Body

We know metabolism plays a role in cancer development, epigenetics is less clear

Epigenetics claims are all the rage. In the fuzzy world of epidemiology and a shocking lack of understanding about p-values and statistical significance, a whole lot of papers can get published using data that have nothing to say. Epigenetics takes that to another level, with claims that what you eat today could impact the chances of your grandchild getting into Harvard, and more.

Cheese increases breast cancer risk, claims epidemiology paper

A new observational study claims that cheese increases breast cancer risk, while yogurt can lower it. Since both are dairy, that means they would be suggesting a dairy process causes or prevents cancer. The case control study has numerous confounders that will not be noticed by most journalists so media outlets looking for context beware.

Nicotine vapor has a lot fewer genetic effects than cigarette smoke

As anti-smoking groups like the American Council on Science and Health have long contended, while nicotine may be addictive, so are lots of things, from video games to coffee. It's the toxins in cigarette smoke that will kill you.

Should pregnant women avoid licorice?

Licorice is from the root of Glycyrrhiza glabra, prized for centuries because it is sweet and because of purported medical properties. Believers in traditional Chinese medicine consider it vital for the 12 regular meridians while Ayurveda claims it rejuvenates the body. Given that it is natural, and has been in use for hundreds of years across the world, it is odd that believers in organic food and other ancient practices are now being told this natural product will harm pregnant women. 

GIANT study finds 83 DNA changes related to height

The international Genetic Investigation of Anthropometric Traits (GIANT) Consortium has uncovered 83 new DNA changes that affect human height, some rare but some adjusting height by more than 2 centimeters. The 700,000-plus-person study also found several genes pointing to previously unknown biological pathways involved in skeletal growth. 

45% of breast cancer patients experience severe side effects

In a recent survey, 93 percent of women said they experienced at least one of seven side effects, which include nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, pain, arm swelling, shortness of breath and breast skin irritation.

Cervical cancer mortality rates underestimated?

Cervical cancer is considered to be rather treatable, and somewhat uncommon, but a new analysis believes the risk of dying from cervical cancer is higher than previously thought.

Less surprisingly, there are still racial differences in mortality. 

Anemia in India solved with iron-fortified bars

Human beings can be mysterious; some want raw milk though it is straight from a bacteria-laden cow udder (if you have ever milked a cow, you know what we are talking about) but is untouched by science, while others swear by supplements.

How to reduce peanut allergy risk

Ironically, there are more peanut allergies because hyperactive parents have read too many stories about peanut allergies and are convinced their child will go into anaphylactic shock if someone in the back of the airplane eats one. They go to an allergist - and they are certain to find a sensitivity to something - and concerned parents conflate a peanut sensitivity with being allergic.  But a positive test alone is a poor indicator of allergy.  

Improving fecal microbiota transplantation

A placebo-controlled trial may provide a strategy for improving fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) for patients with recurrent Clostridium difficile infection. The study identified microorganisms that are key for cure with fecal microbiota transplantation.