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Books and Websites


A guide to books which I have read –many of which I have taken notes on. 


1) Bad pharma, 2) Cardiovascular disease, 3) Diet, 4) Cholesterol myth, 5) Polypharmacy, 6) Psychiatric drugs, 7) Other topics, 8) Thumbs down


 


                                          Books   --  5/23/16                       


Most books do not adequately cover how pharma frames the discussion:  topics in medical schools, medical textbooks, physicians’ continuing education classes, and the media articles.  Also underdeveloped is the sham journal review of clinical trials in that the reviewers never receive the raw data for trials, and thus it is the norm for pharma to positively bias their journal articles.[1]  The first 3 books do a good job on both topics. 


1) Bad pharma, the essential starting point for other topics


*****Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime:  How big pharma has corrupted health care by Prof. Peter Gotzsche, Md., 2015, a leading figure in Danish and Scandinavian health care, with introductions by editors from BMJ and JAMA; their approval of this book, and the book won a merit award by the British Medical Association—they are vouching for its contents.  How corporations co-op the regulatory system and also dominates the medical information system.  The corruption generated by pharma is accepted by regulators:  blatant scientific misconduct that has converted medical science into marketing with its deadly consequences.  Topics include clinical trials, guidelines, journals, textbooks, continuing education, and more.  For an educated audience with medical knowledge, but not too technical so as to excluded the educated public.  Excellent


***** Truth About Drug Companies and How they Deceive Us by Prof. Marcia Angell, 2004, available as audio book and forms the basis for her President lecture, for the educated general public.  A true teacher and master of prose; informative, not chatty, and uses examples to rebut pharma’s claims:  one of the two best books on bad pharma.  I would place this book as first to read, a preparation for Gotzsche’s book.  Both books can stand alone.  I prefer the recorded versions—I have played hers 4 times while driving.  What she has missed is more than amply covered by Prof. Goldacre (below).  Excellent, free E-book on Google


***** Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients, by Prof. Ben Goldacre 2013, available as audiobook on the many ways in which pharma does tobacco science to promote market goals.  More nerdish than Marcia Angell’s book and much more scattered than Prof. Gotzsche book.   His exposing bad pharma is done with the intent to motivate the mainly professional healthcare audience but also for an educated audience familiar with medical issues.  Ben has become a force through AllTrials which he founded.  Its goal to force EU to require reporting of all trials (video) to make pharma do honest trials by requiring the Clinical Trial Report (CSR) made public.  Ben stresses the harm done.    Excellent   Free E-book on Google


Our Daily Meds, Melody Peterson, 2008, good footnote, about the marketing department taking over pharma and treating drugs like any other product:  all about sales.  Covers pharma’s use of continuing education for doctors, media ads, ghost writing, etc., thus an account of tobacco ethics at work.  Very good


***** The Guide to the 4,000 Useful, Useless or Dangerous Medicines, published in French.   Guide des 4000 Médicaments Utiles Inutiles ou Dangereux au Service des Malades et de Praticiens Dr. Bernard Debre director of the prestigious Necker Institute & Dr. Philippe Even member of the French Parliament.  Excellent


 


Big Pharma:  Exposing the Global Healthcare Agenda, 2006, Jacky Law, a pharmaceutical journalist.  For the general public well developed topics exposing the broken system, very thorough and organized--a quality work.  The section of Vioxx is worth copying, Very good


 


2) Cardiovascular disease:


***** Ignore the Awkward:  How the cholesterol myths are kept alive, Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD. 2010 the leading critic of the cholesterol theory.   Goes into all aspects of the cholesterol myth; starts with its history, then cholesterol lowering drugs especially statins, which by lowering cholesterol level doesn’t prevent CVD because cholesterol doesn’t cause it, atherosclerosis does.  Also on the marketing science pushed by pharma including their tricks, and ends with the real main cause of CVD.  Excellent


*****Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD. 2009. Covers same topics as in Ignore the Awkward, but it is for a more general audience—very well written.  As the review by Prof. Kauffman states, “You can trust this book to learn the causes and non-causes of cardiovascular disease.”  Excellent


***** The Great Cholesterol Con:  Why everything you’ve been told about cholesterol, diet and heart disease is wrong! 5th edition 2012, Anthony Colpo.  Though just a physical trainer, he has produced a work of exceptional thoroughness (comparable to Good Calories, below) that goes over the evidence in detail and develops the best evidence based conclusions—lets the journals do the arguing.  A very valuable resource with only minor flaws; it is an expanded version of Prof Uffe Ravnskov 2010 books above, that covers more related topics such as diet, diet drugs, free-radicals, testing , angioplasty, vitamin E, etc., not covered by Uffe. Excellent


The Statin Damage Crisis by Duane Graveline MD (Jul 23, 2014), 91 reviews 5 stars Amazon, for a general public a warning of major risk for neuropathy and myopathy due to the blocking of CoQ10, which is essential for the production of ATP the energy molecule used in over 90% of chemical cellular processes.  This reduction affects the seniors the most.  He goes into his personal experience of memory loss.  Muscle pain is far more common, but pharma’s mantra is “safe and effective”.  Good reading, Very good.


 


The Great Cholesterol Myth: Why lowering your cholesterol won’t prevent heart disease, and the statin-free plan that will, Jonny Bowden, Stephen Sinatra, 2006, 2012, 2015.  Includes strong evidence that cholesterol is not the problem, then goes on to identify the major culprit pathogens in the artery walls causing an inflammatory response and the Western diet.  New edition has added receipts.  I am skeptical about some of the supplements recommended, for my recommendations. The best selling of books, Very good.


 


3) Cholesterol myth and saturated fats


***** Ignore the Awkward:  How the cholesterol myths are kept alive, Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD. 2010 the leading critic of the cholesterol theory.   Goes into all aspects of the cholesterol myth; starts with its history, then cholesterol lowering drugs especially statins, which by lowering cholesterol level doesn’t prevent CVD because cholesterol doesn’t cause it.  Also on the marketing science pushed by pharma including their tricks, and ends with the real causes of CVDExcellent


**** The Great Cholesterol Con Anthony Colpo, a physical therapist who like Charles Darwin, Gary Taubes, and Michael Faraday, has gone way beyond his education.  The book is up to the highest standards of academic writing.  It covers the cholesterol saturated fats myth, what causes heart disease, preventing heart disease naturally, and a very good epilogue on related topics.  This work is a more detailed and broader work than Prof. Ravnskov’s whom he consulted.  Excellent


*****Fat and Cholesterol are Good for You Uffe Ravnskov MD, PhD. 2009. Covers same topics as in Ignore the Awkward, but it is for a more general audience—very well written.  As the review by Prof. Kauffman states, “You can trust this book to learn the causes and non-causes of cardiovascular disease.  Excellent




[1] Ben Goldacre, below, covers most of this with the exception of medical textbooks, and repeats some of the pharma-framed topics such as the putative relationship between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease and the risk associated with HRT.


4) Diet

*****The Obesity Code: Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss, Jason Fung, MD, 2016, has a through grasp of the processes behind the diabesity (obesity & diabetes) pandemic.  As a nephrologist he has treated many end-stage type-2 diabetics with diet to cure their diabetes.  He, like Taubes below, places the blame on fatten carbohydrates which causes insulin resistance that drive up fat storage.  An excellent work that doesn’t repeat the cholesterol-fat myth and puts together a large body of evidence Excellent

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***** Good Calories, bad calories:  fats, carbs, and the controversial science of diet and health, Gary Taubes, 2008, award-wining science writer who spent years researching the topic of diet including its history, starts with the anti-fat-cholesterol diet, then the carbohydrate hypothesis, next obesity and the regulation of weight, and ends with fat metabolism and fattening carbohydrates.  It is an extensive examination of the historical literature on diet--for a college readership, which was followed by a less technical book which he hoped would both educate doctors who have the 2nd greatest influence upon diet after the media.  Excellent

*****Why We Get Fat, and What to Do About It, (also audio version):  Gary Taubes, award-wining science writer spent years researching the topic of diet; starts with the history of diets and the research, then the biology that causes of obesity, and ends with what to do.   The work is on the level of a freshmen college book.   Soft on political issues and how in a corporatist state both the media and politicians have been bought.  He covers all aspects, one of the few books I nearly totally agree with. Avail in audio books.  If the history is too tedious, then I recommend starting in the middle of the book, section 36 on the CD.  Excellent

***** Fat Chance Prof. Robert Lustig MD, Hudson Street Press, 2013.  He focuses on high fructose (and thus sucrose) as a poison similar to ethanol in effects on body.  For a mass audience,   It is very instructive, organized, and easy to follow; on the obesity epidemic all aspects, then ends with healthful advice.  He avoids offending pharma. His success on the internet has made him a leading critic of the food manufacturers (for his lectures and documentary click on link  Excellent

Sugar Salt and Fat:  How the food giants hooked us, Michael Moss, 2014, 4.5 stars 621 Amazon reviews.  A very thorough conservative review of how the food manufacturers compete in the market place.  It has little on consumers’ health (a topic beyond the scope of this book).  A lot of interviews and research makes the book insightful and thus worth reading –also in audio books.   Very good

The New Atkins for a New You Profs. Eric Westman, Stephen Phinney, and Jeff Wolek, 2010.   The book has 2 goals, to make it easy to follow their long-term program of dieting, and to cover the important basics on nutrition relative to the ketogenic (very low carbs) diet so as create confidence in their dietary program. It accomplishes all this in a way that appeals to a wide audience.   If you want to know more, then study the books by Taubes and by Fung—below.  Excellent.  Note, I would add the short-term or alternate day fasting to hasten progress and health benefits, which is particular relevant to those who have type-2 diabetes, morbidly obese, or who weight lose has slowed-- see Dr. Jason Fung’s Obesity Code supra.    Very good    

The New Atkins Made Easy Colette Heimowitz, 2013, a book for those who like testimonials and receipts.  Weak on science but enough to know that carbs are bad and fats are good—see appendix.  She presents the 4 stages of the New Atkins diet, well written, easy to follow.  Very good

 

5) Polypharmacy

Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?   How to Prevent Dangersous Interactions, Avoid Deadly Side Effects, and Be Healthier with Fewer Drugs Armon B. Neel, Jr, Phar.D. CGP and Bill Hogan Atria books, 2012, contains list of drugs to avoid (quite incomplete) and abuse by doctors who dutifully give multiple drugs for the same condition and then treat side effects with more drugs.  Neel as consulting pharmacist helps patients suffering from the interaction of drugs.  The elderly, especially those in assisted living homes are the biggest victims. Neel has some very good sections & some glaring errors thanks to pharma’s.  He should shift most of the blame from physicians to pharma who is very good at marketing and educating.  good.  

Overdosed American:  The broken Promise of American Medicine, John Abramson, MD, well received for the general public, a message of how pharma as a corporation works to expand the market and thus increase profits and its consequences.  Develops their methods for putting lipstick on a pig and worse. Very good

 

6) Psychiatric drugs. 

***** Deadly Psychiatry and Organised Denial, Prof. Peter Gotzsche, 2014. College freshmen level. Clearly the best; it covers nearly all major points concerning the use of psychiatric drugs in a way that doesn’t get bogged down in details (e.g. Moncrieff).  The book provides a detailed example of pharma at work, in what Gotzsche calls organized crime in his previous book---supra.  Incredibly, pharma has succeeded in market with the support of psychiatry addicting sedatives as a panacea for the hundreds of “illnesses” listed in their DSM V Manual:  they have sold gasoline as a way of fighting fires, and blame the patient’s deterioration on the condition instead of the adverse consequences of the prescribed tranquilizers.  Deadly Psychiatry is the best account of how this crime against public developed and its consequences.  Only Kindle edition in US $20, however, available through the UK Amazon for nearly $50 with shipping—worth the price.    Excellent

***** The Emperor’s New Drugs:  Exploding the Antidepressant Myth. Irving Kirsch, PhD. Basic books 2010.   An important book on how psychiatric drugs are worse than nothing at all.  College level, exposes many issues with mind altering drugs.  Raises the important issue of “breaking blind”, that about 85% of patients and physicians know who is getting a placebo based upon side effects.   Excellent.  Note on Basic Books; it is a series of titles for university graduates who still can think at that level.  I have read 7, all rating 5 stars. 

***** Pharmageddon,  Pharmaceutical companies have hijacked healthcare in America, and the results are life-threatening 2012.  Prof. David Healy Welsh, documents a riveting and terrifying story that affects us all. Starts slow, then there is a wealth of information historical and current on the topics covered by the other books reviewed here.   High-quality topic development, well organized, for educated audience familiar with medical issues.    Excellent

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, Robert Whitaker, 2010, Random House.  Some valuable section, such as on Prozac and that behavioral therapy should in most cases be tried before drugs.  He exposes the myth that the new psychiatric drugs in 1965 emptied mental hospital; truth, they were shipped to nursing homes--for general public, Good

The Bitterest Pills: The Troubling Story of Antipsychotic Drugs 2013.   Prof. Joanna Moncrieff, 2009.  On antipsychotic drugs, she proves that they are sedatives (tranquilizers), thus they inhibit emotions, pleasure, and libido, excitation, and cognitive functions. They do not treat the underlying neural cause, though they are pitched as doing that (based on tobacco science).  Starts with the history of the antipsychotic drugs in the early 1950s.   Each major marketing claim is addressed in a chapter.  College level, dull reading Very Good

The Myth of the Chemical Cure:  A Critique of Psychiatric Drugs Joanna Moncrieff, 2013, basically a rework of the above material expanded to include more areas of treatment.  She explains that the names applied to the drugs as well as their method of operation are pure marketing

Death Grip:  A Climber’s Escape from Benzo Madness, 2/13, $2.48 Matt Samet 4.5 stars 37 reviews Good

So-So, books which point out problems with psychotropic drugs and the ever expanding market, but limited coverage of harm done and limited in scope of topics:  it is not what they say, but rather what they don’t.  

Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America, Robert Whitaker, 2010, Random House.   So-so

Saving Normal:  An Insider’s Revolt Against Out-of-Control Psychiatric Diagnosis, DSM-5, Big Pharma, and the Medicalization of Ordinary Life, Allen Frances psychiatrist, 2013, misses much, a gripe book.    So-so

Tracking Medicine: a Researcher’s Quest to Understanding Health Care, John E. Wennberg, Oxford Press, 2010, Tedious, understating the problem, So-so

A warning about deceptive marketing:  From a nurse in a book review:  “WELL DONE, THOUGHT PROVOKING [referring to Bitterest Pill].  I PERSONALLY LEARNED A LOT AND IT CONFIRMED MANY OF MY SUSPICIONS. I HAVE BEEN TAKING LEXAPRO FOR LOW-BACK PAIN. TRIED TO STOP SO MANY TIMES BUT COULD NOT BECAUSE OF SEVERE WITHDRAWAL. STARTED LYRICA, WENT OFF THE LEXAPRO, NOW HAVE TO WITHDRAW FROM THE LYRICA. HOPE IT HAS A SHORTER HALF LIFE--LINDA, RN, at.  In 1988 I knew that sedatives were widely marketed for back pain, and that acted exclusively as a muscle relaxant.  I very clearly told the doctor that I do not want a sedative.  Eighteen hours later I woke up and flushed the pills down the toilet.  Don’t rely on your pharma-educated physician to know what time it is.  Pharma markets sedatives for all sorts of conditions including hypertension, back pain, pre-menstrual syndrome, migraines, pain, COPD, and so on.  It is insidious because these drugs are addicting and diminishing cognitive function; thus they increase the dependence upon physicians. Thus in 2 ways pharma profits from sedatives.  In the hospital they are life-threatening because the drugged patient often is not aware a worsening of their condition or a medical emergency, moreover, vital signs are reduced when drugged.       

 

7) Other topics

***** Testosterone for Life: Recharge Your Vitality, Sex Drive, Muscle Mass, and Overall Health by Abraham Morgentaler , 2008, 80, 4.5 stars Amazon.  While for a wide audience, the essential science is covered accurately, and he is the first to expose the mechanism by which using research of others that testosterone doesn’t promote the spread of prostate cancer unless that patient has low testosterone, which often happened as part of the therapy through drug castration; very thorough, Excellent  

Who’s in Charge? Free Will and the Science of the Brain, Michael S. Gazzaniga, 2012, very insightful as to how the brain subconscious portions determine our behavior and thoughts.  It has helped me understand why people do things that are irrational, such as physicians attending continuing education classes given by pharma, give junk treatments, and patients take them.  Several chapters are academic twaddle.  Very good      

An Aspirin a Day:  What you can do to prevent heart attack, stroke, and cancer  Michael Castleman 1993, (San Diego Library) each chapter has a list of references.  New possibilities prevention of diabetic retinopathy, pregnancy, Gallstones 95, cataracts 92, migraine headaches 91. popular style, sounds balanced   Good

 Aspirin the miracle drug, Eric Metcalf, 2005 UCSD Journalistic, full of explanation but weak on evidence and links.  Good

 

8) Thumbs down

Side effect A Prosecutor, a Whistleblower, and a Bestselling Antidepressant on Trial (Plavix), Alison Bass, 2008way to chatty. 

Tracking Medicine: a Researcher’s Quest to Understanding Health Care,  John E. Wennberg, Oxford Press, 2010, Very limited

How we do Harm:  A Doctor Breaks Ranks…. Otis Webb Brawley & Paul Goldberg  —tedious, small issues. SUCKS

Beyond Aspirin: Nature’s Answers to Arthritis, Cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, Thomas Newmark & Paul Schulick Herbal junk 

 Dosed: The medication Generation Grows Up, pro-pharma, from the kids perspective. SUCKS

The Anti-Estrogenic Diet, Ori Hofmekler, North Atlantic Books, Bereley CA, 2007, bad science on estrogen and weak on science of estrogen mimic, educated by pharma.  JUNK

 

WEBSITES

Thincs, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (Wiki) is a group of scientists, physicians, and other academicians from around the world who dispute the widely accepted lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis. THINCS was founded in January 2003, and its founder and current spokesman is Uffe Ravnskov (see his book above).

Nutrition for life on low carbs for public  http://nutritionforlife.healthcare/evidence

http://www.spacedoc.com/ Duane Graveline, MD.

http://www.statinnation.net/action/

The Video page covers most of the subjects in these books and other topics at http://healthfully.org/rg/id4.html





WEBSITES


Thincs, The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (Wiki) is a group of scientists, physicians, and other academicians from around the world who dispute the widely accepted lipid hypothesis of atherosclerosis. THINCS was founded in January 2003, and its founder and current spokesman is Uffe Ravnskov (see his book above).


Nutrition for life on low carbs for public  http://nutritionforlife.healthcare/evidence


http://www.spacedoc.com/ Duane Graveline, MD.


http://www.statinnation.net/action/





The healthfully.org website went up in 2004; the recommended sections were started in 2011.  On its sections I have spent 50 hours per week. Those articles I have written, some are technical, most for a wider audience.  All claims have links to journal articles. Sections are on diet, healthful supplements, on drugs not worth their side effects and their alternatives.  Two section are on the methods of bad pharma.

Pharma follows tobacco ethics to produce biased medical research & to hijack the regulatory, information, and education systems. It has produced a health-care crisis.  Once you grasp the message of Harvard Prof. Angell (and other critics) you will understand why doctors prescribe junk drugs and diet info is wrong.  You will then find the evidence presented at the healthfully recommended sites is compelling.

*   My academic background consists of 12.5 years as a college and university student from 1962 to 70 and 1976-81, including 2 years of graduate school in philosophy and 18 science course semesters and 13 semesters in the labs.  Health science became an area of interest in 1971, in that I read medical journals and textbooks.  I bought my first medical textbook in 1971, and since then 18 more.  My background in science and philosophy has allowed me to sort through pharma’s tobacco science and arrive at the best evidence based conclusions.  Often the older medical practices have been changed by pharma to increase profits, though it harms patients (tobacco ethics).  Visit http://healthfully.org/rg/.  Feedback to Jerry is appreciated, jerome69@sbcglobal.net

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Harvard Prof. Dr. Marcia Angell: “We certainly are in a health care crisis, ... If we had set out to design the worst system that we could imagine, we couldn't have imagined one as bad as we have.”