You may not be what your mother eats
A new study appearing in The Prostate has found that certain measles virus vaccine strain derivatives, including a strain known as MV-CEA, may prove to be an effective treatment for patients with advanced prostate cancer. The findings show that this type of treatment, called virotherapy, can effectively infect, replicate in and kill prostate cancer cells.
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Researchers S. Stanley Young, Ph.D., Assistant Director of the National Institute of Statistical Sciences, Heejung Bang, Ph.D., of Cornell University and Kutluk Oktay. MD, FACOG, Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Director, Division of Reproductive Medicine & Infertility Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology from New York Medical College, wrote a paper, “Cereal-Induced Gender Selection? Most Likely a Multiple Testing False Positive,” which has been published in the January 14, 2009 online issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The paper questions the claims made by Mathews, Johnson and Neil (2008) in their article “You are What your Mother Eats” that was published in the April 22, 2008 Proceedings of the Royal Society B, and generated over 50,000 Google hits due to media interest.
Young, Bang & Oktay note that the original research by Mathews, Johnson & Neil implied that children of women who eat breakfast cereal are more likely to be boys than girls. Young, Bang & Oktay assert that the result of the original study is easily explained as chance. Young, Bang & Oktay examined the data sets from the original study and noted that 132 food items were tested for two time periods, totaling 264 statistical tests.
With this many tests, it is quite likely that some apparent statistical significance will occur simply by chance.
At the standard significance level of 5% (that is, there is 5% chance that the data will show an effect even when there is none), the 264 tests will yield approximately 13 false positives unless the analysis is adjusted to account for multiple testing. Young, Bang & Oktay argue that this is precisely what happened.
“This paper comes across as well-intended, but it is hard to believe that women can increase the likelihood of having a baby boy instead of a baby girl by eating more bananas, cereal or salt. Nominal statistical significance, unadjusted for multiple testing, is often used to lend plausibility to a research finding; with an arguably implausible result, it is essential that multiple testing be taken into account with transparent methods for claims to have any level of credibility,” note Young, Bang & Oktay.
The use of human papillomavirus (HPV) DNA testing as an initial screening step followed by triage with a standard Pap test (cytology) and repeat HPV DNA testing may increase the accuracy of cervical cancer screening, according to a study in the Jan. 13 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute. Compared to
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A baby girl about to be born in Britain will be the first to have been screened for a breast cancer causing gene. The baby’s mother, is due to give birth soon to the first British baby to have been screened to be free of a gene which can cause breast cancer. The baby’s parents
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Experts say Australia needs a national screening policy for Down syndrome as research shows it could halve the number of babies born with the genetic condition. Currently access to tests that help detect if a foetus has Down syndrome varies widely across states, between urban and rural areas, and public and private patients resulting in
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Confectionery giants Mars and McVitie’s have come under fire in the UK for misleading the public about some of their products. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have criticised both manufacturers for television advertising which implied that Maltesers were a low calorie snack and that Jaffa Cakes were low in fat. The ASA, Britain’s watchdog for
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A new method of characterizing breast lesions found during an MRI exam could result in fewer biopsies of benign tumors with the benefits of reduced pain and expense for patients and providers, according to a paper that will be presented (Sunday, Nov. 30) at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).
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