Trees

statin risks and benefits

I swear I don’t mean to pick on statins. There’s just so much about them in the news right now. A colleague of mine pointed me to an excellent website that puts findings on prescription drugs into perspective, and I think it’s important information to share.

 

Most studies showing benefits of drugs (or other substances), tout the results showing that taking the drug (or other substance) changes something more than would be expected from chance alone. For example, a positive study would be one showing that taking statins lowers cholesterol more than taking a placebo pill would do. In this case, the idea is that lowering cholesterol reduces heart-disease risk, and that statins therefore help prevent heart disease.

 

What the drug studies often don’t advertise, however, is how many people need to take the drug to see any positive or negative effect on the larger diseases the treatment is intended to address. This is called the “numbers needed to treat,” and can be very telling. The website my colleague recommended looks at numbers needed to treat for different classes of drugs.

 

Do statins help prevent heart disease? The numbers are not encouraging: (more…)

Dark chocolate protects brain from stroke effects

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — Orna @ 10:02 am


My friend Dr. Melissa Berry makes these amazing truffles

Dr. Melissa Berry makes these amazing truffles: missionarychocolates.com.

Sweet news from the chocolate researchers: They’re now finding a component in dark chocolate can help protect brain cells when oxygen is cut off by a stroke. The researchers gave epicatechin, found naturally in dark chocolate, to lab animals before and after inducing a stroke. The pretreated animals did much better than their untreated counterparts. Even more interestingly, researchers found the effect even when treating up to 3.5 hours after the stroke; most current post-stroke treatments are only effective if given more quickly. How does it work? It seems that epicatechin turns on two pathways that work to protect brain cells. This suggests that a little bit of regular, high-quality, dark chocolate may be a good defense — and a handy item to keep in the first-aid kit. (Via ScienceDaily.)

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