Monday, March 9, 2009

Duffy, George & the Tely

Not a red-letter day for the Tely's Cheers & Jeers. They beat a couple of dead horses and offer some humour-challenged jokes:

This one in particular stood out:
"Jeers: and while we're talking about Senators and hot air, can someone please convince Conservative Senator Mike Duffy to stop talking until he has something to say worth hearing? When asked about Senator Baker's "separatist" comments about in Ottawa last week, he made a crack to the effect that Baker's hair dye must be seeping into his brain. Is this what we're paying these people for? Gee, Senator Duffy, that's an intelligent, insightful observation. And your mother wears army boots."

I've already posted my response on their web site:
How is an unelected senator making a crack about hair dye worse than a newspaper editor making a crack about a senator's mother wearing army boots? Senators wield extremely little real power and are usually ignored by the Canadian public. If nothing else, Duffy has accomplished the rare feat of generating attention to what goes on in the chamber of sober second thought. In just a few weeks, Duffy has done more for the cause of Senate reform (if not outright abolition) than a whole newsroom full of wise-cracking editors.

But then I got to thinking...maybe the Duffster is on to something. Maybe there is a possible link between the use of hair dyes and a whole host of health problems.

It turns out that there is. And we still know remarkably little about the long-term effects of heavy hair-dye use. According to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2007:

"Previous studies have suggested an association of personal hair dye use with bladder and hematopoietic cancers. Risks for brain tumors are not well understood. The authors investigated associations between use of synthetic hair dyes and risk of brain tumors in a hospital-based case-control study. The study included adults newly diagnosed with glioma (n = 489), meningioma (n = 197), or acoustic neuroma (n = 96) between 1994 and 1998 at three urban US hospitals and 799 controls. Odds ratios were estimated and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using unconditional logistic regression. Detailed exposure histories were obtained by interview. There was no consistent pattern of elevated odds ratios for glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma with use or prolonged use of permanent, semipermanent, temporary, or gradual hair dyes. Although use of permanent brown hair dye for 20 or more years was associated with glioma among women, the estimate was imprecise (odds ratio = 3.8, 95% confidence interval: 1.2, 12.5) and was based on just 13 exposed cases; thus, this could be a chance finding. Overall, there was little consistent evidence for an association of synthetic hair dye use with glioma, meningioma, or acoustic neuroma. However, prolonged use of dark-colored permanent dyes warrants further investigation given the high prevalence of hair dyeing."

For the full article, see:

And here I was thinking that the Duffster's only contribution was bringing attention to the antics in the august chamber of Parliament. Not only has he (along with Curious George, of course) made a compelling case for Senate reform, he has also made a case for further research into the health effects of hair dye.

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