Scientist who convinced Boris lockdown was the only way to beat coronavirus criticised many times for flawed research

The scientist whose mathematical models of how the coronavirus would spread in the UK and the wildly exaggerated estimates of how many deaths might result from the epidemic reportedly led to the decision to implement a countrywide lockdown and trash the economy has been criticised in the past for flawed research.

In fact Professor Neil Ferguson, of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial College in London, who authored and published a research paper predicting that The UK was likely to see 250,000 premature deaths during a coronavirus epidemic unless measures to effectively shut down the country were taken. It is this research which convinced Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his cabinet and advisors to introduce the lockdown.


Neil Ferguson: would you buy a used mathematical model from this man (Picture: Daily Telegraph_

It is, however, always unsafe to accept the word of one scientist or one research project, and it seems Prof. Ferguson is such an incorrigible publicity junkie he has a track record for making exaggerated and sensationalised claims about the probable outcomes of various crises which is longer than the Tour de France course. It is now being discussed publicly that Ferguson has a long established reputation for making predictions based on allegedly faulty assumptions and the results of mathematical models which have nonetheless shaped government strategies and impacted the UK economy. We have to cease this deification of scientists now. They are not impartial and objective seekers after truth, but are every bit as self interested as the rest of us. And when we look at Freguson’s career and the disastrous policy decisions his methematical models have lead to, the best we can say is “He’s not The Messiah, he’sa a very naughty boy,” (h/t Monty Python’s Flying Circus.)

The 2001 model used by Professor Ferguson and his team at Imperial College London concluded that the culling of animals include not only those found to be infected with the virus but also those on adjacent farms even if there was no physical evidence of infection.

“Extensive culling is sadly the only option for controlling the current British epidemic, and it is essential that the control measures now in place be maintained as case numbers decline to ensure eradication,” said their report which as presented to government, but published after the cull began

This mass slaughter – technically known as contiguous culling – triggered disgust in the British public as news video night after night showed the corpses of healthy animals being stacked, soaked with fuel oil and burned, and also prompted analyses of the methodology which led to such an appalling and, as it turned out, unjustified conclusion.

An analysis of Ferguson’s research published in the 2011 paper, Destructive Tension: mathematics versus experience – the progress and control of the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic in Great Britain, found that the government had ordered the destruction of millions of animals on evidence from “severely flawed” modelling.

According to one of its authors – the former head of the Pirbright Laboratory at the Institute for Animal Health, Dr Alex Donaldson – Ferguson’s models made a “serious error” by “ignoring the species composition of farms,” (a fairly basic piece of information, it must require a special kind of stupidity to be unable to distinguish betwen cattle, sheep and pics,) and the fact that the disease spread more easily between some species than others.

The report stated: “The mathematical models were, at best, crude estimations that could not differentiate risk between farms and, at worst, inaccurate representations of the epidemiology of FMD.”

It also described a febrile atmosphere – reminiscent of the fear and panic whipped up by attention seeking “experts,” celebrities and the mainstream media in recent week – and suggested that this hysteria allowed mathematical modellers to shape government policy.

“The general impatience that met the wait for the full extent of infections to become apparent, accompanied by an ever increasing number of outbreaks and piles of carcasses awaiting disposal, was perceived as a lack of success of the traditional control measures and provided the opportunity for self-styled ‘experts’, including some veterinarians, biologists and mathematicians, to publicise unproven novel options,” the researchers said.

As the lead scientist behind that disputed advice that led to Tony Blair’s government ordering the mass culling of farm livestock during the 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease, a crisis which cost the country billions of pounds was none other than Ferguson who based his conclusion on the output from – you guessed it – mathematical models of a cow and a bacterium, it is absolutely unacceptable that this man’s advice is being allowed to influence government.

And before that it was he who predicted that up to 150,000 people could die from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or ‘mad cow disease’) and its equivalent in sheep if it made the leap to humans. The BSE panic is long forgotten but BSE is still around and still no cure has been developed, yet to date there have been fewer than 200 deaths caused by the human form of BSE and none resulting from sheep to human transmission.

Ferguson’s foot and mouth disease research has attracted strong criticism in scientific journals and therefore cannot be said to have passed the acid test of scientific research, peer review. It has also been the subject of critical academic papers which identified allegedly unsupportable assumptions being made by Ferguson in creating the algorithms and defining the data for his mathematical modelling.

When challenged, he robustly defended his work, saying that he had worked with limited data and limited time so the models weren’t 100 per cent right – but that the conclusions it reached were valid. but as every old computer pro like myself knows, conclusions based on incomplete data may be valid in the circumstances but are meaninless. Mathematical models can only be relied on if they are fed all the relevant data, if guesses are made to fill in the gaps then the law of GIGO kicks in, “Garbage In, Garbage Out”.

Professor Michael Thrusfield, of the veterinary epidemiology faculty at Edinburgh University, who co-authored both of the critical reports, said the papers were intended to serve asas a “cautionary tale” about the dangers of using mathematical models to predict the spread of disease when there are unknown factors that can probably never be known.

He spoke of experiencing a sense of “déjà vu” when he read Mr Ferguson’s Imperial College paper on coronavirus, which was published earlier this month.

That paper – Impact of non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) to reduce COVID19 mortality and healthcare demand – warned that if no action were taken to control the coronavirus, around 510,000 people in Britain would lose their lives.

Naive belief in the infallibility of mathematics has not only led to disastrous responses to outbreaks of disease of course, which is why many people of a naturally sceptical mindset have questioned the way modern academics conflate science and mathematics. Science and mathematics are not the same thing, in fact mathematics is not even a science, although we were al taught at school that is is. Mathematics is, in the truest sense of the word, an art: that is a contractions of artifice, which is a statement guaranteed to have some maths and science fanboys screaming in outrage. The true meaning of artifice however is not something false or dodgy, but something created by humans, something not of nature. And no matter what fanboys (and girls,) might try to tell you, nature does not do equations.

As I have said many time, computes are not infallible, they are only as good as the person who programs them. And there is no such thing as Artificial Intellegence, as Professor Ferguson’s wild adventures in mathematical modelling sem to show very clearly.

The Black-Scholes equation was the mathematical justification for the irresponsible trading in financial markets that plunged the world’s banks into meltdown a few years ago. The brainchild of economists Fischer Black and Myron Scholes, the equation provided a rational way (they believed,) to price a financial contract when it still had time to run. It was like buying or selling a bet on a horse, halfway through the race. It opened up a new world of ever more complex investments, blossoming into a gigantic global industry. But when the sub-prime mortgage market turned sour, the darling of the financial markets became the Black Hole equation, sucking money out of the universe in an unending stream. It was the Black-Scholes equation that opened up the world of derivatives.

The equation itself wasn’t the real problem. It was useful, it was precise, and its limitations were clearly stated. Derivatives could be traded before they matured. The formula was fine if you used it sensibly and abandoned it when market conditions weren’t appropriate. The trouble was its potential for abuse. Unfortunately a fatal flaw was that it allowed derivatives to become commodities that could be traded in their own right. The financial sector called it the Midas Formula and saw it as a recipe for making everything turn to gold. But the markets forgot how the story of King Midas ended.

The world’s banks lost hundreds of billions when the sub-prime mortgage bubble burst leaving thouse who had bought consolidated debt obligations in the belief that property prices would keep goping up forever. In the ensuing panic, taxpayers were forced to pick up the bill, but that was politics, not mathematical economics.

Likewise with Neil Ferguson’s mathematical models of diseases, in order to prevent a disaster which the professors mathematical models say is inevitable, politicians are being persuaded to courses of action that really will destroy national economies on the basis of a largely fictional (if not fantastic,) course of events. We must return to sanity now. Far more people are likely to die in a global recession than are ever going to be killed by coronavirus.

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When Progressives Accuse Conservatives and Libertarians of Wanting To Destroy The Planet

I often see left wing activists, eco – loons and ‘progressives’ around the web claiming that their critics, people who are sceptical of the ‘science’ that predicts Warmageddon any day now accuse anyone who challenges them or points out the economic and social lunacy of demanding we stop using carbon based fuels immediately of wanting to destroy the planet.
One has to wonder why followers of the cult of Saint Greta Thunberg think destroying the economy of the civilized world, throwing billions of people out of work and causing millions to die of starvation would be preferable to seeing a few thousand people a year die of the effects of pollution were the scare stories about Carbon Dioxide true. (They’re not, and if you are not aware of why they are not, your scioentifioc education is sadly lacking.

Another assertion that crops up time and again is that climate change sceptics somehow believe CO2 pollution does not affect them but only affects poor people. Firstly, CO2 is not a polutant. Secondly, while pollution is a serious problem in some places  it doesn’t affect sceptics as badly as it affects poorer people who vote Labour in Britain, Democrat in the USA, and socialist or leftist parties around the world – and if the left understood more clearly why this is so, they could be many times more effective at implementing the right environmental policies to deal with the problems.

Let me show you what I mean with the help of an American AGW sceptic site . Here’s a photo of Los Angeles on a clear day from 1990.

Smog like that used to be a huge problem, and that smog is not carbon dioxide (which is a colourless gas,) but probably a high concentration of nitrous oxide along with sulphates and other noxious gases. But today, Los Angeles looks like this:

The difference between those two photos is obvious. A lot of environmental policy changes were needed to get from point A to point B, and they worked. Mission accomplished.

Now, lets compare that to a photo of Chattanooga, Tennessee, from 1990:

And here’s Chattanooga today:

Other than 28 years worth of advances in camera technology, Chattanooga hasn’t changed much. In fact Chattanooga was considered one of the cleanest cities in America in 1990, and still is today. The environmental policies that were absolutely necessary in Los Angeles weren’t needed at all in Chattanooga.

One of the problems the left have is that their collectivist mindset demands one-size-fits-all solutions because they want everybody to be the same. However if you ask any fashion conscious woman how well do one size fits all solutions work in clothing, the answer will probably be too profane for a public forum.

One of the reasons socialism always fails is that for all their screeching to the contrary, socialists cannot abide diversity either at local or national national level. Thus we are seeing theEuropean Union falling apart as a result of its attempts to politically and financially integrate all its diverse member states (from industrial power house Germany, population 85 million,) to the island nation of Malta (population 350,000) with its fishing and tourism based economy.And we are seeing Britain (now out of the EU,) and other member states torn apart as divisions, between north and south, east and west, city and rural communities go unaddressed because the broad left, the neo – liberal, globalist consensus imposes national and global policies to problems that require local solutions.

The result of trying to pass national legislation to solve local problems is that you’re going to get a lot of push back from people who don’t have the problem you have. Moreover, they don’t want to spend money solving a problem they don’t have.

If I had, now how does the song go?, “A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,” for every time   I’ve read ridiculous statements like “Conservatives hate clean air and water” in response to their opposition to proposed environmental legislation that would shut down entire industries, I would perhaps have accumulated enough to take a holiday in some unspoiled island paradise in The Caribbean – maybe. But what for.There’s plenty of unspoiled countryside around where I live in north Lancashire and the air is clean. Yet less than 50 miles away away in Manchester,  Liverpool or Leeds the usual big city pollution problems apply

How can the left reasonably expect someone who can look outside and sees a lot of green, clean air, clean water, and a sustainably-developed/ undeveloped/unspoiled/unpolluted woodland, hillsides and valleys, fast  flowing streams in all directions that they should pay more in taxes to fix problems that in most places don’t need fixing?And how incompetent would a government have to be to spend shitloads of taxpayers money in order to provide a nationwide solution to a problem that only exists in a few localities.

How can you reasonably expect someone who has zero need for more regulations, more constraints on their freedom,  which would be completely unnecessary where they live, to be happy to pay the extra taxes and accept the curtailment of personal liberty?

Think it through. If a footballer breaks a leg during a game you don’t sent the whole team to hospital to have the broken bone set in a cast. If a kid eats something rotten and gets a gut infection you don’t give the whole school antibiotics.

The way left wing thinking works is like the guy with the shittiest yard in the street telling everyone else they should be doing more to keep the neighborhood nice.

In reality, most of the country, my country, your country, any country, is perfectly fine from an environmental impact standpoint. You wouldn’t pay someone to mow your lawn if your lawn didn’t need to be mowed. You wouldn’t pay a mechanic to fix your car if it wasn’t broken. And you wouldn’t be happy if government regulators came and said “Listen, we’re going to raise your taxes because people with overgrown lawns and inoperable cars can’t be arsed sorting their problems out.”

So, on the same token, why should communities who already do a good job taking care of the environment where they live be taxed and burdened with regulations to solve a problem they don’t have?

If the left understood this and focused environmental policy at the state and local levels, instead of the national and global, they would not be facing collapse here, in the USA, Europe etc. Why am I writing advice for the left when I am a libertarian you might well ask. It’s because I know I’m safe, the left never learn because they can never accept they are wrong. They can never admit those who oppose them might have a better understanding of a problem. Even now, after suffering a crushing defeat in the General Election two months ago, the UK Labour Party cannot acknowledge that working class voters abandoned then because they are perceived as out of touch with ordinary people, obsessed with minority issues like gay and trans rights, with pandering to Islamic extremists and with exporting more British jobs to China, India and other emerging economies in pursuit of unrealistic and self destructive targets for reducing CO2 emissions.

Conservatives and libertarians don’t hate clean air, green spaces or a healthy environment, but they are realists. Instead of trying to change the climate and atmosphere of the whole planet they focus on what they can change. We can save the environment and civilisation if we do it little by little.
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Little Greta Thunberg, who was elected by nobody apparently now speaks for us all on matters relating to climate change. The Swedish climate change hustler who is making a fortune for her handlers from donations to her campaign, again castigated Australia for continuing to mine and export coal despite her previous complaints, adding a call for an end worldwide to the actibity to her list of climate demands to be delivered at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos …

Another Kick In The Bollocks For Warmageddonists And CAGWARTS*
I’ve had many arguments with the Warmageddonists, the people who have been saying that if we did not shut down all coal, oil and gas related activites the earth was going to turn into a giant furnace and we would all burn. When the scaremongering first started, the deadline for frying was “after dinner”. Then it got to “Tomorrow …… or the day after tomorrow perhaps,” then “next year”, “before 2050,” and eventually “soon.”

What if man-made climate change is all in the mind?
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Scientists all over the world are busy creating extremely bizarre human-animal chimeras. Once again The Daily Stirrer has to say “We told you so”. There is something very creepy and sinister embedded in the typical scientists desire to play God. It is a complete, psychopathic disregard for moral boundaries. If we can do it that …

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Doctors may withhold treatment from patients with “green lifestyle issues.”

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Gobsmacking Stupidity Of The Left

It’s amazing, and highly amusing tolisten to Labour leaders Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell trying to wriggle out of admitting that their party lost the election because they have completely forsaken their working class roots. Bizarrely their supporters are equally deluded, looking around the online comment threads I see many people claiming the Conservatives won because Labour’s manifesto was not left wing enough.

Can’t anyone in that crazy party understand the working class are not left wing, they don’t want globalism and multiculturalism, they don’t want state control of everything and they certainly don’t want Oxbridge educated human rights lawyers who once read a book about working class people representing their interests in government.

For me the reason Labour lost is best summed up in a one liner delivered by a Brummie voter who described Jeremy Corbyn thus:

“a snotty Islington weirdo who hates Britain like the vegans hate Sunday roasts”.

 

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NHS: A Sacred Cow Or A Dysfunctional Bureaucracy

Political failures and corporate greed have brought the NHS to its knees, and led to my mother’s death

While the rest of the country obsesses over Brexit and the election and our political leaders, Jezza and Boris, compete to win the award for making the title of most outrageously dishonest pledge to protect the NHS I am unusually quiet on matters of politics, because I am still getting over the loss of my lovely wife Teresa who died of respiratory failure,while  surrounded by highly trained medical professionals and millions of poundsworth of hi tech equipment.

Only last week a story featured on the BBC main news of a young man, Mark Stuart, who was admitted to the same hospital as Teresa routine surgery, and having bee prepped for his operation, was left untended after the surgery was deyated and left without food or water for FIVE DAYS, The story is no longer online at BBC News but a report can be read on the Lancashire Evening Telegraph website..

You will read how the efforts of Mark’s parents to get to the truth of what happened and how such a cock up could go unnoticed for FIVE DAYS have been delayed, obstructed and obfuscated by snivelling little parasites who have brown nosed their way to roles far beyond their lavel of competence in the dysfunctional centralised bureaucracy that runs the national Health Service.

My wife’s case is still under investigation so I cannot go into great detail, but in view of similarities with the case of Mark Stuart and others involving the same hospital let’s just say a pattern has emerged.

Another case which has aspects of the same pattern featured in the i Newspaper today and is reproduced below in this not for profit blog under fair use terms, for public information.

The time where we could accept cautious evolution has passed – our NHS today needs a revolution
from the i Newspaper

“I love you too much, you have a heart of gold. Look after your Papa.” These were the last lucid words my mother said to me as I hugged her tighter than I’d ever done in my life. A week later she was gone.

One year ago at 2:32pm on the 29th November, Dr Anisha Malhotra took her last breath. A GP that had dedicated over 25 years of her life to the NHS was ultimately failed by it.

Four weeks earlier my mother had been admitted with a temperature and excruciating back pain. She was diagnosed with discitis, which proved to be resistant to antibiotics. A secondary heart attack as a result of the stress on her already frail body was enough to tip her over the edge. But what happened in hospital, which eventually led to the premature death of a 68-year old lady in the most horrible of circumstances, and the profound emotional trauma of family members witnessing it, was entirely avoidable.

Lifestyle-related disease – a result of consuming too much ultra-processed food and inactivity – had left her overweight, resulting in hypertension and severe osteoarthritis. Years of popping ibuprofen like Smarties to deal with joint pain made her anaemic, and loss of appetite made it particularly difficult to get enough nourishment from her vegetarian diet. Weak bones from malnourishment and lack of activity brought her to hospital twice last year in the space of four months.

‘The system is struggling to provide even basic quality care to many patients.’

An overstretched system

Although remarkably strong in spirit she was extremely frail and weak by the time she was admitted to hospital for the final time. But rather than allow her to die with dignity, an overstretched system meant a missed heart attack was only noted by her medical team eleven days after it was reported.By then it was too late to save her. Excess intravenous fluids led to heart failure. It took several days of diuretics to make her comfortable and allow her to be taken off oxygen. But by then she’d slipped into a deep coma, never to wake up again.

There can be no doubt years of austerity and NHS underfunding have led to a shortage of nurses and doctors unable to keep up with increasing demand. But even if that were to be resolved overnight it would be at best no more than putting a sticking plaster on a severed artery, because the system is struggling to provide even basic quality care to many patients.

Lifestyle factors and ‘too much medicine’

The two major reasons for this are simply not being addressed: maldistribution of resources through “too much medicine”; and diet-related disease. Former medical director of NHS England, Sir Bruce Keogh, has previously stated that one in seven operations and treatments should never have been carried out on patients in hospital.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges waste report stated that “one doctor’s waste is another patient’s delay”. For my mother that meant waiting for two extra hours (because of understaffing) to be prescribed oxygen and diuretics whilst in crashing pulmonary oedema, an experience that can only be likened to drowning but remaining alive at the same time. And this is despite my father, a doctor, watching by her bedside totally helpless to relieve the suffering of his life partner of 45 years.

The root of our healthcare crisis

This can and must not be taken as attack on the NHS itself. Instead, it’s an indictment on what is at the very root of our healthcare crisis: those vested interests that have brought it to the brink of collapse. The increasing burden of diet-related disease is at the heart of increasing demand on the NHS, yet there is absolutely nothing in the Conservative manifesto on policy changes to deal with the public health crisis.

It also does not address the tainted, industry-biased research which continues to cause significant harm to patients, with side effects of medications one of the leading causes of death. If 93 per cent of medical research is of questionable reliability and not relevant to patients it’s going to lead to bad outcomes, and that’s what we’ve got. But such lack of action is perhaps not surprising.

A BMJ investigation earlier this year highlighted that the Conservative party has received £4.3m from “free market” think tank, the IEA, that has opposed public health initiatives to tackle obesity, such as calorie labelling and advertising restrictions on unhealthy foods. This organisation has received funding from tobacco companies and the sugar and soft drinks industries.

 

‘It is now time all doctors also took some responsibility’

Following the cash-for-questions scandal in 1994, the then Prime Minister, Sir John Major, set up the Committee on Standards in Public Life. A subsequent report made it imperative that all those in public life, including MPs and Doctors whose primary duty is to serve the needs of the people, uphold the seven so-called “Nolan principles”: selflessness, objectivity, integrity, accountability, honesty, openness, and leadership.

The excesses and manipulations of industry that put personal greed and wealth before health would not be possible if it were not aided and abetted by regulators, politicians and powerful scientists.

It is now time all doctors also took some responsibility for and action against system failures that make their jobs unmanageable and, most importantly, deny patients timely and quality care. Corporate greed and systematic political failure have brought the NHS to its knees.

The system is broken and money alone cannot fix it. The time where we could accept cautious evolution has passed – our NHS today needs a revolution. No one should suffer like my mother, and no family should have to witness it.

Dr Aseem Malhotra is an NHS Consultant Cardiologist and Professor of Evidence Based Medicine

My mother’s vegetarian diet contributed to her early death. We should all learn from it

NHS cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra: my mother’s diet was full of ultra-processed foods and was ultimately to the detriment of her health

Two weeks ago, my father and I made a trip to Rishikesh in northern India to scatter my mother’s ashes in the River Ganges at an idyllic location at the foothills of the Himalayas. This was in keeping with her wishes as a devout Hindu that her spirit be released at a place she loved and previously visited on pilgrimage. Our family lost a greatly cherished mother and wife who went before her time, at only 68 years old.

I believe that what was finally written on her death certificate – severe sepsis and discitis with concomitant myocardial infarction (heart attack) – was entirely avoidable.

‘Growing up, I witnessed her regular consumption of starchy carbohydrates and ultra-processed snack foods of biscuits, crisps and chocolate. Our kitchen was flooded with these products’

i’s opinion newsletter: talking points from today

For most of her adult life, my mum was vegetarian and significantly overweight. Growing up, I witnessed her regular consumption of starchy carbohydrates and ultra-processed snack foods of biscuits, crisps and chocolate. Our kitchen was flooded with these products. I still have a vivid memory of her only meal on a weekly fast day consisting of a large chapatti and what can only be described as a mountain of table sugar. Her weight contributed to developing high blood pressure in her 40s and as a result, she suffered a brain haemorrhage in 2003.

Despite making a full recovery, taking up going to the gym and even learning to swim at the age of 50, the next 10 years resulted in a gradual deterioration in her mobility. Obesity related osteoarthritis led to slipped discs and severe degeneration of her spine, forcing her to take early retirement from General Practice.

Her vegetarian diet required her to take Vitamin B12 and iron supplementation. Protein deficiency led to sarcopenia (a decline in muscle mass) which limited her mobility even further. In the last six months of her life, she had two hospital admissions with agonising spontaneous sequential bilateral osteoporotic fractures of her pelvis. By the time she passed away, even high doses of morphine weren’t enough to completely ease the additional excruciating back pain from an infection in her spine.

What I see in my job as an NHS cardiologist

Such cases are not unusual for me to see as a cardiologist working in the NHS. The majority of those admitted with heart attack are not obese but have a condition known as metabolic syndrome  (photo: Pixabay)

Such cases are not unusual for me to see as a cardiologist working in the NHS. The majority of those admitted with heart attack are not obese but have a condition known as metabolic syndrome  (photo: Pixabay)

Although, as in my mum’s case, it is widely acknowledged that obesity is associated with the development of chronic disease, a not well-known phenomenon of being “overfat” (defined as excess body fat that can impair health and contribute to chronic disease) is now estimated to affect 70 to 80 per cent of the Indian adults and 41 per cent of children.

A large percentage of overfat individuals will have a normal Body Mass Index, with up to 50 per cent having excess body fat linked to risk factors for disease.

I recently learned an uncle of mine who has been a “slim” physically active vegetarian all his life, and never smoked, had a triple coronary bypass for three occluded heart arteries aged only 69. This was less than a year after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. When I spoke to him, he admitted for the last twenty years his diet was high in flour based and sugary foods, but he believed because he wasn’t overweight he was perfectly healthy.

The diabetes capital of the world

Such cases are not unusual for me to see as a cardiologist working in the NHS. The majority of those admitted with heart attack are not obese but have a condition known as metabolic syndrome with one of the major components being increased waist circumference. The significant limitation of BMI (calculated by dividing one’s weight in kg by height in metres squared) is that is that it fails to take into account age, ethnicity, bone structure, fat distribution and muscle mass.

‘It’s instructive to note that India, with more vegetarians and vegans than the rest of the world combined, is the “diabetes capital of the world”‘

In developed countries such as the USA, New Zealand, Greece, and Iceland the prevalence of having excess body fat has reached over 90 per cent. In the UK, it’s estimated that 86 per cent of the adult men and 77 per cent of women are overfat. Excess body fat, which acts as a substrate for chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, is now implicated in the development of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer and Alzheimer’s.

It’s instructive to note that India, with more vegetarians and vegans than the rest of the world combined, is the “diabetes capital of the world”. The city of Chandigarh has the highest prevalence of type 2 diabetes in the country and the state of which it is capital, Punjab, has 75 per cent of the population as vegetarian. In the subcontinent, the last 50 years have specifically seen significant increases in consumption of processed wheat, sugar and vegetable oils (which have overtaken animal fats as a percentage of calories).

Majority of vegetarians not following a healthy diet

(One can have a very healthy vegetarian diet but the majority of vegetarians in the world are clearly not following this (Getty Images)

(One can have a very healthy vegetarian diet but the majority of vegetarians in the world are clearly not following this (Getty Images)

The Indian Dietetic Association recently put out a statement claiming 84 per cent of vegetarians in the country are protein deficient versus 65 per cent of meat eaters. As one of New Zealand’s most eminent dietitian’s Dr Caryn Zinn told me: “Calorie for calorie, meat is more proteinaceous and nutrient dense than vegetables. Of course, one can have a very healthy vegetarian diet but the majority of vegetarians in the world are clearly not following this.”

A large observational study conducted in Australia in 2016 concluded that contrary to popular belief, once other lifestyle factors were accounted for, vegetarians do not live longer than non-vegetarians in the developed world. Similarly, a large Austrian study published in the prestigious medical journal PLOS 1 found that despite having a lower BMI and less alcohol consumption, “a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders) a higher need for health care and a poorer quality of life.”

‘The point about saturated fat is: the evidence is now looking pretty good, but the guidance hasn’t shifted’

The totality of evidence does not find an association with the consumption of unprocessed red meat and reduced life expectancy. The association of the dietary saturated fat and heart disease found in high amounts in animal products has also been debunked in a paper I coauthored with two eminent cardiologists.

Taking much of this evidence into consideration after two days of debate and discussion at the international science and politics of nutrition conference jointly hosted by medical reinsurance company Swiss Re and the BMJ in June last year, the editor in chief of the journal Dr Fiona Godlee remarked: “The point about saturated fat is: the evidence is now looking pretty good, but the guidance hasn’t shifted […] there doesn’t seem to have been an enormous ‘mea culpa’ from the scientific community that we got it so wrong. That does surprise me.”

A focus on starch, sugar and salt reduction instead

(Pexels) Population-wide strategies to curb obesity should now discard fat and saturated fat and focus on starch, sugar and salt reduction instead.

(Pexels) Population-wide strategies to curb obesity should now discard fat and saturated fat and focus on starch, sugar and salt reduction instead.

Dariush Mozaffarian, Dean of the Freedman School of Nutrition Science And Policy at Tufts University, Massachusetts, told me at the event in Zurich that population-wide strategies to curb obesity should now discard fat and saturated fat and focus on starch, sugar and salt reduction instead.

Ultra-processed food now makes up more than half of the British diet and is strongly linked to weight gain and even cancer. Ultra-processed is broadly defined as industrial formulations (any packaged food) with five or more ingredients. And when broken down into food groups, 77 per cent comes from sugary products and drinks, starchy foods and breakfast cereals, and ultra-processed fruit and vegetables. 19 per cent comes from ultra-processed meat, fish, eggs and dairy, and two per cent from “fats” and two per cent from salty snacks.

‘There’s been much media hype recently suggesting that adopting a meat or animal product free diet is best for human and planetary health, but this is not evidence-based’

There’s been much media hype recently suggesting that adopting a meat or animal product free diet is best for human and planetary health, but this is not evidence-based.

An independent report from the US Department of Agriculture predicts complete removal of animals from the food supply would only reduce total US greenhouse gases by 2.6 per cent but simultaneously increase dietary energy consumption from a plant only system and worsen nutritional deficiencies.

Not less meat, but better meat

Red meat happens to be one of the best sources of zinc and Vitamin B12 (Photo: Miguel Mendez/AFP/Getty Images)

Red meat happens to be one of the best sources of zinc and Vitamin B12 (Photo: Miguel Mendez/AFP/Getty Images)

 

“We don’t need less meat but better meat in the food supply,” said Dietitian and organic farmer Diana Rodgers. She recently wrote a devastating critique of the “nutritionally deficient” Eat Lancet report which recommends we consume less than half an ounce of red meat per day, the equivalent of one eight of a steak.

 

Red meat happens to be one of the best sources of zinc and Vitamin B12, a supplement of which needs to be taken by up to 92 per cent of vegans. “Well-managed cattle can also be one of our best tools at mitigating climate change,” Rodgers added, citing a study that shows how methane-emitting cattle can actually be a carbon sink, when looking at the full life cycle. “It’s not the cow, it’s the how.”

 

‘The biggest beneficiaries could very well be the ultra-processed “meat and dairy free” food industry, the vitamin and supplement industry and a predictable rise in the overfat epidemic and associated chronic diseases would be a cash cow for Big Pharma’

So whilst population health continues to suffer, the biggest beneficiaries could very well be the ultra-processed “meat and dairy free” food industry, the vitamin and supplement industry, and a predictable rise in the overfat epidemic and associated chronic diseases would be a cash cow for Big Pharma.

My mother dedicated most of her adult life to working as a GP in the NHS and was one of the most kind and compassionate people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She wholeheartedly supported my public health advocacy work as it was in line with her philosophy as a Hindu to put Dharma (duty) to the community as paramount.

Sadly, her devout religious faith to avoid consuming animal products, combined with a high starch, high sugar diet, was ultimately to the detriment of her health. I very much hope that her premature and painful death was not in vain and we can learn that much of these ills are preventable.

Dr Aseem Malhotra is an NHS Consultant Cardiologist and Professor of Evidence Based Medicine. He is donating his fee for this article to Children in Need. 

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Sane Democrats See Little To Gain From Impeaching Trump, Fear It Will Backfire

In an opinion poll commissioned by Reuters a majority of US Democrat voters say they fear that the latest m,ove to impeach President Trump over the Biden-Ukraine scandal will backfire, giving him a boost into the 2020 US election.  One has to wonder about an epidemic of dementia among leading Democrats, given that their leading hopefuls for the 2020 Presidential Election are all well over seventy and have forgotten that only a few weeks ago after screeching since 2016 that Trump collaborated with Russia to steal the presidency from Hillary Clinton, a major investigation into the affair aimed at gathering evidence to  the impeachment collapsed in ignominy having spent millions of dollars and summoned hundreds of witnesses only to find there was not a single shred of evidence to support allegations of malfeasance by the Trump campaign made by supporters of Hillary Clinton. Right now Democrats looking to impeach Trump have major credibility issues after the Mueller report failed to show that Trump ‘colluded’ with Russia, and a transcript of his call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky failed to show Trump strongarming him into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and Democrat front runner fort the 2020 nomination and his coke addict son who is known to have had dodgy dealings with Ukrainian oligarchs. Below the picture of a gloating Trump are a few snippets from the Reuters report on the poll.

Among the public, interviews with more than 60 voters across four of the most important counties in the 2020 election showed Republicans largely confident the impeachment process will backfire and Trump will win re-election. Democrats, on the other hand, are worried they may be right.

Marc Devlin, a 48-year-old consultant from Northampton County, Pennsylvania, said he expects the inquiry to “incense” supporters of the president. “This is my fear, that it will actually add some flame to his fire with his base,” he said. “I just fear ‘party over country.’”

Meanwhile:

A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken on Monday and Tuesday showed 37% of respondents favored impeaching the president versus 45% who were opposed. That 37% figure was down from 41% three weeks earlier and down from 44% in May, after the release of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election. –Reuters

“After this he has a much better chance of winning another election, as scary as that sounds,” said 39-year-old Richard Sibilla of Pinellas County, Florida, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. “It’s not even worth following because it’s all going to help him.

Reuters has set up a project to monitor voters in four key states that could determine the outcome of next November’s presidential election; Pinellas County, Florida; Maricopa County, Arizona; Northampton County, Pennsylvania; and Racine County, Wisconsin – areas which will be among the most targeted by presidential candidates next year.

While Congressional Republicans remain broadly sceptical of Trump, who came from outside the political establishment to win the presidency Republican voters, as expected, are firmly in Trump’s camp having embraced hisd populist rhetoric.

I don’t think he did anything wrong,” said 78-year-old barber shop owner Joe D’Ambrosio of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who applauds Trump’s efforts to crack down on illegal immigration.

“I have not had one Republican crack or say they’re turning or going the other way. They’re laughing it off. I think it’s going to help him,” said Lee Snover, chair of the Northampton County Republican Committee, who said she felt the impeachment inquiry was simply the latest Democrat attempt to take out Trump.

That sentiment was shared at a meeting of College Republicans United at Arizona State University on Wednesday.

“They have this idea that everyone is siding with them, that Trump is an impeachable president, when really it’s only a minority,” Rose Mulet, 19, said of the Democratic leadership in Congress. “It’s not a reflection of the general public.” –Reuters

That kind of hubris is typical of the far left everywhere in the developed world, these people’s minds are so closed and their self – righteousness so insulated by quasi religious zeal, they cannot see how intelligent person could disagree with their opinion. The same trait can easily be identified in the UK among people who have tried to overturn the vote to leave the EU, and in EU nations among the elitists who still push for a Federal European Superstate in the face of a resurgence in nationalism.

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Breaking News From Planet Snowflake – Kitchen Knives To Be Banned

As we’ve said before, this blog started  out as a social and political satire publication. Then about 2010 maybe, the virtue signalling of the political left and progressive liberals became so insane it was beyond sanity. This story illustrates how far beyond sanity we have travelled.

‘Beyond parody’: Call for UK to ban pointed kitchen knives ridiculed online

Church of England bishops (who else could be so far out of touch with reality?) are leading a campaign calling on the government to take a toughen up its position on on knife crime, in the wake of a massive upsurge in knife attacks and violent crime since the police were ordered to prioritise the investigation of ‘hate crime’ over pursuing real criminals. One of their suggestions is banning pointed kitchen knives. The suggestion has been met on social media with some confusion, and a lot of jokes.

Church leaders, with support from police, psychiatrists and politicians, penned an open letter to the government, arguing that domestic knives should be redesigned with rounded tips to reduce the number of life-threatening stabbing injuries being inflicted bt thugs with hunting knives, combat knives and machetes. They reportedly argue that pointed blades aren’t even needed in this day and age, given that we have forks to eat with. The useless old farts have obviouslt never skinned a rabbit or gutted a fish.

The absurdity of banning a common kitchen implement was pointed out by bemused netizens, particularly as the proposal comes after police recently announced that they will no longer post images of seized knives “to help reduce the fear of knives,” and as the Home Office uses takeaway packaging to basically tell people that stabbing is bad.

WTF? DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND THUGS THINK BEING BAD IS KOOL, SO TELLING THEN STABBING IS BAD WILL ONLY ENCOURAGE THEM?

Despite such highly effective crime-fighting tactics, the government seems to be having little actual effect on violent knife crime rates if official statistics cab ve believed, and efforts to ‘reach out’ to young criminas appears to be failing to reduce crime or assure the public that the problem is being dealt with.

Many Twitter users were baffled by the suggestion of a pointed kitchen knife ban, wondering if it’s some sort of joke, while others highlighted the fundamental futility of the idea by noting how easy it is to find an alternative sharply-pointed weapon, or to make one.

Some weighed in with creative alternatives to food preparation, should you find yourself bereft of a pointed kitchen knife.

And commenters across the pond were less than impressed with the ‘banning pointy knives’ proposal, with one saying: “When you Europeans get high and mighty about America’s guns and tell us we need to be more like you… this is what comes to mind.”

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New Discoveries Undermine Global Warming Narrative


Picture: Armstrong economics

I have long been sceptical about the climate change / Anthropogenic Global warming narrative. The way it sprang up just as the general population were rejecting the cold war model of geopolitics was too convenient, it seemed, to someone whose social history studies had covered the way political establishments create bogeymen and use fear to control populations. And though I only reached a very mundane level of study in the natural sciences during my formal education, I learned enough to understand a lot of the claims made by the Global Warming lobby only made sense in terms of the science of research grant phishing.
Still, the sciencetits saw Global Warming as a nice little earner and the politicians sense it was a way to tighten their grip on power, justify punitive taxes on essential goods and keep the increasingly unruly population in line and so fiction became fact.

God to see there are still some honest scientists out there, willing to challenge the narrative.

New Discoveries Undermine Global Warming Narrative by Martin Armstrong

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