PubMed searches 20 August 2004
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Nicholas Bennett,
Infectious Disease Postdoc/Clinician
Department of Pediatrics, University Hospital, Syracuse NY

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Re: PubMed searches

If you put "Breast Cancer Television" into PubMed you get 119 entries. Does that mean that television causes breast cancer?

Diagrams of the caspase cascade are freely available online.

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/Area_of_Interes t/Life_Science/Cell_Signaling/Scientific_ Resources/Pathway_Slides___Charts/Caspase_Cascade.html

There are also proper explanations of oxidative stress.

http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/Area_of_Interes t/Life_Science/Cell_Signaling/Scientific_R esources/Pathway_Slides___Charts/Oxidative_Stress.html

By comparison putting "HIV AIDS thymus" (a better association than breast cancer and television) into pubmed throws up 222 papers. It just demonstrates how a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, and how carefully one must construct search criteria. EBV and mononucleosis pulls up 1152 papers, HIV AIDS pulls up nigh on 60,000 papers - far too many to realistically answer any question you might want to pose.

Oxidative stress may induce apoptosis, but the two are not synonymous or necessary any more than oxidation is with cell stimulation. You can induce cell death by UV irradiation (189 pubmed references), but does that mean that all cell death is caused by UV irradiation...? Both are common problems associated with multicellular respiring organisms on Earth and the fact that (in excess) they may feed into programmed cell death is practically 'a priori'.

I have never said that oxidative stress isn't important, but I have always questioned the level of importance attributed to it by the Perth Group (i.e that it causes AIDS whereas HIV does not).

Competing interests: None declared