Big Pharma propaganda can pop up where you least expect it

It wasn’t a drug company commercial, or from a brochure found at Walgreen’s or CVS. No, it was at Yahoo news. Or more specifically, at Yahoo Health.

It was made to look like a genuine “health” story, with the important headline, “5 ways to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease.”

And it sure sounds like it’s giving some good advice…at first.

That’s the part where it’s talking about the connection between aluminum and brain damage. How it’s toxic and can build up in your brain and may be a “contributing” cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

But then, after telling us just how dangerous aluminum is, it says that lowering your exposure to the metal is a good idea but not the “most important” thing to do. If you want to really lower your Alzheimer’s risk the author has 5 big tips for you.

After warning you to keep your blood sugar in check, exercise, avoid head injuries and drink mineral water — well then comes the sales pitch.

Tip 5 tells us that in “studies” where “large groups” took statin drugs (like Lipitor), they “reduced their risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by about 60 to 70 percent.”

And that advice comes from Dr. Douglas Scharre, who is director of the division of cognitive neurology at Ohio State University.

Dr. Scharre sure likes statins. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that he’s a consultant for Novartis, Abbott and Pfizer? Or the fact that he’s on the “speakers’ bureau” for Janssen, Pfizer, Abbott and AstraZeneca?

In fact, all the studies I found with Dr. Scharre’s name on them were actually funded by a drug company.

But (surprise!), Yahoo Health and Dr. Scharre neglected to tell us these little tidbits:

That even the FDA has been investigating reports of “cognitive impairment” caused by statins for years now.

And that people are reporting memory loss, forgetfulness and confusion after taking the drugs. Or that some have had memory problems after taking statins for as little as one day.

Nope, I don’t think that’s something Dr. Scharre, his friends at Pfizer or the Big Pharma PR department — also called Yahoo Health — will be telling us any time soon.

Sources:
“5 ways to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease” Amy Rushlow, October 21, 2014, Yahoo! Health, yahoo.com