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The top 10 medical myths

MagazineAugust 1998 (Vol. 9 Issue 5)The top 10 medical myths

Lowering your blood cholesterol levels will prevent heart disease

1. Lowering your blood cholesterol levels will prevent heart disease. Science has never been able to link cholesterol with heart disease. Population studies show that many groups with high levels of heart disease don't have high levels of blood fats. Careful examination of the studies supposedly demonstrating that cholesterol lowering drugs work show they fail to translate into a significant number of lives saved (WDDTY, the book).

2. Screening for cancer can catch it early and save lives. Mammograms, cervical cancer screening and the latest PSA screening have never been shown to save lives. All screening tests are highly inaccurate. The latest study of the PSA test shows screened men are more likely to die (see p 10).

3. The mercury in your fillings is permanently locked in and therefore harmless. Numerous studies in animals and humans demonstrate that mercury particles and vapours are a timed release poison, which migrate to various parts of the body, including the brain, and cross the placenta in pregnant women. We still don't know the extent of the damage (The Dental Handbook).

4. Fluoridating the water and dental products is good for your teeth and stops tooth decay in children. Rather than strengthening bone tissue, fluoride causes osteoporosis. New evidence shows fluoride can also damage the central nervous system, causing brain dysfunction, lower IQ and possibly even Alzheimer's disease (WDDTY vol 3 no 9 and vol 9 no 3).

5. Vaccination has conquered infectious disease. Careful examination of polio and smallpox casualties shows that the disease had a higher incidence in many areas that were highly vaccinated. The incidence of all infectious diseases were plummeting long before the onset of vaccination, which took the credit (WDDTY, the book).

6. Women need hormone replacement after the menopause to protect them from osteoporosis and heart disease. All the major studies supposedly demonstrating a survival benefit with HRT have been criticised as biased or flawed. Virtually every major study of HRT also shows it causes at least a 30 per cent increase in breast cancer (The Guide to Menopause).

7. Modern drugs have conquered many diseases. The only drug capable of curing anything is antibiotics. No other drug out there cures it simply suppresses symptoms, usually at the risk of causing a load of other ones (WDDTY, the book).

8. Routine X-rays aren't dangerous. The UK National Academy of Science believes that x-rays could be responsible for 4 per cent of leukaemias and up to 8 per cent of all other cancers (WDDTY vol 4 no 6).

9. Mental health has nothing to do with diet. Work in Princeton and now the UK shows links with schizophrenia and depression and allergies or nutritional deficiencies. Virtually every case of depression seen by the Institute of Optimum Nutrition relates to an allergy to wheat (The Guide to Mental Health).

10. Cancer survival statistics are improving, thanks to chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has an all over cure rate of at best 9 per cent, usually for rare cancers. It doesn't affect in any way the solid tumours which make up some 90 per cent of all cancers (The Cancer Handbook).


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