Dietary supplements are often seen as part of a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes the benefits are debatable.
Dietary supplements are often seen as part of a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes the benefits are debatable.

New clinical trials dampen anti-cancer hopes for selenium



It would help combat prostate cancer. It had the power to fend off skin melanomas. It was even purported to rid humans of dangerous toxins entering the food chain through the oceans' fish. But now it appears that the almost magical powers of the supplement selenium could be nothing more than a myth.

New research from Germany's Institute for Transdisciplinary Health Research, in Berlin, casts serious doubt over long-established claims made for the powers of selenium. The Cochrane Systematic Review of 55 previous studies focused on evidence of links between selenium exposure and cancer risk. Re-assessing the results of observational studies has led the researchers to conclude that selenium alone cannot be cited as the cause of a lower cancer risk in case subjects. A further review of randomised, controlled trials also failed to confirm that taking selenium supplements reduced cancer risk.

"It's a really sad thing about selenium," concedes Dr Helen Rippon, head of research management at the UK Prostate Cancer Charity (www.prostate-cancer.org.uk). "All the initial laboratory data seemed to suggest it could be particularly useful in combating prostate cancer, but when it came down to the really big human-based trials it just didn't cut it."

Until the latest findings, the news for selenium, a mineral found naturally in Brazil nuts, red meat, fish, and grains, had been very positive. It became popular as a supplement in the late 1990s because researchers believed it could help prevent cancer - prostate in particular.

As recently as 2009, one study hailed selenium for it's ability to protect Inuits in northern Canada from the potentially harmful effects on their white blood cells from PCB toxins in fatty fish. At the other end of the earth, Australian researchers reported in the April 2009 Abstract of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention that high levels of selenium in the blood could halve a person's risk of skin cancer.

In Britain that year, scientists even discussed "sowing" selenium into the food chain - as an additive to farm fertilisers - to boost the population's intake of a nutrient that the media reported could "reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer".

But later in 2009 a study of more than 35,000 men published in the Jama, the journal of the American Medical Association, showed that taking a 200 microgram supplement of selenium a day did not protect against prostate cancer, nor any other cancer for that matter. Even worse were follow-up reports from the US suggesting that taking selenium pills over a number of years could upset the body's ability to metabolise sugar and so increase the risk of diabetes in some men in particular.

Rippon believes that selenium is just one of a number of dietary supplements that have hit the health headlines in the past more through media hyperbole and marketing than creditable research. "So many of the claims about supplements add up to nothing," she says. "But because human nature dictates that we want a shortcut approach to things, even our health, there's always a big push in press whenever a possible 'cure-all' pill is hinted at.

"In truth, only a balanced, nutritious diet will help reduce the risk factors associated with many of these killer diseases. It's boring so it's not newsworthy I guess, but eating healthily with a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables is the key."

In the German review of selenium studies some of the most reliable data suggested that organic selenium might reduce the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. But even then, the authors concluded that among people who are adequately nourished, there was no convincing evidence that adding supplements would prevent cancer.

The latest findings on the failings of selenium supplements are mirrored by results from a trial of 300 men with a high risk of prostate cancer by Canadian urologists. Published this month, the study also found that a combination of selenium, vitamin E and soy in a supplement had no significant effect on the risk of developing the illness.

According to Rippon, the results of supplement trials are often seized upon and linked to possible "cures" before there is any credible evidence. "Just because something kills cancer cells in a Petri dish in a laboratory doesn't mean it will work elsewhere. Washing-up liquid could kill cells in a dish but that doesn't mean you want people to take it.

"What I'd like to see is for the supplement-makers to pour millions of pounds into long-term cohort trials stretching over 20 or 30 years and looking at how people taking supplements fare in the long term compared with those who don't. Then we'd really have something to work with."

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.

Scoreline

Real Madrid 1
Ronaldo (53')

Atletico Madrid 1
Griezmann (57')

MATCH INFO

Uefa Champions League semi-final, first leg

Barcelona v Liverpool, Wednesday, 11pm (UAE).

Second leg

Liverpool v Barcelona, Tuesday, May 7, 11pm

Games on BeIN Sports

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

The specs: 2018 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Cabriolet

Price, base: Dh429,090

Engine 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission Seven-speed automatic

Power 510hp @ 5,500rpm

Torque 700Nm @ 1,750rpm

Fuel economy, combined 9.2L / 100km

Sarfira

Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5

MATCH INFO

Manchester City 3 (Silva 8' &15, Foden 33')

Birmginahm City 0

Man of the match Bernado Silva (Manchester City)

EA Sports FC 24

Developer: EA Vancouver, EA Romania
Publisher: EA Sports
Consoles: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4&5, PC and Xbox One
Rating: 3.5/5

Army of the Dead

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera

Three stars

Company profile

Name: WonderTree
Started: April 2016
Co-founders: Muhammad Waqas and Muhammad Usman
Based: Karachi, Pakistan, Abu Dhabi, UAE, and Delaware, US
Sector: Special education, education technology, assistive technology, augmented reality
Number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Growth
Investors: Grants from the Lego Foundation, UAE's Anjal Z, Unicef, Pakistan's Ignite National Technology Fund

The nine articles of the 50-Year Charter

1. Dubai silk road

2.  A geo-economic map for Dubai

3. First virtual commercial city

4. A central education file for every citizen

5. A doctor to every citizen

6. Free economic and creative zones in universities

7. Self-sufficiency in Dubai homes

8. Co-operative companies in various sectors

­9: Annual growth in philanthropy

FIGHT CARD

Featherweight 4 rounds:
Yousuf Ali (2-0-0) (win-loss-draw) v Alex Semugenyi (0-1-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Benyamin Moradzadeh (0-0-0) v Rohit Chaudhary (4-0-2)
Heavyweight 4 rounds:
Youssef Karrar (1-0-0) v Muhammad Muzeei (0-0-0)
Welterweight 6 rounds:
Marwan Mohamad Madboly (2-0-0) v Sheldon Schultz (4-4-0)
Super featherweight 8 rounds:
Bishara Sabbar (6-0-0) v Mohammed Azahar (8-5-1)
Cruiseweight 8 rounds:
Mohammed Bekdash (25-0-0) v Musa N’tege (8-4-0)
Super flyweight 10 rounds:
Sultan Al Nuaimi (9-0-0) v Jemsi Kibazange (18-6-2)
Lightweight 10 rounds:
Bader Samreen (8-0-0) v Jose Paez Gonzales (16-2-2-)

Our family matters legal consultant

Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

THE SWIMMERS

Director: Sally El-Hosaini

Stars: Nathalie Issa, Manal Issa, Ahmed Malek and Ali Suliman 

Rating: 4/5

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat 

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Washmen Profile

Date Started: May 2015

Founders: Rami Shaar and Jad Halaoui

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Laundry

Employees: 170

Funding: about $8m

Funders: Addventure, B&Y Partners, Clara Ventures, Cedar Mundi Partners, Henkel Ventures

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

Hotel Silence
Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
Pushkin Press

England's lowest Test innings

- 45 v Australia in Sydney, January 28, 1887

- 46 v West Indies in Port of Spain, March 25, 1994

- 51 v West Indies in Kingston, February 4, 2009

- 52 v Australia at The Oval, August 14, 1948

- 53 v Australia at Lord's, July 16, 1888

- 58 v New Zealand in Auckland, March 22, 2018

AWARDS

Best Male black belt: Lucas Protasio (BRA)
Best female black belt: Julia Alves (BRA)
Best Masters black belt: Igor Silva (BRA)
Best Asian Jiu-Jitsu Federation: Kazakhstan
Best Academy in UAE: Commando Group, Abu Dhabi
Best International Academy: Commando Group, Abu Dhabi
African Player of the Year: Katiuscia Yasmira Dias (GNB)
Oceanian Player of the Year: Anton Minenko (AUS)
European Player of the Year: Rose El Sharouni (NED)
North and Central American Player of the Year: Alexa Yanes (USA)
Asian Player of the Year: Zayed Al Katheeri (UAE)
Rookie of the Year: Rui Neto (BRA)Rui Neto (BRA)

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: Terra
Started: 2021
Based: Dubai
Founder: Hussam Zammar
Sector: Mobility
Investment stage: Pre-seed funding of $1 million

Bridgerton season three - part one

Directors: Various

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Jonathan Bailey

Rating: 3/5

COMPANY PROFILE

Name: Haltia.ai
Started: 2023
Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends

COMPANY PROFILE

Company name: ASI (formerly DigestAI)

Started: 2017

Founders: Quddus Pativada

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Artificial intelligence, education technology

Funding: $3 million-plus

Investors: GSV Ventures, Character, Mark Cuban

STAR WARS JEDI: SURVIVOR

Developer: Respawn Entertainment
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Consoles: PC, Playstation 5, Xbox Series X and S
Rating: 4/5

Company profile

Company name: Tuhoon
Year started: June 2021
Co-founders: Fares Ghandour, Dr Naif Almutawa, Aymane Sennoussi
Based: Riyadh
Sector: health care
Size: 15 employees, $250,000 in revenue
Investment stage: seed
Investors: Wamda Capital, Nuwa Capital, angel investors


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