Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Pediatrics Journal says to stop calling breastfeeding "natural" !!

A new article in the journal Pediatrics is calling on health professionals to stop saying that breastfeeding is natural, arguing that doing so gives the impression that natural parenting practices are healthier.

The authors have started a public campaign to end the positive use of the word natural, claiming that it is associated with such "problematic" practices as home birth, homeschooling and the rejection of GMO foods, and that natural parenting movements are interfering with vaccination efforts. 

In the article, Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding Promotion, Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill, Medical Ethics and Health Policy researchers at Penn Medicine, wrote: Building on this critical work, we are concerned about breastfeeding promotion that praises breastfeeding as the “natural” way to feed infants. This messaging plays into a powerful perspective that “natural” approaches to health are better... Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier.

The authors are especially concerned that promoting natural practices such as breastfeeding will harm vaccination rates, since many parents who follow natural parenting practices also delay or decline vaccines for their children.

They also cite other examples of the "fallacy" that natural choices are intrinsically better, including the rejection of GMO foods, the preference for organic over conventionally grown foods and concerns over water fluoridation. Apparently the risk of giving the impression that natural choices can ever be positive choices is so great, that the authors conclude that the word natural should not be used in a positive context even if it means undermining breastfeeding.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Statin drugs increase risk for diabetes and weight gain

(NaturalNews) Pfizer's Lipitor (atorvastatin) is a record-breaking drug, a prescription with the highest peak sales of any drug on the market. Statin drugs like this one, along with other brand equivalents and generics, are a medical doctor's go-to "solution" for managing patient's cholesterol levels. These drugs are formulated to alter liver function, reducing the efficiency of a specific liver enzyme that produces cholesterol.

Under the spell of statins, liver cells are then more capable of capturing low-density lipoprotein cholesterol from the blood of patients, potentially reducing risk of heart attack and stroke. Statin drugs are often prescribed after one has suffered a major vascular event to prevent future incidents. However, suppressing the natural function of enzymes in the liver may very well invite new problems in the human body.

Taking statins increases type 2 diabetes risk by 12 percent

New research from the University College London (UCL) and the University of Glasgow finds that these statin drugs are more risky than rewarding, increasing risk for diabetes and weight gain. A large-scale analysis investigated the mechanism by which statins increase a patient's risk of type 2 diabetes.

In clinical trials that studied the effect of stain drugs on heart disease and stroke, 130,000 participants also underwent tests to determine diabetes risk in relation to the statin drugs. Over a four-year period, patients on statins gained an excess of 240 grams and were 12 percent more likely to develop type 2 diabetes versus those on placebo. The researchers were able to see that statins and variants of an enzyme-encoding gene in liver cells had a similar effect for increasing risk for type 2 diabetes and weight gain.

Coauthor Dr. Daniel Swerdlow of the UCL Institute of Cardiovascular Science confirmed that the findings were related to the statin drugs that participants were taking. "Commonly occurring variants in the gene encoding the same liver enzyme are associated with a lower LDL-cholesterol," he explained, but "Incorporating information from up to 220 000 individuals, we found that these genetic variants were also associated with a higher weight and marginally higher type 2 diabetes risk."

Swerdlow explained the effects of these genetic variants: "The effects were very much smaller than from statin treatment, but the genetic findings indicate that the weight gain and diabetes risk observed in the analysis from trials are related to the known mechanism of action of statins rather than some other unintended effect."

Statins are a risky way to try and prevent cardiovascular disease

In the study, co-senior author Professor Aroon Hingorani explained that suppressing these specific liver enzymes causes future metabolic distress in patients: "The genetic findings of our study help to explain the mechanism by which statins increase weight and diabetes risk. However, the effects of the genetic variants are orders of magnitude lower than the effects of statins."

The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that doctors prescribe statins for those who are deemed at a 10 percent higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease within the next decade. Broad suggestions like these can catapult entire populations of healthy people on a course with unintended side effects like type 2 diabetes.

Is controlling cholesterol levels in this way an effective solution or are statins a misleading racket? What are better ways for doctors to encourage patients to maintain a healthy vascular system without the need for these risky statin drugs?

Co-senior author of the study Professor Naveed Sattar recommends, "Many patients eligible for statin treatment would also benefit from lifestyle changes including increased physical activity, eating more healthily and stopping smoking. The modest increases in weight and diabetes risk seen in this study could easily be mitigated by adopting healthier diets and lifestyles. Reinforcing the importance of lifestyle changes when discussing these issues with patients would further enhance the benefit of statin treatment in preventing heart attacks and strokes."

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