How to kill a hypothesis

“Why do people insist on defending their ideas and opinions with such ferocity, as if defending honour itself? What could be easier to change than an idea?” J.G. Farrell.

When the orbit of Neptune was found to be irregular, and not to follow classical Newtonian physics, it was suggested that, perhaps, the laws of physics may break down in deep space. Others, rather more pragmatically, suggested that there was another planet out there, interfering with the orbit of Neptune. It was just too far out, and dim, to be seen.

That planet, no longer called a planet, was Pluto. Once observed, it accounted for the distortions in the orbit of Neptune.

When the orbit of Mercury was found to be irregular, and not to follow classical Newtonian physics, it was suggested that there was another invisible planet orbiting closer to the sun. This planet was named Vulcan.

Of course there was no planet Vulcan. The reason why classical Newtonian physics did not accurately predict the orbit of Mercury is because the mass of the sun bent time and space. Classical Newtonian physics had to be replaced by Einstein’s theory of relativity.

What does this tell us?

It tells us that it is very difficult to know if an apparently contradictory observation actually refutes a scientific theory. It also tells us that you can use ad-hoc hypotheses (there is another planet out there) to support a cherished central hypothesis, and that this is a valid scientific technique.

But at what point do you have to admit defeat? How many contradictory observations can you dismiss before you must accept that the game is up, and that your hypothesis is wrong?

I think about this a lot. Mainly with regard to the cholesterol hypothesis, or the diet-heart hypothesis, or whatever term is now current. I have seen evidence that directly refutes this hypothesis again and again and again and….indeed…again.

If anyone wishes to debate this issue with me, I can produce far more evidence contradicting it, than supporting it. Yet still it stands, untouched. In fact I would suggest more people believe in this hypothesis than at any time in human history. Billions of people also take statins to lower their cholesterol levels. As you can imagine, this is more than a little frustrating.

How can you convince people that this hypothesis is wrong? I have tried in many, many, different ways. As have other members of THINCS (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics).

Yes, I have helped to convince many thousands of people that cholesterol has nothing to do with heart disease, or cardiovascular disease, or atherosclerosis, or unstable atherosclerotic plaques…

Indeed, stepping sideways for a moment, one of the major difficulties in this area is that the terminology shifts and swirls in front of you, making it impossible even to pin down what you are talking about.

At one time the experts were quite happy to tell us that a raised cholesterol level caused heart disease. Now we have ‘good’ cholesterol and ‘bad’ cholesterol, and ‘light and fluffy’ bad cholesterol and ‘small and dense’ bad cholesterol (which really should be called ‘evil’ cholesterol, I suppose). We have the ratio of good to bad cholesterol, apob-100 levels, particle numbers, sub-fractions of good cholesterol, dyslipidaemia, LDL particle size, or number,  or…..the list goes on and on.

How can you argue against a scientific hypothesis when the damned thing will not stay still from day to day?

That, however, is a bit of a side-issue, although I have come to realise that this constant creation of new types of cholesterol, and sub-fractions, and ratios, is all part of the game that is played to protect the cholesterol hypothesis from refutation. How can you refute a hypothesis that can change into any shape it likes? Answer, you can’t.

Anyway, in my efforts to work out how to change ideas in the wider population I have spent a great deal of time looking at the history of scientific thought. I wanted to gain any insights I could into how people managed to kill off hypotheses in the past.

As part of my education I have tried not to get too depressed by fellow thinkers on the subject. Such as Max Plank, who said:

‘A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.’

In short, his view is that you should forget trying to convince people. They will never, ever, change their minds. Max Plank, by the way, was the man who published Einstein’s special theory of relativity (against great opposition).

Another of my scientific heroes is Wilfred Trotter. A man you are unlikely to have come across. Unfortunately, however, he was not much help either:

‘The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. It would not perhaps be too fanciful to say that a new idea is the most quickly acting antigen known to science. If we watch ourselves honestly we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated.’

I could fill hundreds of pages with quotes saying the same type of thing. Essentially, people love the ideas they have grown up with, and become deeply emotionally attached to them. Changing them is painful; they dislike and fear new ideas and, will bring forth all the powers of their intellect to do so.

Things are made all the more difficult when you try to convince people who have spent large amounts of their professional life studying a specific area. When someone has become an ‘expert’ in something, and their reputation, and position of authority, is inextricably linked to a certain hypothesis, you are not just attacking an idea, you are attacking them. As noted by Leo Tolstoy:

‘I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth, if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.’ Leo Tolstoy

Despite all of this being rather depressing, it has all helped me to establish one clear rule. Do not bother trying to convince people who are ‘experts’ in heart disease that the cholesterol hypothesis is wrong. It is a complete waste of time and energy. The only people who can be convinced are inquisitive people who do not have too much invested in this particular hypothesis.

I have also worked out another rule. Facts are almost completely ineffective at convincing people of anything. Recently, I was reading an article on Daniel Kahneman, Nobel prize winner in economics. He was discussing the irrationality of the financial system. He made many interesting points. For example:

The way scientists try to convince people is hopeless because they present evidence, figures, tables, arguments, and so on. But that’s not how to convince people. People aren’t convinced by arguments, they don’t believe conclusions because they believe in the arguments that they read in favour of them. They’re convinced because they read or hear the conclusions from people they trust. You trust someone and you believe what they say. That’s how ideas are communicated. The arguments come later.’

Once again, if this is true, what can be done? How to change ideas…..

I leave you at this point with a small section of dialogue from the film Inception:

Dom Cobb: ‘What is the most resilient parasite? A bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm?’

Arthur: ‘Uh, what Mr. Cobb is trying to…’

Dom Cobb: ‘An idea. Resilient, highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it’s almost impossible to eradicate. An idea that is fully formed, fully understood. That sticks, right in there somewhere.’

[he points to his head]

The cholesterol hypothesis is one of the most resilient parasites of all. How to kill it off? All suggestions welcome.

110 thoughts on “How to kill a hypothesis

  1. Sue Richardson

    You are absolutely spot on with this Dr K. I suppose, thinking back, I had no firm ideas about the cholesterol theory so I hadn’t an opinion to change as it were. But when I read your book it immediately sounded logical and trustworthy and I had an opinion from then on. I may not be university educated but I can recognise the truth when I see it. It is absolutely imperative for you and the others at THINCS to continue with what you are doing and not give up in spite of the depressing knowledge that the medical researchers etc will never change their opinion. You are creating a space in medical history, and I hope you outlive them all!

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  2. Tom Welsh

    Thanks very much for that article, Dr Kendrick. I think it’s brilliant, accurately and succinctly nailing one of the human race’s most serious problems. It’s so serious because it afflicts our best and brightest minds most of all, and hardly anyone has any immunity to it.

    Here’s a thought, though: I found myself recalling Richard Feynman’s remarks on how to do science well. As I remember, he was very insistent that you should never become attached to an idea, no matter how superb it seems and how many problems it seems to solve at a stroke. Instead, always preserve some distance between yourself and your ideas. It’s a sort of intellectual Buddhism: attachment leads to grief, so avoid attachment.

    I’ve noticed something similar when playing chess. To get the best performance out of yourself, it’s vital to stay emotionally detached. If you become committed to the thought that you must win, you start to believe you are winning when you’re not, and you launch unjustified attacks that will be refuted. To avoid this, while my opponent is thinking I often mentally “turn the board around” and try to imagine I’m him, and what I would be thinking if I were trying to win from his side of the board. That kills off a lot of foolish plans before I even start thinking about them.

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  3. Tom Welsh

    One more reaction: isn’t the social matrix the worst culprit in making us attached to your ideas? Look at the examples in the quotations you cite. A professor has been holding forth, writing books, receiving professorships and prizes. A researcher’s funding depends on certain findings being upheld. And so forth. If somehow we could divorce science from worldly reward, we could remove a lot of those emotional ties at a stroke. I envisage some kind of scheme whereby the organizations that depend on scientific research pool their funds and contribute them to running a new kind of university which reverses recent trends and goes back to a medieval purity of purpose. A place inhabited by researchers who merely want security and the facilities they need, and whose main reward lies in their work. That would also help to staunch the flow of unnecessary and unwarranted articles, projects, and books whose only purpose is to further their authors’ careers.

    Nietzsche’s plea to “let the philosophers grow untended, deny them all prospect of place and position within the bourgeois profession, cease to entice them with salaries, more, persecute them, show them disfavour” may have been a shade extreme. But his heart was in the right place.

    Reply
    1. Leaf Eating Carnivore.

      Yes. I agree.

      Sadly, the monetary corruptions in Academia are on the verge of destroying science, the best expression of the human mind thus far. Without openness and trustworthiness, and the courage to disprove, the endeavour has no foundation.

      What a waste.

      Reply
  4. Steve Prior

    My Dear Dr Kendrick

    Killing a hypothesis whether good or bad is simply a matter of time, a bit of luck and perseverance.

    If you think you have a hard job, what about the few people who see so many inconsistencies in our economic system, our financial system, our money system, our political system, our education system and yes our health system.

    My background used to be in selling and marketing stuff. As a youngster, all I wanted was a new BMW/Lexus/Aston Martin and cash to go skiing every year.

    Whilst I was always curious about the way the world works it was simply easier to go with the flow and seek to make my money fortune.

    It was a quite a bit later on that I really started to question the institutions which manage our perceptions, they frame a kind of reality which suits them but doesn’t really suit the rest of us.

    The other thing to bare in mind is a natural consequence of human evolution. We are best suited to running away from an immediate threat. A lion who might eat us or a bus which might run us over if we don’t get out of its way.

    Humans like to conserve energy and thinking hard takes a lot of energy. So it’s easier to trust in the crowd. One doesn’t have to think too hard and most times it works okay to follow the crowd.

    The thing that all marketers know is this. People relate to simple stories and they relate even more to stories in which they see themselves. The best stories allow people to fill in the gaps with their own imagination.

    If you ask people what they eat they will often say a healthy balanced meal. Their version of a balanced meal may be completely at odds with my or our version of a balanced meal but we won’t ask them to be specific. I’m talking in very general terms here.

    So a good story is simple, it doesn’t use logic (remember thinking hard takes too much energy) a good story uses emotion and this is what grabs people.

    If I wanted to make a point about cholesterol I would create an advert showing a sink plughole which is all clogged up. A simple message even if it is completely wrong. If I want to sell a car, I will create an image of a beautiful girl driving through the countryside with a great exhaust note.

    Both of the above will depend on my target market and the message or communication will need to change but once I’ve decided that the rest is easy.

    Provided of course one has the money/power/influence.

    In a society which is enraptured by a faulty capitalist and institutional systems anyone who is outside the system has a huge challenge in getting people to really listen to new ideas. Even though systems are faulty, they are self protecting.

    It doesn’t though mean we should stop trying.

    Initially, new ideas are shared by intellectuals, people who will invest in using their brains and who will wish to gather information. Over time, new ideas can gain traction or they can lead to revolution. Suggest you read Eric Hoffer – The True Believer, Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements.

    From my perspective, I no longer wish to use my old learning to sell or market stuff to people. May be I should apply it to social eneavors or to promote new ideas.

    I think R. Buckminster Fuller had an interesting perspective with one of his quotes “My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.”

    My best wishes to you and please don’t stop.

    Reply
    1. Robert Park

      To re-quote R. Buckminster Fuller’s experience today would be to say that expediency rules. An interesting post Steve. I have taken some notes from it.

      Reply
  5. Louise B

    I think the cholesterol hypothesis will die when the “New” idea that cholesterol is in fact our body’s friend becomes better known. That it is essential for every cell and for life itself. That along with the new idea that naturally animal fats are good for us not industrial oils and spreads. These truths will spread among the grass roots of people like me telling out t nearest and dearest. My father has recently stopped his stains after listening to me and your book that I gave him. A “bottom up” approach will win out rather than trying to convince the likes of the BDA, government and Heart Foundation.

    Reply
    1. Elaine Hamnett

      So right, we need to be prepared to speak out and say we will no longer be made unwell by the food and pharmaceutical companies.

      Reply
  6. Chmeee

    How to kill the cholesterol hypothesis ? Some (semi) random thoughts:

    Discover the true cause of heart disease, then develop and demonstrate / prove unequivocally ( in so far as one can ) a cure for this. The cure should require expensive drugs to be taken for life. This not only gets you a trip to Oslo but also ought to kill the hypothesis. Possibly. Eventually. There is still a Flat Earth Society, for example…….

    Wait. In time, it will be replaced. Almost nothing is forever. It is not so very long ago that a tonsillectomy was a rite of passage from very early childhood, yet now people recoil in horror at such a thought. Just a little earlier, the gold standard treatment for almost any ailment was ’Bleed them, purge them, keep the bowels open and trust in God’. Though some may feel this still to be an appropriate treatment for the statinators / lipophobes.

    Accept that eminent authority tends not to change its mind and this should not surprise us – it is just an example of the Turkey Law ( Turkeys typically do not vote for Christmas ). Instead, work on an individual basis, simply presenting the facts and letting people then make their own minds up. Just don’t be surprised when the facts are rejected by most – argument from authority is a very powerful influence for many – but don’t despair. Some will listen and of these, some of these will change. In turn they will tell others. The Web is a great supporting vehicle for this. And those that don’t change and continue eating a diet that actually harms them, whilst taking pills to counteract this to no effect other than a deleterious one? There is little or nothing you can do, other than to remember ‘Think of it as evolution in action.’ Though just because the world isn’t ‘fair’ ( whatever that means ) doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try to change it. Except who am I ( or you, or anyone ) to try and do this ? What makes someone think they are right and, moreover, have the right to try and impose their views on others? Yet almost all people do, all the time, often on the basis of little or no reference to facts, so why not.

    Education needs improvement. In a society shaped and dominated by science and technology the general level of knowledge, particularly of science, is appalling. If it does improve, then just maybe people would start looking a little more critically at some of the advice given. Though it is unlikely, sadly; I have a sound basis for being a sceptic and a cynic

    Finally, remember the last thing to come out of Pandora’s Box.

    Thanks

    Reply
    1. thetinfoilhatsociety

      The Greeks viewed ‘hope’ as the final horror, for it prevents one from fully living in the now.

      Reply
  7. Ann Alder

    Brilliant, Dr Kendrick. I love reading your blog but have to admit to beginning to worry that you were losing the will…..! Be assured – in small ways, amongst those we can influence and who share an open curiosity, there are plenty of us out here spreading the word. We are standing up and standing out, based not on ‘scientific evidence’ but on the evidence of success in improving our health and well-being. Change is building and the ‘experts’ are looking over their shoulders, I’m convinced.

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  8. Jennifer

    Dr K. If you can’t get the message across to the closed minds of the expert medics, then what chance do I have? For a start, GPs do not have the time to ‘chat’ with every nerd like me coming in with high fallutin ideas; it is just not practicable, and they are constrained to toe the line, especially in NHS.
    So, a year on from being admonished for doing my own research on diet and pharmaceuticals, and under threat of serious illness if I implemented all that I had learned, I am still alive and kicking, still 30lbs lighter (BMI 23), after initial fast weight loss, off all meds and very healthy.
    So, I will just keep away from those who have told me that they will not re-look at stuff that they have had hard-wired into their very being. (statins, B/P, diet guidelines post-Ancel Keys)
    I will just have to keep up to date on the internet, like reading informative blogs such as yours.
    So, you have convinced me today that my knock about, ( in the last couple of topics), with some contributors on this site, are absolutely to no avail. I will not get into conversation with those who disagree with me. Cowardly? Selfish? Yes, but I am all for a peaceful life, and intend to minimise all forms of unnecessary stress, as it’s detrimental to health. Simple.

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  9. Brian Kirman

    Oh dear, almost the same time I read this I was listening to BBC Radio 4 ‘You and Yours’ (15/1 – on iPlayer if you want to…) where 2 ’eminent’ doctors were debating the upcoming ‘NICE’ revision on statin prescribing. Both doctors agreed that statins were great and cholesterol was evil and must be dealt with. The debate was over what one of them called beneficial dosing and the other was reluctant to dose ‘low risk’ patients.

    There was no questioning the ‘cholesterol hypothesis’ at all.

    Stand by for a new onslaught from NICE of ‘statins are good for everybody’

    Reply
  10. celia

    I just made a suggestion to You and Yours, which I just listened to with the usual despair, as Professor Colin Baigent (funded by Merk) extolled the virtues of statins. I suggested they ask you to speak on their programme, if they dare! Hope that was OK.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Celia, They have made tentative contact with me on a couple of occasions. I think they speak to the likes of Baigent (never funded by any pharma company ho, ho). He probably convinces them that I am nuts, and know nothing, etc. The BBC is more conservative than doctors – and that it saying something.

      Reply
      1. celia

        I am really sorry to hear that. Still, I did tell them that I had been suspicious and I had smelled a conflict of interest, which I then found. I must say I had suspected the BBC would be over cautious (in the wrong direction). Oh well, we just have to keep chipping away…

  11. Mats J C Wiman

    Thanks for this brilliant analysis! Most of us in the LCHF network in Sweden have been discussing most of your poinnts for years.
    Some say we must wait for the worst ‘experts’ to die, some say we must undermine their positions as experts, others say we must convince the consumers/patients to try our low carbohydrate diet und thus get a number of cases of proof (all the time being derided as anecdotes). I am one of these cases and how many we are nobody knows (we haven’t got the funds to research it and the establishment is not interested in demolishing the foundation on which they base their position.
    To add to it, the nutrition/pharma industry complex is one of the mightiest opponents you can get.
    We have experienced some success though: Unilever is investing in a lot of TV ads lying about the allegedly healthy benefits of their margarines in order to pull their cart out of the “super saver/sale” mess which they have been forced to adapt in order to sell them (the discount percentage sometimes exceeding 50%). Butter is up, eggs are up, cream is up, bacon is up and body weights are down, not forget: Diabetics get healthy.

    But despair nevertheless prevails. The idiocy continues and is not yet really shaken, just as you describe it. How to kill i?

    My belief ist that the only sharp weapon is satire: Make the expert look like a fool. The fool will of course not admit defeat but at least s/he starts shutting up.
    Example: “You get diabetes if you eat too much of carbohydrates. What should you do to solve the problem?” Big Pharma: ” Let us develop the wonder medicine (Which will be proven within twenty years). The fifth grader: “Remove carbohydrates from your diet”.
    People in fact chuckingly admit that the fifth grader makes the experts and the pharma lackeys look like fools.
    The othe tactic which I have used is to call a spade a spade. At the World Diabetes conference last autumn I (an autodidact) chastised a diabetes professsor when he pulled the “dangerous saturated fats” card by saying that I had consumed half a ton of saturated fats since 2008, asking him if WHO is no authoriy on the matter. He chose to be silent.

    In the long run the education of the consumers/patients is of course a certain winner.
    (demanding a loth of effeort though).

    Best regards
    Mats LCHF Wiman
    http://www.Healthy diabetics.se
    (not yet operational)

    Reply
    1. Tom Welsh

      “My belief ist that the only sharp weapon is satire…”

      Good suggestion, Mats. May I suggest that, in that department, our sharpest tool is Tom Naughton (whom many of us know from his “Fat Head” videos and blog). As he always says, “follow the money…”

      Reply
  12. Odette Hélie

    Hello,
    The observation about the importance of the messenger over the message seems to be confirmed by psychology. Last week, listening to the podcast “Long term thinking”, I heard the author of “Fast thinking, slow thinking” (Nobel Memorial Prize winner in Economics Daniel Kahneman) say exactly the same thing. In a way, it is depressing but on the other hand it should make you more zen about the whole thing, doctor Kendricks 🙂

    Reply
  13. dearieme

    Cheer up! I remember reading once about a psychologist who investigated Planck’s claim that old physicists never changed their minds, and found it to be false. Mind you, they weren’t on consultancies from pharma firms, or government incentive schemes.

    Reply
  14. Mary Adair

    Dear Dr. Kendrick,
    As I read your most recent post, I almost feel physical pain for you. Dr. Kendrick…you must be willing to go outside your comfort zone. You and your like minded friends must organize, make a plan to attack this “hypothesis” and then do. Dr. Graveline is an absolutely gifted orator in that he can speak on a level that appeals to the masses. And, we here in America, love our astronauts. He started out with a “hero” status. In short, he is believable…he is someone you trust. You have that gift. You are going to have to organize, raise funds, do book signings, speak to Congress. You have to get to the right people and those of influence…that is how you are going to do it. Why not read about the great tobacco industry here in the states? You will figure it out from there. Oh they took a mighty tumble. But, it took a few good men to pick a fight…and fight they did. Now, you could not find even a child who would not tell you that smoking kills. Read about it. That is my suggestion. Gather strength and information from it. Take the lead and you will figure it out.

    Mary

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  15. DWS

    The difference between the Neptune orbit problem and the cholesterol hypothesis is that there wasn’t a $29+ billion industry profiting from the supposed classic Newtonian orbit of Neptune, nor a corrupt political system feeding off the same industry profits. My first suggestion to attack the problem, and give the next generation a fair chance at a balanced debate, would be to campaign against the amount of corporate money in politics.

    This would also solve a great many other problems which are currently stunting the evolution of the human race.

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  16. Andy Baird

    I thought this might have been leading up to the fact that you might have changed your mind on the benefits of l-arginine.
    The best end of a discussion I once heard was “Well yeah, but you can prove anything with facts.”

    Reply
  17. Robert Park

    A beautiful post but now you have confused me. What comes first the theory or the science? As my thoughts thumb through the mind’s filing system many anecdotal incidents flash to mind, for example, with you being a Scot and with the country currently considering independence, how can one convince the natives that the English are not their enemy?

    I am also reminded of a television programme in which an eminent child psychiatrist stated that no one had a memory prior to the age of three and he was teaching students! More recently on a series of programmes fronted by Maureen Lipman she also made the same assertion. The problem is, why do my memories of childhood go back to when I was in my pram? Maybe I need some medication to align my thoughts with academic teachings or would the implication be that I was still in my pram beyond the age of three?

    Then there are those who treat medics as if they are divine and their word gospel and when they leave the clinic armed with their prescription they begin, almost immediately, to feel a tad better, not realising that the cure came from inside themselves simply because someone listened to what ails them. Recall the biblical tale of the ill woman breaking free from the crowd and touching the cloak of Jesus and exclaiming that she had been cured when Jesus replied (something like) “Thy faith is within thyself”. He was possibly the first person to recognise the placebo-effect and she was blessed by the spirit of God.

    The publishers of the Penguin series of books have had an edition of Aesop’s Fables in print for a number of years with an entirely re-written edition more recently. The academic standing of both authors is very distinguished but anyone with a modicum of intellect will recognise that both authors are impostors. To provide an example; the tale of the Tortoise and Zeus is interpreted by both as ‘home is best’ however, this is an allegorical tale as all Aesop’s tales are where it tells the reader that there is no God but there is Mammon and if you do not do what Mammon says you will be cast to purgatory for the remainder of your life, and how true this is in society. I drew this point to the Editor of Penguin who admitted that he did not understand its meaning so the book remains in print.

    Some of you will recall the programme, initially on radio but later on television, called the Brains Trust where a group of eminent scholars were invited to participate. There were many questions which the group struggled to answer and often did but only with the prompting of the chair. They were once asked what the late Samuel Johnson meant when he said, “Scoundrels hide behind patriotism.” which confused all. Even the late Sir John Harvey Jones, CEO and Chairman of ICI, admitted that he could not grasp its meaning. It was given to him as an essay at the tender age of thirteen on entering Dartmouth Naval College. He knew a little about patriotism so wrote about this and passed and was accepted. Whichever educationalist chose this as an essay subject for pupils at this stage to life clearly failed to understand its implication and so too did the markers of the essay otherwise Sir John would not have passed. Patriotism in this sense, as you will all recognise, is the rising swell of public opinion to which many hide behind.

    I love this Americanism which says, ‘some people must think I am a mushroom as they keep me in the dark and feed me with bull’.

    That’s my therapy for the day over and I feel much better; no statins needed.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Theory is science. I think. The great problem, as stated in other comments, is to become too attached to favoured theories. If you do this you will come to hate contradictions, and attack them – rather than consider them dispassionately. I try to hold all hyopthesis in one of three places in my mind. Probable, possible, unlikely. I am aware that if a fail, and place a hypothesis into ‘true’ or ‘false’ my emotions are triggered first, rather than my reasoning.

      Reply
      1. celia

        I like that. It reminds me of a psychological theory of trauma I was once taught by Babette Rothschild. Having finished, she then said “This is not The Truth, it is only what we believe at present. Always remember that.” That always stuck with me, and has served me well in other situations.

  18. Mary Adair

    Dr Kendrick, I refer you to the scientific contributions of Dr. Alton Ochsner and Dr. William DeBakey. Dr. DeBakey was a long time family friend and operated on many of my relatives. All were heavy smokers in those days. He was a brilliant physician and a kindly gentleman. Dr. Alton Ochsner was a trailblazer as was Dr. DeBakey. They set out to prove that tobacco smoking KILLS. The struggles they endured and the doubts by other physicians and scientists never allowed them to flinch one bit. Their resolve was unstoppable. They are both now known for their contributions to both science and medicine, thus saving probably millions of lives with their campaigns to prove tobacco smoking causes a plethora of serious illnesses. Read their biographies. Then, make a plan. It won’t be easy. Nothing worth pursuing ever is. But, these two American men from the South made history. It started with a few brave souls who loved their patients. They changed the course of history because they refused to give up.

    Reply
      1. Mary Adair

        Oh, I can see you have no intention of giving up. You are pretty entrenched in this quest. You must use the media to your advantage. We both know you use the computer very effectively. You have written one book and another is on the way. You have on great documentary film under your belts and another on the way. Get to the media. I would contact every major American Television station I can and ask to be a guest. Bill O’Reilly is a tough minded, hard headed Irishman, who is on Fox news. He adores controversy. I think he would love to speak to this “problem”. Contact him. What do you have to lose?

      2. Leaf Eating Carnivore.

        “Windowpain”??? Apt slip.

        Frankly, sir, reading your blogs is good for my soul. Thanks.

  19. Rod Cuff

    Hi, Dr Kendrick. A fine article, but right at the beginning you might want to choose an example different from the Pluto/Neptune one.

    Although Neptune was correctly predicted from anomalies in the observed orbit of Uranus, and the same approach was tried when anomalies were thought to have been detected in the orbit of Neptune itself, it turned out to be pure coincidence that Pluto was discovered not far from where it was predicted to be. Pluto was/is found to be far too small to cause a significant disturbance in the orbit of Neptune, and subsequent investigation revealed that the supposed anomalies in Neptune’s position were in fact within the normal uncertainty range of the instruments of the time.

    There’s more at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planets_beyond_Neptune .

    Reply
      1. dearieme

        I understand that there’s a history of experiments or observations being quite revolutionary when, it became clear in retrospect, they weren’t actually accurate enough to demonstrate the proffered conclusion.

        Two examples I remember being cited are (i) Michelson-Morley, and (ii) Eddington’s demonstration of the success of General Relativity.

  20. Charlie

    Is very hard because people love simple easy solutions. People go to doctors for solutions that give them reassurance that their problem is being taking care off. Being heart attacks and stroke the number one killer, they don’t want being told that there is no known cause for the problem and that there is no pharma drug to fix it. That is what you are up against. People prefer the simple easy explanation that is all about their cholesterol causing the blockages and they have a pill (statins) that will fix it. They can see their “progress” with a cheap cholesterol test that give them the idea there being cured and protected. Doctors love it because it create a lot of business and make them look smart to their patients. Patients love to have their prescription that “competent” doctors have for every symptom they the patients come up with.

    The pharmaceuticals companies and food producers love it because they are making billions selling drugs and foods with the bigger scare tactics there is the biggest killer heart attacks and strokes. So everyone is happy. Unless the real causes are discovered and there not much incentive for research in that respect there is not much that can be done to turn the tide. Just keep spreading the word. The only other alternative is to offer another simple alternative explanations and a natural solutions that people can follow. That will not cause as much harm as the current dogma of low fat and statins. That’s what many cholesterol skeptics are doing with some success.

    Reply
  21. Sue Owen

    Just caught up with this on the day radio 4’s You And Yours (15.01.14) had a feature on statins. A professor saying all the things you have so doggedly pointed out time and again and demonstrating the thinking (or lack of) herein and a GP timidly advising caution. Apparently NICE or whatever it’s called now, will rule shortly on whether we should ALL be statinated. May rationality or even just common sense prevail.

    Reply
  22. offshoretinker

    I think we all know that any change coming from ‘top up’ isn’t going to happen, however just as someone has said that the internet is where religions go to die, so it will be with the stubborn cholesterol nonsense.

    Three years ago the scales fell from my eyes and I started posting on the ‘Heart UK’ blogshere “Health unlocked’.
    At that time to suggest that the cholesterol hypothesis was bunkum was to put your head above the parapet and more often than that you’d get it shot off by the statinated. As for familial hypercholesterolaemia don’t even go there, as that condition was kind of worn like a badge and statins were the only thing between you and perdition. However, there has been a definite shift is stance from about the last year and the skeptics now appear to be holding the high ground, with a deafening silence from orthodox believers.

    This has come about because intelligent computer savvy people are widely researching, finding the ‘experts’ sorely lacking in credibility, and making their own minds up and spreading the word by thought and deed.

    It is happening slowly folks, and the groundswell will push the powers that be to the inevitable change that is needed to fix the broken health of our nation and then the world.

    They can ignore a lone voice crying in the wilderness, they cannot ignore a nation such as Sweden who have enthusiastically embraced the paradigm shift.

    Reply
  23. Mike Pollard

    I think we all know that any change coming from ‘top up’ isn’t going to happen, however just as someone has said that the internet is where religions go to die, so it will be with the stubborn cholesterol nonsense.

    Three years ago the scales fell from my eyes and I started posting on the ‘Heart UK’ blogshere “Health unlocked’.
    At that time to suggest that the cholesterol hypothesis was bunkum was to put your head above the parapet and more often than that you’d get it shot off by the statinated. As for familial hypercholesterolaemia don’t even go there, as that condition was kind of worn like a badge and statins were the only thing between you and perdition. However, there has been a definite shift is stance from about the last year and the skeptics now appear to be holding the high ground, with a deafening silence from orthodox believers.

    This has come about because intelligent computer savvy people are widely researching, finding the ‘experts’ sorely lacking in credibility, and making their own minds up and spreading the word by thought and deed.

    It is happening slowly folks, and the groundswell will push the powers that be to the inevitable change that is needed to fix the broken health of our nation and then the world.

    They can ignore a lone voice crying in the wilderness, they cannot ignore a nation such as Sweden who have enthusiastically embraced the paradigm shift.

    Reply
  24. Lizard4mi

    The quote from Daniel Kahneman –
    ‘People aren’t convinced by arguments, they don’t believe conclusions because they believe in the arguments that they read in favour of them. They’re convinced because they read or hear the conclusions from people they trust. You trust someone and you believe what they say. That’s how ideas are communicated. The arguments come later.’
    – may offer the best route to displacing the current lousy paradigm…

    Clearly you need to get some high-profile “trustworthy” individuals on board. Readers Digest (2006) survey of ‘The 100 most trusted People in Britain’ (the most recent I could see) lists the top ten as –
    Esther Rantzen. (1)
    Sir Cliff Richard. (2)
    Bill Oddie. (3)
    Sir Richard Attenborough. (4)
    Allen Titchmarsh. (5)
    Dame Judi Dench. (6)
    Gary Lineker. (7)
    Michael Palin. (8)
    Rolf Harris. (9)
    Sir Trever McDonald. (10)
    – Rolf may have slipped (ahem) out of the top 100 recently but I suggest getting David Attenborough, Dame Judi, or Sir Cliff convinced of your argument and passionate about publicly spouting it could be the way to go. In the US the MOST trusted person is Tom Hanks! As a high profile type II diabetic he has a great personal interest in understanding the truth and would be an ideal disseminator.

    There are others in the 2013 most trustworthy list US to target –
    1 Actor Tom Hanks.
    2 Actress Sandra Bullock.
    3 Actor Denzel Washington.
    4 Actress Meryl Streep.
    5 Poet Maya Angelou.
    6 Director Steven Spielberg.
    7 Microsoft boss Bill Gates.
    8 TV host Alex Trebek.
    9 Philanthropist Melinda Gates.
    10 Actress Julia Roberts

    These are the people to convince!

    Reply
    1. Leaf Eating Carnivore.

      Lizard4mi puts me in mind of Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point”. If you have not read it, you might do well to do so. His analysis of the spread of information is well done.

      Too bad Oprah and Dr. Oz are such thickheads. The good Drs. Mike and Mary Dan Eades could bend your ear on those two.

      Reply
    2. Richard Gibbs

      I wouldn’t trust anyone on that list! Sad that so many people trust people with no expertise in areas they feel free to expound! I haven’t forgotten Meryl Streep caused an epidemic of constipation in the ’90s because of wax on apples!

      Reply
      1. Mary Adair

        I, too would not trust anyone on (at the least the American list) either. Why would you have some actor be your spokesperson when they only pay homage to the almighty dollar? In order to do that he/she regularly practice their skills which include pretending to be something you are not. Perhaps that is why they are so confused, seek attention through child’s play, and make it their life’s work to never grow up. You must reach those who are “naturally curious” and that can only come from someone who makes his living trying to make men think, exchange ideas and weigh the pros and cons on any subject. That is not likely to come from an “Actor”. While “ridicule” holds the attention of the reader, it also congers up ideas that the opinion holder is rather deflecting anger with humor. People may find it entertaining and pat the old boy on the shoulder for his keen wit, but may see him as just sour grapes, rather than the scholar he truly is and needs to be in order to be taken seriously. There is a time and place for everything. Saving lives and reaching people where it hurts is no laughing matter. For instance, I visited many websites where I could learn about PAD. My first experience included people who thought taking CoQ10 should be a natural part of a person’s treatment for artery disease when they are on statins. Eventually I met a sector of those who questioned whether or not statins cause serious neurological symptoms and pain. When people are suffering indescribable pain on a daily basis, they want answers. When I found a site that spoke to my own symptoms, I was convinced. There is nothing more convincing than chronic pain or medical conditions for which there is no cure. That is when, in fact, the truth set me free. Physical Pain is a great motivator. Developing medical conditions for which there is no cure makes one desperate for answers. You have to frighten people into seeing the truth. Fear…in the final analysis, is a great motivator. And when you consider all the diseases one can contract…diseases for which there may be no cure, only palliative treatment, you may just get someone’s undivided attention. With mounting evidence out there, it is only a matter of time when people will say…Oh my Gosh, that is what I have felt for years, or this ALS…why has the incidence of it increased along with congestive heart failure? Lawyers in the U.S. are starting to advertise that woman who took Lipitor and developed diabetes may be able to collect a substantial settlement. We are just beginning to touch the tip of the iceburg with Statins particularly. People will believe that to which they can relate personally. It is just human nature.

      1. Mary Adair

        Ladies and Gentlemen,
        If you have not gotten your copy of Statin Nation I, I encourage you to do so. It is straight forward, easy to understand, and incorporates a wee bit of humor in the segment about the Jupiter trial. Apparently, according to the doctor who spoke on its behalf, it is so exciting and wonderful that they ended it because…hey it did so well, they did not need to spend extra money to follow through with the study. This doctor was so elated, he was beside himself giggling and flailing about. Before I knew it, I was giggling and flailing about myself. You see, his excitement was downright infectious. It almost made me get right back on my statin…but I did not because I just could not figure out why he was so excited. I have never seen someone speak so much and say absolutely nothing. Where did they find him? Very effective spokesman…Uh, I mean doctor…researcher…I am not sure. I don’t want to spoil it for the rest of you, so I will not go on about him. You will just have to buy it for yourselves.
        I still recommend Bill O’Reilly and those glossy lipped wenches on the Fox Chanel.

  25. Ash Simmonds

    I was thinking about this exact thing just recently, and I think I have a possible angle to leverage.

    See in Australia (where we had that Catalyst show air a few months back) we have one major mouthpiece for all things science – Dr Karl Kruszelnicki. Hell, Dr Karl even works at the same organisation the Catalyst show was aired on – or at least an arm of it.

    He’s a flamboyant and amazing at answering sciencey questions to the common folk and has a HUGE following, probably one of Oz’s most respected celebrities, and has published something like ~30 books which are an attempt to bring deep science concepts to the layman for knowledge and entertainment.

    However, when it comes to nutrition the best he can do is parrot Pollan with quotes like “Eat real food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”, a freakin’ $10 book that anyone can read, and then uses the same old tired sat fat lines as purported by industry etc. It really frustrates me that someone so well read and influential can be so ignorant of one of the most important factors to human life – what we eat.

    Not just that, but instead of saying “I don’t know” when asked about nutrition/health like he does on any other subject he’s not sure about, he’s willing to dole out this dumb unresearched advice.

    So, onto my idea… How can we get this eminent scientific celebrity who has the power to influence millions to read the evidence behind fat/cholesterol/etc?

    As little as two weeks ago: http://twitter.com/AshSimmonds/status/417511796837081088

    I *REALLY* think that if Dr Karl “saw the light” and started telling Australia how it really is with fat/cholesterol/etc then we’d have a groundshake.

    Reply
  26. Pingback: How to kill a hypothesis | Bydio

  27. Michelle Hough

    I have become known as a bit of a cholesterol/fat bore among so called friends. The sad thing is I’m not trying to tell them what to do I just want them to look at the big picture. To educate themselves. So many people are unaware of what’s going on under their very noses as regards the food and drug industry.

    I’m studying with the Open University for a degree in the health sciences (at 50, better late than never). I am currently studying cardiovascular diseases. I get really frustrated with the teaching materials as the focus is invariably on the importance of lowering cholesterol and fat intake for a healthy lifestyle.

    I take heart from the fact that when I see people they tell me I look fantastic and compliment me on the amount of weight I have lost. I shall continue to tell them about the work you and others are doing Dr Kendrick and hopefully one day the masses will walk towards ‘the light’.

    Reply
  28. David Bailey

    I visited Australia in1988, and I was amazed how seriously everyone seemed to treat the issue of the environment. Since then, that movement has spread across the globe and morphed into ‘climate change’. However, as I understand it, Australians have recently voted in a government that is doing what it promised – getting rid of climate-related rules.

    This makes me wonder if Australia is something of a leader in ideas. They have already aired the Catalyst program, and maybe they can lead together with Sweden, on the whole saturated fat/cholesterol issue.

    I see a day coming when people become really sceptical of science – much as they have with religion. Then the problem will be to establish just what science is really well supported by hard evidence, and how much of it just needs chucking out.

    I am always struck by how very hard it must be to do really meaningful diet/health studies. People don’t always eat what they say they do, the ones that keep fit are more likely to follow dietry advide – right or wrong – etc. Figuring out the actual consequence of eating a particular type of food, must be nearly impossible.

    I start to wonder if ANY diet advice is really based on reliable evidence – other than, presumably avoiding too much sugar, and earing a sensible and varied amount of food. For example, is there real evidence that:

    Too much salt is bad.

    Trans fats are bad.

    Eating lots of fruit and veg is good.

    The nitrates in cured meats turn into nitrosamines and give you cancer.

    etc.

    Once you see a body of scientific evidence fabricated or morphed to fit a prior opinion, it is hard to know what to believe!

    Reply
  29. Craig

    This article on Wikipedia summarises some relevant ideas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradigm_shift#Kuhnian_paradigm_shifts
    snip
    “A scientific revolution occurs, according to Kuhn, when scientists encounter anomalies that cannot be explained by the universally accepted paradigm … ”
    snip
    “When enough significant anomalies have accrued against a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis …”
    snip

    I think the anomalies are starting to pile up.
    Craig.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Yes, I hope so. The problem with medical ‘scientists’ is that they are not – in my opinion – true scientists at all. They are mainly, quasi-religious dogmatists. They don’t change their minds. They can only be swept aside. (Unfortunately, to be replaced by the next set of quasi-religious dogmatists).

      Reply
      1. Craig

        There often is conflict between expert advice and scientific evidence and there might be research papers which prove this to be true, but even medical researchers read self-help books, and common wisdom evolves over time. E.g. no reasonable person would take Thalidomide for morning sickness nowadays. The best sort of scientific revolution might be one which quietly picks up its bat and ball and moves off to a new location. The lawyers can tag along afterwards.

    2. Mary Adair

      Craig, I am certainly no scientist by any stretch, but you are right. The evidence that statins damage and do not “lengthen” lives is out there. There are a plethora of horror stories to support the science that statins cause damage. Could that many people be wrong? I think not. If you are a layperson, chances are you never know what your opinion is on anything of this nature until it hits home. It has hit home for me and for many of my friends and relatives. Look, pharmaceutical companies and food manufacturers are always going to find ways to make money depending on the prevailing “wisdom” of scientific evidence. It is only a matter of time when some big drug company will make another pill aimed at reducing inflammation without harming Cholesterol. When enough lawsuits are fought and won…they won’t have much choice but to capitulate to the obvious. But, it will happen. I hope I live to see the truth prevail.

      Reply
  30. Christine Whitehead

    There are some signs that the tide is slowly turning. I have just been listening to BBC Radio 5-live – a discussion on diet and obesity. Studio guests a Doctor and a Nutricianist + phone calls. Not one voice raised in support of the “saturated fat causes heart disease” hypothesis. This is a first in my experience.
    There’s still a long way to go to get to common sense on cholesterol, but it’s still encouraging. Keep up the pressure and we’ll get there eventually.

    Reply
  31. Linda Collier

    Haiving read your book – The Great Cholesterol Con, it seems so logical and obvious that the present beliefs about cholesterol are so wrong. Doctors should be regularly challenging and reconsidering beliefs, ideas and new evidence, unfortunately many don’t seem to and thus the continuation of the perceived wisdom on cholesterol continues.

    Reply
  32. Mark John

    All this “new paradigm” is all well and good but don’t (at least UK) doctors have to work to “guidelines” which in turn form targets for them to hit? And aren’t doctors even paid according to how well they hit these targets? Eg, cholesterol measurements – prescribed statins. So even if a doctor doesn’t believe 100% in any one paradigm, is he going to go against the grain (and NICE) and risk misconduct by not doing what he’s being told to do?

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair

      Here in the U.S., doctors dole out prescriptions like candy to children. They in fact can only prescribe FDA approved medications. If they dare rebel…they lose their jobs. I have been looking for a doctor who believes in natural medicine for a year…can’t find one. It is as though doctors are scared to deviate from the crowd. The other day, the very doctor who agreed with me that statins cause harm, changed his mind (I can’t imagine why) telling me I should get on statins again. He proudly told me he and his father had been on them. I asked him where his dad was buried. He laughed. We laugh a lot, he and I. I respect him a lot and know he is truly brilliant. But, they are afraid to go against the establishment. It is amazing. What a hold Big Pharma has on physicians!!! Here in the states, doctors are revered like demi-gods. All they really seem to care about is making big bucks, keeping up with the Jone’s and driving big “arse” cars. But, economically speaking their lifestyles, due to pay back of huge loans for medical school, multiple divorces and most importantly, living lifestyles they cannot afford, many of them can’t save enough money to retire. In America, they are among the worst at putting aside a nest egg. So, with all that at stake, they do as the FDA tells them and get sued if the FDA is wrong. Cover your “arse” is alive and well.

      Reply
  33. Mark John

    So in reality, where’s the “art” of medicine if everything is done to guidelines?
    And how can any paradigm shift really happen if most doctors will happily go along with whatever they’re told to do?

    Doctors are generally clever people to have gotten into medical school, but that on its own doesn’t mean that they’re intelligent with it. And just as turkeys don’t vote for Christmas, why would a well paid GP rock a NICE boat and the nice income that goes along with it?

    (TBH I’m pretty depressed with the state of “medicine” after numerous visits to a hospital visiting a close relative this past week. I’ve repeatedly come across a lack of care and competence. Had one apology from a doctor(!) – I was proven right on a call I made which should have been picked up and they’re acting on the infection – but yet a staff nurse hadn’t read the notes properly and was arguing otherwise! Medicine very often just seems to be a “paint by numbers” and follow the guidelines type of approach these days, whether you’re a GP or work in a hospital. It appears that as long as the forms are filled in and the boxes ticked, all is well.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Guidelines should guide. Sadly, they have turned into mandate. Even though they cannot do so in complex cases i.e. almost every single patient. Simple example, a patient with stomach cancer and a broken leg, who is at risk of a DVT. DVT guidelines say they must be anticoagulated. When they go on anticoagulation they bleed into their stomach and nearly die of blood loss. So the choice is stark, risk death from a DVT leading to a pulmonary embolism, or risk death of blood loss due to anticoagulation leading to haemorrhage into the stomach. [This was a real, recent, patient by the way]. The nurses phoned the anticoagulation ‘team’ who said he must be on anticoagulation. They had no interest whatsoever in anything other than his broken leg and immobility.

      I said, don’t anticoagulate, as the risks of bleeding, in my opinion, outweighed the risk of a DVT/PE. I was over-ruled by the ‘guidelines’, and the nurses going over my head to the consultant in charge of his care. He died of a gastric bleed. Now, I am not saying I was right and they were wrong. Because I don’t really know what the absolute risks were. What I do know is that, because guidelines were followed, no-one got into any trouble over his death. I also know that if he had died of a DVT/PE, without being on an anticoagulant, all hell would have broken loose, with enquiries and blame being chucked at all in sundry – mainly me.

      This raises a number of other issues:

      Where are the guidelines to help you compare risks of different conditions
      Can the guidelines be discarded when there are competing conditions
      When can clinical judgement over-rule guidelines – if ever

      The main issue, of course, is that medicine is complicated. Guidelines are simple. We train doctors for years, but if all we can do is blindly follow guidelines, then why all the training?

      Reply
      1. Jennifer

        Dr K. That is the most dreadful state of affairs regarding anti-coagulant therapy versus haemorrhage, a perfect example of a dilemma, if ever there was one, and where art and science converge.
        20 odd years ago, when NHS wards were in a mess, I pointed out to a surgeon that his costly, intricate, life-saving vascular surgery, taking many hours of theatre time and expertise, could be undone in a matter of minutes on a ward where there was an inadequate ratio of nurses, trained in that speciality. I had been advised that records showed that the wards “were staffed to the same level of establishment as anywhere in the country”, and so long as it met the guidelines , all was well. The other pacifier given was, ” a Nurse, is a Nurse, is a Nurse”, suggesting that so long as they were qualified, they could deal with anything presented to them.
        Somehow, I don’t fancy the proficient gut surgeon doing any micro-neurosurgery on me, nor the neurosurgeon replacing my gammy hip,..but both trained to be Doctors…..see what I mean? Meets the guideline for a doc to be present!
        What a barmy extrapolation, and an easy ‘get out’ for managers, failing to look beyond ticky-box statistics. But, just following the guidelines is keeping a select few in lucrative employment. Where do these guidelines come from?

      2. Mary Adair

        Amen Brother Kendrick. Actually, having a DVT from a broken leg is really quite rare, or so I am told by my friends in the industry. I know medicine is complicated, but this one is not that hard to figure out. If it were such a risk, can you imagine the number of people who have broken bones would be dead right now or at least have had this serious complication from a break? It just does not happen that much. If laymen like myself have heard it, then doctors ought do what leads the patient in the path of least harm. Is this foolishness really in your guidelines and if so, who wrote them? Now I have heard it all. If this poor gentleman’s family only knew…so very sad.
        Mary

  34. Mark John

    That’s precisely one of the things that’s happened to my close relative this past week!
    “Bloody” stools, one endoscopy and two units of blood later and that was “fixed”.
    But, unlike your patient, they also took her off the anti-coags. Maybe she wasn’t quite as immobile as the broken leg patient of yours, or maybe there are some doctors who are prepared to make a judgement call. Perhaps things aren’t as bad in the NHS as I imagined in my depressed state this week…? I complimented the doctor on a good call, after he’d apologised for (nurses really) not following up on my request, which also turned out to be right.

    But the point you made about: “if all we can do is blindly follow guidelines, then why all the training?” is something that I’ve reflected upon myself rather a lot recently. I’m wanting to go to medical school in a year’s time, but don’t want to become a robot.

    There’s a saying in the IT / Telecoms world: no one ever got sacked for specifying BT. In other words, even if the project failed you wouldn’t lose your job because you’d followed the protocol and not gone out on a limb with an “inferior” provider, regardless of the cost. At least in the IT world the cost of something going wrong is time and money, not someone’s life.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      As I sometimes joke to more enlightened colleagues, we do not need to go on CME (Continuing Medical Education) courses. We now need to go on CMA courses (Cover My Arse).

      By the way, many doctors are utterly despairing of the way that humanity and professionalism are being crushed by the culture within the NHS. I am hoping for a backlash. Guidelines are targets are now causing the very problems they were supposed to prevent.

      Reply
  35. matswiman

    Hi all,

    I have come so far as to contemplat a war on Big Pharma. Why should we let them terrorize the world any longer. Few iilnesses are cured by drugs.
    They often destroy or even kil.

    Mats J C Wiman
    Ex-diabetic

    Reply
  36. Judy

    Don’t give up hope, Doc. We’re reaching people one person at a time. Baby steps, ya know.
    A while back, a coworker of mine was saying her doctor wanted to put her on statins. I gave her a few quotes from your book and from the Drs. Eades, and left it at that. A few days ago, she was saying she figured out that statins were causing her severe muscle pain. (Apparently I didn’t get through to her the first time.) I again gave her a few quotes and more from your book and from the Drs. Eades, told her to get the h*** off them and she’s stopped taking them. Amazingly, her muscle pain went away. Go figure. I warned her that if she tells her dr about the muscle pain, he’d just write her a prescription for a different type. Suggested if he doesn’t listen to her, just accept the stupid prescription, but don’t fill it. She seems to be listening, but time will tell.
    Now, if I could just get my brother to listen…

    Judy

    Reply
    1. Mary Adair

      Good for you Judy. I, too, can think of at least 10 or more people in my little speck of this universe with friends and others who said shortly after being prescribed statins, they developed terrible muscle pain. I wish to God I had stopped. I was told I had PAD. I was afraid not to use them. The pain started for me right after I began statins. I had never had any issues with chronic pain AT ALL. I was told I had a “bad back”. I suffered so much, I don’t know how I stood it. I was ridiculed, bullied, and harassed. I finally got off them 6-7 months ago. Sometimes I think it is too late for me. I still suffer, albeit not quite as badly. It is a constant reminder of my own inability to think for myself, to challenge my own healthcare providers, and to accept the pain as a thing I would endure the rest of my life. I think I will suffer the rest of my life. Don’t give up. I am so proud for you and your contribution in your “little speck of the universe” to warn others. I so wish I had a friend like you many years ago. My life and quality of life would be so different.

      Reply
      1. tillie1

        Mary – I was bullied and harassed too. I am glad I stopped – sorry I didn’t stop sooner but still have that nagging thought about AFTER the M.I. Should I start again or not. Seems like the studies I’ve seen don’t talk much about that. I guess the medical establishment has done its job getting into my head. And I too think my muscle pain is here to stay. That was dismissed when I mentioned it at EVERY appointment with ‘Well, the benefits so far outweigh the risks.’

  37. Karyn

    I am reading your book now and am fascinated. However – does this all apply to people who have had a ‘heart attack’? Mine was an MI – cardio said 100% blockage in LAD – had a stent placed and OF COURSE was put on 80mg Lipitor immediately although I am not even sure cholesterol WAS the culprit. Do you agree with those who say people WITH cardiovascular disease should be on statins? I stopped mine 3 months ago and feel great now but with some residual muscle pain. I am confused about after a cardiovascular event. Thanks.

    Reply
    1. tillie1

      Is no one going to speak to this question? I have the same question and several friends also have it. What about statins after a heart attack?

      Reply
      1. Mary Adair

        Tillie whatever you do…do not get back on them. I am so disappointed that statins just have not done anything they are supposed to do. Take your CoQ10 (as per Dr. Graveline) as your body was depleted and it may very well help your residual pain. STAY AWAY FROM: Processed sugars, white breads, white rice, yellow corn. Eat good fats from meat and poultry and eat real eggs and do eat lots of fresh, raw or slightly steamed veggies. Eat the good carbs (whole wheat, brown rice, etc) but these should take up the least amount of space on your plate. Get some moderate exercise at least 3-4 times a week. DO NOT SMOKE!!! If you have ever smoked and thought you could get away with it…you cannot. It will catch up with you. De-stress. Have fun, laugh, and reach out to others. I belonged to a support group of those with artery disease. Those who kept having to have their stents re-done or had additional blockages all went back to smoking. They could not or would not stay away from those cigarettes. Others might have had other conditions that pre dispose them to such events. I happen to believe that smoking is just among the worst. As far as what to do post MI, that might be a good one for others here more learned than I. I was on Plavix for several months post stent. So far, my stents have been doing well and have “held up” since 2004 and 2007. The lower your cholesterol, the worse you will feel. That is just my experience.

        If your doctor thinks the benefits outweigh the risks, then he or she obviously has never suffered the pain associated with statin use. Pain is a signal that something is wrong with your body. Chronic pain is a sign you have a problem that needs fixing and one that continues to wreck havoc on your insides. It just is not normal. I take turmeric and it helps a lot.

        Mary

      2. tillie1

        Mary – Thank you so much! I AM taking CoQ10 in the form of Ubiquinol – 100 mg in the morning and 200 at night. Just added that extra 100 and think it is helping. Have been taking 200 all along. Processed sugar is BANNED from my diet (that was difficult even though I never ate a lot – stayed away from processed foods). Eggs seem to make my triglycerides go up so I don’t eat as many as I’d like – a few a month is all. Am redefining the rest of my diet as I go along. I can tell you that I feel SO MUCH better off statins and am hoping the rest of this muscle pain will go away. It just seemed strange that I could not get info on women who have had MI and statins – it’s all about men. (Well, of course 🙂 )

      3. Odette Hélie

        Hello,
        About your triglycerides shooting of because of eggs. I cannot see what is the physiological link between those two. Dr Kendricks ? My husband and I have been on a restricted carbonhydrates diet for about 18 months and, as we expected, our triglycerides are at the bottom and our HDL at the top. My guess is that you unsuspectingly eating lots of CH like whole grain cereals, whole grain bread, etc. . That could explain your triglycerides. Also our physician observed that our blood proteins were low (usually seen in old people not eating sufficient proteins) : it confirmed that my body is using fat (I lost weight) and proteins to produce glusose for my brain, red blood cells, etc. I eat al least 2 eggs a day and coconut flakes or oil for my brain (brain can only use glucose or ketonics-what is produce by the metabolism of coconut oil). It is worth it to understand physiology before you do anything about your regimen. Dr Kendricks and Gary Taubs wrote good books about that.

      4. Mary Adair

        Tillie are you still eating your eggs with mashed potatoes? Of all the “bad” carbs you can eat, the potatoes are the worst (unless they are sweet potatoes). I read the book :”Sugar Busters” many years ago. It helped me more than ever understand the glycemic index. Staying away from those bad carbs like white rice, white potatoes, white breads, yellow corn, beets (yuck anyway), and fruits too high in sugar too close to a regular meal can do a lot of harm. As Dr. Kendrick commented… each of our systems is different. However, I do not believe that eggs increase your triglycerides unless you are eating them with something that can adversely affect you sugar levels in the blood, which, in turn, creates problems in your body, like some kind of domino effect.
        And when you stop to think that statins should not be prescribed to any women at any time, for any reason…I do not understand why there is not more information on them either for us women. LOL

      5. tillie1

        OH no – you have not written something different. Two times I have eaten a lot of eggs and when blood lipids were tested my triglycerides were quite high. The first time I was eating only mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs – I was quite ill with several different things (all linked to the drug Effient by the way – it nearly killed me but that’s another story) and when the doc handed me my lipid result he pointed to the triglycerides and said ‘there are your eggs’. The second time was recently when I started eating paleo. I felt great (had just stopped statins too). Again – triglycerides were high and I was eating lots of eggs. Was NOT eating any grains at all or sugar – banished those from my diet! Again, the doc said I could NOT eat like that. Low fat, all crap stuff. BUT I think that proves (oh, not scientifically though) that I cannot eat eggs. I love them and would eat them every day but the high triglycerides really do scare me.

      6. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I suppose that one cannot say that everyone will have the same reaction to different foodstuffs. I still find it difficult to understand how anyone can get high triglycerides from eating eggs. Maybe they measure apo-lipoprotein B-34 in your tests? (Not very likely I must admit)

      7. tillie1

        Exactly! I do not think I am so different that food (eggs) that help most harm me. Don’t believe it but I think my doc is in my head. I WANT HIM OUT OF THERE! He has me afraid not to be on statins (although I am holding firm on that) and afraid to eat almost anything. This has to stop. And I know it’s up to me to stop it. I dread my blood work in March because if my numbers are not lovely (according to his standards) he will have a ‘hizzy’. Hizzy is a great southern (US) word for ‘having a fit’ but much more fun to watch someone having a hizzy than a regular old fit. 🙂

    2. Odette Hélie

      Dr Kendricks, my observation was related to “tillie1
      January 22, 2014 at 10:42 pm” who says she has lowered her egg consumption because she suspects it has bolstered her blood triglycerides

      Reply
    3. tillie1

      Thanks Mary – and no I am no longer eating mashed potatoes. That was for something very different – a drug (not statins) was KILLING me – literally. During that time I could not eat much besides mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs. Funny – now I’ve done some research and read more of Dr. Kendrick’s book and gee – what do I find? Sugar affects not only glucose but triglycerides as well. Duh!! Doc did not say ONE THING about that. So starting today ALL sugar is banned from my diet. No ‘starchy’ (read sugar) veggies, no refined sugar, nothing! And I will start eating eggs again – now I KNOW they weren’t the problem.

      Reply
      1. Mary Adair

        Tillie you are funny one, you are. Yeah, I know a great many Southern Belles who throw those Tizzies on a regular basis. LOL My husband was on statins for a couple of years. He began to have these awful cognitive changes that really were odd. I asked all the doctors to do testing to see if he had some kind of pathology upstairs. But, he got off statins, and seems to be much better. He was, however, diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I had read Sugar Busters years ago when I was trying to eat better and lose a few pounds. It is actually the only lifestyle that suited me, helped me to lose weight and allowed me to eat the foods that satiated my appetite. I learned a lot about Diabetes and how it can very well set you up for artery disease. It really helps to put it all in perspective. Diabetes is caused by an inflammatory (from a variety of sources) effect and of course, we all know now that it is inflammation that begins the downward spiral where the endothelium of our vessels actually become damaged. That is why it was so easy for me to believe and understand Dr. Kendrick, Dr. Graveline, Sinatra and many others who truly explained many disease processes from a cellular perspective. I gave hubby the latest version of Sugar Busters (written by doctors in the South) and he is absolutely enthralled. The changes he has made since reading the book have helped him to shed another 20 lbs and to eat far better than he had. It is a great book and a great lifestyle with some yummy recipes in the back. Hope things are looking up for you. I do also understand the pain you are enduring. I so hope that with time, you will be back to normal and will be pain free.

      2. tillie1

        Thanks Mary – have heard about Sugar Busters – now I will look for it and get it. I have Dr. Kendrick’s book, just got the Sinatra book and will get Sugar Busters. I will ‘bust’ this problem myself and with the help of wonderful people like the ones here.

      3. Mary Adair

        Tillie 1, you may have said this already, but I do suffer with Chronic Statin Poisoning so forgive my lapses in memory. How many years were you on statins and how long have you quit taking them? Each of us is so different, but my recovery (if there is one) has come very slowly over time. Finally for the first time in 9 or so years, I have good days and bad. That is a huge step in the right direction for me…I truly never thought I would see the day when it would change in , I think handling it for so many years has made me so grateful to be alive really. It is different for each of us. I was on many other medications that I have since read made my condition worse still. But, I am alive, have many people who love me and those I love deeply. Life is good. Even when I have those bad days, I still want to love them and tell them and make their lives good. If there is a positive to this, I find it peeks its old head out now and again and I am so grateful for those good days. When I don’t feel so great…I am very quiet..I do so wish healing for all of those who have suffered. I truly mean it!! I so wish it for the long haul. That is my most precious prayer these days.

      4. tillie1

        Mary – I was on statins for many years – probably 15 years – but not until Nov 2010 was I on the highest dose 80 mg Lipitor. I did have nasty side effects all along, some of which I didn’t even know were statin related until I stopped in December 2013. Within 2 weeks I had more energy – don’t get me wrong – I was NOT an energy machine but any energy is better than virtually none. 🙂 I really thought the muscle aches would go away quickly too but it seems like that is not to be. I have learned more over the last month about statins than I learned over the previous 15 years and I am furious and sad that no doctor would admit it.

      5. Mary Adair

        Tillie, I too was on statins for 9 years. Not one doctor ever told me that the pain could be related. Considering that I described it as a pain like no other I had ever experienced before (except when I had a bad case of the flu), you would think someone would have figured it out. My Pharmacist (who is quite bright and involved with her patrons) was the first to suggest a relationship about 5-6 years ago. She suggested I have my CK levels checked and try muscle relaxers. I took this information to my doctor. She did check the CK levels, change my medication to simvastatin, and was quite nasty when she sent me a synopsis of my blood work when she wrote in all caps: CK LEVELS WERE NORMAL. We continued on the path of going nowhere real fast. I actually felt worse on the Simvastatin. But, being the dutiful Catholic school trained girl, I felt silly and continued on. I asked her if there were any other options beside these opioids. They were the only medications that worked such that I could keep working. She sent me to the clinic’s Pain Infliction physician. He kept trying to push me to get a Pain Stimulator. Since completing graduate school, I chose Vocational Rehabilitation as my major. Testing and Assessment was my specialty as I tried to assist those with a variety of disabilities to find work, enter training or college and speak to employers on their behalf to place them in jobs. Their is rarely a disease or disability I have not met. Since 1988, I worked with people who are disabled from chronic pain. My experience with them was that they (pain stims) did not work and, in fact, had some quite negative consequences I will not go into. I was scared. I said no. He did some cortisone shots with little to no success on the long term. All the while I was being treated by him, I felt worse. I recall the last visit with him as being the most negative experiences one should not have with a professional. When I told him I felt worse since being on Simvastatin, he just started screaming at me. His remark was, ” Why would ANYONE take pain medications when they could get a pain stim?” He was so condescending, so out of control and unprofessional, I decided that to argue with him would only make the situation worse. He was clueless and I felt as though I was trying to speak to one of my schizophrenic clients who had abruptly stopped taking meds. I calmly told him to refer me back to my GP. They had just started a new procedure where they would give you a written synopsis of your visit which should also include all diagnoses. I had to wait for 30 minutes. When he came back, he seemed to be spoiling for a fight. I looked at the paperwork. It said my diagnosis was “Hardening of the arteries of the heart”. Who uses that diagnosis anymore? Well, well, well, I had a diagnosis of coronary atherosclerosis and no one told me this when I had been a patient of this clinic for well over 15 years by that point. That was when I got angry. I had PAD (peripheral artery disease) and no one put it on my chart? At least this Bozo didn’t. I reported this slight oversight to management and returned to a physician I had seen early on in my treatment for chronic pain. I have treated with him before and did not feel like explaining my whole history again. At least he is open to the diagnosis. I will continue (I hope) to get better with time. The point of this long boring story is that doctors just don’t get it yet. It is going to take more time, patience, and persistence to make them see that statins are part of the problem, not the solution. Stick to your guns, show them books, dvds, studies, or whatever it was that convinced you. You know your own body. I know that I feel better since I got off the statins. I know many of my cohorts do. It is hard to say with the older generation. But, they talk anyway and anyone willing to put it out there will help the next poor victim. Stay with it Judy and Tillie,

        I admire both you strong, wonderful women!!!

        Mary

      6. Jennifer

        The current thread demonstrating rudeness and poor GP care, is most alarming.
        I go back in time to (maybe) demonstrate how we got here.
        “yes, Doctor, no, Doctor, three bags full, Doctor”, was the way many of us were brought up to accept treatment in the NHS. The majority of patients were uneducated in the ways of body structure and function, and had precious little time or the means to investigate specified treatments. There would be minimal discussion between God in his fancy swivel armchair, and the cloth-capped manual worker, or the bamboozled young mother, finding themselves with access to “free” medical care, in the Welfare State of the late 40s and early 50’s. The scene was set for the next half a century.
        BUT ALL HAS CHANGED, and I apologise for sounding so cynical, but we ordinary folks, who make up the general population, can now see for ourselves how we have been conned into being guinea pigs for multi national pharma, cutting edge medical treatments and interventions, and the victims of the ‘food’ (for that read “chemical”) industry. Our GPs must be feeling at risk of their very livelihood by the pressure of constant questions emanating from “know it all” patients. It must be stressful in the extreme, and lack of up-to -date knowledge leads to stress, and stress leads to rudeness.
        I am exhilarated at having access to all this knowledge, available in books and on the internet. Like others, I have been accumulating info over recent years, and after a dreadful encounter with my own GP last year, along the lines of those described, I built up the courage to “jump ship”. The relief of escaping the grovelling, submissive, unctuous relationship, has improved my health status beyond my dreams.
        I send this with much encouragement to those wondering which way to turn……some of us have made the leap, and feel the better for it. Each of us is unique, so please do your own research, work things out for yourself and refer your findings to your GP, at least to give him/her a chance to explain things.
        As far as I can see, no one has written in to say they feel worse after removing statins from their lives!!!

      7. Judy

        tillie1,
        If you went paleo shortly before your blood tests, that could explain your higher triglyceride levels. Maybe?

        From Dr. William Davis’ (cardiologist) blog: http://www.wheatbellyblog.com/2013/11/a-grain-eaters-cholesterol-panel/

        [snip] Blood sugar will drop immediately upon cessation of wheat consumption . . . unless weight loss develops.

        If weight loss develops, it means that there will be a flood of fatty acids into the bloodstream, representing the release of energy from fat stores. [snip]

        From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatty_acid_metabolism

        Fatty acids are usually ingested as triglycerides, which cannot be absorbed by the intestine. They are broken down into free fatty acids and monoglycerides…Once across the intestinal barrier, they are reformed into triglycerides and packaged into chylomicrons or lipoproteins…

        From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triglyceride

        Various tissues can capture the chylomicrons, releasing the triglycerides to be used as a source of energy. Fat and liver cells can synthesize and store triglycerides. When the body requires fatty acids as an energy source, the hormone glucagon signals the breakdown of the triglycerides by hormone-sensitive lipase to release free fatty acids.

        Just a thought.

        Judy

      8. tillie1

        Yes Judy – it was within about 3 weeks and now I DO believe that. AND I only thought I banned all sugar – I was drinking a lot FRUIT JUICE! OMG – as bad as or worse than HFCS. 🙂 So that is gone now too and only real fruit.

      9. tillie1

        Mary – not long OR boring. I could identify with a lot of what you have been through although my doctor has NEVER accepted my ‘whining’ as real or having anything to do with statins. I was right about the drug (Effient) that almost killed me and I am right about this. I’ll have no trouble standing up to him no matter what my next blood work says. My liver function results have always been normal too. I did ask if this muscle ‘wasting’ was in any way related to liver damage and he said absolutely not. Still don’t know if I believe that or not but for me it doesn’t matter because I will NOT take another statin. So I hope the damage will heal eventually. I never asked nor was I offered pain medication – good thing because I would not have taken it either. Maybe I’m lucky that he did NOT believe me – no telling where that could have led.

  38. Kim Brebach

    Dear Malcolm,
    I’ve come across a very simple answer to the complex problem of what causes heart disease:
    Contrary to what we’ve been told, IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK THAT KILLS YOU

    The Japanese eat a diet very low in fat, and their rate of heart disease is about half that of America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
    On the other hand, the French eat a lot of fat yet their rate of heart disease is also half that of America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
    The Koreans drink very little red wine, and their rate of heart disease is about half that of America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.
    The Italians drink vast quantities of red wine yet their rate of heart disease is about half that of America, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

    THE OBVIOUS CONCLUSION:
    Eat & drink what you like. It’s speaking English that kills you.

    Reply
  39. Dana

    I was reading an article a while back about some scientists who discovered that sincerely held religious beliefs are wired differently into the human brain than are ideas that the person merely thinks are good ideas, but holds no emotional attachment to them.

    It dovetailed nicely with my idea as follows…

    The human being, being an animal, is programmed with operating instructions for behavior, as is any other animal capable of any movement at all. Those operating instructions are generally of one of two types:

    1. Instinct: genetically hardwired operating instructions that you’re born with, and are not taught to you.

    2. Culture: operating instructions taught to you by your parents during your developmental phase, or by other members of your species later on.

    No animal is completely culture-driven. Some animals may be entirely instinct-driven. Most animals are driven by a mixture of instinct and culture, with humans apparently relying more upon cultural programming than does any other animal.

    And the culture that sticks hardest in your brain is that taught to you by those you perceive to be in parental positions of authority over you–your actual parents, or your K-12 teachers, or the minister of your church. Individuals that your culture of origin tells you are important to your well-being. Human beings have a natural instinct for sociality, and this instinct drives children to want to learn from the adults they value the most.

    Christians with an awareness of the history of their religion will tell you that it’s easier to raise a child in the faith than it is to convert an adult. It is for this reason (among others) that the more hardcore believers are for having large families and against contraception and abortion. It is also for this reason that Christians have been so persistent in the removal of children from unbelieving homes and the adopting out of those children into what they deem “proper Christian homes.” Also the reason they like to run church schools and present those to the public as merely being educational institutions of better quality than the secular public schools around them, in hopes that parents not of the faith will enroll their children. I have even heard stories of Baptists tricking children of unbelievers into baptisms without parental consent. Then there’s Vacation Bible School, also open to the public and generally perceived as innocuous. Get ’em while they’re young.

    (Before anyone responds angrily to this comment, ask yourself this question: How would you like it if Muslims behaved this way toward your kids? Yeah, I thought so.)

    I predict it will take a whole lot of people raising their children to not fear cholesterol or saturated fat from the beginning before we see the current state of affairs change to any significant degree. I’m not sure exactly what this will involve. Homeschooling? Special private schools? Shunning most television and movies, which also play a role in programming children and susceptible adults? I wish I knew.

    You can keep trying to educate the adults and you’ll probably often catch the ones who were misfits to begin with and therefore imperfectly programmed into majority culture. I mean, that’s how I got here. 🙂 But in terms of educating large numbers of people in a short amount of time, I don’t think you’ll manage that any time soon, especially with large, powerful moneyed interests working against you. I hope I’m wrong.

    Reply
  40. Judy

    Mary Adair and tillie1,

    You might want to do a little research on the “amino acid” taurine. I don’t know if it will help, but here are a few notes to spark your interest:

    From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taurine

    Taurine has many fundamental biological roles such as conjugation of bile acids, antioxidation, osmoregulation, membrane stabilization and modulation of calcium signaling. It is essential for cardiovascular function, and development and function of skeletal muscle, the retina and the central nervous system. [snip]

    Taurine has also been shown to help people with congestive heart failure by increasing the force and effectiveness of heart-muscle contractions. [snip]

    In cells, taurine keeps potassium and magnesium inside the cell, while keeping excessive sodium out. In this sense, it works like a diuretic. Because it aids the movement of potassium, sodium, and calcium in and out of the cell, taurine has been used as a dietary supplement for epileptics, as well as for people who have uncontrollable facial twitches. [snip]

    Taurine is necessary for normal skeletal muscle functioning. [snip]

    ~~~

    From http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=21793

    [snip] Interestingly, one very small study compared taurine with another supplement commonly used for congestive heart failure, coenzyme Q 10 . The results suggest that taurine is more effective. [snip]

    ~~~
    From http://drlwilson.com/Articles/TAURINE.HTM

    [snip] Heart muscle and the retina contain the highest concentration of taurine. Overall, taurine drastically counteracts or down-regulates the body’s stress reaction, helping stabilize carbohydrate metabolism, insulin levels and epinephrine levels and muscle tension.

    As a mild sedative to the nervous system, taurine is anti-nociceptive – it assists in reducing pain, as well as assisting in regulation of serotonin, prolactin, growth hormone, immune function and cholesterol metabolism. [snip]

    ~~~

    Please note the following cautions:

    From http://www.wisegeek.com/what-are-taurine-side-effects.htm

    Doctors have discovered that taurine has multiple benefits for the heart, because it reduces the effects of hypertension and prevents plaque from building up in the arteries. It also lowers the amount of inflammation that sometimes happens with heart disease. Depending on a person’s exact physical makeup and other factors such as diet, this amino acid can reduce blood clotting by up to 10%.

    Although these results typically are positive, they are not beneficial for everybody. A person with hypotension, for example, might experience further blood pressure drops and subsequent problems such as dizziness. Similarly, a person who is already on blood thinners or who has a clotting disorder might be at increased risk of excessive bruising and bleeding.

    ~~~

    You may also want to check out magnesium and potassium, both of which mucles need. Also note that blood potassium levels are not necessarily a good indicator of cellular levels. The body will pull potassium in and out of the cells to keep the blood levels stable.

    Please do some research on these items before deciding whether or not they are right for you. I hope both of you find something that helps.

    And Mary, thank you for your comments. Don’t you give up, either.

    Judy

    I don’t know if I need the following or not, but I’m adding it anyway.

    Disclaimer: I am not a physician, scientist, etc. etc. This is not medical advice. Etc. etc.

    To quote a lady I admire and respect: “I have no formal medical training, but I can read.”

    Reply
  41. Julian Corbell

    Hello Dr. Kendrick,

    Thanks for letting me read yet another of your most interesting articles. I hope you’re not really getting pessimistic (I doubt it!) but I wanted to tell you that I gave up taking my statin tablets just as I heard of your book (The Great Cholesterol Con) and have felt much better ever since. I’ve read the book twice now, and have told a number of my active retired colleagues about it. Some of them, you’ll be pleased to hear, have doctors who already advise them against the use of statins. And all of them, my neighbours included, find it very easy to believe that the medical profession is too much under the influence of the drug companies.

    I just wanted you to know that there are many “ordinary” people who are of the same opinion as you over this question – not enough yet perhaps, but the message will get passed on. Especially as I continue to be active and effective on the tennis court at the age of 75, playing of course against a growing body of men of similar age. Take heart! I’m quite sure I’m not a lone voice in telling you that you do have “believers”, but I know that I still like to be told that I’ve played a good shot on court, even when I know I have! Keep up the good work! Julian Corbell

    Reply
  42. Spokes

    When I first had my doubts about the cholesterol hypothesis was when I found out just how much cholesterol is involved in the formation of brains. I couldn’t see why nature would deal such a dumb hand where a substance vital for life would also undo in such a way. But what really sealed the deal for me was when I read about EPCs in your book. Once people have a basic grasp of the biology, I think things like the lipid hypothesis become hard to accommodate mentally. So there’s my thinking, don’t try to tell them the lipid hypothesis is wrong, just teach enough related biology so the theory just becomes untenable when they think about it. That would have to be in schools I suppose.

    Reply

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