Bourbon and Cancer?

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Bourbon and Cancer?

Unread postby angelshare » Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:07 am

This is in response to the "industry news" post from a couple of days ago. Admittedly, I haven't read the article inCancer from January 2004 (nor will I, most likely), but I'm always a little skeptical when stuff like this shows up in the lay media, especially months after initial publication

"Rather than affecting the cancer directly, alcohol seems to work by promoting the growth of blood vessels that feed the tumor, according to a report in the medical journal Cancer...Further testing showed that alcohol increased the growth of blood vessel cells, but not tumor cells themselves, the researchers note. "

This is bad if the issue involved is cancer; could be good if the tissue involved is failing heart muscle that needs more blood flow. Furthermore, this actually suggests to me that for alcohol to be a factor, the cancer must already be present., ie, caused by something else.

"The findings are based on tests conducted in chick embryos harboring human cancer cells. Some of the embryos were exposed to alcohol, while others were exposed to a mild saline solution."

Extrapolating chick embryo alcohol bathing to human alcohol consumption via mouth requires quite a few leaps of faith that the process is exactly the same. Interesting, yes; conclusive? Hardly.

" 'Although mounting epidemiologic evidence has indicated that alcoholic beverage consumption is a well-established risk factor for human (cancers), experimental studies have provided less than convincing evidence to support" this association, the investigators point out. "

There is ASSOCIATION, and there is CAUSATION. Two different things. Epidemiologic association does not mean causation. If I'm not mistaken, a few decades ago, there was a recognized epidemiologic association with gambling and lung cancer. Turns out that smoking was probably the real cause, and gamblers just tended to have a higher smoking rate than the general population.

" 'To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to show" in a living organism that alcohol increases tumor size and the number of blood vessels, they add. "

So after decades of research, this is the best we've got in term of damning data? How about some equal press time for all the negative studies that preceded it?

This type of thing always makes me wonder about an anti-alcohol agenda on the part of the researchers and/or reporter. As for me, I'll ontinue to enjoy my bourbon without fretting over the neoplastic implications one bit.
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Unread postby OneCubeOnly » Fri Dec 17, 2004 8:27 am

Yeah, you pretty much have to take any article like that with a grain, or perhaps several grains of salt. Half the time it's some jaded, stagnant, lifetime-locked-in-an-academic-setting faculty member who desperately needs something (ANYTHING!) published for tenure. It's particularly interesting when there's an obvious agenda.

I see the same kind of thing in dental journals all the time--drawing conclusions out of left field based on unrelated and usually worthless data.

Taking this back to the alcohol theme, there has been a lot of talk in the lecture circuit about alcohol-based mouthwashes potentially being a cancer risk. The thought is that since there's an association (there's that magic word again!) between alcohol use and throat and neck cancer that perhaps exposing the oral tissues to alcohol on a daily basis with mouthwash is a risk as well. With all the money the mouthwash companies have, you won't see this in a journal any time soon.
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