Thursday, 21 August 2008


Bad science reporting, and “disease of the day”

Here we go again:

According to a new study released by researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey, a firm link has been found between very common moisturizers and the development of skin cancer.

Researchers were led by Dr. Allan Conney from Rutgers University, as they ran a test on mice to see what type of effect these moisturizers had on their bodies.

They tested four common types, Dermavan, Eucerin, Vanicream, and Dermabase. What they found was that all four were linked to the development of skin cancer tumors on the mice tested in the study.
A “firm link,” huh? Before panicing, let’s Google up a better explanation of how the study actually worked[1]:
For the study, Conney's team exposed hairless mice to an extended period of UV radiation, which induced non-melanoma skin cancer. After stopping UV treatment, they applied four different common brands of skin moisturizers to the animals’ skin five days a week for 17 weeks.

The researchers found that mice treated with skin moisturizers showed an increased rate of tumor formation. In addition, there were more tumors on the animals treated with moisturizers than on the mice that were only given UV radiation.
So it appears (to this layman) that, based on this study’s findings, we can conclude:
  • If you already have skin cancer (or, perhaps, pre-cancerous UV-induced skin damage),
  • some of the ingredients in moisturizers promote tumor growth, or accelerate tumor development,
  • provided you’re a hairless mouse.
So far, that’s it. But it was instructive to look at how this (very preliminary) study has been covered in the press. For my findings, read on...


Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 21:36:29 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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