Why Can't Science Get It Right?

Discussion in 'Politics' started by tomdavis, May 16, 2013.


    I have great respect for scientists. I have a math and science background and so does my wife. My oldest daughter wants to be a doctor, and we’ve encouraged her in that direction.

    But at times like these, I have to wonder why thousands of doctors and scientists can be so convinced that something is right, and at the same time be so wrong, while vigorously clinging to those wrong beliefs for decades.



    For the past 30 years doctors and nutritionists have been telling us that salt intake increases blood pressure and the risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Well… maybe not. Now they say:

    No Benefit Seen in Sharp Limits on Salt in Diet


    “In a report that undercuts years of public health warnings, a prestigious group convened by the government says there is no good reason based on health outcomes for many Americans to drive their sodium consumption down to the very low levels recommended in national dietary guidelines.”

    “But more recently, researchers began looking at the actual consequences of various levels of salt consumption, as found in rates of heart attacks, strokes and death, not just blood pressure readings. Some of what they found was troubling…
    One 2008 study the committee examined, for example, randomly assigned 232 Italian patients with aggressively treated moderate to severe congestive heart failure to consume either 2,760 or 1,840 milligrams of sodium a day, but otherwise to consume the same diet. Those consuming the lower level of sodium had more than three times the number of hospital readmissions — 30 as compared with 9 in the higher-salt group — and more than twice as many deaths — 15 as compared with 6 in the higher-salt group.”

    “There are physiological consequences of consuming little sodium, said Dr. Michael H. Alderman, a dietary sodium expert at Albert Einstein College of Medicine who was not a member of the committee. As sodium levels plunge, triglyceride levels increase, insulin resistance increases, and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system increases. Each of these factors can increase the risk of heart disease.”



    For the past 30 years doctors and nutritionists have been telling us that eating saturated fat increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.

    Well… maybe not. Now they say:

    From the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN was selected by the Special Libraries Association (SLA) as one of the top 100 most influential peer-reviewed journals in Biology and Medicine over the last 100 years):

    “Conclusions: A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”


    It’s time to end the war on fat:




    For the past 30 years doctors and nutritionists have been telling us that high cholesterol increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke; and that by simply by taking statin drugs we can reduce that risk.

    Well… maybe not. Now they say:

    From the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA is ranked as the third most important peer-reviewed medical journal in the world.)


    Healthy Men Should Not Take Statins

    “The important questions for clinicians (and for patients) are as follows: (1) does treatment of elevated cholesterol levels with statins in otherwise healthy persons decrease mortality or prevent other serious outcomes? (2) What are the adverse effects associated with statin treatment in healthy persons? (3) Do the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks? The answers to these questions suggest that statin therapy should not be recommended for men with elevated cholesterol who are otherwise healthy.”

    Statin therapy lowers cholesterol, but doesn’t extend life.


    Commentary re JAMA article:

    The article shows the results of a huge 513 multi-center trial. The study compared the all-cause mortality of users of pravastatin to usual care (lifestyle changes) for high cholesterol. The average starting total cholesterol was 224, HDL 48 and triglycerides 152. And the average age was 66.

    The researchers gave pravastatin (40 mg) to 5,170 and usual care to 5,185. Pravastatin was found to reduce cholesterol by 17% vs. 8% with usual care over four years. Bad LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 28% with pravastatin vs. 11% with usual care. With the frenzy over cholesterol as a killer, and medical suggestions that half our population should go on these synthetic chemicals, you might lay odds that the pravastatin group did better. Good thing you were not in Las Vegas. The house would have won.

    In fact, the all-cause mortality of the groups was essentially identical.
  2. Because just like in the AGW debate, homeostatic environments can be very complex and we know that some people (ie authoritarian do-gooders) tend to gravitate towards extremes and absolutes.

    It's just easier to call a tea party member a racist (or salt bad ) and move on.

    Problem is without the right amount of fat or salt you die, too much and same.

    Matter of fact: good ole water intoxication can cause death and I don't mean by drowning.
  3. pspr


    Absolutely! Our rivers should be flowing with Diet Pepsi.

    We don't need no frickin' runnin' water?
  4. Lucrum


    Those mofo's, I've been eating low fat food for years now. Not exclusively but certainly skipping plenty of good tasting meals.
  5. tsk tsk tsk don't cha know the carbonation would cause the end of the world (AGW).
  6. pspr


    Oh yeah. Well, we all gotta go sometime. Might as well be with rivers of Diet Pepsi. Plants would love it! :D
  7. pspr


    I read this story the other day about the oldest woman in the U.S. or somewhere. She said she eats bacon every day and attributes that to her long life.

    So, maybe we should all be eating a lot more bacon.

    The other thing really old people always say is that they have an alcoholic drink every day. I don't drink much anymore but I think I've already taken my one-a-day drink for life quota several times over.
  8. Ricter


    Science is the worst way to understand the world there is, except for all the others.
  9. Tsing Tao

    Tsing Tao

  10. Ricter


    Don't recognize the paraphrase?
    #10     May 17, 2013