Incidence of Bias in Major Medical Journal Adverts

The use of Randomised Clinical Trials are generally heralded by medics as being the gold standard for clinical assessment of validity of use for medicines and are frequently held out by skeptics as the intellectual anvil on which to pound complementary and alternative medicine.

There has over the last few years been a dedicated strategy by individuals and groups opposed to natural medicine to raise questions concerning the validity of research conducted to identify efficacy of natural therapies and in part this has been undertaken by applying the same rules of engagement for those required or favoured by pharmaceutical objectives.

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Techniques Employed By Pharmaceutical Companies To Over Egg Their Product

Almost everyone who practices non western medicine will have an opinion about the role of drug companies in the proliferation of questionable medicines. One of the primary mechanisms used by pharma to deliver their message to the public and to physicians is through the media of advertising, on television in the states and in magazines, journals and on the web in the UK.

So, when looking at the data presented it needs to be seen n the context of reality, not in the context of simple prescriptive persuasion.

Here are the most common ruses used:

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Could a ‘Bacterial Thali’ Resolve Inflammation? – A Novel Strategy

Michael Ash BSc(Hons) DO, ND, DipION reviews the possibility that strategically selected foods and food concentrates represent a valid therapy for inflammatory illnesses.

There is substantive interest in the potential translation from bench to bedside of simple safe strategies to modify the adverse effects of inflammation. Approaching from a preventative and restorative angle the numbers of papers being published on the role of orally ingested bacteria (probiotics) and in this article – the herb Tumeric (active ingredient of which is curcumin) is presenting increasingly supportive evidence for their reasonable and safe clinical use.

Modern analytical techniques are helping to reveal novel opportunities for inflammation control in the gut and the systemic tissues in new ways that even a few years ago would have been thought of as very alternative!

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Multi Vitamin/Mineral Supplement Promotes Weight Loss in Women

Multi Vitamins are considered by many to be little more than colourful contributors to urine flow that reflect a gullible individuals need to add capital to the water course. I have addressed the major complications with this facile comment in a previous commentary.

A paper out in the March 2010 International Journal of Obesity[1] throws added weight to the triage theory of Prof Bruce Ames,[2] when additional nutrients were added to the dietary intake of obese Chinese females. It is already understood that obesity contributes to reduced bioavailability of minerals and vitamins and certainly contributes to reduced blood concentrations.

The team of researchers based at Harbin Medical University in China recruited 96 Chinese women with an average body mass index of 28kg/m2 and aged between 18-55 for the 6 month study.

Three groups were randomly set up, with one getting a multivimin, the next calcium only (162mg) and the last placebo. The results were compelling; the multivimin group had reduced body weight, body mass index, fat mass, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. On the positive side, they had an increased level of resting energy expenditure and HDL levels also increased. They also found reduced waist size and better breathing.

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Holistic Approach to Dyspepsia Recommended

Eu GastroPatients with symptomatic functional dyspepsia (a disorder of digestive function characterised by discomfort or heartburn or nausea) are more likely than people free of this condition to exhibit increased somatisation (conversion of an emotional, mental, or psychosocial problem to a physical complaint), more stressful life events, less belief in religion, and drink less tea , suggests the article out in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

The lead researchers say that this pattern of findings support a less reductionist approach and favours the strategy that includes considering the patient from a holistic view point.

The findings of the study suggest the importance of adopting a more comprehensive holistic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual model when dealing with functional dyspepsia patients.

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Novel Influenza H1N1 has Dramatic Risks for Pregnant Women

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Like previous epidemic and pandemic diseases, 2009 pandemic influenza A (H1N1) may pose an increased risk of severe illness in pregnant women. To see if there were clinical experiences that matched this assumption a Californian investigation by their Department of Health reviewed demographic and clinical data reported from April 23 through August 11, 2009, for all H1N1-infected, reproductive-age women who were hospitalised or died. These included non-pregnant women, pregnant women, and postpartum women (those who had delivered ≤2 weeks previously).[1]

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Were Our Ancesters Better Eaters – By Circumstance?

covtoc.dpMany factors—including genes, sex, ancestry,  foetal and childhood conditions—influence how we digest foods and store fat. Physiological stress in mothers can leave lingering imprints on descendants for generations. So although it’s true that humans evolved to eat a diet relatively high in protein and low in carbohydrates and fat, it appears there’s no single Paleolithic prescription for better health.

There isn’t a perfect diet that is the same for everyone. The nature of our success is to find and make a meal in virtually any environment. But our different responses are structured by the basic biology we bring to the table.

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Fatty Diet Suppresses Immune System

untitledFresh evidence that fatty food is bad for our health has come to light: mice fed a lard-based diet over a long period got worse at fighting bacteria in the blood, reveals a thesis from the Sahlgrenska Academy based at the University of Gothenberg in Sweden.

The mice fed the lard-based diet derived 60 per cent of their total calories from fat. They were compared with mice fed a low-fat diet, where no more than ten per cent of their calories came from fat. As expected, the mice on the high-fat diet got fatter. A more surprising result was that their immune system was less active. The white blood cells got worse at dealing with bacteria in the blood, which could have contributed to many dying of sepsis.

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Microbes in Mum – Act as Inhibitors of Allergy in Children

coverA new twist to the hygiene hypothesis shows that allergic risk can also be modulated by microbial exposure before birth. Mice born to dams that were exposed to bacteria during pregnancy were less likely to develop allergic responses than those born to unexposed mothers. And maternal Toll-like receptor (TLR) signals were required for the transmission of protection.

TLRs are a type of pattern recognition receptor (PRR) and recognise molecules that are broadly shared by pathogens but distinguishable from host molecules, collectively referred to as pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).

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Coeliac Disease – Local & Systemic Consequences

leaky gutCoeliac disease is an inflammatory disorder with autoimmune features that is characterised by destruction of the intestinal epithelium and remodelling of the intestinal mucosa following the ingestion of dietary gluten. The human gut is home to trillions of commensal microorganisms, and we are just beginning to understand how these microorganisms interact with, and influence, the host immune system. This may also include the late onset development of Coeliac Disease, or gluten intolerance.

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