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CHURCH PLACES STRONG EMPHASIS ON HEALTH AND WELLBEING
March 16, 2015 | Silver Spring, Maryland, United States | Andrew McChesney/Adventist Review
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has issued an official statement on vaccines, saying it “encourages responsible immunization” and has no faith-based reason to discourage believers from participating in immunization programs.
The full statement, titled, “Immunization,” says:
“The Seventh-day Adventist Church places strong emphasis on health and well-being. The Adventist health emphasis is based on biblical revelation, the inspired writing of E.G. White (co-founder of the church), and on peer-reviewed scientific literature. As such, we encourage responsible immunization/vaccination, and have no religious or faith-based reason not to encourage our adherents to responsibly participate in protective and preventive immunization programs. We value the health and safety of the population, which includes the maintenance of ‘herd immunity.’
“We are not the conscience of the individual church member, and recognize individual choices. These are exercised by the individual. The choice not to be immunized is not and should not be seen as the dogma nor the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.”
At the micro-scale the brain is a mess; a thick tangle of nerve cells connected at synapses. Mapping just a tiny portion of this mess, a few hundred cells, is a huge challenge. You have to wonder if it’s worth the effort. But seeing exactly how brain cells are wired together is giving us new insights into brain function. The researchers who made the 3D maps in this video discovered a new type of cell and worked out how insects see movement. If you’ve ever tried to swat a fly you’ll know how good they are at sensing motion!
Read about the three studies on our website: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/…
Michael J. Orlich, MD, PhD1,2; Pramil N. Singh, DrPH1; Joan Sabaté, MD, DrPH1,2; Jing Fan, MS1; Lars Sveen1; Hannelore Bennett, MS1; Synnove F. Knutsen, MD, PhD1,2; W. Lawrence Beeson, DrPH1; Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH, MS1,2; Terry L. Butler, DrPH1; R. Patti Herring, PhD1; Gary E. Fraser, PhD, MD1,2
Importance Colorectal cancers are a leading cause of cancer mortality, and their primary prevention by diet is highly desirable. The relationship of vegetarian dietary patterns to colorectal cancer risk is not well established.
Objective To evaluate the association between vegetarian dietary patterns and incident colorectal cancers.
Design, Setting, and Participants The Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) is a large, prospective, North American cohort trial including 96 354 Seventh-Day Adventist men and women recruited between January 1, 2002, and December 31, 2007. Follow-up varied by state and was indicated by the cancer registry linkage dates. Of these participants, an analytic sample of 77 659 remained after exclusions. Analysis was conducted using Cox proportional hazards regression, controlling for important demographic and lifestyle confounders. The analysis was conducted between June 1, 2014, and October 20, 2014.
Exposures Diet was assessed at baseline by a validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire and categorized into 4 vegetarian dietary patterns (vegan, lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescovegetarian, and semivegetarian) and a nonvegetarian dietary pattern.
Main Outcomes and Measures The relationship between dietary patterns and incident cancers of the colon and rectum; colorectal cancer cases were identified primarily by state cancer registry linkages.
Results During a mean follow-up of 7.3 years, 380 cases of colon cancer and 110 cases of rectal cancer were documented. The adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) in all vegetarians combined vs nonvegetarians were 0.78 (95% CI, 0.64-0.95) for all colorectal cancers, 0.81 (95% CI, 0.65-1.00) for colon cancer, and 0.71 (95% CI, 0.47-1.06) for rectal cancer. The adjusted HR for colorectal cancer in vegans was 0.84 (95% CI, 0.59-1.19); in lacto-ovo vegetarians, 0.82 (95% CI, 0.65-1.02); in pescovegetarians, 0.57 (95% CI, 0.40-0.82); and in semivegetarians, 0.92 (95% CI, 0.62-1.37) compared with nonvegetarians. Effect estimates were similar for men and women and for black and nonblack individuals.
Conclusions and Relevance Vegetarian diets are associated with an overall lower incidence of colorectal cancers. Pescovegetarians in particular have a much lower risk compared with nonvegetarians. If such associations are causal, they may be important for primary prevention of colorectal cancers.
Read about quite dangerous myths about heart disease and its coherencies!
Adapted by American Heart Association
But what does the science say? A systematic review and meta-analysis published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,highlighted in my video Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil? looked at all the best “randomized clinical trials evaluating the effects of omega-3’s on lifespan, cardiac death, sudden death, heart attack, and stroke.” The studies told the subjects to either eat more oily fish or to take fish oil capsules. What did the study find? Overall, the researchers found no protective benefit for all-cause mortality, heart disease mortality, sudden cardiac death, heart attack, or stroke.
What about for those who already had a heart attack and are trying to prevent another? Still no benefit. Where did we even get this idea that omega 3’s were good for the heart? If we look at some of the older studies, the results seemed promising. For example, there was the famous DART trial back in the 80s involving 2,000 men. Those advised to eat fatty fish had a 29% reduction in mortality. Pretty impressive—no wonder it got a lot of attention. But people seemed to have forgotten the sequel, the DART-2 trial. The same group of researchers, and an even bigger study (3,000 men). In DART-2 “those advised to eat oily fish and particularly those supplied with fish oil capsules had a higher risk of cardiac death.”
Put all the studies together, and there’s no justification for the use of omega 3s as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or for guidelines supporting more dietary omega-3’s. So what should doctors say when their patients follow the American Heart Association advice to ask them about fish oil supplements? Given this and other negative meta-analyses, “our job as doctors should be to stop highly marketed fish oil supplementation in all of our patients.”
I’ve previously discussed fish oil supplements in the context of risks versus purported cardiovascular benefits:
- Dietary Supplement Snake Oil
- Fish Oil in Troubled Waters
- DDT in Fish Oil Supplements
- Is Cod Liver Oil Good For You?
- Are krill oil supplements better than fish oil capsules?
But if the benefits aren’t there, then all one is left with are concerns over the industrial pollutants that concentrate in the fish fat (even in distilled fish oil, see Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free?).
- Fish Intake Associated With Brain Shrinkage
- Mercury vs. Omega-3s for Brain Development
- How Long to Detox From Fish Before Pregnancy?
-Michael Greger, M.D.
PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live year-in-review presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More Than an Apple a Day ,and From Table to Able.
Image Credit: Jo Christian Oterhals / Flickr
About one in three Americans take a multivitamin. Is that helpful, harmful, or just a harmless waste of money? In 2011, the Iowa Women’s Health Study reported that multivitamin use was associated with a higher risk of total mortality, meaning that women who took a multivitamin appeared to be paying to live shorter lives. But this was just an observational study—researchers didn’t split women up into two groups and put half on multivitamins to see who lived longer. All they did was follow a large population of women over time, and found that those that happened to be taking multivitamins were more likely to die. But maybe they were taking multivitamins because they were sick. The researchers didn’t find any evidence of that, but ideally we’d have a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial, where thousands were followed for over a decade, with half given a multivitamin and half a placebo. That’s what we got the following year in 2012 with theHarvard Physicians’ Study II. And after a decade, the researchers found no effect on heart attack, stroke, or mortality.
The accompanying editorial concluded that multivitamins are a distraction from effective cardiovascular disease prevention. The message needs to remain simple and focused: heart disease can be largely prevented by healthy lifestyle changes.
The researchers did, however, find that for men with a history of cancer, the multivitamin appeared to be protective against getting cancer again, though there was no significant difference in cancer mortality or cancer protection in those who’ve never had cancer before. Still, that’s pretty exciting. It is just one study, though. Ideally we’d have maybe 20 of these placebo-controlled trials and then compile all the results together. That’s what we got in 2013—a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that analyzed twenty-one trials and more than 90,000 individuals. The analysis found no influence on mortality either way. Some found more cancer mortality, some found less cancer mortality, but all in all it was a wash.
And that was heralded as good news. After the Iowa Women’s Health Study came out we were worried multivitamins could be harming millions of people, but instead they don’t appear to have much effect either way. The accompanying editorial asked whether meta-analyses trump observational studies. The Iowa Women’s Health Study followed tens of thousands of women for nearly 20 years. What if we put all the studies together, the big observational studies along with the experimental trials? And that’s what we got in December 2013. The reviewfor the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, highlighted in my video, Should We Take a Multivitamin? found that multivitamins appear to offer no consistent evidence of benefit for heart disease, cancer, or living longer.
But aren’t vitamins and minerals good for us? One explanation for this result could be that our bodies are so complex that the effects of supplementing with only one or two components is generally ineffective or actually does harm. Maybe we should get our nutrients in the way nature intended, in food.
The accompanying editorial to the December 2013 review concluded that enough is enough. We should stop wasting our money on vitamin and mineral supplements. Americans spend billions on vitamin and mineral supplements. A better investment in health would be eating more fruits and vegetables. Imagine if instead we spent those billions on broccoli?
I’ve previously addressed multivitamins in my videos Are Multivitamins Good For You? and Multivitamin Supplements and Breast Cancer (with a follow-up in my Q&A Is multivitamin use really associated to an increased risk of breast cancer?). I also touched on potential risks in Dietary Theory of Alzheimer’s.
With the exception of vitamins D and B12 (Vitamin Supplements Worth Taking), we should strive to get our nutrients from produce, not pills.
What about fish oil supplements? Check out Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?
-Michael Greger, M.D.