Is Wikipedia misleading the public on health?

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, contains errors in nine out of 10 of its health entries, and should be treated with caution, say scientists in the USA.

The research covered in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association stated that ‘Most Wikipedia articles representing the 10 most costly medical conditions in the United States contain many errors when checked against standard peer-reviewed sources. Caution should be used when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care’.

But then, the whole area of ‘volunteers’ ‘editing’ articles has been fraught with allegations of bullying, offensive comment to contributor writers and is, anyway, clearly open to bias and even misuse and abuse by people with agendas such as skeptics or pharmaceutical companies.

A spokesman for Wikipedia UK stated to the BBC that “Wikipedia can be edited by anybody, but many volunteers from the medical profession check the pages for inaccuracies”. Well, that’s all right then. And, of course, none of these volunteers have any links whatsoever to Pharmaceutical companies.

Entries for some areas of health such as Complementary and Integrative Medicine, even though written by scientists of competence, are known to have been sabotaged and altered by people with such agendas. This has received a great deal of negative comment on the Internet.

The American researchers in the study compared entries on Wikipedia on conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer, depression and diabetes with peer-reviewed medical research.

They said most articles in Wikipedia contained “many errors”.

Lead author Dr Robert Hasty, of the Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina, said: “While Wikipedia is a convenient tool for conducting research, from a public health standpoint, patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals.”

Yet, often when patients search for a health topic, Wikipedia is in the top two or three headings listed – it is the sixth most popular Internet site in the world. It is incorrectly read by many people with health problems as if it is some sort of consumer bible.

There are now even ‘clones’ of Wikipedia, like the Skeptic ‘gutter rag’ RationalWiki, which can feature totally subjective ‘articles’ using repeated 4 letter words and claims so wild they border on the false and defamatory. Readers looking for health information might easily mistake these clone sites for the real thing, making their quest for health even more difficult. It’s becoming a mess.

Wikimedia UK, its British arm, said it was “crucial that people with health concerns spoke to their GP first “.

Worryingly, Wikipedia UK claim that about 70% of physicians and medical students use the website.

Stevie Benton, at Wikimedia UK, said there were a “number of initiatives” in place to help improve the articles, “especially in relation to health and medicine”.

He said the charity had a project to bring together volunteer Wikipedia editors with a medical knowledge to identify articles that need improvement, find credible sources and make entries more “accurate and more readable”. Presumably this team will include practitioners in complementary medicine too. We can only hope. We can’t have the bias and errors being judged by more of the same, surely?

A couple of years ago it was announced that help was at hand – Wikipedia would be working with Cancer Research UK to review cancer-related articles by clinical researchers and writers to keep them accurate and up-to-date.

This may help with the accuracy, but it’s hard to know how that endorsement is going to make the Internet claims of bias go away.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Health providers encouraging death by sugar

The recent research on ‘Added Sugar’ (Ref: Cardiovascular disease JAMA Feb, 2014) was very clear. The higher the added sugar content of your daily calories consumed, the greater your risk of dying from Heart Disease.

As Dr. Chauncey Crandall, one of America’s top cardiologists, covered in his recent ‘Heart Health’ newsletter, glucose (along with e numbers in prepared and packaged foods), causes chronic inflammation in the arteries and this causes the fat to ‘take hold’.

Heart disease and cancer are now equal first in America as causes of death, comprising over 50 per cent of the total.

The most common sources of ‘added glucose’ are soft drinks, from Coca Cola to Ribena (37%), grain deserts (puddings) at about 13.7% and categories such as ice cream and dairy desserts (6.1%), smoothies and supermarket fruit juices (8.9%), and chocolate and biscuits (5.8%) following well back.

But it doesn’t stop there. Such ‘added sugar’ feeds cancer cells, which (unlike healthy cells) are inflexible. They need glucose, without which they wither and die (although there is some evidence that an amino acid, glutamine, in protein may be used sometimes as a fallback).

Chronic inflammation is also a factor in cancer, both in cause and in metastases and, as with Heart Disease, insulin lies behind these as it affects COX-2 which drives bad localized hormones called eicosanoids. In 2010 Tian Xu of Yale concluded these localized hormones turned on two cancer-causing genes.

What is also apparent is that people with the highest levels of plasma glucose develop more cancers; while those people with cancer that do not control their plasma glucose levels, survive least.

In the face of all the mounting evidence on the damage glucose causes, is it not time to ask why hospitals continue to serve sugar-ladened ice cream, have drinks machines selling the leading culprits outside every ward, and even supply patients having chemotherapy with booklets on diet suggesting they eat cheeseburgers, doughnuts, milkshakes and sugary drinks?

Of course, no one wants patients dying of cachexia – but this affects only 7% of the total at most. Should the other cancer patients be exposed to the risks inherent in encouraging them to eat cancer-stimulating foods? And why not follow Professor Seyfried of Boston, and others, who point out that there is clear research that omega-3 in fish oils can dramatically reduce the risk of cachexia.

Glucose is a dangerous chemical toxin that pervades our lives and damages our health. It is time Governments, and especially our health service providers, got a grip on the reality.

, , , , , , , , , ,

One Great Fat Myth

As health experts like Mercola and Woollams have been telling you repeatedly, eating fat is not as bad for you as Health Authorities have led you to believe. There are certainly good fats and oils like fish oils, extra virgin olive oil, nut and seed oils, like flaxseed, coconut and walnut oil that clearly promote health. But is saturated fat and cholesterol so bad?

According to top American cardiologist Dr Chauncey Crandall, Director of the Palm Beach Cardiology Clinic, ‘No’. In his Heart Health programme he talks about the importance of cholesterol in your brain, as a precursor to vitamin D and hormones, to aid digestion and support the essential transporting functions of cell membranes. He lays the blame for heart disease on glucose and refined carbohydrates and preservatives in foods, talking of their role in chronic diseases from diabetes, to heart disease, to cancer.

Crandall argues that chronic inflammation caused by a number of factors from food additives to red meat and cows’ dairy causes inflammation in arteries, causing the fat to ‘stick’ to the walls. After calcium deposits collect on top of the fat, your fate is sealed.

Mercola has been talking about the importance of fat for 30 years; Woollams has been talking about the dangers of glucose and refined carbohydrates in the diet for a decade. CANCERactive has covered the dangers of glucose and the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet for almost as long. http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=3117

If saturated fat is not so bad after all, what is the problem?

The FDA takes action on Trans Fats at last:

It would seem that the research often quoted by Mercola and Woollams on the dangers of trans fats has at last been heeded. Originally thought to have been so refined as to be inert, trans fats have increasingly been shown to be dangerous and even cancer causing. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, M.D., has studied the research and now announced that trans fats “are not generally recognized as safe for use in food.”.

Meanwhile Walter Willett, M.D., of Harvard School of Public Health has opined that the FDA conclusion is “strongly supported by massive scientific evidence that trans fat has many adverse effects on health’.

The benefits of Saturated Fat:

According to an article published in the prestigious British Medical Journal (October 22), saturated fat is NOT the cause of heart disease. In fact, the opposite is true. According to BMJ, : “The mantra that saturated fat must be removed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease has dominated dietary advice and guidelines for almost four decades. Yet scientific evidence shows that this advice has, paradoxically, increased our cardiovascular risks. Furthermore, the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol, which has led to the overmedication of millions of people with statins, has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia’.

Woollams in these columns and in his book ‘The Rainbow Diet’ (where he talks about the French Paradox – they eat more fat and consume more alcohol than many other natures but have less heart disease and less cancer) has talked about exactly this point and the mythology surrounding fat and the drive to get everybody on often unnecessary statins. Statins that can increase risks of diabetes and other illnesses by more than 30 per cent whilst reducing levels of essential coenzyme Q10 in the heart, muscles and brain. http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=2027

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

GM Tomatoes to cure Heart disease and more?!

Forget spirulina, pomegranates, blueberries, and the host of other natural “superfoods” with incredible nutritive and healing powers — the biotechnology industry has developed a new purple “Frankentomato” that it claims can single-handedly halt inflammation, stop plaque buildup in arteries, and even cure cancer! An outrageous new propaganda campaign currently making the rounds in the mainstream media, and headed by researchers with a vested interest in seeing the new mutant tomato succeed, claims that genetically-modified (GM) tomatoes are key to eliminating heart disease globally, even though there are already plenty of nature-made fruits and vegetables, including other varieties of tomatoes, that naturally perform this and many other medicinal functions.

This latest affront to natural food comes out of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where Dr. Alan Fogelman, Executive Chair of the Department of Medicine and Director of the Atherosclerosis Research Unit, recently led a team of researchers in conducting a shoddy, deceptive study that just so happened to arrive at glowing conclusions concerning the team’s prized GM tomato. According to the study, which was presented at the annual American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions, adding a little bit of GM tomato extract to rats’ diets, which were said to be mostly composed of “Western-style, high-fat, calorie-packed” foods, helped them to experience “significantly lower blood levels of inflammation.”

But the trial, as pointed out by GMWatch.org, was small, poorly conducted, and was neither peer-reviewed nor published in an actual scientific journal. And yet mainstream media coverage of the study has been relentlessly forgiving of these blatant flaws, with popular news sources parading around ridiculous headlines like “Purple tomato can beat cancer,” and “How my purple tomato could save your life,” which falsely imply that this untested mutant food is somehow a proven cure for whatever heart condition or disease that might be ailing you. Snake oil anyone?

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/038015_GM_tomatoes_cancer_false_claims.html#ixzz2Cj0cSKx7

, , , , , , , , , , ,