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Pioneering clinic points to new directions in cancer treatment

9 by / on 9 Jun 2015, / in cancer

As anyone who is involved with cancer knows, you have two options. Follow the standard, scientifically validated route – variations on surgery, drugs and radiotherapy – supported by proper clinical trials or venture into the unapproved, unlicensed territory of complementary medicine frequently described as quackery.

Caught in the cross-fire across a great divide

5 by / on 26 May 2015, / in cancer

When you are acutely, chronically or terminally ill, as I am, you will do all you can to live as well as you can for as long as you can and, when your options are genuinely exhausted, to die as well as you can too.

Less is more: How to save the NHS. Spend less on unnecessary drugs

10 by / on 18 May 2015, / in evidence based medicine

Here’s a radical idea. Why not use drugs for cases where they are appropriate, safe and effective. And don’t use them when they aren’t. Wild eh! It’s an idea that could save the NHS billions. Three clinicians I know are thinking along exactly these lines.

Your indispensable guide through the health advice jungle

4 by / on 7 May 2015, / in evidence based medicine

We are being doctored to death. GPs’ surgeries and public health bodies routinely warn of hazards lurking all around us. They tell us sunshine is bad. Drinking alcohol is bad. Cholesterol is bad. Saturated fat is bad. Being overweight is bad.

Lazy and irrelevant research used to smear vitamins as dangerous. Not again!

8 by / on 28 Apr 2015, / in vitamins

Yet another round of media stories this week picking up on an “expert’s” claim that vitamins are ineffective and dangerous. They are the medical equivalent of blaming immigrants or single mothers for various social ills; scare stories that spin the data and draw totally unjustified conclusions.

Governments are spending hundreds of millions researching cancer genes. Is it all a big waste of time?

5 by / on 2 Apr 2015, / in cancer

There is a powerful myth, widely believed by cancer patients and their doctors, that soon a greater understanding of genetics will provide the tools to defeat cancer. Unfortunately this optimistic scenario is in serious trouble, yet few are aware of what has been happening.
The data coming out of the latest American genetic screening program, a 500 million dollar project called The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) launched in 2006 – has revealed that the gene changes within the cells of individual tumours are far more complicated and chaotic than anyone had anticipated.

Cuddly dietitians in cosy embrace of industry fat cats

7 by / on 16 Mar 2015, / in Vested interests

If this blog included cartoons, the one illustrating this post would show a small mouse-like dietitian held in the fearsome claws of a vast and grinning fat cat wearing a suit covered in brand names such as Coca-Cola, Mars, Nestlé, Unilever Foods and WK Kellogg Institute.
The dietician’s speech bubble would read: ‘It’s OK I’ve got it under control.’ It would be captioned: ‘The delusion of the dietitians’.

The Myth of ‘False Hope’

28 by / on 12 Mar 2015, / in cancer

As a 48 year old wife and mother with late stage cancer in my lungs, lymph nodes, bones and brain I had been quietly hoping that Lord Saatchi’s Medical Innovation Bill would make it through the House of Commons – unusual as that outcome may have been for a private member’s bill. But hey, he got it through the Lords, had The Telegraph backing his cause and won considerable support in the country, so there was some cause for excitement.

Sacred cows dispatched at South African low-carb, high-fat summit

4 by / on 5 Mar 2015, / in high fat diet

Last month sounds of the slaughtering of sacred nutritional cows could be heard coming from Cape Town International Convention Centre in South Africa – the venue for the first International Summit on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) diets.

Among those forensically dispatched were such perennials of the dietitians’ lexicon as: obesity is simply the result of greed and sloth; calories in equal calories out (CICO, pronounced psycho); saturated fat causes heart disease, and type 2 diabetes is irreversible.

Keep statin supremo away from the missing side-effect data

27 by / on 19 Feb 2015, / in statins

The statin saga – do they help or harm? – took a fascinating new turn on Sunday when statin supremo Professor Sir Rory Collins confessed to the Express that he hadn’t actually done the analysis needed to uncover the true side-effect rate.

If you’ve been following this pharmacological soap, your response when you heard this was probably first amazed laughter, followed by outrage at the breath-taking hypocrisy and then, after a brief reflection, alarm at the implications.

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