Could you improve your cancer treatment by following a very low carbohydrate diet? Do statin studies really show they are more likely to harm than help you, if you haven’t already had a heart attack? These are just two of the questions raised by two articles in a new blog I’ve helped to create, which has just launched today – the answer to both questions, by the way, is yes.
It’s a site called HealthInsightUK.org where I’ve teamed up with a number of other bloggers who are also not convinced about the claims of effectiveness and safety of certain drugs, especially those given out in large numbers for prevention.
We also believe that if you have a disorder caused by the lifestyle, then it makes sense to give you serious and effective support to change it rather than rapidly reaching for the prescription pad. The tag line for the site is “Looking for sane solutions”.
Each contributor is a well-established blogger. You may well have read them or even follow them. They include Dr John Briffa who takes a very sane approach to diet and regularly does forensic analyses of why you should be very wary of certain drugs along with Dr Malcolm Kendrick, who has been doggedly explaining for years why taking statins to prevent a heart attack is not at all sane. Once considered very eccentric, it’s a view that’s becoming increasingly main stream.
Then there’s nutritionist Zoe Harcombe who has an impressive grip on the details of why some dietary advice is sane – cut your carb intake – while others – beware of saturated fat – are myths rather than science.
Launching critical missiles
So why do we need yet another blog? One reason is that we all want to change the way the way non- infectious diseases are treated. It’s all very well launching critical missiles from our own silos but if anything is going to change – and the rising tide of metabolic disorders plus an an increasingly elderly population means it has to – that’s going to require campaigning.
One such campaign will involve challenging the automatic assumption that discovering a link between a gene or a protein means a new drug target. Food, diet exercise and minerals and vitamins can all change gene activity – very probably more safely and certainly more cheaply. Getting such impractical and non-commercial ideas onto the health agenda is going to need a lot of co-operation.
An example is the story I’ve written for this week that pulls together evidence that cutting back on carbohydrates is a very plausible way of degrading the capacity of tumours to grow and spread. It’s an idea that isn’t even on the radar in mainstream oncology but there’s a sensible case to be made for it. What is needed now is an attitude that says – ‘That sounds sane, let’s check it out’ – and then the money to follow it up. Getting that sort of attitude into the public health agenda is what HealthInsightUK.org is aiming to do.
(Navigation hint: when searching for site make sure you include the “UK” and end it with “org” not “com” or you will arrive somewhere very different).