What are the risks of ‘coming off statins’?

Once upon a time, the rhetoric around statins was relentlessly positive. More recently, though, I think there’s been increasing numbers of doctors and commentators expressing concern about the limited effectiveness of statins, as well as their known but perhaps under-recognised risks. A few weeks back an Australian documentary aired that featured several quite-conventional doctors and […]

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A simple trick for avoiding over-eating in the evening

How much we eat is a factor of many different factors including how hungry we are, how palatable food is, how much ‘reward’ we get from food and social setting. The body has complex systems in place that, when functioning well, help ensure that we eat enough food but not too much. Some of this […]

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The FDA states it’s happy to sanction unproven drugs

Debate continues to swirl about the cholesterol management guidelines issued by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology recently. The new recommendations shift the emphasis away from treating those on the basis of their cholesterol levels to based on overall risk of cardiovascular disease. How is risk determined? With ‘calculators’ that use […]

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President of Coca Cola in Europe misleads us over the sugar in its drinks

Newsnight is a news and current affairs television programme that airs on BBC2 in the UK. It’s most famous presenter is Jeremy Paxman, a man who has a reputation for asking tough questions and sometimes pinning interviewees to the floor. Last night, one of the guests on the show was James Quincy, European president of […]

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More than half of cholesterol guideline committee found to have conflicts of interest

One of my blogs last week focused on new cholesterol management guidelines issued jointly by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. These new recommendations essentially lowered the threshold for treatment, and mean that many more individuals are now suddenly eligible for treatment with statins. This move seems out of step with […]

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Flu vaccination is most certainly not a ‘no-brainer’

The winter heralds ‘flu season’, and many will be urged to get them themselves adequately protected through vaccination. A recent piece in the British Medical Journal [1] by Dr Peter Doshi (from the John Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, US) makes the point that public health campaigns often present flu vaccination as a […]

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Some prominent doctors are utterly skeptical about the new cholesterol guidelines

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines on the management of cholesterol. The idea that individuals should be treated on the basis of their LDL-cholesterol level has been significantly relaxed. What this means, is that some individuals with ‘raised’ cholesterol but who are deemed to be at low […]

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Review challenges the health claims made for some vegetable oils

‘Vegetable oils’ derived from sunflower, soya, safflower and corn are generally promoted as healthy. They are rich in ‘polyunsaturated’ fats that come in two basic forms: omega-6 and omega-3. Omega-6 oils tend to be inflammatory in nature and also encourage clotting in the blood. Omega-3 fats tend to do the reverse. It’s generally well accepted, […]

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How do doctors come to recommend and prescribe cholesterol medications for which there are no proven benefits?

Traditionally, cholesterol management has been based on the concept that blood cholesterol levels should be below a certain level. Sometimes, taking a statin drug may be adjudged to have not reduced cholesterol sufficiently. Some people do not tolerate statin drugs. In these sorts of circumstances, someone may be offered another drug to reduce their cholesterol […]

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Should this elderly lady get the flu vaccination?

I had an email this week from 67-year-old lady asking about flu vaccination. She’s had a phone call recently from her surgery asking her to attend for this. She asks if the “flu threat really worse this year or are the drug manufacturers up to their old tricks again!?” Flu vaccination is generally promoted as […]

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