Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Prof Sultan : "Millions of people should stop taking statins because side effects outweigh possible benefits"


Professor Sherif Sultan, president of the International Society for Vascular Surgery, said millions of people should stop taking the heart drugs because side effects outweigh possible benefits.

He told a conference in Brazil this month that the drugs should only be considered for patients who have had a heart attack and never for a child, woman or patient over 62 years old, as there was no evidence it could benefit them.

He also said the medication did not reduce overall death rates in anyone.

for the full story click here.

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Further reading

on the Youtube
STATIN NATION (First 13 mins)

Monday, 24 April 2017

how to reduce the risk of developing CVDs?

the answer is rather straightforward!

Please consider your consumption of 10 foods/nutrients associated with cardiometabolic diseases: fruits, vegetables, nuts/seeds, whole grains, unprocessed red meats, processed meats, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), polyunsaturated fats, seafood omega-3 fats, and sodium.

New research suggests that

The largest numbers of estimated diet-related cardiometabolic deaths were related to  
high sodium (66 508 deaths in 2012; 9.5% of all cardiometabolic deaths), 
low nuts/seeds (59 374; 8.5%), 
high processed meats (57 766; 8.2%), 
low seafood omega-3 fats (54 626; 7.8%), 
low vegetables (53 410; 7.6%), 
low fruits (52 547; 7.5%), and 
high SSBs (51 694; 7.4%). 

Between 2002 and 2012, population-adjusted US cardiometabolic deaths per year decreased by 26.5%. 

The greatest decline was associated with insufficient polyunsaturated fats (−20.8% relative change [95% UI, −18.5% to −22.8%]), nuts/seeds (−18.0% [95% UI, −14.6% to −21.0%]), and excess SSBs (−14.5% [95% UI, −12.0% to −16.9%]). 
The greatest increase was associated with unprocessed red meats (+14.4% [95% UI, 9.1%-19.5%]).


Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Statins and Declaration of Interests

While writing my new book, I came across the following...

Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy

Declaration of interests
…it has a staff policy of not taking personal payments from industry (with reimbursement sought only for the costs of travel and accommodation to attend scientific meetings).
@..@ is co-inventor of a genetic test for statin-related myopathy risk, but receives no income from it.
@..@ has received research grants from, and served as a consultant to, Merck and Pfizer.
@..@ has twice received travel and accommodation funding and honoraria from Merck.
@..@ receives compensation for serving on data monitoring committees for clinical trials (including of statins) funded by Abbvie, Actelion, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi and Teva.
@..@ has received research grants for research on statins and polypill development from Bristol-Myers Squibb and BUPA.
@..@ declares that George Health Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of the George Institute, has received investment to develop combination products containing statin, aspirin, and blood-pressure-lowering drugs.

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It's bloody elementary, my Dear Watson ◎

Go RED with your colleagues for Irish Heart this May

Register now and help us keep Ireland’s hearts healthy and happy!
Here are a few easy workplace fundraising ideas:

Happy Heart pin - Sell our Orla Kiely designed heart pin at reception or in your canteen at lunch.
Casual Red Day - For a donation staff can dress down and wear red.
We HEART Cake - Ask your colleagues to bake yummy treats to sell. 
The BIG Raffle - The more valuable the prize the more you’ll raise, so raffle off an annual leave day or a parking spot. 

As soon as you register we will send you out a fundraising pack with balloons, posters, and a Happy Heart counter box with 50 heart pins.

For more information please email Laura

Best of luck with your fundraising and many thanks for your support.

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Keep Irish hearts beating

Heart disease is Ireland’s biggest killer with 27 dying every day.
Heart & Stroke volunteers make a huge difference to the lives of Irish people through their generous contributions of time and commitment.
We’re looking for Happy heart volunteers to support our Happy Heart appeal.
Please get involved and give a few hours of their time on May 12th to sell Happy Heart pins.
By being the face of Heart & Stroke in your community – you will help save lives.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

beetroot juice and ...football

Consuming beetroot juice may improve high-intensity intermittent-type exercise performance, says a new study with trained soccer players.
It has been shown that nitrate supplementation can enhance endurance exercise performance. Recent work suggests that nitrate ingestion can also increase intermittent type exercise performance in recreational athletes. We hypothesized that six days of nitrate supplementation can improve high-intensity intermittent type exercise performance in trained soccer players. Thirty-two male soccer players (age: 23 ± 1 years, height: 181 ± 1 m, weight: 77 ± 1 kg, playing experience: 15.2 ± 0.5 years, playing in the first team of a 2nd or 3rd Dutch amateur league club) participated in this randomized, double-blind cross-over study. All subjects participated in two test days in which high-intensity intermittent running performance was assessed using the Yo-Yo IR1 test. Subjects ingested nitrate-rich (140 mL; ~800 mg nitrate/day; BR) or a nitrate-depleted beetroot juice (PLA) for six subsequent days, with at least eight days of wash-out between trials. The distance covered during the Yo-Yo IR1 was the primary outcome measure, while heart rate (HR) was measured continuously throughout the test, and a single blood and saliva sample were collected just prior to the test. Six days of BR ingestion increased plasma and salivary nitrate and nitrite concentrations in comparison to PLA (p < 0.001), and enhanced Yo-Yo IR1 test performance by 3.4 ± 1.3% (from 1574 ± 47 to 1623 ± 48 m; p = 0.027). Mean HR was lower in the BR (172 ± 2) vs. PLA trial (175 ± 2; p = 0.014). Six days of BR ingestion effectively improves high-intensity intermittent type exercise performance in trained soccer players.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Statins and vested interests

The debate on the value of statins gets hotter!

In the heart of the debate are papers, claims and ...patents.

In a recent paper, some interesting facts were published : a Sunday Times investigation in September 2016 uncovered that a statin advocate filed a patent in 2009 for a test that identifies a gene that makes patients more likely to suffer muscle pain with statins.

And a couple of days ago, HEART UK (The Cholesterol Charity) (the emphasis on Charity!) issued this statement concluding: “Patients should work with their doctors to find a statin regime which suits them and achieves good control of their LDL-cholesterol, which can be achieved in the vast majority of cases.”

Our opinion is this: what is the REAL benefit of taking statins as opposed to the REAL risk of developing side-effects? The answer is complicated and we try to give it with this book.

The more I read on this...the more dark stories like this one I find out.
Stories that make me really skeptical about the possible (?) under covered vested interests of the statins advocates...

Ἓν οἶδα ὅτι ουδὲν οἶδα
I know one thing: I know nothing 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Why have young people gone off milk?

The dairy-free trend has made drinking cow’s milk seem worse than smoking. Yet restricting foods from our diet damages our brains as well as our bodies

[full story here]

Forget milk!
Yogurt is better!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Final Year "Food Science and Health" Students at UL present their critical appraisal of the new Food Pyramid in Ireland

The Irish Food Pyramid: how many mistakes does it have?

This term, my students at FT4428 "Advanced Food Chemistry" carried out a critical appraisal of the Irish Food Pyramid. Some excellent work has been produced and many congrats to all 65 students! 
It is an immense satisfaction for a teacher to see his students produce scientific work of so high caliber! 

Thank you all!

The changes that the students suggest that they should be made to the Food Pyramid are as follows (group 1 is the bottom one and group 6 is the top shelf).

Group 1

Amy Fahy, Darren Monnelly & Sorcha Mullins
Group 1: Fruits, Salads and Vegetables

    • Separate fruit and vegetable portions- allocate majority of portion proportions to vegetables because of their superior nutritional value
    • Clarify fruit juice intake guidelines
    • Note compositional differences between fruits and vegetables- sugar/ fat contents
    • Clearer indication of portion sizes

Group 2

SO’C, RO’D and SMA.


·         Firstly splitting this shelf in two sections, one being for high glycaemic food and one for low glycaemic food.
·         Giving and explanation on the importance of low GI foods and the negative impact on over consuming high GI foods.
·         Identifying a consumption ratio for high to low glycaemic foods. Our suggestion would be a ratio of 4 low : 1 high, glycaemic load. 

        Seamus Lane, Megan O'Leary and Katie Enright

  •         Add guidelines for inactive children to the daily servings guidelines which compares inactivity vs activity. It currently states instead that "It is essential all children are active" instead of including actual guidelines
  •        More consideration needs to be taken in regards to educating people on processed vs unprocessed carbohydrates. Advocate eating foods naturally high in fibre, not foods labelled high in fibre and select 100% wholewheat and wholegrain products.
  •        Servings have been reduced to 3-5 servings per day but serving size has increased e.g. it is now 2 slices of bread per serving instead of one, which may result in the possible of over consumption of carbs leading to obesity, diabetes etc.
  • Group 2 
  • Sarah Cunningham, Amy Gillooly & Colm Dillon
    • It should be clearly stated that 45 to 60% of the total calories intake for adults should come from both simple and complex carbohydrates. It should be clearly stated that 25 grams of Dietary Fiber must be consumed as part of those calories for normal bowel function especially in adults.

    • The shelf 2 should give recommendations for people who are exercising, Low-intensity 3-5g/kg BM, Moderate 5-7g/kg and High-intensity 6-10g/kg BM. There should also be separate recommendations for both athletes and non- athletes for the frequency at which they consume foods.

    • Include both the Glycemic load of the each of the foods against a reference food with a low Glycemic load but for this to work there needs to be more education around Glycemic load and Glycemic index.

Group 3

Sorcha Regan, Shauna Morley & Eoin O’Keeffe

  • Re-designed to focus on fermented dairy products similar to the Mediterranean food pyramid rather than products like milk.
  • Promote consumption of goat and sheep dairy products rather than cow’s milk.

      Shauna Geary, Fiona Casey, Sara Murphy


·         The average life expectancy is growing for both genders in Ireland. Elderly people are more prone to falls and certain diseases e.g. Osteoporosis. Therefore, fortified milk with Vitamin D and Calcium or an increase in the number of servings should be included in the food pyramid for the elderly population.

·         The number of dairy servings should be reduced to two servings a day to combat the rising numbers of obesity in Ireland. The relevant calcium intake would not be affected due to the high servings of Vegetables.

·         Alternative dairy options should be included in the dairy shelf for individuals who suffer from allergies or lactose intolerance. For example, Almond Milk, Kefir or Greek Yoghurt.

  Group 4


     The three changes we propose to alter the latest Food Pyramids are:
-    1. Separate beans & nuts, fish, poultry and red meat rather than encouraging their consumption in equal levels.
-    2. Have beans and nuts on a lower level on par with vegetables and include legumes and sprouts.
-    3. Move fish down lower on the pyramid to encourage its consumption and move red meat further up to discourage regular intake.

   Group 5


        Elaine Brennan, Edel Ryan and Bernadette Coffey


·     Saturated, trans and unsaturated fats should be separated out into different shelves.
·      Saturated and trans fats should remain in shelf two.
·      Unsaturated fats should be relocated to the bottom shelf.
·      New and clear guidelines in relation to portion sizes should be implemented.


         Group 6

         Elizabeth Kennedy, Aisling Towey and Clodagh Treacy


  •        The first observation of the newest food pyramid is portion size. It is necessary to quantify what a portion size is. The pyramid also gives no indication as to how much of fat, sugar or salt our body needs to function.
  •        Processed meats should be included on the top shelf of the pyramid as 65-70% of sodium occurs in manufactured foods.  The RDA for salt is 4g per day for adults, and two sausages can contain up to 2g of salt and 12g of saturated fat. Two sausages would total 65% of saturated fat intake.
  •       The top group of the pyramid only depicts carbonated drinks as high sugar. However, squash or fruit concentrates have high sugar content and are full of additives, such as E129 (Allura red).
  •        It can be observed that there is no alcohol present on the table. It’s shown that the consumption of red wine, amongst other natural antioxidants, can reduce oxidative stress and encourage healthy aging.