Thursday, May 15, 2014
Will the great resveratrol myth finally die?
I no longer update my Health blog so I thought I might put up here occasionally any major news on the health front. And the report below is a dambuster. Faith in resveratrol has suffused the medical literature for at least the past 5 years. Even experienced medical professionals who should know better have started to take resevertrol supplements in order to extend their lives. There has been previous evidence that resveratrol is beneficial -- but to mice only. So maybe the very direct test on humans below will finally break the dam
Claims about the healthy and life-extending properties of a much-hyped ingredient in red wine and chocolate are unfounded, research suggests.
The antioxidant resveratrol, found in dark chocolate, red wine and berries, has no significant impact on lifespan, heart disease or cancer, say scientists.
It cannot explain the "French Paradox" - the low incidence of heart disease suffered by people in France despite a diet laden with cholesterol and saturated fat, they believe. Other as-yet unidentified plant compounds might be conferring health benefits associated with their diet, according to the study. [Rubbish! Cholesterol and fats are NOT bad for you. See the article following -- JR]
Lead researcher Professor Richard Semba, from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, said there was a lot of hype about the health benefits of resveratrol but that wasn't backed up in the study.
"The thinking was that certain foods are good for you because they contain resveratrol. We didn't find that at all."
Belief in the health-giving properties of resveratrol has led to a plethora of supplements containing the compound and the promotion of diets based on boosting its consumption.
Previous research has shown that resveratrol has an anti-inflammatory effect and can improve the health and lifespan of mice. At the molecular level it mimics the effects of calorie restriction, which is known to lengthen the lives of some animals but not humans.
Some preliminary evidence also suggests that the compound could help prevent cancer and reduce the stiffness of arteries in older women. But there is little real-world data to support links between resveratrol intake and improved human health, the researchers point out.
The new research involved 783 Italians aged 65 and over who were participants in the Ageing in the Chianti Region study from 1998 to 2009.
Regular urine tests were carried out to look for breakdown products of resveratrol and see if their levels were associated with reduced cancer, heart disease and death rates.
None of those taking part were taking resveratrol supplements, so they had to obtain the compound from their diet. The volunteers came from two villages in Tuscany where few people use supplements and the consumption of red wine is a part of life.
During the nine-year follow-up period, 268 (34.3 per cent) of participants died and 27.2 per cent of those free of heart disease at the start of the study developed the condition.
Of the 734 men and women who had no signs of cancer at enrolment, 4.6 per cent were later diagnosed with the disease.
No significant association was seen between urine resveratrol levels and the likelihood of participants developing heart disease or cancer, dying, or bearing markers of chronic inflammation.
Despite the negative result, wine buffs and lovers of dark chocolate should not lose heart, say the scientists whose findings appear in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
"It's just that the benefits, if they are there, must come from other polyphenols or substances found in those foodstuffs," Professor Semba said. "These are complex foods and all we really know from our study is that the benefits are probably not due to resveratrol."
Touching that they still have faith in other miracle ingredients yet to be found in plants -- JR
Some examples of other medical myths that have recently died. Orthodox dietary teachings have been going down like ninepins lately
The headline looks like a hoax– "saturated fat does not cause heart disease" – but it’s real. This news is more than just another example of changing health guidelines; it’s a cautionary tale about trusting the scientific consensus.
For more than 50 years, the best scientific minds in America assured us that saturated fat was the enemy. Animal fat, we were instructed, was the chief culprit in causing obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Throughout my adult life, I have conscientiously followed the guidelines dispensed by the health arbiters of our age. Trusting utterly in the scientific research of the American Heart Association, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I accepted the nearly universal wisdom of the medical and nutritional experts.
Boy, did I accept. I practically banned red meat from my diet for decades. Butter? Only on special occasions. Cream? Do they still make it? Lean chicken, turkey and fish, combined with complex carbohydrates and, of course, lots of fruits and vegetables were the ticket, I was certain, to the best odds of avoiding heart disease, diabetes and cancer. When the Atkins diet craze swept the country, I shook my head sadly, half expecting my friends who indulged in it to keel over from heart attacks.
Now, the Annals of Internal Medicine declares that beef, butter and cream do not cause heart disease. Women whose total cholesterol levels are high live longer than those with lower levels.
This is not just reminiscent of Woody Allen’s 1973 movie “Sleeper” – it’s nearly word for word. In the future, Allen joked, wheat germ and organic honey would kill you but “deep fat, cream pies and steak” would be regarded as health-enhancing.
How could the experts have been so wrong for so long?
Nina Teicholz, writing in The Wall Street Journal, notes that “there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease. We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias.”
It seems that the founding father of the saturated fat theory was a sloppy researcher. In the 1950s, Ancel Benjamin Keys studied men in the U.S., Japan and Europe and concluded that poor diet caused heart disease and other pathologies. He examined farmers living in Crete, Teicholz writes, but studied them during Lent, when they had given up meat and cheese for religious reasons. Still, Keys was apparently charismatic and convincing, and while subsequent research was mixed on the question of fats, cholesterol and disease, the whole nutritional/governmental blob had become too committed to the low-fat orthodoxy to turn back easily.
From the initial anathematizing of eggs, dairy and fat, the experts have been slowly walking it all back. First, eggs were removed from the evil list. Next, we were told dietary cholesterol actually didn’t seem to be correlated with blood cholesterol at all. Then the experts explained that some fats weren’t bad, and wait, that olive oil was positively good for you. And so on. Today we’ve nearly arrived at Allen’s future. A breakfast of eggs and bacon is, according to the newest understanding, no worse for you than oatmeal. (Though sugar remains forbidden.)
Arguably, the health establishment’s embrace of the wrong ideas about nutrition have made the U.S. fatter and sicker than we might otherwise have been. We’ve increased our consumption of carbohydrates by 25 percent since the 1970s, which may be the reason that Type 2 diabetes is reaching epidemic levels. The switch to vegetable oil from butter and lard may have increased rates of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
The moral of this story is not to ignore science but to stay skeptical. The scientific method remains the best way yet devised to ascertain truth. But the scientific establishment is hardly immune to politics, fads, bias and self-interest. Bad science is endemic. As The Economist magazine noted in October, “half of all published research cannot be replicated … and that may be optimistic.”
Our experience with nutrition science over the past half-century should arm us with doubt about climate science, too. The point is not to ignore scientific data but to treat all studies, models and predictions with a degree of skepticism. Don’t accept the argument from authority: That the entire medical establishment endorsed the war on saturated fat did not make it true.
Swedish Newspaper Works with Far-Left Group to 'Out' Right-Wing Commenters
Sweden has always had strong Fascist tendencies
Journalists from one of Sweden's biggest newspapers have used information fed to them by a far-left group to identify the email addresses and names of anonymous right-wing online commenters in a disturbing public "outing."
People who were found to have made comments which the Swedish political class call "far right" were confronted by journalists from Expressen at their homes and workplaces, sometimes with television cameras rolling, and questioned about their opinions.
This form of "Spanish inquisition" of personal opinions was defended to Breitbart by Thomas Mattsson, editor of Expressen: "All the people who had written the comments, such as questioning the Holocaust, were given the opportunity to answer to our questions about this before we published."
Reporters were dispatched across Sweden "to track down those who used hate sites."
According to an article in the Swedish news website The Local, and forwarded to Breitbart News by Mattsson, the identification of the commenters was made by the Researchgruppen, an organisation with links to the far left, which traced 6,200 accounts through the forum platform Disqus.
The Researchgruppen forced a leading member of the Sweden Democrats, an anti-immigration, anti-EU party which is showing five percent support in the latest Eurowatch opinion poll for the European Parliament elections later this month, to resign last December after allegedly "insulting and xenophobic" online messages were traced to her.
Ten other members of the party were forced to resign as well.
According to The Local: "Researchgruppen is widely reported to have links to far-left organisations, including AFA – an organisation which advocates violence to achieve its political goals."
Thomas Mattsson, editor of Expressen, insists his newspaper’s exposés are not about "individuals who wish to be anonymous in immigration debates, but those who are diligently spreading xenophobia."
"Expressen didn't break any laws, nor did our staff in any way act improperly."
However, an examination of the comments which the newspaper insists are criminal "hets mot folkgrupp" (hate speech) show them to be what most English lawyers would call "vulgar abuse" and most British people would recognise as pub bravado.
For example, a Sweden Democrat official was forced to resign when commenting on teenage asylum seekers who were on hunger strike: "I hope they starve." Another was forced to resign after calling for a relaxation of weapons legislation so "ethnic Swedes" could arm themselves. Another called immigrants "parasites."
Mattson defended his journalists' behaviour: "There has been no 'intimidating.' What was done was that a number of people who mass-distributed racism was interviewed by journalists, by phone or in person. This is what we do every day, there was nothing special in that sense."
He presented the Swedish mainstream media as being the source of truth which must combat unregulated online sites: "The hate sites focus on immigration and run stories which are so-to-say 50 per cent true, but they very often to not give the readers the full truth."
"By that, they are contrasting established news media and claim to be telling the 'truth.' And by doing so, they create a gap in knowledge in the society given that people who visits the hate sites might think that they offer a different perspective and they are also led to believe that general newspapers, TV and radio don´t want to tell what is really going on…less educated and not so informed people must be given the opportunity to find real information," by which he meant newspapers such as Expressen.
Markus Uvell, president of the Swedish free market libertarian think-tank Timbro said:
"The exposure of the identities of the people expressing racist ideas was another milestone in Swedish media's intrusion of privacy. The ideas expressed were indeed horrible, but even people with horrible ideas have the right to privacy online. Some of the comments are probably illegal under the Swedish hate speech act, others not. Regardless, this does not justify a intrusion of privacy by a tabloid."
OBAMA'S RELEASE OF 36,000 CRIMINAL IMMIGRANTS IS A PRESIDENT-SANCTIONED PRISON BREAK
Most of them will re-offend. So America's families will pay for this. ALL illegal immigrants who are apprehended should subsequently be deported
An internal Department of Homeland Security document obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies, a limited immigration group, and shared with Breitbart News Monday revealed that last year ICE released 36,007 criminal immigrants who had nearly 88,000 convictions.
The document further broke down the crimes and number of convictions – including 193 homicide convictions, 426 sexual assault convictions, 303 kidnapping convictions, and 1,075 aggravated assault convictions.
“Obama administration officials want the American people to think these individuals were guilty of minor, petty offenses,” Lamar Smith said. “But the convictions tell a chilling story. Among those released were criminal immigrants convicted of murder, rape, kidnapping, drunk driving, and aggravated assault.”
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Posted by JR at 12:32 AM