Prominent doctors declare their opposition to the planned expansion of statin prescribing

There are, to my mind, two camps of doctors in terms of their attitude to statins. Some maintain these drugs are ‘highly effective’ and very safe (and might even be put in the water supply). Others (who bother to look objectively at the research) tell us that statins only help a small minority of people […]

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The BMJ launches a fantastic initiative to involve patients in the peer review process

I’ve long believed that if we want to make true advances in medical care, the views of patients and ‘ordinary people’ need to be taken more into account. I sometimes think that too much research is driven by self-serving interests (sometimes financial, sometimes not), and that the people supposed to benefit get marginalised or completely […]

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Study shines light on the fact that sunscreens don’t appear to offer real protection against melanoma

It’s usually this time of year where we see a rash of stories in the press warning us of the dire perils of sunlight and the ‘essential’ nature of sunscreens in protection from it. This year was a bit different, though, in that I don’t think we’ve anything like the usual number of sun scare […]

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Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right (why won’t those calling for statin papers to be retracted use some science?)

On 21 May my blog featured calls by Professor Sir Rory Collins for the retraction of two articles that raised issues about the safety of statins. In both articles, evidence from a particular study was misrepresented and misquoted. The BMJ has withdrawn the comments and even featured them in an editorial. But Professor Sir Rory […]

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British Medical Article details some major barriers to the planned widening of statin prescribing

Earlier this year, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggested a reduction in the threshold beyond which statin therapy should be considered (from a 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease of 20 per cent to 10 per cent). Some people believe this can only be a good thing. I believe that these people […]

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Sleep appears to help the laying down of memory through new brain cell connections

I regular reader of this website (Chris) alerted me today to this BBC website report of a study which focused on the impact of sleep on memory. The study itself was conducted in mice [1]. The animals were taught a new skill (walking along a rotating rod). Then their brains were examined overnight. During sleep, […]

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Can light in the bedroom at night drive weight gain?

I came across and interesting report today, published on the BBC website here. In essence, this study found that in a large group of women, the more light they tended to have in their bedrooms at night, the heavier they tended to be [1]. This is an ‘epidemiological’ evidence, and does not prove therefore that […]

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Higher potency statins linked with significantly higher risk of diabetes

This week, the BMJ has published a study that adds further to the debate regarding the safety of statins. It is officially recognised that one potential adverse-effect of statins is the development of diabetes. In this study, Canadian researchers pooled the results of several studies to see if the risk of diabetes was higher in […]

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Update on my complaint about the NHS Choices article on carbohydrate: more questions than answers

In February, I wrote a blog post which aimed to draw attention to, in my view, the bias and lack of balance in an article on the NHS Choices website entitled ‘The Truth About Carbs’. I complained about this article, and had filled out the requisite form here. You’ll see that any complaint can be […]

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My reaction to the BMJ’s withdrawal of statements relating to the safety of statins

You may have noticed that there’s a bit of a ‘fight’ going on over the cholesterol-reducing class of drugs known as ‘statins’. I am simplifying here, but there are essentially two opposing camps. In one corner, there are those doctors and researchers who hold the view that the statins should be given to pretty much […]

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