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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Health Campaigning Charities - creatures of the Drug Industry?

The Pharmaceutical Industry has a malign influence on the big health campaigning charities. I have visited this subject before: see http://wildeaboutobesity.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/for-new-perspective-on-conflicts-of.html This corruption has been brought to my attention again because some journalists and other concerned individuals/bodies, e.g. here, have been drawing attention recently to the way big charities have been subverted away from their original charitable aims and objectives. They have become instead bloated, overpaid quangos, largely funded from taxation, serving political aims, campaigning for political objectives and deceiving ordinary citizens into donating their time, money and effort to organisations they would not want to fund if they knew the truth about them.
My own particular concern is the big health campaigning charities, which I regard as a front for promoting pharmaceutical drugs and thereby increasing the profits of Big Pharma. If drug promotion benefited people's health, I would not be against it. But that is not the case.
When the aim is to get more and more people taking prescription drugs, rather than the aim being to prevent, ameliorate or cure the disease, we are clearly in a dystopian world of lies and corruption, of blighted lives and unnecessary suffering. Although these health charities give a modicum of good advice, it is outweighed by misinformation, drug promotion and failure to draw attention to simple, really useful dietary measures. Here are some examples:
A crucial dietary measure that would reduce the incidence and severity of childhood asthma is to avoid feeding children salty meals and snacks. - See this article, where you will read, "According to a new study published in the American Dietetic Association, high-salt foods and snacks are linked to lung changes that trigger asthma symptoms.," and that researchers in Greece found, using questionnaires, "Kids who ate high-salt foods more than three times a week saw their risk of asthma symptoms go up almost five times." 
We read in this Telegraph report of research in Rome, Italy, led by Dr Giuseppe Corbo. "The study of 20,000 six and seven-year-olds, published in the medical journal Epidemiology, confirmed a strong link with asthma and obesity, but found that salt was the biggest risk. Those with the highest intake were two and a half times more likely to develop asthma." (my emphasis) See also Salt/Sodium in Foods. But AsthmaUK don't tell people about the massive difference salt reduction makes to the incidence and severity of childhood asthma, surely a greater benefit than any drug treatment and with no harmful side-effects or habituation to medications. - My personal opinion is that everyone's health and pocket would benefit if AsthmaUK were to close down.
Similarly, Diabetes UK (i.e. www.diabetes.org.uk) gives precisely the wrong dietary advice about diabetes. See this article by Dr Briffa. And this one.
And what shall I say about the British Heart Foundation (BHF)? The British Heart Foundation is a charity that states that it aims to prevent people dying from heart diseases. I don't believe that the advice it gives is very likely to succeed in that aim. - To me, the most important preventative measure, and indeed the most important remedial measure with regard to heart problems, is avoiding salt and salty food. This reduces the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, heart attack and heart failure, reduces obesity and reduces breathlessness. It is also helpful to cut down on carbohydrates and eat plenty of healthy fat. (Check out LCHF - Low Carb/High Fat - on your favourite search engine.) - Yet what does the BHF and its spokespeople plug over and over again? - Why statins, of course. It is a drug-oriented website. Its aim does not seem to me to be to prevent people dying from heart diseases. Its aim seems to be to get people to take drugs, especially statins. Statins are controversial, vastly over-prescribed drugs with many adverse side-effects.
Did you know that many of the most-prescribed drugs (tricyclic anti-depressants, steroids, antipsychotics, etc.) - by causing sensitivity to salt - can and do actually cause obesity, heart problems and type 2 diabetes, among many other serious degenerative health conditions? And that salt intake is also linked to stomach cancer? And that Paracetamol/Calpol/Tylenol/Acetaminophen (a painkiller) is especially harmful to children? And that there is massive overprescribing of powerful painkillers by UK GPs, leading to addiction and to death by overdose among their unfortunate patients?
It seems clear to me that the health campaigning charities should be strongly advising people to reduce salt and sugar intake and cut down or cut out processed food products, since these measures are of enormous benefit to health, particularly with regard to degenerative diseases. And rather than encouraging people to take pharmaceutical drugs that have so many harmful side-effects, often far more harmful than the illness they are being prescribed for, they should be on the side of avoiding drugs unless they are absolutely necessary.