My last blog highlighted the bully boy tactics used to silence critics of mainstream medicine. Normally by threatening anyone who dares question the experts of ‘killing patients’, or words to that effect. It is a well-worn tactic which, surprisingly, seems to work every time.
‘If you dare to question breast cancer screening, women will die.’
‘If you question the use of statins, millions will die.’
‘If you….’ well you get the general gist.
There are of course slightly more subtle versions of this. However, when a medical ‘expert’ deigns to address mere mortals, we know what they mean when they say ‘The salt ‘debate’ must stop.’ What they are saying, albeit indirectly, is that if you don’t stop questioning what I say, millions will die. Maybe billions…..over the years, perhaps an entire Google.
On this note, several different people pointed me at a recent debate at the conference of the European Society of Hypertension (ESH) and the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) in Athens. Well, not a debate really, more of a tirade. Here is one part of the report
‘Any “controversy” over whether dietary salt is a cause of heart disease and stroke is the result of weak research methodology or commercial interference, Dr Norm Campbell (Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta, Calgary) and Dr Graham MacGregor (Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, London, UK) argued here….’1
I shall translate their statement. If you do not believe that excess salt consumption is a cause of heart disease and stroke you are a flawed and misdirected scientist (weak research methodology), or you are corrupt (commercial interference). No other explanation is, of course, possible. You are either an idiot, or corrupt, and therefore – by definition – should be ignored. Or perhaps stoned to death for being an unbeliever.
Ah well, that put me in my place. Along with anyone else who dares to disagree with the mighty Norm Campbell and Graham MacGregor. Now Graham MacGregor makes great play of the fact that grubby commercial companies are pushing hard to get us to put more salt in his food. He, of course, has no commercial affiliations.
Hold on. Is he not on the board of the Blood Pressure Association? An organisation that receives funding from various different sources……
You may like to know that we have been very fortunate to have received substantial funding from a number of organisations who have helped the Association get off the ground. These Founder Members are listed below:2
- Astra-Zeneca UK Limited
- Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceuticals Limited
- Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited
- The Community Fund
- Omron Healthcare UK Limited
- Pfizer Limited
- Servier Laboratories Ltd
- Solvay Healthcare Limited
Would some of these companies not be pharmaceutical companies? Would some of them make tablets to lower blood pressure? Well, gosh, let me think….
Astra-Zeneca, just to look at the first company on the list. They make:
Well, that’s only five blood pressure lowering agents. Which means that Astra-Zeneca clearly have little interest in blood pressure lowering….not. If you were being a little cynical, you would think that an organisation almost entirely funded by pharmaceutical companies might be considered to have a dog in this fight? You might think that Graham MacGregor could, just possibly, have a little conflict of interest going on. No, surely not.
As for Norm Campbell.
‘Dr. Norm Campbell has given talks sponsored by Bayer, Sanofi Aventis, Biovail, Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Novartis and Merck Frosst and also has been on advisory boards for Novartis, Pfizer, Servier, Boehringer Ingelheim and Schering Plough.’ 3
As per usual. Seek the commercial conflicts, and ye shall find. You don’t get to be the sort of professor who gets to stand up, command the stage, and intone your words of wisdom at an international medical conference without a little background helping hand from a few pharmaceutical companies. Anyway, what were these two saying about commercial interference again? Difficult to think with the sound of all these cash registers ringing in my ears.
Of course, if confronted, these two will state that all the money they receive goes to charity, or that any funding makes no difference to what they say….or suchlike. As Robbie Burns once remarked. ‘Oh wad some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us.’
‘You, are corrupt because you have accepted money from a commercial source; I, on the other hand, am not. Because I am a superior being incapable of being tainted by money.’
However, the main point here is the fact that we have more bully boy tactics going on. Two ‘grand fromages’ take the stage to beat the opposition into pulp.
‘When a member of the audience pointed to the PURE analysis showing that most of the world eats much higher levels of sodium than those recommended by most international organizations, MacGregor and Campbell leaped on this as an example of a study that had radically failed to measure salt in an appropriate fashion, even devising a new “formula” to estimate salt intake because even spot urine testing had been inadequate. “Please let [PURE principal investigator Dr] Salim Yusuf [McMaster University, Hamilton, ON] know that he should stop using spot urine analysis,” MacGregor said curtly.’
I do hope that everyone in the audience made their own minds up about what they were hearing. I suspect the reporter had their own view, by including the word ‘curtly’.
May I make, yet another, plea for medical experts to stop, cease and desist, attempting to bully into submission anyone who dares disagree with them. It is demeaning.
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