Archives for the month of: August, 2012

…researchers encoded an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA…

Public Health--Research & Library News

From the Wall Street Journal:

In the latest effort to contend with exploding quantities of digital data, researchers encoded an entire book into the genetic molecules of DNA, the basic building block of life, and then accurately read back the text.

Read the article here.  Read the article in Sciencehere.

Church GM, Gao Y, Kosuri S. Next-Generation Digital Information Storage in DNA.  Science. 2012 Aug 16. [Epub ahead of print] PMID: 22903519

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There has been a study conducted from a Canadian Researcher, David Spence  of Western University in Ontario. His medical interests are atherosclerosis, cholesterol, homocysteine, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and stroke prevention. Further background information can be found in the provided link above.

The purpose of his recent research was to determine if there was a correlation between the effects of consuming egg yolks and cigarettes. In the abstract of “Egg yolk consumption and carotid plaque,” it explains that the “potential harm from high cholesterol intake” from egg yolks are “…considered insignificant.” Therefore, the study continues to explain that the researchers were set to determine if there were any “atherosclerosis burden” from eating eggs. The cigarettes are related in the research to show the similarity of possible arterial damage it can create from smoking and consuming egg yolks.

The conclusion and their interpretation of research “suggest[s] that regular consumption of egg yolk should be avoided by persons at risk of cardiovascular disease. This hypothesis should be tested in a prospective study with more detailed information about diet, and other possible confounders such as exercise and waist circumference.”

With that said, the mass media has been very adamant of relying the information that egg yolk consumption is simliar to smoking cigarettes.

The Washington Post – Starts the article with a hypothetical question by asking what eggs and cigarettes have in common. The article shows that the new study was conducted by researcher David Spence in Canada and providing a link to the limited access of the actual peer-reviewed paper. They also provide an additional link directing the readers to the USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010). It ends the article with a direct quote from the study stating that “We conclude that the prevailing tendency to ignore dietary cholesterol as a risk factor for coronary heart disease requires reassessment, including the consumption of cholesterol from eggs.”

 NY Daily News – The first thing a reader may see is a bolded statement with some hypothetical questions, “Like Hollandaise sauce? Too bad — for your heart and blood vessels. Yolks are packed with cholesterol, causing blood-vessel-clogging plaque buildup, just like smoking does.” This article from the NY Daily News is listed number two under the Most Popular/Most Read list. There is a picture of a breakfast plate that greets the readers. The caption for the picture reads, “The Canadian study found that people who consume egg yolks regularly had 2/3 the plaque buildup of smokers.” Even though it may be leading the readers to believe that egg yolks is correlated to cigarettes, the article ends with a contradicting statement from a Cleveland Clinic Foundation cardiologists Dr David Frid. The cardiologists explains that there could be other factors influencing the plaque build up and also states that “…people who consume a lot of eggs also consume a lot of other fatty foods.”

The Huffington Post UK – The article presents that the study was conducted from Canada and it was investigated in London Health Sciences Centre (in Canada). “The study was carried out by Canadian researchers and examined 1,231 patients with an average age of 61.” The article also included the methods of determining the plaque build up which was through an ultrasound. It ends the report quoting Dr. Spence stating “What we have shown is that with aging, plaque builds up gradually in the arteries of Canadians, and egg yolks make it build up faster – about two-thirds as much as smoking.”

With the mass media tying the relationship between egg yolks and cigarettes, it can be easily confused and misled that consuming eggs may be equivalent as to smoking a cigarette. From the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PubMed Health, has provided some information and insights to what the media may have missed.

The followings are the factors that the media and/or the researchers have limited in their report:

  • the study has lack of “detailed information on how the eggs were cooked”
  • additional factors could have contributed “to artery clogging” such as “lack of exercise or alcohol consumption”
  • the study has limited recollections of the participant’s egg yolk consumption
  • assumes fatty build ups are the cause and effect of the increased heart disease
  • the study consisted of “small, selective sample of adults”
  • the consumption of egg yolk was determined by a questionnaire responses which could have errors
  • “The researchers specifically say that they did not assess: alcohol intake, exercise taken, liquorice consumption”
  • “The association was not affected by adjustment for age.”
  • the study does not specifically state how the egg yolk/eggs were prepared (could have been fried, boiled, seared with butter, etc.)
  • none of the participants in the study reported to suffer from heart problems
  • the researchers acknowledged that they did not take into the participant’s dietary factors when conducting the research

“This study perhaps best supports the notion of all things in moderation. Eggs are a good source of protein in addition to other vitamins and minerals and most experts advise that they can form part of a healthy, balanced diet.”  – PubMed Health

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