Thursday, February 9, 2012

Therefor, all men are Socrates

This rant is a reaction to an item on The Current, an excellent show on CBC radio. I am dumbstruck by the strange  reasoning by an MD who otherwise makes good sense.
Those so inclined can listen to the segment here. When possible, always go the source.

Dr. Agus is an oncologist who wants to see more emphasis on preventative medicine. 
All in favor. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that. 

He wants to see people eat a decent diet, get some exercise, toss away their high heels, and keep regular hours. Consider it done, at least in intention.

He wants to see people fight inflammation in order to reduce the risk of cancer in the long run. Great idea. 

He questions the safety of isolated vitamins. He rants against the laziness of people wanting to "take a pill" such as Vitamin E instead of making changes in lifestyle. He cites a bunch of studies that prove the danger of vitamins. That is a whole other topic. Studies dissing vitamins are often done with inferior synthetic vitamins. 

And then he makes a leap of reasoning that has me scratching my head. It has been observed that Statins used to lower cholesterol also lower the risk of cancer, because it turns out they are anti-inflammatory.

He wants all of us geezers over 50 to ask our doctors why we are not on statin drugs and/or baby aspirins. Hello doc, I thought you didn't like pills?

If the mechanism of action of statin drugs is anti-inflammatory, should we not focus on non-drug ways to decrease the load of inflammation in the body? Let's see the reasoning.

Statins are anti-inflammatories.
Anti-inflammatories help to prevent cancer.
Therefor all people should.....were you going to say "eat more anti-inflammatory foods"?
Nope. The good doctor wants all people to ask their doctor if Statins would be good for them.

It reminds me a bit of a Woody Allen moment. I can't remember the movie.
But it goes like this:  
"All men are mortal.
Socrates is a man.
Therefor all men are Socrates."

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