March 31st 2017, 12:25
William Halsted is revered among surgeons. He died in 1922, and yet is still considered one of the most influential surgeons ever, with many of his innovations—such as the use of rubber gloves and a surgical procedure on the digestive tract—still in use in operating theatres today.
February 23rd 2017, 18:12
It's a belief that still underpins our most popular weight-loss programmes and, if truth be told, somewhere deep down you probably believe it too. It's this: the more you eat, the more weight you'll put on.
It seems logical enough, but it's not entirely true. The idea of the equality of calories was started by the sugar industry in the late 1950s, and has been endorsed and promoted by supposedly independent researchers and our health guardians ever since. The National Institutes of Health in the US states that obesity is the result of "an energy imbalance"—you're eating more than you're burning off—and the UK's National Health Service tells us that "obesity is generally caused by consuming more calories—particularly those in fatty and sugary foods—than you burn off through physical activity. The excess energy is stored by the body as fat".
January 24th 2017, 15:26
Last year was the start of something big, and it even gave birth to a new word: post-truth. Critics argued that much of the Trump presidential campaign was hallmarked by post-truths—and preposterous post-truths at that, such as President Obama being the founder of ISIS and opposition candidate Hilary Clinton running a paedophile ring from a pizza parlour.
November 30th 2016, 08:18
It should be the golden rule of medicine (yet it’s never taught in medical school): first, do nothing. Instead, the fledgling medic is cast in the mould of the hero, ready and waiting to intervene at the drop of a blood-pressure reading.
To help him in his quest to restore health to all are the paraphernalia of the newest technologies, including computer-aided screening tests, scans and X-rays, and the latest breakthrough drugs.
October 27th 2016, 14:29
Been down to the Med lately? If you have, you’ll have noticed that the locals don’t eat the Mediterranean diet—or certainly not the idealized version celebrated by medical researchers. Yet, they’ve been urging us to eat oily fish, fresh vegetables and fruit, with lashings of olive oil, all rounded off by a plate of nuts—just like the Mediterraneans do.
Except they don’t. Instead, they eat plenty of red meat, eggs, and dairy products like cheese, cream, butter and milk, and they love white processed bread—whether they’re baguettes, croissants or the Italian panini (grilled sandwich). Or, as food and obesity researcher Dr Zoë Harcombe put it, “If it moves, they eat it + white things.”
June 27th 2014, 13:09
When it comes to cancer, modern medicine is in firm denial. For all the triumphalism over the latest claims that approximately 50 per cent of people survive cancer for at least 10 years, the bald fact remains that cancer incidence rates in Great Britain have risen by 23 per cent in men and by 43 per cent in women since the mid-1970s, cancer deaths account for more than one in four deaths and more than 430 people a year,or one person every four minutes, dies from cancer. Does that sound like a war that's being won?
At least that's the dismal batting average for the typical oncologist. Dr Patrick Kingsley, now retired, had a different track record. Most of the thousands of patients he's treated for cancers of all varieties reversed their cancers and survived.
May 30th 2014, 10:15
It's all over the newspapers. Deaths from breast cancer have almost been halved, and the bow belongs to screening with routine mammography.
So persuasive is the catch-it-early argument that governments have spent millions putting into effect mass screening programmes, with women the primary targets for wholesale breast and cervical cancer campaigns.
April 28th 2014, 11:43
Failing eyesight has become so closely associated with old age that medicine has applied a number of adjectives synonymous with 'geriatric' to conditions like 'age-related macular degeneration' and 'senile cataracts', and it's just taken for granted that your eyes are going to wear out even faster than the rest of you.
As Dame Judi Dench once commented about her AMD, which has now made it difficult for her to read scripts: "I've got what my ma had, which you get when you get old."
March 31st 2014, 11:16
Economist John Kenneth Galbraith was one of the first to identify 'revised-sequence' markets which, unlike the ordinary consumer-driven variety, are driven by a corporation, which controls the consumer's attitudes and values and so creates product demand. Or, to put it more simply, theyinvent the problem to sell the solution.
As American political activist Ralph Nader once remarked, "In any industry, the sellers become very acute in appealing to those features of a human personality that are easiest to exploit. Everyone knows what they are. It's easiest to exploit a person's sense of fear . . ."
February 28th 2014, 11:11
The statistics speak for themselves. At some point, 85 per cent of us will suffer from back pain and yet medicine is still at a loss for how to treat this medical epidemic. Despite all manner of sophisticated gadgetry and high-tech surgery, including lumbar surgery, spinal fusion and surgery for slipped discs, surgical success only happens in some 1 per cent of cases.
As Gordon Waddell, orthopaedic surgeon at Glasgow's Nuffield Hospital who helped draft the Royal College of General Practitioners' guidelines for treating back pain, once wrote: "Our failure is in the 99 per cent of patients with simple backache, for whom, despite new investigations and all our treatments, the problem has become progressively worse."
February 3rd 2014, 10:28
Governments of the West have finally woken up to the fact that we have an epidemic of dementia on our hands. The incidence of Alzheimer's disease is growing so quickly (the worldwide incidence is set to treble to 135 million in 35 years), and the death rates are so high (it's the sixth leading cause of death) that last December, ministers from the G8 leading nations met in London to pledge to coordinate efforts to research a cure.
Although the pharmaceutical industry is never slow to investigate new revenue streams, it's hit such a stalemate with dementia-none of the five drugs on the market have any evidence of doing any real good at all-that it has stopped looking for a magic bullet.
December 23rd 2013, 12:46
A few years ago, we asked a bold question: what are the key ingredients to a long and healthy life? Specifically, what 100 conditions might best maximize your chances of living to 100?
From our research over the years we knew that the key to healthy longevity isn't a matter of a few resolutions on January 1 to follow some new weight-loss diet or kick off that exercise plan, or even target a particular condition.
November 29th 2013, 12:39
Increasingly, those at the very centre of Establishment medicine are joining the ranks of whistleblowers like What Doctors Don't Tell You in shining a light on the dirty secrets of mainstream medicine.
One of the largest spotlights at the moment is Peter Gotzsche, the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre, the Scandinavian arm of the independent research centre known as the Cochrane Collaboration, which promotes 'evidence-based' medicine.
November 5th 2013, 15:49
A small group of people tried to prevent you from reading this issue ofWhat Doctors Don't Tell You. They pressurized shops to stop selling our magazine and they were prepared to go to almost any lengths to achieve their aims, including the stage-managing of an 'independent' news article in a major newspaper that contained malicious falsehoods about us and our work.
Why? Perhaps because we'd announced the next issue as a 'cancer special' that would include interesting new research about homeopathy.
September 26th 2013, 12:51
If we were asked to name the deadliest weapon dispersed during the 20th century, we wouldn't choose the A-bomb or the efficient gas chambers of Auschwitz or drone warfare, or even sophisticated microbiological weaponry. And we wouldn't have to think very long about it, either.
There's no contest. It has to be processed sugar, by a couple of million country miles.
September 5th 2013, 14:06
We're living longer, but we're not necessarily better off for it, at least not according to modern medicine. Several months ago, the UK's International Longevity Centre released a statement announcing that less than a third of us will reach the typical retirement age of 65 years in a healthy state.
In the US, where one of every five Americans (or 72 million) will be 65 or older by 2030, and the 85-pluses are the fastest growing segment of the US population, Americans are older than ever before, but not necessarily healthier. Some 14 million people over age 65 have reported some sort of disability, mostly linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, which translates into one in five who are impaired with major illness.
July 22nd 2013, 17:29
Recently, European scientists finally isolated the reason for the sudden, puzzling disappearance of entire colonies of bees. Although parasitic mites, deadly viruses and bacterial disease have been variously blamed for the phenomenon, study after study has now fingered the pesticides sprayed on garden plants and food crops, which affect the ability of bees to navigate and ultimately damages their DNA.
Although the EU has now banned the pesticide thought to be most responsible, this discovery begs the obvious question: if these chemicals are killing off the bees, what in God's name are they doing to us?
June 26th 2013, 17:40
The whole of modern medicine rests upon the belief that, to a great extent, your future health is out of your control. Biologists and doctors in the main believe that the functioning and health of any organism are largely due to DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the coiled double helix of genetic coding within the nucleus engine room that holds the blueprints for the body's proteins and amino acids.
According to this idea, the central dogma of biology, the body gets created through an entirely self-sufficient process within its own boundaries: personality, physical characteristics, indeed the sum total of what defines us is crafted from the unique blueprint of DNA contained inside. Although we allow for the effects of emotional stress on our personal psychic development and of diet on certain aspects of our health, we assume that the raw clay of ourselves takes permanent shape and then sets and hardens largely from a process that moves outward from the gene through our cells to our organs.
May 31st 2013, 14:47
Last January, after sustaining an injury to one knee during a particularly heated hockey match, our 16-year-old daughter Anya, a sports scholar, was handed the diagnosis most dreaded by athletes of any age: complete rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the knee. The ACL, one of the crisscross ligaments attaching the knee cap to leg bones, is pivotal to any movement of the knee, and a complete tear such as Anya sustained can spell a death sentence for any future sports.
The standard treatment is surgical reconstruction, which entails taking tissue from a tendon or hamstring, attaching this onto a bit of borrowed bone, refashioning something resembling an ACL ligament, and screwing the lot onto the thigh and shin bones. After the operation, the patient is on crutches for weeks and then undergoes some nine months of rehabilitation before getting back to normal play.
April 30th 2013, 17:43
When Lynne's mother was 24, her dentist unwisely extracted a tooth while she had the flu. Within days her neck had ballooned with a streptococcal infection and she was rushed to hospital. Lynne's father, then her fianc'e, wept helplessly at her bedside while priests filed past him after administering
last rites.And then the wonder drug arrived. As a last resort, Lynne's mother was given penicillin-still in experimental use then. Within a day or two the swelling that had almost obscured her face simply melted away. Lynne's ordinarily doubting father rushed off to church and humbly knelt before the altar, convinced that he had witnessed a miracle.