Tag: CVD

‘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 heart attack or stroke.

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



Why are so many doctors so stupid about nutrition?

By Marika Sboros

Why are doctors so stupid – particularly about nutrition? It’s a question one of my favourite scientist doctors, US physician Michael Eades, has asked.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself many times. More so recently after a ‘conversation’ with two paediatrician trolls on Twitter. (It was more like a testy, trivial exchange.)

These doctors live far apart – one in South Africa, the other in Canada. They could be twins when it comes to god complexes and willful ignorance about nutrition.

Of course, not all doctors are stupid when it comes to nutrition. And Eades says that stupid is not quite the right word to describe the dear medical souls who don’t know about nutrition. Ignorance is the word.



HAVE A HEART! WILL AHA OR COCONUT OIL KILL YOU?

By Marika Sboros

Heart associations worldwide tend instantly to raise researchers’ blood pressure into the stratosphere. The latest “Presidential Advisory” from the American Heart Association (AHA) is no exception.

The BBC reported it as branding coconut oil “as bad for you as beef lard and butter”. USA Today reported it as that coconut oil was “even worse than beef lard and butter”.

The advisory doesn’t actually say that. It does say that replacing saturated fat with “healthier fat” lowers cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. By healthier fat, the authors mostly mean polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) in refined, processed vegetable oils. They also say that coconut oil’s high saturated-fat content makes it a potential killer.

Should you believe the AHA just because it says so? You’re better off not believing the AHA precisely because it says so, say critics. They say that coconut oil won’t kill you but listening to the AHA might.



OBESITY? FORGET FAT – IT’S THE CARBS, STUPID!

 What has obesity to do with hearts? Lots. Icelandic cardiologist Dr Axel Sigurdsson spoke recently at a meeting mostly of cardiologists and endocrinologists.

He discussed, among others, the current status of diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease. And the possible relationship between fear of dietary fats and the obesity epidemic.

After the meeting, a senior colleague, an old friend and mentor, who Sigurdsson highly respects, lambasted him privately. The colleague said that the mortality from heart disease had dropped dramatically for the last 30 to 40 years. He said that was mostly from dietary changes to lower blood cholesterol. 

He was angry with Sigurdsson for asking: has the emphasis on low-fat food products ultimately steered us into an epidemic of obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes? Here, Sigurdsson explains how and why low-fat diets contribute to obesity and a whole lot more. – MARIKA SBOROS



Really! Statins side effects all in the mind?

By Marika Sboros

Are cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins really just victims of vested interests’ propaganda? Or is there something about these blockbuster drugs that gives grown medical men and women vision problems?  Can they really not see the scientific wood for the trees?

In the Lancet, UK researchers say that most people imagine the negative side-effects of statins. Co-author and corresponding author is Professor Peter Sever, of Imperial College, London. In a media report, Sever says that tens, if not hundreds, of thousands are dying from a deficiency of statins. If that sounds familiar, it’s probably because it is. His co-author is Professor Sir Rory Collins. Collins has often voiced similar sentiments.

Scottish GP Dr Malcom Kendrick hasn’t. Kendrick has a special interest in cardiovascular disease. In his latest blog post, he takes what he calls a ‘pretty forensic look’ at the Lancet study. From a scientific perspective, it is anything but pretty. 



FOR HEART’S SAKE, EAT SATURATED FAT: NORWAY SCIENTISTS

By Marika Sboros

Photo credit: mysza831 via Foter.com / CC BY

Norwegian researchers dispute the scientific pillar on which official dietary guidelines rest in most countries. It is the so-called diet-heart hypothesis that saturated fat causes heart disease.

The hypothesis just happens to be the pillar on which the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) rests its case against scientist Tim Noakes. It also lies at the heart of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) muting of orthopaedic surgeon Gary Fettke. AHPRA doesn’t want Fettke talking to patients about sugar now or ever again.

The Norwegian study is a small, well-designed, randomised controlled trial (RCT). Scientists consider RCTs the “gold standard” of research. The study authors say that a very-high-fat diet reverses obesity and disease risk. They also say that experts have greatly exaggerated alleged health risks of saturated fat for hearts. Here’s more:



TEICHOLZ EXPLODES FAT BOMBS IN NOAKES TRIAL

Nina Teicholz

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz with Prof Tim Noakes

By Marika Sboros

The Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) has a few problems in its prosecution of scientist Prof Tim Noakes. One is research showing that these diets deprive infants and children of much-needed fats and other vital nutrients during their most formative years. Another is the effects of low-fat diets on heart health. It isn’t what the experts want you to believe it is.

US investigative journalist Nina Teicholz presented this and other explosive evidence during her testimony as an expert witness for Noakes. That was at the HPCSA’s fourth session of the hearing against him in Cape Town on October 25, 2016.

In the first of a three-part series on her evidence, here’s what she had to say:



NOAKES TRIAL: ‘ANGEL’ HARCOMBE AIMS AT ITS HEART

Prof Tim Noakes with Dr Zoe Harcombe

Prof Tim Noakes with Dr Zoe Harcombe

By Marika Sboros

If South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes were enough to raise cardiologists’ blood pressure into the danger zone, British obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe’s could fell them with an instant heart attack.

Noakes once memorably called statins “the single most ineffective drug ever invented”.  In her evidence at the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) hearing in Cape Town, Harcombe called them “one of the biggest crimes against humanity that the pharmaceutical industry has unleashed”.

She also said health professionals have a duty to tell the public that advice the Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) gives is biased in favour of industry. Here’s why:



NOAKES: THE MAN HPCSA HOPES WILL NAIL HIM

screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-9-44-29-amBy Marika Sboros

Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) advocate Ajay Bhoopchand has spent nearly two days cross-examining Prof Tim Noakes. He hasn’t got far in achieving any major concessions.  He still has time, but will he really be the one to nail Noakes?

Bhoopchand is clearly keeping for last his attempt to force concessions from Noakes on two major studies on which the HPCSA has hinged its case against him. There are some big scientific hoops he’ll have  to go through before then.



NOAKES: ‘DOG DID NOT BARK’ – PROOF OF HIS INNOCENCE?

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-7-49-51-amBy Marika Sboros

There was more drama, intrigue and “silent dogs” on day one of the trial of South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes in Cape Town on October 17. Noakes resumed his evidence-in-chief and began to untangle what he believes the case against him is really about.

He also started to reveal just who he believes may be behind the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against him. For “DNA” proof, Noakes pointed to “the dog did not bark”. He fingered some usual suspects and more:  



NOAKES REALLY IS A ‘PUBLIC DANGER’ – CARDIOLOGISTS

By Marika Sboros

University of Cape Town cardiologists say Prof Tim Noakes is a true “cholesterol denialist”. They accused him of being one in a letter to the media in 2012. They say the accusation holds true and he’s a danger to the public.

Cholesterol and hearts are a major focus of the Health Professions Council of SA (HPCSA) case against Noakes, a medical doctor and UCT emeritus professor on a charge of unprofessional conduct. So are minds and all other bodily organs, of course. Also under the spotlight:



NOAKES TRIAL: COULD CARDIOLOGISTS BE AT ITS HEART?

By Marika Sboros

tim-noakesI’ve been thinking: could cardiologists be at the heart of the case against world-renowned scientist Prof Tim Noakes? The pun is intentional. Noakes really does seem to raise cardiologists’ blood pressure into the stratosphere with his views on low-carb, high-fat (LCHF).

Noakes’ trial on a charge of unprofessional conduct resumes in Cape Town from October 17 to 26. That was for two tweets saying good first foods for infant weaning are LCHF. In other words, he was advising meat, eggs, dairy and veg.

The Health Professions Council of SA, assorted academics and doctors (especially cardiologists), and Association for Dietetics in SA (ADSA) dietitians think that advice is rotten. Here’s what UCT cardiologists say about Noakes and his reply:



Statins insanity: Sir Prof Collins of Statinshire at helm

Photo credit: Phinzup via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Doctors, with UK professor Sir Rory Collins at the helm, say we should all pop statins like smarties. Even if our tickers are ticking along very nicely.

Others say that’s unadulterated, mad-scientist nuttiness. South African scientist Prof Tim Noakes calls statins ‘the single most ineffective drug ever invented’. 

Here, UK blogger Nick Mailer deconstructs the man he calls  ‘Collins of Statinshire’. It’s a fascinating, considered read – and harsh for good reason. Collins is his own worst enemy in the harsh way he deals with criticism from peers.  – Marika Sboros



Statins insanity: doctors hand over to drug companies

drugsWhat’s with all this wilful blindness in top doctors globally about the risks of statins? After all, evidence shows these blockbusters drugs are not effective for cardiovascular prevention. Claims about statins’ efficacy and safety are simply not evidence-based.

Oxford University’s statins researcher Prof Rory Collins appears oblivious to that. It’s as if he genuinely doesn’t know these drugs have done more for drug makers’ profits than patients’ wellbeing. British journalist Jerome Burne says Collins belongs to the ‘never apologise, never explain’ school of argument. Here, Burne explains the ‘bizarre history’. of statins. And just why it took 30 years for the increased risk of diabetes with statin use to emerge. It’s a brilliant read about the antics of drug companies and doctors in their thrall. – Marika Sboros



Sugar and hearts: how food industry still buys scientists

By Marika Sboros

sugarHere it is, straight from the scientific horse’s mouth: Industry-sponsored nutrition research, like research the tobacco, chemical, and pharmaceutical industries have sponsored, “almost invariably produces results that confirm the benefits or lack of harm of the sponsor’s products”.

It happens “even when independently sponsored research comes to opposite conclusions”, says Dr Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies and public Health at New York University. It continues to this day.

Her remarks come in an invited commentary in the JAMA Internal Medicine on a study in the same issue. The study shows how the US sugar industry began deliberately initiating, paying for and influencing research to shift the blame from sugar to fat as a major risk factor for heart disease 50 years ago. Here’s more:



Statins study? 21st century medical censorship, says Kendrick

By Dasemarcalvarez (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Scottish GP Dr Malcolm Kendrick starts off his post on the latest statins controversy with a great George Orwell quote: ‘If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’ Kendrick is author of The Great Cholesterol Con. He is scathing about the latest research on statins published in The Lancet. Lead author is Sir Rory Collins, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at Oxford University’s Clinical Trial Service Unit.

Collins and co-authors claim their research is the definitive answer to controversy surrounding safety and efficacy of the blockbuster drugs. And not just for secondary prevention – to prevent a second heart attack or stroke. They say statins are the effective for primary prevention as well – to prevent one from happening in the first place – even in otherwise healthy people. They say the debate is over because the evidence is overwhelming. Should you swallow that whole? Probably not, and not just because this study is industry-funded as the extensive DOI (declaration of interests) at the end shows. Here’s what Kendrick has to say. It’s another riveting read. – Marika Sboros



Is this proof evidence-based medicine is terminally ill?

Doctors money

Doctors and dietitians love to say the advice they dish out on diet is ‘evidence-based’. The evidence for that leaves a very bad taste in some researchers’ mouths. They say that in its current state, evidence-based medicine props up official dietary guidelines. These guidelines have contributed to the unnecessary suffering and premature deaths of millions worldwide. They say that in nutrition, evidence-based medicine (EBM) has done an excellent job – mostly of improving some scientists, doctors, dietitians and pharmaceutical and food companies’ bottom lines. 

US biochemistry professor Dr Richard Feinman is a vociferous critic of the current state of EBM and the influential US dietary guidelines that draw on it. Feinman is professor at SUNY (State University of New York) Medical School’s department of cell biology. He agrees that EBM is little more than ‘the position of experts on one lucrative side of a scientific conflict’. Here, he dissects EBM with surgical, scientific precision, to expose its inability to save lives from the growing pandemics of obesity and diabetes. – Marika Sboros.



CANADIAN STUDY SHEDS LIGHT ON WEIGHT LOSS, MEDICINE THAT ‘NO LONGER CURES’

light bulbIn Part One, South African doctors and dietitians say this small Canadian study isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. In the final Part Two, Foodmed.net  looks at why this research really does shed new light on weight loss and diabetes, despite what the critics say.

Though small and short-term, experts say it  is  part of a movement towards ‘pragmatic trials’ that blur the lines between science and clinical practice. The movement is a new paradigm to replace medicine that ‘no longer cures’ and instead produces ‘customers for the pharmaceutical industry’: