Modern Medicine: Giant Misdirection With No Apologies

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Over the past 30-40 years modern medicine has steered humanity toward medicines and treatments that are just now being realized as giant self-serving misdirections, all imparted with great fear that failure to adhere to these deceitful therapies will result in severe health consequences.

Here are some examples:

Cholesterol capers

After over four decades of pressing the idea that mortal heart attacks result from the accumulation of cholesterol in coronary arteries that requires the prescription of cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, with no evidence that doing so reduces the risk for mortal heart attacks, the American Heart Association is now pressing for expansion of statin drugs to millions more Americans whether they have high cholesterol levels or not.

A revealing study recently published in the European Heart Journal shows that cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure are not predictive of a future mortal heart attack but if a measure of arterial calcification was zero the risk for a mortal heart attack in the next 5 years is one-half of one percent.  This is conclusive evidence that calcium, not cholesterol, is the primary cause of the number one cause of death in the U.S.  (Nature provides at least five inhibitors of arterial calcification: magnesium, vitamin K2, vitamin D3, fish oil and IP6 rice bran extract.)

New class of cholesterol-lowering drugs

With patents on most statin drugs having expired, Big Pharma is introducing a new class of cholesterol-lowering drugs called PCSK9 blockers that lower cholesterol by 55 to 66 percent.  PCSK9 is a substance that interferes with the liver’s ability to remove cholesterol from the blood.  This class of drug must be given by injections every 2-4 weeks, which will be another cash-cow for physicians.

News reports say PCSK9 blockers are designed for 70 million Americans “who can’t tolerate or don’t get enough help from statin drugs.”  This serves as a tacit admission currently prescribed statin drugs don’t work.

The problem here is that PCSK9 blockers were initially developed for a small number of people who have an inherited cholesterol problem called familial hypercholesterolemia, not the 70 million cited in the news story mentioned above.  Only 1 in 500 people worldwide suffer from it.

Besides, it has been known for over a decade that individuals with familial hypercholesterolemia can improve the ability of their arteries to dilate (widen) to control blood pressure and avert heart attacks simply by taking supplemental folic acid (vitamin B9).  Simple non-drug remedies are not the forte of Big Pharma or the physician community.

Dr. Duncan Adams of the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand, writes in the Quarterly Journal of Medicine, October 2011, that a similar mistaken direction in understanding inherited cholesterol elevation was used to usher in the era of statin drugs decades ago.

In 1985 Michael Brown and Joseph Goldstein won a Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine for their discovery that a defective gene that altered normal cholesterol metabolism.  They mistakenly concluded that drugs which would reduce cholesterol production in the liver would reduce the risk for arterial disease and death.  However it is actually hydrodynamic damage to arterial walls followed by inflammation that results in arterial disease, not cholesterol per se, says Dr. Adams.

“It is not possible to produce arterial disease by feeding excess amounts of cholesterol to laboratory animals,” says Dr. Adams.  He cites a study published in June of 2010 in the Archives of Internal Medicine which showed there is no prolongation of life with use of statin drugs, which Dr. Adams says is the “final nail in the coffin of the great cholesterol myth.”

But it looks like this very same misdirection is going to be repeated again in the interest of creating another billion-dollar category of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Refined sugar, not fat

Another revelation is that refined sugar consumption can increase the risk for mortality from heart and blood vessel disease by as much as 243%.  The consumption of one 20-ounce Mountain Dew soda provide enough refined sugar to increase mortality rates.  There is a 40% increased risk for cardiovascular death when individuals consume more than a third of their daily calories from added sugar.

While the World Health Organization has belatedly drawn limits on sugar consumption, the food industry is so firmly entrenched that the head of a panel of health experts in Britain who has commercial ties to candy and soda pop companies has arrogantly said his committee will not act on these new guidelines on sugar intake.

To add to this misdirection, a recently published review of 45 studies involving 600,000 subjects in 18 countries reveals the total amount of saturated fat in the diet or blood stream has no impact on heart health. In fact, one of the drawbacks of backing away from lard in baking and cooking was that it provided ~600 international units of vitamin D per day, a practice that may have impaired the human immune system.

For millions, blood pressure pills no more

Another unapologetic misdirection has been to place millions of Americans on blood pressure pills without factoring for age-related decline in the risk for stroke.  Newly updated blood pressure guidelines suggest 5.8 million U.S. adults no longer need to take blood pressure-lowering pills.  The new blood pressure goal for adults over age 60 is 150/90 rather than the previous 140/90.  Will physicians take their patients off of these drugs?

This has been known since January of 2000 when researchers at the University of California Los Angeles reported an increased risk for dying from stroke or heart attacks isn’t apparent till the number (systolic pressure) reaches 159 for males and 167 for females 65-74 years of age.  This foot dragging has put many senior Americans at greater risk for the many side effects from blood pressure drugs than any offsetting health benefit.

More unproven and/or disproven drugs: Tamiflu

No FDA-approved drug has been as deservedly vilified as Tamiflu.  Yet the greatest criticism against this drug (that was developed in the 1990s and licensed by the US Food & Drug Administration itself) is coming from overseas reviewers.  The British Medical Journal recently dedicated an entire issue to expose the machinations of Big Pharma in the mis-marketing of Tamiflu.

Scientific review now reveals Tamiflu, which aggregately generated over $18 billion of sales since its inception (most which have never been used), does not inhibit the spread of the flu or decrease the risk for flu-related pneumonia and only cut flu-like symptoms from 7.0 to 6.3 days (16.8 hours), “not enough to justify the huge expense governments have incurred worldwide in stockpiling this drug.”

Assumptions were that Tamiflu would reduce hospital admissions by half and slow the spread of the virus.  Tamiflu did not reduce hospitalizations and was not proven to be effective in the highest-risk group – children.

With such ineffectiveness, patients faced a greater risk for side effects than any proposed health benefit from Tamiflu.  Side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, psychiatric disturbances and kidney problems.  These side reactions were not apparent to reviewers because many studies were never even published.  The drug companies kept the side effect ratios to themselves.

According to a report published in The British Medical Journal, the FDA, which had full access to the full clinical study reports, eventually concluded that Tamiflu has not been shown to prevent complications such as serious bacterial infections while the Centers for Disease Control came to the exact opposite conclusion – all apparently based upon analysis of the same data.

Despite the failure of Tamiflu, the World Health Organization considers Tamiflu an essential medicine that should be universally available.

Andrew Jack, deputy analysis editor at the British Medical Journal says Tamiflu represents a “classic story of ‘Big Pharma’ greed.”

Tamiflu was posed to save millions of lives.  By 2009 96 countries had stockpiled enough Tamiflu for 350 million people worldwide.  The drum beat at the time was for a killer strain of the flu that would sweep the globe, but the H1N1 strain proved far less fatal than feared.

Tamiflu is just a grand example of the fraud that pervades the drug industry.  It is not a singular exception to the so-called ethical drug industry.  The drug companies control the data.  It took over four years for reviewers to obtain access to the data on Tamiflu trials.  Editors at the British Medical Journal ask: “Why did no one else demand this level of scrutiny before spending such huge sums of money on one drug?  And why do we have a system of drug evaluation and regulation that is incapable of providing patients, clinicians and policy makers with timely, reliable and independent information.  Indeed, the current system seems to be designed with the opposite end in mind.”

Any embarrassment over the unethical behavior by Big Pharma is not apparent.  Just today, as I am writing this report, researchers claim they may have found the “Achilles heel” of the influenza virus and are “one step closer” to developing a drug that will build resistance to the flu.  It does so by inhibiting an inflammatory protein called prostaglandin-E2 (PGE2).

Humanity need not wait for an expensive drug to inhibit PGE2.  The red wine molecule resveratrol effectively inhibits PGE2 and is widely available as a dietary supplement.  Resveratrol actually blocks the replication of flu viruses, regardless of their strain, which is something that the flu vaccine cannot do.

And with all of the fear mongering over the flu, a recent study finds three-quarters of adults who develop seasonal or pandemic flu never even exhibit any symptoms.  This suggests massive over-vaccination and overkill by public health authorities.

Modern medicine on parade

A litany of the deceptions of modern medicine could go on ad infinitum.

The arrogance displayed by researchers as they applaud themselves in their get-rich schemes to develop new synthetic drugs is deplorable.  Take the example of a recent announcement there is a new concept for the treatment of cancer.  The idea is to develop drugs that inhibit a specific enzyme called MTH1.  In a report published in a European scientific journal researchers claimed “discovery of the first small-molecule inhibitor of the MTH1 enzyme.”

Yet a quick search for any prior discoveries reveals researchers in 2011 reported that lycopene, the red pigment in tomatoes, “completely inhibited MTH1” in a lab dish study.

The game of Big Pharma is to hide these discoveries and replace them with synthetic molecule that can generate billions in profits.

Once again, recent news headlines claim an “astonishing new cancer drug could extend the lives of terminally-ill patients and eliminate their symptoms overnight… with virtually no side effects.”   The drug responsible for this news headline is an enzyme inhibitor.  The drug inhibits an enzyme called Bruton’s Tyrosine Kinase.  Until that drug becomes a reality, desperate cancer patients might resveratrol, the red wine molecule that inhibits tyrosine kinase enzymes.

There is no shame in modern medicine, just plundering of public and insurance funds.  The public will get what Big Pharma and physicians deem is good for them, not the public.

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