Articles by: Jerome BurneJerome Burne

Statin flash: 10 reasons to say no + statistical fiddling spotted

10 by / on 14 Sep 2014, / in statins

Arriving at the debate on statins run by the Guild of Health Writers last week , I was very amused to discover that the redoubtable Professor Sir Rory Collins, arch champion of statins for-all and hammer of the BMJ, had declined to appear when told that indefatigable statin critic Dr Malcolm Kendrick, was speaking . Perhaps he’s realised his style of steamrollering critics is a PR disaster. … (Read More…)

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…)

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

8 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…)

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

30 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…)

Eminence based medicine defends the status quo on statins

29 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…)

Statin advice from the Wizard of Oz

9 by / on 25 Mar 2014, / in statins

There is a whiff of the Wizard of Oz about the advice on statins that we’ve been getting for years. It comes in the form of ringing pronouncements from behind a curtain that all is well… (Read more…)

SOS: Sanity over Statins – CTT the house of statin secrets

8 by / on 4 Mar 2014, / in statins

Should a professional body, however eminent, be allowed to keep information about the safety of products they are supplying to public hidden so no one else can run tests on them? (Read more…)

Drug killing 10,000 in UK every year. How could you tell?

3 by / on 12 Feb 2014, / in evidence based medicine

Last week an email containing what looked like a great story arrived in my inbox – drug kills 800,000 in Europe in 5 years! A quick check revealed that that this was no wild or dodgy claim. It was based on research by a cardiologist at Imperial College Professor Darryl Francis, just published in the European Heart Journal.(Read more…)

Science and the great biomedical lottery

6 by / on 22 Jan 2014, / in evidence based medicine

Unfortunately for the rest of us today’s medical research is not driven by an abstract search for objective truth but by the need to produce a product. Unless there is a drug at the end of promising new line of research it’s unlikely to attract funding from the biggest payers – the drug companies. Instead it will be parked with the comment that it needs more research, the funding for which will be virtually impossible to obtain, however effective it is. (Read more…)

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