Powerful study shows cardiovascular risk from drinking alcohol

alcohol cardiovascular

There has been a belief that drinking small to moderate amounts of alcohol might provide a benefit to the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately for believers in that myth, new powerful scientific evidence debunks it.

I honestly never bought into it because it always seemed to be one of those medical myths that were never really supported by robust and repeated evidence. But it hung around for so long that even cardiologists thought that drinking moderate amounts of alcohol reduced the risks of cardiovascular events.

Drinking alcohol, even in moderate amounts, has a lot of deleterious effects like increasing the risk of cancer. So, maybe we should consider drinking alcohol to be along the lines of smoking cigarettes — evidence-based links to cancer, mental health, cardiovascular disease, and so much else. I know that I’m advocating a very unpopular point of view, but I’m into the science, not the societal, points of view.

So let’s take a critical look at this paper, and determine if it really does debunk the myth about alcohol and cardiovascular disease.

Continue reading “Powerful study shows cardiovascular risk from drinking alcohol”

COVID causes “substantial” long-term cardiovascular risks — get the vaccine

COVID-19 cardiovascular

A new study that includes nearly 12 million patients have found that COVID-19 causes severe long-term cardiovascular risks. This is convincing evidence that everyone who can get vaccinated should get vaccinated or boosted.

Let’s take a look at the study and find out what it says about COVID-19 and cardiovascular disease.

Continue reading “COVID causes “substantial” long-term cardiovascular risks — get the vaccine”

Athletes are not collapsing after getting any of the COVID vaccines

men in white and red jersey shirt playing soccer

I’ve noticed that anti-vaccine activists are pushing a trope that athletes are collapsing on the field after getting one of the COVID-19 vaccines. I watch a lot of sports and read a lot of sports news, so if this were really happening, I would have noticed.

I have to pick and choose which dumb anti-vaccine myths I need to debunk. But since I love sports and I know that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, I thought I’d look into it. And what I found was, as you might expect, nothing. It’s just one of those myths that anti-vaxxers make appear as factual but isn’t.

Let’s take a look at this silly myth.

Continue reading “Athletes are not collapsing after getting any of the COVID vaccines”

COVID-19 vaccines and myocarditis – what are the facts

medical stethoscope and mask composed with red foiled chocolate hearts

Regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and CDC, are monitoring reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation, after COVID-19 vaccines. Although if there is a link, it is exceedingly rare, anti-vaccine activists have already on this issue to make it appear that COVID-19 vaccines are dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether myocarditis is actually related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people. And if it is linked, we need to look at the potential risk and compare it to the risks of COVID-19 itself.

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Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked

COVID-19 vaccine myocarditis

Regulatory agencies across the world, including the FDA and CDC, are monitoring COVID-19 vaccine adverse events including reports of myocarditis, a heart inflammation. Of course, the anti-vaccine squad will probably jump on this to make it appear that the vaccine is dangerous.

My job is to look at this data and give you a scientific analysis of the observations and whether they are actually related to the vaccine.

Like with reports of other conditions, such as blood clots, after receiving COVID-19 vaccines, we need to examine whether this adverse event is related to the vaccine or just random events in which the incidence is no different than what would be predicted in a similar group of unvaccinated people.

Continue reading “Myocarditis and COVID vaccine – a rare event that may not be linked”

Chili peppers may be the key to long life and healthy cardiovascular system

chili peppers

A recently published paper describes how regular consumption of hot chili peppers may decrease overall mortality risk plus decrease risks for cardiovascular events. So pour your favorite hot sauce (I have several that I love) on your pancakes and through extra habañero peppers into your favorite meals.

Before you decide that taking the ghost pepper challenge with 1 million Scoville units every day of the week, let’s take a step back and allow your favorite feathered dinosaur to take a look at this study. As a warning, I think all nutritional studies should be taken with a grain a salt (pun intended). And this one is the same. Continue reading “Chili peppers may be the key to long life and healthy cardiovascular system”

Fried food increases cardiovascular mortality risk – sorry KFC

fried foods

As part of my ongoing series of articles that review interesting new studies, this week, I’m going to look at a new study that shows that fried food may be linked to increased risks of death from cardiovascular disease.

Now, some of you may be scratching your head and saying, “I’m sorry ye old feathered dinosaur, but tell me something I don’t know.” That’s the thing about science, we may think we know that eating a bucket of fried chicken or fish and chips is “bad” for you, but we can’t be sure until we have published studies that give us statistically powerful results.

Despite the beliefs by nearly everyone, including physicians, that fried food is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, studies have been inconclusive in establishing that link. A recent large prospective cohort study in Europe showed no link between fried food and coronary heart disease. The link between fried food and anything is hardly settled science, despite the conventional wisdom.

And since nearly 25-36% of Americans consume fast food, which presumably includes a lot of fried food, researchers wanted to reduce as many confounders as possible by narrowing the study group to women of a certain age.

And that’s what we have from a new study published in January 2019. Let’s take a look at the study and discuss what it may mean. Continue reading “Fried food increases cardiovascular mortality risk – sorry KFC”

Salt and cardiovascular health – not as evil as we once thought

salt

If you are worried about your cardiovascular health, one of the things you want to avoid is salt. This was based on ancient research that seems to show even moderate salt intake could do all kinds of bad things for your cardiovascular system.

I was always skeptical of these claims because if you’ve got a healthy set of kidneys, the body has an amazing ability to regulate salt levels in the body. Of course, maybe there is some level of salt consumption that increases the blood pressure, cause retention of water, and other issues that lead to cardiovascular issues.

Recently, a very large prospective epidemiological study examined levels of salt consumption versus cardiovascular events. What did they find? Only high levels of salt consumption are linked to cardiovascular health. Continue reading “Salt and cardiovascular health – not as evil as we once thought”

Omega-3 supplements have little effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality

omega-3 supplements

I have been skeptical of supplements for a long period of time. Supplements are generally of low quality, they don’t prevent or cure cancer, they don’t prevent colds, they can’t boost the immune system, and they don’t prevent heart disease. Now there is a powerful review of omega-3 supplements that shows that it has little effect on cardiovascular disease.

Unless one has a chronic disease or is chronically malnourished, there are precious few instances where supplements are necessary. A couple of cases where supplements may be critical include prenatal folic acid supplements to prevent neurological defects in the developing fetus, vitamin C to prevent scurvy, and vitamin D supplements for individuals who do not produce enough endogenous vitamin D. In each of these cases, however, supplements are necessary to counteract a micronutrient deficiency that results from a chronic deficiency in the diet.

The benefits of omega-3 supplements have always been intriguing to me because it is a supplement that I thought might be useful for improving cardiovascular health. But as I reviewed before, the evidence seemed awfully weak. With this new study, there may be no evidence whatsoever supporting the use of omega-3 supplements, at least for cardiovascular disease. Continue reading “Omega-3 supplements have little effect on cardiovascular disease and mortality”

Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular diseases study retracted – “aw nuts”

mediterranean diet

Although I think that most diets are bogus and healthy outcomes are not very well supported by scientific research, I have been a proponent of the so-called Mediterranean diet. It seems to have been linked to lower risks of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and some other chronic health conditions.

The claims of researchers who stated that the so-called Mediterranean diet, rich in plants, olive oil, fish, nuts, and other foods, was linked to lower risks of cardiovascular disease. It was a pivotal and robust cohort study, a powerful form of epidemiological study that sits near the top of the hierarchy of medical research, that influenced a lot of recommendations about the proper diet for people. The study was so powerful that I switched to that diet personally.

But lucky for the planet, science is self-correcting, and some aspects of the original study caused concerns, and the Mediterranean diet study was retracted and republished with corrections.

Does this mean that the Mediterranean diet was and is bogus? No, but let’s take a look at the whole story. Continue reading “Mediterranean diet and cardiovascular diseases study retracted – “aw nuts””