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Author: VWheelock

283. Obsessed with Cholesterol

I have lost count of the number of people I have met who are convinced that they should be concerned about the cholesterol level in their blood. If it is considered to be “too high” then they are at serious risk of suffering from heart disease. Hence action has to be taken that will lower it in order to reduce the chances of having a heart attack. There are enormous resources devoted to cholesterol-lowering by health care organisations in many countries. This is all based on the “lipid hypothesis”, which is the rationale that supports the widespread use of cholesterol-lowering drugs. In recent years, the main group has been statins. These are no longer the money-spinners for the pharmaceutical industry that they have been but a new generation is in the pipeline, which it is hoped will be very profitable for the companies. Cholesterol-lowering does not work However as I have repeatedly emphasised, the evidence which underpins this is fundamentally flawed. Here are some of the reasons why the lipid hypothesis has absolutely no credibility: • The original concept that cholesterol is a crucial risk factor for heart disease was based on epidemiology. Subsequently it has been shown that the quality of this research was very poor. One critic described the Seven Countries Study conducted by Dr Ancel Keys and colleagues as follows: “The dietary assessment methodology was highly...

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281. Hyperinsulinaemia The World’s Biggest Killer

By Michael Joseph, MSc This excellent report by Michael Joseph provides a wealth of information on hyperinsulinaemia/insulin resistance, which is crucial to understanding how and why most common chronic diseases develop. I am most grateful to Michael for permission to publish his article here. The original can be accessed here: Background When we think about the world’s biggest killer, different things come to mind. Guns? Or possibly heart disease, cancer, or maybe even dementia? Well, those three chronic diseases are all good bets. But what if they are just the result of something else, and they all have a common cause? In that case, that common cause could be the world’s biggest killer – and it goes by the name of hyperinsulinaemia. This article takes a look at the rapidly growing problem of hyperinsulinaemia and insulin resistance. What is Insulin Resistance? Insulin resistance is a term to describe when our body develops a resistance to the effects of the hormone insulin (1). As a result, we experience increasing blood sugar levels and higher levels of circulating insulin (2, 3). What is Hyperinsulinaemia?Hyperinsulinaemia refers to the situation where we have a constant elevation of insulin levels (4). The literal definition is simply an excess amount of insulin in the blood. Insulin resistance is the usual cause of hyperinsulinaemia, and the resulting high insulin levels can be very damaging to...

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280. The Failure of Academia

The dietary guidelines fiasco It is now absolutely clear that the official dietary recommendations promulgated by WHO and many different nations are fundamentally flawed. The advice to limit the intake of fat, and saturated fat (SFA) in particular cannot be justified by substantiated by research. In fact many of the individual fatty acids are important nutrients in their own right. On the other hand, the advice to increase the consumption of carbohydrates has been disastrous. It has contributed to the increased incidence of obesity, Type 2 Diabetes (T2D) and most of the common chronic diseases. On top of all this, the persistence of the dogma for those diagnosed with T2D means that the health of patients continues to deteriorate. Even worse it prevents the implementation of strategies that would result in significant improvement in health. Resistance to change Despite the overwhelming evidence that a radical change in policy is badly needed, the “Great and the Good” in the healthcare professions fight tooth and nail to retain the status quo. It is obvious that an approach, which is based on Low Carbs and High Fat (LCHF) would have enormous benefits. First of all, those who adopt this approach would suffer much less disability and increase their life expectancy. Secondly, it would help to combat the growing incidence of T2D. Thirdly it would result in significant savings in the costs of...

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279. Statins in Women

Most evidence based on studies in men The case for the widespread use of statins is extremely flimsy. The trials that provide the justification have been subject to detailed criticisms (1). In any event most of them were conducted before effective regulatory controls were introduced. As the work has been primarily with men, the case for using statins with women is based on the very dubious assumption that the impact will be exactly the same as in men. Clearly this is fallacious, not only because of biological differences but also because at any given age, the risks of developing heart disease are much smaller in women than in men. A detailed critique of the evidence was published in 2004 (2). Here are the main points: Many of the clinical trials of lipid lowering treatments did not include women and others did not include adequate numbers of women to allow sex-specific analyses. Some of the trials that did report results in women reported aggregate events (eg. major coronary events), but did not report specific outcomes such as CHD death or nonfatal myocardial infarction (MI) separately. In the investigation, although over 1,000 were considered initially only 13 studies (represented by 23 articles) were found to be both eligible and to contain data stratified by sex for inclusion in the systematic review. The total number of women included in the trials was...

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278. Brexit. Be Prepared

The insight of Dr Richard North Brexit will have an enormous impact on society and the economy here in the UK and the fall-out will also affect other countries, especially Ireland. The outcome of the current negotiations will be absolutely critical in determining what actually happens. The real difficulty for most people is that it is extremely difficult to understand the issues and the options open to the UK Government. One of the few individuals who has detailed insight into the legislation and processes is my long-time colleague Dr Richard North. Remarkably he produces a blog every day. Each one is the result of thorough research into a wide range of primary and other sources. Unlike the vast majority of journalists, commentators and politicians he has put in the hard labour to obtain the knowledge so that he can write and speak with authority. Although Richard has been pro-Brexit for many years, it is significant that he is highly critical of the approach currently being adopted by the UK Government. This blog calls heavily on Richard’s work and for anyone interested in getting to grips with the complications of Brexit, I strongly recommend frequent visits to his blog (1). Third country status One of the undoubted benefits of EU membership is access to the Single Market (SM). This means that trade between the various countries in the EU is...

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  • BMI is grossly overplayed as an indicator of general health.
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