Welcome back to the news summary blog here at The Medic Portal, this post will cover the latest in medical news from the 12th to the 18th of September. This week’s highlights include studies that suggest how e-cigarettes could help thousands quit smoking, adding fluoride to water sources is safe and allegations that the sugar industry paid scientists to play down the role of sugar in heart disease.
There has been a national increase in the number of people smoking e-cigarettes. Survey data from England shows that the proportion of successful smoking cessation attempts increased along with the number of smokers using e-cigarettes. The data that was collected over ten years showed however that the number of attempts made to quit smoking has fallen. The study involved interviews with 170,490 participants.
The results showed that public health interventions, such as campaigns, could impact the number of people who smoke in the population. Research into the safety of e-cigarettes is still be carried out, however, it is likely that there is less danger in smoking e-cigarettes than tobacco.
Current evidence shows that the best way to quit smoking is through support programmes such as counselling and the NHS stop smoking services. Other popular options involve nicotine patches, gum and inhalers. The study that was funded by Cancer Research UK showed that although stopping smoking through using e-cigarettes may be effective it has not been directly compared to the NHS stop smoking service. Due to this, future research addressing this comparison should be completed.
Analysis carried out by the National Health and Medical Research Council has indicated that adding fluoride to drinking water is both safe and effective in preventing tooth decay. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) in Australia has analysed over 60 years of research including 3,000 studies to determine the safety and efficacy of adding fluoride to public drinking supplies.
Anti-fluoride campaigners have often protested against the use of fluoride due to concerns over health such as cancer or lowering of IQ however the research shows that this is not the case. The results showed that water fluoridation reduces tooth decay by 26% to 44% in all age groups. However, the study did not have enough evidence to rule out any association between fluoride and kidney disease, heart disease or high blood pressure.
Evidence has emerged that the sugar industry have sponsored research that downplays the link between high sugar diets and heart disease. A report published by the University of San Francisco shows that in the 1950s to 1960s the sugar industry paid Harvard scientists to publish research indicating that fat was the key cause of heart disease.
The research results published at the time became a staple in Western diet advice where saturated fat and cholesterol were named the main culprits of heart disease. A similar discovery was found last year when it became public that the Sugar Research Foundation had also downplayed the role of sugar in tooth decay.
Uploaded by Joelle on 19 September 2016
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