Re: Jerry Falwell -- global warming is "junk science"

From: Janice Matchett <>
Date: Fri Feb 17 2006 - 16:11:18 EST

At 03:39 PM 2/17/2006, Don Nield wrote:

>>Why do some reject science so easily?
>There are at least 4 possibibilities.
>1. They may not understand science. They may not be able to make
>the proper inference from the statistical evidence. If 90% of lung
>cancer patients are heavy smokers and heavy smokers constitute less
>than 90% of the population, then that alone is strong evidence that
>smoking leads to an increase in the incidence of lung cancer. The
>fact that heavy smokers can play a form of Russian roulette with a
>good chance of success is irrelevant to the previous inference.
>2. Their emotions may prevent a rational assessment.
>3. The findings of scientists may be too threatening to them for
>various reasons (economical, political, religious, ...), so they
>ignore the findings.
>4. They may simply not trust scientists.

### Are you an expert on feeling threatened by certain findings of

The only ones playing a serious game of Russian roulette are the ones
who get the blood test that detects they are at especially high risk
of developing lung cancer, and go ahead and smoke anyhow (or don't
immediately quit).

  90% of the link between smoking and lung cancer has to do with
personal genetic susceptibility.

New blood test uncovers individual risk for lung cancer

Smokers carrying a newly found genetic marker are 5-10 times more
likely to fall victim to the disease than other smokers; 120 times
more than nonsmokers who don't carry the marker

Rehovot, Israel--September 2, 2003-- Scientists at the Weizmann
Institute have discovered a new genetic risk factor that increases
the susceptibility of smokers to lung cancer.

Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the
findings show that smokers who carry the newly discovered genetic
marker are around 120 times more likely to get lung cancer than
non-smokers who do not have the risk factor.

A simple blood test based on these findings will be able to detect
smokers who are at especially high risk of developing lung cancer.

The findings, made by Prof. Zvi Livneh and Dr. Tamar Paz-Elizur of
the Biological Chemistry Department, are a result of many years of
research conducted on the role of DNA-repair mechanisms in cancer.
The scientists focused on lung cancer, one of the most common and
most deadly cancers, responsible for 30% of all cancer deaths. In the
USA alone there are 160,000 new patients per year. Smoking is the
major cause of lung cancer, and 90% of hospitalized lung cancer
patients are smokers. However, only 10% of heavy smokers develop the
disease, suggesting involvement of a personal genetic susceptibility.
Livneh struck up a collaboration with Dr. Meir Krupsky of the Chaim
Sheba Medical Center to determine whether this susceptibility is
caused by a decreased ability to repair DNA damage.

Our DNA is damaged about 20,000 times a day by factors such as
sunlight, smoke and reactions within the body. If left unrepaired,
damages to the DNA can lead to cancer. Fortunately the body has a
stock of enzymes whose function is to repair DNA. These enzymes scan
the DNA and detect damage using sophisticated sensor systems. Upon
detection of damage, the enzymes perform an "operation" on the DNA,
cutting out the damaged part and replacing it with a new DNA part.
Thus the efficiency of the repair systems is critical for the
prevention of cancer.

Livneh and his team concentrated on a specific DNA repair enzyme,
called OGG1 (8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase 1). This repair enzyme
deletes DNA parts damaged by toxic molecules called oxygen radicals,
which are found in tobacco smoke. The team developed a new blood test
that enabled them to measure the level of activity of OGG1. Using
this method, the researchers found that 40% of lung cancer patients
have low levels of OGG1 activity, in contrast to only 4% of the
general population.

These and other findings published in the study show that low OGG1
activity results in high susceptibility to cancer: 5-10 times more
than those whose OGG1 activity is normal. Smoking increases this
risk, since it causes more damage for DNA repair enzymes, including
OGG1, to fix. Smokers who have a low level of OGG1 activity were
found to have the greatest risk of lung cancer, as much as 120 higher
than non-smokers with regular levels of OGG1 activity.

These findings suggest that a substantial portion of lung cancer
cases might result from a combination of smoking and reduced OGG1 activity.

If so, then screening smokers for low OGG1 activity will help them
make more informed decisions to stop smoking. Of course, even smokers
with normal OGG1 activity are at a greater risk of getting lung
cancer than the general population and the blood test will not ensure
that they don't get the disease. In addition, smoking causes other
types of cancer and cardiovascular diseases, whose relation to OGG1
activity is still unknown.

The Weizmann team also included Dr. Sara Blumenstein and Dalia
Elinger. Statistical analysis was conducted by Dr. Edna Schechtman
from Ben-Gurion University.

Prof. Zvi Livneh's research is supported by the Dolfi and Lola Ebner
Center for BiomedicalResearch, the Levine Institute of Applied
Science and the M.D. Moross Institute for Cancer Research.

Prof. Livneh is the incumbent of the Maxwell Ellis Professorial Chair
in Biomedical Research.

Contact: Alex Smith <>
212-460-0563 <>American Committee for the
Weizmann Institute of Science
Received on Fri Feb 17 16:11:31 2006

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