CHANCE News 1.10
              (17 Nov to 24 Nov 1992)


Prepared by Laurie Snell 

Again nothing but medical news.  Can't someone find some other  
interesting topics!

Please send suggestions to dart.chance@dartmouth.edu 



>>>>>==========>> Abraham S. Ross passed on this article with the comment: It raises the question of random selection, sample size, and biased sampling. The article appeared in the St. John's Evening Telegram back on August 11, 1992. BREAST IMPLANTS SURVEY CONSIDERED DISMAL FAILURE VANCOUVER(CP) - A government-funded national survey on the safety of breast implants has been a dismal failure, says the head of a B.C. women's support network. The two-month, phone-in Angus Reid survey attracted 3,000 out of 150,000 Canadian women who have silicone gel implants for breast reconstruction or augmentation. The figures are not enough to determine whether a Canadian moratorium on the sale of the implants should be lifted, Linda Wilson, of the Breast Implant Information Association, said. "It's clearly not the numbers required on which to base a national policy," she said. But Darrell Bricker, Angus Reid senior vice- president, said the survey - completed by bilingual, female interviewers from a national phone center in Winnipeg - attracted twice as many respondents as most national surveys. "There's certainly enough data there to make conclusions as to the opinions of the Canadian population," he said. Wilson, who is suing the maker of the Meme implant after years of medical problems, went to Ottawa with other implant recipients to help draw up a questionnaire. But she said all of the women's suggestions - including adding detailed questions on the caller's health - were ignored. Health Minister Benoit Bouchart announced a voluntary moratorium of the use of all silicone implants in January. A decision is expected in October on whether the moratorium will remain in place. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Jeff Witmer called attention to the new study showing that Heart attacks occur most frequently on Monday. Mondays can be real heart stoppers. The Houston Chronicle 22 Nov 1992 Sec outlook p 6. Mike Royko This article says that a study reported at the meeting of the American Heart Association claims that the rate of heart attacks on Mondays is 50 percent higher than any other day of the week for those who go work outside the home but not for those who work at home. (Another article reported that the study was carried out in Germany looking at the health of 330,000 people in Augsburg over five years and reported that the risk was 40 percent higher on Monday) <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> The American Heart Association meeting brought out a number of reports on the latest in prevention of heart disease. Vitamin E seems to benefit heart. The New York Times, 19 Nov 1992 Sec A page 19 Two major studies one with women and one with men conclude that daily doses of vitamin E cut the risk of heart disease by one-third to one-half. Both studies were conducted at the Harvard School of Public Health. The women's study conducted by Dr. Stampfer was based on the Nurses' Health Study which enrolled 87,245 female nurses from across the country. 17 percent of these took vitamin E. The men's study was conducted by Dr. Rimm and was based on 51529 male health professionals. A possible explanation is that vitamin E is an anti-oxidant that prevent oxidation of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol which clogs the heart's arteries when it becomes oxidized. One expert is quoted as saying that "Until we see a clear-cut clinical intervention trial, we do not recommend that peop[le take anti-oxidants" <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Study shows how secondhand smoke hurts heart. The New York Times 22 Nov 1992 Sec 1 p 39 A study with rabbits in which one group was exposed to a heavy dose of secondhand smoke, a second to a lighter dose, and a third to ordinary room air. After 10 weeks of a high-fat diet, fat deposits covered more than half the surface of the aortas of the rabbits exposed to the highest dose, 35 percent of the aortas of the intermediate group, and about 30 percent of the aortas of the third group. (the aortas is the main trunk of the arterial system, conveying blood from the left ventricle of the heart to all the body except the lungs) <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> For another discussion of the effect of passive smoking see this article Risk studies differ on passive smoking. Washington Times, 20 Nov 1992, Part A p 3 Joyce Price "Two new studies on secondhand smoke disagree on the danger it poses. One study, funded by the National Cancer Institute, found that nonsmokers have no increased risk of lung cancer as a result of passive smoking exposure during childhood, in the or place, or from living with spouses smoking a pack of cigarettes per day for fewer than 40 years" The second study, is the study reported in the New York Times article. "The new lung cancer study, published in the current issue of the American Journal of Public Health, examined 618 Missouri women with lung cancer who were either lifetime nonsmokers or former smokers; 1,402 other women in the study were `matched controls.' The study's findings contrast sharply with those of another NCI-financed study published in September, which found environmental tobacco smoke associated with a significantly elevated lung cancer risk. Obviously, an interesting example to compare studies with different conclusions. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Ethicists struggle to judge the `value' of life. The New York Times 24 Nov 1992 Gina Kolata A discussion of the attempt to use quality of life as a factor in helping patients make decisions regarding medical treatments. QALY ratings are subjective judgments about what a year of life is worth with various degrees of discomfort or disability. These are obtained by interviewing healthy people and using the well know notion of gambles to assess their utility. That is, they are asked to imagine a gamble that would lead to perfect health or instant death and find the gamble that is equivalent to the condition being evaluated. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Did story about cancer link shave the truth? electric-razor studies far from complete. The Seattle Times 17 Nov 1992 p A1 An interesting discussion of the problems for the news reporters when a researcher calls a press conference to discuss incomplete results. This is discussed in the context of the headline in Friday's Wall Street Journal "Study suggests electric razor link to cancer". This article is based upon a preliminary report of a study being carried out by researchers at Battelle Pacific Northwest labs. One of the authors reported at a news conference related to a Department of Energy conference in San Diego that "people who shaved (with electric razors) for more than 2.5 minutes a day had 2.5 times the risk of getting (adult leukemia) cancer," a disease that affects three in 100,000 people each year. The difficulties inherent in reporting results of news conferences without the facts about the validity of the study and in the context of a prestigious conference and other such issues are discussed. <<<========<<

>>>>>==========>> Fervid Debate on Gambling: Disease or Moral Weakness. The New York Times 21 Nov 1992 Sec 1 p 1 Michael Marriott

A review of the ongoing debate over whether compulsive gambling should be considered a disease. There is obviously a lot of money -- research funds, medical insurance -- involved in the answer to this question if it can be found. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHANCE News 1.10 (17 Nov to 24 Nov 1992) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Please send suggestions to: jlsnell@dartmouth.edu