Skepfeeds-The Best Skeptical blogs of the day

Study finds no brain cancer link to mobile phone use

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

PARIS (AFP) – The largest study to date of the safety of mobile phones has found no clear link to brain cancer, although it said further study is merited given their increasingly intensive use.

“The study doesn’t reveal an increased risk, but we can’t conclude that there is no risk because there are enough findings that suggest a possible risk,” the study’s chief author, Elisabeth Cardis, told AFP.

The results of the Interphone study, which included 2,708 cases of glioma tumours and 2,409 meningioma tumours in 13 countries over a 10-year period, is due to be published on Tuesday in the International Journal of Epidemiology.

It found no increased risk of glioma or meningioma tumours after 10 years of using a mobile phone, although it found “suggestions of higher risk” for the heavyest users.

The heavyest users who reported using their phones on the same side of their heads had a 40 percent higher risk for gliomas and 15 percent for meningiomas, but the researchers said “biases and errors” prevent making a causal link.

Given that the heavyest users in the study talked an average of half an hour per day on their mobile phones, a figure which is not heavy by today’s standards, the researchers recommended further research.

They also cited the need for the study of the impact of mobile phone use among young people, who have rapidly become intenstive users, and who were not included in the Interphone study.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

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Study: Megadoses of Vitamin D Offer No Benefit

Posted in News by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT YAHOO NEWS

Sometimes too much of a good thing can be … not such a good thing. That’s the conclusion of the largest study to date of the effects of giving superdoses of vitamin D. The supplement helps bodies build bone and muscle, but the new study, published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), finds that megaquantities of the vitamin – a year’s supply given in an single dose, for instance – do not appear to reduce the risk of falling or suffering fractures in elderly women.

Most adults in developed nations, including the U.S., are vitamin D deficient, in large part because of lack of sun exposure. While the body naturally produces vitamin D when the skin is exposed to ultraviolet rays, concerns about skin cancer and the heavy use of sunscreens have contributed to a worrying deficiency in large populations. That’s why researchers continue to study the most effective dosing regimen for vitamin D supplementation, particularly in the elderly who are at increased risk for falls and fractures, which are a major cause of death. (See the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2009.)

Encouraged by previous studies showing that 500,000 IU of vitamin D, given over multiple doses over a short period of time, and a single injection of 300,000 IU improved balance and strength and reduced fractures, Australian scientists at the University of Melbourne expected that a walloping single oral dose of 500,000 IU would also be effective. The study, led by Geoffrey Nicholson and Kerrie Sanders, involved 2,256 women, ages 70 years or older, who were considered to be at high risk of fracture. They were randomly assigned to receive 500,000 IU of cholecalciferol (a form of vitamin D) or placebo once a year for up to 5 years.

To the researchers’ surprise, women who received vitamin D actually suffered more falls and fractures than women who got the placebo pill. The trial participants experienced a total of 5,404 falls over the course of the study; compared with the placebo group, women taking the vitamin D megadose experienced 15% more falls and 26% more fractures.

Although women in the treatment group did have higher blood levels of vitamin D throughout the year than their placebo-taking counterparts, the added vitamin offered no protection again broken bones. “People have been exploring what is the upper limit of dosing that can be given,” says Nicholson, head of the department of clinical and biomedical sciences at the University of Melbourne. “And I think we inadvertently exceeded it. I think the take home message is that megadoses are not safe; that’s certainly going to be our approach until we have evidence to the contrary.”

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Crazy Iranian “boobquake” cleric still crazy

Posted in Skepdude by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

And getting worse! Following the worldwide mocking he got for his idiotic earthquake “theory”, he has defended himself and reinforced his position that immodesty and immorality (by his standards) lead to natural disasters.

TEHRAN, Iran – A prominent hard-line Iranian cleric elaborated on his claim that promiscuity and immodest dress cause earthquakes, saying Friday that God may be holding off on natural disasters in the West in order to let people sin more and doom themselves to hell.

Sure, because that is what a loving god does you see?

“Some ask why (more) earthquakes and storms don’t occur in the Western world, which suffers from the slime of homosexuality, the slime of promiscuity and has plunged up to the neck” in immorality, he said.

“Who says they don’t occur? Storms take place in the U.S. and other parts of the world. We don’t say committing sin is the entire reason but it’s one of the reasons,” he said.

Ooh, so only some of these disasters are due to sin, I get it. Thank’s for clarifying that.

But, he said, “sometimes, God tests a nation. … (God says) if believers sin, We slap them because We love them and give them calamity in order to stop their bad deeds.”

“And those who have provoked God’s wrath, He allows them (to commit sins) so that they go to the bottom of hell,” Sedighi said.

Are you feeling the peace? Unfortunately, even by his crazy theories, Iran must be swimming in the “slime of homosexuality, the slime of promiscuity” too, because this is what happened (emphasis added):

Iran is one of the world’s most earthquake-prone countries, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has warned that a quake is certain to hit Tehran and that many of its 12 million inhabitants should relocate. Tehran straddles scores of fault lines, though it has not suffered a major quake since 1830.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, another prominent hard-line cleric, urged Iranians last month to give alms and pray for forgiveness to prevent earthquakes. Hours later, four small earthquakes struck different corners of Iran.

I’m sure it’s really the sins of the westerners that somehow are to be blamed for the earthquakes the “pure of heart” are suffering in Iran. Bad, bad ….Wild Wild West!

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Catholic hospitals prefer death over abortion

Posted in Preliator pro Causa by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT PRELIATOR PRO CAUSA

Here’s another example shining some light on how the primarily religious label of “pro-life” is an anvil-sized oxymoron. Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and administrator at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, Ariz., was part of an ethics committee late last year when they had to make a tough decision regarding the fate of one of their patients. The person in question was a young pregnant woman who was stricken with a serious case of pulmonary hypertension, a potentially deadly condition only exacerbated by her 11-week pregnancy. The only medically (and ethically) responsible decision to make was to abort the fetus and save the mother’s life. The ethics committee agreed, Sister McBride included; the procedure was carried out, and the patient lived. The doctors did their job and a patient walked out, minus a fetus, but alive.

However, in the world of Catholicism, no good deed goes unpunished, especially when such good deeds necessarily violate precious dogma. Bishop Thomas Olmsted, head of the local diocese, declared that Sister McBride was “automatically excommunicated” for her agreement with the ethics committee’s decision to terminate the life-threatening pregnancy. The good nun was also subsequently demoted (though it’s unclear if this is also Bishop Olmsted’s doing, though it’s certainly expected he had a hand in it).

“I am gravely concerned by the fact that an abortion was performed several months ago in a Catholic hospital in this diocese,” Olmsted said in a statement sent to The Arizona Republic. “I am further concerned by the hospital’s statement that the termination of a human life was necessary to treat the mother’s underlying medical condition.

“An unborn child is not a disease. While medical professionals should certainly try to save a pregnant mother’s life, the means by which they do it can never be by directly killing her unborn child. The end does not justify the means.”

He was “concerned” when the hospital asserted that an abortion was necessary to save the mother’s life? Because, apparently, as a non-medically informed peddler of ancient superstitions and oppressive dogma, his opinion about life-saving medical procedures are supposed to matter at all?

READ THE REST OF THIS ENTRY AT PRELIATOR PRO CAUSA

Skepquote of the day

Posted in Skepquote by Skepdude on May 17, 2010

Hi there. Haven’t done one of these in a while, and this one is a perfect case to jump this thing back up.

Homeopathy is witchcraft. It is a disgrace that nestling between the National Hospital for Neurology and Great Ormond Street [in London] there is a National Hospital for Homeopathy which is paid for by the NHS

Dr Tom Dolphin

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