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A recent study has suggested that effectiveness of placebo treatments increased over the years in the US, in patients suffering from neuropathic pain. Increasing placebo responses over time in U.S. clinical trials of neuropathic pain, Pain, December 2015 - Volume 156 - Issue 12 - p 2616–2626 doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000333. The study itself uses data ...


29

Electronic cigarettes may not be harmless but they are clearly much less harmful than cigarettes Public Health England (PHE) produced a review of e-cigs in the middle of 2015 which came to this conclusion: The role and impact of electronic cigarettes has been one of the great debates in public health in recent years and we commissioned this independent ...


25

There are 20 countries in Latin America1, of which 5 have had cases of leaders with cancer (one country, Brasil, had two cases). This equates to 6 in 20 cases, or ~33% incidence of the disease. Note that the original article does not include Fidel Castro in the list of cancer victims, I did. Is this figure "difficult to explain using the law of ...


18

Denise Minger posted a rebuttal at Will Red Meat Kill You? Although she is not a scientist, her article breaks down the arguments against red meat in a very straightforward manner, such that a non-scientist can judge their validity without needing a Ph.D. The points made are: The quoted study is purely observational, and based on people filling out a survey ...


16

In 2009, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did a chemical analysis of several products from two leading brands of electronic cigarette. What they found was disturbing. Here are some excerpted points: DPA's analysis of the electronic cigarette samples showed that the product contained detectable levels of known carcinogens and toxic chemicals ...


14

The basic answer is: we don't know. If you look at the original paper, you will find table 2, which shows that the number of people in the Apollo Lunar Astronauts group was 7 (n=7). Of those, 43% (or a total of 3) died from cardiovascular disease. In general you can't use such small sample sizes to draw conclusions in this sort of situation. According to ...


14

No, there is not currently an epidemic of cancer. Instead, cancer rates appear to be holding steady over the long term while other causes of death are dropping dramatically. This appears to be the reason that cancer is now the leading cause of death in developed countries, rather than because cancer rates are rising significantly. In searching for better ...


12

The article in Der Spiegel (and this very similar article on the BBC website) are based on this study in the British Journal of Cancer - The fraction of cancer attributable to lifestyle and environmental factors in the UK in 2010 According to the study eating meat is a risk factor, although other factors (e.g. smoking) are more significant.


12

Here are the raw numbers claimed in the article: From 2000 to the end of 2010, Texas’s estimated maternal mortality rate hovered between 17.7 and 18.6 per 100,000 births. But after 2010, that rate had leaped to 33 deaths per 100,000, and in 2014 it was 35.8. The study these numbers are based on can be found here. The relevant graph was also posted to ...


12

The actual research paper Stem cell divisions, somatic mutations, cancer etiology, and cancer prevention Science 24 Mar 2017: Vol. 355, Issue 6331, pp. 1330-1334 says: It is now widely accepted that cancer is the result of the gradual accumulation of driver gene mutations that successively increase cell proliferation (1–3). But what causes these ...


11

To briefly answer your question: meat consumption is correlated with some cancers. Medical studies involving statistics look at correlation, not causation. In the answer to the question Is a vegetarian (vegan) diet more healthy?, I cited an epidemiological study that may be found in Am J Clin Nutr September 1988 vol. 48 no. 3 739-748 (which you may read ...


11

While it likely depends on definitions of mental disorder and the diagnostic procedure (especially on the eve of a new edition of the DSM), this number is not too high. It is too low. R.V. Bijl á A. Ravelli á G. van Zessen, Prevalence of psychiatric disorder in the general population: results of the Netherlands Mental Health Survey and Incidence Study (...


10

Depends on what you mean by "better", and what you mean by electronic cigarette. The FDA report that Oddthinking links to addresses the question of whether e-cigarrettes are useful as an aid to kicking nicotine, and I think that the fair answer to that is probably not: e-cig marketing doesn't seem to focus on ceasing to inhale nicotine into your lungs, it ...


10

The thinking is that disrupted sleep results in lower melatonin production which through some unknown mechanism might make the body more vulnerable to the cancers. This is classical clickbait. Even from the bit of the study that they gave, you can see that it was about the health problems of bad sleeping, caused by too much light in the night and possible ...


9

There is good evidence that smoking bans reduce the number of heart attacks. In the meta-analysis "Cardiovascular effect of bans on smoking in public places: a systematic review and meta-analysis" published in 2009 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology the authors state in their conclusion Using 11 reports from 10 study locations, AMI risk ...


9

No, there is not currently an epidemic of cancer. Cancer incidence rates for the last 10 years have been fairly flat. Source - UK cancer incidence data All Malignant Neoplasms Excluding Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (C00-C97 excl. C44), European Age-Standardised Incidence Rates, Great Britain, 1975-2008 The European age-standardised incidences rate for all ...


9

There are bunch of recent meta-analyses about red meat consumption and various cancers done by Alexander et al. Pretty much every one says the same: Colorectal cancer and red meat The available epidemiologic data are not sufficient to support an independent and unequivocal positive association between red meat intake and CRC. This conclusion is based on ...


9

The meta-analysis and the Guardian article are not talking about the same thing. The specific Guardian claim is [my emphasis]: thousands of unnecessary strokes and heart attacks have occurred ... more than 4,000 premature deaths per year The scientific article you link says: In this systematic review of 9 unique studies of 479 unique patients with ...


8

In short: No. But it is a bit more complicated than that. It is probably a bad way to phrase it like "The more alcohol a society consumes, the fewer alcohol-related problems and alcohol-related deaths (including cirrhosis) it has, […]" This is likely to be a journalistic creativity that as usual cannot make head or tail of the logic of an argument. If you ...


8

When one reviews the comments of the Director General report of IAEA in Aug 2015 to the Tsuda et.al's study, there are valid issues noted which will need to be addressed in the future by Tsuda et.al regarding children living near the Fukushima nuclear meltdown affected by thyroid cancers at a rate 20 to 50 times when compared to children elsewhere . ...


7

Different theories have emerged to hypothesize about origins for the human immunodeficiency infection (HIV) and (AIDS), with theories emerging from coincidental acts to evidently intentional acts. The Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) theory is one of those theories. Edward Hooper, is a British writer best known for his book, The River, which investigated the ...


6

The short answer is "yes". The studies Here is another description of (I think) the same studies from Leonard Mlodinow's "The Drunkard's Walk": [...] in studies in Germany and the United States, researchers asked physicians to estimate the probability that an asymptomatic woman between the ages of 40 and 50 who has a positive mammogram actually has ...


6

The "most epidemiology studies are wrong", perhaps best advanced by John P. A. Ioannidis in Why Most Published Research Findings Are False both extremely common and somewhat flawed, though there are absolutely some worthwhile points in his article. Perhaps the one that amuses me the most is how readily it's been embraced conceptually, even though its ...


6

If anything, some studies suggest that the present measurement methods underestimate the effects: A reanalysis of the data by Willis et al, restricted to people who live closer to the monitor, reported a doubling of the estimate slope per unit exposure, suggesting substantial downward bias by classical measurement error. The OP argues below that ...


5

The point made by Hugo Chávez is not that a disproportionate number of current Latin American heads of government have developed cancer in their lifetime. What he actually meant is that the number of prominent Latin American leaders who have been in political conflict with the governments of the United States in the latest years have developed cancer in ...


5

Yes there is an effect but it may not be as large as early studies suggested with a result of reducing heart attacks by 3-4% in some population subgroups The trouble with science in areas where there is a broad consensus is that many people don't check their results carefully when they agree with the consensus view. And when those results can be used as ...


5

It may be true or true-ish among some sub-populations. THE PROSTITUTE PARADOX from 1993 says, In New York City, for example, 40 to 50 percent of streetwalkers (a very low caste of prostitute) who have used IV drugs over the past decade are HIV seropositive. Among call girls in New York City (a higher caste of prostitute), no seropositivity was ...


5

If the question is: Are the Apollo astronauts experiencing heart disease at a higher than average rate? The answer is possibly, but the data is not rock-solid. Otherwise, if you ask if the following is true: Apollo astronauts dying of heart disease at 4-5X the rate of normal humans This is a misreading of the original study, and is false strictly ...


5

The newspaper headlines exaggerate the paper's conclusions, but they, in turn, are not justified by the data shown The paper itself does not make any attempt to measure the occurrence of specific dementias but uses a standard test for cognitive performance to measure its outcomes: The current study examined the shape of the association between alcohol ...


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