GO HOME HEALTH WRITERS, YOU’RE DRUNK

Following on from last night’s post, I’ve been collating a few media reports on the alcohol-causes-7-types-of-cancer story.

ctvnews:

Alcohol causes 7 kinds of cancer, study concludes

Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer. Tough words to swallow, but those are the conclusions of researchers from New Zealand, who say they found that no matter how much you drink, alcohol will increase your risk of cancer.

“There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others,” the authors write in the latest issue of the journal Addiction.

sky:

Alcohol Linked To Seven Types Of Cancer – Study

Alcohol causes at least seven forms of cancer, and people drinking even low to moderate amounts are at risk, according to researchers.

Scientists say they are unsure of the exact biological reasons why alcohol causes cancer, but a review of existing research concludes there is strong evidence of a direct, harmful effect from drinking.

Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, believes alcohol caused about half a million deaths from cancer in 2012 alone – around 6% of cancer deaths around the world.

independent:

Alcohol is a direct cause of at least seven deadly types of cancer and there is “no safe level of drinking”, scientists have warned.

The emergence of “strong evidence” that alcohol is a direct cause of cancer has prompted campaigners to demand an urgent drive to alert drinkers to the risks.

telegraph:

Alcohol linked to at least seven types of cancer, study says, while ‘health benefits are irrelevant’

There is strong evidence that alcohol causes seven types of cancer and probably others, according to a review that dismissed the claimed health benefits as “irrelevant”.

A study of existing research found strong evidence of a direct, harmful effect of drinking, even though scientists are unsure of the exact biological reasons why alcohol causes cancer.

Writing in the journal Addiction, Jennie Connor, from the University of Otago in New Zealand, said alcohol was estimated to have caused about half a million deaths from cancer in 2012 alone – 5.8 percent of cancer deaths worldwide.

The highest risks are from heavy drinking, but even people who drink at low levels are at risk.

guardian:

Alcohol is a direct cause of seven forms of cancer, finds study

Analysis implicates alcohol in development of breast, liver and other types of cancer and says even moderate consumption is a risk.

Alcohol causes seven forms of cancer, and people consuming even low to moderate amounts are at risk, according to new analysis.

Health experts endorsed the findings and said they showed that ministers should initiate more education campaigns in order to tackle widespread public ignorance about how closely alcohol and cancer are connected. The study sparked renewed calls for regular drinkers to be encouraged to take alcohol-free days, and for alcohol packaging to carry warning labels.

mail:

Drinking alcohol DOES increase your chance of cancer – and even moderate drinkers are at greater risk

It is known that drinking excess alcohol can increase a person’s risk of various cancers.

But now, a new study has revealed even moderate drinkers should be concerned.

Indulging in less than two alcoholic beverages a day, puts drinkers at heightened risk of breast and bowel cancer – two of the most deadly forms of the disease.

Furthermore, experts at the University of Otago, said alcohol is also linked to cancer of the mouth, pharynx, oesophagus, larynx and liver.

Researchers found alcohol was responsible for 236 cancer deaths in people aged younger than 80 in New Zealand in 2012.

I had thought that with these health scares, researchers were sending out press releases which got printed more or less verbatim by news media hungry for stories.

But this doesn’t seem to be the case with this particular scare story. There doesn’t seem to have been any press release. And it hasn’t been reproduced verbatim.

Instead, it rather looks like the media picked up this story and ran with it. And wrote a whole bunch of different stories. Which says to me that media editorial policy favours stories linking disease with lifestyle. And does so strongly enough to get their staff to write stories rather than reproduce press releases.

Why do the media want to print these scare stories? Don’t they know that a lot of people are sick to death of these stories?

Not all of the media reports were the same though. The science media seemed more sceptical, and reported that the story was based on an opinion piece:

iflscience:

Study Links Alcohol To Seven Types Of Cancer

Alcohol has long been recognized as a carcinogenic substance, but narrowing down exactly what primarily causes which types of cancer is a tricky task.

A researcher from the University of Otago in New Zealand has scoured through a plethora of pre-existing studies regarding alcohol and cancer, hoping to highlight alcohol’s malevolent role by ruling out other factors. Writing an opinion piece in the journal Addiction, she notes that many strands of research have shown that seven types of cancer can be directly linked to even moderate alcohol consumption: liver, mouth and throat, larynx, esophagus, colon, bowel, and breast.

arstechnica:

GO HOME HEALTH WRITERS, YOU’RE DRUNK —

That time a bunch of journalists confused an opinion piece for a study

Pile of neglected research gets passed off as new data by reporters.

…Dozens of news headlines and reports blared that her new “study” found that alcohol causes cancer, suggesting not only that her conclusion was new, but that Connor herself had reported fresh, objective data and/or analysis supporting the finding—neither of which is true. One report even called her opinion piece a meta-analysis, others suggested that Connor had multiplied, referring to her as “researchers.”

While these errors may appear minor to some, confusing an opinion piece with research is likely to seem disturbing, if not egregious, to those in the scientific community. After all, scientific endeavor is rooted in empiricism and objectivity. And that’s not to mention the problem of potentially passing off years of research as one person’s conclusion, arrived at in a brisk seven-page article with zero data or analyses.

Result: My good opinion of TV and newspaper reporting declined even further. And my good opinion of arstechnica jumped considerably (not sure I’d even heard of it before). And it’s an interesting exercise to compare how different news media treat the same story.

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About Frank Davis

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24 Responses to GO HOME HEALTH WRITERS, YOU’RE DRUNK

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    More science by headline trash!

    Tomorro third hand drinking occurs when designated drives breath the exhaled breath of there friends! May deform children from seeing adults drink!

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    But isn’t this pretty much wholesale-lifted from the Tobacco Control template, as many on here, including, of course, yourself, Frank have suggested? i.e. first it was just “heavy smokers” who were at risk of lung cancer, then it was “moderate smokers,” then “light smokers,” and finally “no safe level of smoking.” Now we see the same pattern with drinkers – first it’s heavy, bordering-on-alcoholic drinkers, then it’s heavy “binge” drinkers, then it’s regular drinkers, then its occasional drinkers and now – hey presto! – there’s “no safe level of alcohol.” “Same-same but different,” as they say in Thailand.

    And of course we’ve got that same conundrum that faced (and still faces) the early anti-smoking movement … when you’re trying to “prove” how something causes cancer, when that something actually doesn’t cause cancer, then in the first instance the only thing you can do is fall back on the old “we don’t yet understand how it does it …” thus fulfilling two functions: it gives you time to cobble together some tortured scientific “proof” (e.g. the isolated, highly-concentrated extract painted onto the external skin of a rabbit’s leg, after all those poor smoking beagles failed resoundingly to develop the requisite tumours) and, of course – perhaps most importantly – it gives you an excellent reason to make very loud noises about “funding for more research.” It conveniently escapes the notice of these feverishly-excited journalists that if researchers “don’t yet know how it causes cancer” then they can’t actually claim that it does. That’s science, like it or not. (Like you, I note that the usual suspects in the form of the Guardian and the Indy are stating categorically in their headlines that booze definitely “causes” cancer, whereas the Telegraph and the Mail are being a little more cautious).

    Add in the Tobacco Template’s usual favourite tactics of suitably scary-sounding numbers, backed up with no proof at all, and the cries for “education” (always a precursor to legislative force, because it makes them sound more “reasonable” and gets all the gullible easily-scared drones onto the “abstention” bandwagon so that they can work those numbers up to become “the majority” rather than “a minority”)

    The only thing is … have they forgotten already that smoking causes every form of cancer ever known (and a few not yet even discovered) and that if everyone stopped smoking tomorrow, cancer would be completely eradicated from the planet? Or have they noticed that, embarrassingly, cancer numbers have been rising alarmingly in direct correlation with the falling numbers of smokers, and come to recognise that the “delayed effect” argument has just about reached the time limit beyond which it can stretch the credibility of even the most compliant drone, and therefore they’ve got to find another “bad guy” to blame for the rise?

    Oh dear, drinkers! Here it comes!

    • Frank Davis says:

      Oh dear, drinkers! Here it comes!

      But, if they were really following the Tobacco Control template, wouldn’t they bring in an alcohol ban in pubs? Perhaps they will. They’ve already brought in alcohol bans at all sorts of venues. If they can ban smoking in pubs, why not ban drinking too.

      There are surprising numbers of people who go into pubs and order a pint of water. When there are enough of these, it shouldn’t be too difficult to demonise the few people who go to pubs to (gasp!) drink beer.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        Give them time, Frank. Give them time. I think that one of the canniest things that the anti-smoking campaigners did was to bide their time until non-smokers were of a sufficiently-higher number in the population than smokers before “going for gold.” That way, they could be pretty much assured that the vast majority of people in all their “surveys” and “studies” would reply that they would approve of a proposed ban. In truth, most non-smokers weren’t bothered either way, but, precisely because they weren’t bothered, and because a ban “sounded like a good idea” in principle (most of them not bothering to stop and think about what it would mean in reality, because it wouldn’t – they didn’t think – affect them) most would have ticked one of the “approve strongly” or “approve moderately” or “approve slightly” -type boxes. And these little ticks would all have counted towards that magical 80% approval-rating cited by the antis in support of the ban.

        So, to pull the same stunt, a little more work is needed by the anti-booze grandees yet. Hence the cry for “education” – to terrify the drones into giving up the demon drink. Then they get going on their stats. And then they start putting forward proposals – “supported by [for example] 70% of the population.” It’s easy enough to do. Anti-smoking did it years ago and has shown the way forward for all the prohibitionist movements to come after them.

        I wouldn’t mind betting that in the first instance they’ll pinch an idea straight out of the Labour Party’s manifesto and target places serving food, which, of course, will affect lots of pubs which have weathered the smoking ban storm, many of which are now restaurants in all but their pubby-sounding names. Then, of course, the familiar cries of “level playing fields” will be heard, as will arguments that people tend to get drunk more in wet-led pubs than they do when they are eating, and therefore shouldn’t it be those pubs which have a ban, not restaurants? Blah, blah, blah – we heard all the arguments in a similar form prior to the smoking ban. But all will be swept aside and in the end, the Government (as it did with smoking) will simply feel that the easiest thing is to apply a blanket ban. Or maybe, like smoking, they’ll in theory allow it, as an activity, but under such restricted circumstances (remember the Oldham plans to prevent people buying “rounds” of more than two drinks at a time, and making people queue up in single file to buy them, rather than just standing at the bar as now, or the pub which refused to serve alcohol to a pregnant woman?) that the whole experience of simply going out and having a few drinks with friends will no longer be a relaxing, enjoyable one any more, and, just like after the smoking ban, people simply won’t bother with it any more. Job done.

        Sadly, non-smoking drinkers don’t seem any more keen to join forces with smokers to fight the Healthist juggernaut and look set to make precisely the same mistakes as soon-to-be-exiled vapers are currently making. United we stand and all that, but it seems to me that drinkers, like vapers, seem to think that they are as strong divided as they would be joining forces with “disgusting” smokers. How wrong they are. What a shame they’ll only realise this once it’s too late. Oh, well. Can’t say they weren’t warned, can they?

        As I say, Frank – just give them time …

  3. garyk30 says:

    Alcohol linked to at least seven types of cancer, study says, while ‘health benefits are irrelevant’

    In the USA, those 7 types of cancer kill about 70,000 people per year.

    Alcohol helps prevent heart disease that kills 600,000 per year.

    Obviously, ‘relevance’
    depends upon where you get your funding.

  4. junican says:

    That’s why we need people like Trump to take over. It is only such people who will dry up the funding of such idiocy. Most politicians see such fundings as small beer, not worth their consideration. But a determined effort to ‘clean up the mess’ could reap billions in savings. Then, there could be a knock on effect which saves hundreds of billions of pounds as ‘the savings’ permeate through the economy.
    I exaggerate, but the idea is correct. Far too many people are employed for the purpose of destroying things. They produce nothing. They destroy. And they do so by attacking the industries, including the smallest of industries, which actually provide the taxes to pay them.

    Someone had a great idea. Rather than The Government deciding standard tuition fees for University courses, let demand for those courses decide the fees. I would bet a pound to a penny that such courses as ‘gender studies’ would very quickly disappear.

  5. waltc says:

    Nastily, I like the idea of their demonizing every form of pleasure. Tobacco, booze, soda, salt, meat, fat, sugar, sun. Then too, cars. And our Secy of State Kerry just demonized air conditioning in the midst of a 10 day heat wave that’s blanketing and blistering the country. Not that I think it will ever help US (it’s been “known” for too long that smoking and shs kill) but eventually the demonized public will rise up and rebel when every pleasure and release from tension has been either made unaffordable or banned amd they’ve been turned on by the predictably Outraged Public. In the interim I look forward to the drinkers demonizing the meat-eaters and the cake-eaters demonizing the pretzel fans. Apres moi, le deluge.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Sott.net

      Secretary of State John Kerry said in Vienna on Friday that air conditioners and refrigerators are as big of a threat to life as the threat of terrorism posed by groups like the Islamic State.

  6. Lepercolonist says:

    I see Michael Bloomberg is endorsing Hillary Clinton. Those anti-smokers sure do stick together.

  7. prog says:

    Why does MSM love stirring things up? Do these people really want to see higher taxes, plain packaging, graphic warnings, loss of income/careers caused by bans on alcohol advertising, etc?

    A great study would be to establish the link between exposure to scaremongering/quackery and mental illness. I think it’s fairly well established that depression can reduce one’s immunity to physical illness.

    • prog says:

      It seems that the quacks, via their propagandists, are trying to change human physiology. Sometimes actually succeeding. For example, does anyone seriously believe that nut allergy was common among hunters and gatherers?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The anti-smoking PSYCHOSIS has been studied and found non-harmful and they can seek treatment!

      Toxicol Rev. 2003;22(4):235-46.

      Idiopathic environmental intolerance: Part 1: A causation analysis applying Bradford Hill’s criteria to the toxicogenic theory.

      Staudenmayer H, Binkley KE, Leznoff A, Phillips S.

      Source

      Behavioral Medicine, Multi-Disciplinary Toxicology, Treatment and Research Center, Denver, Colorado 80222, USA. hstaudenmayer@comcast.net

      Abstract

      Idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) is a descriptor for a phenomenon that has many names including environmental illness, multiple chemical sensitivity and chemical intolerance. Toxicogenic and psychogenic theories have been proposed to explain IEI. This paper presents a causality analysis of the toxicogenic theory using Bradford Hill’s nine criteria (strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, biological gradient, biological plausibility, coherence, experimental intervention and analogy) and an additional criteria (reversibility) and reviews critically the scientific literature on the topic. The results of this analysis indicate that the toxicogenic theory fails all of these criteria. There is no convincing evidence to support the fundamental postulate that IEI has a toxic aetiology; the hypothesised biological processes and mechanisms are implausible.

  8. Rose says:

    How do you stick a drop of alcohol on to a cell long enough for it to damage you DNA, in a system that’s constantly cleaning itself?

  9. Oi you says:

    I had a whinge about this on Leggy’s blog, so I won’t go on, but I think it’s part of the Project Fear, quickly followed by Project Smear, that our corrupt leaders do so love to exercise upon us in the MSM. In other words Project Indoctrination. Because as we all know, these projects accomplish the main objective, which is total control of our lives….

    Heil Hitler.

    :o)

  10. Joe L. says:

    If they could “prove” that alcohol causes 7 types of cancer, why did they not extend the study in order to “prove” whether it causes the multitude of other cancers that they claim it also “probably causes?”

    It’s very convenient that they called it a day after claiming they “proved” alcohol causes 7 of the most common types of cancer. Classic fear-mongering propaganda if you ask me.

    • garyk30 says:

      This was a study of studies, they could only go as far the the studies that they studied.

      • junican says:

        It wasn’t a study at all. It was an opinion piece.

      • Joe L. says:

        The field of science is beyond doomed if it has been reduced to meta-studies. Junk science, however, will unfortunately flourish. Very depressing.

        • Manfred says:

          The ultimate short study:
          Birth is associated with a 100% risk of death.
          Ipse facto, I’m invoking OH&S legislation, the Precautionary Principle and Greenism, ‘leave Gaia virginal’ politics. Henceforward, male/female bonking and all its wondrous forms, together with the mechanisms, manners and techniques that enable the formation of a viable human zygote, its successful implantation and progression to full term, and its successful delivery, are ruled to be illegal.

  11. garyk30 says:

    For the USA types.

    Have you noticed that the democratic convention has no American flags on it’s stage?

    Guess that being ‘patriotic’ is not their strong point.

  12. Manfred says:

    This risk mongering research is precisely why one should neither seek or accept the offer of a job at the University of Otago in the Green workers paradise of Dunedin, New Zealand. That and the obvious, the University campus is a self-proclaimed ‘smoke free’ zone.

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