Jason Louv, A Strange Mix of Scientism and Magick |385|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jul 24, 2018.

  1. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Vortex, I've had to edit and re-edit my response to you because I've found it so hard to express what I wanted to say and kept on rethinking it. Hopefully it's "stable" now.
     
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  2. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    I don't think you quite get this discussion - we aren't trying to decide who is right and who wrong - I am simply trying to establish the fact that there is considerable doubt among the scientists, and it is wrong to present the stuff as settled science.

    Remember these are official studies - doesn't it strike you as weird that the conclusions are so varied? I prefer the advice to eat nothing one's grandmother would not have eaten. I eat butter now instead of margarine, make no effort to avoid saturated fat, but try to cut down on sugar, and to some extent carbs as well.

    The same goes for a lot of these scientific issues. Again comparing this with ψ - if there was a real debate in science about that issue, the result would be quite different, but again it is presented as a done deal.

    David
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2018
  3. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Oh... OK... well... yes, you're right... I don't quite get this discussion. I especially don't get what all the talk about "broken dysfunctional science", "uncover[ing] the truth", "the stark truth", "suppress[ion of] the facts" due to "dire" legal "repercussions", and "whistle blow[ing]" was for if all we're trying to do is establish the existence of doubt and not right from wrong. I'm also confused as to why you presented a study in your previous post to back up "what [you were] claiming - that the official health guidelines are wrong" (my emphasis).

    In any case: yes, it's kind of weird that different studies come up with different results. I guess that's to be expected though in such complex studies with so many factors at play. There are some pretty consistent trends at least.
     
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  4. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    A small historical part-essay-part-poem which is quite relevant for the discussion here: "Expert Opinion".
     
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  5. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    The 'trends' are confused by the constant use of metastudies, so that the same studies can be recycled over and over.

    However lets just look at the description of the man who authored the study reported in The Telegraph - Professor Salim Yusuf:

    https://www.world-heart-federation.org/about-us/family/prof-Salim-Yusuf/

    Here is a lecture from him:



    Even if you only listen to the first few minutes, it is clear that he thinks the advice being given out by medical authorities is horribly wrong.

    The problem is, of course, that randomised diet studies are basically impossible to perform (unless perhaps you used a prison population), so they have to run over a very short period, in which few if any people will die of anything. This is why Salim Yusuf referred to 'surrogate endpoints' because the only way to get anything from such a study is to take blood samples and assume you know how these correlate with ill health over a longer period of time. If the assumption is wrong. the study tells you nothing at all.

    He also talks repeatedly about J-shaped curves. These are curves of death rate or risk as a function of the level of a particular nutrient. At low levels harm is done because of the lack of X (whatever it is) and at high levels harm is done because of the excessive concentration of X. In between there is a sweet point where the best results are obtained.

    If you go to 5:44 you can see how this pans out regarding saturated fat vs carbohydrate. As you can see as the fat in the diet increases, one form of LDL increases in the blood, and this is assumed to be a marker for heart disease, but on the right hand side he shows that increasing saturated fat levels leads to better health - that means cheese, fatty meat full-fat dairy etc!

    He also wades in on the issue of lowering salt consumption. If you look at about 12.20 mins, he comes out with a value of 5 grams of sodium (you need to scale up to convert this to sodium chloride) and compares it to the recommended 2.3 grams of sodium. At 14.00 he explains how data from a particular group of Indians is misrepresented to justify very low levels of salt consumption. Again he shows J curves that drop to a minimum at about 5 grams of sodium per day.

    At 20:16 he reiterates his conclusions - again well worth listening to.

    Now you tell me, why such a man at the peak of his career, comes out with such a campaign unless he is pretty sure of his facts. Of course right at the start he comes out with the comment, "I am not a nutritionist, and perhaps that is just as well" - you can damn him for that comment, just as you damned the physics Nobel Laureate for his comment about GOOGLE, but honestly, aren't you missing the wood for the trees?

    David
     
  6. Silence

    Silence Member

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    Its ALL a conspiracy Laird.
     
  7. Vortex

    Vortex Member

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    If you are serious and not ironic (and I suspect that you are ironic), than I must say that no organised global conspiracy is needed to maintain the dominance of the false notions, in the academia and elsewhere. The combination of the
    a) vested interests and incentives,
    b) dogmatic beliefs and stereotypes
    and
    c) personal and collective ambitions are more than enough to perpetuate the mistaken positions.

    People are highly reluctant to admit their mistakes in general. Yet, if the admittance of the mistakes being made will simultaneously
    a) deprive them of the means for their livelihood (let alone success),
    b) utterly shatter their deeply-held (and thus enormously significant) assumptions and notions
    and
    c) very painfully wound their personal pride and the sense of belonging to a "righteous" and "truthful" group,
    then the chance that they will openly admit that they were wrong are vanishingly small.

    The paradox of the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) paradigm is that the aforementioned obstacles to the admittance of the mistakes are obviously in work for BOTH sides of the conflict: both proponents and skeptics of the AGW oftentimes have vested interests and in supporting their side, and strong incentives to do so; both hold very strong beliefs; and both consider themselves to be morally, not just intellectually, right, and perceive the opposite camp as evil and dangerous.

    So, how can I make a choice?

    For me, the moral and intellectual appeal of the pro-AGW side of conflict is much more familiar and sympathetic. Yet I do not belong to this side, for the reason of their failure to pass a crucially important moral and intellectual challenge.

    This moral challenge is be able to question one's righteousness, and the sources of the moral inspiration one prefer, and yet be able to make a moral choice and to stand by it. This intellectual challenge is to able to doubt one's truthfulness and the supposed authorities from which one derives one's notions, and yet to be able to formulate an intellectual position and to stand by it. The challenge is to make one's choice and yet accept that others' choices may not, and must not, be identical or even similar. To be ready for the moral and intellectual conflict, to take a side if one of the sides seems to be far better, yet also respect the other side and its choice - and to allow this choice to be defended in conflict with your one.

    This is the test that the most (not all, but most) people of currently mainstream pro-AGW side fail utterly: they deny that the controversy even exist, and that it has two sides, not just one. They refuse to question their ideas and their authorities. They dehumanise, censor, prosecute the opposition.

    They claim they do it for the greater good. Yet all authoritarians pretend to be righteous and truthful, and in the end they oftentimes turn out to be neither.

    I do not know the technical side of the AGW debate good enough to have a strong intellectual standing in this conflict (but I learned enough to notice that there are some genuine questions to ask, and to be answered - the issue is not clear-cut). Yet the moral side of the conflict is clear to me: pro-AGW position does start with a genuinely higher moral ground... and then it lowers this ground by the overt authoritarianism to the level which is lower than the one of many of their opponents. Which is sad to me, since I would like to stand by this side - and I can't.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2018
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  8. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Bu pure chance (or synchronicity!) last night someone gave me the link below, in which this row has bust out in spectacular form after a Harvard professor, Karin Michels declared coconut oil (which contains a great deal of saturated fat - more than lard), poison, locked horns with another dissident cardiologist, Dr Aseem Malhotra, who calls this comment a lie!

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/a...ams-professor-claimed-coconut-oil-POISON.html

    I know The Daily Mail is a low brow paper, but it is easy to GOOGLE Dr Malhotra, and he is even more forthright than Professor Salim Yusuf

    This is an area of science that seems to have gone bad because it started to give advice to avoid saturated fat - we have all heard about how bad that is supposed to be - and then could not stomach the idea of retracting the information as it became clearly false.

    Professor Salim Yusuf referred near the end of his talk to the 7 countries study. This was a study by Ancel Keys who took data on the average saturated fat intake from about 20 countries, together with their heart attack risk (which varies quite a lot from country to country) and selected just 7 data points - leaving out those that did not agree with his hypothesis that saturated fat caused heart attacks (more generally cardiovascular disease). He omitted countries such as France, which consumes a lot of saturated fat, and has low heart disease rates! This study was the original basis for the condemnation of saturated fat, even though some other researchers discovered the cherry picking and published it just two years later.

    To me, it seems to be a perfect example of what has happened to areas of science, and by the looks of it, the lid won't stay on this scandal much longer.

    David
     
  9. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Another way of looking at it is that metastudies themselves indicate trends in a lot of different studies.

    All very interesting. As I wrote in an earlier post, I am neither an expert nor particularly well-read in this field - and I think we non-experts should be cautious in our claims, so take this for whatever it's worth - but here are a few comments and alternative perspectives anyway:

    The results of Dr Yusuf's PURE study have to be put in an overall context: other experts have come to different conclusions based on other studies - including the Seven Countries Study (SCS) by Dr Ancel Keys, the dismissal of which by Dr Yusuf you seem to endorse:

    Here, Professor Salim Yusuf was wrong, for which he apologised.

    Several of the ways in which Professor Yusuf and/or you (in the above quote) go wrong in a major muddle here are:

    1. The graph on which the claim of "cherry-picked data" is based had nothing to do with the Seven Countries Study from which Dr Ancel Keys concluded that there is a causal relationship between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease. The graph was published in a paper years prior to the Seven Countries Study, and that paper was part of Dr Keys's motivation for conducting the Seven Countries Study in the first place: so as to refine his developing hypothesis. Nor was the graph the only piece of evidence that he furnished in that earlier paper.
    2. The graph contained six countries, not seven.
    3. In the Seven Countries Study itself, there really were only seven countries involved, and no countries were omitted from the analysis.
    4. The (six-country) graph at the centre of these claims anyway plotted overall fat intake, not saturated fat intake, so it could not anyway have been the basis of Dr Keys's (later) hypothesis about saturated fat: that (later) hypothesis came out of the (later) Seven Countries Study, which had allowed him to refine his original ideas.
    5. The basis on which Dr Keys omitted country data from that earlier graph was not its level of disagreement with his hypothesis but its unreliability at the time (1952). Among other reliability considerations was that "numerous scientists had noticed that WWII had changed not just total mortality statistics, but coronary heart disease death rates as well, and that countries occupied by Germany during the war experienced significant upheavals to traditional diets that altered their risk factors for heart disease".[1]
    6. When the additional (less reliable, in Dr Keys's view) available data for other countries was included (by the other researchers whom you note responded to his paper two years later), the correlation between (overall) fat intake and heart disease, whilst substantially weakened, was not eliminated. But just to reiterate: this was not the basis of Dr Keys's (later) hypothesis about saturated fat anyway.
    7. In the Seven Countries Study itself, France was invited to participate: "Dr. Jacques Carlotti, a physician from Paris, was part of the pilot study team in Nicotera, Italy. Ultimately, representatives from France decided not to participate, possibly due to lack of desire, lack of funding, or both. There was no explicit intent on the part of the American SCS researchers to include or exclude France" (quoting again from the same paper; emphasis in the original; footnotes elided).
    8. In any case: "The “French Paradox” did not yet exist. [...] [T]he data available in the early and mid 1950s about the French diet did not suggest that people of France had either an atypical diet or heart disease profile. Quite simply, even if Keys and colleagues had been inclined to act on bias, there would have been no basis at the time for a bias against the participation of France" (same paper; footnotes elided; editing brackets and emphasis mine).
    9. In that (earlier, six-country) graph at issue, data for France was excluded due to the same concerns over reliability mentioned earlier: "France was one of the many European countries occupied by Germany during World War II, and thus experienced an extended period of dietary deprivation. As in much of Europe, staple foods including animal foods and dairy were rationed and supplies decreased throughout the war, in both Vichy and occupied France. Rationing was stopped only in 1949 as France — like much of occupied Europe — struggled to recover after the war’s end. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the food availability data for France in the late 1940s and early 1950s was not of the highest quality" (same paper; footnotes elided).

    You refer to this as a "scandal". The scandal is the proliferation of scurrilous misinformation about Dr Keys and his work.

    In any case, the paper from which I've been quoting ([1] again) goes on to offer this observation (emphasis mine):

    Going back to an earlier post:

    OK. I watched that video. It makes too many claims for me to fact-check them all, but here are a few comments (all quotes are direct transcriptions - by me - from the video):

    Professor Noakes expresses this conclusion: "Since it is the only intervention that addresses all risk factors, the single most important intervention in the management of coronary heart disease and diabetes is to reduce the amount of carbohydrate in the diet".

    This conclusion is at odds with the published research findings of others.

    With respect to coronary heart disease, Dr Caldwell B Esselstyn has conducted research into the effects of a wholefood, plant-based diet on those with preexisting cardiovascular disease (CVD). His 2017 paper A plant-based diet and coronary artery disease: a mandate for effective therapy offers a summary of one of his early studies (editing notes and emphasis mine):

    He then summarises a more recent study (footnotes elided; editing notes and emphasis mine):

    As Dr Campbell notes of this study in the video shared below, the adherents to the wholefood, plant-based diet tended to decrease their reliance on statins, whereas the non-adherents didn't, so the comparison of 99.4% to 38% (100% minus 62%) for occurrence of major cardiac events probably doesn't even capture the full extent of the dietary effect.

    As you know, a wholefood, plant-based diet is very low in saturated fat - any coconut fats/oils aside - and relatively high in carbohydrates.

    Dr Dean Ornish has published similar results to Dr Esselstyn.

    And with respect to diabetes, the published research of, for example, Dr Neal Barnard - to which I linked in an earlier post - similarly contradicts Professor Noakes's claim.

    Professor Noakes's claim is also at dramatic odds with the observation that the traditional diet of the Okinawans, whose life expectancy is among the highest in the world, and who have a low incidence of age-associated diseases, including cardiovascular disease, consists in 85% carbohydrates by energy.[2]

    Professor Noakes also claims that "obesity is purely a marker of a high carbohydrate diet in somebody who's insulin resistant" and that "if you are morbidly obese you have to get down to 25 grams [of carbohydrate] a day and you have to stay there for life" otherwise you will not lose weight. He does admit of the graph that he presents in support of this claim though that "we don't have the scientific proof this is true".

    It would be surprising if he did have this proof, because his claim - at least as an absolute - seems to be contradicted by the published findings of other researchers. For example, Dr Barnard (again) whose treatment of diabetics using a wholefood, plant-based diet with neither calorie nor carbohydrate restriction led to weight loss in his patients.

    Another example is the study presented in the 2015 paper Calorie for Calorie, Dietary Fat Restriction Results in More Body Fat Loss than Carbohydrate Restriction in People with Obesity. In this study, the researchers carefully compared fat restriction to carbohydrate restriction in a metabolic lab for 19 obese adults and concluded that fat restriction led to about 68% greater weight loss than carbohydrate restriction - a statistically significant difference with p = 0.002.

    Professor Noakes also asserts that "Humans have no essential requirement for carbohydrate". Even if this were true (doubtful), a nutritionist I know has used the following analogy: this is like saying with respect to transport that we have no essential requirement for cars. Sure, you could get around just by walking, but a car's going to get you there a lot faster and more efficiently. Similarly, we could just rely on fats and proteins for energy, but our bodies utilise the energy from carbohydrates a lot faster and more efficiently.

    David, you shared the very impressive description of Professor Salim Yusuf. Another man with a very impressive description is T. Colin Campbell, who has published over 300 papers, has been the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University since 1985, and was one of the lead researchers in the 1983 China-Cornell-Oxford Project on diet and disease, described by The New York Times as "the Grand Prix of epidemiology". Dr Campbell does specialise in nutrition, as opposed to Professor Yusuf, who specialises instead in cardiology - for which I don't, by the way, "damn" him: it's a related field, he's put in the work to conduct a huge study, and he's obviously read at least some of the literature in nutrition, all of which counts for something. But specific expertise in nutrition would have counted for a lot more, and might have prevented him from buying into popular misconceptions about Dr Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study.

    Here's a video in which Dr Campbell discusses his findings from over 50 years of working in the field:



    At about 45:30, he presents a slide summarising the findings of one study which reflect his overall message (caps in the original):

    "Consuming WHOLE, PLANT-BASED foods (less total protein and fat, no animal protein) means less chronic degenerative diseases".

    Again: this, of course, involves less saturated fat too, unless you binge on coconut fats/oils.

    Like Professor Yusuf, Dr Campbell seems pretty sure of his facts - facts which he's researched for over 50 years.

    [1] Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study: An Evidence-based Response to Revisionist Histories, a very useful paper for dispelling myths about Dr Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study.

    [2] The Okinawan Diet: Health Implications of a Low-Calorie, Nutrient-Dense, Antioxidant-Rich Dietary Pattern Low in Glycemic Load - see table 2.
     
  10. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Mmm. Could be a conspiracy that there's a conspiracy. Or could be a conspiracy to make out that the conspiracy is the opposite of the actual conspiracy. That dastardly vegetable lobby, plotting against the factory-farmed meat, egg, and dairy industries.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  11. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Laird,

    If the information about Ancel Keys' paper is wrong, I reported the version that Dr Kendrick wrote in his book, so I passed it on in good faith. However, it should be noted that the appology refers to Zoe Harcomb, and she starts out by praising the video before discussing the issue relating to Key's contribution. In other words, this discrepancy, though real, is probably not that significant overall.

    Please read the Twitter entry quoted in that apology. If you do you will discover that although there seems to have been some sort of muddle relating to who wrote what where and when, the scientific evidence remains the same. She gives the graph with 6 points, and then the graph with 22 countries that reveals a huge scatter of points.

    http://www.zoeharcombe.com/2017/02/keys-six-countries-graph/

    Clearly if you look at this, you will find highly qualified people on both sides of the divide - very much as you will in matters related to ψ. I guess you then have to ask yourself why this divergence of opinion exists, and which side is right.

    There really shouldn't be this incredible divergence of advice on diet - if the evidence is so uncertain, why offer any advice at all?

    I don't think this is a case of genuinely uncertain science, so much as it is a case of a situation where a large group of medical scientists do not want to budge for reasons unrelated to the actual science. Obviously they can't just say that it is too embarrassing to change advice after 50 years of claiming saturated fat and salt is bad for you - so they argue in other ways - such as picking on one detail in Yusuf's talk, rather than dealing with the glaring discrepancy between his advice and the official advice.

    Laird, remember that both the two people are senior consultants, and if you needed to consult them because of CVD related illness, you would presumably get vastly different advice from what you would get from other doctors - doesn't that tell you that there is something amiss here?

    I was pulled into this subject some years back after a nasty reaction to statins (which I no-longer take). I was amazed at some of the stuff I came across. For example, I discovered here:
    http://healthinsightuk.org/2015/01/...udies-on-rats-and-mice-are-not-to-be-trusted/

    that a study into whether rats were damaged by a high fat diet, was performed on a strain of rats specially bred to cope badly with high fat diets!
    The point is that there is so much opportunity to cheat or mislead in these arcane areas of science. Who would have guessed that a rat with serial number C57BL/6 was specially bred to produce an anomalous result?

    I hope I have convinced you at least that there is an enormous controversy here, which is never mentioned in the standard dietary advice that we all receive. The very fact that all this advice is in the air in this way must surely indicate that in its present form the science of diet is in a pretty parlous state!

    You make a point of the fact that Prof Campbell is a nutritionist whereas the other two are cardiologists, but what does one deduce from this? Is it really reasonable to think that consultant cardiologists who deal with the consequences of bad diet (however that is defined), stand up and spout rubbish in medical fields adjacent to their own because of lack of knowledge/expertise?

    Other possible explanations include:

    1) Large research grants from big pharma.

    2) Extreme reluctance to rock the boat and admit this horrible mistake going back 50 years.

    3) The loss of self esteem involved in admitting that one had been wrong all along.

    Additional evidence: Carbohydrates decompose into sugar molecules inside the body. Most decompose into glucose, but sucrose decomposes into glucose and fructose. In T2 diabetes people suffer from high levels of blood glucose.

    Possible clue: Why does Richard Wiseman claim to have refuted Rupert Sheldrake's experiments on dogs, when he obviously did no such thing). Since Wiseman is an 'expert', perhaps we should simply accept his opinion, and abandon Skeptiko and Psiencequest?

    Honestly, I rest my case - I think I have demonstrated that this controversy is real enough.

    David
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2018
  12. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Maybe because it works?

    OK... so, in this scenario, who reminds you more of Richard Wiseman and who reminds you more of Rupert Sheldrake:

    The scientist who meticulously conducts a seven-nation study, in the process introducing new, uniform standards to be used so as to avoid hitherto problems with irregular data collection/interpretation in different countries, and the findings of which when put into practice in a badly disease-prone area reduced the incidence of that disease by around 80%, or,

    Those who reflexively dismiss this scientist and his findings, and accuse him of "fudging the data", without apparently knowing the first thing about either the man or his work?

    Right. That's the problem. Plenty of people pass along Richard Wiseman's version in good faith too.

    Like I said: put this study in context. There is a lot of other evidence which supports the standard advice, and which wasn't just conjured out of thin air!
     
  13. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Oh, I see you edited your post to add this:

    I had already read it. It doesn't alter any of the points that I made in my list of misconceptions - in fact, it affirms many of them. I don't think you read that list carefully enough (hint: the graph is the least of the scientific evidence at play, and is irrelevant to Dr Keys's ultimate conclusion of the causal role played by saturated fat in CVD). I also encourage you to read in full the paper to which I linked in the first footnote of my post to get a better grasp of the issue. Here it is again: Ancel Keys and the Seven Countries Study: An Evidence-based Response to Revisionist Histories.
     
  14. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Laird,

    I agree that you have discovered a discrepancy in the history of this controversy, however, really I am more interested in the science and the modern justification for the usual dietary guidelines - still in place today.

    However, you raised Zoë Harcombe, who exposes the historical error. I didn't mention her originally in case you said "Zoe who?" - I stuck to senior medics. She links to this video that is based on her PhD.



    The video is based entirely on the various studies performed - so you can't say that she is somehow misinformed unless you can show that the results she presents are tampered with!

    Anyone else who has been following this issue, I'd recommend you watch this video.

    It is only 30 mins so perhaps you could watch it with your dietitian friend and ask her where Zoë is wrong! Make sure you watch it to the end, please!

    I don't know if Zoë has the time to answer emails, but if you can contact her, you might get some definitive answers about this subject.

    I only wish I had relied on that video right from the start - maybe I should keep better notes.

    David
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2018
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  15. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Thanks for acknowledging that, David. I acknowledge too that I may not have been as cautious in some of my comments in this thread as I wrote that we non-experts ought to be!

    Zoë's video was very interesting.

    Here's a different view from Dr Michael Greger which seems worth considering. He claims that it's been known for decades that epidemiological studies don't have the statistical power to detect a relationship between dietary fat/cholesterol intake and CVD anyway, but that other types of studies such as randomised control trials (RCTs) do tell us that the relationship exists. I skimmed the paper[1] that he referenced to back up the first claim but it would take a lot of work to digest its contents properly - there's a lot of maths in it.



    One thing that confuses me about this argument is how the Seven Countries Study detected this relationship if the statistical power was lacking (edit: maybe the answer is that whilst the power is low, it is in some studies high enough to detect an effect). Perhaps I'll write to Dr Greger and ask for his view on that, and what he makes of Zoë Harcombe's claim that meta-analysis of RCTs detects no effect. And it might be worth writing to Zoë Harcombe too to see what she makes of Dr Greger's claim.

    [1] DIET AND SERUM CHOLESTEROL: DO ZERO CORRELATIONS NEGATE THE RELATIONSHIP?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018
  16. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Oh, and here's Dr Greger's take on the French Paradox:

     
  17. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I found a video with Dr Greger himself talking. Now this is definitely not science but I couldn’t stand watching/listening to him for more than a very short time. He seemed to be trying to do a very poor impression of Jeff Goldblum! :(

     
  18. Laird

    Laird Member

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    Not quite sure what you mean by this, Steve - he himself was talking in the two videos I posted too.
     
  19. Steve

    Steve Member

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    I didn’t realise that. Sorry.

    But I feel my point still stands. Why put on the affected voice and the strange motion, when trying to say something serious? I much prefer plain talking and no acting, I realise that this might seem ‘dumb’ to some, but I do. I put a lot of store on watching/ listening to people in videos. It’s the way I get a ‘vibe’.
     
  20. David Bailey

    David Bailey Administrator

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    Thanks!

    However, the studies described by Dr Michael Greger, are what are known as Surrogate Endpoint experiments. As I said above, these assume that a particular change - say in LDL or HDL/LDL is definitely associated with some disease - heart attacks or, slightly more generally, Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), which includes ischaemic strokes(i.e. not the ones where a bleed takes place. This is one of the points that Professor Yusuf alluded to briefly in his talk.

    Greger did seem to refer briefly to studies showing high LDL had more heart disease - maybe suspiciously briefly, because that is where I don't think the evidence is good. Indeed there is one video by a cardiologist (I am not sure it is one of the two you have already seen) in which he comments that the blood results of his patients presenting for bypass surgery seem to have widely scattered values.

    The question is, whether LDL or LDL/HDL is indeed correlated with CVD's!

    In reality, this is the point where this scandal gets a lot worse. Take a look at this whole string of studies:

    http://vernerwheelock.com/179-cholesterol-and-all-cause-mortality/

    These are links into the medical literature - so I guess we can assume that the data is being reported correctly by Vernon Wheelock. It turns out that every study shows that high total cholesterol and/or high LDL is slightly positively correlated with longevity!

    This is roughly where I got interested in all this. Remember, I had been prescribed statins (on a purely preventative basis), and I lasted 3 years without obvious ill-effect. I was, in fact naively optimistic, and thought that if I could take a harmless pill that would make me live longer why would I not want to do that - OK NDE's suggest that might not be important, but even so.... At that point I began to get severe cramps in one leg, and became very unstable walking. Because of the 3-year delay, neither I nor my doctor suspected the problem was statin-related - though they do say in the fact sheet that they can cause muscle pains! He arranged for a visit to a neurologist. Luckily I decided to stop taking the statins temporarily, just in case. To cut a long story short, after several stops and starts I discovered that my problem was purely caused by the statins! It took about 9 months to recover completely. I then discovered that a lot of people have unpleasant statin stories (in real life) - though they usually emerge must sooner after taking the treatment, and there is a website devoted to patient reports of side effects for statins:

    https://www.askapatient.com/viewrating.asp?drug=19766&name=ZOCOR

    Many of these reports sound frighteningly similar to what happened to me, except that in a substantial number of patients, there is some permanent damage - which may involve loss of mobility. Of course, collecting people's experience in this way doesn't constitute an experiment, because there is no control.........

    So, the full picture seems to be that LDL and total cholesterol is greatly reduced if you take a statin, but strangely, blood cholesterol/LDL levels are positively correlated with longevity! A number of people think that statins have a 'side effect' in that they augment the amount of nitric oxide in the body - yes NO is an important signalling molecule in the body which relaxes the blood vessels! Others seem to think that any reduction in CVD by taking statins is the result of various sorts of subtle cheating by the guys doing the studies (which are usually controlled by big pharma because they have the money to run them! Big pharma cheat a lot and get fined enormous amounts - paid for by their profits:

    http://projects.propublica.org/graphics/bigpharma

    Statins among their most successful drugs in terms of profit.

    While we are on with it, the guidelines on salt consumption seem wrong too - a level twice as much (about the level people would naturally enjoy) as recommended seems to be optimal. Scientific American published an article about this back in 2011, though now you can only find this on the web archive:

    https://web.archive.org/web/2011071...rticle.cfm?id=its-time-to-end-the-war-on-salt

    However here is a book on the subject - again written by a cardiologist!

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Salt-Fix-E...8&qid=1536079129&sr=8-1&keywords=the+salt+fix

    My impression is that because medical research has such tight links with big pharma and the various charities, that have pushed out the wrong advice for decades, there is a desperate rearguard action to cover up the awful truth - except that more and more medically trained clinicians and researchers are blowing the whistle. The shit is starting to hit the fan!

    I think the analogy with several other scientific scandals, including consciousness/ψ that are brewing, is amazing.

    David
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2018

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