Could statins be adding to the epidemic of ‘heart failure’?

Statins are drugs that reduce cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme in the liver known as ‘HMG-CoA reductase’ which ‘drives’ cholesterol production (most of the cholesterol in the bloodstream is made in the liver and does not come directly from the diet). But HMG-CoA reductase also facilitates the production of a substance known as ‘coenzyme Q10’ […]

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Why you perhaps need to ignore what your doctor thinks about your weight

It’s the New Year, and this time usually brings with it an upsurge in the numbers of people wishing to shed excess weight. Some of these may even have been urged to take steps to lose weight by their doctor or other health professional. Governments and the medical profession frequently warn that being ‘overweight’ or […]

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Artificial sweeteners found to boost weight gain in animals

Artificial sweeteners such as saccharin and aspartame have the ‘promise’ of being better than sugar for weight control because, although sweet, they contain virtually no calories. It’s a nice theory, though the reality is I cannot find one single properly conducted (randomised, controlled) study in humans exists in the scientific literature to support this. Now, […]

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Researchers manage to attach positive benefits to cholesterol-lowering drug that just don’t exist in reality

Ezetimibe is an effective cholesterol-reducing drug (it works by blocking cholesterol absorption from the gut). I came across a study this week from a group of researchers based in Michigan in the US which concluded that ezetimibe appeared to have a ‘protective effect on major AD [atherosclerotic disease] events and all-cause mortality…’ [1]. In other […]

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Why it can sometimes pay to be realistic about the impact of exercise on weight loss

January is not that far away now and when it comes around at least some people will turn their thoughts to shedding surplus pounds through diet, exercise or both. I came across a report this week of a recently-published study which compared the effects of aerobic exercise with resistance training on weight and fat loss. […]

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Patient’s story in British Medical Journal demonstrates why we doctors sometimes need to listen to our patients more

Two weeks ago I wrote about an article in the British Medical Journal which recognised the fact that it’s possible for someone to suffer from a sensitivity to gluten (a protein found in wheat and other grains) even if coeliac disease (a form of gluten sensitivity) has been eliminated as a diagnosis. This recognition is […]

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Drug company kills off another cholesterol-modifying drug

I rarely meet someone who has not heard of cholesterol and does not believe it to be a largely dangerous substance. And increasing number of people seem to be aware of the conventional wisdom regarding the different forms of cholesterol, specifically low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C). Actually, these names […]

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Vitamin D appears to have given my mum a whole new lease of life

2 or 3 weeks back, I was having a conversation with my 79-year-old mother regarding her mobility. She is, ordinarily, a bit of a force of nature, with abundant energy and still fending entirely for herself (with the help of my father) in all aspects of her life. In recent years, though, she has found […]

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Fibrates – another quite-useless type of lipid-modifying drug

The preoccupation the medical and scientific communities have with cholesterol have convinced many of us, doctors included, that ‘cholesterol is bad’ so ‘cholesterol reduction is good’. But, as I’ve pointed out before, even if cholesterol does jeopardise health, the fact that something reduces cholesterol does not make it inherently healthy. Even if arsenic and cyanide […]

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Contrary to what some may say, fruit and veg not great for filling us up

The food we eat can perform a range of functions including an ability to nourish us and bring us pleasure. However, I reckon a sometimes forgotten quality of food is to sustain us. I’m not sure what the precise definition of sustain is, but if I were to have a stab at it I’d say […]

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