Lose weight by eating less salt! - Go on! - Try it! - You will feel so much better!
See my website
Wilde About Steroids

Read my Mensa article on Obesity and the Salt Connection

Read my Mensa article on Cruelty, Negligence and the Abuse of Power in the NHS: Fighting the System

Read about the cruel treatment I suffered at the Sheffield Dental Hospital: Long In The Toothache

You can contact me by email from my website. The site does not sell anything and has no banners, sponsors or adverts - just helpful information about how salt can cause obesity.

This blog has been exported to a new URL so that readers can leave Comments again. If you want to leave a Comment, please visit my 'new' blog, which has Comments enabled. The 'new' blog is Wilde About Obesity.

Friday, October 28, 2011

GM crops have created superweeds

Super weeds 'run rampant in fields near GM crops'.
GM crops have failed to deliver higher food yields but have created dangerous super weeds, a report warns. Health and conservation groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America say that the fast-growing weeds smother other crops planted in fields near where GM crops have been grown.
Read article in the Daily Mail (UK)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Screening for Lung Cancer by routine chest X-rays gets the thumbs down

Screening for lung cancer by routine chest X-rays gets the thumbs down from the American Cancer Society. See this CBS News report. - Well that's another bit of good news today! - The fewer damaging doses of ionising radiation people get, the better. I am not in favour of screening by X-rays.

"The 13-year study tracked more than 150,000 Americans between the ages of 55 and 74 and found those who had four annual chest X-ray screenings were just as likely to die of lung cancer as those who didn't get screened. Whether they smoked didn't matter. Screening refers to routine tests in people without symptoms. Doctors still support chest X-rays for diagnosing people with lung cancer symptoms, including coughing up blood and a persistent cough."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm glad there is to be a review of breast cancer screening

BBC News reports that the national cancer director for England, Prof Mike Richards, intends to lead a review of breast cancer screening. Well, not before time! Speaking for myself, I'm not a fan of breast cancer screening, by which I mean screening using mammograms. I believe that routine mammography screening to detect breast cancer does far, far more harm than good. Mammograms have definitely been oversold to women and the disadvantages downplayed. Obviously mammograms will occasionally bring cancers to light that need to be dealt with and this may save the lives of some women and that, of course, is a good thing for those women. But there are far more false positives found, that lead to unnecessary worry and unnecessary surgery, and these are usually cited as the biggest disadvantage to this screening. And there are other big disadvantages: the damage and risk of the radiation itself, and the damage from the great mechanical pressure on each breast when it is painfully squashed/flattened between two metal plates for the X-ray to be taken.

What is rarely mentioned is the possibility that the radiation from the mammography may in itself prove carcinogenic to women being screened. - If you look at this Radiation Chart I think you will be amazed/shocked at how high the dose of radiation from a mammogram is, compared with other X-rays. And breast tissue is extra radiosensitive due to continuous cellular growth activity. - And when you consider that these are not just one-off X-rays... - Well, I consider it pretty risky myself, unless there are symptoms to justify the risk. - But screening refers to routine tests in people without symptoms; it's not about following up symptoms. - And consider the effect of the pressure on the breast of being squashed flat between those metal plates.. - This is usually described by health professionals as 'discomfort', but 'discomfort' it ain't! If the skin of the breasts is thin and there are visible, swollen veins, e.g. as a result of having taken steroids, HRT, antidepressants or certain other prescribed drugs, then it's excruciating pain, and, I would contend, actually causes trauma and permanent damage to that thin skin and those delicate, thin-walled veins. I had a mammogram (not screening) many years ago and you wouldn't catch me having another mammogram, ever. - See also this wise advice about diagnostic technologies. And see Dr Briffa's blog article posted today.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Evan Davis and The Bottom Line on Radio 4 today

I've just been listening to Evan Davis chairing The Bottom Line on Radio 4. "With protests continuing around the world against the financial sector, three guests from that industry swap candid thoughts about it. Evan puts to them a fundamental question: is their industry creating genuine wealth, or is it essentially parasitic, finding clever ways of distributing other people's wealth to its own workers? Joining Evan in the studio are Ken Olisa, chairman of boutique technology merchant bank Restoration Partners; Ian Gorham, chief executive of financial advisory firm Hargreaves Lansdown; Julian Roberts, chief executive of savings and investment group Old Mutual".

Well, give him his due, Evan Davis really homed in, again and again, on the key outrage of the rôle of the bankers in the worldwide financial woes of recent years - namely their lack of accountability. Try as he might, however, and despite his repeatedly drawing attention to the great suffering endured by so many innocent people who were taken for a ride by being allowed/persuaded/conned to borrow money they could not pay back, he could not obtain much sympathy/understanding for the victims. He pointed out that 'Heads we win, tails you (i.e. the taxpayers) lose' was not right or fair, but it was largely a dialogue with the deaf. He was informed that it was a matter of 'Caveat Emptor!' (Let the buyer beware!') and if people were stupid enough to fall for dodgy deals, they must take the consequences.

More about Conflicts of Interest within the Medical Profession

"In 1996, shortly after we began tracking the pharmaceutical industry, we spent time looking at obesity research and the latest diet pills. In doing so, we noticed that a panel that was assembled by the government to develop a guideline for the overweight known as the Body Mass Index. And it was populated by experts, nearly all of whom had a financial tie to a drugmaker selling or developing such pills. The finding, of course, was not all that new, but the practice continues, according to a new study in BMJ, which examined panels responsible for generating clinical practice guidelines on screening and/or treatment for high cholesterol or diabetes in the US and Canada between 2000 and 2010. A good many of the panelists - and panel chairs - had conflicts of interest. But not all were disclosed."
Read article at pharmalot.com
See also Dr Briffa's recent article on conflicts of interest.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

A call for the arrest of George W. Bush

Ex-president should be arrested, activists say
Lawyers Against War, the Canadian Centre for International Justice, and the Centre for Constitutional Rights have sent a letter to the attorney general of Canada urging him to open a criminal investigation against the former U.S. president for his administration’s alleged use of torture on detainees.
Read article at metronews.ca (Canada)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint

The Daily Mail reports that patients are being struck off GPs' lists just for daring to make a complaint. The article is commenting on a report by Health Service Ombudsman Ann Abraham.

"In one case, an elderly woman and her husband were removed after she wrote to the practice manager to complain that receptionists did not answer the phone while she was trying to book an appointment for their seasonal flu jabs. In a telephone call the practice manager warned them he would ‘get you struck off for this’. Shortly afterwards they were removed from the surgery’s list."

So making a complaint is punishable by being removed from the doctor's list... I invite you to compare this mean-spirited injustice with the way that complaints are dealt with in the commercial world. If you were to complain to Sainsburys or Tesco or M & S, I think you could be pretty sure that the complaint would be investigated and that you would receive a prompt, polite response with a detailed explanation for what had gone wrong, together with thanks for drawing the matter to their attention, apology for your inconvenience and very probably a voucher as recompense. And you could be absolutely sure that you would not be threatened with being banned from their stores! Decent businesses use complaints to improve their service to the public. Not so the NHS.

GPs are, as near as dammit, unaccountable to the public who pay their bloated salaries. (UK doctors are the highest-paid in Europe.) Even extremely grave errors routinely incur neither censure nor penalty. - Read Can you trust your doctor? The non-accountability of doctors encourages arrogance and increasing careless professional negligence. - Here is my own dreadful experience of the NHS Complaints Procedures. Why do so many doctors give such poor service? - Because they can.

Our present government claims that it is seeking to provide greater patient choice. What nonsense! Patient choice in the UK is, as ever, Like it or Lump it!

Update, Wed 19th October 2011: also see today's Daily Mail follow-up article on this subject.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Study suggests promising results for epilepsy surgery

Study suggests promising results for epilepsy surgery as you can read in this BBC News report. "The most common type of surgery undertaken on people in the study was temporal lobe surgery, which focuses on the area of the brain behind the forehead between the ear and the eye, where most seizures originate. Researchers who carried out the study, published in The Lancet, reported that 63% of all patients were free of seizures two years after surgery (excluding simple partial seizures), 52% after five years and 47% after 10 years." - I can't say I'd consider these percentages very 'promising' myself...

But you may be very hesitant about embarking on brain surgery - and I'd certainly be with you on that! - and you probably wish there could be a third option, i.e. not surgery and not drugs either. - I'd be with you about avoiding anti-epilepsy drugs too because they tend to have undesirable side-effects, don't they? (Though some of the serious side-effects, e.g. weight gain, from anti-epileptics such as Epilim, can be greatly reduced by cutting down on salt and salty food. See amitriptyline and other drugs.)

Well there is indeed a third option, and it has much to commend it. - Maybe you have already heard of it? - The ketogenic diet? - The ketogenic diet is a high fat, adequate protein, low carbohydrate diet. Maybe you have heard of it but been advised that it is a difficult diet to stick to, and so you haven't given it further thought. - But compared with brain surgery! - Surely it's a no-brainer as an option to brain surgery!? - Check out this excellent, reassuring article about this kind of diet. As a matter of fact, although I do not suffer from epilepsy, I nevertheless eat a ketogenic diet and have done so for many months now and it suits me very well. You may like to consider it and discuss it with your medical adviser and read further about it on the internet.

Friday, October 14, 2011

You think that painkillers are pretty harmless?

You think that painkillers are relatively harmless? Then I think you may be wrong. See these most recent reports about harm caused by painkillers:

J&J To Pay $48M To Man Hurt By Motrin
A Los Angeles jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson and its McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit to pay $48.2 million to a man who developed a severe skin disorder and blood blisters in his mouth after taking the Motrin over-the-counter pain reliever.
Read article at pharmalot.com

Diclofenac Deaths May Dwarf Vioxx Disaster: Health Agencies Helped It Happen
The world was shocked by the number of deaths caused Vioxx, but that number may be dwarfed by another NSAID, diclofenac. Vioxx was sold only by prescription. Diclofenac is sold both by prescription and over the counter.
Read article at gaia-health.com

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Disgracefully poor care for elderly patients in some UK hospitals

Today's is but the latest of the litany of shameful reports of Britain's substandard treatment of elderly, vulnerable people in NHS hospitals. In the Telegraph we read: "Unacceptable care has become standard in some trusts, with doctors and nurses talking down to patients, ignoring their calls for assistance and failing to help them eat, drink or wash. After carrying out spot checks at geriatric wards in 100 hospitals, the commission found that 35 needed to make improvements, 18 were failing to meet legal standards and there were “major concerns” at two trusts."

This has rightly been the top news item today, both in print and on the broadcast media. There are always apologists with their ever-ready excuses of insufficient cash/time/nurses/resources, of course, but this will cut no ice with people who have experienced the routine 'uncare' for themselves, or have visited neglected elderly patients on these wards of shame. "Katherine Murphy, the chief executive of the Patients Association, said: “Yet another report to add to the plethora of other reports, all highlighting the same issues around poor care of elderly patients in hospital. "How many reports do we have to look at and how many times do the public need to hear about this before the right action is taken?”"

Why does nothing improve? - I'll tell you why: because no-one is held accountable. - Remember, despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates, claiming to be 'ill', was allowed to cry off even attending at the public inquiry into the scandal! Furthermore he received a golden handshake - £400,000 (that's a thousand pounds for each death!) - and has a jewel-encrusted pension to look forward to, as well as being able to apply for other obscenely-highly paid similar jobs in another area! Instead of being tried in a criminal court for the manslaughter of hundreds of his fellow-citizens, this scoundrel has been richly rewarded for his dereliction of duty.

When grave wrongdoing incurs no sanction, there will be no reform. We have read today of hospitals that are 'failing to meet legal standards'. - Very well, let's see the people responsible for this tried in court and sentenced appropriately. That would very soon result in better care for vulnerable patients.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Vitamin D is crucial in human immune response to tuberculosis

Medical Xpress reports that Vitamin D is crucial in human immune response to tuberculosis. The researchers "found that T-cells, which are that play a central role in immunity, release a protein called interferon-gamma that triggers communication between cells and directs the infected to attack the invading . However, this activation requires sufficient levels of vitamin D to be effective."

This important finding stirs very mixed emotions in me. In childhood and adolescence I suffered repeated bouts of pulmonary tuberculosis, after which time I was advised by health professionals to avoid exposing my skin to sunshine in case it reawakened the dormant TB germs. Vitamin D is known as the 'sunshine vitamin'. Clearly, in the light of this research finding (published online today,Oct. 12, in the peer-reviewed journal, Science Translational Medicine) the advice that I was given was completely wrong, and since I followed that advice for a long time, it cannot but have compromised my health. More and more, researchers are reporting the many health benefits that vitamin D bestows on us, and the many disbenefits that are caused by inadequate levels of vitamin D.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Can you trust your doctor?

Maybe, like me, you missed this investigative programme on Channel 4 last week. If so, you may like to view it here, as I have done tonight. "GPs are among the most trusted and respected of all professions. They are our first port of call for most NHS treatment with 800,000 people visiting surgeries every day. But Dispatches reveals that failing doctors routinely slip through the system."

The programme shows very clearly that many GPs lack basic diagnostic competence, even with potentially very serious conditions like bowel cancer, breast cancer and angina. Although they are very highly paid and are accorded high status in our country, there are examples of doctors not following diagnostic guidelines in cases in which prompt diagnosis can mean the difference between life and premature death. Britain has one of the lowest cancer survival rates in Europe.

Even when two health professionals, a practice nurse and a doctor, turned whistleblowers about a GP who had fallen well behind with important patient results - blood tests and the like - the PCT (Primary Care Trust) concerned did not properly inform the patients concerned. The PCT's concern was clearly not patient safety.

Nor was the GMC's concern patient safety. (The GMC is the General Medical Council.) But then when is patient safety ever the GMC's concern? Regular readers of this blog will know that the GMC is a worse-than-useless 'regulator' and that in my opinion we would be better served by abolishing it than by attempting to reform such a travesty of a regulator. I think Trading Standards or Consumer Protection would be more appropriate, since these bodies have some concern for public safety, while the GMC is only concerned about the safety of doctors. If you click on the label GMC beneath this post, you will hopefully find on your screen a clutch of blogposts I have written over the years disparaging the GMC.

However serious the incidents of professional negligence, however many patients suffer and die before their time because of lousy doctors, nothing ever improves. I sometimes think of this as the proud motto of the NHS: We will never willingly improve. - Why don't you try to get something done about our flawed healthcare system and what is, effectively, the unaccountability of doctors? - After all, you, or someone you love, could be the next victim...

Friday, October 07, 2011

Anxiolytic and hypnotic medications linked to increased risk of death

Taking sleeping pills or medication for anxiety is linked to an increased risk of death, according to a study by a University of Laval researcher in Quebec City.
Psychologist Geneviève Belleville found a rise of 36 per cent in the mortality rate among Canadians who reported having used anxiolytic and hypnotic medication to treat insomnia or anxiety at least once in the previous month.
Read article on the CBC News website (Canada)

Years ago I took prescribed sleeping pills and experienced many adverse side-effects, the most harmful and distressing of which was probably memory loss. I also found they were extremely addictive and it took me about 8 months of great struggle to get off them. Some months ago I started to take melatonin and have found these helpful and without any side-effects.

Vitamin D deficiency in cancer patients

More than three-quarters of cancer patients have insufficient levels of vitamin D (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) and the lowest levels are associated with more advanced cancer, according to a study presented on October 2, 2011, at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).
Read article at medicalxpress.com

Monday, October 03, 2011

Taking prescribed oral steroids? You may have a severe deficiency of vitamin D.

People taking oral steroids are twice as likely as the general population to have severe vitamin D deficiency, according to a study of more than 31,000 children and adults by scientists at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. Their findings, in the September 28 online edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, suggest that physicians should more diligently monitor vitamin D levels in patients being treated with oral steroids. Read this Medical Xpress report.

""When doctors write that prescription for steroids and they're sending the patients for lab tests, they should also get the vitamin D level measured," said study lead author Amy Skversky, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of pediatrics at Einstein and Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Einstein."

And remember, steroids include HRT and other oestrogen-containing drugs. And remember also that research in recent years has found that low vitamin D levels are very common indeed. And children are at even higher risk than adults are from adverse steroid side-effects.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Is the unaccountability of NHS staff the greatest threat to the health of UK citizens?

Is the unaccountability of NHS staff the greatest threat to the health of UK citizens? - Certainly many people would be of that opinion - especially if they have had personal experience of serious NHS negligence or a member of their family has suffered because of it. - Until you experience the NHS Complaints Procedures for yourself you can have no conception of how useless, evil and corrupt they are: how the NHS routinely and literally gets away with murder. Read in today's Telegraph report how despite presiding over the avoidable suffering and deaths of around 400 patients at that infamous, inhuman Stafford hospital between January 2005 and March 2009, Martin Yeates is not even going to appear at the public inquiry into the scandal. Like many another overpaid apology for a public servant he is claiming to be too ill to be questioned. - That 'illness' is Cowardice.