A study was published in the American Journal of Cardiology showing shorter telomere length was a “risk factor” for dying after acute coronary syndrome. Here is the link to the medical news story: http://tinyurl.com/qcdeoyz
And this is the actual article:
My take? This study is interesting but how does it help? First off, it divides the data into men 50-75 and 75 and older. The telomere/death association didn’t apply to the men over 75 years of age. That means the association is not a universal and they had to ‘massage’ the data to justify this ‘fishing expedition’ that failed to cleanly validate their hypothesis from a similar paper two years prior.
Having telomere testing on these patients wouldn’t be helpful because it wouldn’t change management. Are you going to change care to the men who present with unstable coronary artery disease based on this? Nope. They are all gonna get the same standard of care (we hope) and the only thing you can do is increase anxiety in those with shorter telomeres (as if they weren’t worried enough to begin with). Talk about adding insult to injury!
It reminds me of this old saw:
My meta-complaint is that this is NOT how I would use our research money if I was the philosopher-king of research; but this is exactly how the system works. I am not singling out this investigator but money is spent to prove what we think we already know, even though we don’t know how it would even help the greater good. Read more of my gripes in chapter 11 of my book, “Telomere Timebombs” that is entitled “The Medical-Industrial Complex.”
If I am an investigator with PhD candidates, I am given money. I need to use the money. Why not use it trying to make myself expert in an area of science that others aren’t that interested in so I can carve out a niche? Tenure. Eminence. Publications. And the band plays on.
Last night I decided put Great Souls (my charity for peer-to-peer supplement donation) onto the back burner and focus more on clinical trials. We need to establish credibility by beating the scientists as their own game: the randomized controlled trial. So I reserved the URL of “www.probonotrials.org”. The idea is laid out in this mission statement:
Probonotrials.org is a non-profit organization whose mission is to conduct and publish controlled trials that serve the common good, regardless of profit motive. Rather that wait for corporations, academics, and non-profit institutions to provide the evidence, we will answer our own questions without their help or permission because we realize that advancement never comes from the rear guard.
Our goals is to provide the best possible science in the service of the public good while maximizing the efficiency of capital as a tool for knowledge.
Why “pro bono”? It isn’t because I don’t want to get paid. I plan to take a salary because I will be doing full-time study design, finding coauthors, background research, fundraising, hiring of the CROs (Contract Research Organizations), writing, and submission. I hope to study many of the interesting clinical phenomena I’ve seen in my patients because there will literally be no one else interested in doing them because of the absence of profit motive. Of course I also have a profit motive to see widespread acceptance of my fringe theories, but if I am correct, this will all be “pro bono publico” or for the common good.