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Keith Grimaldi
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Italy Germany 2-1 - Sorrento

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Grazie Balotelli

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Sorrento last night 

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Tweets from Daniel MacArthur

@dgmacarthur"genetic tests as effective, but not more effective, as family/personal history in assessing disease risk"


@dgmacarthur I find it astonishing that genetic testing, in its infancy, is ALREADY as good as family history. Still, cue negative headlines...

The headline is "Scripps Finds Genotyping No More Useful than Family, Personal History in Assessing Disease Risk"

Why negative? The glass is not even half-full, it is full! Genetics AS GOOD AS family history and traditional risk factors... but the article goes on to say:

"Based on these findings, Bloss and colleagues concluded that such genetic tests are as effective — but not more effective — as family and personal history in assessing disease risk, and that these services may be medically useful to consumers only when information about traditional disease risk factors, such as family history, is not available."

Why "useful only when"? Why should it be one or the other anyway?

Genetics = cheap, reliable, one off test, ready at birth
Family history = hard to assemble, imprecise and unreliable
Trad risk factors = already ill

So, let's wait until I have I risk factors before taking any action. thanks doc.

Interesting unadvertised fact about family history is that it has yet to be proven by clinical trial - so far it has performed quite badly. Yet it is strongly touted by those who urge people to ignore genetic testing until it has been proven by clinical trial. see the CDC blog and discussion

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Secondo me gli integratori vitaminici non sono una cosa così assurda. Siamo sicuri di poter assumere tutte le vitamine che ci servono con la sola alimentazione? Ci sono medici quotati come Filippo Ongaro che al contrario suggeriscono di prenderli, in virtù della nuova piramide del cibo basata sulla nutrigenomica.

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"Nutrigenomica e cibi protettivi. Sempre più nutrienti danno conferma della loro azione sulle cellule, sul dna delle cellule. Ora è la volta dei disturbi psichici, delle malattie mentali. Antiossidanti e depressione: il cibo della felicità. E in alcuni casi, come per i disturbi bipolari, anche con azione curativa."

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Vista la pessima situazione finanziaria in cui ci troviamo, voglio ricordare ai nostri governanti che se gli stipendi dei parlamentari fossero adeguati alla media europea si risparmierebbero più di 90mila euro per ogni parlamentare all'anno. In totale fanno 86 milioni di euro all'anno, che non copriranno il debito ma non sono neanche bruscolini. Lo dico perché, insomma, dobbiamo fare come fanno in Europa, no? Come per le pensioni.

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New company -

There are lots of doubtful statements in their Italian downloadable brochure – here are some:

The MI Risk kit is a single test that will last a lifetime

No it isn’t, as new SNPs are discovered, new analyses will be needed - as seen with 23andme who recently upgraded their service adding a lot more SNPs

Analysing blood cholesterol levels is not enough to predict probable cardiovascular disease problems. The factors that predispose to the disease are multiple and diverse. In that sense the MI Risk kit give a more accurate and complete vision of the subjects risk because intrinsic to the test is the evaluation of the diverse genetic variables. The MI Risk kit is offered on the market as a complete analysis tool for the diagnosis of cardiovascular problems

Wow they are proposing just genetics as DIAGNOSTIC (it is not and never can be) and as actually better than clinical risk factors (no evidence for this, on the contrary).

Once the test has been done the precision of the personal risk exposure can be perfectly calculated. Based on a mathematic equation that takes into account the interaction between the genetic variants (SNPs) and traditional risk factors the predispositizione to myocardial infarct is ascertained and quantified

They are using GWAS SNPs – most of the GWAS SNPs are markers and are not functional, there is no way of calculating the interaction between the genes and traditional risk factors. Also in another part of the brochure they say that many of the SNPs are associated with unknown mechanisms – and this is a good thing they say, it means that they are not involved with traditional risk factors so the genetic risk must therefore be additive – they want it both ways.

It is proudly announced as a spin off of the University of Verona. This is quite common, I’ve seen several similar companies announcing themselves as university spinoffs, as if that gives some guarantee of credibility and seriousness.

Sadly the state of Italian universities is not what it used to be. There are a few heroic souls who get good output by sheer blood sweat and many tears, the rest of the good researchers need to (and do) go abroad to get a carreer. Unfortunately almost all the university jobs are occupied by the “raccomandati”.

This plus the chaotic research grant system is the direct cause of two starkly opposing facts:

1. The oldest university in the world is the University of Bologna. Of the 20 oldest universities in the world, 11 of them are Italian (

2. Despite all that practice at being universities – in the world rankings, in the top 200, only one is Italian, right up there at No. 183 (Bologna)

Anyway, back to

It seems that there main product is myocardial infarction risk the MI Risk Kit. It measures some SNPs that have been identified by GWAS, i.e. just like a sub- sub-section of what 23andme gives you for $99 (plus sub). There is no list of SNPs (only 9p21 is mentioned), no price, no bibliography, no risk calculation method and no sample report.

The clinical utility of these GWAS SNP only panels has been debated elsewhere, many many times – most agree that a % risk score from a panel of SNPs is not clinically very useful for the majority. There can and is a lot of personal interest, the information IS useful from an educational point of view and if an individual reads about his/her own SNPs, reads about genetics and common complex diseases (especially that while genetic variation has an effect the actual individual risk depends on many environmental variables as well).

So while most doubt clinical utility many agree on personal utility. Putting an MI Risk Kit could be OK (although given the presence of 23andme doing so much more for a tiny price it does not seem like a promising business), it all depends on the claims. This is where falls down, heavily.

The real Mediterranean diet: What is it? Interesting "research" (conversation with my Neapolitan mother-in-law). Up until about 60 years ago (before white bread appeared on Naples streets in the hands of the USA & British soldiers) the diet was very basic. Yes plenty of fruit & veg, olive oil and wine. Not so much fish or meat and as for refined carbs, the bread was made with whole grain, and i mean WHOLE grain, it was hardly broken up at all. Cakes, cornetti, baba, gelato, etc were very very rare - special occasions only

This is not a new finding (!) but still the myth about what is a Med diet persists in many publications of various diet for health / weight loss trials - the "updated" version is a bit of a fantasy.

I think I will start a company making real Med foods, I'm not sure how well the teeth breaking bread will sell though...

Can anybody fill in any details about pre-war Med diets?
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