A couple of days ago I wrote a piece aimed at encouraging readers to consider a diet change to improve their health for the coming new year, and to ignore the consensus high-carb/lowfat diet. My own health has improved dramatically since I stopped listening to the preventive maintenance advice peddled by the boys at the expensive repair and spare parts shop, advice that always seemed to land me on their workbenches. Go figure.
I also used it as an opportunity to illustrate the absurdity and the extreme danger of consensus-driven science, using Andrew Revkin’s stroke to highlight this.
In the example I suggested that his stroke was perhaps root-caused by the high-carb/low fat diet – the very one advocated as healthy by the consensus of America’s major health and medical institutes and associations. The one that we are finding out has been a catastrophe. I just assumed that Andrew followed their advice because, as we all know, he is a big believer in science by the consensus of leading experts – especially when critical issues are at stake. In effect I suggested that Mr. Revkin had been probably (and ironically) a victim of the very consensus he so dearly endorses, like he does in climatology.
Mr. Revkin reacted, denying that his brush with death had anything to do with (consensus) nutrition at all. I expected that. He wrote:
Hmm. You must not have read much of my article or related blog posts. http://j.mp/dotstroke I experienced what’s called a ‘spontaneous dissection’ of the left internal carotid artery (which is not in the brain). Resulting clots traveled to the brain. Such strokes are not a function of diet at all. My arteries were (and are) clear. These strokes are mainly triggered by physical injury to the carotid – everything from some yoga and chiropractic moves to tipping your head back in certain ways painting a ceiling, even getting a shampoo at the beauty parlor. The video, created by a medical illustration team for someone with a very similar stroke, is informative: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrNJ-Byuwm4“
Here he claims his type of stroke was caused by “‘spontaneous dissection’ of the left internal carotid artery.”, which is like blaming a bridge collapse on “spontaneous beam rupture”. Well, bridge beams and rivets just don’t rupture for nothing when hardly loaded, do they? They do so because of rust from poor maintenance, or perhaps ignored fatigue-cracking as it ages. Andrew’s medical issues are personal and I don’t want to dwell into them in particular. But here he insists his arteries are healthy and suggests that “spontaneous dissection” in arteries in general is just something natural, a bit of bad luck (even though medical science shows that arterial health is in fact very closely related to nutrition). This is amazing.
It is truly stunning that some people can infer a possible connection between a single storm in New Jersey and SUV emissions in California, yet are not able to see the clear connection between diet and strokes in middle-aged men.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter if Mr. Revkin’s own stroke was nutrition-related or not. It’s not our business. What matters is that for many people who have suffered the same, or have had a heart attack, or who struggle with Type 2 diabetes, etc., it is very often diet-related and the direct result of the consensus-driven nutritional guidelines, which today are proving to have been underpinned by fraudulent and bogus science, read here.
Today the scientific literature tell us that Andrew’s condition, once very rare, has become more commonplace over the past decades. Strokes in middle age men are not natural incidents resulting from bad luck, but rather they are, as is the case with the explosion of cardiovascular disease and diabetes sweeping across the western world, a direct result of the catastrophic, junk-science-based medical and nutrition consensus of the past decades.
Thus it would be nice if people like Andrew Revkin would concede that the notion of consensus-driven science is dangerous, that it always needs to be vigorously questioned and that skeptics are essential.
I have a lot of respect for Mr. Revkin and he deserves much credit for bringing the much needed attention to the stroke issue. I just have serious issues about how he selectively applies science from field to field, whatever suits him best.