A Plague of Doctors

Simon Clark has an article about the proposal to ban smoking in cars, featuring Vivienne Nathanson of the BMA, who wrote:

Ten days ago doctors at a British Medical Association meeting voted to ask the Government to legislate to ban smoking while driving a motor vehicle. Is this a daft conceit or is there reason behind the concern?

Burning tobacco produces toxins — micro-particulate matter and hundreds of chemicals that are hazardous to health. The evidence on passive smoking is well accepted. It was the reason behind the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces. Passive smoking is a major health hazard with the unwitting smoker’s chances of getting cancer or having a heart attack increased. And the ban has meant that non-smokers have not had to seek cleaner air, it is theirs as of right.

Sorry. But the actual evidence on passive smoking is that there’s no significant risk. I’ve got a list of 110 studies most of which say there’s no significant risk. So what evidence are you talking about?

None at all, probably. The medical establishment is in fact ignoring the evidence, and asserting that there is a risk, because it wants smoking banned everywhere. Ultimately it wants smoking made illegal. They are engaging in social engineering. And the way they’re doing it is to use their status and authority as doctors to create and maintain the perception that passive smoking poses a risk. This was the strategy set out by Chief Medical Officer George Godber in the 1970s, and which has been pursued ever since by his successors.

Nathanson prattles on:

So where next? There is clearly more to be done in getting the public firmly and fully onside, and making sure that everyone understands the evidence. This will take time, and legislation should follow a campaign to inform and engage the public, as happened with seat belts. Doubtless the tobacco industry will lobby against this. But in terms of the ladder of interventions this is a clear winner. Failure to act condemns the vulnerable to continuing risk, and action will reduce health and road traffic crash costs for all of us.

Making sure that everyone understands the evidence? You must be joking. More like making sure that nobody understands the actual evidence.

Who is Vivienne Nathanson, anyway?

Professor Vivienne Nathanson qualified at Middlesex Hospital Medical School, London, in 1978 and then spent five and a half years in various hospital medical posts before joining the British Medical Association staff in 1984. Professor Nathanson was appointed as Scottish Secretary (Chief Executive) for the BMA 1990-1995, and then as Head of Central Services and International Affairs 1995-1996. She is now Director of Professional Activities at the BMA, which encompasses all the professional areas of work of the BMA including Ethics, Science, Medical Education, Public Health, Doctors’ Health, Equal Opportunities, International Affairs and Conferencing. In 2004 Vivienne Nathanson became an Honorary Professor in the School for Health at Durham University. She was also awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by Strathclyde University. In 2008 Professor Nathanson was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians.

So she’s another one of those doctors who seems to have spent very little time actually, y’know, treating patients. It’s been one bureaucratic job after another, by the looks of it. And what is she now?

“The BMA is not against alcohol,” Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics insisted today. *

So it looks like, somewhere along the way, she became some sort of authority on science and ethics (and International Affairs, for chrissakes), in addition to medicine. Did she study science and philosophy and politics somewhere along the line?

I dunno about anybody else, but I don’t think that doctors are moral authorities. At least no more so than anyone else. I think that their expertise lies in treating injuries and diseases of one sort or other. I think there are particular ethical problems in doing that kind of thing, which all doctors struggle with – like whether to treat all patients equally, or give their attention just to those whose lives they think they can save -. These are ethical questions which most people never face.

But here’s a doctor who thinks she can tell people how to live their lives, where they can smoke, what they can drink, and so on. Why can’t car mechanics and plumbers and butchers and bakers do the same? Why don’t we get lectured by those people about how to live our lives? Probably because most of the people in those professions simply aren’t that arrogant.

The medical profession, I’ve more or less concluded, has got way above itself. It’s laying claim to expertise outside its disciplinary scope. Doctors have become know-alls, pontificating on matters in which they have no special expertise, and no unique insight.

The profession needs to be taken down a few rungs. People like Nathanson (and I can think of a whole bunch more) should be expelled from the profession. They should be struck off the medical register. And the entire profession should be re-organised, with the BMA and the RCP and other bodies closed down, and some new professional body created which actually represents those practising doctors who are actually trying to do their original job of, y’know, healing sick people. And maybe they should stop calling themselves “doctors”, as if they’re all Doctors of Philosophy or something? How about “medical practitioners”? Or (as I have suggested before) “cunt plumbers”? Bit hard to get above yourself if that’s your job description, eh?

Perhaps that’s too draconian? But I’m convinced that something has to be done. And I think that, in time, something will be done, and that this outbreak (might I call it an “epidemic”?) of megalomania will be curbed, one way or the other. The medical profession will have to be destroyed, and rebuilt from the bottom up.

Because this renegade profession is now busily tearing apart the entire fabric of society, shattering communities, and setting people against each other, in a blinkered and narrow-minded pursuit of a “health” which no genuine health at all. It is no longer a profession that heals and cures. It has itself become a plague. And it has to be treated accordingly.

* This was reported in the Independent 8 Sep 2009. Junican and Rose have pointed out in the comments that she has since been reported to have said (on 1 March 2011):

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol – it is not like other types of food and drink.”

This is another example of how antis say one thing at one point in time, and the opposite at another.

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About Frank Davis

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35 Responses to A Plague of Doctors

  1. Paul says:

    Through popular will or not? Or will it happen from the inside?

    I think what is most likely to happen is what is happening already – many doctors and nurses will become even more controlling, demanding (rather than asking) questions about people’s private lives and people will start to resist. Going to see the nurse for the check-up will become more like an interrogation than a simple check-list that one can evade or lie about. They’ll start telling you that you’re lying about your alcohol intake because you’ve been seen in the local supermarket buying beer or wine every day, or so on. It’ll become like an inquisition and things will escalate from there until everyone, apart from the control-freaks, neurotics and obsessives, will have had enough.

    • Paul says:

      The persecution of ordinary smokers, drinkers and fat people – i.e. persecuting the population – will become more important than actually being well. And the more people they do this to – or, rather, the greater the percentage of the population – the more likely public opinion will change.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think they would have to be forced from the outside, through political intervention.

      I read a while back that the BMA had been ‘captured’ by healthists and antismokers back in the 1990s. Once there, they could probably vote their own kind into all the key positions. What the ordinary members could do about it, I don’t know.

      • Paul says:

        I think they would have to be forced from the outside, through political intervention.

        My point is that they will need to be seen to be persecuting “ordinary” people outside the ‘denormalised’ categories (i.e. they start really picking on people that don’t seem to ‘deserve’ it, or, to put it another way, the Righteous really start getting a taste of their own medicine for things they don’t consider in any way harmful). That’s when I think you’ll start to see a change.

        Perhaps if they start on people’s sexual lives?

  2. If you havent been a victim yet you will be and some of us will be multiple victims!

    Luckily im not fat

    Luckily Im young

    Luckily Im a free man and dont liten to dictates of hitlers

    Luckily Its gonna end and usually when the enemy makes their biggest onslaught thats what brings about their downfall!

    Do I trust doctors in this war on smokers,not a chance!

    I kinda think these doctors are out to dig up hitler if his ashes can be found.

    I believe the WELLMAN group will take these ashes and reconstruct a genetic blue print and recreate their FUHRER!

  3. Oh BTW………ZIEG HEIL!

  4. Mesmer says:

    In nazi Germany, the profession with the highest percentage of Nazi members was the medical profession.

    • Fredrik Eich says:

      Evidence?

      • Magnetic says:

        Medicos and lawyers had the biggest group memberships in the Nazi Party (from a Proctor reference). Medicos and lawyers also drove the eugenics of early-1900s USA. German eugenicists were students of American eugenics. Medicos manufactured the “applied biology” and the underlying “science”, and the lawyers translated this into societal policies and laws – many policies and laws.

        There is a considerable section (with references) on Nazism and Tobacco in Rampant Antismoking Signifies Grave Danger: Materialism Out of Control (p.147-169) http://www.rampant-antismoking.com

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        Mesmer, have you evidence?

      • Magnetic says:

        While you’re there, have a read of the section on Radical Behaviorism (p.184-194). Behaviorism is physicalist and fits perfectly into the eugenics framework. Many psychology departments around the world have been taken over by behaviorists. They reject the “reality” of mind (and, therefore, reasoning). They are only interested in observable behavior and how to positively condition “desirable” behavior and negatively condition “undesirable” behavior. You’ll get an insight into the mind of the father of radical behaviorism – B.F. Skinner. Behaviorists (and eugenicists) view humans as slightly more complex biological organisms than other biological organisms. There is no mind, there is no “thought”, there is no freedom. There is only a long series of conditioned behaviors. B.F. Skinner tried to raise his daughter for the first 30 months of her life in an incubator-type device where he could control a number of physical stimuli. Physicalists/materialists/biological reductionists/behaviorists view humans as just/only a physical “organism” in a physical environment. Eugenics is the attempt to control the physical organism and the physical environment to achieve a physically-defined “superior” organism. What makes eugenics eugenics is this social engineering intent within the physicalist framework.

        Skinner was very much in favor of a self-installed [physicalist] “scientific elite” ruling society, e.g., lifestyle behaviors; in other words, a eugenics elite.

      • Fredrik Eich says:

        No evidence.

      • Tony says:

        Here’s an article by Robert Proctor where he states:
        “We know that about half of all doctors joined the Nazi party…”
        http://www.bmj.com/content/313/7070/1450.full – registration required to read it though.

        I’m sure I’ve seen evidence comparing different professions and showing doctors had the highest but can’t find it right now.

        Tony

  5. I often wonder if the climbing of the professional rung with subsequent status seeking endeavors is at play here. One can make a name for themselves very easily by merely riding the coat-tails of a popular theme. Being an anti-smoker is easy…it’s harder to catch the tail of this tiger because there are almost no places left to enact bans….but the path is well established. There is little risk involved to one’s reputation by merely joining the fray but it is much more difficult to oppose self-proclaimed winners of the war. I view those who come late to this battle as oportunists rather than humanists.

  6. Junican says:

    I am convinced that there are not as many rabid anti-smokers among doctors as is made out. I rather suspect that they have to toe the ‘party’ line on the matter. Speak out and block your progress in the profession? Or worse!? Unlikely. I mean, why was the BMJ unable to drum up sufficient support to overcome my little subterfuge some months go, even though I had already told them that it was a ruse? I sometimes think that these people get these positions BECAUSE they are rabid anti-smokers – after all, they have had all the time since Godber was Chief Med Officer to organise it.

    reading Nathanson’s comments, we see the critical nature of ‘SHS Harm’ to all the anti-smoking arguments. It has already been substantially debunked, but it has not been SEEN to have been debunked, in the sense of not published in the MSM, for example. The most important thing is not there could be harm, but the minuscule nature of THE CHANCE of harm and the minuscule nature of THE ACTUAL HARM. It is possible to get blood poisoning and die from the scratch of a rose bush thorn – we do not therefore face demands for the wholesale destruction of rose bushes, or the removal of rose bushes where children are present. The more I think about it, the more \i come to the conclusion that the LEAST likely people to suffer from SHS are children.

    Oh…and by the way……….”””Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol.”””

    • Frank Davis says:

      I’m sure there are plenty of doctors (i.e. GPs) who aren’t rabid antismokers. None of my doctors have ever been like that.

      But the profession as a whole seems to have been taken over by them, at the most senior level. My archetypal antismoker, Dr W, wasn’t an ordinary GP, but was a District Medical Officer in a London suburb. This was a bureaucratic post, with zero hands-on medicine (although I believe he had been a practising GP in an earlier incarnation). He also regularly attended BMA conferences. The last time I ever saw him, he was being interviewed on TV outside it. It seems to be these bureaucratic sorts, who are very often concerned with Public Health, who seem to catch the antismoking bug. The BMA was probably infested with people like Dr W. And no doubt still is. They’d attend the meetings, sit on the committees, vote regularly, and gradually take the institution over.

      ”””Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol.”””

      Where did she say that?

  7. Mr A says:

    I agree with Junican. At the University where I work Nursing students are by far the heaviest smokers. When they are off on placement there are usually around half a dozen people in the smoking area (because it’s smokefree everywhere else, natch – even outside) at any one time. When the nurses come back it goes up to 30 plus at any time. I’d say the majority of them smoke, actually. But as Junican says – they have to toe the party line – it only takes one nutter in a high position, and you end up with smokefree clauses in contracts, smokefree grounds etc etc. What are the majority supposed to do? All this crap is in their contracts so it’s either put up or get sacked. Besides, when it comes to booze, Drs are famously heavy drinkers, and I think that still holds true. As with everything else in the Tobacco Control world, these people are a tiny, tiny minority. Unfortunately, they are often strident, shrieking and WILL get themselves heard, no matter what. Plus, as has already been mentioned, if you have no skills or imagination, jumping on the “trend du jour” gravy train is an easy way to get funding and lots of prestigious positions on your CV. For example, a friend of mine is a glaciologist. He admits that he thinks AGW is bullshit but has admitted to doing studies on “The Effects of AGW on Antarctic Glaciers” because he wanted to do that research but there was no funding unless he crow-barred AGW in there somewhere. So he did what he wanted to do and then just added a few bits here and there to make it look as if that was what he was investigating. Same here, although I suspect these people are not as self-aware as my friend, and actually belive the bullshit they come out with.

  8. Mr A says:

    I agree though – why they listen to these people and not you, or me or my butcher or Endstrom & Kabat, is beyond me.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Doctors have very high prestige. They’re greatly respected. Given the strides that have been made over the past couple of centuries in medicine, this perhaps isn’t very surprising.

      But the modern successors of that earlier generation of Great Doctors are just living off their accumulated prestige and status. And they will end up bringing the profession into disrepute. They are well advanced in doing so. What are Nathanson’s medical achievements? None, as far as I can see.

  9. Junican says:

    Frank

    You asked where I got the Nathanson quote from. It came from Snowdon’s blog ‘VGIF’. I have copied his post for that day as best I can:

    “””Tuesday, 1 March 2011

    [Ireland’s Illicit Tobacco Trade]

    Pinch, punch, first of the month. Blogging may be light for a few days as I catch up with some writing. Meanwhile, I recommend this quite entertaining, and certainly informative, documentary about the illicit tobacco trade in Ireland.

    can’t embed it so click to view.

    PS. On another note entirely, this just in from the BBC:

    Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: “We have to start de-normalising alcohol.”

    Be afraid.”””

    (From Snowdon’s archive)

  10. Junican says:

    As regards placards for the event in Stony, I had the idea of using a golf brolly with words in each ‘section’. EG. “NO – TO – OUTDOOR – BAN”. Has the advantage of being useful if it rains as well! Attach words to brolly on paper, cover with cling film and duct tape round edges. Worth a try!

  11. Walt says:

    Seems they (the doctors) all go with the fashionable fads, blindly following the “experts” and the experts’ studies en masse and having some kind of a universal orgasm over, for example, statins for all or (a few years ago,) hormone replacement, and then, simultaneously turning off on the old and onto the new fad…. Unfortunately I think that by the time the denormalized reach a critical mass (the overweight, the alcohol and soda drinkers, the meat eaters, etc) they’ll rebel and draw the line but smokers will still be on the wrong side of it. The idea that we’re killing them (“meat eaters don’t hurt anyone but themselves”) has been too deeply ingrained. … As for placards, not that you need or asked for any suggestions but: How about something like “First, ban bigots.”?

  12. Rose says:

    Unfortunately, Doctors seem to have become experts in everything.

    Doctors warn of global health catastrophe unless climate change is fixed – Sept 2009

    “And in a letter accompanying the editorial, medical chiefs in the UK, Ireland and around the world called on doctors to put pressure on politicians meeting in Copenhagen in December in a bid to secure a new global deal on cutting emissions.

    The heads of the Royal Colleges said doctors should demand world leaders listen to the scientific evidence of climate change and implement strategies to tackle emissions that will benefit the health of people around the globe.”
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6195050/Doctors-warn-of-global-health-catastrophe-unless-climate-change-is-fixed.html

    But it’s not quite what it seems.
    The previous May –

    Doctors neglecting their duty over climate change, says Sir Muir Gray

    “Doctors are neglecting their duty by staying silent on the issue of climate change and its implications for public health, a leading doctor warns.

    Professor Sir Muir Gray, the screening pioneer and former chief knowledge officer of the NHS, writes in The Times today that climate change should be compared to cholera in terms of the need for a public health revolution.

    Sir Muir observes that, with a few notable exceptions, “doctors are effectively silent on the health threat that will come to define our age”.

    Sir Muir’s warning follows the findings of a climate change commission from University College London, published in The Lancet, which identified a raft of public health implications that will come with global warming including patterns of disease and mortality, food security, water and sanitation and extreme events.

    The call-to-arms for the medical profession comes as some of the world’s leading scientists gather for the second Nobel Laureates Symposium, for which The Times is media partner.”
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/health/article6354980.ece

    Post Normal Science
    “The danger of a ‘normal’ reading of science is that it assumes science can first find truth, then speak truth to power, and that truth-based policy will then follow… Self-evidently dangerous climate change will not emerge from a normal scientific process of truth-seeking, although science will gain some insights into the question if it recognises the socially contingent dimensions of a post-normal science.

    Global warming, he claimed, was an example of ‘post-normal science’ which did not seek to establish the truth through evidence. Instead, truth had to be traded for influence.
    In areas of uncertainty, scientists had to present their beliefs instead as a basis for policy.”
    http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/5582321/postnormal-science.thtml

    Ecological Integrity – Post-Normal Science – “Ecological Footprint” – Ethics – The Precautionary Principle
    Abstract
    ” Present laws and regulations even in democratic countries are not sufficient to prevent the grave environmental threats we face. Further, even environmental ethics, when they remain anthropocentric cannot propose a better approach.
    I argue that, taking in considerations the precautionary principle, and adopting the perspective of post-normal science, the ethics of integrity suggest a better way to reduce ecological threats and promote the human good globally”

    In order to protect the environment, the precautionary approach shall be widely practiced by the States according to their capabilities.
    Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific uncertainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental damage.

    This principle clearly indicates that, because of the gravity and the urgency of the many environmental problems and crises that face us, it is sufficient to be aware of the threats, even before the scientific certainty might be available,to indicate priority action on the part of policymakers.

    This principle is introduced as an agent of change in order to counter the arguments of those who would appeal to scientific uncertainty, or to disagreements among experts, as a delaying tactic and as a reason to postpone action.”
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/h2870733078384h2/

    Doctors urged to take climate leadership role
    April 2011

    “Military and medical experts call on doctors to use their position of trust in society to build support for action on climate change”

    The authors urge doctors to use their position of trust in society to build support for action on climate change. “Although discussion is good, we can no longer delay implementing tough action that will make a difference, while quibbling over minor uncertainties in climate modelling. Unlike most recent natural disasters, this one is entirely predictable,” they warned.
    “Doctors, often seen as authoritative, trusted, and independent by their communities, must make their voices heard in calling for such action.”

    Prof Montgomery told the Guardian that doctors should take up the climate challenge just as they did with the harm from tobacco.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/05/doctors-climate-change-leadership

    But Doctors, however well-meaning and dutiful, are normal mortals like us and only as good as the information they are given.

    I’m sure if they were allowed say, twenty years to study climatology, they would come up with well reasoned arguments on either side.

    • Frank Davis says:

      I often think that they’ve taken over from the Church as society’s moral guardians. The church seems to have gone missing these days. I think they’ve been denormalised. The Archbishop of Canterbury said they were being. And he should know, I suppose.

      There don’t seem to be many Christians Against Climate Change. Or Boozers For Polar Bears. Or Smokers For Truth. I guess it would “send the wrong message”. It’s not the message that counts these days, but the messenger who sends it. Christians and smokers and boozers and fat people are too yesterday. They’re losers. You need tomorrow’s people: fit young gay black atheists with perfect teeth. Whatever’s the latest fashion, anyway.

      • Rose says:

        Well I don’t think it’s fair to ask doctors to jeopardise their good reputation.

        They do all that studying so they can try to fix people when they get broken, but it’s not their job to shield people from all risk, otherwise they would never have been allowed to use sharp knives, dangerous chemicals or even look at an X-ray machine.

        Their best advice is sufficient.

        They will also look remarkably silly if they support extreme preparations for global warming and it turns into the new ice age.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8578014/New-Little-Ice-Age-in-store.html

    • Rose, the CDC has been working the climate change angle since 2006.

      http://www.cdc.gov/climatechange/default.htm

      Evidently, there are 7 states in stage 1 or 2 here in the USA with more to come….I’m sure!

      • Rose says:

        Ruth, despite levying sin taxes to help us give up heat and light, if it really came to it I’m not sure what they could do, except run and hide or freeze solid, depending on circumstances.

  13. timbone says:

    “The evidence on passive smoking is well accepted.”

    Notice that this sentence is as weak as the ‘evidence’ itself. Half truths, nay, lies have to be worded very carefully, she cannot say ‘the evidence on passive smoking is irrefutable’ only ‘well accepted’. Yes, this is true, well accepted by those who have not doubted the medical profession.

    By the way, it has to be said, it is a woman again.

    • Rose says:

      To join the club, someone representing the UK had to sign up to this –

      “Recognize that scientific evidence has unequivocally established that exposure to tobacco smoke causes death, disease and disability, and that there is a time lag between exposure to smoking and the other uses of tobacco products and the onset of tobacco-related diseases.”
      http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241591013.pdf

      So it has indeed been accepted.

      Clever, eh?

  14. Rose says:

    The arrogance of preventive medicine

    “Preventive medicine displays all 3 elements of arrogance. First, it is aggressively assertive, pursuing symptomless individuals and telling them what they must do to remain healthy. Occasionally invoking the force of law (immunizations, seat belts), it prescribes and proscribes for both individual patients and the general citizenry of every age and stage.

    Second, preventive medicine is presumptuous, confident that the interventions it espouses will, on average, do more good than harm to those who accept and adhere to them.
    Finally, preventive medicine is overbearing, attacking those who question the value of its recommendations.

    Although one could level these same accusations against the “curative” medicine delivered to symptomatic patients who seek health care, the 2 disciplines are absolutely and fundamentally different in their obligations and implied promises to the individuals whose lives they modify.”
    http://www.cmaj.ca/content/167/4/363.full

  15. Rose says:

    To clutter up Frank’s blog even further, could someone help me with this?

    Smoking Could Reduce Risk Of Joint Replacement Surgery

    “Men who smoke have less of a risk of needing joint replacement surgery than those who have never lit up a cigarette, according to a new study published online in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

    “The study, which was led by George Mnatzaganian, a Ph. D. student at the University of Adelaide in Australia, analyzed study data of more than 11,000 subjects and discovered that those who had smoked for 48 years or more had a 42% to 51% lower risk of needing a total knee or hip replacement than those who had never done so.”

    “Analysis showed that being overweight independently increased total joint replacement risk, while smoking lowered the risk, which was most evident after 23 years of smoking exposure,” they added, noting that “vigorous exercise increased risk of joint replacement in men in the 70-74 year age group.”

    
”Our study is the first to demonstrate a strong inverse correlation between smoking duration and risk of total joint replacement,” Mnatzaganian said in a statement
    . “The independent inverse associations of smoking with risk of total joint replacement were evident also after adjusting for major confounders and after accounting for the competing mortality risk in this elderly cohort of men.”

    Further investigation is required on the subject, he added.”
    http://www.redorbit.com/news/health/2076418/smoking_could_reduce_risk_of_joint_replacement_surgery/index.html?source=r_health

    So I did investigate it further last night.

    I went through various bits and pieces I’ve collected and this would appear a possible candidate for ingredient X.

    Harvard and U. Pittsburgh researchers explain carbon monoxide’s anti-inflammatory effects

    “In a study appearing in the April 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh have shown for the first time that the anti-inflammatory effects of carbon monoxide originate within cells’ own molecular engines, mitochondria.
    Specifically, mitochondria react to low levels of carbon monoxide by releasing chemical signals that reduce or shut down the body’s inflammatory response, raising the possibility for the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies, one of which may be low levels of inhaled carbon monoxide.”
    http://cmbi.bjmu.edu.cn/news/0703/92.htm

    “The carbon monoxide-releasing molecule tricarbonyldichlororuthenium(II) dimer protects human osteoarthritic chondrocytes and cartilage from the catabolic actions of interleukin-1beta.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195133
    (if anyone could explain that to me in very short words, I’d be grateful)

    “But recent scientific studies have shown that CO — at least at low concentrations — has a redeeming quality: it acts as an anti-inflammatory agent”

    “The group traced the action of inhaled CO to a protein that is produced by immune cells called interleukin (IL)-12. IL-12 is normally produced during infection and helps activate the immune cells that fight off the invading pathogens.

    But chronic production of IL-12 in the gut also drives the inflammation that causes ulcerative colitis.
    Inhaled CO inhibited the production of IL-12, short-circuiting the disease-causing inflammation.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103084934.htm

    I got completely lost amongst my interleukins.

    • Brigitte says:

      “The carbon monoxide-releasing molecule tricarbonyldichlororuthenium(II) dimer protects human osteoarthritic chondrocytes and cartilage from the catabolic actions of interleukin-1beta.
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18195133
      (if anyone could explain that to me in very short words, I’d be grateful)

      Very, very basic:
      Aggrecanases are enzymes involved in the degradation of joint cartilage and chondrocytes, hence their function; tricarbonyldichlororuthenium(II) dimer has been used to inhibit this by the release of carbon-monoxide, which affects the function of the pro-inflammatory cytokines; in this case Interleukin-1beta.

      hope this is of a little use:
      http://www.mdbioproducts.com/blog/articles/measuring-aggrecanase-activity-identify-potential-therapeutics-osteoarthritis-0

      http://medgadget.com/2007/10/corms_therapeutic_carbon_monoxide_releasing_molecules.html

      Perhaps we smokers do have an advantage.

      • Rose says:

        Thank you, Brigitte!

        Yes I do think we have an advantage, in more ways than one.

        The after dinner cigarette, explained?

        Carbon monoxide plays role in orchestrating digestive tract function

        “Farrugia and an associate, Dr. Joseph Szurszewski, headed the study, which focused on carbon monoxide’s role in orchestrating movements of muscles in the digestive system. The results were published in the prestigious journal of the National Academy of Sciences, which is based in Washington and advises the federal government on science and technology.

        They showed that cells in the digestive system manufacture tiny amounts of carbon monoxide, which then regulates muscle contractions. The contractions occur with great precision to properly move food ahead through the stomach and intestines”
        http://www.post-gazette.com/healthscience/20030617carbon0617p3.asp

        Carbon Monoxide Soothes Inflammatory Bowel Disease

        “Doctors have long known that smokers rarely suffer from a common form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) called ulcerative colitis, but they didn’t know why. A new study in the Dec. 19 issue of The Journal of Experimental Medicine might help explain this apparent resistance. Scott Plevy, M.D., and his colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh found that carbon monoxide (CO), a component of cigarette smoke, helps shut down the intestinal inflammation that causes ulcerative colitis.”
        http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/01/060103084934.htm

        This doesn’t seem to have been widely published, probably because it’s not a very pleasant subject .

        Useful to know though, particularly as it nothing to do with nicotine, a nice herbal tea rolled into a cigarette would work as well.

        Naturally, they jumped to the wrong conclusion first.

        Nicotine: does it have a role in the treatment of ulcerative colitis?

        “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory disease state of unknown etiology. Its progression is erratic, with patients experiencing periods of exacerbations and remissions. Current therapeutic options have yielded less than satisfactory results.

        With the discovery of the potential relationship between nonsmoking status and the onset of ulcerative colitis and the development of various nicotine dosage forms came the hypothesis that nicotine may play a protective role against the development of ulcerative colitis and maintenance of remission.

        Hence, investigators began conducting clinical trials on the use of available nicotine dosage forms in the management of ulcerative colitis.”

        “Overall, investigation of nicotine in the treatment of ulcerative colitis has yielded disappointing results.

        CONCLUSION: Nicotine cannot be recommended as adjunctive or single therapy for the treatment of ulcerative colitis and will not alter current treatment options.”
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10423604

        Now there’s a surprise.

        Bits and pieces that I’ve collected on Carbon Monoxide if you are interested.
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10423604

        Personally, I find researching tobacco and it’s properties fascinating. :)

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