Dietary Cholesterol Unrelated to Cardiovascular Disease!

…according to this article at American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Heart attack on a plate? Think again

Heart attack on a plate? Think again

This is quite contrary to the  party line spread by public health authorities for the last 40 years.

Enjoy your eggs! (If you can afford them.)

Sugar-Sweetened Beverages May Cause 9% of Type 2 Diabetes Cases in U.S.

…according to a meta-analysis published in the British Medical Journal.

At this point, it’s more accurate to say the two are associated than to say the drinks cause diabetes.

Is This How The Robots Take Over?

Thinking about it...

Exercise your brain

I saw a patient at the hospital a couple years ago who had been brought in by ambulance after suffering some trauma (not to his brain). He couldn’t call any friends or relatives to let them know what was going on because he didn’t have his cellphone. His phone had all his contact numbers so he had no reason to memorize any. Would you be in the same boat?

DailyMail has an interesting article on whether our use of technology is making us dumber. If we turn over mental tasks like navigation and math to computers, do our brains waste away? Is this how the robots take over? Will we be seeing more and earlier cases of age-related dementia? E-mentia?

This is worth keeping an eye on.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: The five other members of my household all have cellphones. The only number I’ve memorized is my wife’s.

Yet Another Potential Cause of Type 2 Diabetes: Fructose

Lumps of Diabetes

Cubes of Diabetes?

A Pharm.D (Dr of Pharmacology) and a pair of MD’s surveyed much of the available scientific literature—both animal and human studies—and concluded that fructose is a major culprit in the rise of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. Fructose does its damage by increasing insulin resistance. ScienceDaily has the details.

Be aware that their conclusion is certainly not universally accepted. I just read “Pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus” at and saw no mention of fructose. Under dietary factors, they mainly talked about obesity and how that increases insulin resistance, leading to elevated blood sugars, while the reverse happens with weight loss. I haven’t looked at all the research so I have no definite opinion yet on the fructose-diabetes theory; I’m skeptical.

Fructose is a type of simple sugar. Common dietary sources of fructose are fruits, table sugar (aka sucrose, a 50:50 combination of glucose and fructose molecules), and high-fructose corn syrup (which is usually 42 or 55% fructose).

Damaging effects, if any, of fructose in these fruits may be mitigated by the fiber

Damaging effects, if any, of fructose in these fruits may be mitigated by the fiber

A few quotes from ScienceDaily:

“At current levels, added-sugar consumption, and added-fructose consumption in particular, are fueling a worsening epidemic of type 2 diabetes,” said lead author James J. DiNicolantonio, PharmD, a cardiovascular research scientist at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO. “Approximately 40% of U.S. adults already have some degree of insulin resistance with projections that nearly the same percentage will eventually develop frank diabetes.”

*   *   *

While fructose is found naturally in some whole foods like fruits and vegetables, consuming these foods poses no problem for human health. Indeed, consuming fruits and vegetables is likely protective against diabetes and broader cardiometabolic dysfunction, explained DiNicolantonio and colleagues. The authors propose that dietary guidelines should be modified to encourage individuals to replace processed foods, laden with added sugars and fructose, with whole foods like fruits and vegetables. “Most existing guidelines fall short of this mark at the potential cost of worsening rates of diabetes and related cardiovascular and other consequences,” they wrote.

If you’re eating a typical Western or American diet, you’ll reduce your fructose consumption by moving to the Mediterranean diet, the Advanced Mediterranean Diet, Low-Carb Mediterranean Diet, or the Paleobetic Diet.


Steve Parker, M.D.

QOTD: Captain John Parker on the American Revolution

Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.

Captain John Parker at Lexington Green, 1775

ATMC: Misfortune or Good Fortune? We’ll See…



ATMC = Advice to my children (a series)

The Parable of the Farmer, His Horse, and His Son 

Hundreds of years ago in a poor Chinese village there lived a wise farmer and his son. The farmer’s only significant possessions were his patch of land, his shack, and a sturdy horse that helped him work the land.

One day the horse ran away into the wilderness. His neighbor said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset.” The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

A week later the horse returned to its corral, with three wild horses following it back. His neighbor said, “Instead of one horse, now you have four. Congratulations on your good fortune! You must be so happy!” The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

A month later the farmer’s son decided to break in one of the new horses. But the animal bucked wildly and threw the young man off. The son’s leg broke when he landed. This could cripple him for life.

His neighbor said, “I’m so sorry. What bad luck. You must be so upset.” The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

A few weeks later, barbarians from the north invaded the province. Every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was terrible and killed nine out of every 10 warriors, but the farmer’s son was spared since his broken leg prevented him from being drafted. His neighbor said, “Congratulations! What good luck. You must be so happy!”

The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”

*  *  *

The moral of the story is that we don’t really know if an event is “good” or “bad” until passage of some time. Secondarily, it’s a reminder that things always change. So don’t go off the deep end emotionally right away, especially when something doesn’t go your way. It may seem like the end of the world when that cute girl you’ve had a crush on turns down your request for a date, when you make a C or a D in a class instead of an A, when your boyfriend breaks your heart, when you don’t get into vet school, when you get arrested for drunk driving, when you get divorced, or when you lose an eye to cancer. It may seem like the end of the world, but it’s not. Wait.

The parable above is from the East; it’s claimed by both Taoists and Buddhists. It reminded me of my first day of medical school, during which an East Asian professor told us, “Every day not sunny day.” His lecture was on Sir William Osler’s essay, Aequanimitas. Equanimity is a word you don’t hear much. It means mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper, especially in a difficult situation. Cultivate it.




Karl Denninger’s Solution to the U.S. Healthcare Mess AND Federal Deficit Spending

Steve Parker MD

One of two bridges over the Colorado river in the Grand Canyon near Phantom Ranch

Karl says that U.S. healthcare and health insurance are way too expensive because of:

  • monopolistic practices
  • collusion among the major players (e.g., insurers, labs, Big Pharma, politicians, doctors)
  • ignored violations of the Sherman, Clayton, and Robinson-Patman Acts (15 USC)
  • ignored violations of state consumer protection laws
  • absence of market forces
  • price-fixing

Eliminate those problems, and you’d cut the cost of healthcare by 80%, the point at which you would need only catastrophic health insurance coverage, if at all. We’d have enough money left over to stop our federal deficit spending and eventually retire the entire federal debt. According to Karl.

What are examples of an absence of market forces?

  • Have you ever seen health insurance companies or hospitals compete on the basis of cost? Doctors rarely do it, either (and only when insurance isn’t involved).
  • Have you ever tried to get a firm estimate on the total cost of a proposed procedure before you have it done? Good luck with that.
  • The consumer of healthcare services usually isn’t the one paying for it. Your insurance company or the government (e.g., Medicare) is paying. You’ll get no thanks for your time spent shopping around for the best deal.
  • Scorpion antivenom costs $100 in Mexico, but if you get it in an emergency department in the U.S., you’ll be billed $40,000 for it. And don’t think you can go to Mexico and stock up then sell it to emergency departments for $150—that’s illegal.

Karl sings the praises of the Surgical Center of Oklahoma. They post their prices up front, work on a mostly cash basis, and eliminate the bill-padding and wasteful bureaucracy of other facilities. Their prices are a fifth of what others charge.

One possible fly in Karl’s ointment is that insurers are exempt from federal antitrust laws per 1945’s McCarran-Ferguson Act. Only a handful of industries are exempt. Karl doesn’t mention that. Nor does he talk about the cost of medical malpractice insurance and defensive medicine, wherein doctors order excessive testing to protect themselves from lawsuits.

I appreciate Karls’ efforts. He’s a smart guy with many good ideas.


Steve Parker, M.D.