Monday, June 8, 2015

A Sucker Born Every Minute, said One of the Suckers

Last week I wrote about the book I wanted to read. It arrived and I’m halfway through it – and I truly have a hard time putting it down. The book, written by Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, is called, “Doctoring Data: How to Sort Out Medical Advice from Medical Nonsense.”

I can sum it up in a few words: We are constantly being sold a bill of goods. Another way to put it is, how can we be so gullible?

Dr. Kendrick has a dry, droll wit that makes this book a pleasure. I find myself chuckling a lot. And then there are the other emotions: anger, surprise, indignation – because of what I’m learning. Kendrick lists the ways “studies” and statistics get us and how to spot the falsehoods. And there are so many ways we’re manipulated. Blood pressure, cholesterol, hormones, anti-depressants, and on and on.

Here’s the most common tactic : When A happens and B also happens, the conclusion is that A causes B. For example, (I’m making this up) studies have shown that the majority of women who drive Mercedes Benz and BMW vehicles live longer than women who don’t. Therefore, if you want to live longer, buy a Benz or a Beemer.  Logical, right?

What if most women who drive those cars also exercise, eat organic, and live in France? Perhaps any or all of those factors influence their longevity. But the study would’ve been funded to sell cars, so who cares what the true reason is? This is exactly what happened with things like red wine and dark chocolate. Both are linked to better health/heart health only by association. Read the book and see.

This is how the entire pharmaceutical industry works. High blood pressure doesn’t cause heart attacks. It’s a symptom of heart disease. Lowering the blood pressure doesn’t cure the heart disease. It’s like putting a bandage on a symptom to hide it. You want to live longer? Find out what’s causing the heart disease and cure it, and the BP will come down. Are you told that? No, because doctors are told that lowering BP lowers death from heart attacks so they’ll push the medication believing they are saving lives. In actuality, it’s bogus. Read the book and see.

There are so many examples in this book that I’m appalled at how much we believe these manipulated statistics. I urge everyone to get your hands on a copy of this book and read it.  When the facts are real, Dr. Kendrick is quick to point it out. When they are made up, he’s quick to pounce on that, too. And you'll see that most of the so-called "facts" are not facts at all. They are drug advertisements.

So here’s my challenge. Read the book and let me know one way you’ve been tricked into believing one of the many myths of medicine, and send me a message. If I get enough, I’ll include your responses in a future blog.

Be happy, friends. Live, love, and laugh. Those are the best medicines there is.