I recently have come across a very interesting book, “Death by Modern Medicine” by Dr. Carolyn Dean. “Death by Modern Medicine” is the winner of the 2006 Independent Publisher Book Awards, Most Progressive Health book.
This 270 plus page book shows how the allopathic medical community has failed to encourage good health, especially by prevention through propaganda, health care bureaucracy, and the focus on profits instead of healing. It shows, statistically, that the number 1 killer in North America, is in fact, one of the most heavily regulated products, services and facilities industry in North America – The Allopathic Medical Disease Industry.
This book shows how your health & the dying process is a profit-making business and how keeping you sick is a good business practice.
Dr. Dean also has an informative and witty newsletter (uncensored by any third-party commercial interests) that you can access via her website at Future Health Now! Make sure you sign up to receive the latest issues of the newsletter via email.
When she’s not serving as medical director for The Nutritional Magnesium Association, writing books (she’s got 18 out now) and helping clients with her telephone consultation practice – she’s busy developing Future Health Now! – her 48-week total wellness program.
As a member of Future Health Now! every 7 days you receive a new password which allows you to download a new module in the program. There are 48 modules in total.
Each module contains a 12-page PDF document written by Dr. Dean detailing four simple action-items you can take (from her Seven Pillars of Health model) for increasing your energy, sleeping better and improving your mental acuity. It’s not about giving you more “health information overload” it’s about helping you change your lifestyle so you see permanent improvements in your health.
For more information about Future Health Now! click HERE.
For an interesting interview of Dr. Dean by fitness expert Ben Greenfield, click HERE.
We live in a world full of motivation. We can have emails sent to our in-box with motivational sayings. Our bookshelves are full of self-help books designed to motivate us into changing behavior that just isn’t working for us. We watch TV talk shows full of inspiring guests who have changed their lives or the world. We read about the newest diet or learn how to work out more effectively to get better results. We visit our therapists and life coaches weekly. We are fully educated and know exactly what we need to do and why. We are armed to the hilt to do something, to make a change, to become better. But nothing happens, nothing changes.
Often motivation is the reason for the action. It can be a reward or a punishment. It can be something that gives purpose to a goal. Motivation is the reason we do something. Knowledge about the dangers of certain foods can motivate us to stop eating them. A heart attack can be the motivator to get us to exercise more. An economic recession can motivate us to save more money and spend more wisely. Another increase in our health insurance premium can motivate us to write to our representatives in government to ask for a better heath care system.
Wanting to do something and being willing to do it are not the same thing. Motivation is the “wanting” to do something. Action is the “willingness”. Wanting something usually is just a thought that never leads to any actual change. Will is the determination to do it and get it done. We don’t need more motivation, we need more action. We need to start with action and from the activity comes the insight needed to make the permanent and positive changes we need. When we exercise, our bodies and minds immediately tell us why we should. We accomplish in minutes what hours, days, months and years of just thinking about it never did.
Did I get your attention? Well that was my intention. It was also the intention of other writers whose headlines read:
Each of these articles was reporting on a study presented in the Journal of Applied Physiology. One of the authors of this study, Professor James A Timmons, of the Royal Veterinary College at the University of London, concluded after testing about 500 subjects, that 20% of the participants in the studies showed negligible improvement in their aerobic capacity after being subject to a controlled exercise regime.
Research has shown the connection between the body’s ability to take up and use oxygen with lower risks of disease and premature death and thus exercise has been prescribed as a preventative measure. But one problem is that some people do not seem to have the same capacity to benefit from exercise. Thus Timmons and his colleagues set out to see why. Using muscle tissue samples they were able to find a correlation between a person’s genes and their response to exercise.
So does this study prove that exercise is a waste of time? Not at all. And it wasn’t really the point of the study, despite the misleading headlines that reported on it. Some of the headlines are reminiscent of the Time Magazine article “Why Exercise Won’t Make you Thin”, which has since been debunked.
What the authors of this study were trying to do was to try and identify some genetic markers that would indicate what kind of exercise people respond better to.
“It might one day be possible to customize prescriptions of physical exercise for optimal health effects,” says associate professor Carl Johan Sundberg, who led one of the three studies that make up the study. “For some people weight training might be better, while others might benefit more from endurance exercise.” He adds that “it is possible that those persons that do not respond with a performance increase could very well improve their blood pressure, blood lipids and glucose metabolism which would help prevent cardiovascular disease”. Those analyses were not part of this study, however.
So don’t skip your next spin class or run. Most likely you are among the 80% of people that benefit greatly from aerobic exercise. And if you’re not, chances are you are reaping other benefits that are good for your heart, brain and waistline.
Those misleading headlines need to be re-written:
Millions of People Benefit From Jogging
Study Finds 8 out of 10 Benefit From Exercise
Aerobic Exercise Helpful in Diabetes Prevention
Seeds of Deception: Exposing Industry and Government Lies About the Safety of the Genetically Engineered Foods You’re Eating is in my opinion, a must-read. It is not only a great insight into how the worlds largest agriculture/biotech companies are gaining a monopolistic stronghold on our food supply, it shows the dangers inherent in the consumption of genetically modified foods. His second book, Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods, further details the evidence of those health dangers.
In an amazing turn of events, Mr. Smith documents his phone conversation with the President of Amport Foods, producer of a variety of snack products. By the end of their conversation, the President of Amport, “realized he had been duped—that the information given to him and others in the food industry had been “filtered” by those earning profits from GMOs.” Jeffrey Smith had left a big impression on the president, who vowed to learn more and help Jeffrey educate other corporate decision makers.
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Today I filled out a ballot for our local elections and noticed a list of ballot drop-off locations that came with the mailing . One drop-off location was at my local fire station. It happens to be on one of my running routes. Perfect, I thought. I’ll save myself a stamp and some gas. So off I went for my run, ballot in hand. As I was returning home, it occurred to me that what I had done was really the true definition of “actively political”. Now I don’t usually get my heart rate up that much while I’m involved in political activities, except perhaps when I’m reading the latest case of political corruption or debacle in health care. And I don’t usually think about politics when I’m at the gym or on a run. I tried listening to political podcasts while I work out, but found it hard to concentrate on the content while counting reps.
So being “active” and “political” don’t often occur simultaneously. We often compartmentalize each one. But hopefully here in this blog, I’ve been able to show you how politics do in fact affect our health and overall fitness and how our sense of well-being or lack of it can affect politics. I hope to continue to write about topics that show how our decisions regarding our lifestyles and the choices we make can impact not only ourselves but our society, and how decisions made by society and politicians can affect our health. It may be trivial that I saved a small amount of gas and carbon emissions today by choosing to run instead of drive, but change is all about one small choice at a time. It’s about taking the stairs instead of the elevator, it’s about voting instead of opting out, it’s about less junk food and more organic vegetables, and it’s about calling or writing your representatives to tell them how you feel.
The health of your body and the health of our political system depend on you being actively involved in both.
Please leave a comment if there are topics you are interested in me covering. I welcome your feedback.
In the previous post regarding the topic of high cholesterol, I presented the idea that cholesterol is not dangerous or might not even be a cause of heart disease. Several research studies and reports have shown this. How then, did the idea that cholesterol must be lowered through low-saturated fat diets and statin drug use get started if there was not enough evidence to support it?
Apparently it started when butter became more expensive than margarine after WWII. At the same time it was discovered that oil could be expressed from cotton seed, a useless by product of the cotton industry, and became profitable, with the company Norton Simon becoming the biggest cotton seed oil producer & supplier to the margarine industry. The milk industry at that time was diverse and powerful, and thus began the marketing campaign by Norton Simon to convince the public that margarine was better than butter and divert profits to their product. This campaign was started by a small group of businessmen around 1946 involved in vegetable oil firms. These men formed a front group, called the American Health Foundation about 1970. The chairman happened to be David Mahoney, the President of Norton Simon. Associations were quickly formed between this Foundation and other tax-supported organizations like the National Cancer Institute and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBL), including the FDA. With the help of these prominent organizations the Foundation went on to disseminate information on how saturated fat from foods like butter were dangerous.
To continue their promotion of their claim they needed to show that cholesterol in the diet (from butter) lead to heart disease. They latched on to a Russian study done in 1913 that fed large amounts of cholesterol to rabbits who then died of heart disease. They completely ignored the fact that rabbits are vegetarians and are not designed to handle large amounts of animal fats. Despite this omission, and the existence of evidence to the contrary, the study has been repeatedly used to promote the connection between cholesterol and heart disease and used to establish historic precedence.
Not only did the vegetable oil companies develop the myth to benefit profits, soon the pharmaceutical companies realized that they could get a share of the pie too by developing a drug that would lower blood cholesterol levels. This proved to be a very successful money making campaign for the pharmaceutical companies. But they didn’t stop there. They needed to make sure enough people had high enough cholesterol levels to justify a prescription and therefore have a stake in influencing the guidelines . As you probably know these guidelines have been revised several times, despite the fact that 50% of people with heart disease have “normal” cholesterol levels. The more people they could get into the “high” category, the bigger their profits. And it’s no coincidence that the doctors that made the recommendations have financial ties to the drug companies and much of the research that these guidelines are based on is also funded by the drug companies.
Lead Discovery, a UK company that helps companies optimize drug discovery and product pipelines, stated in a report that:
“…Those drugs (cholesterol lowering statin drugs) are one of the most widely-prescribed and most lucrative sectors of the pharmaceutical industry, with total revenues exceeding $26 billion in 2008. Importantly, the world statins market is poised to undergo a period of rapid and dynamic change, with the generic statin sector growing particularly strongly in the years ahead.”
Next it reveals its advice to companies to best reach the profit goal:
“Importantly, there are opportunities for companies to raise sales by maximizing patient compliance and accessing new patient groups. Statins: The World Market, 2009-2024 examines strategies for increasing patient compliance there. The report has detailed interviews with key-opinion leaders in this important field. Full interview transcripts are provided – you will not find this information anywhere else.”
This market research is taken seriously by statin drug producers such as Pfizer and Merck who would have to pay £6999 to get the full report and details on how to increase profits. And no wonder, considering Pfizer’s Lipitor is the biggest statin seller, at $11 billion. Merck’s Zocor, about to lose U.S. patent protection, is No. 2 at $4.2 billion.
The report goes on to outline steps to take regarding patient compliance including prescribing more tests, increase in patient contact and the use of information technology. For obvious reasons, I was not able to find out the details of their recommendations, so I can only infer as to what the above steps may entail. It seems that companies would profit most by focusing their resources on those that disseminate medical information to patients; doctors and media. And the reason they need to focus on patient compliance is that patients prescribed statin drugs stop taking them after about 3 months, many claiming undesirable side-effects such as muscle pain, memory loss, and symptoms of Alzheimer’s . But instead of improving the drug to reduce side effects, drug companies have realized it would be more cost effective to spend more money on tactics to convince patients they are safe and necessary. One way they do this is by perpetuating the myth that cholesterol is highly dangerous.
So how do they get this message across to patients? How would a company make sure that the patient feels like the consequences of not taking their drugs are worse than the potential dangers of the drug? The obvious route would be increase the frequency that the patient receives their message and by creating new tests as outlined in the report. This is done through the media and through a patient’s doctor. Where do the media get its medical information? Many report on research they find in medical journals, even though few medical journalists are trained to interpret them accurately. Because of this, they often rely on the interpretations of research that is published in position statements or articles made by major health organizations like the American Heart Association or the American College of Cardiology. I have pointed out in previous posts that this avenue of information is actually full of conflict of interests, with corporations often influencing the information. This route would be an obvious one for major statin producers like Pfizer to use in order to increase patient compliance by the dissemination of misinformation about the dangers of high-cholesterol. Consider this: Pfizer is a big donor to the American College of Cardiology and in 2002 was a member of its “Diamond Heart Award by donating $750,000 or above. Pfizer was the leading sponsor at its 2001 meeting in Orlando, FL, forking over $822,000 for the meeting.” (Wall Street Journal, 6/15/01).
Although physicians also use these organizations as their source of industry-biased information, it turns out that peer-reviewed research is not their main source of information as one would think. A report in the journal Family Practice concluded that for new drugs “The most important sources (of information) were the pharmaceutical industry [49 percent], in particular the company representative, non-peer-reviewed literature, the mass media, and, to a lesser extent, hospital colleagues. Peer-reviewed literature or independent drug information sources were rarely significant at this stage.” Some companies spend $10,000 a year marketing to just one doctor.
So it seems clear that the flawed information you ultimately receive regarding high-cholesterol is delivered to you in calculated ways with the aid of a myriad of organizations including your physician, to ultimately boost profits received by the pharmaceutical companies.
As part of preventative screenings we are advised to have our cholesterol levels tested and monitored. Often when these levels go above a determined number we are prescribed statin drugs to lower these numbers. When we hear the term ”high-cholesterol” we automatically cringe and visions of a massive heart attack and triple bi-pass surgery come quickly to mind.
For years we’ve been advised to ditch the butter in favor of “more healthy” mono and polyunsaturated fats. We’ve been told over and over again by our doctors and the media that we must lower our cholesterol levels to prevent heart disease and one way of doing this is to stop eating animal products that contain cholesterol. Most major health organizations such as the American Heart Association, the American Dietetic Association, and the American Medical Association all tell us and their members (physicians and registered dietitians) that high cholesterol leads to heart disease. You would think that such prestigious organizations would be advising us well. But are they?
It seems that cholesterol and saturated fats are doomed to stay on death row for many years to come. But have they really committed the crime that they have been accused of? Have they had a fair and unbiased trial? Is there hidden evidence that may prove their innocence?
For as many years as we’ve been hearing about ways to lower our cholesterol in attempts to avoid coronary heart disease (CHD), there has been contrary research going on behind the scenes. Research and studies that haven’t gotten much attention. One person that has read and analyzed a large amount of research regarding cholesterol is Uffe Ravnskov, MD,PhD. In his books, “The Cholesterol Myth” (out of print in English) and the newer version, “Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You”, Dr. Ravnskov dissects the research that has lead us to the current belief about cholesterol and CHD (coronary heart disease) by analyzing the references and showing their statistical flaws or their contradiction to the hypothesis, often showing that the studies actually prove nothing.
On his website he shares the following information regarding cholesterol:
- Cholesterol is not bad, it is a vital substance
- People with low blood cholesterol are just as likely to be atherosclerotic as people with high cholesterol
- Your body produces 3 to 4 times as much cholesterol as you consume
- There is no evidence that animal fat in the diet promote atherosclerosis or heart disease
- Cholesterol lowering drugs are dangerous and may shorten your life
- Statins do prevent cardiovascular disease, but not by lowering cholesterol
- Many of these facts have been present in scientific journals and books for decades yet ignored
- There are benefits to high cholesterol
So it seems that our fear of high cholesterol may be unnecessary. We may live a long and heart disease-free life with cholesterol levels considered by the medical establishments to be “high”.
If this is the case, then why do our doctors and major medical organizations continue to link cholesterol with CHD and continue to try and lower our levels, especially with statin drugs?
And if cholesterol is really not a major contributor to CHD, what is? What lifestyle changes should you really make to lower your risk for CHD?
Both these questions will be addressed in future blog posts. Please check back often or please subscribe (above right) so you don’t miss the posts.
- Krumholz HM and others. Lack of association between cholesterol and coronary heart disease mortality and morbidity and all-cause mortality in persons older than 70 years. Journal of the American Medical Association 272, 1335-1340, 1990.
- Ravnskov U. High cholesterol may protect against infections and atherosclerosis. Quarterly Journal of Medicine 96, 927-934, 2003.
- Jacobs D and others. Report of the conference on low blood cholesterol: Mortality associations. Circulation 86, 1046–1060, 1992.
- Iribarren C and others. Serum total cholesterol and risk of hospitalization, and death from respiratory disease. International Journal of Epidemiology 26, 1191–1202, 1997.
- Iribarren C and others. Cohort study of serum total cholesterol and in-hospital incidence of infectious diseases. Epidemiology and Infection 121, 335–347, 1998.
- Rauchhaus M and others. The relationship between cholesterol and survival in patients with chronic heart failure. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 42, 1933-1940, 2003.
- Horwich TB and others. Low serum total cholesterol is associated with marked increase in mortality in advanced heart failure. Journal of Cardiac Failure 8, 216-224, 2002.
- Elias ER and others. Clinical effects of cholesterol supplementation in six patients with the Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome (SLOS). American Journal of Medical Genetics 68, 305–310, 1997.
- Ross R, Glomset JA. The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. New England Journal of Medicine 295, 369-377, 1976.
- Ross R. The pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and update. New England Journal of Medicine 314, 488-500, 1986.
If you find this information valuable, please consider making a donation. With your help, I can keep providing research and information on health and wellness topics. THANK YOU!