One simple way to boost brain function in later life? Get walking

‘Mild cognitive impairment’ describes a state characterised by impair brain function that is not severe enough to be classified as dementia. Memory issues are a common feature of mild cognitive impairment. It is believed that much of memory function is the domain ofpart of the brain known as the hippocampus (there are two of these, […]

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Why do some doctors prescribe cholesterol-reducing medication for which there is zero evidence of benefit?

In 2002 the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) in the US licensed the cholesterol-lowering drug ezetimibe (Zetia). This medication reduces ‘unhealthy’ LDL-cholesterol levels by about 20 per cent. The assumption here is that this will reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. When ezetimibe was licensed, all of a sudden doctors had a new […]

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Cardiologist urges doctors to take patients’ wishes more into consideration

Initiatives in both the US and the UK look set to vastly increase the number of people deemed eligible for treatment with statins. While some seem to have welcomed these moves, there has been a lot of dissent too. Some believe that statins already have an unfavourable risk/benefit profile for people judged to be at […]

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My phone-in on BBC WM with Adrian Goldberg 02/04/14

On Wednesday, I was back as a guest on Adrian Goldberg’s morning radio show on BBC WM. During the phone-in we discussed a range of topics, including the recent research linking fruit and veg consumption with reduced risk of death, the value of fruit in the diet, juices and smoothies, carbohydrate loading prior to a […]

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If statins are so safe, why won’t some researchers let us see their data?

A couple of weeks ago one of my blog posts focused on a news story regarding the safety of statins. We were informed that ‘new evidence’  had found, except in rare circumstances, statins are no more hazardous than placebos. Yet, when one pays to get access to the actual paper on which these ‘conclusions’ were […]

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If NHS Choices wants to be taken seriously, then I think it seriously needs to up its game

NHS Choices website purports to give the general public information and advice about a wide range of health matters. My impression is that many see the NHS Choices website as a portal for honest, trustworthy and balanced health advice. A couple of weeks back, I noticed that Paul Nuki, Editor of NHS Choices, had tweeted […]

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GSK is doing away with external ‘key opinion leaders’ – it’s just going to make them employees instead

‘Key opinion leader’ (KOL) is a term sometimes used to describe doctors or researchers paid by pharmaceutical companies to talk about its products (favourably). The practice is widespread and has been broadly tolerated by the medical profession. However, in recent times, some have started to ask questions about the ethics surrounding the use of KOLs. […]

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Yet another major review finds no reason at all to limit saturated fat in the diet

Conventional nutritional advice varies a bit depending on who you ask, but there are a few constants. One is the importance of limiting saturated fat in favour of polyunsaturated fat. Most Governments, doctors and dieticians would therefore have us eschew foods such as red meat, dairy products and butter in favour of vegetable oils, oily […]

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Medical journal article reminds us of the fact that fruit juices very sugary indeed

In a meeting today, my companion asked me about my views on fruit and fruit juice. In short, my reply was that I think fruit is over-rated, and that fruit juice should generally be avoided. Many of the reasons for my ambivalence about fruit (and why much fruit is anything but some sort of nutritional […]

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Researchers pronouncing ‘statins are safe’ are undermined by their own observations

Listen to most ‘key opinion leaders’ talk about statins and you will hear soothing reassurances about their safety. Yet, my experience as a doctor suggests that adverse effects such as fatigue and muscle pain occur more commonly than ‘official statistics’ suggest. However, a study published this week claims to provide evidence that, for the most part, […]

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