Can’t swallow claims
“Cancer hates organic foods.” “Eating organic foods frequently can keep disease away, new study suggests.”
Those intriguing headlines, supposedly describing scientific research (Mail Tribune, Nov. 7), cannot be swallowed. The study in JAMA Internal Medicine, on which the article is based, says, “Our analyses were based on volunteers who were likely particularly health-conscious individuals, thus limiting the generalizability of our findings. ... These factors may have led to a lower cancer incidence herein than the national estimates, as well as higher levels of organic food consumption ...”
While the researchers found individuals eating mostly organic foods did exhibit fewer numbers of some cancers, mathematical support for that outcome was small. Indeed, it took examining over 15,000 individuals for the researchers to find any effect at all. Technically speaking, the effect size barely reached a level of mathematically discernible impact, let alone a clinically important effect.
If you want to eat organic foods, do so because you favor their taste or other qualities compared to commercially grown foods. Ignore marketing claims. Cut your risk of cancer by doing things that have an appreciable effect: Do not smoke, use alcohol moderately, exercise and keep your medical screening appointments.
Francis S. Gilbert
Fewer people bother
The elections are behind us. I can remember some high-minded good losers saying: “The people have spoken.” Any more, I am doubting.
Maybe, if we go with the Supreme Court’s reading that corporations are the people. Even before that, many categories were excluded from the privilege of being “people”: non-taxpayers, women, slaves. Every time we managed to erase some of those exclusions, we have found a way to skew the definition. Gerrymandering comes to mind. Now, we call it “Voter Fraud Acts” when we fraudulently exclude some people we don’t like.
We also have made it so expensive to campaign that only heavily imbursed, and thus corruptible, candidates can strive for higher office. Is it any wonder that fewer of the people bother? Especially those who care!
Hans H. Stroo
Regarding Thursday’s editorial that Oregon Democrats should use their state supermajority with care: Oh, yes, of course — just like the current president and the Republicans in the House and Senate have done at the federal level for the past two years.
Why is it that Democrats are expected to be compliant and nice to the opposition when they win, but Republicans can do as they please and scorch the earth? No more double standard and passivity. May the supermajority be used to provide justice for and do good for people in need in our communities.
While there are so many shortcomings in America’s shameful response to global warming, I find Ashland’s behavior especially disappointing.
How can a “progressive college town” support businesses that burn fossil fuels to heat the outdoors so people can sit outside and drink cold beer?