PRESS-NEWS.org - Press Release Distribution
PRESS RELEASES DISTRIBUTION

Interim report on UK alcohol industry's 'billion units pledge' is flawed say researchers

Experts raise concerns over analysis and question claims that pledge has been met

2015-03-25
(Press-News.org) The Department of Health's interim evaluation of an alcohol industry pledge to remove one billion alcohol units from the market is flawed, argue researchers in The BMJ this week.

Dr John Holmes and colleagues at the University of Sheffield's Alcohol Research Group say key assumptions within the analysis are "simplistic" and call for the report to be withdrawn and revised targets set.

In 2012, the UK government announced an industry pledge to remove a billion units of alcohol from the market by December 2015, as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, the government's flagship public health policy.

The pledge would be achieved, it said, "principally through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products."

In December 2014, the Department of Health produced its second interim report on progress towards meeting the pledge. It concluded that 1.3 billion units had been removed from the market as a result of the pledge between 2011 and 2013, exceeding the target two years early.

However, the research team argue that a closer look at the analyses and data that underpin this headline figure raises questions about how much of the recent changes in alcohol consumption are truly attributable to the pledge.

They believe the data used in the analysis "may not be fit for purpose, that the report makes simplistic assumptions about consumer responses to the pledge, and takes insufficient notice of confounding factors."

For example, they suggest a change to the way HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) recorded beer data and the introduction of lower taxes on lower strength beers may account for some of the estimated effect of the pledge.

An assumption is also made in the analysis that the pledge will lead people to simply drink the same amount of beer and wine but at a lower strength. The researchers argue this is simplistic and means the analysis will give misleading results.

Until these problems of data, plausible consumer responses, and confounding have been addressed, the researchers say they question the validity of the conclusion that 1.3 billion units have been removed from the market or that the pledge has been met.

They acknowledge that their critique "does not imply the billion unit pledge is bad for public health" but they claim that a lack of appropriate data means a rigorous evaluation of whether the pledge has been met may not be possible.

They recommend that the Department of Health "withdraws the 2014 interim report, requests stakeholders not to cite its conclusions, and reviews the evaluation approach." They also recommend the billion unit target "is abandoned in favour of measurable alternatives."

INFORMATION:



ELSE PRESS RELEASES FROM THIS DATE:

How to grow a human lung

2015-03-25
Scientists from the University of Michigan have grown the first 3D mini lungs from stem cells. The study, published in eLife, compliments other developments in the field such as growing mainly 2D structures and building lung tissue from the scaffold of donated organs. The advantage of growing 3D structures is that their organisation bears greater similarity to the human lung. The scientists succeeded in growing structures resembling both the large proximal airways and the small distal airways Lead author Dr Jason Spence says: "We expected different cells types to ...

Marketing, prescribing testosterone and growth hormone for aging is disease mongering

2015-03-24
(Boston) - The marketing, prescribing and selling of testosterone and growth hormone as panaceas for aging-associated problems is disease mongering. So assert Thomas Perls, MD, MPH, FACP, a geriatrician at Boston Medical Center and professor of Geriatrics and Medicine at Boston University School of Medicine; and David Handelsman, MB BS, FRACP, PhD, professor of Reproductive Endocrinology and Andrology, director of the ANZAC Research Institute, University of Sydney and Andrology Department, Concord Hospital. Their editorial is published in this month's Journal of the American ...

After learning new words, brain sees them as pictures

2015-03-24
WASHINGTON -- When we look at a known word, our brain sees it like a picture, not a group of letters needing to be processed. That's the finding from a Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, which shows the brain learns words quickly by tuning neurons to respond to a complete word, not parts of it. Neurons respond differently to real words, such as turf, than to nonsense words, such as turt, showing that a small area of the brain is "holistically tuned" to recognize complete words, says the study's senior author, Maximilian ...

Could a tampon one day help predict endometrial cancer? Mayo Clinic researchers say yes

2015-03-24
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Researchers at Mayo Clinic have shown that it is possible to detect endometrial cancer using tumor DNA picked up by ordinary tampons. The new approach specifically examines DNA samples from vaginal secretions for the presence of chemical "off" switches -- known as methylation -- that can disable genes that normally keep cancer in check. The finding is a critical step toward a convenient and effective screening test for endometrial cancer, which is the most common gynecologic malignancy in the United States. The results are published in the journal ...

NASA-funded mission studies the Sun in soft X-rays

NASA-funded mission studies the Sun in soft X-rays
2015-03-24
At any given moment, our sun emits a range of light waves far more expansive than what our eyes alone can see: from visible light to extreme ultraviolet to soft and hard X-rays. Different wavelengths can have different effects at Earth and, what's more, when observed and analyzed correctly, those wavelengths can provide scientists with information about events on the sun. In 2012 and 2013, a detector was launched on a sounding rocket for a 15 minute trip to look at a range of sunlight previously not well-observed: soft X-rays. Each wavelength of light from the sun inherently ...

NASA satellites catch 'growth spurt' from newborn protostar

NASA satellites catch growth spurt from newborn protostar
2015-03-24
Using data from orbiting observatories, including NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, and ground-based facilities, an international team of astronomers has discovered an outburst from a star thought to be in the earliest phase of its development. The eruption, scientists say, reveals a sudden accumulation of gas and dust by an exceptionally young protostar known as HOPS 383. Stars form within collapsing fragments of cold gas clouds. As the cloud contracts under its own gravity, its central region becomes denser and hotter. By the end of this process, the collapsing fragment ...

Are our schools damaging children's eyes?

2015-03-24
Over the last 30 years, short sight, or myopia, has become a global health problem. The most dramatic rise has been in Singapore, Taiwan, China's cities and elsewhere in East Asia. Rates can be as high as 80-90 per cent among children leaving secondary schools in the region. As many as a fifth of them have severe myopia and so are at high risk of eye problems in later life. In Western countries rates are increasing; although not as rapidly as in East Asia. The Myopia Mystery The cause of myopia, and the means to prevent it, are unclear despite more than 150 years of ...

Patients with asymptomatic pancreatic cysts do not need constant surveillance

2015-03-24
Bethesda, MD (March 24, 2015) -- A new guideline from the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) changes clinical practice by recommending longer surveillance periods for patients with asymptomatic pancreatic cysts and new criteria that limits surgery to those who will receive the most benefit. It is estimated that more than 15 percent of patients who visit a doctor's office or hospital outpatient department will receive an MRI or other type of scan,2 and of those, about 15 percent will have incidental pancreatic cysts. Once detected, these cysts trigger anxiety ...

CV organizations issue recommendations for minimally invasive valve treatments for children, adults

2015-03-24
Washington, DC (March 24, 2015) - As congenital heart disease (CHD) treatment advances, children with these conditions are living into adulthood, and over time, they may need additional treatment. A new expert consensus paper released today by the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), American Association for Thoracic Surgery (AATS), American College of Cardiology (ACC), and The Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS) provides guidance on transcatheter pulmonic valve replacement, or tPVR, for children and adults who were previously treated for CHD. Pulmonary ...

Second Tommy John surgery linked to performance decline, shortened career

Second Tommy John surgery linked to performance decline, shortened career
2015-03-24
DETROIT - Major League Baseball pitchers who underwent a second Tommy John surgery saw their performance decline and their career shortened, according to researchers at Henry Ford Hospital. In a retrospective, case-controlled study, researchers analyzed performance and longevity data of 33 pitchers who had a second surgery following the original elbow reconstruction between 1996 and 2012 and compared them with pitchers of similar age who had no prior Tommy John surgery. Key findings for pitchers after a second surgery: 65 percent returned to pitching at MLB level. On ...

LAST 30 PRESS RELEASES:

New research reveals a potential mechanism for how coffee may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes

Big firms are failing to reduce unconscious bias against disabled people

Does birth by cesarean section affect children’s academic performance and intelligence?

Can moderate dietary salt restriction help patients with hypertension?

How fisheries threaten seals and sea lions in South America

Does care during pregnancy differ based on patient race in the United States?

Are there sex-based differences in brain development during early childhood?

Boosting the effects of a particular microRNA may benefit patients with cervical cancer

Changing temperatures increase pesticide risk to bees

Research reveals substantial human cost of international COVID-19 travel and border restrictions

TMAC helping businesses prevent pollution

Early career honor for Wang

New animal welfare scoring system could enable better-informed food and farming choices

Science journals update guidelines after study highlights incomplete reporting of research

Study shows ‘obesity paradox’ does not exist: waist-to-height ratio is a better indicator of outcomes in patients with heart failure than BMI

The devil is in the details: Re-imagining fertilizer precursor synthesis

Unmasking the secret of broadly neutralising COVID-19 therapeutic antibodies

BetaLife and A*STAR Collaborate to develop next generation cell-based therapy for diabetes treatment

Endangered vulture returns to Bulgaria after being extinct for 36 years

Nine in 10 women enter pregnancy with at least one indicator that risks baby’s health

CABBI/GLBRC team explores leaf microbiome in perennial bioenergy crops

Turn off porch light to aid caterpillars — and safeguard backyard ecosystems

Anne Kornahrens, Hertz Foundation Director of Community, selected as delegate to International Younger Chemists Network Assembly

Novel drug makes mice skinny even on sugary, fatty diet

Department of Energy announces $150 million for research on the science foundations for Energy Earthshots

Turn up your favorite song to improve medication efficacy

Local manure regulations can help reduce water pollution from dairy farms

Analysis by NYUAD researchers offers new insights into causes of persistent inequities affecting non-white scientists and their research

New compact and low-cost lensless radiomicroscope developed for nuclear medicine imaging

Patients with baclofen pumps may safely undergo transcutaneous spinal stimulation

[Press-News.org] Interim report on UK alcohol industry's 'billion units pledge' is flawed say researchers
Experts raise concerns over analysis and question claims that pledge has been met