nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
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Friday, September 19, 2008

Study suggests urinary levels of BPA may be linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes. In continuing coverage from yesterday, MedWire (9/17, Lyford) reported that "urinary levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in plastic food and drink containers, are associated with cardiovascular (CV) disease, type 2 diabetes, and liver-enzyme abnormalities," according to a study published in the Sept. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. David Melzer, M.B., Ph.D., of Peninsula Medical School, Exeter, U.K., and colleagues, "examined associations between urinary BPA levels and the health status of adults living in the USA.” Doc D: You may have seen this on TV in the last three days. Another example of scaring ourselves to death (SOTD). Bisphenol A has been around for a long time: I remember discussions many years ago about whether it was a health risk or not. It’s important to note (above) that they say these diseases are “associated” with urinary levels of BPA….not “caused by”. Remember the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy? Also, you should know that they took one blood sample from each subject: if you have BPA levels on one day, and you have diabetes, doesn’t mean you had levels in the past that led to diabetes. The authors admit this limitation. I can make up any number of hypotheses to explain this phenomenon that doesn’t involve Bisphenol A toxicity. Here’s one: there’s another unknown chemical that we find in cans and plastics along with BPA. It’s the toxic chemical. BPA is just an “innocent bystander.” Here’s another one: People who are genetically pre-disposed to heart disease and diabetes also have a disposition to absorb more BPA than other people. The problem is genetics, not BPA. Note: these are probably false hypotheses, but you get the point, I hope. BTW, alcohol consumption is associated with “liver-enzyme abnormalities.” Drink a couple of beers and your enzymes exceed normal levels for a day or so. We used to use liver enzyme tests as a screen to know whether recovering alcoholics were staying on the wagon. All that being said, this may eventually turn out to be a real cause-and-effect relationship. But, we’re not there yet: a lot of work needs to be done. For those of you who just can’t stand the anxiety, buy fresh instead of canned, and use glass jars. I won’t change yet: there are too many other more important things to worry about. Doc D Opinions are entirely my own. Quotations excerpted from AMA Morning Rounds (© U S News Custom Briefings)


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