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September 20, 2006

Good news on the emissions front

Good news on the emissions front. Or should I say on the front emissions?

A couple of years ago, a study conducted in India found that increased consumption of fizzy drinks was associated with an increase in "gullet" cancer -- which I assume is Brit-speak for the esophagus. Why? A British researcher remarked: "Carbonated drinks cause burping and some reflux. These drinks are also acidic and will bathe the lining of the oesophagus as they are swallowed."

Yesterday, however, the Washington Post, which I want you to know is absolutely the highest medical authority in the world, noted (second item) that Dutch researchers had made the following finding: "Burping does not raise your risk of cancer." (That sentence, by the way, is possibly the most wonderful sentence I've ever read in the Post.)

What I don't understand about the Dutch study is the researchers' methods. The Post says: "To provoke belching, Dutch researchers infused air into the stomachs of 12 healthy individuals and 12 who had GERD [gastroesaphogeal reflux disease]." What a wasted effort! They could have done the study with much greater ease had they simply used teenaged boys, who don't need any artificial infusion of air.