A reflection on covid mania

At the beginning of this year I wrote about how the governments of the world had created a collective state of hysteria so intense that the only way they could dig themselves out of the hole they had made was with a magic bullet. That magic bullet was, of course, the vaccines. I wrote that it didn’t really matter how effective the vaccines were in … Read more

Is potassium effective against high blood pressure?

I’ve written previously about how salt (sodium) only marginally raises blood pressure, and how the evidence that there is any benefit to reducing salt intake in the diet is weak at best. Now it’s time to look at that other salt, potassium. While sodium raises blood pressure, potassium supposedly lowers blood pressure, and many people have been given the recommendation to replace their table … Read more

The optimal diet for longevity and weight loss?

It started with an experiment on locusts in 1991. David Raubenheimer and Stephen Simpson, two zoologists who were at the time doing research at Oxford University, wanted to know what would happen to locusts if they varied the relative proportions of protein and carbohydrate in their diets. They therefore conducted an experiment in which they fed locusts pellets containing varying proportions of protein and carbohydrate, … Read more

Does exercise improve cognitive function?

I guess I’m biased against the idea that exercise is very important for health. I hated sports as a kid, and efforts at getting “fit” as an adult have generally ended in failure within months. Speaking of the word “fit”, one of my favourite quotes from Terry Pratchett’s discworld novels is this little exchange, from the book “Moving Pictures”:

That would be the senior Read more

Does a high fibre diet prevent disease?

All doctors (and probably most non-doctors) have heard of Burkitt’s lymphoma, a type of cancer found primarily in children living in malaria-endemic areas in Africa. Denis Burkitt was the first person to describe the disease, and also the first person to propose that there was an environmental cause (now known to be simultaneous infection by both malaria and Epstein-Barr virus).

Most doctors probably don’t know … Read more

Does omega-3 prevent heart disease?

I have a confession to make. For at least the last ten years, I’ve taken an omega-3 supplement every day. Religiously. Why? I literally have no idea. I don’t remember exactly when or why I started taking it. Presumably I read somewhere that it was a good idea. This was before I started studying medicine, and the decision certainly wasn’t based on any thorough evaluation … Read more