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Obvious joke

No, it’s not actually a propensity for consuming large amounts of Guinness:

Men should be screened for the “Celtic gene”, scientists urge, as a landmark study finds it increases liver cancer risk tenfold.

It’s about excessive iron. Which does actually provide that link to Guinness as the old, bottled, stuff used to be prescribed as a treatment for anaemia, the opposite problem.

23 thoughts on “Obvious joke”

  1. My mother was advised to drink 2 small cans of stout each day when pregnant with my sister. She hated the taste at first, didn’t stop drinking it til my sister was at school…

  2. And as we all know ten times a trivial risk is still…

    At least the test should be relatively accurate, despite being probably PCR-based. Oh, wait, they want to screen the whole population?

  3. Ffs: Irish origin friend, heavy drinker was not screened for haemochromatosis(iron deposition in misceparts, sometimes precursor to liver cancer) despite repeated knee problems and ops. Finally picked up after his heart was affected. The NHS is incapable of picking up obvious problems.

  4. I was tested for this recently, after the doc found high levels of iron in a blood test. Apparently I’ve got the gene but not the disease. Which is a relief, as the only treatment is to have large quantities of blood extracted regularly – proper 18th century medicine. (It dilutes the iron, because the new blood you create doesn’t yet have the iron build-up)

  5. My mother was advised to drink 2 small cans of stout each day when pregnant

    So was mine ! She’s 87 now.

    Anyway in relation to the other thread, does this mean aborting by reason of potential Gingerness is approved ?

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    Men should be screened for the “Celtic gene”


    I don’t know if its a gene thing but we have a female Welsh friend who has to have regular blood removal because of too much iron. Until I talked to her I hadn’t realised how much of a problem it could be.

    Also, it wasn’t just anaemia, I remember my father being prescribed it in hospital after an operation.

  7. It’s rather fun. For at the bottom of the article itself it says women are less likely to have a problem with this. Less, not not. They lose iron through menstruation….

  8. Whilst young women are protected to some extent by menstruation, once they reach menopause or even have irregular periods that protection goes. What makes things worse is that the symptoms they feel are indistinguishable from iron deficiency. They then see adverts on TV and in magazines describing their symptoms and so they start taking iron supplements making things even worse.
    To get an indication that they might have the disorder all the GP needs to do it tick the “Ferritin” box on the blood test form. GP’s don’t as many don’t apparently know what that test is for. A high level is a strong indicator that can then be confirmed with a rather harder and less routine genetic test.

  9. Bloke in North Dorset

    Our friend only found out after the menopause. I don’t think she took iron by mistake, but TBH when women start talking about things like that I tune out. Come to think of it when women start talking I tune out:)

  10. So Much For Subtlety

    Tim Worstall November 25, 2020 at 9:42 am – “For at the bottom of the article itself it says women are less likely to have a problem with this. Less, not not. They lose iron through menstruation….”

    Not all women menstruate. Or is it not all those that menstruate are women? Possibly both. It is hard to keep up with the political demands on science these days.

    Celtic gene? So …. not all races are genetically more similar to each other than to individuals within the race? How frightfully interesting.

  11. My wife was advised to drink stout to help with her milk production. This was in the US only a decade ago. She doesn’t drink and hated it. I told her that medicine is supposed to taste bad. Of course I got to finish the bottle she could halfway through.

  12. ‘Men should be screened for the “Celtic gene”’

    Why? Suppose they have it. Sofuckingwhat?

    ‘scientists urge’

    Oh, well, if ‘scientists’ say it, it must be done.

    ‘as a landmark study’

    ‘Landmark’ means Telegraph approves.

  13. My mother was told by her Dr to drink a bottle of Guinness daily during both pregnacies and for three months after (1960s)

    I had (have) Polycythaemia and – treatment was three weekly venesection (blood draining). Became a PITA and seems to be gone now as my research suggested “consume less iron” which I did and bloods OK for year now. NHS had told me it was incurable and I’d need venesection for life
    [As usual: NHS – it’s alcohol, tobacco, pleasure]

    Genes: Dutch, Irish, Scottish

    PS Venesection of 400g (10 mins max) could only be done at hospital 15 miles away (and blood binned). GP Nurse wouldn’t do it, nor blood donor units
    NHS ‘best in world’? No, it’s sh1t

  14. So Much For Subtlety

    Pcar November 25, 2020 at 11:42 pm – “NHS had told me it was incurable and I’d need venesection for life”

    If you tell me they recommended leaches you will have made my week

  15. Gamecock, not junk science at all, that’s a pretty strong indicator that disorder follows genetics. It usually is with genetic stuff, causation rather less in doubt than some of the bullshit lifestyle-factors stuff, because you are continuously, unchangeably, and usually unknowingly exposed to your genes, whereas the guessing at the lifetime consumption of dietary craptothenic acid on the basis of a snapshot questionnaire is, to put it mildly, bullshit.

    The only problem with relative risks is they don’t consider the often huge number (definitely huge with liver cancer) who are unaffected by the change in the dependent variable.

  16. @SMFS
    Not much difference between blood draining/letting and leeches. I kept asking GP for prescription for venesection kit to DIY – refused. Leeches didn’t occur to me
    – DIY

    Mother’s family: all moderate to heavy drinkers. Uncle died age 46 liver cancer. Grandparents of old age in 80/90s. Rest alive and mum is 80, her siblings in 70s

    Genes: Irish, Scottish (pale & black/dark hair)

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