IRRESPONSIBLE! Critics call out “Doctor” Afif’s bluff!

IT is not haircuts that reduced blood pressure, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. It was the congregation of black men at barber shops that allowed doctors to access them to be screened for high blood pressure to reduce risks of related diseases!

SEBERANG Jaya assemblyman Dr Afif Bahardin may find himself in hot soup after totally misquoting a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine about haircuts being able to reduce blood pressure.

Critics have called out Afif for spreading misinformation over his tweet, which made headlines today.

ParkCity Medical Centre consultant pediatrician and neonatologist Dr. Salehuddin Samsudin tried to find some humor in his effort to comprehend the relation of haircuts to lowering blood pressure and the battle against Covid 19.

“The only way you can reduce your blood pressure in this manner is by congregating at barber shops, contracting COVID-19 and when you are critically ill enough, your BP will drop to unrecordably low levels,” said Dr Salehuddin.

“But this is no laughing matter. We should be taking the threat of Covid 19 far more seriously than quoting headlines without reading and understanding the case study involved. It is irresponsible,” added Dr Salehuddin.

Afif had posted a thread in defence of sacked former PKR deputy president Azmin Ali’s statement as Minister of International Trade and Industry on Friday, in which barber shops were among 9 sectors to have restrictions lifted under the Movement Control Order (MCO) to contain the spread of Covid 19, from tomorrow.

“Barber services have their justification from the aspect of medical research carried out by the New England Journal of Medicine, which explains that such services can reduce blood pressure levels; one of the pressures faced by Malaysians at this moment,” read the third point in his Twitter thread posted yesterday.

The New England Journal of Medicine however, as reported by several United States news agencies, reported on a study conducted to engage with black men, who were prone to diseases resulting from high blood pressure but often put themselves at risk by shying away from screening.

As such, doctors utilised a strategy that involved engagement with a barber shop frequented by black men as their hangout. That was when a breakrhough wwas achieved and more black men were screened to be provided treatment. It definitely was not the haircuts that reduced their blood pressure.

“Afif should read what he is quoting, as he is a doctor. This is very irresponsible and could have caused a lot of damage as he was backing up a ruling that would have put so many lives at risk had his boss used his findings as a basis to push the government to allow barber shops to operate despite medical experts advising otherwise,” said Perak PKR chief Farhash Wafa Salvador.

Pressure group Otai Reformis secretary Abdul Razak Ismail questioned why Dr Afif was still a PKR member.
“Is this guy still a PKR member? He is speaking nonsense. It is not reducing blood pressure, but in fact raising it,” said Razak.

Afif Bahardin
Our earlier story on this matter.