Tag: CVD

Malhotra takes aim at heart of media statin support

By Marika Sboros

The Guardian newspaper in the UK has been haemorrhaging readers for years.

The newspaper’s recent uncritical support for medical orthodoxy and dogma around diet, nutrition, drugs and cardiovascular disease hasn’t helped. Its treatment of ongoing controversy around cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins is raising red ethical flags.

Britain’s leading cardiologists, Dr Aseem Malhotra, is demanding that The Guardian retract its online article by health editor Sarah Boseley. Under the headline Butter nonsense: rise of the cholesterol deniers, it aims right at the heart of Malhotra’s credibility and professional integrity.

Malhotra has lodged a written complaint with The Guardian’s editor in chief, Katharine Viner. He has included the UK’s Independent Press Standards Organisation’s Board and Complaints Committee.



TRUMP: OFFICIALLY OBESE, SHORTER … AND MORE!

By Marika Sboros 

It’s official. US President Donald Trump is obese and shorter than he claims to be.

Trump physician Sean Conley has released his patient’s latest physical exam results. Despite (or perhaps because of) the results, Conley declared Trump to be in rude, good health.

He also predicted that Trump’s “good” health would continue throughout his presidency. And forever after.

Conley is the first psychic physician to serve the White House incumbent. His medical crystal ball, however, is faulty.



STATINS REVIVAL: PACT WITH DEVIL OR DRUG INDUSTRY?

By Marika Sboros

If you think robust evidence of serious health risks has dealt a terminal blow to the billion-dollar statin industry’s heart, think again. Statins are still the world’s most prescribed drug and the drug industry’s most profitable medicine ever.

In a new meta-analysis in The Lancet, UK scientists attempt CPR on the drug’s ailing reputation. They want doctors to prescribe statins to more people over 75. They say that doing so will save 8000 lives annually. (That’s after some experts calling for doctors to put just about everyone, including children, on the drugs.) The authors also claim that statins produce “significant reductions in vascular events (heart attack and stroke) irrespective of age”.

Independent researchers say those are false claims and the study is riddled with terminal errors. They also say the authors remain hopelessly conflicted with long-term links with drug companies. 



FIBRE: WHOLEGRAIN STAFF OF LIFE TO HALT EARLY DEATH?

By Marika Sboros

A large New Zealand-led study on health benefits of dietary fibre is making waves in scientific circles.

The authors of a meta-analysis in The Lancet claim “enormous protective effects” from eating more fibre found in wholegrain bread, cereals, pasta, nuts and pulses. They say it significantly cuts  risk of heart disease and premature death.

They say that a high-carb, high-fibre diet also protects against type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. And that we should all eat between 25-29g of fibre a day, preferably more. They call their study “good news” for high-carb, high-fibre diets and “bad news” for “fashionable” (ie “faddish”) low-carb diets. They say it’s a “defining moment” that should be “written in stone” in public health policy.

Such scientific certainty has raised eyebrows among other experts. They say it’s a “false message to the public”.



High blood pressure: your doctor’s ignorance the real disease?

By Marika Sboros

Can you turn something into a disease just by giving it a fancy Latin title? Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick says you can.

High blood pressure is just one example. Most medical doctors don’t know what causes high blood pressure in their patients, says Kendrick. At medical school, they learned that in most cases – around 90% – they’ll never know the cause, he says.

That percentage is probably higher, says Kendrick. But whatever the number, he says it’s rare to find a clear, specific cause. Here’s the real problem of the medical profession’s ignorance about causes of high blood pressure, as he sees it: Most doctors are not very good at admitting when they haven’t a clue about something. And haven’t ever been.



HARVARD PROF: COCONUT OIL ‘PURE POISON’! WHAT NEXT?

By Marika Sboros

First, they came for low-carb diets. Then they came for coconut oil. What will Harvard scientists come for next?

Harvard epidemiology professor Karen Michels has sent social media into overdrive with her claim that coconut oil is “pure poison”. She also called it “one of the worst foods you can eat”.

Cardiologists and other experts globally called those comments “unscientific” and ignorant. Others have rather rudely dismissed her comments as total ‘BS’. Michels is facing calls to apologise publicly and retract her claims.



Diet-heart hypothesis: zombie or written in scientific stone?

By Marika Sboros

The diet-heart hypothesis is a curious creature. To some scientists and physicians, the hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease is a zombie. Despite all the stakes they drive deep into its heart, it just won’t die.

To others, it’s written in scientific stone. That’s even when supporters, such as Harvard nutrition and epidemiology professor Walter Willett, call it “incomplete” and “overly optimistic” in its classical form.

The hypothesis hovered in the wings at a groundbreaking conference in Zurich, Switzerland in June. That’s when it wasn’t taking centre stage. Willett and others vigorously dispute the notion of any terminal hole in the diet-heart hypothesis.



Saturated fat causes heart disease? Pure bollocks – Kendrick!

Quick! If your doctor or dietitian still says you should eat a low-fat diet for your heart’s sake, find another one. In the final of a two-part series, Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick explains why so many doctors and dietitians dish up junk about cholesterol.

And why everything the experts have been telling you about saturated fat, its impact on LDL, and its impact on CVD is – frankly – ‘complete bollocks’. – Marika Sboros



LDL FAT HEART PUZZLE: KENDRICK SOLVES IT!

Some find it puzzling that cardiologists still tell patients to avoid saturated fat like the plague. And that they also tell patients to lower their levels of so-called “bad” LDL cholesterol.

It’s as if cardiologists don’t know that there isn’t such a thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. And that LDL isn’t cholesterol at all. Never was, as Scottish GP Dr MalColm Kendrick explains in this two-part series. 

Kendrick has a special interest and clinical experience in cardiovascular disease over decades. He is a voice of sanity in a mad scientific debate. Here, Kendrick explains why saturated fat can’t “cause” heart disease by raising blood LDL cholesterol levels. And why there are more important things to worry about for your heart’s sake.  – Marika Sboros



PHC FINALLY LAYS LOW-FAT DIETS TO REST! Part 2

By Marika Sboros

Are you on a low-fat, high-carb diet because your doctor or dietitian says that it’s “healthy”?

That’s “fake news”, says Scottish professor of metabolic medicine Iain Broom.

You are part of an “uncontrolled global experiment” over 40 years.

It is one that has had “disastrous” results for people across the planet, Broom said.



Vitamins: Kendrick on which ones you really need and why!

Confused about which vitamins to take or if you need to take any at all? You are not alone. Just ask Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick. Kendrick is a heart specialist as well as a GP, author, speaker and sceptic. That doesn’t mean he calls himself a cardiologist.

However, he knows a lot more than most cardiologists know when it comes to the real causes of heart disease. He also knows more than many doctors about the effects of diet on heart and overall health.

In this feature, Kendrick meant to write about stress, mental health and heart health. Instead, he says that people keep asking about vitamin supplements. So he looks at which ones really are likely to make a difference to your health. And he looks at why the pharmaceutical industry is so keen to persuade you not to take vitamins. You may be in for a big surprise. – Marika Sboros



TAKE DINICOLANTONIO WITH MORE THAN A PINCH OF SALT!

VITAL SIGNS

By Marika Sboros

Dr James DiNicolantonio, a US cardiovascular research scientist, is up next in Foodmed.net’s Vital Signs Q&A series of personality profiles. He shows why the US legal profession’s loss has been the health profession’s gain.

DiNicolantonio once wanted to be a lawyer but his parents steered him into the family tradition of pharmacy.

He is also a doctor of pharmacy at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, an associate editor of British Medical Journal’s (BMJ) Open Heart and a mythbuster of note.

He is perhaps best known these days as author of The Salt Fix. It’s a seminal book that dashes to death the low-salt myth. In it, he provides fascinating new understanding of salt’s essential role in our health and what happens when we aren’t getting enough salt. And why that has far-reaching, even heart-stopping, implications.



IRISH ‘FAT EMPEROR’ FORGES NEW PATH TO BEATING HEART DISEASE

VITAL SIGNS

By Marika Sboros

Irish engineer Ivor Cummins, aka the Fat Emperor, is a man on a mission. In our Vital Signs Q&A series of personality profiles, Cummins reveals the roots of his popular alter ego. Through the lens of the muscular Fat Emperor, he looks at best predictors of and treatment for heart disease.

Spoiler alert: cholesterol means nothing compared to more important measures of risk. Cummins is currently working on a scanner that can rapidly detect heart disease risk. It can also weed out those who don’t need any treatment at all. He covers much else besides, including diabetes, fatty liver disease, dementia and more.

As well, Cummins shows that Fat Emperor is a metaphor for the corporate power that funds science and has grown fat on keeping dangerous dogma going. Therefore, he gets down and dirty on deceit as ‘central in the nutrition science world’. 



HEALTHY EATING – NOT ALWAYS GOOD FOR YOU?

Healthy eating sounds like it’s a given that it’s good for you. Not always. Healthy eating can stimulate orthorexia nervosa. It’s the psychological term for an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with healthy eating. It literally means ‘ fixation on righteous eating’.

Those who write the ‘Bible’ of psychiatric disorders, DSM-5, don’t recognise orthorexia nervosa as a clinical diagnosis. However, doctors and dietitians say it’s not unusual. It also appears to be more prevalent among vegetarians and vegans.  At heart, it’s about a fixation on food quality and purity. 

Australian cardiologist Dr Ross Walker has a medical practice in Lindfield, on the upper north shore of Sydney.  One of his areas of expertise is preventative cardiology. Walker has published seven best-selling books on preventative cardiology. He also lectures nationally and internationally on the topic.  Here’s what he says about whether healthy eating is really always good for you – Marika Sboros



CARNIVORE QUEEN: HACKER O’HEARN ON MAGIC OF MEAT

VITAL SIGNS

By Marika Sboros

Today, Foodmed launches Vital Signs, an occasional series of Q&A interviews with those forging new paths in nutrition science globally. Along with top doctors and scientists, we also feature ordinary mortals. These are the brave lay people who make up the wisdom of the crowds. They usher in bottom-up change from eminence-based to genuinely evidence-based medicine.

First up is Canadian-born US-based carnivore and artificial intelligence hacker L Amber O’Hearn who lives in Colorado. O’Hearn is a data scientist by profession. She is also a singer, writer, mathematician who has been researching and experimenting with ketogenic and evolution-based diets since 1997.

O’Hearn has put her day job aside to focus on researching, writing, and speaking about nutrition. She is an author at The Ketogenic Diet For Health and Empirica and has no qualms about going carnivore. And yes, she eats some of her meat meals raw. And no, she’s not aggressive as a result of being a dedicated carnivore. Here’s what drives her dietary habits:



KENDRICK ON INUIT, NOSEBLEEDS, HEART DISEASE

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick says there is good reason that the Inuit of Canada had frequent nosebleeds but zero heart disease. Kendrick is an author and a sceptic. He has also studied cardiovascular disease for decades.

Thus, he knows as much, if not more, about heart disease than many cardiologists. He knows all the theories of causes and best treatment options.

Consequently, he is no fan of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins. Kendrick wroteThe Great Cholesterol Con. If you haven’t read it, I advise you to do so now for your heart’s sake. Here’s why Kendrick says that the diet-heart and lipid hypotheses are ‘the perfect shapeshifters’.  – Marika Sboros



LOW-FAT: EXPERTS KEEP ZOMBIE MYTH ALIVE

The low-fat diet for heart disease and other serious chronic diseases is a zombie myth, say the experts. Those who keep it alive remain devoted to the diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease.

No one has yet proved the hypothesis. Thus, it is currently unscientific. 

You wouldn’t know it from the reaction of many doctors and dietitians to the PURE study. Although associational, PURE is yet another nail in the low-fat coffin. Yet many ‘experts’ have a vested interest in keeping the low-fat myth alive. 

Here, Australian GP Dr Joe Kosterich speculates on why. And shows why it’s time to give it a decent burial. – Marika Sboros



‘PURE’ PROOF FATS DON’T KILL, DIETARY GUIDELINES WRONG?

By Marika Sboros

Major new research, the PURE study, is creating controversy about dietary guidelines globally. It shows that the more fat you eat, including saturated fat, the lower your risk of dying from heart disease.

And the more carbohydrates you eat, the higher your risk of premature death.

PURE (Prospective Urban Rural Epidemiology) cohort study,  is the largest ever investigating links between carbs, fats, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death. Thirty-seven researchers looked at dietary habits of 135,335 people in 18 countries over five continents with an average follow-up of 7.4 years. They are calling for changes to the guidelines. They say that the much-disputed cap on dietary saturated fat (no more than 10% of energy intake) is wrong.

Critics say PURE proves that low-fat diets are as lethal for hearts as low-carb experts claim. Others say PURE shows no need for change and doesn’t exonerate saturated fat.



Low-Carb Companion: a new best friend for life

By Marika Sboros

Low-carb books are not yet a dime a dozen but they are weighing down shelves in bookstores and in cyberspace. The Low-Carb Companion should fly off those shelves.

The author is reason enough to buy it. Zimbabwean Dr Austin Jeans is a specialist sport, exercise and lifestyle medicine physician in Harare.

He has been involved in lifestyle aspects of orthodox medicine for over 25 years. However, it took his own deteriorating health and family history of type 2 diabetes to drive him in new directions.

It set him on the journey of discovery that he documents in this book. Like many doctors, he swallowed whole the dogma on diet and disease that he learned at medical school. And when he came across compelling evidence to the contrary, he did the decent scientific thing. He admitted that he had it all wrong. If something about his story sounds familiar that’s because it is.



Loneliness – as lethal for body as for mind

Loneliness – the word reeks of sadness and longing. Language created it to express the pain of being alone. So said German-American existentialist philosopher and theologian Paul Tillich.

Tillich distinguished loneliness from “solitude”, which he said expresses “the glory of being alone”.

Research shows that loneliness is not only a psychological issue but a medical one.

Here, Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson explains why loneliness can affect the main organs associated with feelings: hearts and minds. He shows why it really is possible to die from a broken heart. 

In other words, the reality of psychosomatic medicine. He also contextualises the Roseto effectIt’s the term for the phenomenon by which a close-knit community experiences a reduced rate of heart disease. Sigurdsson delves into how and why loneliness really can be lethal. – MARIKA SBOROS