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 […]

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 […]

New post-statin drug doesn’t need proof it works

There has long been a surreal quality to cholesterol lowering drugs; prescriptions in the millions, earnings in the billions and yet a growing evidence that if you are taking them to prevent your first heart attack, unless you are one of the lucky ones – one in 1/300, 1/500, 1/700; the figures vary – they […]

Cardiologist: time to stop demonising saturated fat

At first sight geology and nutrition have little in common but a major shift in thinking about the surface of earth is a handy way of highlighting a major change in ideas about how to cut the risk of heart disease with diet.  Back in the 1920’s a meteorologist called Alfred Wegener came up with […]

Confused about calories? No wonder

What would make you put on the most weight – eating 5000 calories a day on a high fat/low carb diet or 5000 calories on a high carb/low fat diet? To a conventional nutritionist this will sound like dietary version of the old school-days trick question: Which is heavier a ton of bricks or a ton […]

Benzos: Beware the baddest drugs in a doctor’s armoury.

Benzodiazepines are the serial offenders of the drugs’ cabinet with a cluster of pharmaceuticals ASBOs to their name. They’ve been around since the 1960s and are generally given if you are complaining of the likes of insomnia or anxiety – family names include temazepam (for sleep) and the tranquillizer valium.   They have a charge sheet that […]

The Alzheimer’s charities are in a hole but they keep digging

Earlier this week I won freelance consumer journalist of the year at the Medical Journalists’ Association awards which was fantastic. You had to send in three features to enter and two of mine each focused on a different non-drug treatment that might help with Alzheimer’s. I mention this because looking at them again I was freshly shocked […]

Why hounding homeopaths is both batty and arrogant.

There is no shortage of villains in the world. Psychopaths – domestic and national – whalers, toxic waste dumpers, global eavesdroppers, billionaire tax avoiders and their army of accountants –  all well worth campaigning against with the aim of getting them banged up or forced to cough up. There is also an infinite supply of […]

Hidden dangers of diabetic drugs exposed – yet again

Incretins are the newest and most expensive class of blockbuster diabetes drug but according to a remarkably through investigation just published by the BMJ (British Medical Journal)  the risk that they could cause pancreatic cancer is much greater than patients and doctors have been told. The biggest sellers in the UK are Byetta (exenatide),  Victoza […]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 774 other followers