Should I take statins? The wizard of Oz won’t help you decide

If you are not confused about statins you haven’t been paying attention. Are they life saving drugs that should be given to millions more or are they pills that are largely unnecessary, if you don’t actually have heart disease, that come with a nasty range of side effects? Recently experts who are highly critical of […]

Diet wars: what is the best way to reverse diabetes?

Arguments over diet all  boil down to single question: what’s the best way to eat if you want to stay a healthy weight and lower your risk of various chronic disorders? That’s what is fueling the long running diet war between an embattled low-fat establishment – see latest attack on low fat dogma by top […]

Statins: the secret data that decides if you get treated

You’ve probably heard that there’s a proposal to make even more people eligible for the cholesterol lowering drugs statins. I’ve just published post on the website HealthInsightUK that  puts a big question mark over the over the reliablility of the evidence that suggestion is based on. It comes from the highly respected  but rather secretive […]

Statins: why saying no makes sense

If you are a 50-something or older, the next time you go to the doctor for a check up you could find yourself being told you should start taking cholesterol-lowering statins even if your weight is good, you don’t have raised blood pressure, you exercise and you have no history of heart disease. That’s because […]

Prescription drugs: ineffective and possibly dangerous

Apologies for the hysterical headline but it’s just the kind of irresponsible, ill-informed screamer that regularly heads stories about some new study that “proves” that vitamins are ineffective generators of expensive urine and may well be dangerous.  If you want to know why such studies are all too often based on poor science and frequently […]

How do you know if the drug you’re on works? You don’t

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. However this is an illusion, which experts have known about for decades, because drug companies can prevent doctors and regulators from seeing unfavourable evidence. If you are being prescribed a […]

Cut heart disease. Prescribe apples and exercise

Eating an apple a day is as effective (almost) at fending off heart disease as taking a statin. That was the catchy claim of an article in the BMJ last week reported by most of the papers. On the surface it was a light, good news Christmassy tale but dig a little deeper and it looks […]

Time to get serious about prevention. Remove a pump handle.

Like transparency, equality and democracy in politics, prevention of disease is a motherhood and apple pie issue in medicine– everyone is in favour of it, so long as it doesn’t involve actually doing anything as committed as mounting a serious public health programme or spending millions on research. This truism takes on a new urgency […]

Secret Carbs committee that could cause a disaster

If you’re familiar with the low carbohydrate, Atkins-type diet – variously known as the paleo diet, the Zone diet, the South Beach diet or the ketogenic diet- you are probably also aware that it is pretty controversial. So is it a great way to lose weight and improve your metabolism or is it lacking in […]

Vampires get ill in the sun: we don’t

For years the official advice put out by Cancer Research UK for preventing skin cancer more closely resembled a deeply eccentric project to turn us into a nation of vampires rather than a sensible evidence-based public health policy. Their SunSmart advice used to recommend that sunny days in Britain posed such a threat that they […]

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