NICE dismisses low carb diets Citizens protest against covid restrictions Mexico bans sale of junk food to children Mexico phases out glyphosate UK A&E booking system Mammograms for under 50’s The risky business of gene editing
Sugar charts withdrawn by NICE as they may drive people to go low carb!
When the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) realised the sugar equivalent charts they had endorsed might drive obese patients to go low carb and regain their health they rescinded their endorsement. Created by UK GP Dr David Unwin (known as the Low Carb GP) the charts are designed to help his type 2 diabetic patients understand the impact of different foods on their metabolism. Dr Unwin has recently shared the results of his 83rd patient to achieve drug-free type 2 diabetes remission. When journalist Barney Calman saw the charts, he decided to conduct an experiment using two healthy people to prove that the charts were wrong and that low carb diets are bad for you. As a result of his hatchet job NICE withdrew its endorsement of the charts. What wasn’t taken into consideration was the quantity and quality of food being eaten over a period of time. Of course, if everyone followed Dr Unwin and many other health professional’s advice to adopt a low-carb diet it would have a huge impact on both Big Food and Big Pharma’s profits. If the evidence of patients who have moved from life-threatening chronic disease into health is not evidence enough of the efficacy of low-carb diets for combatting type 2 diabetes and obesity, what is?
Citizen protests continue against covid restrictions
Several thousand protestors gathered in Madrid over the weekend to protest against oppressive restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic. In Brussels around 500 people gathered in a rally called ‘Stop the measures, stop the madness’. The rally organisers, Viruswaanzin, said the Belgium government has overreacted to the pandemic and accusing it of curbing the rights of individuals and treating people like ‘sheep’ with their “…sanitary dictatorship”. In the UK hundreds gathered in Birmingham protesting against the mandating of face masks. More protests are taking place around the UK, including an event in Trafalgar Square, London where doctors and scientists are due to speak out on the 29th August 2020. The organisers are calling on UK citizens to Unite for Freedom, stop the draconian Coronavirus Act from being extended and prevent further descent into totalitarianism. Doctors around the world continue to step up to the plate and speak out against arbitrary bans of treatments that have the potential to successfully treat covid-19 patients. In the US, 3 eminent doctors have penned an open letter challenging Dr Anthony Fauci and his unilateral health decisions. The letter seeks to hold Fauci to account over his handling of the pandemic, continually changing the goalposts and restricting and destroying ordinary citizens lives for a virus that is moderately infectious and of relatively low virulence.
Mexico state bans sale of junk food and sugary drinks to children
In a historic move the Mexican state of Oaxaca has banned the sale of sugary drinks and junk food to children, effectively putting them in the same category as alcohol and cigarettes. In doing so it recognises the terrible impact of such products on the health of children and puts the health and wellbeing of its future citizens before profit. With approximately 73% of the Mexican population classed as being overweight the covid-19 pandemic has brought the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes into sharp relief and given regulators even greater incentive to tackle the obesity epidemic. The Mexican drinks industry have hit back at the move saying Mexicans only consume a small proportion of their daily calories in soft drinks. By making such a bold move Mexico is taking its first steps to reverse the true epidemic of chronic disease that is leaving children at high risk of dying early and promoting a healthy future for them and future generations.
Mexico phases out glyphosate
In another first, Mexico is also to phase out the use of glyphosate due to concerns that it causes cancer. Government projects will stop its use immediately, while private food producers will be given until 2024 to phase its use out. Once again Mexico is prioritising the safety and health of its citizens and future generations over and above the profits of private companies.
Need emergency medical aid? Book a slot
In the wake of the pandemic it’s being reported that patients, with non-life threatening conditions, in the UK will be discouraged from attending Accident & Emergency departments without first making an appointment. They will instead have to go through a telephone triage system and if it’s decided emergency treatment is appropriate a slot will be booked for them to attend an A&E department. The UK government say this is to stop the NHS being overwhelmed should the virus resurge in the winter months. The impact of lockdowns has already prevented many people from seeking the treatment they need, resulting in needless deaths. Rather than tinkering with a system on the brink of collapse, in our view, money would be far better spent on preventing ill health to reduce the burden on health systems and allowing people to live healthy lives for longer.
Mammograms for under 50’s
Screening women aged 40-49 years of age for breast cancer will reduce the number of women dying from breast cancer according to a new study published in The Lancet Oncology and led by researchers from Queen Mary University of London. However, to save just one life 1,000 women would need to be screened. Women under the age of 50 are not currently screened because they have a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer and their breast tissue is more dense making it difficult to read on a mammogram, which increases the risk of false positives. False positives can lead to unnecessary highly damaging medical interventions. We ask if it’s then acceptable to put women through a distressing and painful intervention that has the potential for further damage, rather than providing information on alternatives such as diet and lifestyle changes, self-examination or thermography that could significantly reduce their risk of developing breast cancer in the first place?
The risky business of gene editing
Yet more off target errors have been uncovered after the gene editing technique known as CRISPR was used to create embryos that are skewed to develop into male cows rather than female. Whilst a male calf has been successfully created and born, its DNA now contains the bacterial DNA used to insert the changes to his DNA. This is not the first time this has happened. The problems with new genetic engineering techniques have been further highlighted in a new study published in Environmental Sciences Europe and a new report from the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). Both warn of the wide range of risks and potential for unexpected consequences that can arise from such techniques. The report from CBAN calls for a moratorium on the use of gene editing techniques such as CRISPR, until they are fully risk assessed and rigorous regulations are placed on their use. In other GM news 500,000,000 genetically modified mosquitoes are set to be released in the Florida Keys by Oxitec (who are in partnership with the Gates Foundation), the same company that has experienced multiple failures of such releases. Previous such programmes have seen the offspring of GM mosquitoes, designed to die, surviving and breeding with local populations which has the potential for serious consequences for both human and environmental health. However, you look at these situations playing with nature comes with a high price in the form of serious unintended consequences and once unleashed the clock can’t be turned back nor the genie put back into its box.