Diabetes. Diet goes head to head with drug. Winner is….

Diabetes Day held last Friday had its priorities all wrong. Rather than calling for more innovative drug treatments its goal should have been to explore why diabetics continue to be treated by a system that ignores patients’ wishes and allows ineffective and dangerous treatments to proliferate, while safe and effective ones languish for lack of […]

Tick box medicine that fails hypothyroid patients

There’s a story of mine in the Daily Mail today) about an illogical and arbitrary corner of medicine. It involves over 300,000 women who are unable to get an effective treatment for a nasty range of symptoms, linked to having low thyroid hormone, unless they can persuade a doctor to ignore the official guidelines drawn […]

Just relying on drugs won’t beat Alzheimer’s

Is putting all our eggs in the drug basket really the best way to beat Alzheimer’s? Just as we can’t rely on drug companies alone to beat antibiotic resistance, so we can’t rely on a pharmaceutical silver bullet for Alzheimer’s. Tackling antibiotic resistance needs heavy investment in drugs that will be used sparingly for a […]

The great statin debate: the ultimate two minute guide

Following a second article in the Guardian yesterday devoted to statin supremo Sir Rory Collins, his anger at his critics and impatience with the way the British Medical Journal is shilly-shallying around over getting their incorrect and damaging articles withdrawn, it seemed appropriate to issue a primer to bring non-statin specialists up to speed on […]

Statin wars: an outbreak of medical transparency

Something remarkable happened earlier this week. Open warfare broke out between senior doctors over the benefits of a major government health policy. To prescribe or not to prescribe yet more statins to healthy people? That was the question. Details of the open letter to the head of NICE (the health value-for-money body) challenging its proposal […]

Drug problems: what plays in America stays in America

Over the years I have found the ability of the Atlantic to have dulling effect on the sensibilities of doctors and the media remarkable. It’s a  phenomenon that only affects prescription drugs.While we in the UK eagerly follow every twist and turn in American cultural life, illegal pharmaceutical activities that may have serious implications for […]

Homeopathy and the threat of endarkenment

Recently a post of mine describing attacks on homeopathy as “batty and arrogant” that I wrote last year was retweeted. This meant that again homeopathy’s hard-core detractors rushed out with lectures about the scientific method and the need for randomised trials (obvious) but yet again no attempt to actually deal with the issues I raised […]

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 […]

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