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Policy on Alzheimer’s: sure we want a cure, just so long as it’s not cheap

18 by / on 6 Aug 2015, / in dementia

Do you believe there is a new drug for Alzheimer’s just over the horizon? That there is no truth in the popular idea that B vitamins might cut your risk of getting this dreadful disease?
Well you are wrong on both counts but it’s not your fault, you’ve quite reasonably fallen for some very sophisticated marketing. Let me explain.

Statin cheerleader Sir Rory Collins plans to examine himself. It could prove painful

32 by / on 22 Jul 2015, / in statins

Professor Sir Rory Collins, the austere director of the institute in Oxford that produce much of the evidence supporting the increasing use of cholesterol –lowering statins, is in hot water once more. Last week he declared that he intended to investigate himself.

How evidence based medicine is failing patients. What needs to be done to fix it

15 by / on 10 Jul 2015, / in evidence based medicine

It’s no secret that there are serious problems with the practice of scientific evidence based medicine (EBM). It’s obviously a good idea to have a system for ensuring treatments are safe and effective. But as a defence against dangerous or poor drugs, the working of our current one makes the pre-crash banking regulation look rigorous.

Are statins the new cancer killers or is the claim overhyped rubbish?

8 by / on 19 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.

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

5 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?

6 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.

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