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Thread: I have no patience with conspiracy theories, but really... page

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    Hilary's Avatar
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    I have no patience with conspiracy theories, but really...

    ...what is this? Front-page stories in the UK press saying statins are responsible for a 40% reduction in the incidence of stroke. Wonder drug! (etc, etc)

    Zoe Harcombe's blog post makes informative reading. The reality behind the headlines is more fantastic even than you'd imagine - no, it's not dodgy research about statins; it's reasonable research that doesn't mention them at all.

    I did a bit of Googling when I first saw the headlines, and found this.

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    My hunch is it's sponsor shenanigans, like when TV news has a 10 minute feature on people lining up for Apple products. Media folks know conventional ads are passť so they knead it into the content.
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    Have I understood this correctly..they don't know why it may be working but it's a nice side -effect?
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaceyUK View Post
    Have I understood this correctly..they don't know why it may be working but it's a nice side -effect?
    In regards to statins? The people peddling statins would say its the cholesterol lowering affects that are the cause of its (minor) benefits. Other researchers would say the cholesterol affect seems to be unrelated to the benefits.

    Any as regards to the media, my take isn't a conspiracy merely ignorance. Listening to the media about medicine, nutrition and health would be like...I'm struggling to find a good analogy...asking a dog about politics? Basically ignore them for your own sanity.
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    Cui bono, pretty simple.
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    Hilary's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaceyUK View Post
    Have I understood this correctly..they don't know why it may be working but it's a nice side -effect?
    Er, no. The 'statins stop strokes!' headline is derived from an article that says the relative rate of stroke has decreased by 40% (ie by a very small absolute number), though not among black people and not in younger age groups. The research is not about statins and never even names them; it has no information about what drugs anyone was on, it's just a population study of South London. So... where does the journalist get the idea to put statins in the headline?

    The other article I linked to, the one that does mention statins, says they reduce the risk of thrombotic stroke in people with pre-existing heart disease or at high risk of it, but not in others (at least, that 'has not yet been shown'), do not reduce the risk of a second stroke, and increase the risk of haemorrhagic stroke. Also that their effectiveness in preventing stroke, when they do so, is much less than other treatments.

    A truthful headline might have been 'anti-platelet agents could possibly have something to do with small reduction in cases of stroke in older people'. Not as snappy. Or as Zoe Harcombe suggests, 'Reduction in smoking means reduction in stroke incidence'.

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilary View Post
    ...what is this? Front-page stories in the UK press saying statins are responsible for a 40% reduction in the incidence of stroke. Wonder drug! (etc, etc)

    Zoe Harcombe's blog post makes informative reading. The reality behind the headlines is more fantastic even than you'd imagine - no, it's not dodgy research about statins; it's reasonable research that doesn't mention them at all.

    I did a bit of Googling when I first saw the headlines, and found this.
    No, what you're thinking isn't a conspiracy theory, Hilary.

    A conspiracy theory is when someone (usually an unbalanced person) literally imagines people conspiring on a vast scale. Those naturally arouse disbelief, because the level of coordination it would take beggars belief. Besides, these theories usually assume a preternatural intelligence and foreknowledge on the part of the supposed conspirators. Most people really work on the short-term, and all of us have limited understanding of our surroundings and poor ability to predict the future - let alone plan elaborate strategies that take account of what everyone else is going to do.

    All that you're presumably thinking is going on here is someone feeding false information to the press. Yeah, why not? Pharmaceutical companies do it, so do other commercial entities, pressure groups, politicians, civil servants & others. It goes on all the time. As for the press ... well, they need to fill column inches & haven't the time or expertise to rigorously question every story someone hands them.
    Last edited by Lewis; 10-14-2013 at 10:30 AM.

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    Hilary's Avatar
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    Yes... you have a point. Depressing.

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    I realise that trying to read it in 5 mins is also likely to lead to wool being pulled over eyes too Fact is the press/media try to cut everything down to fit the average attention span so imporatnt "complicated" stuff just gets kicked into the long grass or dumbed down. This allows the kleptocrats to get away with all sorts of self-interest.
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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilary View Post
    Yes... you have a point. Depressing.
    Now i feel guilty.

    i guess all that goes on ... but still there is more: I don't want to depress anyone.

    i recall the brilliant Australian philosopher David Stove pointing to some callow assumptions in Darwinian theory. (Some people in the Paleo movement would hang him for that without even reading him.) Not that Stove didn't have a high opinion of the man (though less of some of his followers, including the rather irritating Dawkins). But the notion that human beings are not capable of unselfish actions -- there's plenty of evidence that belies that, except to those who will not see. As for organisms always seeking to stay in being and to reproduce, it might work for "pines or codfish", but have these people never heard of soldiers, or nuns?

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Darwinian-Fa...dp/1594032009/

    Human beings are far more complex, and potentially far more unselfish, than a swift look at their "interests" and an assumption that they always follow them would indicate.

    Big Pharma is pretty bad, though -- an open sewer to be frank. A must-listen:

    Pharmageddon: How Big Pharma Hijacked Healthcare | Underground Wellness


    The Mail could be playing a deep game. Maybe they're as sceptical of the press release they've been sent as you or I. But they may realise that printing it will send people to their website to cry it down: a lot of people have been harmed by statins. They want web-traffic, don't they? What's better for that than controversy?

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