Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Vegan a cure for Cancer?

Saw this sticker posted.  While one may be able to reduce their risk of certain types of cancer, a vegan diet by no means will cure cancer.  A good diet (whether vegan or not) is obviously important to keep a healthy immune system and to keep one's strength and energy up as they are going through proper medical treatments.  This type of advice can be very dangerous as it can cause some people to negate medical treatment.  Raw diets are not necessarily healthier.   Many plant food items are better digested (and thus more nutrients absorbed) after being cooked. 

Monday, September 24, 2018

Unmotherly Advice

Another Facebook post with some wrongness.   I'm not sure who "Dr. Heather" is but I'm pretty sure she is ignorant of what one needs for a healthy child.

1.  Yes vaccinate!   The hysteria and misinformation about vaccines are just problematic.  Vaccines do not cause autism.  They do not contain dangerous levels of poisons.   They are not sterilizing people for population control.   If you care about children you will vaccinate.  To do otherwise is just neglect, in my opinion.   Some myths:  https://journals.lww.com/jaapa/Fulltext/2014/08000/Vaccine_myths_and_misconceptions.5.aspx

2.  While some home births can be perfectly fine, if something goes wrong, qualified medical care is not nearby.  Even in this day in age, there can be complications during pregnancy.  I personally wouldn't take the risk.  Things to consider https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/labor-and-delivery/in-depth/home-birth/art-20046878

3.  Breastfeeding is optimal for many reasons including creating attachment between mother and child.  Breastfeeding is not always an option and thus many formulas are available for that reason.  These are perfectly fine alternatives.  I'm not sure if there are any major concerns with donor milk or wet nurses but obviously you want to make sure you know the person and their health status.

4.  There are arguments for and against co-sleeping.  I'll just leave it as a parental choice as long as a child is developing well.

5.  There is no real added health benefits to organic food.  In reality it's more of a marketing buzzword to give the illusion of "healthier".  Conventional and GMO foods can be just as healthy and sometimes more healthier than their organic counterparts.   A Paleo diet is not ideal for children because theyneed different healthy food for growing and being active (energy).  Most health professionals do not advise the Paleo diet for children and teens (except for very special cases requiring unique dietary restrictions).

6.  Yes the sun can be good ...to a degree...(see number 7)

7.  Do not avoid sunscreens.  You want to protect them from damaging UV rays.  Joe Schwarcz tells us more  https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/cancer-controversial-science-cosmetics-environment-health-news/safe-sunscreens-no-safe-tans .   As for dryer sheets, I personally don't use them but that is just because I think they are a waste of money.  The wording of "toxins" without being specific about which specific toxins they are talking about, is usually a sign of someone that is misinformed, or hiding something.

8.  Keep them intact?   Ummm yeah, we don't want dismembered children.   What a bizarre statement they made.   I'm not even sure what they mean by it.

9.  Never see a chiropractor.  A pediatrician is a specialized medical doctor for children.  They are whom one should seek advice from.   A chiro is a quack and is not a medical doctor.  A chiro will often push and suggest untrue and questionable treatments and so-called alternative medicine therapies.  Keep children away from chiros because their medical knowledge is seriously lacking.   https://edzardernst.com/2013/10/twenty-things-most-chiropractors-wont-tell-you/

10.  Get enough sleep.  If having issues, seek a medical professional in regards to advice.  EMF are not an issue.  Just needless fear-mongering.  https://skeptoid.com/episodes/4072

Sunday, September 23, 2018

The 12 Most Dangerous Cancer Causing Products in your home? Not quite.

As always, I saw this posted on social media, the ultimate source of spreading nonsense.  http://bestfolkmedicine.com/2018/06/caution-the-12-most-dangerous-cancer-causing-products-in-your-home-today/   The first tip off is the "best folk medicine" part.  I can already smell the biased bullshit.

Many of the claims are misleading and some are just outright wrong.  Most of what is claimed is given with no information about exposure amounts or risk levels.   Knowing the actual risk is important.
I'll go through some to access if there is any worry.

1.  Whole Milk
Claims are of antibiotics, DDT and other things.   First antibiotics are not allowed in Canada milk for human consumption so that is an outright lie.   DDT is not really used anymore except in an emergency situation, so is it not of a concern.  Heptachlor has been banned for most uses so it is not readily found in milk (although when it is found, it has caused a recall in the past.

2/3.   Ajax Cleaner and Zud Cleaner
Claims are of crystalline silica.   From the MSDS "This product contains a small amount of crystalline silica, a naturally occurring impurity in calcium carbonate. NTP has listed crystalline silica as an anticipated carcinogen. IARC has found limited evidence for carcinogenicity in humans. However, under normal conditions of product use, no significant health risk to humans is expected."   So there is nothing to worry about.

4.  Clairol Nice'n Easy
Claims are about propylene glycol, formaldehyde and more.  The amounts and exposure would be minimal and not of a big concern  See https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/phs/phs.asp?id=1120&tid=240  and  https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=219&tid=39  .

5.  Ortho Weed-B-Lawn Weed Killer
Claims are about  2,4 D.   According to the EPA it is not a carcinogen to humans https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanonc/article/PIIS1470-2045(15)00081-9/fulltext  and according to IARC it is only possibly carcinogenic https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2015/pdfs/pr236_E.pdf

6.  Lysol Disinfectant spray
Claims are about Ortho-phenylphenol.   According to pubchem it doesn't seem to be a big problem as a carcinogen https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/2-Phenylphenol#section=NIOSH-Toxicity-Data
"Evaluation: There is inadequate evidence in humans for the carcinogenicity of ortho-phenylphenol and sodium ortho-phenylphenate. Overall evaluation: ortho-Phenylphenol is not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans (Group 3). Sodium ortho-phenylphenate is possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B)."   and with this study https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10839472 which states "suitable low doses of OPP/SOPP will practically pose no cancer risk."

7.  Beef Frankfurters
Claims are about DDT (see above), antibiotics (see above), and nitrites.  The quick of it is that any cancer risk is minimal as long as you are not eating hot dogs all day, every day, you should be fine.  Vitamin C is often added which reduces the amount of nitrites and thus the risk is very small according to Joe Schwarcz https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/controversial-science-food-health/hot-diggety-dog .  The risk is only in vitamin deficient children.

8.  Cover Girl
Claims are about items like parabens and talc (see below).  "But so far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer."   https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/antiperspirants-and-breast-cancer-risk.html?_ga=2.190270511.542205158.1537721856-1513569738.1537721856

9.  Flea Collar
Claims about propoxur.  This one is actually valid (go figure lol).  But here in Canada it has been phasing out since 2014 so it shouldn't be of a concern.    https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-product-safety/reports-publications/pesticides-pest-management/decisions-updates/reevaluation-decision/2014/document-propoxur-rvd2014-01.html

10. Talcum Powder
Claims about ovarian cancer.   Although recently given a lot of hype by the press the reality is a lot more boring and not as interesting for selling newspapers.     https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/talcum-powder-and-cancer.html   Any risk is small or non-existent.

11.  Crest Tartar control toothpaste
Claims about saccharin and fluoride.  Saccharine is not carcinogenic https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/diet/artificial-sweeteners-fact-sheet  "Because the bladder tumors seen in rats are due to a mechanism not relevant to humans and because there is no clear evidence that saccharin causes cancer in humans, saccharin was delisted in 2000 from the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens."    With fluoride, it simply is not at a high enough dose to even warrant a concern if there was even a concern.  https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/water-fluoridation-and-cancer-risk.html  "The general consensus among the reviews done to date is that there is no strong evidence of a link between water fluoridation and cancer."

12.  Alberto VO5
Claims about fragrance, formaldehyde (see above), and polysorbate 80.   While polysorbate 80 does hold a bit of concern for those with Crohn's disease, it is considered safe and well tolerated in the doses one normally comes in contact with. I can't seem to find any real link to cancer   https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cpdb/chempages/POLYSORBATE%2080.html

So does Grandma know best?   In this case, clearly not.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Grape Juice Beats The Stomach Flu?

This is nonsense.  It's based on the flawed pH ideology of quacks.  The claim have been that it will change the pH in your intestinal track and thus prevent the viral infection.  The truth is your stomach has acid (this breaks down food).  When things exit your stomach the acid is neutralized by the pancreatic excretions as they enter the small intestine.  The pancreas actually secretes about 8 cups/day of enzymes and bicarbonate.  Drinking a couple sips of juice a day will definitely not effectively change the pH in your intestines.

While grapes has been shown to have antiviral properties, it has not been shown to prevent viral infections in humans.  According to a 2010 review "research in humans is required to confirm previous findings and to better understand the biomedical applications of grape products in broader populations."  Only tests in test tubes have been done.  The human body is much more complex.

I would also suggest eating grapes instead of just grape juice.  You get more nutrients from a whole grape than just juice which can contain in a single serving (240ml) about 36g of sugar.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Misleading Cancer Chemotherapy Headline

Oh the annoyance of social media...

I saw this posted on Facebook.
The headline is highly misleading and seems to pander to quackery lovers. If one reads the study it does not say that it was half at all.

The actual numbers:
30-day mortality was 8.47% for patients with lung cancer (1274/15045)
2.47% for patients with breast cancer (700/28364)

30-day mortality for patients receiving palliative treatment 10% for lung cancer (1061/10587)
 7.48% for breast cancer (569/7602),
 30-day mortality for patients receiving curative treatment 2.88% for lung cancer (70/2429)
 0.26% for breast cancer (41/15626)

This study was with people who are in palliative care. The study also showed the difference in people (in palliative care) who were using it for the first time as opposed to those who have already been using it (hint...those who have already been using SACT (systemic anti-cancer therapy ) lived longer statistically speaking). It did not compare to those without SACT.

According to Dr. David Dodwell, one of the authors of the study "Simply reducing doses of or avoiding SACT altogether would reduce or eliminate instances of treatment-related early mortality, but at the cost of some patients being denied effective SACT and hence the survival and palliation benefits. In order to maximise the benefits of systemic treatment, it is important to gain a detailed understanding of how many different factors affecting patients are linked to the increased risk of early mortality."  Therefore the conclusion is not to use chemotherapy but to find all the factors that will help during palliative care.

This website that has this article with the misleading headline is also a quack site and is not reputable. Linking to it just gives misleading information.

Glyphosate in Food Fear is not Warranted

Don't be fooled by the misleading hype headlines. There's a lot of misinformation out there. The Environmental Working Group has done some testing and found glyphosate in some cereal. Oooooh Scary right? Not really if you are educated and don't fall for fear-mongering.

The EWG is constantly criticized by actual scientists (https://www.acsh.org/news/2017/05/25/dear-ewg-why-real-scientists-think-poorly-you-11323). Here they found that there were trace amounts in some cereals. The highest level was 1300 parts per billion...read that again "per billion"! That's 0.0000013%. The LD50 of glyphosate is 5600mg/kg. So an adult at 70kg would have to consume 392,000mg to reach that. That is nearly 1 pound. So in order to reach that level of toxicity with the EWG figures you would have to consume 301538.462 1kg boxes. So if you consumed 1 box/day it would take 826 years to do eat that much.

Yeah, that's what I thought. lol. Like I said, needless fear-mongering.

*note, my math is not the greatest and the EWG numbers I got from a few sources online. They may be slightly off (now looking at other articles) but the idea is still there that there is no real concern.

Health Canada has set a maximum residue level of glyphosate in oats at 15,000 parts per billion. So this is all well below that threshold.  Toxicology is determined by dosage (among other factors). Everything is a poison in the right dose. The fact is that nowadays we can find traces of almost anything if a lot of products because we can find parts per billion and even parts per trillion. It would be more surprising if one didn't find traces of something. Something to consider https://culinarylore.com/food-science:the-poisonous-apple/

Other views on this: