Article reveals unseen cause of bias that risks compromising the evidence-base for statins and other drugs

The supposed ‘gold standard’ method of medical research is the ‘randomised controlled trial’. What this means in drug therapy research is that a group of individuals are randomly assigned to the treatment being studied or placebo, and the outcomes and effects compared. In the ‘best’ trials, neither the study participant not the investigators know who […]

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Not all men with symptoms of an enlarged prostate have an enlarged prostate. What’s going on?

When men middle-aged or elderly men have some difficulty with urination, their doctor’s attention will usually focus on their prostate – the gland that encircles the pipe that takes urine from the bladder to the outside known as the urethra. An enlarged prostate can impinge on the outflow of urine from the bladder and therefore […]

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How accurate are Professor Collins’ claims about the rates of muscle problems with statins?

I have written more than once about Professor Sir Rory Collins. He leads the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists collaboration in Oxford, UK. Periodically, this group takes (private) statin study data and churns out bold pronouncements on the (supposed) great effectiveness and safety of these drugs. Professor Collins recently tried to get the BMJ to retract two […]

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Why the device that counts the number of bites of food we take in a day is unlikely benefit health or weight

I came across this story today, which talks about the device that counts the number of bites of food individuals take over the course of the day. The idea appears to be there being aware of this can help individuals to keep within some sort of recommended calorie limit for the day. However, as someone […]

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Evidence links higher cholesterol with lower risk of death in older individuals

Cholesterol in the bloodstream is carried within protein-rich packages known as ‘lipoproteins’. These come in two main types, so-called ‘low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol’ (LDL-C) and ‘high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol’ (HDL-C). Conventional wisdom has it that LDL-C is responsible for dumping cholesterol on the inside of arteries, and is dubbed ‘bad cholesterol’ as a result. On the other hand, HDL-cholesterol […]

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Can getting more sun help protect against dementia?

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia, and its cause is likely to be ‘multifactorial’ and even vary considerably between individuals. However, on thing that appears to be true is that a key driving process in the condition is inflammation (which, by the way, seems to be true for ‘chronic’ conditions). One potential anti-inflammatory agent […]

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Has Professor Collins’ call for BMJ ‘statin’ papers to be retracted backfired spectacularly?

Professor Sir Rory Collins is one of the most strident advocates of statin therapy, and also leads a ‘research group’ known as the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists collaboration (CTT). Professor Collins and his colleagues hold a huge database of from statin studies, and quite-often ‘crunch the numbers’ and pronounce statins to be highly effective and very […]

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The UK Government encourages health checks, but the evidence suggests they do no good at all

On the face of it, health checks can seem like a bit of ‘no brainer’. If you accept an invite from your doctor to attend for a ‘health MOT’ (the MOT is the annual test of car road-worthiness in the UK), then the thought is this will help ‘catch something early’, and allow earlier and […]

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More evidence that ‘modifying’ cholesterol does not necessarily have broad benefits for health

Higher levels of so-called ‘HDL-cholesterol’ is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular issues including heart disease and stroke. This finding has led to the widespread view that raising HDL levels has benefits for health, particularly with regard to cardiovascular risk. There are three main classes of agents that are known to boost HDL levels: the […]

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Is shift work a risk factor for type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes rates are on the up, and there is real concern within the medical community that we are seeing something of a ‘diabesity’ epidemic that has considerable personal and social consequences. The usual focus regarding the prevention of type 2 diabetes is ‘diet and exercise’. But, other less well-recognised factors appear to influence […]

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