Over the course of this pandemic I have often wished that Hans Rosling was still alive. For those who are unaware, he was a medical doctor and a professor at Karolinska Institutet who had a particular interest in global health and development. In 2012, Time magazine declared him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
I’ve been asked why I’m so skeptical when it comes to health and medical science. My answer is because I’ve spent many hours studying medical history, and I’ve seen how much damage doctors have done over the centuries. If you were to select a patient-doctor consultation at random from all the ones that have happened throughout history, your odds are probably better of selecting one in which the doctor harmed the patient than one in which the doctor helped the patient. That is certainly true if you only look at consultations happening before the year 1900.
I’m going to start this article by revealing my own biases. I’m not sure where the idea that alcohol might be healthy comes from. It’s pretty well established that alcohol is poisonous to all living organisms. That’s why we use it to disinfect surfaces, and why I lather my hands in it several times per hour when I’m working in the hospital. It interferes with the functioning of cell membranes, and at high enough doses it causes the cell membranes to fall apart completely, killing the immersed organisms. That’s the reason it is such an effective disinfectant. It doesn’t take a great leap to think that something that interferes with the functioning of our cell membranes might not be too good for us.
The so-called mediterranean diet is perhaps the best publicized “healthy diet”, and has been for decades. It was “discovered” by Ancel Keys back in the 1970’s, and is based on the diets that were typical in the mediterranean region during the 60’s and 70’s.
I’m sure we’ve all heard at one point or another that red meat is bad for our health. It’s one of the dogmas that’s been spouted by government health authorities for decades. Back in 2015, the WHO declared red meat to be a carcinogen. Here in Sweden, the Public Health Authority recommends that people limit intake of red meat to 500 grams per week. Personally, I probably eat at least twice that, so I guess I’m in big trouble.
A few months back I wrote an article about the only randomized controlled trial that had at that point been done on vitamin D as a treatment for covid. That trial, which was carried out in Spain, showed very impressive results. There was an incredible 96% reduction in the relative risk of requiring ICU treatment among those treated with 25-hydroxyvitamin D (an activated form of vitamin D).