A big health news week may not be all it seems

Friday 2nd Nov 2012

  • Is the flu jab for you? Even if it saves your heart too?
  • Discover the magnetic effect for Alzheimers and dementia.
  • More bl**dy statin madness!

Health news is a bit like waiting for buses - there's none about for ages then a whole bunch arrive at once.

So it was for the Daily Express last week.

They seemed to go into overdrive over flu jabs halving the risk of heart disease, the use of magnetic therapy to delay the onset of dementia and the new research into statin use.

I didn’t know where to look first. But I tell you that when I did, my reactions were very mixed.

Case 1 – The Flu Jab

I’m no fan of the flu jab being blasted about the place to all and sundry, as I’ve said many times before.

So I get a little twitchy when the headlines start to over play why it is SO good for you.

I have no doubt that for those who are at risk there are sound reasons for having the annual vaccine – where respiratory function is already compromised, or serious illnesses have weakened them.

But for the vast majority of the population do we really need to be bullied into wasting our doctor’s time, our nation’s financial resources and our own valuable time for the pleasure of lining a drug manufacturer's coffers?

I begin to worry when the thinly disguised work of the marketing and PR offices kicks in and starts telling us that we can live forever by submitting to a vaccine that we have no need of.

Maybe they need to tell us that we have an increased risk of developing serious neurological problems from a condition called Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Back in 2009 the Health Protection Agency asked all GPs to keep a watchful eye out for its telltale symptoms following giving out the flu jab – funny that we haven’t heard much about that one!

Or the 2011 report from the European Medicines Agency who said that one of the Swine Flu vaccines should never be given to young people as it caused a rare sleeping disorder.

In that case the drug was withdrawn and destroyed, mind you it had been used for several years before that happened.

These two examples (of which there are many more) show how selective the manufacturers are about giving us the full facts. It’s no wonder that many of us view articles in the press with suspicion, and look for the story behind the headline.

Case 2 – Magnetic Treatment for Dementia

With Dad under constant care for deterioration due to Alzheimers, I’m all over anything about dementia.

So I was very interested in an Italian report published in 2010 about using magnetic therapy on Alzheimers sufferers.

This study concluded that brain function was improved in reading tests by around 75% after having the therapy.

Although only a small study, it opened the door to a valuable insight into the brain functions and how dementia affects them.

I had been desperately searching for clinical trials that might show a development in this arena.

And now it looks like a team at in Manchester have begun to use the therapy to treat patients and have been getting some impressive results.

They say that this approach may delay the onset of the devastating symptoms by as much as a year.

That doesn’t sound much, but the chance to have Dad around for another twelve months in his ‘normal’ state is a something I’d pay for.

The head researcher summed this up when he said:

“Medical interventions using drugs tend to have side-effects which are a problem in the early stages when people still function relatively well.

“Even something that can be effective for three months or half a year would make a substantial difference.”

Until I read this article I hadn’t heard about this trial, but I will be watching the way it develops now – very closely.

Case 3 – Statin Research

Warning - this story made my blood BOIL!

I hate the pressure being applied to dose us up with statins.

These drugs have the medical track record of Dr Crippen – how many more problems need to be found with their use before we stop being offered them like sweeties?

They are pushed and hyped by their manufacturers and turn our GPs into snake oil salesmen. The world sales value of these types of drugs exceeds every other medication.

In the US, Pfizer, the patent holder for Viagra, sees it outsold by a factor of ten by the statin they make – that represents billions of dollars a year.

All this you know.

What you may not have realised though is that the manufacturers, GPs and specialists knew that in 40% of cases the drug DIDN’T work – at all.

This is absolutely true, and they have only just admitted it because they have found out why, and now they have a drug to make the statins work!

Anyone else sitting with their jaw in their laps at this point?

Yep, we are now expected to take a drug that lets another drug work...

...world gone mad.

Some idiot apologist for the drug companies has stood up in the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress and told the assembled scientists all about this.

Did they stone him from the stage? Was he heckled by an angry mob? Did he need to be ushered out of a back door and into a waiting van with his head covered?

No, he was feted like a God.

Has it got to the stage that profit matters more than honesty?

Does our safety and wellbeing only count when there is a pound sign in front of it?

Is scientific expertise now just a prostituted form of drug running?

Sadly, I am beginning to feel that the answer to those three questions is a resounding yes.

I can’t tell you just how sad and angry that makes me feel.

Look at our children - how will the work of the mad scientists in the corporate medical companies affect them?

We brought them into this world, stood over their cots and promised them we would protect them from everything nasty.

Little did we know that the scary monsters weren’t under the bed – they were in an accountant’s office at a drug company.

Yours, as always





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