Strange Ontology: Week beginning 26th January 2009

Interesting this week is the story about the dead coke-sniffing police dog – the most unequivocal quote in the story is “‘Sniffing drugs could well have been a factor,’ vet Kate Fairclough said. ‘”, so how do we get to ‘doomed’ in the headline? The story on the magic plums has gone into ‘Other’ rather than ‘Original research’ as I can’t find any attached peer reviewed study, the same is true of the salty soup story.

Original research

28th January

Active sex life ‘cuts prostate cancer risk’ – once you’re over fifty

A report on: Dimitropoulou et al. (2009 ) Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age British Journal of Urology International 103:178-185

Tanning drug could ‘mask the signs of cancer’

A report on: Lagan et al. (2009 ) Change in moles linked to use of unlicensed “sun tan jab” BMJ 338:b277

Causes in brief

26th January

Aspirin ‘tackles liver damage caused from alcohol and obesity’

“There is increasing evidence that regular use of aspirin can cut the chances of developing certain types of cancer.”

27th January

A round-up of the latest health news: Palm oil could reduce stroke risk and why sugar and a dummy calm a stressed baby

“The vitamin E in the palm oil is considered particularly potent; in previous studies, it has been shown to kill some cancer cells.” (e.g. Nesaretnam, Dorasamy and Darbre (2005) Tocotrienols inhibit growth of ZR-75-1 breast cancer cells International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 51:S95-103)

28th January

Inhaling cocaine ‘doomed police sniffer dog to fatal cancer’

“A police sniffer dog has died of nose cancer, raising fears that regular contact with cocaine and other drugs may have led to his death.”

31st January

Is your make-up killing you? The deadly poisons lurking in your handbag

“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) says there is evidence formaldehyde causes a form of throat cancer in humans.”

“The IARC has concluded that using talc-based body powder in this region is possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

“Oestrogen is known to play a part in the onset and progression of cancer.”

also includes reports on: National Toxicology Program (1993 ) NTP Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies of Talc (CAS No. 14807-96-6)(Non-Asbestiform) in F344/N Rats and B6C3F1 Mice (Inhalation Studies) National Toxicology Program Technical Report Series 421:1-287;  Dabre et al. (2004 ) Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours Journal of Applied Toxicology 24:5-13; Janjua et al. (2007 ) Systemic Uptake of Diethyl Phthalate, Dibutyl Phthalate, and Butyl Paraben Following Whole-Body Topical Application and Reproductive and Thyroid Hormone Levels in Humans Environmental Science and Technology 41:5564-5570; McGrath (2003 ) An earlier age of breast cancer diagnosis related to more frequent use of antiperspirants/deodorants and underarm shaving European Journal of Cancer Prevention 12:479-485


26th January

Coffee may raise child cancer risk: New evidence that caffeine could damage babies’ DNA

The title is actually misleading – no ‘new evidence’ is adduced. Spot the key words in the following: “To establish the link, scientists at Leicester University will scrutinise the caffeine intake of hundreds of pregnant women and compare the results with blood samples from their babies after birth.” Notice also the missing ‘if there is a’.

27th January

‘My cancer was cured – thanks to a tiny baby’

“Many of the 25,000 Britons who suffer from cancers of the blood, such as leukaemia, face an agonising wait for a bone marrow transplant. Judy Knight, 53, a practice nurse from Northamptonshire, had a new procedure using donated umbilical cord blood.”

Britain ‘sickest’ country in Europe with worst rates of obesity and teenage pregnancy

“More women die of alcoholic liver disease and cancer here than in almost any other country.”

28th January

Watchdog bans Christian advert that claims cervical cancer vaccine causes infertility

“Because we [the ASA] had not seen robust, scientific evidence that the HPV vaccine caused infertility in teenagers, we concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.”

30th January

Plums are new super-food and full of disease-fighting antioxidants, says experts

See the company’s press release here.

Drug U-turn gives hope to cancer sufferers

“Thousands of cancer sufferers will get the chance to try a life-prolonging drug [Revlimid] on the NHS.”

Salty soups can increase cancer risk, says expert

“People who regularly have soup with a high salt content could be increasing their risk of stomach cancer, according to an expert.”