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From: "Steve Harris" <>
Subject: Re: NT Times on Gulf Vets Lou Gehrig's disease
Date: Tue, 11 Dec 2001 21:05:08 -0700

"John Mason" <> wrote in message
> An article in Tuesday's NY Times by Sheryl Gay Stolberg outlines a study
> indicating Gulf War veterans are twice as likely as other soldiers to
> suffer from the fatal disorder once called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
> (ALS).

If you look at incidence of 100 diseases you're bound to find one that gulf
war veterans suffer twice the incidence of.  This is not very good evidence
of cause and effect.

Now, show me dose-response and it's a different matter.  The more you smoke,
the more likely you are to get lung cancer. If the longer you served in the
gulf the more likely you are to get ALS, across a wide spectrum of exposure,
then that's something else again. In the mean time, don't get your knickers
in a twist.

Remember a few years ago somebody came out with the statistic that coffee
drinkers are twice as likely to get pancreatic cancer?  Well, in that study
they were.  Alas, one cup a day drinkers weren't any more likely than 10 cup
a day drinkers. No dose response. And, as it turns out, nothing real,
either.  Just the vagaries of post-hoc uncontrolled associational


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