Panaceia or Hygeia

immunize yourself against the pandemic of lifestyle diseases

Archive for October, 2008

CRP is only a marker and does not cause disease

Posted by Colin Rose on October 29, 2008

Dr. Paul Ridker, the inventor of a method for sensitively measuring C-reactive protein, has made a career and much money flogging the notion that C-Reactive protein, produced in the liver in response to various physiological stresses like inflammation and abdominal obesity, is the cause of atherosclerosis and must be treated. Ridker’s web site promotes the wonderful benefits of measuring hsCRP and “treating” it with drugs, most notably statins. He has been successful in convincing most cardiologists and family doctors that hsCRP is and essential measurement in assessing “risk”. However, there was never any proof that doing so would prolong life or prevent any disease.

But a clever non-American group in Copenhagen, remembering the basic rule that correlation is not causation, refused to be intimidated by Ridker’s arrogant, industry-funded propaganda and showed that people with genetic abnormalities that raise blood hsCRP without inflammation do not have more atherosclerosis. Like blood cholesterol, CRP is just another marker of an atherogenic lifestyle and excess visceral fat. Both of these responses to nutritional stress may actually be protective.

As a corollary we can also conclude that “treating” blood hsCRP with statins is futile.

In case Ridker’s web site is taken down in embarrassment, here is what Ridker’s site looks like so that posterity can see an example of the destruction of another profitable medical myth.

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, diet, professionalism, statins | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Addictions to drugs and food can be conquered by self control

Posted by Colin Rose on October 29, 2008

Addiction to junk food shares the same neurological basis as drug addictions and must be treated in the same way.


Intervention can vanquish dependence
BARBARA KAY National Post bkay@videotron.ca
National Post
29 Oct 2008

When I determined to become a nicotine addict at age 14, it was more work than pleasure, involving months of nausea, dizziness and disgust. But I was motivated: Smoking was ?cool? amongst the neurotic aesthetes I naively admired. I succeeded, and…read more…

Posted in addiction, diet, obesity | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Rate of increase in Type 2 Diabetes in UK doubles in one year

Posted by Colin Rose on October 24, 2008

Has anyone considered the possibility that this disaster might be because the UK is the only developed country to have made statins non-prescription drugs? This is truly a revenge of unintended consequences. Just take your statin and eat anything. Result? An epidemic of obesity whose consequences are as bad or worse than the disease the statins were supposed to prevent.

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From The Independent

Diabetes may cause first fall in life expectancy for 200 years

By Jeremy Laurance, health editor
Monday, 20 October 2008

Britain is in the grip of a diabetes epidemic that threatens to overwhelm the NHS and could lead to the first fall in life expectancy in 200 years. The number of cases diagnosed has doubled in a year, figures out today will show. Family doctors recorded an extra 167,000 sufferers last year, compared with a rise of 83,000 in 2006-7.

The increase brings to almost 2.5 million the number of British diabetics. A further 500,000 people are thought to be affected but unaware of their condition. The condition shortens lives by 10 years and is a leading cause of circulatory problems and blindness.

The soaring rate of diabetes is driven by rising obesity. Today’s figures from Diabetes UK show five million people are registered as obese by their GPs, up from 4.8 million in 2006-07. At least a million more Britons are predicted to succumb to diabetes by 2010.

Professor Sir George Alberti, a Government adviser and former head of the International Diabetes Federation, said the accelerating increase was partly due to improved screening but also to a genuine rise in cases.

“It is a clarion call for society to take this seriously,” he added. “The catastrophe has started to happen. The Government has begun to tackle obesity and inactivity but converting good words into action is very difficult. It will take ages to have an effect.”

The World Health Organisation has predicted that deaths from diabetes in Britain would rise from 33,000 a year in 2005 to 41,000 by 2015 but Professor Alberti said that figure underestimated its true impact. More than 80 per cent of sufferers die from heart attacks or strokes and more than 1,000 a year suffer kidney failure requiring dialysis.

“The WHO figure [for deaths] was very conservative,” he said. “Large numbers die from heart disease and strokes [linked with diabetes] and they do not include those.”

Diabetes is spreading around the world, fuelled by increasing urbanisation and the spread of Western lifestyles. It is estimated to have killed 2.9 million people in 2000, equivalent to the number of Aids deaths, although it has received a fraction of the attention. From 170 million people affected in 2000, doctors predict the total will rise to 370 million by 2025, leading to an epidemic of blindness and amputations.

Researchers have warned that the increase in diabetes and other chronic diseases driven by rising obesity could lead to a fall in general life expectancy. Writing in the New England Journal Of Medicine in 2004, Jay Olshansky and colleagues at the University of Illinois said life expectancy could be cut by five years in the coming decades if obesity continued to increase. Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “These are truly alarming figures. Part of why we have seen such a huge increase can be attributed to improved screening from healthcare services and greater awareness amongst those at high risk of type 2 diabetes. However, there is no getting away from the fact that this large increase is linked to the obesity crisis.

“Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK. It causes heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness and more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined. The NHS already spends £1m an hour on diabetes. The soaring diabetes prevalence will continue to put a massive strain on an already struggling NHS and, unless it can respond, people’s health could spiral downwards. We need to do all we can to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and help people understand how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce their risk.”

Diabetes is a disorder in the metabolism of carbohydrate, leading to excessive thirst and the production of large amounts of urine caused by lack of insulin. Nine out of 10 sufferers have Type 2 diabetes, which usually affects older people but is now seen in younger people and children as weight has risen. The risk is 10 times higher in those who are obese, defined as having a body-mass index of more than 30.

Diabetes: The risks, the costs

*The condition causes blood-sugar levels to rise because of a lack of insulin. The risk is 10 times higher in people who are obese.

*Raised sugar levels lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney damage and ulceration of the feet.

*It costs the NHS £1m an hour to treat. One pound in every £10 spent on the hospital service is for diabetes and its complications.

*Type 2 diabetes can be treated by diet and exercise and the effects are reversible if the damage has not gone too far.

*In more severe cases, drug treatment with tablets or injections of insulin is necessary.

*For up to 10 years, there are no symptoms, but doctors believe that the earlier that treatment begins, the less damage it causes.

Posted in diabetes, Type 2, diet, moral hazard, statins | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Prudent diet staves off heart woes (The Gazette, 21 Oct 2008, Page A4)

Posted by Colin Rose on October 21, 2008

Not a surprising finding, Dr. Yusuf. Fifteen years ago Dean Ornish proved that atherosclerosis, the underlying cause of heart attacks, could be reversed with a version of the prudent diet.  So why isn`t everyone doing this? Maybe because the cholesterol myth promoted by drug dealers and doctors on their payrolls convinced the population that all they had to do was take a pill to lower blood cholesterol and they could eat anything. Curiously, there is no mention of cholesterol in the story. Close reading of the paper published in Circulation reveals that there was no correlation between the diet and blood cholesterol, “bad” of “good”. Diet has a powerful effect on atherosclerosis independent of blood cholesterol. Probably something about the prudent diet reduces modification of LDL, so called “bad” cholesterol, in the arterial wall. Another body blow to the cholesterol myth which is slowly dying. Even Pfizer which has spend many $billions promoting the myth has given up on it.


SHARON KIRKEY CANWEST NEWS SERVICE
The Gazette
21 Oct 2008

Hold the fries, samosas or fried won tons: People who eat diets high in fried foods and meat are 35 per cent more likely than ?prudent? eaters to suffer acute heart attacks, a global study led by Canadian researchers shows. And in a surprising…read more…

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Out of their league?

Posted by Colin Rose on October 16, 2008

A Russian hockey league is blamed for 19 year old Alexei Cherepanov’s death from atherosclerosis, proven by autopsy. Since when has hockey playing been a risk factor for atherosclerosis? There are two causes: tobacco and an atherogenic diet. I assume he didn’t smoke.

The league is blamed for not detecting it sooner. How would they have detected it? How do you predict atherosclerotic plaque rupture? If there is no plaque there is nothing to rupture. Plaque can be prevented and regressed by lifestyle alone. Did the coach ask him about his lifestyle, what he ate?


Out of their league?
BY MATTHEW COUTTS National Post, with files from news services
National Post
16 Oct 2008

The shift just before 19-year-old elite hockey prospect Alexei Cherepanov collapsed and died during a game in Russia’s Continental Hockey League exemplified exactly what the league’s founders had in mind when they created an entity to rival North…read more…

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Pharma marketing sways Canadian doctors

Posted by Colin Rose on October 15, 2008

Unlike their American colleagues, many Canadian doctors admit they are influenced by drug propaganda. But they don’t think those free sample compromise their judgement. Really? Let’s say a patient has a routine blood lipid test and the “bad” cholesterol is high and the patient is obese and smoking. What is a busy doctor going to do? Grab a box of Lipitor off his or her cabinet full of free samples or spend half an hour explaining the necessity of lifestyle choices in preventing atherosclerosis or diabetes?

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Medical Post
September 26, 2008 Matthew Sylvain

But just because it influences decisions, doesn’t mean physician judgment is compromised

TORONTO | Almost half of respondents to our Medical Post-mdPassport online eithics survey said their prescribing habits have been influenced by drug company advertising and other acts of persuasion. Depending on your perspective, that shows a remarkable honesty.

Then again, if you count yourself among the 54% who answered no, that you are unswayed by the arguments of detailers and the like, you might think that nearly half your colleagues are too easily influenced.

“I think physicians are influenced by it,” said Dr. Gerry Rosenquist, a gynecologist at the Winchester, Ont. District Memorial Hospital, who was asked to share his opinions on the survey findings. He added, however, “that doesn’t mean they (doctors) are influenced negatively.”

Few physicians would compromise their practice of medicine by intentionally prescribing products that were improper for their patients, he said.

Dr. Heidi Carlson, a Moncton, N.B., pediatrician, agreed the marketing isn’t inherently and entirely negative. The ads, rep visits and drug samples allow a busy doctor to quickly learn of a medication’s advantages and disadvantages, she told the Medical Post.

“I would be lying if I said I hadn’t given out free samples before, and I hadn’t taken the free samples before,” she said “because certainly, if there are new things on the market that are supposed to be better, I’d rather have patients trying them first—and seeing if they are of any use to them—before asking them to go out and buy them. So I can’t say I haven’t been influenced by it.”

Dr. Barbara Mintzes (PhD), an assistant professor in the University of British Columbia department of anesthesiology, pharmacology and therapeutics, was surprised by the admission by 46% of respondents that their prescribing had been influenced by marketing.

She said that seemed refreshingly sincere in light of a recent U.S. study of hospital-based physicians that found only 1% of them believed their own behaviour was influenced by pressure from pharmaceutical and equipment makers. Meanwhile, they thought more than 50% of their physician colleagues were swayed. That variance in opinion is so great it’s suggestive in itself, she said.

“I don’t think you would call anyone a dunce for actually saying that yes, they do believe there is some influence on their prescribing from marketing exercises,” said Dr. Mintzes, who is also a part of the Therapeutics Initiative, an independent, non-profit organization that assesses drug therapies.

The president of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D), an industry lobby group, noted its members follow a marketing code of conduct. According to the code, “Information provided to health-care professionals by our members must be accurate, fair and balanced,” said Russell Williams in an e-mailed statement.

Williams added that information packages on clinical evaluations also meet standards set out in the Food and Drugs Act, and regulations.

Said one doctor, commenting on the survey, “Script ‘buying’ by big pharma, thinly disguised as a phase four clinical trial, is a problem.”

Posted in drugs, professionalism | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Heart Attack at Age 19

Posted by Colin Rose on October 15, 2008

Cherepanov is not the first young Russian athlete to die of atherosclerosis. Remember Sergei Grinkov? The Russian diet is highly atherogenic and Russia has one of the highest rates of death from coronary artery disease.

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In 1994 Gordeeva & Grinkov returned to Olympic competition and captured their second gold medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Oppland, Norway. After these Olympics, they returned once again to professional skating and took up residence in Simsbury, Connecticut. During the 1994-95 season, they toured, yet again, with Stars on Ice, this time as headliners. However, tragedy struck in November 1995, when Sergei Grinkov collapsed and died from a massive heart attack in Lake Placid, New York, while he and Ekaterina were practicing for their upcoming performance in the 1995-1996 Stars on Ice tour. Doctors found that Sergei had severely clogged coronary arteries (to the point where his arterial opening was reportedly the size of a pinhole), which caused the heart attack.

“In spite of the autopsy findings, he never sought medical attention for a cardiac problem,” said Pascal Goldschmidt associate professor of cardiology at Johns Hopkins. “His risk for premature coronary artery disease was very low; he was not a smoker, did not use drugs or medications, did not have high blood pressure or diabetes, had normal cholesterol and lipid levels and he trained several hours a day.”


NO AMBULANCE
BY MASON LEVINSON Bloomberg News, with files from Gennady Fyodorov and Natalia Sokhareva, Reuters
National Post
15 Oct 2008

Russian officials opened a probe into the death of New York Rangers? first-round pick Alexei Cherepanov, who collapsed on the bench during a Continental Hockey League game in Russia on Monday. Moscow regional investigator Yulia Zhukova said officials…read more…

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Addiction is killing our soldiers

Posted by Colin Rose on October 14, 2008

All you say is true. Trying to burn all the poppy fields on the planet won`t work. And if it`s not heroin or cocaine it will be some other addiction from which criminals and terrorists can make a profit. The root cause is addiction. Addictions kill in one way or another. Whether it addiction is legal or illegal is irrelevant. Legal addctions to tobacco, alcohol and junk food kill thousands of times more people than all illegal addictions combined. But every time a heroin addict spends money on a fix a fraction of that payment goes towards potentially killing a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan. Those who think that heroin addiction is just a disease that has to be treated by “harm reduction” to the individual instead of curing the addiction are only encouraging more payments to terrorists. There is no vaccine against addiction. Curing addiction requires denial of transient self-destructive pleasure and painful decisions by the individual, not something polititians or UNODOC want to talk about. We should be spending at least as much researching, preventing and curing addiction of all types as we spend on the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism.


War on Drugs is killing our soldiers
DAN GARDNER
Times Colonist
12 Oct 2008

fghanistan is going badly. ?We?re not going to win this war,? said a top British general this month. Well, pass the smelling salts. The War on Drugs created Afghanistan?s massive illicit drug trade. This trade funds the insurgency, corrupts the…read more…

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Pfizer abandons “cholesterol”

Posted by Colin Rose on October 1, 2008

After spending tens of $billions in DTC ads and bribes to doctors to terrorize the world into believing that blood “bad cholesterol” is the cause of atherosclerosis, the most common fatal disease, and selling hundreds of $billions worth of Lipitor to lower it, Pfizer has admitted there is no truth to and no more profit to be made from the myth of “dyslipidemia” that Pfizer and other peddlers of statin drugs created. Its much hyped drug, torceptripib, touted as the next Lipitor, which did all the “right” things to blood cholesterol actually worsened atherosclerosis in the ILLUSTRATE trial. Finally, the proof was in that high blood “bad cholesterol” is only a symptom of an atherogenic lifestyle, not the cause of atherosclerosis. But it will take a generation or two for the cholesterol myth to disappear.

So now Pfizer is directing more of its research toward Type 2 diabetes, a disease directly related to obesity, which is directly related to the moral hazard effect created by the cholesterol myth (I can eat anything as long as my cholesterol is low). Very clever marketing! Create diseases, real or imagined, then sell high profit drugs to to “treat” numbers associated with them.


PFIZER REFOCUSES ITS STRATEGY
BY SHANNON PETTYPIECE Bloomberg News
National Post
01 Oct 2008

Pfizer Inc. will abandon early-stage research on heart drugs as part of a strategy to sharpen its focus on ailments such as cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes where the chances of a bigger profit are greatest. The New York-based company, the…read more…

Posted in atherosclerosis, cholesterol, coronary artery disease, diabetes, Type 2, drugs, obesity, statins | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »