Is publishing ‘league tables’ of surgeons’ performance good for patients?

I read today that from later this summer, survival rates for the patients of surgeons in the UK will be made available to patients. The idea is, then, that patients can choose who treats them. According to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt: The Health Secretary said: “Transparency and participation must be the operating principles of the […]

Continue Reading Comments { 12 }

No evidence for the ‘blood type diet’, but does it work?

I had an email from someone asking me about the blood type diet. The ‘Eat Right for your Type’ diet was hugely popular in the US and also here in the UK from the mid 90s. The diet is based on the ‘ABO’ system of typing blood. This system gives us four blood groups depending […]

Continue Reading Comments { 10 }

Could this simple strategy stop snoring and sleep apnoea?

Have you ever started out looking for something on-line, got diverted, and then ended up at a completely unplanned and unrelated destination on the internet? I have to admit, for me, it happens a lot. It happened yesterday, in fact, when I was reading a piece about blood pressure treatment, and found myself clicking on […]

Continue Reading Comments { 35 }

Statins deplete the body of a nutrient that is vital for heart function

Coenzyme Q10 is a chemical which plays a key role in the production of energy in the body’s cells. Specifically, this substance participates in the processes within tiny powerhouses in cells known as ‘mitochondria’ (my-toe-con-dree-ah). Coenzyme Q10 is essential for the production of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), a basic currency for energy in the body. All […]

Continue Reading Comments { 15 }

Are kids really being reckless for seeking the sun and shunning sunscreen?

I spied this ‘editorial’ in the Daily Mail this week (we’ll come to why editorial is in quotes in a moment). It’s about a poll that shows, apparently, a significant number of young children are refusing to wear sunscreen. One in three, apparently, will seek to get out in the sun at every available opportunity. […]

Continue Reading Comments { 5 }

Avoiding evening eating found to promote weight loss

When I was medical school, I noticed one of my friends had lost a bit of weight (intentionally). Even though I was not really interested in things like weight control and diet in those days, my curiosity got the better of me and I asked him how he did it. Had he cut back on […]

Continue Reading Comments { 18 }

Why won’t drug companies give up all the data they have on flu medications?

Back in November I wrote about the drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu), and specifically the fact that its manufacturer (Roche) has steadfastly refused to give up data on the drug that would allow independent researchers to assess its effectiveness and safety. The British Medical Journal if waging a campaign for Roche to cough up the relevant information, […]

Continue Reading Comments { 5 }

B-vitamin therapy looks promising for staving off Alzheimer’s disease

Last year, I reported on research which found that supplementation with the vitamins B6, B12 and folic acid had been found to reduce the brain shrinkage (brain atrophy) in individuals suffering from ‘mild cognitive impairment’ (impaired brain function not severe enough to be labelled ‘dementia’) [1]. Subsequent research found that this treatment regime actually improved […]

Continue Reading Comments { 14 }

Is pot-smoking healthy?

Smoking marijuana is perhaps not a lifestyle habit that many would classify as ‘healthy’. However, a study published this week in the American Journal of Medicine discovered that pot-smoking is associated with improvement in a range of health markers including lowered waist circumference, body mass index and fasting insulin levels, as well as improved blood […]

Continue Reading Comments { 27 }

Potential underlying mechanism for statin side effects on the brain found

One of the things you’ll hear from ‘key opinion leaders’ who promote the use of statins is that these drugs have a very good safety profile. These judgements appear to be based on the findings of studies in which statins are given to individuals in the context of ‘randomised controlled trials’ (where statins are pitted […]

Continue Reading Comments { 13 }