Article questions the validity of labelling and treating people with ‘pre-diabetes’

Type 2 diabetes is a condition characterised by raised levels of glucose in the bloodstream, and its diagnosis is generally made when blood glucose levels are higher than 11.1 mmol/l (200 mg/dL) 2 hours after a oral glucose load (of 75 g). However, blood sugar control is a spectrum: between what are thought to be […]

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Review highlights to potential for statins to negate the benefits of exercise

Those keen to optimise their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke may well, in addition to ‘eating right’, take steps to ‘take exercise’ and be physically fit. Usually, the prescribed exercise here come in the form of ‘cardiovascular’ or ‘aerobic’ forms such as walking, jogging, cycling or rowing. Such activities […]

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Magnesium supplementation found to improve physical function in older women

Elderly people tend to be less physically able than younger ones. Walking speed, for instance, and the speed with which they rise from a chair, tend to decline in later life. There can be many reasons for this, including loss of muscle mass (sarcopenia). But the strength of functionality of muscles (irrespective of their size) […]

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French food agency sceptical about the benefits of cholesterol-reducing foods

Many readers will be familiar with cholesterol reducing ‘functional foods’ such as margarines and yoghurt drinks. These foods and ‘enriched’ with ‘stanols’ or ‘sterols’: substances that have a similar chemical structure to cholesterol, and help inhibit its absorption from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, These substances do indeed have some capacity to reduce cholesterol […]

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Low-carbohydrate diet shown to have considerable potential to protect against type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition characterised by generally elevated levels of blood sugar (glucose), usually as a result of ‘insulin resistance’ (insulin not doing its blood sugar-lowering job very well). Between a state of health and type 2 diabetes, the medical profession has defined a state known as ‘impaired glucose tolerance’ (IGT). Here, insulin […]

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How do statin proponents deal with debate? They stifle it.

Last month, one of my blog posts featured a letter written by a group of doctors, expressing their concerns about the mooted expansion of statin therapy. The letter detailed six major objections to the plan, including the mass-medicalization of millions of healthy individuals, the unreliability of the evidence regarding the adverse effects of statins, and […]

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Review finds that ‘filling up on fruit and veg’ to promote weight loss does not work

At the tail end of 2012, I wrote a blog post about the impact of emphasising fruit and vegetables in the diet. ‘Filling up of fruit and veg’ is often recommended as a weight loss tactic. But, as I explained in the blog post, I’m not sure this is good advice at all. I argued […]

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More evidence points to statins as a potential cause of heart failure

The debate about the safety of statins continues to rage, with some researchers claiming that they are essentially no more harmful that placebo. In reality, though, the evidence on which these claims are based is flawed for several reasons. Here are just some of those reasons: 1. Commercial sponsors of clinical trials may not be […]

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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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