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2020 How Well do Treatments Prevent Covid-19

How Well do Treatments Prevent Covid-19

Shingles, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Anything Else that Might Ail You?

Written by Shanie Levin

The Jewish Seniors Alliance Fall Symposium took place Sunday, November 22nd. The topic of the guest speaker, Dr. James McCormack, was How Well Do Treatments Prevent Covid-19, Shingles, Heart Disease, Diabetes and Anything Else that Might Ail You?

Dr. McCormack is a professor in the faculty of pharmaceutical sciences at the University of British Columbia, a podcast host and a YouTube content creator. Gyda Chud, Co-President of JSA reviewed the foundational goals of JSA: Outreach, Advocacy and Peer Support.

Marilyn Berger, Past-President of JSA, introduced Dr. McCormack, mentioning his high regard for shared decision making (between doctor and patient). Dr. McCormack began with his philosophical beliefs that can be found on the website He emphasized that he receives no money from pharmaceutical companies and his only income is his salary from UBC. His popular medical podcast is called BS without the BS. It includes many topics, including nutrition (recommending the Mediterranean diet) and anti-aging creams (they are all the same).

He suggests being skeptical and checking all information, as some medications are useful but many don’t work well. For example, new drugs are not much better than those they are replacing and many doses are too high. We need to see evidence-based outcomes. We don’t care how they work, but if they work. Dr. McCormack listed a number of popular beliefs that are not evidence-based and indeed science indicates that they are not true. His examples included the following myths: not swimming immediately after eating; sugar makes children hyperactive; you lose body heat through your head; drinking eight glasses of water a day; eating carrots helps eyesight and spinach is strengthening and low fat diets.

Also, there is no evidence that you need to finish all medications. For example with antibiotics, if you are asymptomatic after seventy-two hours, you can stop.

The Golden Pill award, for a breakthrough in new medication, has not been awarded for the last eight years. Dr. McCormack stated that “so called diseases”, such as elevated blood pressure, bone density issues, and high glucose levels, should be identified as “risk factors”, rather than diseases. He also said that many medications do not alter outcomes. It’s all about the numbers—what is the relative reduction of symptoms after taking certain medications. If the reduction is only two per cent, is it worth taking a drug that has many side effects? For instance in the case of cardiovascular disease, following a Mediterranean diet and exercising may have more benefit than many drugs.

Regarding the two vaccines for Covid-19, he feels that the work has been outstanding and the oversight phenomenal. Also that vaccines for contagions are very important. Dr. McCormack concluded by reminding us that we can harm people with tests and/or treatments. It is important to think for yourself, ask questions and have hope. Following his presentation there were many questions. Among them, Dr. McCormack answered those about the use of tamoxifen, blood thinners and Prolia.

Ken Levitt, Past-President of Jewish Seniors Alliance, thanked Dr. McCormack for his presentation and his emphasis on being alert about medications. The participants’ feedback was extremely positive.

Watch the video now!



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