Paul M. Ridker, MD

Heart Disease and Inflammation:

Is cholesterol the main problem leading to clogged arteries and heart attacks? It certainly is important, but a brand-new study suggests that inflammation may also be critical. The study was called CANTOS (for Canakinumab Antiinflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study). Canakinumab (Ilaris) is a medication that is approved for treating inflammatory diseases such as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Although it has no impact on cholesterol, it reduced heart attacks and strokes. Lead author Paul Ridker, MD, explains the findings.

Should You Cut Back on Salt?

We’ve long been told to cut back on salt. But should you really throw out your salt shaker and eat only low-sodium food? One researcher urges us not to go overboard. Sodium is an essential nutrient, and a stringent low-salt diet can have some unexpected complications.

What Do You Do About Changing Recommendations?

The advice on salt is not the only health guideline that may be under revision. Changing recommendations can be confusing. Do they drive you crazy?

New research suggests that saturated fat, for example, is not the dietary demon that doctors used to imagine. Instead, refined carbohydrates and sugar may be more dangerous. Is there enough evidence to consider changing recommendations on what we eat for good health?

Your Calls Are Welcome:

To share your pet peeve about changing recommendations from health experts or to ask Joe & Terry a question, tune in Saturday, September 23, 2017, from 7 to 8 AM EDT or call 1-888-472-3366. You can also reach us through email ( or Twitter @peoplespharmacy.

This Week’s Guests:

Paul M. Ridker, MD, is the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. With a formal background in cardiovascular medicine and epidemiology, Dr. Ridker directs the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention. That is a translational research unit at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He is the primary investigator of the CANTOS trial, a large multicenter, randomized controlled trial testing the inflammation hypothesis for treating atherosclerosis. The paper was published in The New England Journal of Medicine on September 21, 2017.  You can learn more about his research here and here. The photo is of Dr. Ridker.

James DiNicolantonio, PharmD, is a cardiovascular research scientist at St. Luke Mid-American Heart Institute in Kansas City, MO. He is also associate editor of the cardiology journal BMJ Open Heart. His article on salt, “The History of the Salt Wars,” was published in the American Journal of Medicine in September 2017. He is author of The Salt Fix, and his website is:

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99.

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Air Date:September 23, 2017

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  1. Jim
    Winchester, VA

    I think it’s great to have more accurate knowledge from new research. How many people are complaining about having an iPhone because they want to go back to the black desk telephone handset of the 1950s?

  2. Jo

    Does anyone have frequent bladder infections and take something other than an antibiotic for treatment?

  3. Isabel

    Changing recommendations do NOT make me crazy. I embrace them eagerly. What are scientists for, anyway? I’m grateful to them for their persistent, brainy, and hard work. Except when the studies are sponsored by pharma companies; then I take them with a grain of salt.

    • Margaret

      Someone asked about frequent bladder infections and using something other than an antibiotic. I take a cranberry capsule (4200 mg, fruit). 3 times per day ( for help remembering with my 3 meals). I have not had another infection in 5-6 years now. Margaret

  4. Sue

    I, too, am frustrated by the changing dietary guidelines. I have decided to mostly ignore them and eat more whole foods and reduce consumption of processed foods. I feel that mother nature knows what she is doing.

  5. June

    Research is amazing, everyday we learn more about health and disease. I really beleive that lowering cholesterol did save lives. Now new research gives doctors and patients one more piece of information to help us stay healthy. Reducing Inflamation is a new way for us to upgrade our habits and help us live longer.

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