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January 1, 1982

Cholesterol and Cancer-Reply

JAMA. 1982;247(1):26. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320260014008

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In Reply.—  The initial observation that Dr Heyden makes was also made by the authors of the Los Angeles VA study, which was mentioned largely for historical interest and by way of introducing the subject of the editorial. The same authors concluded that this observation "reduces the possibility that the feeding of polyunsaturated oils was responsible for the excess carcinoma mortality." Most statisticians would not accept Dr Heyden's subdivision of groups carefully established before the experiment, but if we pursue it a little further and simply examine those who adhered to either diet assignment more than 50% of the time, there were carcinomas found in only 5% of the control group as compared with 8% of the experimental group. While these numbers now lose statistical significance, they are not as reassuring to me as they may be to Dr Heyden. It should also be observed that there is no assurance,