Referee Report Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Due to Diet

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Initially, when choosing an academic article to read and analyze, I wanted to choose something that I would be really invested in. Throughout my life, my grandfather has battled non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) and I wanted to research what are some possible onsets of this disease. Could it possibly be diet? Could it be hereditary? These are questions I intended to answer through my research.

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At the conclusion of my research, I narrowed my focus to one article, in particular, that used regressions from data collected to show the correlation between diet, among other things, and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. “Risk of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and Nitrate and Nitrite From Drinking Water and Diet” by Mary H. Ward, James R. Cerhan, Joanne S. Colt, and Patricia Hartge explores diet and other impurities we consume as humans in Iowa, Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles from 1998 to 2000.

While this study was initially done to observe nitrite and nitrate levels in water and diet in Iowa, Detroit, Seattle, and Los Angeles, Iowa was the only state observed whose nitrate levels were abnormal relative to the other states. Therefore, the study decided to isolate this state in their research and focus solely on Iowa’s diet and water composition. Nitrate is significant in this area because it is more rural, and most traces of nitrate come from fertilizer, waste, and air pollution. “This analysis was part of a population-based case-control study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma conducted in 4 4 Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) centers to investigate the role of environmental exposures in NHL risk.” (375) Water sources with over 70% nitrate levels since 1960 were studied. 117 item food questionnaires were used to determine how the population’s diet played a role in their health. “Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were calculated using logistic regression, adjusting for the study matching factors, education, and caloric intake.” (375) By the conclusion of the study, it was determined that there was no correlation between drinking water and NHL. There was also no correlation between vitamin c, red meat, and NHL. However, it was concluded that bread and cereal did hold significant value in determining NHL susceptibility.

There were many parts of this report that I was able to appreciate. There were a lot of numbers and scientific fact included in the research. This shows me that research was done prior to this and that the review of the research was very thorough. This shows me that this report was not only made for health economists, but scientists and researchers as well. I appreciated the way they used a complete list of residences and the times they lived at these specific residences. They also used very specific dates, different from just a calendar year, to group the population into certain age groups.

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