Europe Is Going Downhill Fast

Grind for October 30th, 2018
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” Anne Frank

Check The Label

The Headline

New research suggests a common blood pressure medication could increase your risk of lung cancer

The Grind

Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor drugs (or “ACEIs”) are prescribed to patients struggling with high blood pressure.

ACEIs are generally considered safe when taken for short periods of time, but scientists have theorized they could increase a person’s risk of lung cancer by producing a buildup of peptides in the lungs.

The Details

To learn more about the link between ACEIs and lung cancer, scientists from McGill University in Canada analyzed the medical records of nearly 1 million people who started taking blood pressure medication in 1995-2015.

Patients were tracked for about 6 years – during which time about 8,000 of them were diagnosed with lung cancer. The team compared the prevalence of lung cancer in patients taking ACEIs against those taking another type of medication: angiotensin receptor blockers (or “ARBs”).

Taking into account factors such as age, BMI, tobacco use, and family history, the team determined that patients taking ACEIs had a 14% higher risk of developing lung cancer than patients taking ARBs.

The risk seemed only to occur in patients who had taken the drugs for 5 years or more. For those who had taken ACEIs for 10 or more years, the risk of lung cancer was 31% higher.

“These small relative effects could translate into large absolute numbers of patients at risk,” wrote Professor Laurent Azoulay, who urges others to conduct further studies on the subject – especially regarding patients who took the drugs for more than 10 years.

This study is important considering the widespread use of ACEIs, but the potential risks of developing lung cancer must be balanced against gains in life expectancy as a result of lowered blood pressure.

Misplaced Priorities

The Headline

In Europe, free speech excludes blasphemy against Muhammed

The Grind

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday decided that free speech does not allow for insults against Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.

Clearly Europe does not believe in free speech the way we do.

Defamation against Muhammad “goes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate,” wrote the court, “and could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace.”

The Details

The ruling marks the culmination of a case pertaining to an Austrian woman who claimed that Muhammad’s marriage to a 6-year-old girl was akin to “pedophilia.”

According to Islamic texts, Muhammad consummated the marriage when he was 50 (or older) and his wife was 9. Muhammad “liked to do it with children,” said the woman during two seminars in 2009. “What do we call it, if it is not pedophilia?”

In 2011, she was convicted by a Vienna court and fined $547 for “disparaging religious doctrines.”

The woman, identified as E.S., claimed her comments about Muhammad were part of a public debate and should not be considered defamation.

Not to mention her right to freedom of expression.

But the court insisted her comments were presented without historical context and were not phrased in a neutral manner. Her comments were classified as an “abusive attack” on Muhammad that was designed to stir up indignation among Muslims. The ruling was upheld by an Austrian appeals court before traveling to the ECHR.

The problem here is that Europe is more concerned with preserving religious peace than it is guaranteeing the right to free speech – a basic right that should have no exceptions.

In the meantime, Europe’s Muslim population is growing at such a rate that it could become the majority in just two or three generations.

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