Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Generic Statins not as effective.... says study funded by Pfizer

Those switched from Lipitor, known as atorvastatin, to a generic simvastatin would see their levels of dangerous “bad” cholesterol rise by between five and six per cent.

Branded drugs can be made only by the company that holds the patent and Pfizer makes Lipitor. After the patent has expired, the drug becomes “generic” and can be made by any manufacturer, meaning the price drops substantially. About eight in every 10 drugs prescribed by GPs in England are generics and statins, in particular, have been targeted by policy-makers to reduce costs.

Prof Liew studied data from almost 40,000 patients in Holland who were switched from Lipitor to simvastatin in the first three months of 2009. One third of patients ended up with a lower equivalent dose of simvastatin. The study was funded by Pfizer.

There's a surprise!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Sibling Rivalry

How on earth do you stop your 6 year old and 3 year old from fighting?

My two have been at it like cat and dog all day! - Normally they have the odd spat but today was like Armageddon! The boy has been disciplined more times than I care to count and the girl has been so whiny that we had to send her to bed for an hour.

It is times like this that you really start to doubt that you are cut out for the job.

Hey ho - Tomorrow is another day and we are going on a picnic with my best man and his family - Should be a blast!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Thursday, 19 August 2010

I'm Knackered..

Just got back from a walk - Only a short one but one way was pure downhill.. 

Reuben managed the downhill part admirably but the uphill part - Not a chance. Normally he hates shoulder rides; in this case, however, he made an exception!

I have lost 4lbs more than he weighs and I can't believe I managed to carry all that around with me! It is no wonder I used to get out of breath going up hills! - That and I was a lazy, unfit bugger! :)

A market for lemons

A recent report by Professor Donald Light has accused the "Big Pharma" of being
little more than a "market for lemons" that dupes doctors and patients about the effectiveness of its product

He made a series of controversial allegations against so-called "Big Pharma" in his report, "Pharmaceuticals: A Two-Tier Market for Producing 'Lemons' and Serious Harm", in which he accused pharmaceutical companies of downplaying the side effects of drugs while over-promoting their benefits.

The industry enjoys the safety of the specialist knowledge that goes into producing drugs and exploits it to its advantage, making it simply a "market for lemons", he said.

Prof Light, a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey, said: "Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs' benefits.

"Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug. It's really a two-tier market for lemons."

The author made the accusations at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, during which he also accused "Big Pharma" of owning independent drug testing companies and hiding behind legal "firewalls" that protect them from questions over the effectiveness of their products.

He said 85% of new drugs pose more harm than good to patients, adding that the "relatively low bar" for effectiveness means that drug companies can push through drugs for approval too easily.

From here

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Holiday Rain..

Snowdonia is quite high up and thus gets a lot of rain - I knew this before I came to Wales..

However, I still really don't like rain. The cold I can cope with, but rain? - It sucks!

The holiday so far has been brilliant. We had 2 days of sun and we made the most of them and went to the beach.

It is good to not be at work though and al of the stresses that it brings.

Off out for a meal tonight for Dad's 60th. The pub, to which we are going used to have its menu online but I cannot seem to find it a the moment - Not sure if this is a good sign!

Oh well - Off to a farm park today - Most of it is indoors so the Kids should be well entertained!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

There should only be 1 four o clock!

For the last 2 days I have been at work since 0400 hrs.! It sucks!

In a nutshell, one of our servers went pop on Monday and the techies managed to get everything working except SQL replication. Now setting this back up should not usually cause a problem but since the database has grown since the last time I re-initialised replication there is now insufficient space to hold the snapshots that I need. Therefore I needed to replicate the tables one at a time.

Of course I didn't discover this space issue until 0840 on Wednesday when the attempt at replicating the whole job lot failed spectacularly and I discovered that I'd wasted almost 5 hours of my life that I'm never gonna get back again.

So that was it - Back in today at 0400 to do it properly (well one at a time) this time!

What are the odds of 2 raided hard drives failing at the same time....?

Monday, 9 August 2010

For Richard:


The views expressed in this post are not necessarily the views of the author!

What the heck is happening with global warming - We seem to have had 2 weeks of gorgeous weather at the beginning of July but now look at it - It is like autumn!

I refuse to believe that the earth is warming up! - True - The Russians would disagree with me on this. But in Good old Blighty it has been rubbish!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Hot off the press - Almost

My favourite songwriter / worship leader Matt Blick has got 2 new songs in the pipeline. I for one am waiting in eager anticipation.

Matt is one of the most gifted songwriters and worship leaders that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. The time that he spends developing lyrics and the music for his songs is obvious. Every Congregational song that he writes is filled with such amazing truth that gets written deep into your heart from pretty much the first hearing.

I can remember a song that we sing called 'Son of God / God the Son' I thought that you couldn't improve on perfection until he changed the entire chorus.

Here is a link to the song and some of the story behind it!

If you haven't checked out his free music downloads - Please do!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Kellogg's and Misleading Maths

Reading the BBC Website today; I came across a story about the nation's favourite purveyor of sugar-infested garbage otherwise known as breakfast cereal.

Apparently they are planning to cut the sugar in their coco-pops cereal by 15% - Whilst I agree that 0.85*35 = 29.75 - it is a wee bit misleading to be triumphing this as a major reduction - If they had said we are reducing our sugar content by 5.25g (or approx 1 tsp) It really wouldn't have been a headline would it.

Interestingly enough at 29.75% this sugar content is still ridiculously high and let's face it, what comes out of the coco-pops packet is still pretty much 1/3 sugar.

This will cause children's insulin levels to rise and then they will be feeling hungry by mid-morning and unable to concentrate.

Kellogg's have said:
"This is a process, so while we have announced we are taking 15% of sugar out by mid-next year, we will go further if we can take people's palates with us."

"We will continue to monitor the profitability of the brand and if people still buy it we may well reduce the levels further. We will reach a point at which the brand will become less profitable and then we will stop"
If anyone thinks that the likes of Kellogg's care two hoots about consumers and their health; they are sorely mistaken - The only thing Kellogg's care about is their margins.

This is why Kellogg's is a 'partner' in the 'Change4Life' program - To add legitimacy to its, frankly, unhealthy cereals that have got no place on the breakfast tables of the millions..  

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Susan Jebb - Conflict of interest - Updated

Susan Jebb - Currently she is Chair of the cross-government Expert Advisory Group on Obesity and a member of the Change4Life Board. She was an Expert Advisor to the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Review on Food and now sits on the FSA Food Policy Strategy Advisory Group.

She has also been paid thousands of pounds by Rosemary Conley.

A few people may remember the headlines in the national press from earlier this year..

Quote from the Guardian (12th July 2010)  - Here:

Today science is offering an authoritative and surprisingly positive endorsement: two studies from the Medical Research Council, led by one of Britain's leading nutrition scientists, say that Weight Watchers really does work, and is a cheap and effective way for the NHS to tackle Britain's huge obesity problem

 Jebb also ridiculed the Atkins Diet:

The Telegraph ran the story on August 13, 2003: ATKINS DIET MAY BE BAD FOR HEALTH, WARNS NUTRITIONIST.

Five days later, the paper ran a follow-up story, headlined: ANTI-ATKINS NUTRITIONIST WORKING FOR FLOUR MILLERS.

Turns out that Jebb’s research into diets had been part-funded to the tune of £10,000 by the Flour Advisory Bureau, the lobbying arm of the National Association of British and Irish Millers. Who make flour. Which people on the Atkins diet don’t eat much of.

Do we really want someone like this providing advice to us?

UPDATE - Looks like Ms Jebb is coming under fire for her links to the sugar industry too!

This poster is going up in my house...