1. This information demonstrates unequivocally that hospitals are dangerous places and that medical treatment may have disastrous consequences. It is salutary to compare this with safety standards in the scheduled airline business. Thousands of passenger aircraft take off and land safely every day. The extremely rare accidents emphasise the very low risks facing those who travel by air. It is worth comparing the different approaches to failure in these two sectors. Any airline crash is subjected to a very thorough investigation so that lessons learned can be applied to prevent another similar event. By contrast, in medicine, most accidental deaths are either covered up or shrugged off.
2. The fundamental problem is that the key to overcoming any disease is to identify the root cause and take appropriate steps to eliminate it. In practice, this is rarely done. Most of us blithely accept that even though we continue doing whatever caused the disease, treatment with drugs can overcome it. The reality is that the best that drugs can achieve is some alleviation of the symptoms. Even if a ‘cure’ is achieved, the likelihood is that the disease will recur unless the primary cause is addressed.
Peter Bazalgette chaired the group dealing with education. At the time, he was the producer of the BBC TV programme, Food and Drink. Since then, he has gone on to greater things and introduced Big Brother to the UK. In February 2016, Sir Peter, to give him his current title, was appointed Chairman of Independent Television (ITV). Much of his contribution was about the advertising of different foods. He considered that there were huge opportunities in the ‘Health of the
Nation’ for food companies to use advertising to put across positive messages. He asked a number of advertising agencies to present their ideas on how they would promote healthy foods. All of them were agreed that if you want children to eat better, the last thing to do is to mention the dreaded word ‘nutrition’ or the dreaded word ‘healthy’ .One of the agencies took the view that their task was to persuade children to eat oranges, not to tell them they are healthy. So the message was: “If an orange squirts you in the eye, it hurts. But if you eat one, it doesn’t.”
Comparison with human nutrition
There is no doubt that the basic principles are exactly the same between animals and humans. The focus is on finding information on the various nutrients and their role in the body. One major difference between nutrition research on farm animals and humans is in the determination of the food consumed and in the control of lifestyle.
The farm animals have to do whatever the investigator decides. The type and amount of food is pre-determined. If there are any leftovers, these can all be measured. By contrast, humans would rarely submit to the detailed control that is the norm in animal experimentation.
There may be rare occasions when volunteers agree to participate in a specified regime, but usually this is only for a limited period.
Another difference is that the results of animal nutrition are usually put into practice in the real world and are therefore subject to evaluation. This rarely happens in the field of human nutrition. This means that poor quality research results can be accepted as valid for many years and have a major impact on policy.
In all of these machinations, the establishment seems to have totally ignored the interests of those who are being advised to lower cholesterol. Because there is no reliable evidence that the ACM would be reduced, any reduction in deaths from heart disease is likely to result in an increase in the risks of dying from something else. So, life expectancy remains the same; the only difference might be what is written on the death certificate.
1. Low levels of TC have been reported in criminals, people diagnosed with violent or aggressive conduct disorders, homicidal offenders with histories of violence, or suicide attempts related to alcohol, and people with poorly internalised social norms and low self-control.
2. If reason and logic were to prevail, this should have been the signal to abandon all attempts to lower the TC. A whole series of investigations had not only failed to show any benefit whatsoever in terms of reduced death rates but had actually confirmed that those with reduced TC had an increased risk of dying. There was no discussion to show that those present had any appreciation that the rationale for all the programmes to lower TC had just been blown out of the water.
1. In an article in The BMJ, Mark Baker of NICE admitted that 77 people would need to take statins for 3 years for 1 person to benefit. He justified this on the grounds that, with blood pressure (BP) lowering drugs, 104 patients would have to be treated for 1 to benefit. What is even worse is that this information only applied to those who had already suffered heart disease. However, when statins were used for primary prevention, which effectively was what was being proposed, there was no benefit in terms of improvement in life expectancy. According to the authoritative NNT (Numbers Needed to Treat) website, when statins are used for primary prevention, there are no lives saved although 1 in 60 was helped by preventing a heart attack and 1 in 268 avoided a stroke7.
It is obvious that the benefits of statin use are minimal. There can be no rational justification for using statins for primary prevention because there is not a shred of reliable evidence to support that case. On the other hand, there are definite concerns about the ADRs, which almost certainly are much greater than is officially recognised. Although there may be limited benefit for middle-aged men who suffer from heart disease, this is minimal compared with what can be achieved with dietary changes.
A flood of sugar
T2D is like having a flood in your home from a burst in the plumbing system. The excess water is comparable to excess glucose in the body. However, there are fundamental differences in the responses to the two sets of circumstances. We can gain some useful insight by considering how we would deal with the house flood using the T2D approach……….
It makes little sense, then, that doctors and dietitians still advise people with T2D to increase or at the very least maintain their intake of carbohydrates. Any suggestion that those with a flood should pump in more water would be greeted with derision.
1. It is now over 30 years since health authorities set dietary targets in the UK. By 2003, the 25% reduction in SFA had been achieved and there had been a decrease in the amount of fat consumed. Despite this, the incidence of obesity and diabetes has continued to increase. In fact, it now emerges that there never was any reliable evidence to support these public policy initiatives in the first place. An evaluation of the studies available prior to 1983 in which the fat content of the diet was altered in line with the recommendations was published in 20154. Dr. Zoë Harcombe and colleagues found that even though the TC was reduced by the dietary intervention there was no difference in ACM.
2. The most compelling reason for believing that insulin, or possibly some other hormone, plays a central role in the development of heart disease is the multiplicity of changes that accompany the disease. It is difficult to see how these could occur unless there was some disturbance of the hormone levels. Yudkin considered that insulin was the most likely hormone to be involved. He suggested that a consistently high-sugar diet meant that there was a persistently high demand for the pancreas to produce insulin. Because insulin has many different functions, the excess may well be deleterious in other ways, such as upsetting the established hormone balance.
A dead-end approach
Jane Plant was professor of geochemistry at Imperial College in London. For five years, she was chief scientist for the British Geological Survey.9
In 1987, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which recurred five times and by 1993 had spread to her lymph system. She decided to conduct her own research into the causes of breast cancer and as a result made fundamental changes to her diet. At the end of the chemotherapy treatment all signs of the cancer had disappeared. At the time of writing the book six years later, she was still free of cancer. Based on her experience, coupled with her own professional expertise, she has reached some interesting views on the treatment and research of cancer.