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mardi 6 décembre 2011

Dont Blame Fidel Castro for Heart Disease in Cuba!

How wrong are the Epidemiologists? Troubadours of Tragedy or what Fidel and Breast Cancer have in common?

We are constantly bombarded with disease associations and possible rectifications of such by lifestyle changes by the Troubadours of Tragedy, a subgroup of Medical Researchers who never see patients but only see numbers on papers and try to make sense out of it.
More than 50 causes of Heart Disease which can be modified by lifestyle changes had been proposed and one by one they fall by the way side especially if they a single micro element or mineral or a food substance which is usually constituted of several ingredients.
When can I give Chocolate to my patients with Diabetes? I would ask at conferences. The answer is when it is chocolate and not a mixture of many with a taste of chocolate.  A Troubadour of Tragedy can look at the numbers on the paper and it says, of the people who had heart attacks a high proportion of them ate chocolate, he pronounces Chocolates cause heart disease and not eating chocolates thus can reduce this risk.
What is not obvious that until recently most of the chocolates available for general consumption in the USA had only about 11 % Cacao and the rest was made of other material most of which would be man made? (The beef filling in a Beef Taco in Taco Bell only has 35% beef, what is the rest 65%?)
While visiting the Kuna Indians off the coast of Panama, all researchers, including myself, wondered at the low levels of heart disease and the predominance of “lower” BP readings among them. Many theories were advanced using the theories in vogue at that time, high K, high seafood consumption etc. I think it was an anthropologist who noticed the fact that they had unusually large consumption of Chocolate drink, which they made themselves (100 per cent chocolate and not just 30% chocolate and the rest?). Scientists were soon on the heel of this discovery and found out that it is the essence of the cocoa bean that gives the protective effect.
So, the troubadours of tragedy have changed their tunes and urge people to eat chocolate, making sure that they contain at least 70 % cacao.
Such associations, Chocolates or Coffee both of which have been exonerated of their earlier crimes, are propagated as scientific truth by media and very soon becomes accepted as “facts”
One has to be aware of these pronouncements.
People who sleep fewer hours are prone to heart disease, they pronounced. The mutation in the gene that causes that particular type of heart disease has been known for a while. The people who sleep less, for no obvious pathological reason, run into a good proportion of the population and it has nothing to do with the success societally of that person. Napoleon, Da Vinci, Fidel Castro, Margaret Thatcher all slept only about 4 hours per night at the height of their powers.
Just this past week, scientists from Ludwig Maxmillian University in Munich had done studies to show that the lack of necessity to sleep long hour to maintain vigilance may be related to the presence of an alteration in the gene ABCC9.
Guess what?  It is the very same gene implicated earlier in the types of cardiovascular diseases that the troubadours of tragedy had attributed to lack of sleep.
So we see what we want to see or see what we are told to see. The relationship between sleep and cardiac disease has much deeper genetic connection rather than the superficial length of the hours slept. It is the gene rather than sleep or cardiac diseases that have things in common.
It is like saying that in a scientific study done in Uganda, they found very low prevalence of the disease: Tay Sachs Disease without saying that TSD is predominantly found among Jews of Ashkenazy origin. Hiding a simple fact can make mundane things sound scientific.