Friday, May 27, 2011

Darwin Was Right (and the Doctors Were Wrong)

Among the many astute observations made by Charles Darwin is this gem: “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”

For real-world proof of this claim, look no farther than today’s papers. There, on the front page, are the results of a study that undermines the way physicians have treated heart disease.

As the New York Times put it: “The results are part of a string of studies that suggest that what doctors thought they knew about cholesterol may be wrong.”

In short, raising the level of their patients’ HDL, or “good” cholesterol, does not matter. For years, doctors have thought the opposite was true. They assumed (without proof, apparently) that raising the levels of good cholesterol – typically by prescribing niacin – would benefit their patients.

Now, it’s egg-on-the-face time.

“We were stunned, to say the least,” said Dr. William E. Boden, one of the study’s lead investigators.

“It’s a shocker,” Steven Nissen, chief of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Wall Street Journal. “Most of us in the medical community, if we were going to bet on anything, we would have bet on niacin.”

Q.E.D.

1 Comments:

Blogger Jonathan Byrne said...

Never assume, as you make an ass out of yourself and make me laugh my head off.

August 31, 2013 at 8:07 PM  

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