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Why we shouldn’t believe New Scientist’s claim that supplements don’t work

6 by / on 7 Sep 2014, / in dementia, vitamins

Vitamins are attacked as being ineffective and possibly dangerous a couple of times a year in the press, usually following a study in a medical journal. The implication is that it is better to stick to drugs that have been properly tested and found to be safe and effective.
And a dietician usually adds that you won’t be missing out if you avoid supplement because you can get all the minerals and vitamins you need from a “healthy balanced diet” (HBD)… (Read More…)

Q & A: Almost totally bogus: the theory behind the low fat diet

2 by / on 31 Aug 2014, / in diabetes, low carb diet, low fat diet

Professor Richard Feinman is a biochemist who came late to nutrition. He was shocked by the poor quality of the science he found there. HIUK asked him about the background to his paper that calls for a major U-turn on the diet diabetics are advised to follow. (Read More…)

Twelve reasons why diabetes charities should ditch the low fat diet and recommend low carbs

5 by / on 31 Aug 2014, / in diabetes, low carb diet, low fat diet

If you know anything about nutrition, and especially if you have friends or people in your family with diabetes, you have probably wondered: Why are diabetics advised to follow a low fat diet?
It means you will eat lots of carbohydrates, which get turned into extra blood glucose. Odd surely when the key aim of diabetes treatment is to keep blood sugar low? … (Read More…)

Keeping my dad alert: an unconventional and successful approach to dementia

3 by / on 20 Aug 2014, / in dementia

When my father was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (which affects a different part of the brain from Alzheimer’s) a couple of years ago, his consultant advised my wife and me that there was no conventional medicine which could treat his condition. When we asked what we could do instead, her suggestion that we could explore “alternative” treatments … (Read More…)

Why evidence based medicine needs a major upgrade

4 by / on 3 Aug 2014, / in evidence based medicine

For years anyone involved in any kind of non-drug therapies has faced accusations that without the support of randomised clinical trials (RCTs) they lack an evidence base and so their work is worthless, quite possibly dangerous and even fraudulent.
That might be reasonable if the RCT was an accurate and reliable method for gathering an evidence base for all forms of treatment. (Read More…)

Five worrying questions about statins

11 by / on 18 Jul 2014, / in statins

So several million more people are going to be prescribed statins but the vigorous campaign to inject some sanity into statin use has bought into sharp focus the conflict of interests at the heart of our health system.

One is whether the risks of these drugs when taken by healthy people actually outweigh the benefit? What we do know is that the only data on this comes from the manufacturers themselves. Think banks being the sole source of information about payment protection insurance or relying entirely on energy company data to choose the best tariff. (Read More…)

Tackling Alzheimer’s: who benefits from current spending?

11 by / on 7 Jul 2014, / in dementia

Is putting all our eggs in the drug basket really the best way to beat Alzheimer’s? Just as we can’t rely on drug companies alone to beat antibiotic resistance, so we can’t rely on a pharmaceutical silver bullet for Alzheimer’s. Tackling antibiotic resistance needs heavy investment in drugs that will be used sparingly for a short time. The pharma model prefers drugs for as many people as possible for as long as possible. (Read More…)

Calories in = calories out: the zombie theory that won’t die

22 by / on 17 Jun 2014, / in low fat diet

Medical and other health professionals dealing with diet and nutrition are keen to stress that their advice is firmly evidence based, backed up by properly conducted research. It’s the thinking behind the proposal to make Weight Watchers available on the NHS.

But an investigation by one of our contributors Zoe Harcombe has discovered that there is no evidence supporting the most fundamental principle behind the advice they have been giving for decades about weight loss… (Read More…)

The statins wars: Another round and maybe some clarity

6 by / on 11 Jun 2014, / in statins

Don’t prescribe statins to any more people. That’s the clear message from a strongly worded open letter to the head of NICE and to the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt published today. If you groan at the prospect of yet more confusion over statins, this post might bring a bit of clarity. Please read on.

It’s the latest volley in long running battle about whether cholesterol lowering statins are a good way of cutting the risk of heart attack and death in virtually the entire population with vanishingly small number of effects or whether they don’t actually benefit most people and are quite likely to cause side effects that range from the unpleasant to the deadly.(Read more…)

Eminence based medicine defends the status quo on statins

27 by / on 22 May 2014, / in statins

Last week I was called by a friend who opened the conversation by saying: “So you were wrong about statins.” He was referring to the correction that the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has had to make in two papers that claimed statins have a high level of side effects. But I certainly haven’t recanted and started popping those pills.
Given the huge amount of attention this has attracted, the actual point being “corrected” is remarkably small. It is the kind of thing that would normally be dealt with by publishing a response to the article in the journal. I’ll come to the specifics in a moment but first a bit of context…. (Read more…)

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