evidence based medicine

Sons of statin: How the new arrivals narrowly missed disaster

8 by / on 1 Dec 2014, / in evidence based medicine, vitamins

Last month two new cholesterol lowering drugs stepped into the limelight at AHA’s (American Heart Association) annual conference. Neither is likely to make it to market until the end of next year but soon after that they are likely to be coming to a doctor’s surgery near you.

The hidden cause of costly vitamin deficiency among older people

4 by / on 21 Nov 2014, / in evidence based medicine, vitamins

A new, as yet unpublished, study shows that the elderly are very likely to seriously lack vitamin D, raising their risk of broken bones. What’s more care homes rarely offer supplements. Making the situation even worse are the cocktails of prescription drugs that many of these patients swallow daily.

Statin wars: You thought it was about the evidence – Chief Scientific Advisor says you’re wrong

1 by / on 22 Oct 2014, / in evidence based medicine, statins

Regular readers of the “Statin Wars” soap that we’ve been following here for several months will be eager to know the result of the survey sent to members of the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS) last month. (Read More…)

Why evidence based medicine needs a major upgrade

5 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…)

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…)

Companies claim drugs’ side effects are commercial secrets

1 by / on 7 Jan 2014, / in evidence based medicine

One of the comforting myths about the powerful drugs used in modern medicine is that they are prescribed on the basis of good scientific evidence. Proper randomised clinical trials, we are regularly assured, compare them with a placebo and the results can tell us which are safe and effective.
However this is an illusion. For nearly thirty years drug experts have known that there was a major flaw in this assumption, which doctors and the agencies set up to regulate drugs have chosen largely to ignore. (Read more…)

How the British Heart Foundation chose to ignore clear evidence of the dangers of stanols for cholesterol lowering

6 by / on 4 Oct 2013, / in evidence based medicine

Last month, I wrote a blog post about how there was no evidence that cholesterol-lowering ‘stanols’ and ‘sterols’ (found in some margarines and other ‘functional foods’) have benefits for health. In fact, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) whose job it is to assess the effectiveness of treatments, have explicitly stated: “People should not routinely be recommended to take plant sterols and stanols for the primary prevention of [cardiovascular disease].”

Bad Medicine: Diabetic Medication

10 by / on 3 Oct 2013, / in evidence based medicine, low carb diet

Type 2 diabetes is a modern plague largely brought on by lifestyle and is considered a progressive, non-reversible condition. The polypharmacy of chronic disease is the drug industry’s lottery win, and no more so than in diabetes, with new drugs and the increasing use of analogue insulin in type 2 diabetes worth tens of billions of pounds worldwide.

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