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UNC-CH study offers new evidence that garlic protects against cancers

lieve it has the same effect in humans, she said.

"After controlling for various risk factors, we found that when we pooled the results, this preventive effect was largely confirmed," Arab said. "We didn't have enough information to be able to say the same about garlic's possible effects on other forms of cancer."

Possible benefits of consuming garlic might be somewhat overestimated in the study by what is called "publication bias," Poole said. That is the well-documented tendency of scientists and scientific publications to publish positive findings more often than results showing no effect.

"We also found the various studies were more inconsistent than we would have expected," he said.

"This is speculation, but it might be that we saw no benefits from garlic supplements because the active ingredients are being destroyed in processing or by sitting on store shelves for a long time," Arab said. "Another possibility is that some of the people who turn to garlic supplements are sick already. That could skew the results."

The small number of studies that included garlic supplements also make conclusions about their effects more difficult to draw, Fleischauer said.

"Many scientists believe garlic helps prevent stomach cancer because it has anti-bacterial effects against a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, found in the stomach and known to promote cancer there," he said.


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Contact: David Williamson
rdtokids@email.unc.edu
919-962-8596
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2-Oct-2000


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