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Real Versus Hyped


It seems like everything these days can increase a person's risk for cancer — bacon, red meat, chemicals in soda. But a new study in Lancet Oncology finds that constantly worrying about what could ruin your health could, in itself, ruin your health, says Forbes contributor Trevor Butterworth. "Why? Very simply, the more the media reports on hypothetical cancer risks, the more you are likely to ignore actual avoidable cancer risks," Butterworth adds.

The paper's author, cancer researcher Bernard Stewart, says that there is a consensus on the kinds of lifestyle choices people can make to lower their risk of certain cancers — not smoking, eating a healthy diet, exercising, not lying in the sun, and so on. But focusing on causes of cancer like pollutants or chemicals in food, and making "assessments of the carcinogenicity of particular chemicals are of little assistance in prevention of cancer," Stewart adds. "Anxiety concerning insidious cancer causation could divert attention from proven means of cancer prevention."

Does this mean, Forbes' Butterworth adds, that "most people simply ignore the Muzak of risk because that's what risk has become, constant, cheap and derivative, like bad television?"

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.