Monday, February 26, 2007


Overweight adults are already being denied some medical services in Britain. This criminalization of fat is therefore a harbinger of worse discrimination to come. I suppose however we should be glad that the social workers now seem to have given up on witchcraft scares as a way to attack families. At least fat is not imaginary. Progress of a sort, I guess. Wouldn't it be nice, though, if they concentrated on (say) children of drug addicts instead of on ordinary decent families? Social work schools are covens of Leftism and the ingrained Leftist hatred of ordinary decent people happily getting on with their lives is always the best predictor of whom social workers will target. You can be sure that no social worker will ever mention how small the difference is between the average lifespans of slim and overweight people. A "crack" baby, or a baby with fetal alcohol syndrome, on the other hand, DOES have serious problems.

Note further that dieting normally promotes weight GAIN so the intervention described below is as ill-conceived as it is authoritarian

An eight-year-old boy who weighs 14 stone, more than three times the average for his age, may be taken into care if his mother fails to improve his diet. Connor McCreaddie, from Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, has broken four beds and five bicycles. The family claims to have a history of intolerance to fruit or vegetables. On Tuesday his mother and grandmother will attend a formal child protection conference to decide his future, which could lead to proceedings to take him into care.

Connor could be placed on the child protection register, along with victims of physical and sexual abuse, or on the less serious children in need register. The intervention of social services is a landmark in the fight against youth obesity. The boy's mother, Nicola McKeown, said: "If Connor gets taken into care that is the worst scenario there could be. Hopefully, we will be able to work through it and come up with a good plan and he will just be put on the at-risk register or some other register. That wouldn't be so bad because, hopefully, there will be some help for us at the end of it."

Two specialist obesity nurses, a consultant paediatrician, the deputy head of Connor's school, a police officer and at least two social workers are expected to be on the panel deciding what action should be taken. One National Health Service source said: "We have attempted many times to arrange for Connor to have appointments with community and paediatric nutritionists, public health experts, school nurses and social workers to weigh and measure him and to address his diet, but the appointments have been missed. "Taking the child into care or putting him on the child protection register is absolutely the last resort. We do not do these things lightly but we have got to consider what effect this life-style is having on his health. Child abuse is not just about hitting your children or sexually abusing them, it is also about neglect." The source added: "The long-term health effects of obesity such as diabetes are well known and it is concerning that Connor is more than twice the weight he should be. There has to be some parental responsibility."



An over-the-counter alternative remedy available through chemists and health shops is just as effective at reducing high blood pressure as powerful prescription drugs, without causing their undesirable side-effects such as heart and kidney problems, Australian research suggests.

The new study has found the remedy - an antioxidant found naturally in the body called co-enzyme Q10 (CoQ10) - reduces systolic blood pressure (when the heart is contracting) by up to 17mm of mercury and cuts diastolic pressure (heart at rest) by up to 10mm. Frank Rosenfeldt, head of the cardiac surgical research unit at Melbourne's Alfred Hospital and lead author , says this is "in the ballpark" of reductions generally achievable with prescription drugs.

The study, just published online by the Journal of Human Hypertension (doi:10.1038/sj.jhh.1002138), combined the results from 12 previous trials involving 362 patients. The authors said their results meant there was a "convincing case for conducting a high-quality prospective randomised trial of CoQ10 in order to validate the results". "Until the results of such trials are available, it would seem acceptable to add CoQ10 to conventional anti-hypertensive therapy, particularly in patients who are experiencing intolerable side-effects," they wrote.

Currently four main drug classes are used to treat high blood pressure, or hypertension: ACE inhibitors, diuretics, beta blockers and calcium channel blockers. Side-effects from these drugs can include heart and kidney malfunction, cough and depression. However, CoQ10 typically costs just over $50 for a bottle of 60 50mg capsules - making it significantly more expensive for patients than these existing drugs, subsidised by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Patients pay just the $30.70 co-payment for a PBS drug - or just $4.90 if they are a concession-card holder.

Rosenfeldt says CoQ10 is already taxpayer-subsidised in Hungary, Italy and Denmark, and should be added to the Australian PBS. However, he said patients should discuss their treatment with their own doctor before taking CoQ10, as it could prove dangerous if combined with other medications: "If they were on anti-hypertensive therapy and took this on top, they might get low blood pressure."

Other independent experts say the findings are interesting, but agree with the authors' call for further research. Philip Barter, director of the Heart Research Institute in Sydney and author of over 200 research papers in international journals, said although the new study had pooled results from 12 trials, only four were double-blind, randomised controlled trials - those that give the most reliable results - and even these were based on very small groups of participants. "I don't want to dismiss the analysis - it's interesting," Barter said. "But before I was prepared to recommend this as a form of treatment, I would like to see it put to the test in a bigger trial where it would be looked at alongside other treatments - many of which are now long out of patent thus available as cheap generic drugs."


Journal abstract:

Coenzyme Q10 in the treatment of hypertension: a meta-analysis of the clinical trials

By F L Rosenfeldt et al

Our objective was to review all published trials of coenzyme Q10 for hypertension, assess overall efficacy and consistency of therapeutic action and side effect incidence. Meta-analysis was performed in 12 clinical trials (362 patients) comprising three randomized controlled trials, one crossover study and eight open label studies. In the randomized controlled trials (n=120), systolic blood pressure in the treatment group was 167.7 (95% confidence interval, CI: 163.7-171.1) mm Hg before, and 151.1 (147.1-155.1) mm Hg after treatment, a decrease of 16.6 (12.6-20.6, P<0.001) mm Hg, with no significant change in the placebo group. Diastolic blood pressure in the treatment group was 103 (101-105) mm Hg before, and 94.8 (92.8-96.8) mm Hg after treatment, a decrease of 8.2 (6.2-10.2, P<0.001) mm Hg, with no significant change in the placebo group. In the crossover study (n=18), systolic blood pressure decreased by 11 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 8 mm Hg (P<0.001) with no significant change with placebo. In the open label studies (n=214), mean systolic blood pressure was 162 (158.4-165.7) mm Hg before, and 148.6 (145-152.2) mm Hg after treatment, a decrease of 13.5 (9.8-17.1, P<0.001) mm Hg. Mean diastolic blood pressure was 97.1 (95.2-99.1) mm Hg before, and 86.8 (84.9-88.8) mm Hg after treatment, a decrease of 10.3 (8.4-12.3, P<0.001) mm Hg. We conclude that coenzyme Q10 has the potential in hypertensive patients to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.


Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

Trans fats:

For one summary of the weak science behind the "trans-fat" hysteria, see here. Trans fats have only a temporary effect on blood chemistry and the evidence of lasting harm from them is dubious. By taking extreme groups in trans fats intake, some weak association with coronary heart disease has at times been shown in some sub-populations but extreme group studies are inherently at risk of confounding with other factors and are intrinsically of little interest to the average person.