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RESEARCH ETHICS By Kristie Sullivan, M.P.H.
ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION FAILURES
Mice Fail to Predict Human Inflammation
Studies of inflammatory diseases in mice have been misleading researchers for years, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers analyzed data obtained from human patients who had suffered severe blunt trauma, burns, and sepsis (the body’s severe response to infection) and other inflammatory diseases. They found that the way in which humans respond to inflammation is “not reproduced in the current mouse models.” This could explain why more than 150 drugs that were tested in mice failed in patients with sepsis. The study’s authors concluded: “New approaches need to be explored to improve the ways that human diseases are studied.”
Seok J, Warren HS, Cuencac AG, et al. Genomic responses in mouse models poorly mimic human inflammatory disease. PNAS. Published online before print February 11, 2013.
NONANIMAL RESEARCH METHODS
Largest Japanese Cosmetics Maker Shiseido Abolishes Animals Testing
Shiseido, Japan’s largest cosmetics manufacturer, announced that it will stop animal testing for products developed beyond April 2013. It will ensure the safety of its products through data from past experiments, in vitro tests, and other nonanimal methods. The company says it will still allow animal testing to determine the safety of products already on the market and in some countries where animal testing is legally required.
NUTRITION by Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.
Dairy Products Increase Risk of Prostate Cancer
Dairy products can increase the risk of prostate cancer, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers tracked data from 21,660 participants in the Physicians Heath Study for 28 years. Those who consumed more than 2.5 servings of dairy products per day were at a 12 percent increased risk of prostate cancer, compared with those who consumed less than half a serving (one serving equals an 8-ounce glass of milk or 2 ounces of cheese). For skim milk, men were at increased risk for early stage prostate cancer. For whole milk, men drinking more than 1 glass per day had double the risk for fatal prostate cancer, compared with men drinking less. The authors concluded that this study further adds to the connection between dairy intake and prostate cancer.
Song Y, Chavarro JE, Cao Y, et al. Whole milk intake is associated with prostate cancer-specific mortality among U.S. male physicians. J Nutr. 2013;143(2):189-196.
Threefold Increase in Alzheimer’s Disease
The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) will jump from 4.7 million to 13.8 million by 2050, according to a new report in Neurology. The aging of the “baby boom” generation will lead to a tripling of AD dementia for people ages 65 years and older unless preventative measures are implemented. Numbers were estimated from U.S. Census Bureau data.
Hebert LE, Weuve J, Scherr PA, et al. Alzheimer disease in the United States (2010-2050) estimated using the 2010 census. Neurology. Published ahead of print February 6, 2013.
Vegetarian Diet Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Vegetarians have a lower risk of heart disease, according to a new study in the March issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Researchers followed 44,561 men and women in England and Scotland and found that the vegetarians were 32 percent less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart disease, compared with those who ate meat products (red meat, poultry, and fish). The vegetarians were also slimmer and had lower total cholesterol and blood pressure.
These findings are consistent with other large population studies showing vegetarians have less incidence of and death from heart disease.
Crowe F, Appleby PN, Travis RC, Key TJ. Risk of hospitalization or death from ischemic heart disease among British vegetarians and nonvegetarians: results from the EPIC-Oxford cohort study. Am J of Clin Nutr. Published ahead of print January 30, 2013.
Dairy Linked to Acne Development
Dairy products and foods with a high glycemic index are the leading causes of acne, according to a review published in the March issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Researchers examined the evidence between acne and diet and found that certain products, particularly cow’s milk, produce and stimulate hormones linked with acne. The association does not seem to be related to the fat content of milk, as low-fat milk had an even greater association with acne compared with high-fat milk. This study supports the findings in PCRM’s 2009 published review of diet and acne.
Burris J, Rietkerk W, Woolf K. Acne: the role of medical nutrition therapy. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113:416-430.