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February 2009

It's all in the bread

Carl Heneghan
Last edited 26th May 2009

If you look at your loaf of bread today you may want to check its salt content. Why? Well the content of some bread is so high it may be causing a health risk to you. It seems the European union have cottoned on to this and are about to bring in legislation to prevent bread from calling itself healthy if the salt content is greater than 1g of salt per 100g.

I checked my measly slice of toast this morning, 0.33g per slice! Now it turns out bread is the largest single source of our dietary salt. In terms of public health that equates to about 7000 lives per year saved if bread had no salt in it.

Smoking - the great equaliser

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
In George Orwell’s Animal Farm, first published in 1945, some animals were “more equal than others”. In 2009 the human situation is similar both in the UK and worldwide. Social inequality leads to health inequality in terms of disease causation, treatment and health outcomes [1]. There is growing momentum at governmental and global level to target the so-called social determinants of ill health, which include social gradient, occupation and social support networks [1].

Why are industry funded studies published more?

Carl Heneghan
Last edited 26th May 2009

Tom Jefferson at the Cochrane Vaccine group publication in the BMJ on the role of funding and quality and publication is worth taking a look at. Analysing studies on vaccines from published systematic reviews, they asked the question of whether publication in prestigious journals is associated with industry funding.

Lost in translation-lessons from cholera

Ami Banerjee
Last edited 10th June 2009
The recent cholera outbreak is the worst in Zimbabwe's history, infecting 66,000 people with over 3,300 deaths [1, 2]. Last week, a Red Cross worker wrote a diary from Zimbabwe for the BBC [1]. Despite technological advances it revealed the desperate circumstances under which people are providing and receiving health care in parts of the world, even when the evidence for cause and cure is beyond doubt.

HRT suffers another blow

Carl Heneghan
Last edited 26th May 2009
The NEJM publication [1] of Breast Cancer after use of Estrogen plus progestin in postmenopausal women, NEJM 2009 Volume 360:573-587, analyses the effect of the substantial reduction in Hormone replacement therapy (which is estrogen plus progestin also known as HRT) prescriptions that followed the publication of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) trial in 2002. They analyse temporal trends in breast cancer diagnosis in the WHI cohort following the 5.6 year period after the trial had finished and both initial groups (those on HRT and placebo) both stopped taking HRT.

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