The blockbuster drug
My husband has had mildly elevated cholesterol for years. At several points in time, his doctor has recommended that he start taking one of the cholesterol-lowering drugs, like Lipitor (atorvastatin), the best-selling prescription drug of all time. In 2006, Lipitor sales peaked at $13.7 billion—that’s just one year!
Because my husband has no other risk factors for heart disease—he is not overweight, he doesn’t smoke, he doesn’t have high blood pressure (if anything, it’s low), he has no family history of heart attacks, and he eats a low-saturated fat diet and exercises regularly—I have always … Continue reading
Buy healthy food and skip the vitamins
Last week two news stories caught my attention.
First, medical experts have (once again) come out saying that the evidence does not support taking supplemental vitamins to reduce your risk of heart disease or cancer.
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the government panel that provides guidelines to the public on such things as preventive care and screening tests, has recently updated its recommendations for vitamin and mineral supplements.
Looking at a large number of smaller studies (what’s called a meta-analysis), the researchers at the Kaiser Permamente Center for Health … Continue reading
The canary in the coal mine
Late last week I read the troubling story about a recent polio outbreak in Syria. Although polio, thanks to the vaccine, has been almost eradicated in most parts of the world, it is still present in several middle eastern countries.
Because of political unrest and the huge numbers of refugees fleeing to Europe, world public health officials worry about more widespread outbreaks of this crippling, and deadly, disease.
Outbreaks of highly contagious, but preventable, diseases have become more common because of the anti-vaccination movement. And as these like-minded individuals tend to settle … Continue reading