as far as possible within 24 hours, he ran 140 miles (225 kilometers).

Determined to do better in this year's race, Carver added something extra to his training regime: beetroot juice. For a week before the race, he drank the dark purple juice every day. Last month, Carver won it by running 148 miles (238 kilometers).

"The only thing I did differently this year was the beetroot juice," said Carver, 46, a professional runner based near Leeds, in northern England.

He said more exercise would have improved his endurance, but to get the same result he attributes to the juice -- an extra eight miles -- it would likely have taken an entire year.

Some experts say adding beetroot juice to your diet -- like other foods such as cherry juice or milk -- could provide a performance boost even beyond the blood, sweat and tears of more training.

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