You Don't Smoke? Guess You're Safe? Think Again. And Then Stop Wasting Your Life Worrying.
Also... You think someone
else's cigarette smoke is killing you? Check out what the real threats
smoke stinks - but is it killing people? There was a study of the wives
of the smokers - they have crummy health habits. They eat terrible diets
of meat and fat, they don't get any exercise, but when they show up with
worse health statistics, it's blamed on secondhand smoke, not on all the
"We don't even know how cigarettes affect us. We don't know what causes cancer. We don't know what causes the increase in heart disease. It's not nicotine - nicotine gum actually helps heart disease patients. Carbon monoxide? Well, any kind of smoke has a lot of carbon monoxide - that's a possibility - but carbon monoxide has a temporary effect; it blocks the oxygen linking to your hemoglobin, then you take a breath of fresh air and it goes away.
"Is that the cause of chronic problems in smokers? We don't know - now we're into secondhand smoke when we don't even know what firsthand smoke does. I think we're becoming a really, really neurotic, fearful people, and politicians and the media love it and know how to feed that monster."
|~A conversation with Dr. Dean Edell; ; Buffalo News 11/18/01|
It is our belief that the answer lies in simple human psychology. What you can see and smell and have been told is no good for you is considered an immediate danger. If none of our five senses are stimulated then there is much much less to consider in the way of harmful affects. Intellectually we all know that there are numerous health hazards around us but since we cannot touch, taste, smell, see or hear them there is no immediate emotional response, giving them little thought. In a nutshell, they're not consciously perceived to be as risky as a cigarette in the minds of the simple because they can see and smell the cigarette. The not so simple-minded (that would be everyone other than the health zealots) have a grasp of the real issues.
In this world perception is everything and reality comes in a distant second. That would also explain how the anti-smoking organizations have gotten around the facts. Their campaign on the "dangers" of smoking to terrorize you into believing that if you smoke you are certain to die a long painful death is based on nothing more than biased statistics and extrapolation. They have extensively promoted their "truth." It seems that the facts are lost to the now embraced perception that cigarettes are an absolute killer. They explain that even a smoker who dies past the age of 70 is a "premature smoking related death." Look around. There are plenty of senior citizens walking the earth with a lit cigarette in their hand. This is not to say there is no health risk due to smoking, but that it is nowhere near the epidemic proportions they make it out to be and there are numerous other invisible factors we come in contact with every day that can account for illness among the nonsmokers and yes, even smokers.
The anti-smokers (aka nannies) would like you to believe that if you don't smoke you can convince yourself into believing you'll live forever. They have linked almost every conceivable health problem to smoking, as if were you to avoid taking up this horrible addictive habit (that's an oxymoron by the way) you would be pretty much in the clear. You'd pass away peacefully in your sleep at a ripe old age. I am sorry to inform you that that is simply just not the case.
The moment you were born into this world you assumed risks to your health beyond your control. Believing that you can substantially cut down the risk of death by controlling the one perceived risk your senses can pick up is near-sighted to say the least.
Our intentions are not to scare you. Most of us, including those who smoke, will live to a ripe old age. We merely want to expose the outlandish exaggerations of the anti-smokers that ill health, without question, will only be visited upon smokers, no one else need apply for a plot. This is one of their fear-mongering tactics in order to achieve their goal of a smoke-free society and to force their morally self-righteous views down your throat. Not all smokers get sick and not all non-smokers remain healthy.
"So far, centenarians have shattered myths, and raised more questions about extreme old age."
"'We have 100 year-olds who have smoked all their lives; we have 100-year-olds who are fat,' said Dr. Nir Barzilai, a Yeshiva University researcher seeking longevity genes."
for entire article.
Always keep in mind that "correlation" does not mean "causation." Once you have that firmly planted in your scientific consciousness, take the following into consideration when assessing the weight of the medical accusations leveled at secondhand smoke and what can happen if you are exposed to it.
1. More than 98 percent of convicted felons are bread users.
2. Fully HALF of all children who grow up in bread-consuming households score below average on standardized tests.
3. In the 18th century, when virtually all bread was baked in the home,
4. More than 90 percent of violent crimes are committed within 24 hours
5. Bread has been proven to be addictive. Subjects deprived of bread and given only water to eat, begged for bread after as little as two days.
6. Bread is often a "gateway" food item, leading the user to "harder"
7. Bread has been proven to absorb water. Since the human body is more
than 90 percent water, it follows that eating bread could lead to your
body being taken over by this absorptive food product, turning you into
a soggy, gooey,
8. Newborn babies can choke on bread.
9. Bread is baked at temperatures as high as 450 degrees Fahrenheit! That kind of heat can kill an adult in less than two minutes.
10. Most American bread eaters are utterly unable
to distinguish between
WHEN THE ABOVE WAS WRITTEN WHO KNEW?!!?...
"We found the substance [acrylamide] at levels that, if it was just one product, we would ask that it be immediately taken off the market," said Leif Busk, head of the Research and Development Department of the Swedish National Food Administration. "But it is in foods that we cannot live without, so there is no question of prohibiting it."
AH, BUT WAIT!...
"The claim that acrylamide, found in common foods such as potatoes and bread, after cooking, poses a human cancer risk is based exclusively on high dose studies in laboratory animals. There is no evidence whatever that humans who eat the observed levels of acrylamide are exposed to any risk of any type of cancer," noted Dr. Whelan.
"ACSH publishes a typical holiday
menu of natural foods—from soup to nuts, noting that if Thanksgiving
dinner were subject to food scares about "animal carcinogens" even natural
foods would be banned."
When you hear and see anti-smoking commercials telling you that the secondhand smoke you're near contains rat poison in an effort to scare you and demand protection, understand the exaggeration technique being employed.
...Continuing on from #10 above in a more serious vein, there is scientific speculation that reported "symptoms" due to exposure to environmental elements is a psychosomatic reaction. In other words, delusional hysterics to perceived danger, rather than an actual danger, is the cause of physical complaints. So instead of ignorance, as described in Point #10 above, there's a good chance that the whiners may just need counseling of some sort...
Environmental intolerance, a condition sometimes known as 20th-century disease, appears to be genetically linked to panic disorder, University of Toronto researchers have discovered.
Paranoid and proud of it
What was healthy and fun is now dangerous. What was meant to be dangerous
is now safe. Risk-free living, writes Frank Furedi, has become society's
Holy Grail. Just how did we become so scared?
I mean, that is what is constantly implied by those who don't smoke, isn't it? That by not smoking they've increased their chances of not dying from disease by leaps and bounds, as if nothing is as bad as smoking and smoking being the ultimate killer by cancer and heart disease.
Reuters Health - When the elderly die of no known cause they are often said to have died "of old age." But the results of a study in New Zealand suggest that even when people die in their 90s and 100s, there is usually a specific cause.
Combing through forensic autopsy reports on 319 individuals who were older than 90 when they died, researchers found that causes of death were established in nearly all cases. Only 5% of natural deaths were "written off" as being due to old age or "senile debility," according to a report in a recent issue of the American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology.
"From these results it is clear that the very elderly succumb to disease; they do not often die of old age," write S. M. John and T. D. Koelmeyer of Auckland University School of Medicine.
The investigators found that in 85% of the autopsy reports--which were conducted in Auckland between 1988 and 1998--deaths were due to natural causes. Heart disease was behind nearly one quarter of these deaths. Pneumonia, complications from bone fractures and stroke were also among the most common causes of death. Almost one fifth of the deaths were attributed to several factors.
Nearly all of the unnatural deaths were due to accidents--usually falls--but there were also three suicides among men and one homicide, the authors report. Suicide, they note, is often associated with young men, but the suicide rate among elderly men has been found to actually surpass that of young males.
"There is a common conception that the very old die of old age," John and Koelmeyer write.
But these findings show otherwise, the researchers conclude.
"The elderly," they write,"die of disease not old age."
(HealthScoutNews) -- If you could only make one lifestyle change to improve your health, should it be:
According to the International Journal of Epidemiology, the answer is more physical activity.
The Department of Welfare and Social Statistics in Stockholm, Sweden, studied 3,843 adults, first in 1980 and 1981. Then researchers went back to those same people between 1988 and 1989 to interview as many of them as could be found.
After looking at health factors like obesity, smoking, hypertension and sedentary behavior -- all of which could be harmful -- the researchers concluded that an inactive lifestyle is the single greatest risk to our health.
OR AS FURTHER REPORTED:
potato lifestyle is worse for your health than smoking
Poor diet and lack of exercise cause more illness than smoking, new figures show.
The lifestyle of couch potatoes has overtaken smoking as the major cause of ill-health in EU countries for the first time, the World Health Organisation says.
Dr Robertson, a regional adviser for nutrition at the WHO in Copenhagen, said that Japan had the highest rates of smoking in the world but also the lowest rates of heart disease.
Against Cancer—Noble and Unwinnable
One in four deaths in the United States is due to cancer.
To accurately assess our progress in the war against cancer, we should
Our goal in promoting public health should not be to prevent death but
Feds Scare Public With Cancer 'Causes'
The federal "cancer scare" machine this week labeled sunlight, birth
control pills, hormone replacement therapy, wood dust and 12 other substances
These additions bring to 228 the total number of substances supposedly "known" or "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer.
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson says
the National Toxicology Program's biennial report on carcinogens "helps
all of us
What the American public should be made aware of is the certain absurdity of the NTP's cancer labeling scheme.
First, the notion that substances by themselves cause cancer is faulty. There is not a single substance or group of substances that, acting alone, causes cancer in all people at any and every level of exposure.
Many circumstances affect human cancer risk, including the level and duration of exposure to a substance, and, more importantly, an individual's genetic make-up and lifestyle.
Sure long-term overexposure to sunlight may increase the risk of skin cancer for some people, but the cause-and-effect is obviously not as simple as the wrong-headed conclusion that any exposure to sunlight necessarily leads to skin cancer in everyone -- the face-value implication of the NTP label.
The NTP earlier labeled the anti-miscarriage drug diethylstilbesterol
(DES) as "known" to cause cancer. DES was prescribed to millions of American
But only about 700 cases of the cancer in DES daughters have been reported
worldwide. The DES daughters' lifetime risk of the cancer is estimated
For the NTP, if a substance may have contributed to cancer development
in a small number of individuals, then that substance is deemed a "known"
It's not even clear that substances labeled as "known" to be cancer-causing have anything to do with cancer development under any circumstances -- examples include hormone replacement therapy, secondhand smoke, soot and PCBs.
In addition to the fundamental silliness of labeling substances as cancer-causing, the NTP process is suspect.
The NTP is government-run and inherently political. The program has
seemed overanxious to label industrial chemicals, pesticides, alcoholic
The NTP apparently views political correctness as a scientific criterion.
To be listed as a "known" cancer-causing substance according to NTP
rules, the sole requirement is that, "There must be sufficient evidence
This might lead one to expect that the NTP review committee would be chock full of experts in human studies -- that is, trained epidemiologists.
But none of the 13 members of the NTP review committee are epidemiologists
by training or renown. They simply aren't professionally qualified to render
The process for labeling a substance as "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer is also deeply flawed.
For "reasonably anticipated" to cause cancer, all that's required is "sufficient evidence of [cancer-causing potential] in experimental animals."
But this overlooks the fact that mice simply aren't little people. Just
because laboratory mice poisoned with high doses of chemicals have higher
Moreover, laboratory animals are inbred to be prone to cancer development.
In effect, they're cancer time bombs. They're so sensitive that even the
It's no wonder that genetically unstable lab animals develop cancer in experiments where they're administered substances at levels just below what would constitute poisoning.
A notable irony of the current NTP report is that in the same breath
sunshine is listed as a "known" carcinogen, the substance methyleugenol
-- used in
The NTP, it seems, wants us to keep us in the dark.
LOOKING BACK, WE MADE IT
Liz Smith, NY Post 2/16/04
Well, we often worry over things that never happen, and so I want to share an anonymous bit of writing that came to me via ad guy Jerry Della Femina. It was so true that it cheered me right up. Listen to this description of my generation and maybe yours:
'I CAN'T BELIEVE we made it! Looking back, it's hard to believe that we have lived as long as we have. As children, we would ride in cars with no seatbelts or air bags. Our baby cribs were covered with brightly colored lead-based paint. We had no child-proof lids on medicine bottles, doors or cabinets, and when we rode our bikes, we had no helmets.
"We drank water from the garden hose and not from a bottle. Horrors. We would spend hours building our go-carts out of scraps and then rode down the hill, only to find out we forgot the brakes. After running into the bushes a few times, we learned to solve the problem.
"We would leave home in the morning and play all day, as long as we were back when the streetlights came on. No one was able to reach us all day. No cell phones or pagers. Unthinkable. We played dodgeball, and sometimes the ball would really hurt. We got cut and broke bones and broke teeth, and there were no lawsuits from these accidents. They were accidents. No one was to blame but us.
"Remember accidents? We had fights and punched each other and got black and blue and learned to get over it. We ate cupcakes, bread and butter, and drank soda pop, but we were rarely overweight - we were always outside playing.
"We shared one grape soda with four friends, from one bottle, and no one died from this. We did not have color TV, PlayStations, Nintendo 64, X-boxes, video games, 99 channels on cable, videotaped movies, surround sound, personal cell phones, personal computers, Internet chat rooms . . . we had friends. We went outside and found them.
"We rode bikes or walked to a friend's home and knocked on the door, or rang the bell, or just walked in and talked to them. Imagine such a thing. Without having it all arranged by a parent! By ourselves! Out there in the cold cruel world! Without a guardian to run interference.
"How did we do it? We made up games with sticks and tennis balls and ate worms, and although we were told it would happen, we did not put out very many eyes, nor did the worms live inside us forever. Little League had tryouts and not everyone made the team. Those who didn't had to learn to deal with disappointment.
"Some students weren't as smart as others, so they failed a grade and were held back to repeat the same grade. Horrors.
"The idea of a parent bailing us out if we broke the law was unheard of. They actually sided with the law, imagine that! This generation - the majority of whose mothers probably smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol while pregnant with us - has produced some of the best risk-takers, problem-solvers, and inventors ever. The past 50 years has been an explosion of innovation and new ideas. We had freedom, failure, success and responsibility, and we learned how to deal with it all.
"Please pass this on to others who have had the luck to grow up as kids in an era when parents still allowed children to act like children and hadn't turned over their parental responsibilities to public institutions like schools, the legal system and government."
on disease prevalence often inflated
WASHINGTON - (KRT) - Relax. Grim estimates of how many millions of Americans have various diseases are often as high and wild as a baseball pitcher in spring.
And they're all over the place.
A Baltimore Sun report says 20 million Americans suffer from depression. A patient-care newsletter says 10 million Americans older than 50 have the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis. Other published reports say 13 million Americans have hypothyroidism, 7.9 million are alcoholics, 40 million have the hearing defect known as tinnitus, 62 million have digestive diseases and 70 million have some form of arthritis.
Add up the published claims about disease prevalence and the average American has at least two ailments at a time.
Who's pushing the high numbers? Skeptical bio-statisticians blame drug companies and reporters for much of the hype. They also blame research institutes and disease foundations seeking more public spending on particular diseases.
"They always take the high-end numbers," said Mary Grace Kovar, a senior health statistician at the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center in Washington. "They want the money, power and prestige" that flow when a disease looks like a major problem.
Former National Institutes of Health director Dr. Harold Varmus, who's now the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, fought hard against using such estimates to justify research spending. He called it "body-based budgeting" and argued that NIH's billions should be targeted instead to areas that promise the greatest scientific and therapeutic advances.
These days, prevalence statistics are often part of a larger effort to persuade people that what they consider a human condition is really a disease. Your grandfather snored. But you - and 18 million other Americans, according to the Sleep Foundation - have a breathing disorder called sleep apnea. Your mother blushed and perspired. But you - and 7 million other Americans - have an excessive sweating disorder called hyperhidrosis, according to the International Hyperhidrosis Society.
Kovar and other bio-statisticians fault reporters for thumping the tub - or worse - to make new diseases newsy.
A case in point: stories about shopping addiction, a vaguely defined compulsion that some drug companies would like to treat with antidepressants.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 17 million Americans are compulsive shoppers. A doctor on the British Broadcasting Corp.'s popular health Web site (www.bbc.co.uk/health) says it's 15 million. Ronald Faber, a University of Minnesota Twin Cities professor whose 1992 study provided the high-end figures for both articles, begs to differ. Faber said reporters almost always ignore his report's conclusion that the low-end estimate of 2 million to 4 million was the better one.
"Everybody wants the topic they're talking about to sound important," Faber said in an interview. "To get the story read, you need to grab people's attention, and big numbers grab attention."
Daniel Zelterman, a biostatistics professor at Yale University Medical School in New Haven, Conn., said all the ominous health numbers obscured the real bottom line: "People are living longer. We're living better. Things are looking up, looking good, as far as health is concerned."
Zelterman's theory is that prevalence statistics routinely are skewed by the researcher's motive: "Do you want to say we're winning the war on cancer or that we need more research?"
There's plenty of room for subjectivity, given the way most of these numbers are generated: A researcher selects a random population of several thousand or less and asks a series of carefully worded questions. To the answers, the researcher applies one of several official definitions of a disease and determines approximately how many people in the test group have it. This estimate is expressed as a range and projected onto a much larger population.
Reporters and patients' lobbies often seize the range's high end, drop the low end and hype the disease's prevalence with statements such as "Researchers estimate that as many as 30 million. ..."
Even from authoritative, disease-specialist institutes such as NIH, "you're much more likely to get an overestimate than an underestimate" of a disease's prevalence, said Susan Ellenberg, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia.
The reason: "The more people who have something, the more likely they'll get funding for it," Ellenberg said.
In a case last year, NIH's Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it overstated its conclusion that obesity was about to overtake smoking as the No. 1 U.S. cause of death. Ultimately, the CDC reduced by a third its finding that deaths due to poor diet and physical inactivity had jumped 33 percent between 1990 and 2000.
Was that merely a statistical error, as the CDC said, or a windup in a pitch for money? Do NIH researchers inflate their numbers?
"Most people at NIH institutes have more of a sense of moral responsibility than to do that," said Ronald Manderscheid, a top health-data expert at the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
While some disease foundations use high-end estimates, not all of them do. The American Cancer Society, for example, omits from its figures on cancer's prevalence the minor skin cancers and slow-growing tumors that pose no health threats. Were it raising alarms, it would count them.
According to bio-statistician John Bailar, an adviser to the National Academy of Sciences, prevalence numbers are so untrustworthy that he and his colleagues usually ignore them. Estimates based on doctors' reports or mortality statistics derived from death certificates are more reliable, he said.
Deceptions involving prevalence, Bailar said, generally entail "accurate but misleading" numbers that are "presented to the public with the understanding that a lot of people won't understand what they're being told."
Drug makers, research institutes and reporters sometimes end up working together in these efforts.
Consider the male sexual malady now known as erectile dysfunction.
A recent health newsletter from the Gale Group Inc. said erectile dysfunction "affects up to 30 million Americans, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases."
The institute's Web site supports the published statement, but says the number is a high-end figure and hints that it's unreliable: "Estimates range from 15 million to 30 million, depending on the definition used."
What "depending on the definition" means is that the reported prevalence varies if men are asked whether they currently have the problem, or have had it in the past, or have ever had it.
In addition, the highest numbers ensue when men are asked questions to which it's easy to say yes, said Dr. Ira Sharlip, a San Francisco urologist and spokesman for the American Urological Association.
"Ask a man, `Do you ever have soft erections?' and he's more likely to say yes than when you ask, `Are you able to penetrate your partner?'" Sharlip said.
The easy affirmatives drive up the numbers of men who say they've had erectile dysfunction, Sharlip added, but include millions who don't consider it a problem. If the condition is called by the stark traditional term "impotence" - meaning unable to engage in intercourse because of an inability to attain an erection - the numbers plummet.
In 1997, a year before Viagra was introduced, 10,000 men older than 45 who were living in Goteborg, Sweden, received postcard questionnaires asking if they were impotent. Of the 75 percent of cards returned, 7.6 percent were checked yes. Projected to U.S. men over 45, that comes to a prevalence of just 3.7 million. (That's the lowest of any prevalence figures, Sharlip noted.)
What does the Web site for the anti-impotence drug Levitra say? "Over half of all men over 40 experience some degree of decreased erectile function." That comes to about 27 million, based on the U.S. Census.
The high-end number, Yale's Zelterman said, helps persuade men to admit a problem and seek treatment.
"If you know lots of people have it," he said, "you're more likely to declare yourself among them, especially if there's something to do about it."
In other words, high-end figures for erectile dysfunction solicit for treatment people who don't think they're sick.
With that same general purpose, Viagra, Levitra and Cialis spent $425 million on advertising last year, according to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, an independent ad-auditing agency.
Don't want toxins in food? Then eating could be tricky
LA Times - December 19, 2005
Toxicologists are quick to point out that raw, natural foods — just like processed ones — are themselves complex chemical mixtures. Start analyzing them and you'll find tens of thousands of chemical compounds, not all of them good for you.
"What protects us is that these chemicals are present at very, very low levels, and we have defense mechanisms in place," says Michael Pariza, a food toxicologist and microbiologist at the University of Wisconsin.
The best-known research in the field comes out of UC Berkeley, where Lois Swirsky Gold has been studying naturally occurring pesticides and synthetic chemicals in foods for the last 25 years.
She points out that hundreds of plant chemicals have been found to cause cancer in rats or mice when given in extremely high doses.
"A healthy diet contains rodent carcinogens galore," says Gold, director of the Carcinogenic Potency Project at Berkeley. "Ninety-nine percent of the chemicals that people take in are natural."
A partial list of foods with naturally occurring, but toxic chemicals includes apple, apricots, bananas, basil, beets, broccoli, coffee, cantaloupes, tomatoes, mustard, cardamom, carrots and lettuce. They include chemicals such as benzyl acetate, caffeic acid, coumarin, quercetin, and respertine — all produced by plants to defend themselves against fungi, insects and other predators.
In addition, many more chemicals are formed during cooking. For example, more than 1,000 chemicals have been identified in roasted coffee, many of which are produced through roasting. Acrylamide is one of those.
Humans have natural defenses that protect against these chemicals, both natural and synthetic. The point, says Gold, is that it's impossible to avoid them...
Gold's research has led her to estimate that Americans consume 1.5 grams (or 1,500 milligrams) of these natural pesticides a day — about 10,000 times more than they absorb in synthetic pesticide residue.
Of the 72 natural pesticides tested in high-dose cancer tests, which identify the level at which animals get sick, 38 have proven carcinogenic. Acrylamide is only one of many natural chemicals in the diet that cause cancer in high doses in rats.
"No diet can be free of rodent carcinogens," Gold says. "You would think the way we regulate, it would be the opposite. But nature is not benign."
published research findings may be false
"There is increasing concern that in modern research, false findings may be the majority or even the vast majority of published research claims," says researcher John Ioannidis in an analysis in the open access international medical journal PLoS Medicine.
In his analysis, Ioannidis, of the University of Ioannina School of Medicine, Greece, and Tufts University School of Medicine, United States, identifies the factors that he believes lead to research findings often being false.
One of these factors is that many research studies are small. "The smaller the studies conducted in a scientific field, the less likely the research findings are to be true," says Ioannidis.
Another problem is that in many scientific fields, the "effect sizes" (a measure of how much a risk factor such as smoking increases a person's risk of disease, or how much a treatment is likely to improve a disease) are small.
Research findings are more likely true in scientific fields with large effects, such as the impact of smoking on cancer, than in scientific fields where postulated effects are small, such as genetic risk factors for diseases where many different genes are involved in causation. If the effect sizes are very small in a particular field, says Ioannidis, it is "likely to be plagued by almost ubiquitous false positive claims."
Financial and other interests and prejudices can also lead to untrue results. And "the hotter a scientific field (with more scientific teams involved), the less likely the research findings are to be true," which may explain why we sometimes see "major excitement followed rapidly by severe disappointments in fields that draw wide attention."
In their linked editorial, the PLoS Medicine editors discuss the implications of Ioannidis' analysis. "Publication of preliminary findings, negative studies, confirmations, and refutations is an essential part of getting closer to the truth," they say.
Nevertheless, the editors "encourage authors to discuss biases, study limitations, and potential confounding factors. We acknowledge that most studies published should be viewed as hypothesis-generating, rather than conclusive."
Science of Luck
The New York Times hit a slam dunk, with an excellent essay explaining how luck is compatible with science. For scientists, “luck” is just a matter of probability, of rolling the die of life. Luck is as scientific and fixed as gravity.
As every good poker player knows, there is a one in four chance that a random card chosen from a deck will be a spade. And there is about a one in 12 chance of being dealt two pairs or better in the first round at poker. Luck is a euphemism for when those chances play to your benefit.
Card counting may be one thing, but when it comes to life and death we can’t deal the cards again. Each of us has about a one in four chance of dying from cancer. This doesn’t mean much for the individual, who either will, or will not, die of cancer. But across the population, for every unlucky cancer death, there are three others who die for other reasons.
Risks can be reduced, but not eliminated. And whether a small risk affects your life or not is just a matter of luck. You can reduce your chances of lung cancer by a factor of ten by not smoking, but you might still die of lung cancer (and your smoking counterpart may not).
The unfortunate few who die of lung cancer without smoking (such as Diana Reeve last year) or the fortunate few who live a long life despite their vice are as much a result of a statistical reality as those who smoke and get lung cancer, and those who don’t and live a long life. If the statistics were otherwise, tobacco companies would have held accountable a long time ago.
At best, science can determine the probability of something going wrong, or the risk associated with a certain behavior or physical trait. Whether it affects you or not is just dumb luck.
A Scripps Howard News Service study of 4.9 million cause-of-death records for the years 2005 and 2006 from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed a disturbing conclusion: medical experts think about 30 percent of the death diagnoses were either incorrect, fraudulent or just somebody’s wild guess.
That means our knowledge of what’s killing Americans — and more than 2.4 million of us die each year — is not terribly accurate, which greatly complicates the cause of prevention. In particular, heart disease tends to be a catchall cause of death, blamed for 32 percent of deaths in New York state but only 20 percent in Colorado, the state that not coincidentally has the highest rate of autopsies.
Among the findings by reporters Thomas Hargrove and Lee Bowman: Cancer is blamed for 28 percent in the national-capital suburb of Fairfax County, Va., but only 19 percent in Salt Lake City. In smaller communities, cancer deaths range from more than 40 percent to less than 7 percent, and stroke deaths from nearly 17 percent to less than 1 percent. The wild fluctuations suggest there is more at work than just regional variations in mortality.
“The result is that we’re spending too much money in the wrong places and not enough on diseases that kill more than the numbers show,” said Dr. Elizabeth Burton of Baylor Medical Center in Dallas. And the suspect statistics make it difficult to identify new disease patterns, a problem that could become acute with the aging of the boomer generation.
The only 100 percent accurate way to determine the cause of death is to conduct an autopsy, but autopsies are becoming increasingly rare because of the cost, liability worries and even a declining pool of trained pathologists. There are wide disparities of race, sex and income in the decision to conduct an autopsy, and only 10 states conduct autopsies at least 10 percent of the time. Less than 5 percent of hospital deaths are autopsied.
There is more to an autopsy than just a cause of death. Baylor’s Burton puts the proposition this way: “When you get a 113-year-old woman into the pathology lab, the question shouldn’t be so much why did she die, but how did she manage to live so long. What was different about her?”
Knowing the cause of death is also about unraveling the mystery of life.
REPORT: A third of cause of deaths are dead wrong
Hundreds of thousands of death certificates filed every year in the United States are wrong, meaning we don’t really know what’s killing Americans.
The erroneous death certificates cause medical researchers to look at the wrong health threats, and mislead people to the real diseases that run in their families.
More than 2.4 million Americans die each year, and each one has an official cause of death on a death certificate. But medical experts think that about one third of them are incorrect, fraudulent or even just guesses.
“I’ve been preaching for years to anyone who will listen that death certificates are worthless,” said Dr. Stephen Geller, former chief of pathology at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical Center.
The most common error is blaming some form of heart disease for other kinds of deaths. Every day, overburdened doctors and coroners routinely stamp “cardiac arrest” or one of a variety of heart diseases onto death certificates for people they’ve not examined or even seen.
In several major cities, coronary disease is improperly blamed for nearly half of all mortalities.
Some places have rates of fatal heart disease that are three times higher than others — not because of real heart problems but because of bad reporting.
“Heart disease is very often the default cause of death in this country. There are a not-inconsequential number of deaths for which the cause is completely wrong,” said Robert Anderson, chief of mortality data for the National Center for Health Statistics.
Dan Rohling, a retired funeral home director in Southern California, said, “If you’re trying to get a doctor to sign a death certificate, but he’s uncertain or confused about what to write, all you have to do is say ‘ASHD.’ That stands for atherosclerotic heart disease.
“If the deceased is over 60, the doctor will probably say ‘Oh, yeah’ and then sign it. That happens, I know, because I’ve done it,” Rohling added.
The Scripps study found that the state of New York has the nation’s highest rate of fatal heart disease — 32 percent of all deaths. Heart failure was blamed for 44 percent of all deaths on Staten Island, 42 percent in Queens and 40 percent in Brooklyn.
New York officials have doubted the accuracy of these numbers for many years, and in 2004 cited 40 funeral homes for illegally filling in the cause of death and signing a doctor’s name to death certificates. The city issued 57 health code violations and issued fines totaling $53,000.
Several funeral homes admitted writing “atherosclerotic heart disease” when doctors were not available to sign death certificates.
The Health Department released the records this year only after Scripps filed a request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law.
But most death certificates are completed by hospital staff and not at funeral homes.
“My gut tells me the crux of the matter is not with the funeral home directors. They are just a contributing factor,” said Lorna Thorpe, New York City’s deputy health commissioner and the city’s top epidemiologist.
A joint New York City and federal investigation of deaths in 2003 found that coronary heart disease had been overstated by 51 percent among people aged 35 to 74 and by about 200 percent among people 75 or older.
The Scripps study of 4.9 million mortality records from 2005 and 2006 provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that some states are good at determining why people die. One of the best is Colorado where 13 percent of all deaths are autopsied, the nation’s highest statewide autopsy rate, and only 20 percent of deaths are attributed to heart disease, one of that nation’s lowest coronary rates.
“I have never heard these statistics before, but they are certainly good to hear,” said Dr. Michael Doberson, Arapahoe County coroner in the Denver metro area. “A lot of it has to do with education.
“The death investigation system across the country is a patchwork of different practices. We, as a nation, certainly could be better at this.”
Another example of wildly varying diagnosis is cancer, which is blamed for 28 percent of all deaths in urban Fairfax County, Va., near Washington, D.C. But cancer is blamed for just 19 percent of all deaths in Salt Lake City and for even fewer deaths in Salt Lake’s suburban counties.
Among smaller communities nationwide, cancer rates range from more than 40 percent of all deaths to fewer than 7 percent.
Reports of death by stroke and other cerebral vascular diseases range from 9 percent in Orangeburg, S.C., to 3 percent in the Bronx, N.Y. In smaller communities, the rate of stroke deaths ranges from nearly 17 percent to less than 1 percent.
Experts say the variations in death rates for such major causes of death are greater than can be explained by differences in age, race or other risk factors for illness that typically change with geography.
“There are some legitimate variations in the death rates from some of the major causes of death, the more obvious diseases, but many of the death certificates on which these statistics are based are meaningless, because physicians complete them without knowing the real cause of death,’’ said Dr. Kenneth Iserson, an emergency medicine specialist at the University of Arizona.
“We simply don’t know how wrong the statistics from death certificates might be. We may not be identifying some new disease patterns that are emerging.”
The Scripps review echoes a 2001 report published by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality that analyzed dozens of academic studies and found that as many as a third of all death certificates are likely to include an incorrect cause, and that 50 percent of autopsies reveal medical information that wasn’t known before a patient died.
“Health care guidelines and policies are based on these faulty data from the death certificates, from selective autopsies and from insurance claims data that we also know is skewed to bring in the most dollars,” said Dr. Elizabeth Burton, chief of the autopsy lab at Baylor Medical Center in Dallas.
“The result is we’re spending too much money in the wrong places and not enough on diseases that kill more than the numbers show.”
Dr. Eric Mitchell, the coroner for Shawnee County (Topeka), Kan., fears that inaccuracies will increase as baby boomers begin to die, further stressing the system of death review.
“We are going to have an increase in these inaccuracies because of the overload,’’ Mitchell said. “It’s going to be difficult to track and figure out death because we have no standards to apply and no quality control.
“When these increasing inaccuracies start creeping into the national health data, they will probably affect health policy, and that is disturbing.”
In Phoenix, Dr. Doug Campos-Outcalt, an instructor in both family medicine and public health at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, said, “For the major conditions and diseases, what we mainly follow from the death certificates are trends, so as long as the system is consistently inaccurate, the relative changes in mortality are probably still captured. But what is missed are the more subtle medical problems and some of the underlying causes of death, like smoking or obesity. [CLASH Note: This is the one opinion that, in its prejudice, is contradictory to all else in this article. Rather, it's likely that BECAUSE someone smoked their cause of death is the first in line to suffer from a misdiagnosis!]
“On the other hand, if the official death investigation system is not well-staffed or funded, you don’t get very good investigations, a lot of undetermined cause of death statements, and unanswered questions for families and the justice system, as well as public health.”
In the end it will take new laws and education to improve the accuracy of death certificates.
“If I sign a death certificate with blue ink, the registrar won’t accept
it. But if you put down a bogus diagnosis, nobody cares,” said Dr. Keyvan
Ravakhah, head of medicine at Huron Hospital in East Cleveland, Ohio. “Death
certificates are terrible. They are so inaccurate because no one is trained
to do them.”
An interesting piece. Unfortunately
they create the impression that cigarette smoking is THE ultimate killer.
No, it's not some evil smoker lurking in the stairwell. Imagine that.
Ozone, given off by office equipment can make office workers ill.
On-the-job exposure to dust or toxic fumes may cause as many as 5 million cases of a group of deadly lung disease called COPD
Investigators say that people who lack the confidence
to handle work
Weren't we told that banning smoking in the workplace would significantly reduce sick time? Or was that some sort of excuse to ban it? Hmmm...
Toxins pose risks for many
At least two-thirds of Americans live in areas where toxic chemicals pose an elevated cancer risk, an Environmental Protection Agency analysis concluded Friday.
If one were to compare the statistical
mathematics: If you're one of the 20 million who they claim live
in more polluted cities and such the risk is 100 per million, or close
Stress as Dangerous as Smoking
U-F researchers say stress can kill you as quickly as smoking or a high-fat-diet.
Four earlier Univeristy of Flordia studies have shown that patients with a reduced blood flow to the heart because of psychological stress, may be at an increased risk of things like heart attacks and coronary heart disease.
Harboring Hostility May be Linked to Unhealthy Lungs
Young adults with a short temper or mean disposition also tend to have compromised lung function, says a recent study published in the journal Health Psychology, by the American Psychological Association (APA). This occurred even when asthma and smoking were ruled out as possible causes of lung dysfunction.
New Scientific Thinking Implicates Body Fat as
American Institute of Cancer Research: Scientists
now say that although obesity is thought to raise cancer risk the most,
there is some consensus that even being a few pounds overweight carries
New findings in yeast may reveal why growing older is the greatest carcinogen in humans
Scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center have made a landmark discovery in yeast that may hold the key to revealing why growing older is the greatest cancer-risk factor in humans.
Fears over nuclear pollutant cancer risk
People may be exposed to twice the level of a carcinogenic
nuclear pollutant than previously thought, experts have admitted.
Worldwide estimate of premature deaths due to wood smoke
is 2.7 to 3
Even as little as that in one cup of coffee--can cause temporary stiffening of the blood vessel walls
Don't drink, smoke, or do drugs? Think you've got no vices? Think again. If you drink coffee, tea, cola or indulge in the occasional piece of chocolate, then you're using a drug.
Smoking And Coffee
The study, which appears in the April '07 issue of Archives of Neurology, found that those with the disease were less likely to smoke or consume large amounts of caffeine than other family members thus supporting a protective association of smoking and caffeine consumption found in other clinical research.
Chlorinated water increases
"As children, we fall under the spell of ads that lure us to indulge in all things sweet. Is it any wonder that as adults, so few of us can see the dark side of sugar? Suicide by Sugar shines a bright light on our nation’s addiction."
Indoor Air Pollution
Radon , mold, lead and asbestos noted.... but no secondhand smoke
STUDY: TINY PARTICLES DO INCREASE DEATHS
"You don't have to be able to smell or see air pollution to die from it."
Dirty Air Leading To Increased Heart Attacks
We've known for years pollution is hard on the respiratory system. Now a new study concludes it can trigger heart attacks, sometimes within hours.
"The increase risk of heart attacks appeared as early as two hours after a spike in levels of these fine particles in the air," Dr. Middleman said.
The particles come from the trappings of urban life, diesel engines, from coal burning power plants, and from the ever present car.
The Environmental Working Group - a Washington D.C.-based research and advocacy organization - is reporting that floating particles cause more than 9,300 deaths in the state each year.
Most of those particles are from car exhaust and factories.
Painless inflammation in the bloodstream is an even
There's no avoiding cancer or heart disease risks. Believing you are even 1% safer by ridding yourself of ETS is foolhardy and statistically false.
Genes Increase Risk
Australian researchers have told a conference in Brisbane that there are genes which increase the risk of lung disease.
Genetics can't be ignored in lung cancer development
The dogma that smoking and smoking alone causes lung cancer has prevailed over the clinicians and lung cancer researchers for many years. This, in spite of the glaring fact that only 1 to 15 percent of smokers develop lung cancer and a good 10 percent of lung cancer patients have never been smokers.
In conclusion, this is the first study that has used extensive genealogical database and examined the role of smoking. Its results strongly suggest a genetic predisposition to lung cancer in relatives of patients with lung cancer.
Heart disease risk
Heart disease risk is largely determined by parents rather than lifestyle, new evidence from a large study in the United States suggests.
A wide range of risk factors were assessed, including... cigarette smoking.
Lung Cancer Among Non-Smokers
A growing number of researchers are puzzled by increases in the number of cases of lung cancer among non-smokers.
Study Examines Role Of EGFR Gene Mutations In
A new study has found that mutations in either of two genes are involved in the development of lung cancer. One of them is the first known mutation to occur specifically in never smokers, according to a new study in the March 2 issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.
These findings "support the hypothesis that at least two distinct molecular pathways are involved in the pathogenesis of lung adenocarcinomas, one involving EGFR TK domain mutations and the other involving KRAS gene mutations," the authors write. These results also "suggest that exposure to carcinogens in environmental tobacco smoke may not be the major pathogenic factor involved in the origin of lung cancers in never smokers but that an as-yet-unidentified carcinogen(s) plays an important role."
Link Between Residential Radon And Lung Cancer
Two University of Iowa researchers were part of a large multi-center study that provides compelling direct evidence of an association between prolonged residential radon exposure and lung cancer risk.
Chemical in Many Air Fresheners May
New research shows that a chemical compound found in many air fresheners, toilet bowl cleaners, mothballs and other deodorizing products, may be harmful to the lungs. Human population studies at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), a part of the National Institutes of Health, found that exposure to a volatile organic compound (VOC), called 1,4 dichlorobenzene (1,4 DCB) may cause modest reductions in lung function.
Researchers find gene,
Researchers estimate that 40% of heart attack risk is due to these genes.
Scots and Heart Disease
Unknown factors not linked to diet, smoking or poverty may make Scots people more prone to heart disease, research led by University of Edinburgh has revealed.
Published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community
They found that exposure to environmental noise, such as that of traffic, tripled the risk of heart attack for women and boosted it by nearly 50 percent for men.
"If you are at risk for heart disease you can try to avoid long chronic noise exposure. You can try to find a job that is not noisy, or change where you live."
Ewald has concluded that mainstream medicine, fixated on genes and lifestyle, is overlooking the chief cause of the most enduring, widespread and harmful illnesses of humankind.
Common antibiotic may help prevent cardiac arrest
The finding adds weight to the contentious theory that
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, in which apparently healthy
babies die inexplicably in their cribs, may be linked to infection with
Researchers told a conference on infectious diseases yesterday
Estimated risk for altered fetal growth resulting from exposure to fine particles during pregnancy
The purpose of this study was to estimate exposure of pregnant women in Poland to fine particulate matter [less than or equal to 2.5 microm in diameter (PM 2.5)] and to assess its effect on the birth outcomes.
In all regression models, the effect
of ETS was insignificant.
Dr. Doris Day, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center, said "95% of wrinkles are due to sun exposure."
A new study conducted by the University of Southern Demark has quantified the impact that a combination of lifestyle, medical history and diet have on how your looks age.
"Surprisingly, smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 20 years
was found to add only a year of extra wrinkles to men and half that to
While this is no endorsement of the group PETA they do add a twist to the anti-smoking argument that ETS contributes to a large amount of ear infections in children: "For kids (and adults) allergic to dairy foods, milk is a mucus maker and can lead to problems such as chronic coughs and ear infections."
Parents' Smoking Status Not Factor in Kids' Otitis Media
Children with recurrent otitis media have a higher number of infectious pathogens in their nasopharynx and lower counts of beneficial flora.
A Georgetown team, discovered this while seeking to show how smoking by parents affected children with otitis media.
Surprisingly, the number of infectious pathogens found in the children of smoking parents and the children of non-smoking was essentially the same, Itzhak Brook, M.D., and Alan E. Gober, M.D., reported in the June  issue of Archives of Otolaryngology.
Family Link in Artery Disease
Safety Inquiry Into Anti-Smoking Drug After 18 Die
Are the drugs you're taking to quit smoking any better than smoking itself? Maybe. Maybe not. But does anyone else smell a lawsuit in the air? There's irony in this claim somewhere.
Exercise-induced asthma is a common disease affecting
at least 15 million people in the United States.
In the new study, doctors from the Kaiser Permanente health plan found that even nonsmokers have a clearly elevated risk of heart disease. It appears to be at least one-third higher than the risk in people without asthma.
People with asthma are more likely to develop lung cancer
Asthma patients face an increased risk of suffering from a group of serious lung diseases later in life, according to a 20-year study conducted by the University of Arizona.
The study found asthma sufferers are 12 times more likely to develop chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases later in adulthood compared to other adults. They include illnesses such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
Smoking was believed to be the main risk factor for developing the disease, but the UA study found that only 20 percent of smokers in the group developed COPDs.
Babies given antibiotics during the first six months of their lives are far more likely to develop asthma, according to a US study.
Johnson speculates that the drugs disrupt the developing immune system because they alter the bacterial communities in the gut. This might make it more difficult for a baby's immune system to learn which bacteria are good and which are bad.
The findings fit in with a large body of evidence on the origin of childhood asthma, known as the hygiene hypothesis, says Thomas Kovesi at the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, Ottawa. "The cleaner you make things, the greater the risk of allergy," he says. "The immune system gets bored."
A study conducted by researchers at Yale is suggesting that antibiotics may be the reason why children particularly infants suffer from asthma. In the said research, babies who underwent antibiotic therapy for the first six months of their lives showed a greater than 52% risk of developing the respiratory illness at the age of 6 compared to those who did not undergo the said therapeutic regimen.
The said study also took into account the reported decreased levels of parental smoking and pollution but still yielded the conclusion that antibiotic is related to asthma.
Diets rich in junk food could be the culprits behind the rapid rise of asthma and allergies in children.
The project, a huge international study known as the ISAAC (International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Children), was carried out in 150 countries where so far 50,000 children have been studied.
Children whose diets were low in vegetables and vitamin E were two to three times more likely to develop asthmatic symptoms than other children irrespective of other factors such as family size, affluence and parental smoking.
A water-damaged workplace may trigger asthma and other breathing problems in employees, and be a substantial source of sick days, new research suggests.
In a study of workers at one leaky, mold-contaminated office building, U.S. government researchers found that the rate of adult-onset asthma among employees was more than three times the norm for the general population. Two-thirds of these cases were diagnosed after the employees had started working in the building.
The researchers estimate that up to 12 percent of employee sick days in a year could be attributed to the health effects of the building.
Damp indoor settings are known to trigger symptoms in people with allergies and asthma, and research suggests that such conditions can cause asthma to develop in previously healthy people.
Showers 'may damage
Traces of manganese found in household water could be sufficient to cause prmanent brain damage to those who take a regular shower, according to a report published in the US journal Medical Hypotheses.
Fit Men Less Likely
Physically unfit men, who had the lowest oxygen uptake,
were almost three times more likely to die from any cause, even after the
researchers accounted for factors that could have influenced the results,
such as age, smoking and alcohol use.
Admittedly controversial and largely inconclusive, there is a more important expert opinion to come out of it: "The amount of sleep you get impacts how alert you are, your risk for accidents, how you perform at work and school," said James Walsh, president of the National Sleep Foundation, a nonprofit group that advocates better sleep habits. "There's much more to life than how long you live."
Cigarette smoking is associated with a 50 percent excess
mortality risk; sleeping less than six hours is also associated with a
50 percent mortality risk.
Infection caused a surprising 1.5 million cases of cervical cancer, liver cancer and lymphoma.
Environmental Link to Parkinson's Risk Examined
``The evidence is powerful (indicating that) this is a disease due to something in the environment.''
And studies have found that smoking and coffee--usually assumed to be detrimental to good health--may actually have a protective effect against the disease.
Smoking Helps Prevent Schizophrenia
Smoking may protect young people from developing schizophrenia, according to a study published in American Journal of Psychiatry.
The study also found the more cigarettes smoked, the better the protection against schizophrenia.
Huge Rise in Brain Diseases
The numbers of sufferers of brain diseases, including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and motor neurone disease, have soared ["tripled"] across the West in less than 20 years, scientists have discovered.
Eating large amounts of sushi, the Japanese fish delicacy
now popular in many western countries, may help smokers reduce the risk
of developing lung cancer, scientists said.
If you've got to smoke, then make sure to eat your fruit and vegetables, doctors say.
While smoking makes you prone to serious illness, eating plenty of healthy foods is likely to cut the risk, doctors say.
Researchers have always wondered why some heavy smokers get sick and others stay in reasonably good health, and believe genes play a role, along with diet and other lifestyle factors.
Plant Compound Kills Lung Cancer Cells
A substance found in plants appears to kill lung cancer cells and prevent healthy lung cells from becoming cancerous.
These findings may lead to new means of preventing people at risk of lung cancer from developing the disease, and of treating them if they do.
"However, even if the plant extract, known as deguelin,
prevents smoking-related cancers with no side effects, Lee cautioned that
smoking will never be considered a safe habit."
Based on the findings of one major study, medical errors kill some 44,000 people in U.S. hospitals each year. Another study puts the number much higher, at 98,000.
Too much bacon 'bad for lungs'
A Columbia University team found people who ate cured meats at least 14 times a month were more likely to have COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Professor Peter Calverly of the British Thoracic Society said: "This study illustrates that factors other than smoking may contribute to COPD."
Cancer virus in sheep may provide clues to understanding human lung cancer
A virus that causes contagious lung cancer in sheep may
be instrumental in understanding a similar
Wood dust, ultraviolet radiation, talc and other common
So what about using talc on babies, you ask? It appears they have reached conclusions about talc the same way they've done so regarding secondhand smoke with similar results. So why isn't anyone screaming child abuse when it comes to exposing babies to talc?
Second National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals
We're "exposed" to so much! Oh please, exposure does not equal risk.
Related link: www.cdc.gov
SUNLIGHT IS A CARCINOGEN
Recommending even small amounts of sun exposure is bad advice, according to the Sun Safety Alliance, since there is no "acceptable" dose for carcinogens like UV radiation. Every exposure has some adverse affect -- although this may be difficult to measure.
No acceptable level of exposure to the sun?!? City officials must protect lifeguards and ban that line of work!
New research indicates that eating lots of red meat may create about as much of a certain cancer-promoting chemical in the colon as smoking does.
Barbecues poison the air with toxins and could cause cancer, research suggests.
Young children who live in homes with gas cooking stoves may be at increased risk for respiratory illnesses. The more meals that were cooked on a gas stove, the greater was a child's risk of developing a respiratory illness, such as allergic rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis or pneumonia.
Some 1.6 million people, mainly small children, die each year from a “kitchen killer” -- disease brought on by inhaling smoke from cooking stoves and indoor fires, the World Health Organization said
Study Links Breast Implants to Lung and Brain Cancers
A long-running study has found that while women with breast
implants are not at increased risk for most cancers, they appear to suffer
higher rates of lung and brain cancer than other plastic surgery patients,
The limit set for a cancer-causing
Is there anything smoking doesn't do? But of course, don't stop eating your veggies.
Obesity Greater Health Risk Than Smoking, Survey Indicates
Obese adults have more chronic health problems than smokers, heavy drinkers or the poor combined.
Get ready for the crackdown on what you eat. This is the big picture we've been warning everyone about. They're going to come after your desserts and your personal exercise regimen. Lawyers smell the new pocketbooks to pick and those who feel your business is theirs will attempt to FORCE YOU, "for your own good," to lose weight or else!
Study Finds Inactivity Deadlier Than Smoking
LIFE as a couch potato is more deadly than smoking, according to new research which found more people in Hong Kong died from lack of physical activity than from tobacco consumption.
The study of Hong Kong residents aged over 35 who died in 1998 found a lack of physical activity caused more than 6,400 deaths a year, compared with just over 5,700 from smoking.
Fruit, Vegetables Cut Smokers' Lung Disease Risk
Smokers who consume moderate amounts of fruits and vegetables appear to reduce their risk of developing lung disease by almost half, according to the results of a new study.
Two new studies reveal that fruits, vegetables and a diet low in fat can protect against heart disease.
The relationship between high fruit and vegetable intake
and low risk of
Diabetics' Heart Disease Risk Begins in Teens
In a study of 57 diabetics ages 12 to 21 and a group of
adolescents without the disease, type 1 diabetes was associated with substantial
plaque buildup inside arteries regardless of body weight, family history,
smoking and length of time with diabetes.
A growing number of medical researchers fear that a monkey
virus that contaminated polio vaccine
In recent years, dozens of scientific studies have found
the virus in a
The team from Taiwan's Cheng Kung university analysed smoke from a Taipei temple and found that it contained high levels of chemical compounds blamed for causing lung cancer.
In particular, researchers found levels of benzopyrene
Church air is 'threat to health'
Church air was found to be considerably higher in carcinogenic polycyclic hydrocarbons than air beside roads travelled by 45,000 vehicles daily.
The study, by Maastricht University, The Netherlands, is published in the European Respiratory Journal.
The researchers found that, after nine hours of candle-burning [and incense], the church air had PM10 levels of 600 to 1000 micrograms per cubic metre - more than four times higher than before the start of the first morning mass.
This represents 12 to 20 times the European allowed average concentration over 24 hours.
The study also found very high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, also known to be carcinogenic.
The particles can penetrate very deep into the lungs and
trigger various lung and heart conditions.
In a world where even joss sticks and broccoli are said
to be carcinogenic, Tim Dowling spends a day trying to avoid a tumour.
It's claimed a 40-minute journey on the tube [train],
is as bad for you as smoking two cigarettes.
Considering that the most virulent strains of flu hit
about every 30 years
``The question is not if, but when we are going to have another pandemic in the foreseeable future,'' said Osterhaus, co-chair of the [European Union] conference.
During an average year, some 50,000 people in Europe die
of the flu, more
1999 (CA)- Children who grow up breathing dirty air may suffer lung damage into adulthood, according to early results of a long-term study of the effects of Southern California smog.
2001 (Mexico City)- Some children who appear in perfect health have measurable lung damage from exposure to air pollution, researchers found, suggesting such damage could lead to lung disease.
Fordham said it would be difficult to duplicate the study
in the United
"State of the Air" [2002 ALA report] vastly exaggerates Americans' exposure to air pollution, and misleads the public into believing that air pollution is getting worse, when in fact it has been improving.
Some Kids Face [Lung] Cancer Risk From Arsenic
The Consumer Product and Safety Commission wants to ban
But get this (from their own petition statement): "Arsenic occurs naturally in the air, soil, water, and in some foods. While exposure to arsenic from background sources could be much higher than the exposure from playgrounds for some children, exposure to arsenic from CCA-treated playgrounds could be a significant source of arsenic for other children on those days that include a playground visit."
...although cats themselves are not present in schools, cat allergens are in the air and attach to the clothing of students.
So how soon will it be before the call to ban cats as pets as a "public health measure" begins?
Personal clothing is an important source of cat dander
and dust mite
So how soon will it be before you're told what kind of material can be worn outside the house?
This study concluded that dog and cat allergens are prevalent
How soon before non-pet owners stop inviting their pet owning friends over so they won't contaminate their home?
The gym junkies locked in a dangerous exercise
In the United States doctors are taking it seriously.
The American Medical Association has permitted Californian doctors to name
a physical and mental addictive condition after [Sharon] Stone, who suffered
a stroke while undertaking a gruelling daily fitness regime.
A study scheduled for release Dec. 28 for the first time links air pollution and birth defects in Southern California.
More than a dozen studies in the United States and other countries have linked smog to low birth weight, premature births, stillbirths and infant deaths. In the United States, the research has documented ill effects on infants even in cities with modern pollution controls.
Interesting. Each outcome applied to smog has
been attributed to SHS. Could it be only one? Both? Neither?
So many co-factors to examine, so little time to blame smokers for everything.
Editors of the Journal of the American Medical Association have turned the tables on themselves, and devoted this week's issue to how published medical studies can be misleading.
Researchers looked at problems such as bias and conflict of interest among peer reviewers who approve studies before they are published. Another study looked at how news releases may fail to mention a study's limitations or industry funding.
X-Rays Considered For Carcinogen List; Government Move Highlights Cancer Risk
The federal government has begun evaluating whether medical X-rays should be declared a carcinogen. The listing is being considered for the National Toxicology Program's 11th Report on Carcinogens due in 2004.
According to the National Cancer Institute, major organizations "agree there probably is no low-dose radiation 'threshold' for inducing cancer, i.e., no amount of radiation should be considered absolutely safe."