Posts filed under ‘Health Care News’

November 29, 2019: Can You Trust What Medical Journals Publish?

I want to share this important article by a medical expert. It confirms what I have been saying for years: medical “research” is not to be relied upon, especially when motivated by politics or connections to the pharmaceutical companies. I have often pointed out that the vaunted peer review process is nothing more than medical censorship. Read on for more important evidence.

By John Dale Dunn

I have repeatedly questioned the validity of medical journal claims in regards to politically charged issues like air pollution and climate change, as well as global warming here at AT.  More recently, I showed how a major medical journal violates basic rules on scientific inquiry.

There is another important problem with medical research as reported in medical journals and then often expanded by the lay press as big news: that medical journal articles are often proven wrong for unreliable results or promotion of treatments that are not beneficial or not any more efficacious than treatments they propose to replace.

I was reminded recently of this problem by an article in Emergency Medicine News, a medical specialty newspaper, that reported on a study by Dr. Vinay Prasad, a comprehensive review of randomized clinical trials in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Lancet, and the New England Journal of Medicine identifying 396 medical reversals.  Reversals are cases where medical journal articles are found to be faulty, misleading and just plain wrong.

When high-flying medical researchers on environmental issues use bad methods and report false results, it is motivated by political agendas usually, but when medical researchers report what end up being unreliable results in other areas, it is often due to biases and fallacious thinking and lack of effort to assiduously test their results and repeat them to assure that the hypothesis is valid and reliable and the results are testable and verified.

Some “rules” turned out to be wrong, for example tight blood sugar control, mechanical chest compressions, protocols for treatment of sepsis (infections with severe complications).  The unreliability problem is troublesome, since the study shows that many recommended treatments and strategies are not efficacious.

Here are some additional specifics from the Prasad study:

  • Mechanical compression was not better than manual compressions for CPR. (JAMA. 2014;311[1]:53)
  • Early and aggressive methods for care of patients with sepsis (severe infection) were no better than usual care. (JAMA. 2017;318[13]:1233)
  • The REACT-2 trial found that routine use of an immediate total-body CT did not impact mortality or benefit compared with conventional imaging and selective CT scanning in patients with severe trauma. (Lancet. 2016;388[10045]:673)
  • Platelet transfusion after acute hemorrhagic stroke was found by the 2015 PATCH study to worsen survival in the platelet transfusion group (68%) compared with the standard care group (77%). (Lancet. 2016;387[10038]:2605)

The authors were so alert to the problem that they created a website for best practices that, like other such practice websites, intends to alert physicians to the realities of the research mistakes and misinformation.

Medical reversals and rejection of medical protocols and suggested treatments are too common and the result of bad methods and scientific dishonesty.  Real science honesty would identify the problems and discover the unreliable information, and the studies would not be published.

The reports of this or that new breakthrough should be assessed with care by the public and medical professionals.

In 2005, an obscure Greek physician, John Ioannidis, published a groundbreaking article on the unreliability of medical research, “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False,” and he became famous — so famous that he is now at Stanford, heading a study project on scientific integrity, funded by a philanthropist.  What Ioannidis found was that medical research is driven by ambition, intellectual passion, and fallacious thinking.  He didn’t say researchers are dishonest; he just said they often put out false claims and make false assertions.

I have, in these articles at AT, tried to warn the readers of the problems of dishonesty and malfeasance in medical research — the lay reader is warned to apply these rules as a way to avoid being taken in by bad research methods or just plain cheating and dishonesty.

There are some basic rules to help avoid being taken in by charlatans.

  1. The study should be a human study, or, if it is an animal study, the limits of such a study should be declared.
  2. The study should follow basic rules about how to determine causation, and avoid the trap of claiming that “association” or “coincidence” is proof of causation.
  3. The study should avoid surveys and questionnaires as a source of “evidence” since recall bias is always a problem in survey or response studies.
  4. The study should always be measured in terms of the magnitude of the “effect,” and the rule is that magnitude of effect should be “robust” — at least 2 or 3 times the increase in effect over the baseline.
  5. The study should establish a mechanism to explain the causal effect asserted — for example, ice cream consumption is associated with an increase in drowning deaths, but it is not a cause of those deaths.
  6. Although I could argue that peer review and publication are not a good standard for reliability, the source of the research and the reputation of that source as well as the reputation of the journal the research was published in is often worth something.  How much it is worth is the question.

The important thing is that professionals and citizens should be careful to question and evaluate what is pronounced by medical journals.  Too often, they are overwhelmed by self-esteem and ambition.

John Dale Dunn, M.D., J.D. is an emergency physician and inactive attorney in Brownwood, Texas.
Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/11/can_you_trust_what_medical_journals_publish.html#ixzz66gLJbxwC
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November 29, 2019 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

An Aspirin a Day Can Give You Cancer

This article is from 2003 and was somehow deleted from my blog. I restored it today. I also did additional internet research. The data from the nurses study is being buried in claims that aspirin prevents cancer. However, there is very little data to buttress those claims.

I want to share a health alert with you. So many people today are taking an aspirin a day – many upon the recommendation of their doctors and many simply because they think it is the “healthy” thing to do. However, a recent study involving 88,000 nurses revealed a 58% increase in the risk of pancreatic cancer among those who took 2 or more aspirins per week for 20 years or more. (“Daily aspirin use linked with pancreatic cancer,” Reuters Health News, 10/27/03)(and, http://www.doctoryourself.com/safety.html)  I expect the standard disclaimers from the medical profession – something about balancing the risks with the rewards. However, pancreatic cancer is a doctor’s nightmare. It is very hard to diagnose and there is no cure. And, there are natural, safe alternatives to reduce the risk of inflammation and clot formation.

If you are taking an aspirin daily to prevent the formation of blood clots, I recommend a daily dose of vitamin E, high potency bromelain and gamma linolenic acid (found in evening primrose oil, black currant seed oil and borage oil). Some authorities also recommend a daily dose of fish oil. If you want to know more about how much you should take (since the dose is individualized to body weight), call the office for a brief consultation and I can give you your exact dosage.

March 2, 2017 at 5:41 pm Leave a comment

Protect Yourself From Unproven and Dangerous Medical Therapies (Part 1)

I have been reading an outstanding book entitled, Rethinking Aging, Growing Old and Living Well in An Overtreated Society, by Nortin M. Hadler, M.D. While he is very medical in his approach and doesn’t have much knowledge regarding natural therapies, his warnings about medical care are very on-point.

The second chapter of his book, “The Golden Years,” is an indictment of many of the most commonly prescribed medical interventions. I will touch on some of the highlights in this brief article:

  1. Aging is a normal part of the life cycle and it comes with its own challenges. Not every symptom of aging needs to be labeled a “disease” requiring medical intervention. This is a direct contradiction of our pharmaceutical, profit-driven “health care” industry.
  2. “The . . . assertion – that one is more likely to promote physical health by attention to social cohesiveness than by attention to human biology – is counterintuitive. . . [F]or every darkening shadow there are diagnostic tests, screenings for risk, and treatments galore. . . .America’s elderly swallow the prescribed remedies, often many simultaneously, to bring their laboratory numbers to heel. America’s elderly are hell bent to be normal. . . It’s all so sad. They are on a fool’s errand.” [p. 13]
  3. The obesity “epidemic” has no basis in scientific fact, and is in fact a political construct. There are many studies that indicate that there is no difference in life expectancy between “normal” BMI and “obese” individuals. In fact, the risk of death was 13% lower for overweight elderly people than for those of normal weight. [p. 15] However, there is a huge financial incentive for the pharmaceutical companies and weight loss industry to bury these findings.
  4. You have undoubtedly seen the Crestor commercials about how wonderful it is for reducing cReactive Protein (cRP). However, the touted benefit is not as great as you are led to believe. The abstract of the research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine announced a 56% reduction in adverse outcomes. Sounds impressive, yes? However, that’s not even close to the truth. The outcome of the study was that, after 2 years, about 2% of the 18,000 subjects had suffered any of the cardiovascular adverse events. Of those on Crestor, 1.6% were stricken; while 2.8% of the control group (not taking Crestor) were affected. This is a difference of 1.2%. At this point, it gets complicated due to the structure of the study. To summarize the data, the “composite outcome” is 0.77 on Crestor and 1.36 without Crestor. This is the 56% reduction that’s being touted. What it actually means is that 400 well people would have to take Crestor for a year to spare one a nonfatal heart attack, and about 600 to spare one a stroke. There is no evidence there is any life-saving benefit. So, the relative reduction of 56% turns out to be an absolute reduction of 0.59%. [pp.29-30]

I side with Dr. Hadler who said, “I am unwilling to let anyone test my cholesterol until I see unequivocal data that taking a statin yields meaningful benefit for me.” [p.27]

  1. Hadler then addresses antihypertensive therapy for diabetics, specifically Actos & Avandia. He discusses at length the conflict of interest and financial incentives of both the researchers and the pharmaceutical houses to “prove” the efficacy of these substances. The data actually suggested that “[these drugs] were associated with an increase in the incidence of serious cardiovascular complications, including heart failure, heart attacks and death.” [p.37] The drugs were outlawed in the European Union; our FDA only saw fit to place a warning label on the packaging insert.
  2. Part of his discussion regarding diabetes highlights the fact that current diabetic therapies, including insulin and oral hypoglycemics, are ineffective in preventing any of the adverse effects of diabetes. Please, read that sentence again. Does that make you wonder what is going on? According to a respected medical publication, A H R Q News and Numbers (issue no. 288, July 25, 2009), purchases of cholesterol and diabetes prescription drugs by elderly Medicare beneficiaries reached nearly $19 billion in 2007 – approximately 1/4th of the $82 billion spent for medications for the elderly. [p. 35]

My personal experience with diabetes has convinced me that the important criterion that medical treatment completely ignores is the health of the micro-circulatory system. I have had Type II diabetes for more than 15 years, yet I have no circulatory pathology. My retinal fields are perfectly healthy and there is not a sign of atherosclerosis, based upon an exam I had just last week. I attribute this to my aggressive supplement program that prevents arterial plaque and lowers inflammation. I also have a protocol to improve microcirculation. This is incredibly important both to your vascular tree and to your kidneys – two areas that develop pathology with diabetes. I would be glad to share my insights with you if you care to make an appointment.

The next section of Dr. Hadler’s book deals with how badly the medical therapies mismanage coronary artery disease via antihypertensive meds, surgical interventions and stents. I will cover these in my next installment of my newsletter. If you don’t want to wait, you can always look for Dr. Hadler’s book on amazon.com. One word of warning, it is very heavy going.

September 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment

Salt Restriction and Heart Disease – Are The Facts Being Hidden?

This morning (December 29, 2015) I received an alert on my computer home page regarding increased mortality in heart failure patients when their salt intake is restricted. Three hours later, it was gone!  I couldn’t find it anywhere!  However, I did locate this article on the National Institutes of Health website discussing the inadvisability of overly restricting salt intake in congestive heart failure (CHF) patients.

Reasons cited include the way the lack of salt messes up the blood flow to the kidney and disrupts the kidney hormones needed to maintain vascular volume and regularize blood pressure. The same article also mentions the importance of micro-nutrients to these people’s health and well-being.  Of course, they damn the findings with faint praise, since vitamins and minerals are not part of the medical model.

I also found a second article from 2013 that highlights the fact that salt restriction results in worsening of cardiovascular disease, as well as increased mortality.  This article was published in the American Journal of Medicine, but has still to find its way into current medical practice.  The gold standard is still excessive salt restriction for all heart disease patients.

So much for the canard “More research is needed.” It’s clear that if the medical profession doesn’t agree with the research findings, it simply buries them; and, then, ignores them!

January 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm Leave a comment

Warning re Blood Pressure Readings

If you are overweight, or your arms are larger than average due to your work (like mine are), your medical records may contain inaccurate blood pressure readings. This happened to me. I require a large blood pressure cuff, but my primary care physician’s assistant who took my blood pressure didn’t want to be bothered with going to fetch the large cuff. Therefore, all of the readings she took showed that I had hypertension. Big problem! I actually wrote the doctor a letter to correct the situation, and she now uses a large cuff every time I come in for an appointment.

A study in the British Medical Journal found that 8 percent of obese patients were wrongly diagnosed as hypertensive because a standard size cuff, as opposed to a large size adult cuff, was used. I believe the problem is even worse in America.

The misdiagnosis means that you would be prescribed drugs or unnecessary anti-hypertensive treatments.

“Our findings show that blood pressure readings taken by the auscultatory method using a standard cuff instead of a large cuff in subjects with obese arms will be significantly higher in many individuals. Limited availability of different cuff sizes makes the improper usage of a standard cuff a frequent practice. Such circumstance potentially becomes a source of biased blood pressure readings,” the authors said.

I have found in my practice that the same is true of very small individuals. Using a standard cuff, instead of a child-size cuff, results in high blood pressure readings and over-medication. I had one such client, and her physician refused to obtain a child-size cuff to obtain accurate readings. As a result, she was over-medicated to such an extent that she slept constantly and was very difficult to arouse.

So, when you have your blood pressure taken, make sure the physician’s assistant sizes the cuff to your arm. There are guides inside the cuff that show whether or not it fits you. Accurate readings are essential since the medical world places such an emphasis on blood pressure.

Another fact you should be aware of is that the pharmaceutical industry, without any evidence, has decreed that everyone should have a blood pressure of 118/78. This is garbage. Life expectancy actuarial tables, based on actual statistics, tell us that 145/90 is borderline hypertension in people 45-years-old. For each decade of life, you add 5 points to the top and the bottom. This means that a 65-year-old would have borderline hypertension at 155/100. However, medical practitioners go ballistic at these numbers, because they have been brainwashed by their pharmaceutical representatives. Do the math; at 85 years of age, the numbers are 165/110.

Why is this important? Because as we age, maintaining brain circulation is critical to both energy levels and mental clarity. I fight this battle all the time, with medical doctors prescribing drugs with serious side effects – everything from heart failure to kidney failure – for blood pressure readings that present no risk to the client. The best I can do is to inform the individual and let them make their own decision, since I am not permitted to take them off of medications.

So, be your own best advocate, and make decision based on many years of statistics, rather than drug company profits.

September 4, 2015 at 5:52 pm Leave a comment

Osteoporosis — Treating it Naturally

A recent article on WebMD caught my eye. Dated April 13, 2015 and quoting from Health Day News the report was about the osteoporosis drug Reclast and its effect on osteoporosis in frail, elderly women. I found the study interesting for two reasons:

  1. The increase in bone density achieved did not translate into fewer fractures among this fragile population; and
  2. The actually improvement in bone density was only 2.8% after one year and 2.6% after two years.

The reasons I am impressed by this study are as follows:

For years, I have been pointing out that osteoporosis drugs, by their very mechanism of action – destroying the cells that remodel the bone – make bones brittle and susceptible to fracture. The article goes to great lengths to explain this finding away. However, their own study noted that 20% of the treated population had bone fractures, while only 16% of the control group suffered fractures. The mortality rate was also greater: 16% in the group receiving the drug and only 13% in the control group.

One of the reasons given for the poorer outcomes in the treated group is that they had many more falls than the control group: 49% to 35%. Do you think the medication might have had something to do with causing their falls? Of course, that is never mentioned in the article.

The second issue is even more impressive to me. The drug companies are touting an improvement of less than 3% in bone density for a drug that costs between $5,800 and $7,000. Excuse me! That percentage is barely on the chart. I have had enormous success with a protocol that involves calcium, vitamin D and strontium citrate. I was actually apologizing for the fact that the increase in bone strength is “only” 15% after two years. I guess I don’t have to apologize anymore, particularly since the cost is so much less.

The only concern regarding taking strontium is that you have to inform the radiologist that you are taking it when you have a bone scan done. It changes the appearance of the bone, and the doctor reading the study won’t understand those changes unless she or he knows you are taking strontium.

From a purely practical perspective, taking strontium makes sense. After all, calcium is nothing more than chalk. You know how easily chalk crumbles. To provide the tensile strength bone needs to avoid breakage, a mineral like strontium is much stronger. And, we know that the body places strontium in the bones. When I was young, the concern was that radioactive strontium from testing nuclear bombs would somehow get into the food supply of dairy cattle and affect children’s bones. So, we can put that knowledge safely to use and reduce the incidence of fracture in the elderly.

April 24, 2015 at 9:02 pm Leave a comment

Important Information on Prop 37

I am attaching to this email information I received from a concerned client regarding Prop 37, the food labeling initiative. I was unaware of the import of this legislation until I received a political ad dissing Dr. Mercola for supporting it. I immediately sat up and took notice, since I respect Dr. Mercola.

Continue Reading October 19, 2012 at 10:15 pm Leave a comment

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