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Metabolic Syndrome: A Misleading 'Diagnosis' (press release)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
Editor of NaturalNews.com (See all articles...)
Tags: health news, Natural News, nutrition


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Two major health organizations in Europe and the United States are calling for closer examination of a syndrome that has been widely believed to predict the risk of developing heart disease, questioning whether it has been appropriately defined and whether it is in fact a syndrome at all.

In a joint paper published in the September issue of Diabetes Care and Diabetologia, the American Diabetes Association and European Association for the Study of Diabetes argue that the metabolic syndrome -- which has come to be regarded as a predictor of cardiovascular disease -- is poorly defined, inconsistently used and in need of further research to help understand whether and how it should be treated. Doctors, the authors warn, should not be diagnosing people with this "syndrome" or attempting to treat it as a separate malady until the science behind it is clear.

"We shouldn't be diagnosing people with the 'metabolic syndrome.' Doing so misleads the patient into believing he or she has a unique disease. What they really have are well-known cardiovascular risk factors. The combination of risk factors does not add up to a more significant or higher cardiovascular risk than the individual components," according to Richard Kahn, PhD, Chief Scientific and Medical Officer of the American Diabetes Association.

The metabolic syndrome is often defined as having any three or more of the following: a large waist circumference; high triglyceride levels; high blood pressure; low HDL ("good") cholesterol; and high blood glucose levels. The World Health Organization offers a different definition, including anyone who has diabetes or insulin resistance and two of the following: high waist-to-hip ratio; high triglycerides or low HDL cholesterol; high blood pressure; and a high urinary albumin excretion rate. Other organizations have put forth yet other definitions.

Consequently, studies showing a correlation between a combination of these factors and the risk of developing heart disease are highly inconsistent. The fact that these are conflicting definitions implies that there is no clear evidence base for what should or should not be included, the authors note.

Taken individually, each of the above conditions is considered a risk factor for cardiovascular disease and should be treated as such, the authors state. "But there is no combination of risk factors that boosts a person's cardiovascular risk beyond the sum of the parts, or constitutes a separate disease," said Ele Ferrannini, MD, President of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.

In patients with diabetes or known vascular disease, inordinate attention to the 'metabolic syndrome' can impede appropriate care. Similarly, treatment of each and every metabolic risk factor is indicated without requiring some arbitrary combination to drive clinical decision-making.

"The metabolic syndrome requires much more study before its designation as a "syndrome" is truly warranted and before its clinical utility is adequately defined," the authors wrote in their conclusion.

In the meantime, the paper recommends that doctors continue to evaluate patients for the presence of other cardiovascular risk factors when one is discovered; aggressively treat individual cardiovascular risk factors; avoid labeling patients with the term "metabolic syndrome;" and not attempt to prescribe a treatment for this "syndrome" until new, solid evidence is obtained.

Diabetes Care, published by the American Diabetes Association, is the leading peer-reviewed journal of clinical research into the nation's fifth leading cause of death by disease. Diabetes also is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke, as well as the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney failure and non-traumatic amputations. For more information about diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association Web site http://www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).


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About the author:Mike Adams (aka the "Health Ranger") is a best selling author (#1 best selling science book on Amazon.com) and a globally recognized scientific researcher in clean foods. He serves as the founding editor of NaturalNews.com and the lab science director of an internationally accredited (ISO 17025) analytical laboratory known as CWC Labs. There, he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence for achieving extremely high accuracy in the analysis of toxic elements in unknown water samples using ICP-MS instrumentation. Adams is also highly proficient in running liquid chromatography, ion chromatography and mass spectrometry time-of-flight analytical instrumentation.

Adams is a person of color whose ancestors include Africans and Native American Indians. He's also of Native American heritage, which he credits as inspiring his "Health Ranger" passion for protecting life and nature against the destruction caused by chemicals, heavy metals and other forms of pollution.

Adams is the founder and publisher of the open source science journal Natural Science Journal, the author of numerous peer-reviewed science papers published by the journal, and the author of the world's first book that published ICP-MS heavy metals analysis results for foods, dietary supplements, pet food, spices and fast food. The book is entitled Food Forensics and is published by BenBella Books.

In his laboratory research, Adams has made numerous food safety breakthroughs such as revealing rice protein products imported from Asia to be contaminated with toxic heavy metals like lead, cadmium and tungsten. Adams was the first food science researcher to document high levels of tungsten in superfoods. He also discovered over 11 ppm lead in imported mangosteen powder, and led an industry-wide voluntary agreement to limit heavy metals in rice protein products.

In addition to his lab work, Adams is also the (non-paid) executive director of the non-profit Consumer Wellness Center (CWC), an organization that redirects 100% of its donations receipts to grant programs that teach children and women how to grow their own food or vastly improve their nutrition. Through the non-profit CWC, Adams also launched Nutrition Rescue, a program that donates essential vitamins to people in need. Click here to see some of the CWC success stories.

With a background in science and software technology, Adams is the original founder of the email newsletter technology company known as Arial Software. Using his technical experience combined with his love for natural health, Adams developed and deployed the content management system currently driving NaturalNews.com. He also engineered the high-level statistical algorithms that power SCIENCE.naturalnews.com, a massive research resource featuring over 10 million scientific studies.

Adams is well known for his incredibly popular consumer activism video blowing the lid on fake blueberries used throughout the food supply. He has also exposed "strange fibers" found in Chicken McNuggets, fake academic credentials of so-called health "gurus," dangerous "detox" products imported as battery acid and sold for oral consumption, fake acai berry scams, the California raw milk raids, the vaccine research fraud revealed by industry whistleblowers and many other topics.

Adams has also helped defend the rights of home gardeners and protect the medical freedom rights of parents. Adams is widely recognized to have made a remarkable global impact on issues like GMOs, vaccines, nutrition therapies, human consciousness.

In addition to his activism, Adams is an accomplished musician who has released over a dozen popular songs covering a variety of activism topics.

Click here to read a more detailed bio on Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, at HealthRanger.com.

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