Fake Health News is how I like to describe terrible info on the web that looks official. Here WebMD is giving terrible advice – the same advice that resulted in record amounts of gallbladder removal (300,000 annually).
We can optimize of our gallbladder function by ignoring advice and replacing it with common sense.
The WebMD Article’s Assertions
The article presents a pictorial with the following assertions:
Don’t skip meals (bile builds up and can even lead to cancer)
Pick whole grains (fiber flushes bile)
Get to a health weight
Load up on fruits and veggies
cut back on fried foods (gallbladder has to work harder)
snack on berries, peppers, and kiwi (vitamin C)
Avoid crash diets
drink lots of water
swap in olive oil (great source of fat prompting gallbladder emptying)
Sip a glass of alcohol
Watch your meat, butter, and cheese (saturated fat, raises cholesterol and gallstones – use vegetable oils and low-fat milk)e khgdds ,,j,,,,,, jk seirsireberries, peppers, and kiwi noo n kcaka
Some of these are fine, but some are hypocritical and most are contrary to gallbladder biology.
Quick summary. The liver produces bile from cholesterol and stores it in the gallbladder. When we eat a meal that contains fat (and protein to a lesser degree), Cholecystokinin (CCK) is signals the gallbladder to contract and squeeze out bile. We need bile to emulsify and digest the fat. Gallstones can occur when bile backs up and hangs out in the gallbladder too long.
Misleading and Conflicting Advice
The role of fat
They talk out of both sides of their mouth about fat. Some advice is getting low fat foods, but some highlights fat being a great source of fat that prompts gallbladder emptying. Which is it? Well, fat is the most potent stimulator – quite sensibly. Any advice to avoid fat will remove the number one stimulator of gallbladder relase. Hello? Is this thing on? They urge you to lean toward vegetarian because there are low fat options. Are they promoting gallbladder disease or…? If you want bile flow, fat is important.
I wrote an article about how wheat can uniquely contribute to gallbladder problems, please read it here. A lectin in wheat (and other grains) directly antagonizes CCK, whose job it is to stimulate the gallbladder. I kid you not. By encouraging you to eat whole grains, they are nudging you to decreased gallbladder function and increasing the likelihood for stones. Sounds fun!
Don’t skip meals
More terrible advice. Yes, fats and proteins (BUT NOT CARBS) stimulate gallbladder activity, and fasting tends would not provide that stimulus. However, humans (and countless other animals) have experienced fasting in varied durations for millennia. Yet, we do NOT see urgent gallbladder removals or gallstones for all of history. Fasting is healthy. Stones do not form in the course of a couple days. Read more about Why When You Eat Matters, where I walk thru all the ins and outs about eating (and not eating strategies). If missing a meal causes a gallstone attack, that means you have been following the advice in the WebMD article too long!
Eat Whole Food, INCLUDING FAT
The best advice from the article is “Avoid Crash Diets”. The joke is the biggest joke of a crash diet is the low fat (and high carb) mantra pushed for the last couple decades. They remove healthy fats and their potent CCK mediated gallbladder stimulation. In place of fats, whole grains get recommended in large percentages, which further downregulate CCK effects. The combination is a powerful one-two punch that yields an ever-increasing amount of unnecessary gallstone cases and gallbladder removals. Select whole foods found in nature, including quality fat choices.
We all possess an easy way to influence the speed at which we age – and the good news is it isn’t hard to implement.
Ageing is the most important risk factor for the majority of human pathologies. We propose the concept that the advancement of the hallmarks of ageing is dictated by several distinct biological clocks that can be decelerated by the induction of autophagy. This ‘time dilation’ delays the time-dependent manifestation of multiple diseases.
Decelerating ageing and biological clocks by autophagy Carlos Lopez-Otín & Guido Kroemer Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology (2019)
There is a better way. The news on sunscreen ingredients being distributed in our bloodstream is alarming – for excellent reasons.
A recent study in JAMA showing this occurrence [note]https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2733085[/note]is going viral as mainstream news outlets such as the New York [note]https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/upshot/how-safe-is-sunscreen.html[/note]Times publishes articles. The good news is I happen to be drafting my approach to leveraging the benefits of sun exposure when this broke.
About a year ago I was introduced to a nice woman who had had type 2 diabetes. Her HbA1c (an estimated 3-month average blood sugar metric) was 6.5 – anything above 6.4 is classified as diabetes. Further, there were heart complications and high inflammation markers present.
She had an interest in taking an active role in her health (these are the best people to work with!) and under the care of an alternative provider that prescribed boatloads of supplements – which she dutifully took.
Kim Kardashian has a huge following, and they gobble up anything she puts out. I saw an article headline about her psoriasis last week; Kim Kardashian Just Shared Her Makeup-Free “Psoriasis Face”.
This quote stuck out: “I’m always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I’m learning to just accept it as part of who I am.” While not letting a condition define you is admirable, I believe she can exert more control over the situation – read on for my recommendations.
Just like that, another dogma is reversed. I learned way back in pharmacy school that low dose aspirin, while not free of risk, was a good way to prevent cardiovascular risk. I even remember the Costco sized bottle of 81mg aspirin I took daily – in my late 20s!
I learned enough to become a pharmacist, but was still clueless on the effects of dogma and group think.
That is the observation of a study titled Inverse Association between Organic Food Purchase and Diabetes Mellitus in US Adults1.
I was long a skeptic of the organic movement, and often questioned my wife about why she preferred to procure these products. A few years later, her hunch was right, and the logic is far greater than I could have ever guessed.
This was in my email today “WSJ News Alert: Study Links Eggs to Higher Cholesterol and Risk of Heart Disease”1. I find it amazing we have to keep dealing with these types of stories.
This is the study in question: “Associations of Dietary Cholesterol or Egg Consumption With Incident Cardiovascular Disease and Mortality”2
I disagree. This post is not meant to be a complete analysis, just an initial review for context as the terrible headlines are circulating.
This is one of those massive surveys where they track 30,000 people and work backward to various nutrient makeups of the diet. Even the study admits this as a limitation. How accurately would you fill out a form periodically on what you ate?
I typically start with funding, because it helps determine if there is a potential desired outcome. “This study was supported by a postdoctoral fellowship to Dr Zhong from the American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Networks (14SFRN20480260; principal investigator, Greenland)”
The good ‘ol AHA. I have written on their shady studies before. Have a read, but their funders desire a shift from real foods to Big Food and Big Pharma. Canola oil was the paid beneficiary of the last sham attack disguised as a study, and look what we see here: “These findings are consistent with the evidence that a reduction of dietary cholesterol intake, in addition to isocaloric replacement of saturated fat by unsaturated fat, was significantly associated with reduced total cholesterol (primarily LDL cholesterol) concentration.”
Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat in junk oils such as canola is the message – and if followed, health will decline.
Then you have the conflicts, you will see many of these companies in another AHA discussion on salt restriction advocacy. “Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Wilkins reported receiving consulting fees from NGM Biopharmaceuticals (Modest). Dr Mentz reported receiving research support from Akros, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Gilead, Luitpold, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis, Otsuka, and ResMed; honoraria from Abbott, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Janssen, Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, Merck, Novartis, and ResMed; and serving on an advisory board for Amgen, AstraZeneca, Luitpold, Merck, Novartis and Boehringer Ingelheim. No other disclosures were reported.”
First Read Data Anomalies
The assertion was that dietary cholesterol from eggs leads to heart attack and all-cause mortality. I am not a statistician, even though I took a class in college, but having a representative data set would be a great place to start.
The study had blacks composing 31% of the data set, despite the census showing 13%. The problem here is that blacks have a higher death rate 3and a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
“But even after adjustment for factors related to socioeconomic differences, disparities in rates of heart disease and its risk factors persist, Dr. Lewis says. In the United States, nearly half of all black adults have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared with about one-third of all white adults.” 4.
Women are 50.8% according to the census yet were 55.1% of this study. The authors declared that the association between dietary cholesterol and all-cause mortality was stronger in women. Hmm, more of the stronger association of your theory included.
These two demographic details alone skew the applicability to a broader population.
From the article directly: “This study has several limitations. First, appropriate interpretation of the study findings requires consideration of measurement error for self-reported diet data. Further, this study relied on single measurement of egg and dietary cholesterol consumption. Exposure misclassification may be of concern, but results were similar when censoring participants at different time points. Second, all cohorts used different dietary assessment tools except 2 Framingham cohorts, which created heterogeneities for data analyses. This was addressed by the following: (1) implementing a rigorous methodology to harmonize diet data; (2) performing cohort-stratified analyses; and (3) conducting several sensitivity analyses. Third, residual confounding was likely, although a number of covariates were adjusted. Fourth, data were not available for investigating subtypes of CHD, stroke, and heart failure, as wellasmore detailed cause-specific mortality such as cancer mortality. Fifth, generalizing our results to non-US populations requires caution due to different nutrition and food environments and chronic disease epidemiology. Sixth, the study findings are observational and cannot establish causality.”
Reading through this paper was like an uncomfortable trip down memory lane to my stats class. I learned a few tricks in there, but basically, if you try hard enough you can massage data any way you want.
“Facts are stubborn things, but statistics are pliable.” ― Mark Twain
“There are three types of lies — lies, damn lies, and statistics.” ― Benjamin Disraeli There were multiple models, Energy-adjusted Pearson correlations, 6 cohorts, regressions, absolute risk, hazard ratios, and more. I think there were potentially more statistical terms in this paper than my entire college textbook.
“If your experiment needs a statistician, you need a better experiment.” ― Ernest Rutherford
This is just another in the long line of advocacy studies. Pasture raised, organically fed egg yokes are among the most nutritious foods on the planet (and not mentioned here versus caged and feed laced with arsenic). Eat them often. The reason they are picked on here is that the cholesterol content is high. The high cholesterol myth leads people away from real foods to Big Processed Food Alternatives. They have debunked the whole dietary cholesterol theory anyhow5. There is a regulatory mechanism in place to keep cholesterol levels adequate. If you don’t consume cholesterol, your body makes it, if you do it makes less.
Eggs are nutritious, enjoy them and other whole single ingredient foods (ie, this package contains steak) and your health will improve. The longer the ingredient list, as found in the foods that get recommended in cholesterol avoidance scams, the more problematic health consequences.
I have been looking closely at the protocols for managing chronic disease, especially diabetes. Managing is an appropriate word choice, but not in a good way.
The finding that statins can contribute to insulin resistance (a core feature in diabetes), coupled with the fact they are the standard of care confirms my suspicions of the broad application of such standards.
Most people assume estrogen has little role in male physiology. In normal balance, testosterone does rightly overshadow estrogen. However, that isn’t always the case over time, which is where problems start.
People with diabetes who use insulin are experiencing sticker shock these days. Especially since many people have high deductibles and have to pay the whole cost early in the year. At the pharmacy, it isn’t unheard of to see $800 insulin charges.
Ominous headline – here it is in full: For Alzheimer’s Sufferers, Brain Inflammation Ignites a Neuron-Killing “Forest Fire”1
It is an appropriate analogy.
“The accumulating evidence that inflammation is a driver of this disease is enormous,” says Paul Morgan, a professor of immunology and a member of the Systems Immunity Research Institute at Cardiff University in Wales. “It makes very good biological sense.”
A new study demonstrated working with a knowledgeable practitioner via telemedicine to utilize nutritional ketosis markedly improved fatty liver markers. Gee, that sounds like a service this site offers!
The Ketogenic Diet is very useful for those who have been overloaded with carbs. It isn’t the goal to switch everyone to this way of eating permanently, however, it serves to improve numerous therapeutic outcomes – if done right. That is where the guided part comes in.
A whitepaper including a NEW therapeutic option applicable for stress/ depression/anxiety, cognitive decline, brain injuries, and more. This is a summary of what I often discuss with patients as an introduction to these areas.
Here is the table of contents:
Intro ……………………………………………2 Brain Performance Decline ………………..…3 Strategies – Behavior Modification ……….…7 Strategies – Supplements ……………………13 Sy****in – An Exciting New Product …….…..16 Conclusion …………………………………….20 About …………………………………………..22
The Table of Contents below detail the topics covered, inluding a NEW option that has produced outstanding results over the last year – including patients reporting reduced nighttime urnitation from 4-5 times per night down to 1 or 0 in some cases!
Cover…………………………………………… 1 Intro ……………………………………………..2 Background……………………………………. 2 Dietary Strategies…………………………….. …3 Hormone Therapy & Other Tactics ……………..7 Cl******ol – a NEW option……………………. 10 Conclusion………………………………………. 13 About……………………………………………. 14
Who might benefit from reading this? Basically, anyone who happens to be a man over about 40, or using any BPH drugs.
Chronic skin problems should be a call interpreted as a call to action. To me, they are best interpreted as another tip of a health iceberg – as we saw with hair loss. I wrote this piece to help a friend provide his wife some details on how tactics apart from prescription creams may be able to help his daughter’s eczema.
Skin conditions, such as eczema, are often one of the first indications of leaky gut. This can progress into a whole host of inflammatory conditions. The time to act is when it is just a simple itchy hand.
These intimidating results of deficient shut-eye are observed after ONE BAD NIGHT. This changes the focus on sleep from a benefit to a necessity.
Insulin resistance is the onramp to diabetes and many other chronic diseases, even cancer. DNA damage can manifest in any number of ways, including cancer as well. We all want to avoid that so, let’s unpack these two studies I saw recently.
As a parent of 10 and 13 year olds, this headline caused a double take: “GROUNDBREAKING STUDY DISCOVERS AN ASSOCIATION BETWEEN SCREEN TIME AND ACTUAL BRAIN CHANGES”.1
The impactful point in this article was that they looked at brain structure via MRI and saw physical differences based on screen time. Here is a quick description of the project: “The ABCD study (ABCDStudy.org) is the largest long-term study of brain development and child health in the United States. The ABCD Research Consortium consists of a Coordinating Center, a Data Informatics and Analysis Center, and 21 research sites across the country (see map), which will recruit approximately 10,000 children ages 9-10 and following them into early adulthood. Integrating structural and functional brain imaging with genetics, neuropsychological, behavioral, and other health assessments, the ABCD Study will increase our understanding of the many factors that can enhance or disrupt a young person’s life trajectory. “
If you (or someone you know) has had their gallbladder removed while on a gluten-full diet, you may not want to read this article. “Approximately 20 million people in the United States have gallstones. Of these people, there are approximately 300,000 cholecystectomies performed annually.”1
The pancreas and gallbladder are critical for digestive functions. A component of wheat and other grains, wheat germ agglutin (WGA), can decrease the functionality of these two organs.
If you have been told thinning hair is just your genes or hormones and you have no control, good news is below!
It turns out there are multiple factors involved in hair health. Hair growth is a process that requires good health (mental and physical) to perform optimally. With this understanding, we have many points of impact to utilize on the way to stabilizing hair loss and potentially even re-growing.
Many schools currently have start times aligned with adults circadian biology rather than that of kids, particularly teenagers. Our local school district, Oak Harbor, WA (a high performing district – they do great work) is one that has early start times for teenagers. This discussion is particularly relevant for me as my daughter (now a teenager, yikes) has started middle school and arrives there before 7:30 am every day.
To start the analysis, please listen to this ~5min discussion from recent Bulletproof Radio episode1:
The highlights from this clip:
Satchin Panda is one of the leading researches on circadian rhythm. He published a book last year, and I shared some of the highlights I saved on my kindle here.
Seattle school changed from 7:30 am to 8:30 am despite resistance from teachers/parents (they normally get up earlier).
200 students from 2 different schools for 75 days and tracked grades before and after the change. The students gained 34 minutes, which is equivalent to what was achieved in the 1950s.
Grades improved by nearly 5%.
Less traffic accidents (kids driving aren’t as tired).
The video below is the study’s co-author from a Eureka Alert article summarizing the study.2
Read on to learn more and let’s work together to spread the word with the school district for a later start time!
Ok, that alphabet soup above is actually correct. It is an important enzyme in the body that is involved in the folate (a B vitamin) cycle. It is often found to be reduced by genetic inheritance, which can have profound downstream implications.
The Paleo Thyroid Solution: Stop Feeling Fat, Foggy, And Fatigued At The Hands Of Uninformed Doctors – Reclaim Your Health! by Elle Russ
Thyroid issues are extremely common and under-diagnosed. I picked up this book because Elle has experienced a turnaround based on her own experience and importantly utilized dietary strategies. I have referenced items out of this book many times for patients.
The notes I took from this book have become among my most often used as a starting point for a variety of patients.
With his decades of experience condensed and summarized into this package, it is highly recommended as a read to become familiar with a variety of metabolic process in the body. The heart is among the most sensetive to metabolic efficiency, who while focused on cardiology as his specialty, these concepts apply well to all body systems who rely on efficient energy production (hint: all!)
The Calcium Lie: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know Could Kill You by Robert Thompson M.D. and Kathleen Barnes
Calcium has always been promoted as essential to health, and it is, however, it is not benign. This book helped to document that there is a critical balance of minerals that are needed for optimal health, and a singular focus on just one can precipitate other problems. Continue reading “Book Report: The Calcium Lie”→
The Better Baby Book: How to Have a Healthier, Smarter, Happier Baby by Lana Asprey and David Asprey
I have followed Bulletproof and Dave Asprey for a number of years and knew about his first book topic was on babies, however, I was past that stage of my life. Fast forward to when a friend became pregnant and had a number of questions. I read thru this and immediately wish it was out before our pregnancies. Continue reading “Book Report: The Better Baby Book”→
The HeartMath Solution: The Institute of HeartMath’s Revolutionary Program for Engaging the Power of the Heart’s Intelligence by Doc Childre, Howard Martin, Donna Beech
This book was an excellent introduction to Heart Rate Variability; the timing between heartbeats. HRV is instrumental in overall health, and learning to impact your own HRV thru training was extremely informative, and a practice I started working with promptly after completing this book. Continue reading “Book Report: The Heart Math Solution”→
Tripping over the Truth: How the Metabolic Theory of Cancer Is Overturning One of Medicine’s Most Entrenched Paradigms by Travis Christofferson
I had been hearing about this book for a bit and was going on a business trip to CA and figured I would start on it, back in early 2017. I had been interested slightly on cancer but this took that interest to a new level. Turns out, the timing on upping my interest level was pretty fortunate, see this interview.
The Oxygen Revolution, Third Edition: Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT): The Definitive Treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Other Disorders by Paul G. Harch Md and Virginia McCullough
I came to seek out and read about hyperbaric oxygen after reading Tripping over the truth and realizing it was an important part of cancer care. I happened to choose this book because it was available as a kindle download before i was boarding a plane, and i am glad it was!
Fat for Fuel: A Revolutionary Diet to Combat Cancer, Boost Brain Power, and Increase Your Energy by Joseph Mercola
I had been studying the ketogenic diet through various sources (papers, articles, podcasts, etc) for some time when this book launched, but it did an excellent job of bringing together the concepts and mechanims behind this powerful intervention
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan
Just to get this out right away, no, I have not tried psychedelics. However, there is good reason presented in this book to put it on the radar. Momentum appears to be building for legality. In the meantime, there is lots to learn about how these compounds interact with our physiology.
Vitamin K2 And The Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue
This is a very well researched presentation that highlights how the calcium dogma has missed the point. Vitamin K2 is hardly ever discussed as an important factor in the body, but we will see how it impacts more than just calcium.
Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor by William Davis
Dr. Davis’ first book, Wheat Belly, is what got me started in nutrition as a key part of health. Since reading that book, I have been continually on the path to learn more. In this book, he goes into strategies in navigating the current health system in a more powerful position; one that is focused on your desire to be optimal.
The Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight by Satchin Panda
Dr. Panda is one of those scientists who dives into scientific detail in his work that is way over the understanding of most. But I follow his work and look forward to when he interviewed as he is able to take that knowledge and experience and deliver it in a manner that common folk can understand and apply. I was really looking forward to reading his book when I heard launch was pending. It is a great read!
Dumping Iron: How to Ditch This Secret Killer and Reclaim Your Health by P. D. Mangan1
This book did an excellent job illuminating the connection between too much iron and chronic disease.
Quite simply, too much iron can precipitate the same oxidative reaction seen in this car below.
“The chemical quality that makes iron essential for living things, its ease of reaction, also makes it dangerous. Iron is a potent “pro-oxidant, and can react with biological structures, such as proteins and cell membranes, and damage them. Damage accumulates, causing aging and disease. When accumulated in excess, as it is in many, maybe even the majority, of people in the Western world, iron may be one of the most important causes of aging and disease.”
On these pages, and countless others on the web, people have gained health benefits from grain elimination. So, many pet owners want to help their pets and do the same. I deployed this tactic after my daughter’s dog had a stroke, and it was I believe an essential part of the recovery (as evidenced by another problem after grain returned to the diet).
I was a bit surprised to hear from my wife, who is a small animal veterinarian, that grain-free diets are now being implicated in causing Dilated Cardiomyopathy (DCM) all over the country. Highly regarded cardiologists are backing this up due to the number of cases referred. This still hasn’t sat right with me in any regard, as there is simply no cardioprotective benefits to grains and their insulinogenic properties that I can come up with. Then she messaged me a link with an article to read.
Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar–Your Brain’s Silent Killers
There is a new December 2018 update available, this review was done on notes from the original 2013 publication (I will be reading the new one though!)
One of the first steps to optimizing health and performance starts with diet. High on that list is grain elimination or at least reduction in most cases. Dr. Perlmutter, a neurologist, takes us through a great deal of scientific reasoning for why this is important
In a recently released study, the author detailed what brain imaging demonstrated while on a ketogenic diet:
Two groups of nine mice, aged 12-14 weeks, were given either the Ketogenic Diet (KD) or a regular diet. After 16 weeks, Lin et al saw that the KD mice had significant increases in cerebral blood flow, improved balance in the microbiome in the gut, lower blood glucose levels and body weight, and a beneficial increase in the process that clears amyloid-beta from the brain — a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease.
Conclusions— This study demonstrates that atherosclerotic plaque inflammation can be imaged with 18FDG-PET, and that symptomatic, unstable plaques accumulate more 18FDG than asymptomatic lesions.
The FDG-PET scan, as described here previously in a post titled “Cancer Loves Sugar“, is a process that a radioactively tagged glucose molecule is injected and then interpreted on a scan that can tell high glucose utilizing areas. Many cancers are tracked using this method, but this work in plaques leads us to look more broadly at treatment and prevention strategies.
That is a great headline recently published by Chris Kresser, and I couldn’t agree more.
There are many facets involved in Chronic Disease, and the current model is not working. However, the reason it is not working is multifactorial and unique to the patient in many cases. The current system has all kinds of “standard of care” flow charts to guide clinicians through instructing the patient on “managing” their condition. Guess what? People are often managed effectively, but the condition remains chronic.
A new article just published in Circulation, Time and the Metrics of Aging, does a great job of the opportunities we have to head off functional aging. This is the core of what our service is set up to achieve.
biological aging takes many years before it finally translates into the deterioration of physical and cognitive function. This opportunity for prevention should be eagerly embraced because this has extraordinary translational potential.1
The suggestion is that by working to reduce exposures to things that contribute to Biological Aging, described in the article not as counting birthdays but “the changes that occur with aging at the molecular, cellular, and intercellular levels”, we may be able to delay the onset of Functional Aging (“the age-associated decline in physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functions that may be either so subtle as to be evident only under challenge or so severe that they curtail performance of basic activities of daily living and contribute to loss of independence”). Continue reading “Biological Aging BEFORE Functional Aging->Intervention BEFORE Symptoms”→
That is the very first question I look to obtain when a study comes out, especially one that is circulated widely in the news with a broad headline. Sometimes, even the disclosures don’t help. Check out this amazing admission:
All told, ProPublica and The Times found that Dr. Baselga had failed to report any industry ties in 60 percent of the nearly 180 papers he had published since 2013. That figure increased each year — he did not disclose any relationships in 87 percent of the journal articles that he co-wrote last year.1
So, even when the disclosures are declared, unfortunately, we can’t consider that the final word. A careful look at not just the disclosures, but who benefits from the information, is a big part of the picture. Not all studies are nefarious but, most often those in our Fake Health News series rise to that level.
Proceed with caution before heeding the advice of news headlines from studies without analyzing a little more closely.
California is considering a statewide bill to ban restaurants from serving soda to kids at restaurants; they would only be eligible by state law to be offered milk or water. Sounds like my house, except maybe clarifying that the whole milk (raw preferred) would be from A2 cows, so why not make it the rule for an entire state or country while we are at it?
The FAKE HEALTH NEWS section of the blog originated from various material I presented to our Rotary club called the Bull session where the speaker quizzes different tables to extract money (for a good cause). This is one of the slides I put up:
Of course, it was a bit of a trick question (the point being generating money); it was one where they had to say all of the above, even though it wasn’t an option.
The FAKE HEALTH NEWS section of the blog originated from various material I presented to our Rotary club called the Bull session where the speaker quizzes different tables to extract money (for a good cause). This is one of the slides I put up:
The red text is the correct, or false, statement in this case.
“We now know that one pathway—the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway—is the major nutrient-sensitive regulator of growth in animals and plays a central role in physiology, metabolism, the aging process, and common diseases. ”
Our cells, much like our fat cells, are essentially binary in respect to their opposing states of growth or maintenance/autophagy/repair. Growth is excellent, in fact, a key to longevity is the ability to make new muscles and tissues, however, if we continually send the body growth signals the cleanup and maintenance phases can’t be utilized.
Quinolone antibiotics (Fluoroquinolone to be precise) have been known to cause some potential harms. With the release of this article, The dark side of antibiotic ciprofloxacin, last week I thought it would be good to put down a few thoughts.
Many people receive prescriptions for these powerful antibiotics.
It’s safe to say pregnant women tend to experience an increase in size and a corresponding increase in blood volume to support the additional human being developed:
A healthy woman bearing a normal sized fetus, with an average birth weight of about 3.3 kg, will increase her plasma volume by an average of about 1250 ml, a little under 50% of the average non-pregnant volume for white European women of about 2600 ml.
If you have ever received IV fluids, you might have noticed plain water is not used. Rather, something termed Normal Saline, or fluid that has 0.9% Sodium Chloride (salt). With this information, would the salt demand for a pregnant woman increase or decrease?
From savoring a piece of cake to hugging a friend, many of life’s pleasures trigger a similar reaction in the brain—a surge of chemicals that tell the body “that was good, do it again.” Research published Friday in Nature Communications suggests this feel-good circuit may do much more. Using lab tools to activate that reward circuit in mice, scientists discovered that its chemical signals reach the immune system, empowering a subset of bone marrow cells to slow the growth of tumors. The findings have yet to be confirmed in humans. But given the reward system is linked with positive emotions, the research offers a physiological mechanism for how a person’s psychological state could help to stall cancer progression.
Pretty ominous inference from this headline on NBC, re-tweeted by a doctor who also appears on Fox News. If people read no further into this, will it cause more or fewer people to evaluate all aspects of their cancer care options? If fewer, how is it beneficial to present headlines that don’t include the entire perspective?
I start with my personal bias. I believe complimentary/functional/dietary/non-standard care measures have their place and should be considered in cancer and many other chronic health conditions. I do NOT believe this is combined with an exclusion of standard care; in other words, it is NOT a binary choice.
Now, for the study referenced, I do not know their bias but the money sources cited in the Conflict of Interest Disclosures are medical systems, drug companies, and even a nationwide cancer clinic operation.
The bias of NBC for the headline, unknown.
The Fox News doctor? She works at a hospital so one would assume she wants patients to succeed in care and believes through her training that conventional treatment protocols are the best course. I think a relevant question for her is did she open the study before endorsing with her comment?
Ok, on to what the study claims to be investigating; comparing overall survival and adherence between patients with cancer receiving Conventional Cancer Treatment (CCT) and those who chose to utilize Complementary Medicine (CM). That is worth looking into, however, it is a very tall order with the data available and the lack of standardization on the CM side. Further exasperating this angle is the fact that the data of patients included a search from 2004 thru 2013. Much of the newer metabolic approaches to cancer were just starting to really get out into circulation say around 2011-12 with Thomas Seyfried’s work and book. Even still today, there isn’t a standard CM approach. Further, the study defines CM as “Other-Unproven: Cancer treatments administered by nonmedical personnel”. Again, with my bias toward an integrated care approach, I believe that to utilize any non-CCT approach it is best done in partnership with an educated practitioner.
I took a statistics class in college, but I would probably need to take a few years to parse apart all of the different data massaging techniques used in this study. They looked at almost 2 million patients in a database and found only 258 that met the definition of using CM and then selected just over one thousand CCM patients to compare against. After additional computations, the headline of the study was highlighted. Five-year survival was shown to be poorer (82% vs 86%) for those who used CM compared to those that followed CCM in a univariate analysis (one variable). No quality of living data but they lived longer at the 5-year mark. Case Closed?
The very next paragraph states after including treatment refusal and delay to start treatment there was no longer a significant difference in the risk of death. What? Is that not the OPPOSITE of what the headline infers?
Here is my read on this, assuming I understand all the statistical gymnastics.
One of the many challenges with this analysis is the simply trying to look backward and put everybody into groups and assuming all will proceed the same and as such will get similar results; it won’t. Treatment refusal is a perfect example. CCM includes all the common options, chemo, radiation, surgery, and hormone therapy. The most commonly refused treatment the CM group refused was chemo and radiation. Very few refused surgery. It is well known and documented that chemo and radiation can cause tremendous side effects. By avoiding these, quality of life likely is higher in some cases, and what is not highlighted in the headline is that including these refusals there is not a significant association with increased risk of death by choosing CM. This is worth repeating, CCT vs CM yielded the same results in these data sets. What might be a fantastic variable to add? How about the quality of life, which is the reason most refuse chemo.
CM cannot be interpreted as a singular treatment modality for the purpose of evaluating its effectiveness; there just isn’t any consistency on what that even means in practical terms. However, integrative approaches where evidence-based strategies are utilized in a coordinated manner with conventional options offer many advantages for patients. As I have seen personally, and others have seen throughout the world, the successes gained should not be broadsided carelessly by oversimplified headlines; especially by people who may or may not have a vested interest in seeing one side of the spectrum succeed. There is enough room for integrated partnerships in providing excellent patient-driven care with a diverse set of choices available, in which case the patients can define and chase their success. Manufactured fake-news headline-driven studies and their reporting in the media advance no patient benefit and quite possibly can discourage fair evaluations of expanded options available today that may advance health outcomes.
If Anita saw the tweet above, would that have made her more or less likely to evaluate her options? Hear her story here:
Aluminum gels or salts of aluminum which are added as adjuvants to help the vaccine stimulate a better response. Adjuvants help promote an earlier, more potent response, and more persistent immune response to the vaccine.
This blog will occasionally feature examples of Fake News in the health information space. Just as in politics, health information misreporting by any means can affect the way in which patients engage the health care system. Again like politics, it is not the opinion that is the problem, it is when an opinion is presented as information without bias. In politics, it’s a card-carrying partisan disguised as an objective newsperson reporting one side of a story (or not reporting it) to advance a position.
It Was Supposed to Be an Unbiased Study of Drinking. They Wanted to Call It ‘Cheers.’ Buried in a new N.I.H. report are disturbing examples of coordination between scientists and the alcohol industry on a study that could have changed America’s drinking habits.
A few quotes below from the article demonstrating the issues that are far too common:
In June 2013, institute staff drew up a business plan making the case for the industry’s financial support of the study. “Once the data are released into the public domain via publication,” it said, “the industry can use that information to make or bolster whatever arguments and claims they choose.”
“As we discussed, this will be the first R.C.T., i.e. ‘gold standard’ evidence of this,” they added, “and it is important to answer statements made by W.H.O. and others that ‘no level of alcohol is safe’ with certainty.” (R.C.T. refers to a randomized controlled trial.)
Indeed, on Feb. 26, 2015, Dr. Mukamal and alcohol institute staff weighed in on an email to an industry group, editing it to say that one of the important findings of the study “will be showing that moderate drinking is safe.”
Perhaps the earliest signs of bias could be seen in emails between N.I.A.A.A. staff as they debated what they should call the trial. Scientists often come up with acronyms that serve as nicknames for studies and are shorthand for long, complicated scientific titles.
One staffer informed another on June 13, 2013, that the name of this clinical trial would be “Cheers” — short for “Cardiovascular Health Effects of Ethanol Research Study.”
“And it will be a new drinking game,” the official added. “Every time you hear it, you must assume its [sic] a toast, and so have a drink.”
That idea was later abandoned in favor of the more sober acronym, M.A.C.H., which stood for “Moderate Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health.”
You have all the elements of Fake Health News here. A study paid for by one side with a monetary upside, with a pre-determined outcome, showing moderate drinking is safe, and ensuring the title is social media friendly.
The more information the better, but the biases need to be declared in the open. I will lead with mine when posting as well. A good study paid for by the booze industry that shows moderate drinking is fine, there have been many, would be great for discourse if there is appropriate transparency and it is not simply a dressed up advertising campaign.
While there are definitely some cancers that are primarily governed by inherited genetic traits, newer information shows that many of the genetic abnormalities of most cancers are often effects, not causes. Continue reading “Cancer Loves Sugar”→
The brain is often called the most sensitive part of the body to inflammation. So, as we touched on earlier, high blood sugar can contribute to inflammation and that can manifest in the brain. Alzheimer’s Disease and associated Cognitive Decline disorders are best considered a normal defense mechanism to protect the brain. I have been following Dale Bredesen’s work for years (highly recommended), here is a clip from his book:
Alzheimer’s disease is what happens when the brain tries to protect itself from three metabolic and toxic threats: Inflammation (from infection, diet, or other causes) Decline and shortage of supportive nutrients, hormones, and other brain-supporting molecules Toxic substances such as metals or biotoxins (poisons produced by microbes such as molds)
Dale Bredesen, The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline, loc. 440
I have played with the Fake News mantra in a couple presentations to my Rotary club. This example highlights how we have to understand the sourcing of information before accepting the premise presented as true. Continue reading “Fake Health News?”→
The low hanging fruit, if you will (pardon the carb joke), is to look at diabetes care.By presenting the body with moderate to high quantities of carbohydrates and high glycemic foods (those that raise blood sugar in a pronounced way), insulin is called upon in increasing amounts to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream. While this may seem useful, and it certainly is to a degree, there are many downstream complications long term that can result. Continue reading “Brief look at diabetes standards of care”→
A cornerstone of much of the success stories starts with the ketogenic diet and often times intermittent fasting (at least intermittent fasting from carbs). But does this mean that we should be advocating 100% keto all the time? Not at all.
The reason we choose to utilize keto in many cases is that it is opposite of the low-fat high carb diet that is the norm. So many of the diseases we face in this country are rooted in carb overload. There are issues with being 100% keto as well; gut, thyroid, eye dryness, etc. The key is to develop metabolic flexibility, which can also be described visually using the logo above. Some time in the green sometime in the blue.
This pattern repeats itself, and many strategies we can utilize will follow the logo. Saunas and cold showers, stress and meditation, exercise and recovery, fasting and feeding, carbs and low carbs.
You cannot look to hit the middle line in the logo and stay there, that line is essentially a point in which we cross repeatedly and it becomes our midpoint between our spectrums which we should strive to cross regularly.
There will be more science to back this up on this site as time goes on, but this logo is the roadmap.
Reverse heart disease now : stop deadly cardiovascular plaque before it’s too late by Stephen T. Sinatra and James C. Roberts
I checked this one out of the library after reviewing my notes on Dr. Sinatra’s other book, the Sintra Solution, for one of these book reports. He has a great approach to cardiology and presents information in a very understandable way from the causation angle before heading into some treatment options.
Human Heart, Cosmic Heart: A Doctor’s Quest to Understand, Treat, and Prevent Cardiovascular Disease by Thomas Cowan
I personally find immense value in people who discover their own path, particularly when it goes against everything they knew. Such is the case with Dr. Cowan, and what he documents here gets added credence from his experiences as a Doctor who had to find a different way to health.
The Laws of Medicine: Field Notes from an uncertain scientist by Siddhartha Mukherjee
Dr. Mukherjee is a cancer physician who was being interviewed in a podcast I heard recently. He has written some very notable books, and while I wait for the two most recent Kindle versions in the library, I picked up this short 70-page Ted Talk book. It makes for an excellent approach to looking at how medicine approaches interventions in human health.
The Power of When: Discover Your Chronotype–and the Best Time to Eat Lunch, Ask for a Raise, Have Sex, Write a Novel, Take Your Meds, and More by Michael Breus and Mehmet C. Oz
Sleep is something I enjoy studying very much. It is fascinating how much biology it impacts and how we can impact it at various levels. Dr. Breus explains that we are all hardwired to have unique circadian rhythms, termed chronotypes.