Discussing Medical Study Results

Posted on January 14, 2008  Comments (2)

Brazilian berry destroys cancer cells in lab, UF study shows:

“Acai berries are already considered one of the richest fruit sources of antioxidants,” Talcott said. “This study was an important step toward learning what people may gain from using beverages, dietary supplements or other products made with the berries.” He cautioned that the study, funded by UF sources, was not intended to show whether compounds found in acai berries could prevent leukemia in people.

“This was only a cell-culture model and we don’t want to give anyone false hope,” Talcott said. “We are encouraged by the findings, however. Compounds that show good activity against cancer cells in a model system are most likely to have beneficial effects in our bodies.”

Other fruits, including grapes, guavas and mangoes, contain antioxidants shown to kill cancer cells in similar studies, he said. Experts are uncertain how much effect antioxidants have on cancer cells in the human body, because factors such as nutrient absorption, metabolism and the influence of other biochemical processes may influence the antioxidants’ chemical activity.

The title the University of Florida gives the press release is misleading I think (even though true). But at least the text provides reasonable caution. We really need to make sure press releases (especially from Universities) don’t focus on hype. Universities need to be held their missions of education which includes helping the public understand science not confusing the public. Dr. Talcott’s page on the Açai berry. Universities are obviously more and more focusing on revenue instead of education – I am sure they will claim to support education… but they need to show that is true.

Related: Cancer Cure, Not so FastWhy Most Published Research Findings Are FalseEat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

2 Responses to “Discussing Medical Study Results”

  1. Curious Cat: Placebo Effect
    March 1st, 2008 @ 9:47 am

    “Another study from 2002 looked at 75 trials of antidepressants over the past 20 years, but looked only at the response in the placebo arms of the trials, and found that the response to placebo has increased significantly in recent years…”

  2. Curious Cat Science Blog » Do Breast Tumors go Away on Their Own?
    December 9th, 2008 @ 9:12 am

    As with so much medical research the results are not completely clear. Studies need to be followed by more studies, which often lead to more studies…

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