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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Counter-intuitive science

I don't know how many times I've seen or heard stories suggesting, without solid evidence, that environmental pollutants are a cause of the modern spike in the number of reported cases of breast cancer. Here's one example.

Well, guess what. It turns out that eco-toxins can actually help suppress breast cancer. Read more details about the SFU scientist's findings here.

Posted by Terry O'Neill on February 5, 2009 in Science | Permalink


Many forms of cancer including breats cancer have been linked to food additives. But since the agro lobby is one of the strongest ones out there we won't be seeing the FDA coming down on them anytime soon. No way. In fact suppressing health information on food issues helped out another huge lobby...the pharmaceuticl boys, and they do very well...in the end, politicians are well greased by both and to hell with people.

Posted by: JC | 2009-02-05 9:14:31 PM

"Well, guess what. It turns out that eco-toxins can actually help suppress breast cancer."

Treating poison with poison, this concept has been around for millenia. I guess the juvenile myth of the evil polluting businessman,and his piles of gold behind him, laughing nefariously, will never leave the idiot public or journalists.

Posted by: Cid the Cidious | 2009-02-06 1:00:26 AM

On a related topic, some toxicologists have known for some time of the beneficial (hormetic) effect of low doses of many toxins including ionizing radiation. The old school of toxicology where it was assumed (and regulated arbitrarily near zero) that zero dose to be healthy and projecting a strait line to a dosage where death occurs in 50% of the population (LD50) and that health risk fallowed the same linear trend. The problem with this hypothesis is that as better data became available the actual risk didn't follow that linear, no threshold trend. It turned out that low doses of Radon, for example equated to lower cancer rates than in areas with no detectable Radon. When one intuitively considers that the immune system evolved in an environment filled with (natural) toxicity, that system would not be well stimulated in an theoretical environment without toxins. In toxicology it's always the dose that's important not the existence of toxins. The regulatory environment has naturally caused great expense to be wasted chasing away low doses which, in many cases, are actually detrimental to health risk.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-02-06 12:15:37 PM

And let's not forget the fact that many powerful drugs, toxic when ingested carelessly, can when carefully controlled provide great medical benefit. Curare, for example, is used in several anesthetic cocktails as a muscle relaxant. And opium and its derivatives, while toxic in high quantities, can when carefully managed relieve all but the most debilitating pain.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-02-06 12:41:33 PM

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