PLoS One

  1. Slash heart risk by 50 percent?

    Bizarre new claim over all-in-one heart drug

    The polypill pushers are at it again -- and this time, they say their all-in-one drug can slash the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent.

    That's a heckuva claim to make from a study where absolutely NO ONE suffered from heart disease or a stroke.

    Yup... this was another one of those theoretical jobs, where they plug in some numbers and expect us to believe it.

    In this case, they at least started out with real people: Researchers gave the polypill -- a single drug that contains a statin, two hypertension meds, and aspirin -- or a placebo to 378 people at clinics around the world.

    After 12 weeks, researchers say the patients given the polypill had slight improvements in meaningless biomarkers: blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

    How slight? Systolic blood pressure fell from 134 mmHg to 124 mmHg.

    Even if you agree that this is a good measure of cardiovascular health (it's not!), both numbers are safely below the levels considered hypertension by the mainstream.

    LDL levels fell from the "borderline high" category to "above optimal," and don't even waste your time trying to figure out what that means.

    That's it.

    But the researchers say that over the long term, these minute changes will lead to a 50 percent reduction in the risk of heart attack and stroke -- a massive leap of faith that somehow got published in PLoS One.

    "Peer review" ain't what it used to be.

    But this is exactly the kind of hokum they have to use to make this drug look good -- because when you look at the REAL numbers, there's just nothing there... and that's been the case all along.

    Nearly eight years ago, I warned you about a polypill study that supposedly slashed heart risk by a third. That claim was technically true, but it looks a lot less impressive when you read the fine print and see that the absolute risk reduction was just 1.4 percent. (Read the story here.)

    And just a few weeks ago, one of the polypill's inventors said his new study found that absolutely everyone over the age of 55 needs to take the drug's main ingredients, statins and BP pills.

    But it turned out that wasn't a real study -- just a computer simulation. (Read more here.)

    I'd say wake me up when they actually get some real results from this pill... but I'd have to be asleep for a very long time.

  2. Sitting your way to obesity

    Forget adjustable heights -- office chairs should have adjustable seats, so they can grow right along with the butts of the workers who sit in them all day.

    And if your job is performed in an office chair, you can bet your own butt is getting beefier with each sedentary day.

    Now, a new study shows just what our jobs have done to our overall activity levels -- and we're not sitting pretty.

    Back when Americans were choosing between Nixon and Kennedy, 50 percent of us had jobs that involved at least moderate physical activity.

    Today, researchers say just 20 percent of all jobs involve even that light movement.

    End result: Americans burn 140 calories a day less than we did 50 years ago -- and you don't need a medical degree to figure out what happens when people consume more and burn less.

    But then this study flies off the rails, because the researchers wrote in PLoS One that a difference of only 100 fewer calories burned per day -- or 100 extra calories going in -- is enough to explain away the obesity epidemic.

    Give me a break!

    Weight loss and good health isn't about balancing calories in with calories burned -- it's a bout the quality of those calories going in.

    If your calories are supersized, double-stuffed and served in a bread bowl -- with a bucket of diet soda, just 1 calorie, of course -- then 20 minutes a day on a treadmill won’t save your waistline.

    And eating 100 fewer of those calories won't save your life.

    Here's the real deal: If you have an office job, it IS killing you. They’re right about that.

    Don't waste your time with exercise -- just be sure to get up out of that seat and move throughout the day.

    And don't waste your time with calorie counting -- if you stick to a diet rich in healthy animals fats, your body will tell you when to stop eating.

    It's called "feeling full."

    It might be an alien sensation at first, after years of unsatisfying, hunger-inducing carb-loaded meals -- but that's the feeling that will save your life... and keep your butt from needing a bigger seat.

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