January 18, 2008

Random Friday

[Posted by Crabby]
natalie dee
Image courtesy of nataliedee.com

So remember we were recently complaining about how conflicting health research was messing with our heads and making us confused about what the heck we were supposed to do? Well, here are some more studies to make you nuts.

Calcium and Older Women:
So yep, you guessed it, after years of research urging women, including older women, to take calcium supplements, guess what they're now discovering? That calcium supplements might increase heart attack and stroke risk in postmenopausal women. The researchers warned that the findings weren't conclusive and needed to be confirmed by other studies. But if true, they wrote, "this effect could outweigh any beneficial effects of calcium on bone."

Revenge of the Acrylamides:
It's as though the scientists have a dark sense of humor, because I had barely finished posting "whatever happened to acrylamide?" when I saw this news: "Acrylamide in Food May Increase Breast Cancer Risk."

(However, true to form, right next to that study was one from a few months ago saying "Acrylamide Not Linked to Breast Cancer." I like that one better.)

So what is acrylamide and how do you avoid it, if we're supposed to be avoiding it again? It sounds nasty, doesn't it, with that icky synthetic "acrylic" prefix?

Well, it's a carcinogenic chemical formed when carb-heavy food is cooked at high temperatures, and you find acrylamides in a lot of processed foods you should be going easy on anyway. French fries and potato chips are the usual example. However, they can also be found in innocent foods too, like toast (even healthy whole wheat toast), and (gulp)in coffee. (Here's a Big List of acrylamide-containing foods if you want to get really depressed.) Smoking will increase your levels a lot too.

Too Depressing to Publish?
Turns out there may be some selective publication of drug studies going on: according to the article, "nearly a third of antidepressant drug studies are never published in the medical literature, and nearly all happen to show that the drug being tested did not work." The result: the drugs look more effective than they actually are.

Now, On the Brighter Side...
If you're female and over 40, a recent Swedish study seemed to suggest that, oddly enough, daily consumption of high-fat dairy products might help with weight control. But don't break out the Ben & Jerry's just yet. Despite a more optimistic report about this in Health, looking at the actual study made the conclusion seem a bit tentative. This study also contradicts another recent study that looked at high fat diary consumption in American men. (And researchers noted that the effect observed in these women differed according to the type of dairy product and the subject's body weight--cheese was good. Ben & Jerry's, alas, was not specifically mentioned).

Confused About All This?
Here's one theory that may explain the conflicting data.

Can you tell we're getting to the silly stuff now?

The Perfect Social Networking Site for a Crab:
Cheerful folks, however, may not appreciate bugroff. (And I believe "bugroff" is properly pronounced with three syllables, not two.)

Advances in Feminine Protection!
Okay, so it may not be an actual product you can buy at Walgreens, but check out the tampon stun gun. I love the concept. Wielding the tampon alone will mostly likely scare off the attacker, and if not: ZZZZZap!

When You Can't Understand The Lyrics:
So do you ever download songs in a foreign language for your workouts, then find yourself hearing English lyrics in them that aren't really there? A mostly hilarious example of this phenomenon can be found here. (Sometimes they stretch a bit too hard looking for dirty interpretations, but often they're spot on. Made me giggle most of the way through).

Health and fitness? Oh well, um... there's dancing in the video too!

Have a great Friday everyone.


  1. I want fries with my Tampon Stun Gun.

    Great round-up, Crabby. As far as conflicting health advice is concerned we all die anyway. Let's eat stuff we enjoy that we believe is good for us, throw in some stuff that isn't but we like it, and enjoy life.
    And use the Tampon Stun Gun wisely, but use it often.

  2. The Bag Lady hopes that the tampon stun gun is actually as pictured (doubled) - she shudders to imagine the dastardly repercussions should some poor woman mistake it for the real thing...talk about an electrifying experience...
    Calcium is bad now? Damnitalltohell!!

  3. What the... Now this silly song is stuck in my head! How am I supposed to go on reading Margaret Thatcher's autobiography when all I can think of is BENNY LAVA!


  4. I'm just going to go back to bed and wait for the end, surrounded by my heavenly hash ice cream, with my Wii game remote beside me and my wine glass within easy reach. If I'm going to die, I'll die happy.

  5. The calcium study sounds like a ploy to sell more Boniva.

    As for high-fat dairy products being helpful for weight loss, I'm experimenting with using the tastier full-fat yogurt than the slimy fat-free kind. Calorie difference is negligible, taste is infinitely better.

  6. My biology teacher in high school once said to us after a week of lessons relating to carcinogens: "The only food you can eat that has not yet been proven to have some traces of carcinogens in it is plain pasta".

    Since then, I eat my fruits, veggies, bbq'd meat and toast, and don't worry about it.

    I could also get hit by a bus tomorrow.

  7. As my friends and I say - "if you don't like the results of a scientific study, wait a week or two!" Makes my head spin.
    Forgot - is coffee good for you or bad for you this week? I only drink it when it's good for you.. ;-)

  8. Hysterical video! It reminded me of this one with the translated catspeak. I'm thinking particularly of the last cat in this short video.

    Great roundup.. but it makes my head spin. :)

  9. That catspeak video was too funny! And like Kery, I still have the benny lava song in my head--glad I don't have to read a Thatcher biography!

    And "let's eat stuff we enjoy that we believe is good for us, throw in some stuff that isn't but we like it, and enjoy life" is excellent advice.

    If that includes some ice cream and wine and high fat yogurt, we'll at least have a study or two on our side to justify it.

    And last I heard, coffee is still good for you, but if it's not anymore please don't tell me!

  10. "Let's eat stuff we enjoy that we believe is good for us, throw in some stuff that isn't but we like it, and enjoy life."

    Love this! We all gotta die, so I'm going to continue eating toast and fruit and drinking milk, and having my boyfriends Ben and Jerry visit occasionally.

    Also, that tampon stun gun actually freaks me out.

  11. I emailed that Indian video to two of my Indian friends, hopefully I can find out what they're really saying!

  12. I think we spend too much time trying to figure out what's good, what's bad, what's healthy, what's unhealthy, what causes cancer, what prevents cancer, etc...don't eat fried chicken and sit on your ass all day and you'll probably live longer than you would have other wise.

    PS. I love the french fry guy...I just ate fries for the first time in WEEKS and it was AMAZING : ) I don't care what anyone says- fries=tasty, carrot sticks=boring!

  13. this is the kind of stuff that makes me want to apply for a license to drive a big greyhound bus and, after lulling the management at g'hound into a false sense of security by having a perfect driving record for six months, run over the people who publish these conflicting medical reports. see also my just-published post about how i don't get the whole concept of "releasing statements". oy vey!

  14. If you guys loved the "translated" video...Watch this one...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0RLtbmzqWQ...I cannot remember the HTML link tag at the moment...One of my good friends is Indian, and he and his fiance will stand up and just start doing the dance to this song out of the blue and it is FANTASTIC!!!!

  15. Tampon stun gun - fabulous! Once word gets around the criminal element, all a person has to do is glue two together and brandish them! Of course, you have to hope that your particular criminal has heard of them!

    I agree with Leah about the health advise.

  16. Haha, Crabby, where do you find this stuff!?

    Love the tampon - 2 types of protection in one handy device!

    As for all of those studies... My head is already spinning.

    On a Dr. Oz show on Discovery Health I saw a bit about the Swedish study and dairy... Do you want to know how they did it? They had people follow a really high dairy diet and then examined their poos. Those are some dedicated researchers!

  17. www.sydneyspeel.blogspot.com

    trade links?

    your blog is hilarious! keep writing!

  18. French fries and tampon guns. What a great Friday. Man, your blog is such a cool place to hang..lol...

  19. Glad you posted the bit on calcium. Now I'll have a reason to give my gyn when she asks if I've been taking it.

    P.S. If you come across a study that links Diet Coke to death, um, don't post it, 'kay?

  20. Acrylamide? Never heard of it -- and it's in coffee? ACK! I can't give up my coffee. :)

    Interesting about the antidepressants, too. The meds are great when they are needed and when they work, but one of the very best antidepressants I've found -- which can work in tandem with meds, too, certainly -- is exercise. :)

  21. Thanks for all the great comments--and oh my goodness, thickchick, those are REALLY dedicated scientists and I'm glad I'm not one of them!

    And thomma lyn, I totally agree about the antidepressant effects of exercise.

    And leth, if you do find out what they're really saying on the video, let us know--though I'm kind of attached to the ridiculous lyrics now.

  22. Tampon stun gun? *shudders*
    I already was afraid of those things, I did NOT need this!

    Do you know why exactly calcium supplements might increase the chances of a heart attack for women aged 40 or older? I'm not quite sure I understand the reasoning as to why.

    Much Love,

    Grow Smarter, Grow Faster, GrowStronger.com!

  23. Chris--I didn't realize I forgot to include a link to the calcium research, sorry. I'll repost.

    And it kind of looked like they were actually expecting the opposite result, so I don't know if they have a theory yet or not.

  24. Where do you FIND this stuff?

    I did see that blurb on the study on anti-depressants in WSJ, actually. You know that the reason many studies aren't published has to do with faulty methodology, right, not necessarily findings.

  25. "\Very informative, however, has anyone heard of or checked out thedailyskinny.com blog yet? This was an article on losing belly fat that I really liked… just thought I'd share.

  26. Heh..everything is good and bad for you.
    I've given up trying to track down what is and isn't and just eating well...I find the calcium thing odd though. How much calcium are these women taking that it disrupts the ionic levels in their bloodstream? It'd have to be a whack of it...and acrylamide is in cooked organic materials subjected to high heat. So BOIL EVERYTHING! :) hee hee...In the lab I can't touch it with bare skin...but that is different. I don't think the levels of it in food are too high (llike the purified stuff I work with), so I'm not willing to eat boiled or raw foods all my life.

    The tampon stun gun baffles me. Why a tampon? To keep your boyfriend from stealing it? Odd.
    As for the Bunny Lava...you are evil! Now I'm stuck with it in my head.


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