Friday, May 25, 2007

Ginko, a million women and the A-bomb

Since we're talking about female hormones I wanted to point out the recent "million woman" study on the effects of HRT on the incidence of ovarian cancer published in the Lancet. The conclusion: "Women who use HRT are at an increased risk of both incident and fatal ovarian cancer. Since 1991, use of HRT has resulted in some 1300 additional ovarian cancers and 1000 additional deaths from the malignancy in the UK.". There had been many contradictory studies in the past, but this one by its sheer size is the definitive nail in that coffin.

If only we had other studies of this size looking at herbal supplements we could put a nail in that coffin too. Ginkgo, in the same journal, was proposed to have protective effects: "4.2% of 721 controls compared to 1.6% of 668 cases regularly used Ginkgo biloba for an estimated relative risk (and 95% confidence interval) of 0.41 (0.20,0.84) (p=0.01); and the effect was most apparent in women with non-mucinous types of ovarian cancer, RR=0.33 (0.15,0.74) (p=0.007). In vitro experiments with normal and ovarian cancer cells showed that Ginkgo extract and its components, quercetin and ginkgolide A and B, have significant anti-proliferative effects ( approximately 40%) in serous ovarian cancer cells, but little effect in mucinous (RMUG-L) cells." However the honorary baybs Lisa and Val pointed out in the latest issue of the NOCA newsletter (in the picture above), Ginkgo may also be intefering with metabolism of some chemo drugs.

Now all of this was a segway to a spanish youtube news clip I just watched. Now don't ask me why I would listen to such a thing, I am addicted to the internets. But the point is that it talked about how after the A-bomb went off in Hiroshima, the only trees that survived at the blast site were 4 ginkgo trees. Now the funny part was that they attributed that to the fact that ginkgo trees are very primitive (and they are primitive gymnosperms), and that they were around when oxygen content in the atmosphere was higher (also true, ever wondered how dinosaur could be so big) and that therefore they were good at fighting oxydative damage resulting from ionising radiation (????). And that therefore by taking supplements you could protect yourself from radiation!!! brilliant.