Posts Tagged heart attacks

Unnecessary Surgery For President Bush?

Posted by on Saturday, 11 January, 2014


Cartoon about G W Bush




President George W Bush recently got a stent for his heart.

Were it not for his great healthcare, he wouldn’t have.

He didn’t have pain or shortness of breath. No symptoms. No nothing. But those (few) of us who are former presidents have exemplary health care. Evidently, one of President Bush’s exemplary set of physicians said “Uh oh, Mister Former President, I don’t like the way that artery looks.”  One thing led to another and, before you knew it, the former President of the United States was  recovering from heart surgery.

Here’s the thing. The British Medical Journal isn’t sold on this.

Who asked them? I can not say. But their take is that this stenting was too aggressive and was unjustified by the data. Even if his arteries were a lot worse, they say, there’s no data to support such aggressive surgery with the attendant risk to former presidents and such.

“No data” isn’t the science equivalent of “expletive deleted” but it’s close. Modern medicine is supposed to adhere fairly close to the evidence.  Dr. Aseem Malhortra (Royal Free Hospital in London) was the author of the article.

MISTER ScienceAintSoBad loves the concern of the British Medical Journal. To be honest? I didn’t think anyone over there in England cared much whether GW Bush leads a long and happy life or not. He wasn’t too popular over there when he was in charge here.  Anway, Dr. Malhortra’s point has merit, I suppose, but I would say that doctoring is about striking the right balance. Evidence is a good guide. But it shouldn’t handcuff. There’s still room  for judgement from those on the other end of the scalpel I hope.

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The drawing is mine.

Please leave comments by clicking “comments” just to the right under the headline for this article.


Posted by on Monday, 23 December, 2013
cartoon about apples



Science has lots of busy corners. Technology, even more. I can’t use up all my blog time on health related stuff. It wouldn’t be fair to physics, chemistry, biology, and North Korean tablets. But I  would be a b-a-d science blogger if I didn’t tell you about apples.


You know about statins? They’re drugs that  lower cholesterol. Doctor’s love them. Pitivistatin, lovostatin, atorvastatin, , zocor are statins. Others too. Long list.

Statins are amazing. They don’t just  lower cholesterol, it seems they do other good stuff. They help with cataracts and dementia, and gum inflammation. They also reduce the incidence of  heart attacks and strokes, and one study even says that statins might slow aging by protecting your telomeres. Supposedly they can cause some problems with muscles but, for most people, that shouldn’t be a problem.

I’ve seriously toyed with  trying to talk my way on to statins, myself.

Well here’s the thing.

Dr Adam Briggs (BHF Health Promotion Research Group at Oxford University)  looked at the effect of eating a single apple each day (that’s right – “an apple a day”) vs statins. The results, cardiovascular wise, were about the same for apples as statin drugs. Dr. Briggs’ conclusion was that you could do as good a job for yourself eating apples as taking statins (probably because apples contain pectin which has similar effects on cholesterol to statins).

If you can lower your cholesterol and lower your heart risk without taking drugs, who am I to say you shouldn’t?

This report didn’t get into whether apples did all  the good stuff that statins do.


Apples? Hot dang!

A final point:  Statins, like anything, have pluses and minuses. Don’t rush off and stuff yourself full of statins on my account. First go over the particulars with your doctor. Better yet? Try fruit.

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A reader left a comment (see comments) suggesting that this study from the BMJ is less than serious. Perhaps so. But you’ve gone out and bought all those apples, right? You might as well eat them.

What could it hurt?

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I drew that apple!

To leave a comment, click “comments” which can be found at the top right of each article just beneath the headline.





Posted by on Wednesday, 6 November, 2013

Humorous cartoon show two people discussing the meaning of time.



You just set your clocks, right? This time of year the day is so short we have to push some daylight towards morning so kids will be safe going to school. Did you know that changing the clocks can affect your chances of having a heart attack?

Here’s the thing.

Dr. Martin Young (University of Alabama,  Division of Cardiovascular Disease) talks about a Swedish study that showed heart attacks increase about 10% in spring, a day after the clock “springs back”, and they fall off when the clock “falls forward”. Why, isn’t totally obvious; it’s either tied to the position of the hands on the clock or to sleep deprivation. Mister ScienceAintSoBad votes for sleep deprivation.

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The cartoon is my own