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Friday April 8 2011 (

Alcohol was thought caused 58,000 cancers in the study group


Alcohol “causes 13,000 cancer cases a year”, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The newspaper says that in the UK drinking is responsible for 2,500 cases of breast cancers, 3,000 bowel cancers and 6,000 cases of cancers of the mouth, throat or windpipe.

The research used data from a large European study which looked at how current and former alcohol consumption related to the development of cancer in more than 350,000 people from eight countries. The researchers extrapolated the results to the general population and estimated that, across Europe, 10% of all cancers in men and 3% of all cancers in women could be attributed to alcohol consumption. There was a stronger association with cancers that are already known to be causally associated with alcohol, such as cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus and liver. For these cancers, much of the excess risk was due to drinking above the maximum daily limit, defined in this study as more than 24g of pure alcohol for men (3 units) and more than 12g for women (1.5 units).

In the UK, the current recommended daily limit for men is 3-4 units, while for women it is no more than 2-3 units daily. One unit is equivalent to 8g alcohol, or about half a pint of weak lager.

Where did the story come from?

The study was carried out by researchers from the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbruecke, and other institutions in Europe and the US. It received funding from numerous organisations and was published in the peer-reviewed British Medical Journal.

News coverage has reflected the findings of this well-conducted study.

What kind of research was this?

This was a cohort study which aimed to establish alcohol’s contribution towards the burden of cancer across eight European countries. To do this, researchers used data from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC), a large cohort study set up to examine how the diet and lifestyle of a large European population sample related to their development of cancer over a  follow-up period of nearly nine years.

Alongside their alcohol-related findings based on this cohort, the researchers also used general population-based data on alcohol consumption and cancer incidence to extrapolate the findings to the national populations from which the EPIC participants were drawn.

What did the research involve?

The EPIC study started in 1992 and recruited 520,000 men and women (aged from 37 to 70 years) from the general population of 10 European countries: France, Italy, Spain, Holland, Greece, Germany Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK.

Upon entry into the study, the participants completed diet and lifestyle questionnaires. The researchers excluded people with cancer at the start of the study and those with missing questionnaire data on alcohol consumption. This lead the researchers to include 109,118 men and 254,870 women across eight countries in their analysis (data from Norway and Sweden could not be used due to a lack of data on past alcohol consumption.

The validated questionnaires asked participants to estimate their alcohol consumption in the year before recruitment, both in terms of average grams of pure alcohol per day and as the frequency/portion size of beer, wine, spirits, etc. Researchers also asked about past consumption at ages 20, 30, 40 and 50. Based on these two responses – past and current consumption – people were categorised as:

  • never drinkers – no consumption in the past or at recruitment
  • former drinkers – consumption in the past but no consumption at recruitment
  • lifetime drinkers – consumption both in the past and at recruitment

Cancer outcomes for each individual were assessed up to the years 2000-2005, using regional cancer registries, checks of medical records, health insurance records, pathology records and death certificates. The precise methods varied according to the practices used in each country. The mean follow-up time was almost nine years.

Risk associations between cancer and current and former alcohol use were conducted separately for men and women. The researchers made adjustments to account for the influence of numerous potential socioeconomic and lifestyle confounders, including smoking, diet, BMI and education level. The risk figures obtained for the association between alcohol and cancer were then applied to alcohol consumption in each country’s general population (calculated from World Health Organization surveys and per capita consumption data) and cancer incidence data to estimate the total number of cases of cancer per year that could be attributable to alcohol in males and females aged 15 and above.

Researchers used this data to calculate a measure called the ‘population attributable fraction’ for consumption beyond the recommended daily upper limit, which would estimate what proportion of cancer cases were associated with drinking more than 24g of pure alcohol day for men (equivalent to 3 units) and 12g/day alcohol for women (equivalent to 1.5 units). The population attributable fraction indicates what reduction in cancer incidence would be expected if consumption were reduced below this level.

What were the basic results?

There was variation in average alcohol consumption across European countries. By applying the results of the EPIC study to national population data, the study estimated that 10% of all cancers in men in Europe (95% confidence interval 7 to 13%) and 3% of all cancers in women in Europe (1 to 5%) could be attributable to alcohol consumption (both former and current).

The researchers also calculated alcohol attributable fractions relating to specific cancers:

  • Upper digestive tract cancers (e.g. mouth, throat, oesophagus) – 44% for males and 25% for females
  • Liver cancer – 33% for males and 18% for females
  • Colorectal cancer – 17% for males and 4% for females
  • Female breast cancer – 5% of cases.
    UK-specific data were similar to these European averages.

Based on 2008 European cancer data, alcohol consumption above the daily maximum (as defined above) caused 33,037 of 178,578 alcohol-related cancers in men (18.5%) and 17,470 of the 397,043 alcohol-related cancers in women (4.4%).

How did the researchers interpret the results?

The researchers conclude that an “important proportion” of cancers in Western Europe can be attributed to alcohol consumption, especially when consumption is higher than the recommended daily upper limits. They say that their data “supports current political efforts to reduce or to abstain from alcohol consumption to reduce the incidence of cancer”.


This study has assessed the association between alcohol consumption and cancer risk, and it has estimated how the cancer burden could be reduced by lowering consumption to below the daily maximum limits (defined in this study as 24g for men and 12g for women). The study has several strengths, including its large study population drawn from eight European countries and thorough follow-up of participants (less than 2% of the sample in all countries were lost during the follow-up process). It also combined the cohort data with general population data on alcohol consumption and cancer figures to estimate country-relevant data.

There are some limitations that should be acknowledged:

  • The underlying data on alcohol intake was self-reported by participants, and the quality of the consumption data would rely on them accurately estimating their drinking. The study also looked at consumption during past decades, which might be particularly difficult to recall.
  • The study may not have adjusted for all possible confounders (i.e. factors that are linked to both alcohol consumption and cancer outcomes). However, they did adjust for the most obvious ones, which is a strength of this cohort.
  • The researchers say the estimates they calculated in this study were based on an assumption that alcohol is causative in the cancers studied (e.g.cancers of the aerodigestive system and liver). While alcohol may not be conclusively proven as a cause of these cancers there is a great deal of evidence suggesting that this is a major cause.
  • There may be differences between the participants who agreed to participate and those who did not. If this is so, the results may not be generalisable to the populations from which the samples were drawn.
  • The study looked at people who drank beyond recommended daily limits, but did not calculate how increasing levels of consumption related to cancer risk.

The study estimates that, in the European population as a whole, 10% of all cancers in men and 3% of all cancers in women could be attributed to alcohol consumption. Alcohol consumption was already known to be associated with numerous cancers, in particular those of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, liver and bowel, and this study data supports those associations. For those cancers that are believed to be causatively associated with cancer, the study estimates that 32% in men and 5% in women can be attributed to alcohol, and a large proportion of this attributable fraction is due to consumption above the daily maximum.

As the researchers appropriately conclude, there is a “necessity to continue and to increase efforts to reduce alcohol consumption in Europe, both on the individual and the population level”.

Source AFP

About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday.

For some types of cancer, the rates are significantly higher, it said.

In 2008, for men, 44, 25 and 33 percent of upper digestive track, liver and colon cancers respectively were caused by alcohol in six of the countries examined, the study found.

About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday. (AFP Photo) About one in 10 cancers in men and one in 33 in women in western European countries are caused by current and past alcohol consumption, according to a study released on Friday. (AFP Photo)

The countries were Britain, Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany and Denmark.

The study also showed that half of these cancer cases occurred in men who drank more than a recommended daily limit of 24 grams of alcohol, roughly two small glasses of wine or a pint of beer.

The cancer rates for women in the same countries, along with the Netherlands and France, was 18 percent for throat, mouth and stomach, 17 percent for liver, five percent for breast and four percent for colon cancer.

Four-fifths of these cases were due to daily consumption above recommended limits, set for women at half the level of men.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has long maintained that there is a causal link between alcohol consumption and cancers, especially of the liver, colon, upper digestive tract and, for women, breast.

But few studies have tried to connect the dots across a large population between cancer rates and total alcohol consumption, or the proportion of the disease burden occurring in people who drink more than guidelines would allow.

“Our data show that many cancer cases could have been avoided if alcohol consumption is limited to two alcoholic drinks per day in men and one alcoholic drink per day in women,” said Madlen Schutze, an epidemiologist at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam and lead author of the study.

The findings also suggest that the limits set by many national health authorities may not be stringent enough to avoid the disease, she said.

“Even more cancer cases would be prevented if people reduced their alcohol intake to below recommended guidelines or stopped drinking alcohol at all,” she said in a statement.

The results, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), are drawn from the so-called EPIC cancer survey of 363,000 men and women who have been tracked since the mid-1990s.

Other risk factors that might have also led to cancer — especially smoking and obesity — were taken into account, the researchers said.

Nearly 44 percent of men in Germany exceeded the 24-gramme daily limit, followed by Denmark (43.6 percent) and Britain (41.1 percent).

Among women, Germany still topped the list, with 43.5 percent of women there exceeding limit, with Denmark (41 percent) and Britain (37.7 percent) coming in second and third.


Buang toksin dalam tubuh

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SEMENJAK malapetaka ekologi membabitkan Chisso Corporation, sebuah kilang memproses baja di Minamata, Jepun pada tahun 1932, isu pencemaran bahan kimia di dalam makanan khususnya hidupan laut seperti ikan dan kerang terus diperkatakan hingga kini.

Sehingga tahun 2001, seramai 2,265 mangsa dikesan menghidap penyakit Minamata yang menyebabkan kematian atau kecacatan kekal.

Penyakit itu berpunca daripada pembuangan methylmercuri secara terus ke dalam laut oleh Chisso dari tahun 1932 hingga 1968.

Dalam insiden tersebut, hidupan laut khususnya ikan dan kerang yang menjadi makanan ruji penduduk Teluk Minamata tercemar dengan bahan kimia bertoksik tinggi itu.

Bagaimanapun, peristiwa tersebut menyebabkan para saintis lebih giat mengkaji kehadiran logam berat berbahaya di dalam hidupan laut yang menjadi makanan masyarakat dunia.

Persatuan Kehamilan Amerika Syarikat (AS) sebelum ini pernah memberi amaran kepada ibu mengandung agar tidak mengambil ikan tuna, merlin serta mackerel kerana ia tercemar dengan merkuri.

Tahap radiasi merkuri ikan tuna dikenal pasti berdasarkan jenis dan tempat ia ditangkap. Keracunan merkuri mampu merosakkan perkembangan otak serta fizikal janin.

Pada umumnya, siapa pun tahu racun memang mudarat untuk tubuh. Racun yang terkumpul di dalam badan boleh datang daripada mana sahaja.

Ia mungkin daripada air atau makanan yang ditelan, udara yang dihirup atau sesuatu yang disentuh oleh tangan.

Antara logam berat yang sering ditemui di dalam tubuh ialah merkuri, aluminium kadmium, dan plumbum.

Semula jadi

BEKAM penyahtoksin ialah antara kaedah alternatif untuk membuang toksin daripada dalam tubuh.



Menurut Pusat Racun Negara (PRN), Universiti Sains Malaysia, sebanyak 43 peratus daripada kes keracunan di negara ini yang dilaporkan pada tahun 2008 berpunca daripada kandungan isi rumah.

Jelas Ahli Farmasi PRN, Sulastri Samsudin, penyebaran utama bahan toksik berlaku melalui saluran makanan iaitu mulut, saluran pernafasan (hidung), kulit dan mata.

Menurut beliau, makanan sendiri terhasil melalui gabungan beberapa jenis bahan kimia dan menjadi sumber nutrisi seperti protein, karbohidrat, vitamin, serat dan antioksidan.

Namun, terdapat bahan beracun seperti cyanogenic glycoside di dalam sesetengah ubi.

Sesetengah teknik pemprosesan masakan juga menghasilkan bahan sampingan bertoksik seperti polycylic aromatic hydrocarbon atau acrylamide.

Selain itu, bahan pencemar alam sekitar seperti plumbum dan bahan berklorin, kadmium daripada kerak bumi serta alga dan kulat seperti aflatoksin dan racun daripada kerang-kerangan boleh didapati dalam bekalan makanan pada tahap berbeza-beza.

Dalam pada itu, daripada kesemua sampel produk kosmetik serta bahan makanan dan minuman yang diuji Pengguna Pulau Pinang (CAP) setakat ini, hampir 99 peratus daripadanya mengandungi bahan beracun di dalamnya.

Ini termasuk bekas polisterina, asid borik, bedak talkum, botol susu Bisphenol A (BPA), bekas air polikarbonat, sotong kering serta perasa tambahan Rhodamine B.

Kesannya, setiap pengguna akan berdepan dengan risiko penyakit berbahaya seperti kanser, perubahan genetik, diabetes, kerosakan buah pinggang dan koronari jantung.


SESETENGAH jenis ikan mungkin dicemari logam berat, bergantung pada tempat ia ditangkap.


Presidennya, S.M Mohamed Idris berkata, pelbagai kajian telah menunjukkan bahawa bahan-bahan tersebut didapati bahaya untuk kesihatan badan dan seeloknya diharamkan penjualannya.

Malangnya, kata beliau, sehingga kini asid borik masih digunakan dalam produk makanan walaupun pihaknya telah beberapa kali menggesa Kementerian Kesihatan supaya mengambil tindakan terhadap isu tersebut.

“Ujian yang dilakukan ke atas pelbagai makanan seperti mi kuning, bak chang (ladu Cina) dan kuih Nyonya yang dibeli di pasar basah di Pulau Pinang mendapati ia mengandungi asid borik dalam semua sampel.

“Satu sampel bak chang didapati mengandungi 569 bps (bahagian per sejuta) asid borik, mi kuning (6.51 hingga 296 bps) manakala kuih Nyonya (0.78 hingga 13.5 bps) asid borik.

“Asid borik amat toksin. Walaupun diambil dalam jumlah yang kecil, ia boleh membawa kepada keracunan, penyakit gastrousus, kerosakan buah pinggang dan hilang selera makan,” katanya kepada Jurnal.

Selain itu, kata Mohamed, bagi penggemar sotong kering, mereka dinasihati agar tidak memakannya berikutan ujian terbaru yang mendapati ia dicemari kadmium.

Sebelum ini, kadmium digunakan dalam galvani dan elektropenyaduran, dalam bateri, konduktor elektrik dan dalam pembuatan aloi serta plastik.

Selain itu, racun makhluk perosak endosulfan yang digunakan oleh para petani juga didapati berbahaya untuk kesihatan.

Endosulfan ialah sejenis toksin yang sangat beracun dan disyaki boleh menjejaskan sistem endokrin.

Walaupun telah diharamkan pengeluarannya pada tahun 2006 di bawah Akta Racun Makhluk Perosak 1974, penjualannya masih berleluasa di sekitar negeri Kedah.

Biasanya tubuh memproses racun-racun yang dikenali sebagai toksin itu menerusi hati dan buah pinggang sebelum mengeluarkannya melalui air kencing, peluh dan pembuangan air besar.

Tetapi bagaimana jika sistem perkumuhan semula jadi itu gagal berfungsi?


Disebabkan sumber racun yang memasuki tubuh terlalu banyak, sesetengah orang mencari penyelesaian alternatif bagi membuang kekotoran atau toksin yang terperangkap itu dengan pelbagai cara.

Antaranya ialah mengambil pil, pelekat, minuman serta makanan yang dikatakan mampu membuang toksin daripada tubuh.

Bagaimanapun, menurut pakar terapi nutrisi di My Life Center, Esther Peh, cara terbaik untuk menyahtoksik ialah melalui proses semula jadi oleh organ tubuh.

“Organ penting seperti buah pinggang, hati, kulit dan kolon mempunyai sistem yang tersendiri untuk membuang kekotoran yang mendap di dalam tubuh,” terang beliau.

Namun, atas faktor usia, kecekapan organ tersebut kadangkala berkurangan. Justeru, penggunaan rawatan penyahtoksin seperti terapi chelation yang ditawarkan My Life Center dapat melancarkan proses tersebut, katanya.

BUAH-BUAHAN dapat membantu mengeluarkan toksin daripada tubuh tetapi awas ia juga mungkin telah dicemari racun.


Jelas beliau, antara simptom utama tubuh manusia diserang oleh toksin ialah hilang selera makan, keletihan melampau atau sukar untuk tidur.

Esther berpendapat seseorang individu perlu melakukan rejim nyahtoksin setiap tiga atau enam bulan sekali.

“Dengan risiko terdedah pada pelbagai punca dan jenis toksin, amat perlu untuk memastikan toksik keluar daripada tubuh.

“Ini penting bagi mengelakkan kerosakan organ seperti usus, buah pinggang atau hati di samping berlakunya dehidrasi,” katanya.

Sambung Esther, disebabkan toksin amat berkait rapat dengan lemak, individu perlu melakukan rutin senaman secara teratur.

Selulit, jelasnya, merupakan ukuran mudah untuk mengetahui tahap toksin di dalam tubuh seseorang kerana toksin sentiasa ‘melekat’ pada lemak.

Selain itu, tubuh turut memerlukan agen pemulihan.

“Pengambilan antioksida seperti makanan tinggi serat atau lengai anggur boleh membantu memulihkan organ yang luka akibat proses nyahtoksin,” kata Esther.

Ingredient in Dark Chocolate Could Guard Against Stroke

Flavanol triggers protective pathways that shield nerve cells in the brain, study finds

SUNDAY, May 9 (HealthDay News) — Something in dark chocolate seems to help protect the heart, and now researchers say they have identified the molecular mechanism by which a compound found in cocoa can guard against the damage of a stroke.

The compound, a flavanol called epicatechin, triggers two built-in protective pathways in the brain, according to a report published online last week in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. The research team was led by Sylvain Dore, an associate professor of anesthesiology and critical care medicine and pharmacology and molecular sciences at John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore.

Animal studies raise the possibility that epicatechin may someday be used to treat strokes in humans, since its protective effect can be seen more than three hours after a stroke. Existing stroke treatments typically have a shorter window of activity.

While the cardioprotective effect of dark chocolate seen in several human studies appears to open the possibility that eating lots of chocolate is healthy, “I prefer to focus on cocoa,” Dore said. “Cocoa is not like chocolate, which is high in saturated fat and calories. Cocoa can be part of a healthy diet, combined with fruits and vegetables.”

It was a study of the cocoa-drinking Kuna Indians, living on islands off the coast of Panama, that led researchers to study epicatechin. An unusually low incidence of stroke and other cardiovascular disease in that population could not be explained by genetic studies, and eventually was attributed to consumption of a very bitter cocoa drink.

Studies by a number of scientists, including Dr. Norman K. Hollenberg of Harvard Medical School, identified epicatechin as the protective ingredient in dark chocolate and cocoa.

The latest research looked at the mechanism of protection in mice who were induced to have strokes. “We gave different doses of epicatechin in mice 90 minutes before a stroke and found that it reduced infarct [stroke damage] size,” Dore explained. “When we gave epicatechin after a stroke, it had a protective effect up to 3.5 hours later, but not after six hours.”

Detailed studies showed that the flavanol activated two well-known pathways that shield nerve cells in the brain from damage, the Nrf2 and heme oxygenase pathways, Dore said. Epicatechin had no protective effect in mice bred to lack those pathways.

The possibility of using epicatechin to limit human stroke damage is distant, Dore said. “We have to be very careful,” he said. “There are a lot of steps before going to human trials, potential risks and side effects. We need more work and more funding.”

Dore’s long-term plan calls for studies of epicatechin metabolites and derivatives, in cardiac disease as well as stroke. “At this point, we are using only the pure compound,” he said.

Dr. Martin Lajous, a doctoral candidate at the Harvard School of Public Health who took part in one study that showed a reduced incidence of stroke in people who ate dark chocolate regularly, agreed with Dore in saying that eating a lot of chocolate is not a healthy dietary move.

Not all chocolate is created equal, Lajous said. “That’s why we did the study in France, where they eat dark chocolate that is rich in flavanols,” he said. “Chocolate comes with a lot of calories. I would talk about small amounts of dark chocolate rather than chocolate in general.”

And the protective mechanism by which chocolate might prevent stroke isn’t yet clear, Lajous added. The main effect appears to be the lowering of blood pressure, he said. “Flavanols are hypothesized to affect relaxation of smooth vascular muscle, such as the endothelial lining of blood vessels,” Lajous said.

Wajar diselidiki lanjut sejauhmana kesahihan laporan ini. Dan jika ianya benar-benar berkesan, ianya satu kaedah yang murah dan kita juga boleh mengambil tindakan perlu sebagai langkah pencegahan.

WalLahu `alam

dipetik dari:

(NaturalNews) In a gathering of vitamin D researchers recently held in Toronto, Dr. Cedric Garland delivered a blockbuster announcement: Breast cancer can be virtually “eradicated” by raising vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is “the cure” for breast cancer that the cancer industry ridiculously claims to be searching for. The cure already exists! But the breast cancer industry simply refuses to acknowledge any “cure” that doesn’t involve mammography, chemotherapy or high-profit pharmaceuticals.

Vitamin D is finally gaining some of the recognition it deserves as a miraculous anti-cancer nutrient. It is the solution for cancer prevention. It could save hundreds of thousands of lives each year in the U.S. alone. Even Dr. Andrew Weil recently raised his recommendation of vitamin D to 2,000 IU per day.

This is the vitamin that could destroy the cancer industry and save millions of women from the degrading, harmful cancer “treatments” pushed by conventional medicine. No wonder they don’t want to talk about it! The cancer industry would prefer to keep women ignorant about this vitamin that could save their breasts and their lives.

Below I’m reprinting the full statement from Dr. Cedric Garland following the Vitamin D conference recently held in Toronto.

Statement from Dr. Cedric Garland

Breast cancer is a disease so directly related to vitamin D deficiency that a woman’s risk of contracting the disease can be ‘virtually eradicated’ by elevating her vitamin D status to what vitamin D scientists consider to be natural blood levels.

That’s the message vitamin D pioneer Dr. Cedric Garland delivered in Toronto Tuesday as part of the University of Toronto School of Medicine’s “Diagnosis and Treatment of Vitamin D Deficiency” conference – the largest gathering of vitamin D researchers in North America this year. More than 170 researchers, public health officials and health practitioners gathered at the UT Faculty club for the landmark event.

Garland’s presentation headlined a conference that reviewed many aspects of the emerging vitamin D research field – a booming discipline that has seen more than 3,000 academic papers this calendar year alone, conference organizers said. That makes vitamin D by far the most prolific topic in medicine this year, with work connecting it with risk reduction in two dozen forms of cancer, heart disease, multiple scleroses and many other disorders.

Dr. Reinhold Vieth, Associate Professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at University of Toronto, and Director of the Bone and Mineral Laboratory at Mount Sinai Hospital, organized the event in conjunction with Grassroots Health – an international vitamin D advocacy group founded by breast cancer survivor Carole Baggerly.

Baggerly implored the research group to take action and encourage Canadians to learn more about vitamin D and to raise their vitamin D levels.

An estimated 22,700 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009, according to the Canadian Cancer Society’s latest figures.

As much as 97 percent of Canadians are vitamin D deficient at some point in the year, according to University of Calgary research – largely due to Canada’s northerly latitudes and weak sun exposure. Sunshine is by far the most abundant source of vitamin D – called ‘The Sunshine Vitamin’ – with salmon and fortified milk being other sources. Vitamin D supplementation helps raise levels for many as well.

Grassroots Health’s “D-action” panel – 30 of the world’s leading researchers on vitamin D and many other vitamin D supporters – recommend 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily and vitamin D blood levels of 100-150 nanomoles-per-liter as measured by a vitamin D blood test.

from The Star


GEORGE TOWN: The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) has called on the authorities to ban bottled water in the country, while also warning consumers not to refill plastic bottles or reuse them as chemical leaching can pollute the water within.

“Consumers should not refill the plastic bottle with tap water,” CAP president S.M. Mohamed Idris said at a press conference on Wednesday, adding that such bottles were made for one-time use only and would not stand up to repeated wear, dishwater treatment, direct sunlight, high temperatures or rough handling.

“Studies show that when subjected to stress tests, the bottles are more likely to leach plastic materials into the water the longer the bottles are reused,” he said.

Mohamed Idris said moreover, there was evidence that a toxic material called antimony (used in making polyethylene bottles) can begin leaching into the water immediately, even when it’s first used.

“In 2006, scientists in Germany found that antimony begins leaching into the water immediately. The longer the bottled water is in storage, the more toxic it becomes.

“High concentrations of antimony can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea,” he said.

Mohamed Idris said Malaysians consumed an average of 100 million bottles of bottled water every year.

“For the last two decades, bottled water has become a part of every social function.

“It’s amazing how Malaysians can be lured into paying exorbitant prices for what flows almost freely from the tap.

“The cost per bottle here ranges from 40sen, if bottles are bought in bulk, to RM5 a bottle in hotels.

“However, it is little known that 90% of the cost of bottled water is used for the label, cap and bottle,” he claimed.

He said it was also not commonly known that coloured bottle caps were designated for natural water, which was normally more expensive, while white caps indicated distilled drinking water.

Mohd Idris also noted that plastic bottles normally ended up in landfills and could take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

“It is estimated that 1.5 million barrels of crude oil or 2.7 million tonnes of plastic are used annually worldwide to produce plastic used to bottle water.

“The bottles that are thrown away create mountainous rubbish heaps, while incinerating used bottles produces toxic by-products like chlorine gas and ash laden with heavy metals that are all tied to a host of human and animal health problems,” he said.

PULAU PINANG, 2 Nov (Bernama) — Kira-kira 30 peratus daripada 100 produk kesihatan yang diuji di makmal Pusat Pengajian Sains Farmasi Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) tidak halal kerana menggunakan gelatin kapsul ubat dari khinzir.

Dekan Pusat Pengajian berkenaan Prof Madya Dr Syed Azhar Syed Sulaiman berkata kesemua produk yang diuji sejak setahun lepas itu dihantar oleh Biro Pengawalan Farmaseutikal Kebangsaan dan pengeluar produk bagi mengenal pasti sumber gelatin yang mereka gunakan.

“Daripada 100 produk yang kita uji, sebanyak 30 peratus tidak halal dan menggunakan gelatin dari khinzir kerana ia lebih murah daripada gelatin lembu.

“Bagaimanapun ini bukanlah menggambarkan keseluruhan pasaran gelatin kapsul di Malaysia kerana ada pengeluar yang terlibat bertindak menukar gelatin yang mereka gunakan kepada yang halal seperti gelatin lembu selepas dimaklumkan perkara berkenaan,” katanya selepas satu sidang akhbar di USM di sini pada Isnin.

Gelatin adalah suatu campuran protein diekstrak daripada kulit binatang.

Syed Azhar berkata produk kesihatan yang diuji tidak halal itu memang terdapat di pasaran dan ia dijual sejak beberapa tahun lepas.

“Ini yang kita bimbangkan kerana gelatin kapsulnya tidak halal dan produk berkenaan dikeluarkan sijil halal yang sah ekoran bahan utamanya halal,” katanya.

Sehubungan itu, beliau berharap Kementerian Kesihatan mewajibkan pengeluar produk kesihatan menggunakan gelatin kapsul dari sumber yang halal.

Sementara itu, sekumpulan penyelidik USM yang diketuai Prof Madya Dr Gam Lay Harn berjaya menghasilkan kaedah yang pertama di Malaysia bagi mengenalpasti sumber bahan untuk gelatin kapsul ubat.

Dr Gam berkata dengan menggunakan teknik-teknik pengekstrakan dan pengasingan protein yang sesuai, pihaknya berjaya membangunkan satu kaedah pengenalpastian sumber gelatin sama ada daripada lembu atau khinzir,” katanya.

Penyelidikan itu dibantu Zuraidah Mohd Zobir, Yap Beow Keat dan Lim Chu Ai.

Dr Gam berkata pada campuran yang mengandung 20 peratus gelatin khinzir atau lebih bagi setiap kapsul ubat, pihaknya 100 peratus yakin dapat mengesan kandungan gelatin tersebut.

Beliau menjangkakan kaedah yang telah memenangi beberapa anugerah di Malaysia dan luar negara itu mampu diterima diseluruh dunia terutama di negara-negara Islam kerana ia melibatkan produk halal dan haram.




From The Star:

A (H1N1): First locally-transmitted case confirmed (Update)

PUTRAJAYA: A 17-year-old girl admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital has been identified as the first locally transmitted A(H1N1) case in Malaysia.

Health Ministry director-general Tan Sri Dr Ismail Merican said authorities identified the case as due to local transmission after finding out that the teenager had not visited any of the countries where a flu pandemic had been declared.

He said the girl went to the Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) at about 10am on Monday to seek treatment after developing a fever and was later sent to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

“Investigations revealed that the girl, who is the 19th confirmed A (H1N1) case in Malaysia, had contact with the 12th case that was confirmed on June 13,” he said in statement issued Wednesday.

Dr Ismail said the girl was not placed under quarantine earlier as she was not one of those identified as having had contact with the 12th patient — as a result, 20 others have been exposed to the virus.

He said it was vital that all those confirmed as having the A (H1N1) flu give their fullest cooperation by providing complete information on all those who had contact with them as this was the only way to avoid local transmission.

“Action can be taken under the Disease Prevention and Control Act 1988 if they fail to provide complete information to us,” he said.

Dr Ismail said that another four confirmed cases were also reported in the 24 hours up to 9am Wednesday, including a 23-year-old local university student who was part of a group of 12 students and lecturers that went on a seven-day visit to Australia on June 7.

The male student had been on the same flight as the 17th confirmed case reported on June 15, which is AirAsia X flight D7 2723 (seat 37J) that landed at the Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) at 7:15am on June 14, he said.

The student developed a fever about five hours after landing here and sought treatment at a private clinic at 9am the next day before being referred to the Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban.

He was confirmed as having the flu at 6pm on Tuesday and the Health Ministry is now tracing 37 contacts including other passengers, members of the travel group, relatives and staff at the private clinic where he first sought treatment.

Dr Ismail said the 21st confirmed case involved a 20-year-old studying in Melbourne who travelled home for the holidays on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH128 (seat 20K) that landed at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) at 6am on Tuesday.

The medical student was found to have a fever while at the KLIA and was referred to the Sungai Buloh Hospital before being confirmed for having the flu at 6:30am on Wednesday, he said.

The 22nd case, he said, involved a 54-year-old who had returned from Manila on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH 705 (seat 32H) that landed at the KLIA at 8:25am on June 12.

He had complained of cough, fever and headache last Sunday and sought treatment at a private clinic on Monday but was not referred to a hospital.

He went to the UMMC the next day and was sent by ambulance to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital where he was confirmed as suffering from the flu.

His wife and two children have been placed under home quarantine.

“In reference to the 22nd case, we want to issue a strict reminder all private clinics and hospitals to refer all patients with flu-like symptoms to designated A (H1N1) hospitals if they have recently visited countries where there has been an outbreak of the flu.

“Their failure to refer such patients to hospitals is regrettable as it creates a risk of the flu spreading through local transmission,” he said.

Dr Ismail said the last case involved a 22-year-old who had been on the same flight as the 20th case and who was admitted to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh on Tuesday morning.

He said with this there were currently 13 patients still being treated: Five at the Sungai Buloh Hospital in Selangor, three at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, and one each at Penang Hospital, Tunku Ampuan Afzan Hospital in Kuantan, Tuanku Jaafar Hospital in Seremban, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu and Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.

All of them are receiving anti-viral treatment and are in stable condition, he said.

As at 9pm on Tuesday, 139 people who had had contact with confirmed cases were under home quarantine but none showed any signs of having the flu.

Dr Ismail said the A (H1N1) Influenza Technical Committee had also issued a directive discouraging people and barring children under 12 from visiting hospitals unless they were seeking treatment.

Each patient would only be allowed to receive two visitors above the age of 12 at any time and visiting hours would also be shortened.

“All visitors to private and government hospitals will also be screened for fever,” he said.


Figuring out the best cholesterol levels to aim for can be confusing. But here’s some help setting your cholesterol number targets.

It’s important to keep your cholesterol levels within healthy limits. And if you have other risk factors for developing heart disease, you need to be even more careful — especially with your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or “bad,” cholesterol level.

Interpreting your cholesterol numbers

Cholesterol levels are measured in milligrams (mg) of cholesterol per deciliter (dL) of blood in the United States and some other countries. Canada and most European countries measure cholesterol in millimoles (mmol) per liter (L) of blood. Consider these general guidelines when you get your lipid panel (cholesterol test) results back to see if your cholesterol falls in optimal levels.

Total cholesterol
(U.S. and some other countries)
Total cholesterol*
(Canada and most of Europe)
Below 200 mg/dL Below 5.2 mmol/L Desirable
200-239 mg/dL 5.2-6.2 mmol/L Borderline high
240 mg/dL and above Above 6.2 mmol/L High
LDL cholesterol
(U.S. and some other countries)
LDL cholesterol*
(Canada and most of Europe)
Below 70 mg/dL Below 1.8 mmol/L Optimal for people at very high risk of heart disease
Below 100 mg/dL Below 2.6 mmol/L Optimal for people at risk of heart disease
100-129 mg/dL 2.6-3.3 mmol/L Near optimal
130-159 mg/dL 3.4-4.1 mmol/L Borderline high
160-189 mg/dL 4.1-4.9 mmol/L High
190 mg/dL and above Above 4.9 mmol/L Very high
HDL cholesterol
(U.S. and some other countries)
HDL cholesterol*
(Canada and most of Europe)
Below 40 mg/dL (men)
Below 50 mg/dL (women)
Below 1 mmol/L (men)
Below 1.3 mmol/L (women)
50-59 mg/dL 1.3-1.5 mmol/L Better
60 mg/dL and above Above 1.5 mmol/L Best
(U.S. and some other countries)
(Canada and most of Europe)
Below 150 mg/dL Below 1.7 mmol/L Desirable
150-199 mg/dL 1.7-2.2 mmol/L Borderline high
200-499 mg/dL 2.3-5.6 mmol/L High
500 mg/dL and above Above 5.6 mmol/L Very high

*Canadian and European guidelines differ slightly from U.S. guidelines. These conversions are based on U.S. guidelines.

LDL targets differ

Because LDL cholesterol has a major association with heart disease, it’s the main focus of cholesterol-lowering treatment. But it’s not as simple as the chart may appear. Your target LDL number can vary, depending on your underlying risk of heart disease.

Most people should aim for an LDL level below 130 mg/dL (3.4 mmol/L). If you have other risk factors for heart disease, your target LDL may be below 100 mg/dL (2.6 mmol/L). If you’re at very high risk of heart disease, you may need to aim for an LDL level below 70 mg/dL (1.8 mmol/L).

So who’s considered at very high risk? If you’ve had a heart attack or if you have diabetes or carotid or peripheral vascular disease, you’re at very high risk. In addition, two or more of the following risk factors might also place you in the very high risk group:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • Low HDL cholesterol
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Age older than 45 if you’re a man, or older than 55 if you’re a woman
  • Elevated lipoprotein (a)

Types of cholesterol

LDL cholesterol can build up on the inside of artery walls, contributing to artery blockages that can lead to heart attacks. Higher LDL cholesterol levels mean higher risk. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is known as “good” cholesterol because it helps prevent arteries from becoming clogged. Higher HDL cholesterol levels generally mean lower risk.

A blood test to check cholesterol levels — called a lipid panel or lipid profile — typically reports:

  • Total cholesterol
  • HDL cholesterol
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Triglycerides, a type of fat often increased by sweets and alcohol

For the most accurate measurements, don’t eat or drink anything (other than water) for nine to 12 hours before the blood sample is taken.

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