Thursday, January 24, 2008

Please stop the Vitamin E studies

Gee, this is so exciting ...
BBC NEWS | Health | Vitamin E 'may ward off decline': "Vitamin E may ward off physical decline in elderly people, research suggests."

I'm so tired of these case control studies fishing for results -- looks like they studied every possible vitamin in this one. Got a pub in JAMA and an article on the BBC and bloggers like me writing about it.

Just stop. There've been dozens (hundreds?) of these Vitamin E studies -- they never work out. On the other hand I recall some ominous results from studies of Vitamin E mega-dose therapy suggesting unexpected toxicity -- I liked that one.

I'm betting if there's any effect here that it's one or more of:
  1. Something else with which serum Vitamin E levels are correlated.
  2. Unrelated to diet; an expression of a genetic disposition associated with slower aging (but higher cancer rates).
  3. Completely spurious.
Whatever, taking Vitamin E supplements won't help.

Oh, and here's the really irksome part:
.... Lead researcher Dr Benedetta Bartali said... "Our results suggest that an appropriate dietary intake of vitamin E may help to reduce the decline in physical function among older persons."
Saying things like that should get a researcher banned from publication for two years. Heck, life. It's the academic equivalent of the "boiled frog" analogy. Just stupid.

Wake me up when there's a persuasive animal model experimental study.

1 comment:

JGF said...

I accidentally deleted an anonymous post, so I'll add it back myself.

The post pointed to this article: