The backlash begins

(Catalyst under fire)

Those who read this blog will know that Maryanne Demasai, a journalist at the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC), put together two programmes. One questioning the cholesterol hypothesis; the other very critical of the over-prescribing of statins. They can be seen here.

Heart of the Matter Part 1 – Dietary Villains

Heart of the Matter Part 2 – Cholesterol Drug War

Over several months I helped Maryanne to put together the scientific arguments, and I feel proud to have done so. I warned her, though, that she should expect a vicious backlash if the programmes ever went out. Of course, it has happened.

Also, exactly as I told her, the attacks are not on the data. They can’t be, as the science she presented is pretty much spot-on. They are personal attacks on everyone who took part. Those she interviewed are being accused of being “crack-pot quacks”, ‘into earthing’….and ‘snake oil salesman selling vitamins’ etc.

You can see the latest (evidence free attack) here. A programme by media watch, which includes such scientific observations as the fact that Maryanne did not smile when speaking to a conventional ‘expert.’ Off with her head, the biased hussy! http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/

Of course none of this surprises me. I knew exactly what would happen, and how it would happen. This is not because I am sort of a genius. It is that I have seen it all before, many times. Here follows a personal testimonial from a Dutch Journalist Melchior Meijer, who had the temerity to criticise statins in the past:

My name is Melchior Meijer. I’m medical reporter for several magazines and newspapers in The Netherlands. Reporting about the many obvious flaws in the cholesterol hypothesis, shedding light on the biologically plausible adverse consequences of statin therapy, is as close to 21st century blasphemy as a medical journalist can come.

I experienced this in 2004, when I wrote an article about statins in a national newspaper. In the article, several doctors and scientists expressed well founded doubts about the safety of statin therapy in the general population. I also presented a few `anecdotal’ cases of statin induced harm, which were extremely easy to find.

The medical establishment reacted in fury and started an aggressive media offensive. Carefully avoiding the arguments in my article, they used their authority to hang me out on TV as a liar, a potential mass murderer. They called for `official measures’ to prevent naive journalists from making similar `tragic mistakes’ in the future.

They also took me to the Press Court, but they didn’t reckon with the fact that the Press Court checks facts and figures. The Court did an investigation and decided that I had just done my job, observing and questioning. [As an aside: the chief of my newspaper, born into a family of influential physicians, was not happy with the Court’s decision. He had already apologized on television for `this tragic mistake’.]

After this statin users started calling and mailing to the media, always reporting the same symptoms: various degrees of (muscle pain) and loss of muscle mass, exhaustion, personality changes and amnesia. But my colleagues didn’t like to take up this serious issue. That is, until last March when the TV-colleagues of TROS Radar, a consumer programme with an average of 2 million watchers (we have 16 million inhabitants), took up the subject.

Dutch cardiologist Dr Paul de Groot expressed his doubts about cholesterol as a causal factor, and postulated that statins sometimes do more harm than good, especially in primary prevention. Dr Uffe Ravnskov, who by the way was honoured yesterday with the prestigious Leo Prize for independent science, pointed out the many flaws in the cholesterol hypothesis.

The programme also interviewed people who had experienced devastating side effects from statins, which quickly disappeared upon discontinuation – although sometimes they did not. I was on the programme to explain how Unilever had succeeded in keeping an unfavourable article about its cholesterol lowering spread Flora out of the press.

When the shit hits the fan…

My time is limited, so I will make it short. Radar was vigorously attacked from all directions. Professors Martijn Katan and John Kastelein used various media outlets to shamelessly fire irrelevant, slanderous attacks on Dr Ravnskov. As usual, they did not address any of the scientific arguments. Radar invited Katan and Kastelijn for a public debate with Drs Ravsnkov and Kendrick, but they declined.

The Dutch Cardiologists Association, together with the Healthcare Inspectorate – and this is critical – announced official guidelines for medical journalists who plan to cover `delicate medical matters.’

History, you see, does repeat itself, and so I can predict what now happens in Australia. There will be calls to bring in ‘official guideline for medical journalists who plan to cover ‘delicate medical matters.’ This is also known as press censorship. It has been popular in various dictatorships over the years. Currently, North Korea is the best place to see this in action.

93 thoughts on “The backlash begins

  1. lowcarbdiabetic

    All so predictable don’t you think. Keep kicking butt Dr Kendrick. Our little team would be honoured to buy you your next pair of heavy duty boots, when your present butt kickers wear out. Keep up the great work.

    Kind regards Eddie

    Reply
      1. Mary Adair

        Dr. Kendrick,
        It does not surprise me one bit. There will be more to come. I thank God all the time that I refused to allow doctors to tell me why I had this around the clock awful pain for years on end. It just did not make sense. It took years for me to find my answers. Although not 100%, I finally have the relief I do from just saying no to a nine year experience with simvastatin. I know first hand what it is like to be scared into taking a drug that ravaged my body. Thanks to Statin Nation, I began to intelligently question whether I was, in fact, a victim of this horrible drug. But, the more I tell people my story, the more people I love and care about will be spared a life of utter anguish.
        I often wondered just how hard they would try to push back. You have only seen the tip of the iceberg. When all these poor people in Pain Management programs figure it out, the shit is really going to hit the fan!!

      2. David Bailey

        Mary,

        I have enormous sympathy for you. I only encountered the pain of simvastatin for a few months before I realised what was causing it, but those months were pretty hellish, relieved somewhat by diclofenac (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory). We get told that statins might produce ‘some muscle pains’, which doesn’t begin to describe the actual experience, which included vicious cramps, muscle weakness (particularly scary if you have had polio), and a very unpredictable shifting sort of pain that often made it hard to simply sit at my computer! Fortunately I sleep fairly soundly, otherwise I can imagine that would have also been disturbed.
        In my experience, a trace of pain has remained for months afterwords, but it is clearly going – so hopefully yours will too. I have taken Co-Enzyme Q10 since discovering the source of the problem because it is depleted by the statin.

  2. Jo

    I’ve seen exactly this during a recent fluoridation debate here in New Zealand. A year ago a bunch of local councillors were shown a presentation of the science suggesting that mass fluoridation of the water supply was not a good thing, and voted to stop it in a certain region. The outrage was immediate. These people promoting the stopping of mass fluoridation were hippies, thick, tree huggers etc. There was a for/against piece in the county’s biggest paper. The pro fluoridation argument was based purely on appeals to authority and the fact that it helps NZ be more meritocratic because poor children benefit (they presented no evidence for that though). The anti argument was littered with references to scientific studies. A national radio station which is highly respected here ran a skit presenting the anti-fluoride brigade as hippies that they didn’t really understand how to interpret science.

    A referendum was agreed and the local health board warned that there was an ‘orchestrated campaign’ by the anti-fluoridation lobby and that we shouldn’t listen to it. I thought an ‘orchestrated campaign’ was a good thing, but apparently not. It is interesting to note that the local health authority spent quite a lot of tax payer’s money on advertising boards in the area promoting fluoridation. In the end the fluoridators won the day because, in the face of a campaign of misinformation, only 30% of people voted against mass fluoridation. The point being that the pro-fluoridation lobby used exactly the techniques you describe in your post, without recourse to science at any time. The population were persuaded this time, but I am hopeful that the science will win out eventually. Until then I buy my drinking water and have it delivered to the house in recyclable bottles, at significant expense I might add. Whether you believe in the ‘benefits’ of fluoride or not, I would like to be able to have a choice on whether I drink it or not.

    Reply
      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I don’t know. However, I have looked at fluoridation and I don’t like it. The Swiss health authorities don’t like it either – having banned it. As did the Germans. Fuanny how these strange whacko countries do such mad things.

      2. Jo

        Hi Mark. I looked into this a couple of years ago when this became a hot topic here in New Zealand. My understanding is that fluoride can be naturally present in clean water sources. The bottled water that I buy has some naturally occurring fluoride in it and it is labelled on the bottle. The material I was reading said that in most cases naturally occurring fluoride was safe so I would probably continue drinking your tap water if you are sure that it does not contain additives. Most harm seems to occur when human beings start thinking they can improve on nature!

      3. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        that didn’t work. Here is a good quote on the subject. ‘Given the certainty with which water fluoridation has been promoted and opposed, and the large number (around 3200) of research papers identified, the reviewers were surprised by the poor quality of the evidence and the uncertainty surrounding the beneficial and adverse effects of fluoridation.’ Cheng K, Chalmers I, Sheldon T: ‘Controversy: Adding fluoride to water supplies.’ BMJ 2007;335:699-702

      4. David Bailey

        That archive link that I retrieved was stunning – the statin/cholesterol saga more or less repeated in yet another area of science:

        1) Supposedly irrefutable evidence that was equivocal at best.

        2) Research results withheld.because they gave the ‘wrong answer’.

        3) Acknowledged side effects downplayed – look at the pictures of ‘slight mottling’ of teeth displayed.

        4) Potentially very serious side effects ignored – bone weakness, hip fractures, and cancer.

        5) Those who opposed fluoridation simply scoffed at in various ways.

        6) The use of dodgy statistical techniques contrived to obtain the desired answer.

        This is also exactly the pattern in climate change research, and one has to wonder how many areas of scientific ‘knowledge’ have become tainted in this way!

    1. Lisa

      That’s why he sounded so nervous during the interview. To say that patients may just talk themselves into having side effects from statins is truly astounding. My father in law must be imagining his Alzheimers disease from long term statin use. Unfortunately, many uneducated people would believe his scaremongering tactics.

      Reply
  3. Ash Simmonds

    Sadly Media Watch is typically a bastion of credibility against poor journalism, usually they go through a report and demonstrate the fallacies of the report and ask about the evidence the report ignored – which in this case is exactly what Catalyst did to mainstream medicine and governmental guidelines.

    Unfortunately MW decided to stage an ad hominem assault, never even touching on any of the actual material presented. Very disappointing.

    Reply
      1. Ash Simmonds

        I haven’t watched MW for many years, but back in the 90’s it’s basically what convinced me to never bother watching/reading the news again, and they would be very thorough in their dismantling of the mainstream reports – playing the ball, not the man (mostly). That’s the disappointing thing for me – I completely expect such superficial BS from every other critic, but this is like your cool uncle touching up your sister.

  4. Robert Park

    This phenomenon is not unique to medicine nor to fluoridation but prevails in many fields, indeed, the answer to most of the problems that face society exists within society but like medicine it is either suppressed or marginalised and the crusaders crucified. Tell me the old, old story! One thing Doc is certain, you are not going to get the Nobel Prize, not if those in the Rockefeller Empire hear of your crusade; at least I have tholed my assizes (I hope)!

    Reply
  5. John Wright

    Hi Malcolm, Whilst the catalyst programmes served to stimulate discussion, I felt their selection of opinion leaders significantly undermined the credibility of the programme particularly in the first episode. Taubes aside (easy to attack – only a journo), the others were all successfully slated here in Aus, for having a book to sell, a pill to sell, a book and a pill to sell, you get the picture. Conflict of interest works both ways (unless of course you are a reviewing editor for a major journal ho hum!). It would be interesting to understand the ABC reasons for this expert group. As an old cynic it almost seemed to me they wanted to caricature the skeptics, which was disappointing. The one positive that appears to have been stimulated by the programmes and subsequent media, is the number of “experts” who are now suggesting that statins are probably not indicated in patients with no history of heart disease – Rory Collins will be choking on his gold plated cereal spoon. Speak soon John

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Hi John, Yes, a couple of the ‘experts’ were rather easy to hole under the waterline. Mind you, I suppose it would have been rathter easy for Max Plank to write off a certain patent clerk when he sumbitted his first article to the journal Annals of physics in 1905. Still, it turns out that Albert Einstein had a few interesting ideas. Despite not being much of an ‘expert’ in physics at the time. My view is simple. Facts are facts, and it doens’t matter where they come from.

      Reply
      1. John Wright

        Agree Malcolm, facts are facts unless you are a lawyer or a drug triallist.
        I guess it was frustrating after so long, they picked mr and mrs available. However what the programme really lacked – and maybe this is a future programme for you or John Briffa, was they didn’t really nail down any of the pro lobby on the data. Do you know if the ABC are planning more offerings?

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I imagine Marianne will be severaly censured at some point. I will doing another Statin Nation thing shortly. But arguing the data, as you know, becomes like killing the hydra. You find contradictory data, they say its because… For example, people with low cholesterol levels die younger than those with high cholesterol levels. Ah, this is because an udnerlying illness causes the low cholesterol, and it is the illness that kills you, not the cholesterol. I’m sorry, but you just made that up, didn’t you. Yes Iribarren made up this hypothesis some years ago – based on no data whatsoever. It is now so widely believed that it is quoted as fact. Which means we now have another ‘fact’ in the arena which is utter bollocks, has beeen proved to be wrong in several very major studies, but will not die. However, if you go into a debate, ‘facts’ like this are thrown at you. They sound plausible, you spend ages trying to knock them down and the discussion turns to mush.

      3. John Wright

        There’s a title for the new programme, Bollocks, Utter Bollocks and the Cholesterol Hypothesis. Do you think it will get through the ABC/BBC charter?

      4. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Hmmmmmm. We could alwyas call it ‘The greatest scam in the history of medicine.’ This would then be a direct quote from George Mann, at one time co-director of the Framingham study.

        “The diet-heart hypothesis [that suggests that high intake of saturated
        fat and cholesterol causes heart disease] has been repeatedly shown to be
        wrong, and yet, for complicated reasons of pride, profit and prejudice,
        the hypothesis continues to be exploited by scientists, fund-raising
        enterprises, food companies and even governmental agencies. The public is
        being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century.” (Dr. George V.
        Mann, participating researcher in the Framingham study and author of
        CORONARY HEART DISEASE: THE DIETARY SENSE AND NONSENSE, Janus Publishing
        1993.

  6. Chain Reaction

    If only the individual members of natures most intelligent species were not so stupid then the half-life of dogma need not be so great.

    Attack the ‘Earthing’ theory? How dumb are they?

    We are all children of s quantum universe. Without protons, free-electrons, and photons there could be no life.

    If they succeed in finding intelligent life elsewhere than Earth then I hope it turns out to be more intelligent and not so rare as it Is on Earth.

    Reply
      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Please people have a look at earthing and see what you think. My natural position is that this seems….. not sure what is the best word. But people think my views on choelsterol are whacko. So I do not, ever, dismiss anything – withoutt first trying to make sure I can understand it.

      2. Chain Reaction

        The entry point for learning about ‘Earthing’ would be the book of that name co-authored by Ober, Sinatra & Zucker (2010). Stephen Sinatra is a cardiologist who appears in the film above. earthinginstitute.net is a resource that points to peer review papers.

        All bodies, those that metabolise, it would seem, may develop a net positive charge, if only under certain conditions. The condition is imposed by elecrtical isolation from ground. The fabric of our footwear, cars, shops, homes etc. now imposes this condition – and to the point of totality.

        This level of self-imposed electrical isolation from ground is unique amongst modern humans (and pets) and rare in the rest of biology.

        Clint Ober is a former cable TV engineer who had an odd thought – what if those rubber-soled shoes resulted in ‘interference’? So he pulled out his multimeter and tested his body against ground. He detected a net positive charge, but if he grounded himself for long-enough this net positive charge dissipated. We can figure, cos biology provides plenty of examples, that the level of isolation modern man has achieved ain’t right.

        ‘Earthing’, using an earthing sheet or going barefoot on good and conductive natural ground,redresses the build up of unnatural positive charge, it counters inflammation, addresses aches and pains, and does something striking to the zeta potential of blood cells – reducing their tendency to couple and ‘clump’. I think decoupled RBCs look more functionally appropriate than do those that tend to couple (cos of low zeta potential).

        The question is; how does a body assimilate this net positive charge – under the conditions of isolation?

        The authors address this question, and they reference the Global Electrical Circuit – which I think would be better labelled the Global Electrostatic Phenomenon, btw.

        I don’t think their reasoning, leading to an explanation of ‘induction’ is wrong; however I don’t think it is correct for all the right reasons either.

        I mentioned this lately: My hunch was that metabolism ‘sacrifices’ ions, and that more anions than cations are ‘sacrificed’. It turns out this question hasn’t been investigated by science, yet matters that have been investigated return results that do concur with the hunch, there is some evidence to wpork on, andt does signpost the direction of my thinking.

        The ‘Earthing’ theory IS a landmark cognitive advance, as significant a leap forwards as acciddently having a frogs-leg twitch. But it needs to come to understand ‘why’? Having hit on ‘why’, I’d like to advance the idea, but like Clinton Ober my ‘provenance’ presents hurdles.

        My assurances favour the proposition that residual cationic duress arises because ion sacrifice is normal (for species that metabolise) while isolation is not. We’ve evolved to draw a tiny current from ground, and when we don’t we permit cationic biochemical species to linger about the body, and that hinders various physiologic functions and healing.

        Reading ‘Earthing’ prepared me, Dr Kendrick for ‘Lights Out’ (Wiley and Formby – 2000(?)). This book could save you a lot work figuring hypertension. They already did.

        Wiley and Formby say cycles of light and dark bear upon our sympathetic nervous system and command certain behaviours in biology and human physiology. Cortisol, it seems, has overall command of an endocrine cascade, and levels of cortisol is governed by cycles of day and night, daily and seasonally.

        Hypertension is water retention, and water retention (like sequestration of body-fat) is preparation for ‘hibernation’. Extra water could be useful so that EBCs released while sleeping don’t result in dehydration, don’t you think?

        Preparation for hibernation is done under conditions of hyperinsulinaemia commanded by the quantity and quality of polysaccharides present in the diet, and by levels of cortisol, commanded by day length and sleep cycles. Neat, eh!? The quantity and quality of polysaccharides available may vary in relation to the seasons too.

        Hypertension could be all sweetness and light. How cools is that(?), .. ..

        .. .. and it was Thomas Edison who screwed up the light (that’s worthy a smile!), about the time hypertension became a recognised medical condition. Works for me. You?

        Christopher Palmer.

  7. Gordon Rouse

    I certainly support the work of cholesterol skepticism, but I am very confused as the why Catalyst did go with the ‘experts’ they chose. Surely Uffe Ravnskov or yourself would not have had as many ‘wacko’ ideas in the closet? It is not to say that ‘Earthing’ or whatever is psuedoscience – well it does sound crazy!
    Remember this whole debate is skewed by the authoritarian science, and if you are going to challenge authoritarian science you need to be squeaky clean, and have all your children vaccinated! no alien conspiracy beliefs, not even a Amethyst crystal in your house!

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      They couldn’t afford the air fares to Europe. Everyone interviewed was West Coast USA. However, they picked on two people. There were plenty of other professors in there. Wonder why they didn’t get a mention? Biased…. I do, however, agree with your general point. Ensure you have no weaknessess before going into battle.

      Reply
  8. Debra

    I too used the Einstein analogy after watching Media Watch last night.
    The programme was totally inconsistent in its review of Catalyst. The selective attack on a few of the experts on one side of the argument was pathetic. They should have looked at all the experts – they may well have been shocked at what they found. Really the only problem with the Catalyst programmes was that disclosure of all these things (on both sides of the argument)should have been made. Obviously time restraints make that hard.
    It really scares me how much influence Big Pharma has in this world…oh yes they are trying to sell things too, but they are obviously not conflicted like other people trying to sell things. This whole issue is infuriating me and no one in my family even takes a statin. I don’t like good science being hidden. Keep up this excellent and important blogging!

    Reply
  9. Lori Ingham

    I had started a LCHF diet in April after being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It’s because of previous information I had on statins and cholesterol that I was able to talk my doctor OUT of prescribing me a statin (and if she had, I wouldn’t have taken it) after I was tested 3 months after my diabetes diagnosis. She tried to prescribe me a non statin drug, also, but I refused that one, too. I thought it was too soon to be even thinking of it, and I was right — when I was re-tested 3 months after that, cholesterol was in “normal” level,

    Those who are opposed to this information getting out don’t want to be seen as giving the wrong information. We live in a society where we attack first and hope to be the loudest voice in the room instead of listening to other people.

    Reply
  10. Mats@friskadiabetiker.se

    Dear Dr. Kendrick,

    Thanks for this information. It is unfortunately not surprising. These mechanisms are at work all over the (western) world including Sweden. I debated at the (World Diabetes day) conference at Malmö Sweden last Saturday and was attacked by a diabetes professor of being irresponsible when I told the audience that my successful abstention from carbs (LCHF) led me out of diabetes (losing 15 kg in three months). Irresponsible because my “extreme position on carbs” (< 5g/day) could be life-threatening. In fact I got the chance to reply by saying (to the professor and the audience: "The deceptive and false statemenet that carbs are "essential" has been canvassed for decades (with millions of victims who have believed that they are). I even got the chance to edify him as to the fact that we have a brilliant organ – the liver – that takes care of the supply of sugar/ketones needed by the body – especially the brain in the absence of carbs through the mouth. As a non-MD autodidact I found this very embarasing for him.

    On the backlash: I have seen exactly this happen in Sweden. Annika Dahlkvist, Uffe Ravnskov, Lars-Erik Litsfeldt and others have been attacked as "non scientific, anecdotal, irrelevant" without any scientific, logical or factual argument (As your Dutch journalist says: "Carefully avoiding the arguments……") They were and are all simply wrong, just like Copernicus, Galileo, Semmelweis and Einstein. (That which you do not understand is very, very doubtful indeed!)

    The underlying drive is IMHO the fear of being transferred from "the winners" to "the losers", a fear which is easy to understand if one has been treated as a half-god with immense authority. Loosing that authority is a such a frightening prospect that one must have an almost superhuman backbone in order to be able to subject yourself to such a trauma OR one must be a retiree (when career, income or peer respect gradually loose their importance).

    Belonging to the "winning side" is to most of us very, very important, in sports like in vocation, so my conclusion is that there must be a superior authority like the German Constitutional Supreme Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) which is empowered to investigate and bring verdict on the use/misuse of power in matters concerning the well-being of the citizens and their human right to self determination in matters of health, this corrective mechanism helping independent research on its way to safeguarding the healing of patients in place of treating them. Patients should be treated as partners and respected citizens, not as subjects.

    Best regards

    Mats J C Wiman Ex-diabetic http://www.HealthyDiabetics.se (in the making)

    PS. Sorry for not yet having delivered "Are doctors evil?" and "Are doctors stupid?" Mats

    Reply
  11. Dexter

    Regarding Grounding/Earthing. The producer of this grounding film had it posted on Youtube for a few days a couple weeks ago….viewing was free. Best presentation of grounding I have ever seen. It is now $2.99US to view for 24 hours. http://www.kroschelfilms.com/grounded You can watch a short trailer also.

    Reply
  12. Kevin Cohen

    I believe Marianne Damasi could not get any local cardiologist to speak on record. Pity she didn’t speak to global experts like Gary Schofield, Tim Noakes, Robert Lustig and Asif Mohatra. Even Kerryn Phelps concurred!

    Reply
  13. celia

    What I find so shocking is that experts and reporters like Melchior Meijer have been trying to alert the general public and the powers that be to the truth about cholesterol and statins for so long, and yet we still have more and more people given statins as a matter of course. When I was prescribed statins I took them with total trust in my doctor, as I am sure most people do. We are all entitled to know exactly what it is we are doing to our bodies, so all praise to the Catalyst programme.

    Reply
  14. steve whitaker

    I reckon the only way to stop this statin madness is from the inside out! by that I mean from the patients saying no, no, no….and stick your new bunch of statins also when they are offered as an alternative.

    I’ve managed to convince my 72 year old mum to stop taking them, by gently showing her articles that just tell the facts about the side effects of the drugs, buying her our great book Dr.Kendrick, and getting her to read the information leaflet in the packet of all things, as it says in there as plain as day “do not give to women, do not give to anyone over the age of 65”, the drug companies themselves are telling her this, so she’s given up for 6 months.

    Fingers crossed she will see the light and start to feel even better than she does after two weeks of been off them, which she does so she tells me.

    Viva la revolution, the silver surfers are restless!

    regards

    Steve Whitaker.

    Reply
      1. foodnerd2012

        Just tried to include the ones that contained references

        http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/SiteCollectionDocuments/guidelines-Absolute-risk.pdf http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/guidelines/publications/cp114

        http://www.heartfoundation.org.au/information-for-professionals/food-professionals/Pages/guides-policies-position-statement.aspx

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12716665

        http://www.fao.org/docrep/013/i1953e/i1953e00.pdf

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22658146

        http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/the-cholesterol-and-statin-debate/5067536

        http://www.abc.net.au/health/features/stories/2013/11/04/3883432.htm

        http://theconversation.com/viewing-catalysts-cholesterol-programs-through-the-sceptometer-19817 

        http://theconversation.com/some-things-you-should-know-about-statins-and-heart-disease-19655 

        http://theconversation.com/worried-about-taking-statins-heres-what-you-need-to-know-19877

        Would you like me to cut and paste the ones from the Professor Sullivan’s statement too?

      2. foodnerd2012

        From the Sullivan response, just the one – although his article referenced in the NHF article had a number of references

        de Lorgeril, M et al, The Lancet343.8911: 1454-9

        http://theconversation.com/its-not-even-debatable-saturated-fat-is-bad-for-you-19386

         

        So will you be altering your claim re evidence free – (since these two papers and the five minute segment they were featured in also supplied more evidence on their site than did the 2×30 minute series!)

  15. Robert Park

    While I hesitate at deviating from this present topic but G Edward Griffin, an American historian and writer, is someone who fights the same battle but on a broader premise and someone whom I feel speaks my language. Any regulars on this site who have not heard of him then here is his Web page: http://www.realityzone.com/currentperiod.html. In the following YouTube video he discusses one of the alternative treatments for cancer which some may find interesting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjf9NGJfe8E. In next video the topic is on collectivism and while this may not appear to be related to our current discussion then listen to his talk to be amazed: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAiUK39NWnk. He introduces to us the genesis of our battle.

    Reply
  16. Chmeee

    Hi Dr Kendrick

    Somewhat depressing, though on a note of optimism, it reminds me of something Churchill said – and I gather you like your quotes ! : “We must just KBO.” The initials stood for “Keep Buggering On.”

    Which leads me neatly to one of my all time favourites of his. :
    ‘An aide brought Churchill the morning paper with the news that one of his Cabinet Ministers would have to resign because he had been caught having gay sex with a Grenadier Guardsman in Green Park the night before.

    Churchill said: “It was cold last night was it not?”
    The aide replied: “Yes Sir, only 23 degrees”
    Churchill replied: “Makes you proud to be British”

    I thought you – and everyone else could do with cheering up , though I apologise for the flippancy I suppose.

    Thank you and good night.

    Reply
    1. Robert Park

      Awoke this morning feeling good and energised (don’t take prescription drugs) but those Churchillian comments made me chuckle; oh well, KBO!

      Here is one of my own favourite truism to life, especially in the field of management (an American one) says; ‘when you are up to your ass fighting alligators, you forget that your first task was to drain the swamp!’

      With apologies to Doctor McKendrick!

      Reply
  17. John C

    It’s getting worse!!!

    American Heart Foundation issues new guidlines today

    http://blog.heart.org/new-heart-disease-and-stroke-prevention-guidelines-released/

    “More Americans could benefit from statins

    Cholesterol-lowering statin drugs should now be prescribed to an estimated 33 million Americans without cardiovascular disease who have a 7.5 percent or higher risk for a heart attack or stroke within the next 10 years. That’s according to a new cholesterol guideline from the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology.

    This is a dramatic change from the 2002 federal cholesterol guideline, which recommended that people should only take a statin if their 10-year risk level exceeded 20 percent. The old guideline only considered a person’s risk for heart disease, leaving out the risk for stroke.

    Statins are drugs that lower the amount of cholesterol circulating in the blood. Seven statin drugs are currently available in the U.S.

    “We’ve been undertreating people who need statin therapy in this country,” said American Heart Association volunteer Donald Lloyd-Jones, M.D., one of 20 experts on the committee that wrote the new guideline……….”

    These new guidelines are being trumpeted by the Australian Heart Foundation as vindication of their position re “Catalyst”

    Reply
  18. John C

    I really don’t know what to make of all of this. The NY Times has a totally different spin on the new guidelines and not quite what our Australian Heart Foundation has been spouting on the radio news today.

    See:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/13/health/new-guidelines-redefine-use-of-statins.html?emc=edit_na_20131112&_r=0

    “BREAKING NEWS Tuesday, November 12,

    New Guidelines on Statins Drop Rigid Targets for Cholesterol

    The nation’s leading heart organizations, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology, released new guidelines Tuesday that will fundamentally reshape the use of cholesterol-lowering statin medicines that are now prescribed for a quarter of Americans over 40. Patients on statins will no longer need to lower their cholesterol levels to specific numerical targets monitored by regular blood tests, as has been recommended for decades. Simply taking the right dose of a statin will be sufficient, the guidelines say.
    The new guidelines, based on a four-year review of the evidence, also simplify the current complex, five-step process for evaluating who needs to take statins. In a significant departure, the new method also counts strokes as well as heart attacks in its risk calculations, a step that will likely make more people candidates for the drugs.”

    It would seem to me that this may be an admission that the anti-inflammatory effects of the statins may have been accepted as the major benefit rather than any cholesterol lowering.

    Reply
  19. dean watson

    got my 88 year old mum off statins after 14 years. she had a double stent after a heart attack in 1999. mum was saying she just wanted to go because she felt crap every day.
    of course i, and my brother had “familial hyper cholesteremia” (no dna evidence from anyone in the family ) as a result of mums heart attack and because of my dad, a heavy smoker and non exerciser, who died of heart failure at 68. mum lived in his side stream smoke all her married life of course. we were all put on statins. i got off after 7 years of feeling crap. my brother is too scared to stop and believes the big pharma and compliant medicós dogma. this of course has split the family.

    ive managed to get mum seeing a functional doctor to find causes of what is making her feel bad. some success already with improved sleep from melatonin supplemetation. some years ago her gp had added endep to her cocktail of post heart attack drugs, including statins, – she suffered nightmares and poorer sleep as a result.
    thank goodness for people like you who are making a difference in helping us get away from

    Reply
  20. Melchior Meijer

    Malcolm,

    I only just saw this post. Thanks so much for the shout out! It’s funny that the same scenario keeps repeating itself. Very encouraging that the lovely (and brave) Maryanne Demasi made this series. I hope the aftermath will not disturb her HPA axis too much.

    Reply
  21. Stacie

    It still is absolutely mind boggling that statin drugs are prescribed at all. For people with established heart disease, an absolute risk reduction of less than 2% means these drugs are useless. For people without CVD, there is no benefit, which makes the drugs useless. So how have we gotten to, and continue in, the practice of prescribing drugs that do not work???

    Reply
  22. james

    The backlash continues : There should be no doubt there is strong evidence that:
    Advertisement
    High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke, right up there with high blood pressure, smoking, overweight/obesity, physical inactivity and other risk factors;
    Replacing saturated fat with ”good” unsaturated fat, in particular polyunsaturated fat, reduces the risk of heart disease;
    Statins are very effective at reducing the risk of having a heart attack, particularly for people who have heart disease. Dr Lyn Roberts CEO of the Heart Foundation
    http://www.smh.com.au/comment/heart-disease-and-cholesterol-catalysts-claims-on-statins-dangerous-20131114-2xjmg.html

    Reply
  23. JJ

    If you think this is bad backlash, you should hear the kind of thing said and written about the exposers of scams of “human-induced climate change” and the “occupation of “Palestine”! The 2oth century had quite a few scams going, the effects of which will continue for awhile.
    If you want to see the very brisk takedown of the Heart Foundation though by various members of the public, visit the National Heart Foundation FaceBook page, it’s very entertaining.

    Reply
      1. cpnaustralia

        In my experience, determination and persistence pays off – eventually. This is a very transformative time on the planet and I believe the giant money ship will eventually sink. I first started on my own personal research just on 10 years ago and was bleating in the wilderness. Now the voices are many. Take heart

      1. foodnerd2012

        While Dr Lustig’s theories and evidence may seem convincing to the general public and reporters, the real test is how well he performs with his fellow scientists!

        He was certainly called out for overstating the evidence and poorly extrapolating rat research at a conference he spoke at last year – check out the Q and A video in the attached article by David Despain (as well as the other lectures)!

        http://evolvinghealthscience.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/sugar-showdown-science-responds-to.html for a full review and links to all lectures – if not just watch the Q and A at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypWe6npULUQ and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnGhfX2yaU4

        At the Q and A at the Sugar Symposium, Dr Lustig was called out on his extrapolation of rat data re fructose and one researcher showed that rats liked glucose based carbohydrates over sucrose, and another questioned the applicability of rat research to be extrapolated to humans!

        One major issue with Dr Lustig’s theory is looking at US Sugar intake over history – levels were still high in the early 20th century – so saying it is sugar is either an oversimplification or there is a threshold value that we have recently crossed. Methinks that it is a perfect storm of more sugar and less burning it up with physical activity!

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I think Lustig and Taubes have overestimated the danger/damage of ‘sugars’. I think that healthy people, who do some exercise, can deal with a pretty high carb intake (no idea what the figure is, maybe ~800 kcals. As you point out, sugar intake was high many years ago. Intake has also gone up since the 1980s, whils CVD rates have fallen. I do think that if you have trouble handling carbs/metabolic syndrome then you should go high fat. This is also very true in type II diabetes. Also low carb/high fat does work to improve weight loss in many people. So, carbs (excess carbs) are not your friend. But they are not your deadly enemy either. I am always wary of people who have one single, simple, solution.

      3. Robert Park

        In the references to which you drew attention David Despain says, “… the Corn Refiners Association sponsored the symposium and White and Dr. Rippe receive support from industry” yet they had the audacity to contradict Dr Lustig’s findings! Some of the statements used to marginalise Dr Lustig’s discoveries were contradictory and flawed. In the Q & A session one female could not speak English fluently and the question she posed which could not be understood offered the opportunity for another scientist to say, “I think…” or in other words he was waffling! What did pique my interest was the statement that humans cannot turn carbohydrates into fat. What was also apparent from those references was not opposition to Dr Lustig’s findings but rather an attempted assault on his reputation by rivals from the food industry. There was jockeying for recognition in the Q & A session. From Dr Lustig research it is obvious that he stands head and shoulders above his contemporaries. His argument is convincing and to the extent that yesterday I started to keep sugar out of my diet and interestingly the gout, from which I suffer almost constantly, has subsided! I wonder how many of those scientists who attacked Dr Lustig tested his findings on themselves prior to their vitriolics?

      4. foodnerd2012

        Nice display of cognitive dissonance – just dismiss what people say because of sponsorships (don’t negate with evidence), skip over that Lustig has extrapolated data above and beyond the actual findings (rat data) ignore the bits he got wrong and then you talk about his research (what has he published on fructose in terms of trials)? And then reveal your bias (personal experience) – please let me know when you want to talk actual science, not ideology and ad hominems.

        Scientists’ personal experience shouldn’t dictate how they report the research, so your last point is irrelevant

      5. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Dear fellow bloggists (Foodnerd2012 and Robert). I love a good argument. I also love it when it doesn’t become personal, and starts veering close to personal insults. I find that this doesn’t help. I think we all agree that Lustig is saying what he truly believes, and much of his stuff is very good indeed. Like us all, he sometimes goes a little too far in what he claims (I think). However, compared to the other side, he is a veritable saint. For example, anyone who states that you cannot turn carbohydrates into fat…..ahem. The liver spends a of time doing exactly this. Also foodnerd (if I may call you this), I do think that personal experience can be extremely valuable. I know that the plural of anecdote is not data, but if I pushed three people off a cliff and they all died, I think I would have a pretty good case for suggesting that my personal cliff pushing experience had proved a point.

      6. foodnerd2012

        Sorry for misreading the tone of the blog.

        While anecdote had some value, it should be considered that;
        1. If you are going to accept anecdote as evidence, you will also need to accept those stories that oppose your personal experience equally .
        2. Anecdote doesn’t trump data if it exists – especially when making general statements versus specific ones ie. this is what happened to me vs everyone should do this
        3. Anecdote should be considered within its context ie I’ve stopped eating fructose containing foods and my gout improved vs fructose is toxic. Similarly pushing people doesn’t kill nor does standing near the the of a cliff.
        Interesting to note that in Fat Chance, Dr Lustig suggests that the toxic threshold is 50g of fructose (which would require 100g of sucrose) and he suggested fructose is weakly addictive – both a far cry from claims he is associated with.

  24. Geoff Cruickshank

    I downloaded the new US risk spreadsheet. Entering my own figures which closely match ‘ideal’ in the spreadsheet I discovered that at age 58 my 10 year risk is 6.2%- so do not require statin treatment. Leaving all figures the same but changing my age to 62, my risk rises to 8.2%, so I will require statins in 4 years time. I then made blood pressure and HDL and other questions exactly match the ideal in the spreadsheet and find that I would be on statins after the age of 63 no matter how good everything else is.
    Anyone see a problem with this?

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Thank you for sending these. I know what they say, because I have seen them before. I shall leave it up to other to make of them what they will. One of the great joys, and frustrations, of the world of medical science is that one can find evidence to support almost any point of view. I would ask you to review these statistics http://www.bhf.org.uk/publications/view-publication.aspx?ps=1002098 and see if you can find any evidence to support the conjecture that fat intake has any impact on CVD. (they used to list saturated fat consumption, but have now got rid of this statistic).

      Reply

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