The nocebo effect and statins

A new study in The Lancet, has concluded that patients who experience adverse events (AEs) when taking statins are suffering from a ‘nocebo’ effect. Researchers (including Prof Rory Collins) suggest that when patients and doctors were aware that they were taking statins the reporting of adverse events by statin users was much higher than when they were unaware. As with previous studies, this appears to be nothing more than a promotion of statins using the guise of a scientific study to lend credibility and weight. Not surprisingly, the ‘study’ is funded by Pfizer, Servier Research Group and Leo Laboratories who all have a vested interests. Given how important cholesterol is to health, the patients who made a choice to stop taking statins have probably given themselves a better chance of survival than those who continue with their prescriptions.

Gluten consumption not a risk for heart disease

A team of researchers writing in the British Medical Journal have found that eating gluten containing foods is not associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. They concluded that, “Long term dietary intake of gluten was not associated with risk of coronary heart disease. However, the avoidance of gluten may result in reduced consumption of beneficial whole grains, which may affect cardiovascular risk. The promotion of gluten-free diets among people without celiac disease should not be encouraged.” Included among those affected by gluten are not only coeliacs, but also people who suffer from wheat allergy (Ig-E and non-Ig-E-mediated) and those who have, what is now referred to, as Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity (NCGS) as described by Alessio Fasano MD. Based on the balance of current evidence, ANH-Intl do not advise the consumption of gluten-containing grains, as its contribution to chronic inflammation and autoimmune disease risk is both well documented and common. The ANH-Intl Food4Health guidelines are gluten free.

Children, routines and obesity

A study in the International Journal of Obesity of 10,955 children has found that those aged 3 who have regular bedtimes, mealtimes and restricted TV time had better emotional self-regulation leading to lower rates of obesity by age 11. Children who did not experience these routines were far more likely to become obese by age 11. This suggests that interventions to reduce the current obesity epidemic need to be multi-modality and start from a much earlier age in the home.

African children to be used as guinea pigs for untested vaccine

RTS,S is a vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), that provides partial protection against malaria in young children. The vaccine, which has been under development since the 1980's, is designed to stop the Plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite from infecting the liver. Clinical trials, funded by GSK, have shown efficacy when the vaccine is used in combination with other effective control measures. Now The World Health Organization have announced that Ghana, Kenya and Malawi have been chosen, due to their already robust vaccination programmes, to take part in a trial of the RTS,S malaria vaccine under real world conditions. Phase II trials reported a higher frequency of upper respiratory tract infections in vaccinated infants, but this was not found in Phase III studies. It remains to be seen how effective this vaccine is, but it reinforces the relentless drive of the vaccination industry to push more and more vaccines on a worldwide population whether safe or not.

Chinese consumers reject GMO oils

The main oil used in China for cooking is soya oil. In a major blow for the soy industry Chinese consumers are beginning to turn their back on the use of GMO crops, which is damaging the market for soy oil in China. The Chinese Government has continued to reassure consumers of the safety of GMO crops, but retail sales have dropped 1% in the last year, whilst sales of non-GMO soy, peanut, sunflower and sesame oils have all increased.

Exercise helps reduce risk of disease

Scientists at the University of Glasgow have carried out a long-term study that has shown that commuting to work by bicycle can cut the risk of developing heart disease and cancer by half. The study, published in British Medical Journal, also looked at walking, but results showed that individuals who cycled saw a greater benefit due to the longer distances covered and the exercise intensity whilst riding. Of the 250,000 people who took part in the study, 41 per cent had a lower risk of premature death versus those who chose to use a vehicle, whilst keen cyclists had a 46 per cent lower risk with a 45 per cent lower risk of developing cancer. This study clearly shows that introducing physical activity into the normal daily routine can reduce the risk of developing serious, chronic diseases caused by lack of activity.

Gut bacteria talks to the brain

In last week’s eAlert, we discussed the age-old dialogue between our microbiome and the rest of body. Now researchers from Champalimaud Centre of the Unknown, Portugal, and Monash University, Australia, have shown how our gut bacteria 'talk' to us in a study published in the journal PLOS. The study, conducted on Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly), initially found that flies deprived of amino acids showed decreased fertility and an increased preference for protein rich foods. When the researchers looked at the impact of food choices on bacteria in the flies’ microbiome they found that two of the bacterial species could stop the flies, deprived of amino acids, from eating more protein rich foods. Researchers concluded that the gut bacteria "…seem to induce some metabolic change that acts directly on the brain and the body, which mimics a state of protein satiety".