2 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 10, 1999 NATION!X ORLD
Study: breast cancer, fat unrelated
Doctors have long counseled women to lower their
Intake of dietary fat to reduce the risk of breast cancer,
arong other reasons, but a new study following tens
of thousands of women for more than 14 years has
found no relationship between fat consumed and
But the controversial finding is hard to accept for
some physicians and other scientists who believe that
the study is flawed.
"This is not a clinical trial, and you can never be
certain that the results are connected, because it is dif-
ficult to measure fat intake in such a study," said
Jacques Rossouw, deputy director of the Women's
Health Initiative of the National Heart, Lung and
Blood Institute. "Reporting is notoriously inaccurate."
The Nurses Health Study relied on the results of
self-reporting. The women, aged 30 to 55, answered
questionnaires about their eating habits every four
Harvard scientists have been studying 88,795 women
in the Nurses' Health Study since 1980. The study was
designed to follow healthy women over time to see who
gets cancer, heart disease and other illnesses and what
life factors may correlate with their conditions.
Michelle Holmes, the lead investigator of the new
findings that appear in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, said that they have now asked
questions about diet and fat intake four times during
the study period. Less than 1 percent of the women -
between 500 and 1,000 - consumed a low-fat diet in
"one study doesn't answer this question."
- Charles Hennekens
Chief of preventative medicine for Brigham and Women's Hospital
which 20 percent or fewer of the calories consumed
were derived from fat, and 20 cases of breast cancer
were detected among this group, Holmes said.
According to Holmes, their low fat intake had no
impact on their risk for breast cancer. In fact, the sci-
entists reported that their risk seemed to be 15 percent
higher than those eating an average Western diet,
although Holmes admits that the numbers are too
small to make it statistically significant. The
researchers also looked at types of fat ingested, and
again found no correlation.
Even Charles Hennekens, another investigator in
the massive epidemiological project and chief of pre-
ventive medicine at the Brigham and Women's
Hospital, agrees that the controversy is not resolved.
"The data is not complete" he said. "One study
doesn't answer this question."
Michael Thun heads epidemiology research at the
American Cancer Society in Atlanta and believes that
nutritional factors do play an important role, but sci-
entists have yet to unravel the complex relationship.
The notion that dietary fat was an important con-
tributor to breast cancer grew from population stud-
ies that found Asian women had far less breast can-
cer and their traditional diet was vastly different from
the American diet. Asians consumed only 20 percent
of their calories from fat. The Western diet is
between 30 percent and 35 percent. Also, animals fed
a high fat diet were prone to develop certain kinds of
Rossouw believes that the end of the debate may
come in the year 2005 when results from the Women's
Health Initiative are completed. Since 1993, almost
50,000 women were enrolled in a study to assess
women's health. Half the group has been following a
20 percent fat diet. "This will bring a totally different
interpretation to the table," Rossouw said. "We are
actually manipulating diet to see if it has an effect."
Moshe Shike, director of the cancer prevention and
wellness program at New York's Memorial Sloan-
Kettering, agrees. "This study may be important aca-
demically but not practically. We still recommend a
low-fat diet for optimal health"
Indeed, there is solid evidence that a high-fat diet
increases the risk for cardiovascular disease, and sci-
entists are still trying to figure out whether certain fats
are better for your health than others. For example, a
diet high in mono-unsaturated fats like olive oil has
been shown to have positive effects, while fats from
animal products are believed to be harmful.
AROUND THE NATION
RJR Nabisco to leave cigarette business
NEW YORK - RJR Nabisco Holdings Corp., the food-and-tobacco conglom-
erate whose brands include Camels and Winstons, Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers,
is getting out of the cigarette business.
RJR said yesterday it will sell its international tobacco business to Japan's
biggest tobacco company for $7.8 billion and spin off its domestic tobacco opera.
tions as a separate company.
The moves come amid rising legal challenges to cigarettes and falling
numbers of U.S. smokers - something tobacco opponents were quick to
"The tobacco industry is in deep trouble," said Ahron Leichtman, executive
director of Citizens for a Tobacco-Free Society.
RJR said its aim is merely to help the cigarette and food companies achieve
greater success as separate entities.
The $17 billion conglomerate has been under pressure for several years from
major stockholders to separate its food and tobacco businesses because the tobac-
co is considered a drag on RJR's stock. Some investors won't put their money in
any company that has tobacco holdings, out of either opposition to smoking or fea
that lawsuits will hurt profits.
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Utah senator targets
online alcohol sales
Amtrak bets future
on high-speed rails
NEW YORK - Amtrak unveiled a
new high-speed train yesterday that is
designed to whisk passengers at 150
mph between Washington, New York
and Boston and revitalize the railroad by
competing with airlines on such trips.
Named "Acela" to hint at both acceler-
ation and excellence, the new trains will
travel between Boston and New York in
three hours - an improvement of 90
minutes over the current trip - and from
New York to Washington in as little as 2
1/2 hours, a savings of a half-hour.
Service is to begin in November or
December, and Amtrak officials hope it
will be a model for similar trains in the
Great Lakes, the Gulf Coast, California
and the Pacific Northwest.
"We know we have a product here
that will absolutely knock the socks
off the competition," Amtrak
President George Warrington said at
a gala opening attended by more than
1,000 employees. "USAir, Delta,
General Motors, Ford, you name it,
only Amtrak's Acela will provide a
very special journey for customers
who will travel downtown to down-
In addition to pledging speed,
Amtrak promised an unparalleled
service. Acela's snub-nosed, silver-
and-turquoise trains will have busi-
ness-class seats with audio and power
jacks, special check-in areas and
concierge service, plus dining cars
with meeting tables, upgraded fo
and beer on tap.
surges with higher pay
WASHINGTON --The productivity
of American workers surged at the
fastest pace in six years at the end of
1998. Healthy gains in productivity
throughout the year gave Americans
their biggest after-inflation pay
increase in 12 years.
Productivity - the output per hour
of work of nonfarm, non-supervisory
workers - raced ahead at a 4.6 per-
cent annual rate during the final three
months of last year, driven by com-
puters and other high-tech innova-
tions. That was the best rate since the
fourth quarter of 1992 and even bet-
ter than the 3.7 percent estimated' a
month ago, the Labor Departme
WASHINGTON (AP) - A growing
number of minors are buying alcohol
on the Internet, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-
Utah) said as he called yesterday for a.
federal crackdown on interstate ship-
ments that violate state laws.
To open a Senate Judiciary
Committee hearing, Hatch, the panel's
chair, showed a video of a Utah news
story about a 13-year-old girl ordering
beer on her computer using an adult's
"If that does not bother you, it should,"
Hatch said. "There is something very
wrong with the level of control that is
being exercised over these sales."
Rep. Robert Ehrlich (R-Md.) said
that as the Internet has grown, so has its
use for the sale of alcohol. He said the
market in illegal sales of alcohol on the
Internet is $1 billion a year.
Hatch introduced a bill that would
toughen enforcement of existing laws
prohibiting the importation or trans-
portation of alcohol to minors. He said
it is a federal issue that should be han-
dled in federal court. The legislation
would grant state attorneys general the
power to file actions in federal court.
Supporting Hatch's position was
Wayne Klein, assistant attorney general
of Utah, who said federal help is needed
because modern technology has made the
fight tougher. But John De Luca, presi-
dent and chief executive officer of the
Wine Institute, said the bill would hurt
small wineries that depend on the Internet
as the only means of selling their product.
AROUND THE WORLD
Continued from Page 1
and homemade potatoes that have made the restaurant a favorite will stay. "But we
are going to add more variety of salads and pastas."
Porikos said some of these changes will be based on customer approval.
"We will run specials and see what people like" he said.
But Porikos said prices should remain "pretty much" the same.
"I know the student body and faculty want to see reasonable prices and good
food," he said.
LSA sophomore Mark Sherer said he hopes the modifications will be minimal,
explaining that he considers the current furnishings and food at the Brown Jug to
be "part of the college mystique.
"It's down scale and comfortable," he said.
Porikos said he will try his hardest to "keep close to the character" of the restau-
rant. "I am not going to do anything drastic,' he said.
accuse Dalai Lama
BEIJING -In the runup to the 40th
anniversary of an uprising against
Chinese rule in Tibet, senior Chinese
leaders have attacked the Dalai Lama
as the source of all trouble in Tibet and
charged that he was lying when he
recently expressed wiiiingness to hold
negotiations with Beijing.
China also has tightened security on
its southern border with Nepal and
India to prevent anti-Chinese demon-
strations in Tibet, according to Chinese
and Nepalese press reports. Security in
Tibet's capital, Lhasa, was said to be
tight, with police manning checkpoints
and being particularly vigilant with
Tibetan monks, who comprise the van-
guard of the Tibetan independence
movement in China.
The Chinese broadside against the
Dalai Lama was launched last week by
Raidi, the chair of the People's
Congress of Tibet, and Legqog, the
head of Tibet's government. Both men,
who each use only one name, were in
Beijing for the yearly meeting of the
National People's Congress, China's
The Dalai Lama "is the chief repre-
sentative of the feudal serf system,"
declared Raidi, who has said th
before Tibet was invaded by Chines
Communists in 1950 he lived as a
slave. "Under his rule, the Tibetan peo-
ple were reduced "to animal status."
acquitted of crime
PARIS - Former prime minister
Laurent Fabius and another form@
'minister were acquitted of manslaugh-
ter yesterday in the cases of seven peo-
ple given AIDS-tainted blood transfu-
Former health minister Edmond
Herve was convicted in two of.the
cases, one fatal, but the sentence was
AIDS patients immediately decried
the verdicts, rendered by a special
court composed of 15 legislators and
- Compiled from Daily wire reports.
Continued from Page 1
Rep. Jon Jellema (R-Grand Haven)
said one problem with the new method
is that the data upon which the four tiers
are based is reported differently by each
university, which causes inconsisten-
cies in funding.
"What the hearings allow is for the
universities to come in and present that
information in its most favorable light,"
Rae Goldsmith, a spokesperson for
Central Michigan University President
Leonard Plachta, said the committee
members should factor the presidents'
presentations into the final budget
determination - but not rely solely on
administrators' requests. Plachta
addressed the committee at last
"The hearings are a necessary part
of the process, but they're not the
only part of the process," Goldsmith
But several factors have made this
year's hearings a more important means
for legislators to gain a full perspective
on the universities' needs, Goldsmith
"It is especially complex this year,"
Goldsmith said. "Not only do you have
a new proposal, but because of term
limits, you have a lot of new lawmakers
on the committee."
kM sp -Ri'sa
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