Medical censorship in the twenty first century

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” George Orwell.

Many of you may be aware of an article published in the Lancet on the eighth of September. ‘Interpretation of the evidence for the efficacy and safety of statin therapy.’1 It caused a media stir, and I was asked to appear on a few BBC programmes to argue against it – tricky in two minutes. At one stage I was cut off when I attempted to bring up the issue of financial conflicts of interest amongst the authors. The lead author of this paper was Professor Sir Rory Collins.

In truth, I have been awaiting this article for some time. In fact, I am going to reproduce here a blog I wrote on February 16th 2015, predicting exactly what was going to happen, who was going to be involved, and (in broad terms) exactly what they were going to say:


A humiliating climb down – or a Machiavellian move?

Some of you may have seen a headline in the Sunday Express Newspaper ‘Statin, new safety checks.’ The subheading was ‘Oxford professor who championed controversial drug to reassess evidence of side effects.’

Those of you who read this blog probably know that the professor in question is Sir Rory Collins. He, more than anyone, has championed the ever wider prescription of these drugs. He has also ruthlessly attacked anyone who dares make any criticism of them.

You may remember that last year he tried to get the BMJ to retract two articles claiming that statins had side effects (correctly called adverse effects, but I will call them side-effects to avoid confusion) of around 18 – 20%.

He stated that these articles were irresponsible, worse than Andrew Wakefield’s work on the MMR vaccine, and that thousands would die if they were scared off taking their statins by such articles. Ah yes, the old ‘thousands will die’ game. A game I have long since tired of.

Is this story ringing any bells yet? The truth was that both articles quoted a paper which stated that 17.4% of people suffered adverse effects. So, yes, a pedant would say that the 18 – 20% figure was wrong – although not very wrong. Certainly not worth a demand of instant retraction, and apology, which is a very drastic step indeed.

Anyway, below is a short description of the findings of an independent panel set up by Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ, regarding the Rory Collins attacks:

“As previously reported, Rory Collins, a prominent researcher and head of the Cholesterol Treatment Trialists’ (CTT) Collaboration, had demanded that The BMJ retract two articles that were highly critical of statins. Although The BMJ issued a correction for both papers for inaccurately citing an earlier publication and therefore overstating the incidence of adverse effects of statins, this response did not satisfy Collins. He repeatedly demanded that the journal issue a full retraction of the articles, prompting The BMJ’s editor-in-chief, Fiona Godlee, to convene an outside panel of experts to review the problem.

The report of the independent statins review panel exonerates The BMJ from wrong doing and said the controversial articles should not be retracted:

“The panel were unanimous in their decision that the two papers do not meet any of the criteria for retraction. The error did not compromise the principal arguments being made in either of the papers. These arguments involve interpretations of available evidence and were deemed to be within the range of reasonable opinion among those who are debating the appropriate use of statins.”

In fact, the panel was critical of Collins for refusing to submit a published response to the articles:

“The panel noted with concern that despite the Editor’s repeated requests that Rory Collins should put his criticisms in writing as a rapid response, a letter to the editor or as a stand-alone article, all his submissions were clearly marked ‘Not for Publication’. The panel considered this unlikely to promote open scientific dialogue in the tradition of the BMJ.””1

To provide a bit more context at this point, you should know that for a number of years, people have been trying to get Rory Collins to release the data he and his unit (the CTT), holds on statins. [The CTT was set up purely to get hold of and review all the data on statins, it has no other function].

He has stubbornly refused to let anyone see anything. He claims he signed non-disclosure contracts with pharmaceutical companies who send him the data, so he cannot allow anyone else access. Please remember that some of the trials he holds data on were done over thirty years ago, and the drugs are long off patent. So how the hell could any data still be ‘confidential’ or ‘commercially sensitive’ now?

[The concept that vital data on drug adverse effects can be considered confidential, and no-one is allowed to see it, is completely ridiculous anyway. But that is an argument for another day.]

Now, amazingly, after running the CTT for nearly twenty years, Collins claims that ‘he has not seen the full data on side-effects.’ In an e-mail to the Sunday Express he stated that ‘his team had assessed the effects of statins on heart disease and cancer but not other side effects such as muscle pain.

Let that statement percolate for a moment or two. Then try to make sense of it. So, they have got the data, but not bothered to look at it? Or they have not got it – which surely must be the case if he hasn’t even seen it. Give us a clue. Either way, Collins states he has not assessed it.

Despite this, he still managed a vicious attack on the BMJ for publishing articles, claiming statins had side effects of around 20%. This was an interesting stance to stake, as he now claims he has no idea what the rate of side effects are? In which case he should make a grovelling apology to Fiona Godlee immediately.

What is certain, and must be reiterated, is that Rory Collins has consistently refused to allow anyone to see the side effect data, or any other data, that that the CTT may, or may not, hold. See e-mail below from Professor Colin Baigent to the ABC producer MaryAnne Demasi (she was trying to get the CTT to confirm that they would not release data, Colin Baigent is, or was, deputy to Rory Collins)

From: colin.baigent@xxxxxxxxxxx

To: maryannedemasi@xxxxxxxxxxxx

Subject: RE: URGENT COMMENT NEEDED PLEASE: ABC TV AUSTRALIA

Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2013 17:02:23 +0000

Dear Maryanne

The CTT secretariat has agreement with the principal investigators of the trials and, in those instances where trial data were provided directly by the drug manufacturers, with the companies themselves, that individual trial data will not be released to third parties. Such an agreement was necessary in order that analyses of the totality of the available trial data could be conducted by the CTT Collaboration: without such an agreement the trial data could not have been brought together for systematic analysis. Such analysis has allowed the CTT Collaboration to conduct and report all of the analyses on efficacy and safety that have been sought directly or indirectly by others (eg by Dr Redberg in her papers on the efficacy and safety of statins in primary prevention, and in questions raised by the Cochrane Collaboration). Hence, the CTT Collaboration has made available findings that would not otherwise have emerged.

I would be very happy to ring you at whatever time is convenient for you in order to help you to understand our approach, and then address in writing any residual concerns. It would be a shame if we were not able to speak as this would be the most effective way of explaining things.

Please let me know where and some times when I can reach you, and I will endeavour to telephone.

Colin Baigent.

I put the word safety in bold in this copied e-mail. You will note that Professor Colin Baigent does not say that that the CTT do not have these data on safety. He just says that the CTT won’t let anyone else see any data.

If they do have it, why have they not done this critically important review before, as they have had much of the data for over twenty years. If they don’t have it, how exactly is Rory Collins going to review it – as he states he is going to? Sorry to keep repeating this point, but I think it is absolutely critical.

Picture the scene in a lovely oak panelled office in Oxford, the city of the dreaming spires….

Professor Collins:             ‘Hey guys, you’re just not going to believe this, but a researcher just found a big box in the airing cupboard, and guess what, it has all the safety data in it….phew.’

Professor Baigent:           ‘Ahem… Why that’s lucky Professor Collins, now we can do the safety review.’

Professor Collins:             ‘Ahem… Indeed, Professor Baigent, we can. So, let’s get cracking shall we?’

And lo it has come to pass that after all these years Professor Collins has deigned to look at the safety data. This review shall, in Collins own words ‘be challenging.’ But you know what. I really don’t think they should bother, because we all know exactly what they are going to find….

That they were right all along, statins have no side effects. Hoorah, pip, pip. Nothing to see here, now move along.

A.N.Other Researcher:                    ‘Please sir, can anyone else see these data that you hold, to ensure that you are being completely open and honest?’

Professor Collins:                               ‘Don’t be ridiculous, these data are completely confidential.’

At this point I feel that I should ask how much do you, gentle readers, believe you can trust a review by Collins, on the data that Collins holds, on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry. Data that no-one else can ever see. [And the data from clinical trials on side effects is totally inadequate anyway].

Were I to be given the task of finding someone to review the safety data on statins, Professor Sir Rory Collins would not be the first person I would ask. He might even be the last.

1: http://www.forbes.com/sites/larryhusten/2014/08/02/no-retraction-for-you-review-panel-exonerates-medical-journal-in-statin-kerfuffle/

P.S. Actually, he would be the last.


I do not claim to be Nostradamus here. What was going to happen was obvious. The script had been written a long time ago. It was only a question of when, not if, it happened.

However, whilst the article itself is nothing new… and believe me, there is nothing new here. Just the same data stretched into three hundred references, and mind-blowing statistical obfuscation. It does, however, contain a few new Alice in Wonderland statements, such as the following:

‘If information on a particular outcome is not available from a randomised trial because it was not recorded, that would not bias assessment of the effects of the treatment based on trials that did record that outcome.’ How can this statement be made? For the first twenty years of trials on statins, no-one had noted that statins increase the risk of type II diabetes. It was not, as far as could be seen at the time, a problem.

Then, in a later study, JUPITER, all of a sudden it was found that there was a significant increase in type II diabetes. Now, it turns out that all statins increase the risk of type II diabetes. Had JUPITER not recorded the incidence of type II diabetes, this would never have been noticed. The cynics among you might say that they recorded this in the hope that the incidence would actually go down.

Here we have a perfect example of an outcome not recorded in the vast majority of statin studies. Had it been, it would have significantly biased the assessment of treatment. We also find that after two trials, 4S and HPS, found an increase in non melanoma skin cancer2, this outcome was not recorded, ever again, in statin trials. Outcomes certainly cannot make a difference if you do not record them. But if you did bother record them – who knows what might have happened.

This type of logic litters this Lancet paper, along with straw man argument after straw man argument. However, the purpose of this blog was not to discuss the evidence, such as it is, such as we are allowed to see, but to highlight why this paper was written and published. For this I shall turn to the editorial, accompanying the paper, written by Richard Horton. Who is the editor of The Lancet.

Read this, and be afraid, for it is the most frightening thing you will read this year. Possibly this decade and maybe the entire century as is a direct attack on human freedoms. Whilst couched in the usual life destroying scientific prose, what he is saying is that any who questions current accepted medical dogma should be very tightly controlled, and probably should not be allowed to publish anything at all.

The entire editorial is an exercise in trying to silence any dissent with what some might view as threats and bullying. This, I think, is the key paragraph (my emphasis in bold).

‘The debate about statins, as for MMR, has important implications for journals. Some research papers are more high risk to public health than others. Those papers deserve extra vigilance. They should be subjected to rigorous and extensive challenge during peer review. The risk of publication should be explicitly discussed and evaluated. If publication is agreed, it should be managed with exquisite care.’

Now that, when you strip it down, is basically censorship.

Despite the seriousness of what Richard Horton is proposing, it is amusing to know what his published views on peer review might be, consider his statement that ‘Those papers deserve extra vigilance. They should be subjected to rigorous and extensive challenge during peer review’:

‘The mistake, of course, is to have thought that peer review was any more than a crude means of discovering the acceptability — not the validity — of a new finding. Editors and scientists alike insist on the pivotal importance of peer review. We portray peer review to the public as a quasi-sacred process that helps to make science our most objective truth teller. But we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.’ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Horton_(editor)

Anyway, you can read the editorial in full here (http://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(16)31583-5.pdf). In addition to the paragraph highlighted above, I would like to draw your attention to a couple of other very worrying statements in the closing parapgraphs:

The Committee’s [Committee on Publication Ethics COPE] decision [not to investigate statin critics as demanded by ‘concerned’ scientists] points to a serious gap in UK science—the lack of a central institution where scientists who wish to question the actions or ethics of other scientists or scientific institutions can go. Allegations of research misconduct are best investigated by the institution where the original research took place. But that principle does not apply for some organisations, such as scientific or medical journals.

With no independent tribunal to consider allegations of research or publication malpractice, a damaging dispute has been allowed to continue unresolved for 2 years, causing measurable harm to public health.

The debate about statins, as for MMR, has important implications for journals. Some research papers are more high risk to public health than others. Those papers deserve extra vigilance. They should be subjected to rigorous and extensive challenge during peer review. The risk of publication should be explicitly discussed and evaluated. If publication is agreed, it should be managed with exquisite care.

Authors and editors should be aligned on the messages they wish to convey, and every eff ort must be made to avoid misinterpretations and misunderstandings in the media. Editors also have to separate their roles as gatekeepers and campaigners. It is tempting to publish science that confirms pre-existing beliefs, especially if those beliefs underpin a campaign. Two ongoing campaigns—against Too Much Medicine and for Statin Open Data—continue to imply that statins are overused and that hidden harms remain to be exposed. As the Review we publish makes clear, the best available evidence indicates that neither statement is true.

Would this be the same Richard Horton, editor of the Journal, the Lancet,  who wrote? ‘Journals have devolved into information laundering operations for the pharmaceutical industry.’3

Would this be the Richard Horton who said? “The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”4

And would this be the same man who followed it up with?

‘The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. Journal editors deserve their fair share of criticism too. We aid and abet the worst behaviours. Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication.’4

Couldn’t have put it better myself. Yet, despite the fact that Richard Horton knows that much of the research is flawed and distorted by ‘flagrant conflicts of interest’ he still seems to believe that the statin studies, uniquely in history, are perfect – and cannot be questioned in any way. “Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.” (George Orwell).

What do other editors think of this latest paper? Well, we have the thoughts of Fiona Godlee (editor of the BMJ), and Rita Redberg (editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association). I will supply a few quotes from them in an article published in Medpage Today (http://www.medpagetoday.com/cardiology/cardiobrief/60122):

‘More generally, Godlee and Redberg lamented the absence of independent verification of the statin data. Redberg said that “none of the CTT data has been made available to other researchers, despite multiple requests.” “No one has seen these data except the trialists.” Godlee agreed. “Ideally all clinical trial data should be available for third-party scrutiny,” she said.

Godlee’s also noted that “this is not an independent review, this is a review by the trialists.” Redberg went further, saying that “the long declaration of interests is telling. The Oxford Clinical Trials Unit receives hundreds of millions of pounds of support from the pharmaceutical industry.”

Godlee said that the need for independent review is especially pressing in this case, given the public health implications of the call for widespread use of statins for primary prevention. Redberg went even further and observed that “all of this data is from industry-sponsored studies, with concern for bias.”

As they went on to say

‘Redberg also pointed out some unintended consequences of statin usage. “Data shows that people on statins are more likely to become obese and more sedentary over time than non-statin users, likely because people mistakenly think they don’t need to eat a healthy diet and exercise as they can just take a pill to give them the same benefit (Sugiyama et al. JAMA IM 2014). So it seems this review affirms that many healthy people who feel perfectly well can take a pill every day, not live any longer, suffer any number of adverse effects, all to treat the ‘disease’ of LDL. I maintain the best way to reduce cardiac risk is to eat a Mediterranean-style diet, get regular physical activity, don’t smoke, and enjoy yourself.”

Godlee also emphasized the limitations of primary prevention. “Evidence about poor adherence to statins has long been known,” said Godlee. “People don’t want to take a drug forever. The problem didn’t arise with the BMJ study.”

It also seems likely that the Lancet paper exaggerated the benefits of primary prevention. The long-term benefits of primary prevention in the paper were based on modeling. The calculated benefits might have been a best-case scenario.’

In short, they did not think much of this paper, and Fiona Godlee was particularly concerned about the censorship element:

‘Godlee rejected the comparison of the BMJ papers to the Lancet Wakefield paper and objected to the idea that it’s too dangerous to publish papers critical of statins. “Where do you stop and where does that begin?” she wondered. She also pointed out that public concern over statins in the U.K. became elevated, not after the publication of the BMJ papers, but after Collins brought attention to the papers in a public denunciation of the papers on the BBC.

“We have to allow debate, I don’t know where you would draw the line,” she said. “In terms of public debate, the statin debate is fascinating and deserves airing.”

So, thank goodness for them. I shall stop now, although there is much still to say, because this blog is already very long and people may fall asleep reading it. However, I think this is such an important issue – potential censorship in medical research – that I felt I absolutely had to write something. So, here it is.

I shall finish on two things. Firstly, to state the Uffe Ravnskov, who has been a long-term campaigner against the cholesterol hypothesis, and statins, had one of his books, burned, during a live television debate. I do not have any footage, but here is my attempt to replicate the scene using a photograph from the past.

pic1

Secondly, here is a list of some of the conflicts of interest of the authors of the paper.

Declaration of interests

JA, CB, LB, RC, JE, RP, DP, and CR work in the Clinical Trial Service Unit & Epidemiological Studies Unit (CTSU) at the University of Oxford. The CTSU has received research grants from Abbott, AstraZeneca, Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, Roche, Schering, and Solvay that are governed by University of Oxford contracts that protect its independence, and it has a staff policy of not taking personal payments from industry (with reimbursement sought only for the costs of travel and accommodation to attend scientific meetings). RC is co-inventor of a genetic test for statin-related myopathy risk, but receives no income from it. DP has participated in advisory meetings for Sanofi related to PCSK9 inhibitor therapy in his previous employment. The CTT Collaboration, which is coordinated by CTSU with colleagues from the University of Sydney, does not receive industry funding. JD has received research grants from, and served as a consultant to, Merck and Pfizer. GDS hast twice received travel and accommodation funding and honoraria from Merck; DD receives compensation for serving on data monitoring committees for clinical trials (including of statins) funded by Abbvie, Actelion, Amgen, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi , and Teva. NW and ML are inventors of a combination formulation for the prevention of cardiovascular disease that includes a statin, covered by patents licensed to Polypill in which they both hold shares and which owns the website polypill.com. SMac has received research grants for research on statins and polypill development from Bristol-Myers Squibb and BUPA. SMar is co-inventor on a pending patent for a LDL cholesterol estimation method, and has served as an advisor to Sanofi, Regeneron, Quest Diagnostics, Pressed Juicery, and Abbott Nutrition. NP has received research grants and honoraria for participating in advisory meetings and giving lectures from Amgen, Lilly, Menorini, and Merck. PR has received investigator-initiated research grants from Amgen, AstraZeneca, Kowa, Novartis, and Pfizer. PSa has received research grants and honoraria for consultancies from Amgen and Pfizer. LS has undertaken advisory work unrelated to statins for AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline. SY has received a research grant from AstraZeneca through Hamilton Health Sciences. AR declares that George Health Enterprises, the social enterprise arm of The George Institute, has received investment to develop combination products containing statin, aspirin, and blood-pressure-lowering drugs. JS has received grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia; Bayer Pharmaceuticals; Roche; and Merck Serono. RB, SE, BN, IR, and PSa declare no competing interests.

[This list is far from complete. Paul Ridker, for example was (and may still be) a board member of Merck Sharp and Dohme, the maker of simvastatin at the time. Something he failed to report in a paper entitled: ‘Association of LDL Cholesterol, Non-HDL Cholesterol and Apolipoprotein B level with risk of cardiovascular events among patients treated with statins: A meta-analysis.’6 And something he has not mentioned here either.]

 

1: http://www.thelancet.com Published online September 8, 2016 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31357-5

2: Hung SH, Lin SC, Chung SD. Statins use and thyroid cancer: a population based case-control study. Clin Enodocrinol (Oxf) 2014 published online 30 July 2014,doi:10.111/cen.12570

3: Richard Smith. “Medical journals are an extension of the marketing arm of pharmaceutical companies.” Public library of Science. (May 17, 2005).

4: http://www.thelancet.com Vol 385 April 11, 2015

5: http://www.medpagetoday.com/cardiology/cardiobrief/60122

6: Correction. “Unreported Financial Disclosures in: Association of LDL Cholesterol, Non-HDL Cholesterol, and Apoliprotein B levels with risk of cardiovascular events among patients treated with statins: a Meta-analysis.’ JAMA. (April 25, 2012].

276 thoughts on “Medical censorship in the twenty first century

  1. rockingbass

    Fascinating….Well said….. How many people fill in the yellow cards when they have bad side affects to medication….and how many Doctors?
    Of course they know the side affects.

    Reply
  2. Tom Welsh

    “What is certain, and must be reiterated, is that Rory Collins has consistently refused to allow anyone to see the side effect data, or any other data, that that the CTT may, or may not, hold”.

    Including, apparently, himself.

    Reply
  3. Tom Welsh

    Interesting comments about the dangers here:

    “Read this, and be afraid, for it is the most frightening thing you will read this year. Possibly this decade and maybe the entire century as is a direct attack on human freedoms. Whilst couched in the usual life destroying scientific prose, what he is saying is that any who questions current accepted medical dogma should be very tightly controlled, and probably should not be allowed to publish anything at all”.

    Isn’t this very much in line with the provisions of the planned TTP and TTIP “trade agreements”? Although their actual content (which runs to hundreds if not thousands of pages) has been kept a closely guarded secret – even from cabinet ministers and members of legislative bodies – it is now well known that the main effect of TTP and TTIP would be to allow corporations to override the decisions and laws made by national governments. Thus, if the UK government were to attempt to publish the truth about statins, under TTIP the manufacturers could force it not to do so. And if the UK government were to try to stop the NHS from dispensing statins, the manufacturers could force it to desist.

    See, inter alia, Alex Carey’s book “Taking the Risk out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty”, https://www.amazon.co.uk/Taking-Risk-out-Democracy-Communication/dp/0252066162/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473608675&sr=8-1&keywords=taking+the+risk+out+of+democracy

    Reply
    1. Tom Welsh

      Here is a good quote from Carey (now dead, unfortunately):

      “The 20th century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.”

      Reply
      1. Peter Williams

        Couldn’t have put it better. Why aren’t these topics reported on in the mass media more? Heaven help us if government/media/corporate are in collusion!

        Oh and many thanks Dr. K

      2. Tom Welsh

        Apologies if this is considered off-topic or trolling (which is furthest from my intention). But reading the article linked to this morning reminded me of this blog entry and comment thread. Judge for yourself, but be warned: the article is not concerned with medicine, but with corporate malfeasance. For myself, I think it is extremely relevant to the campaign of disinformation over statins.
        http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2016/09/fooled-again.html

    2. Frederica Huxley

      Exact same situation with regard to vaccinations in America – one is nigh forbidden to question any aspect of any of the myriad – I think now over 70? – that children must endure.

      Reply
      1. Gert C

        Frederica would you let your children endure polio, tetanus, diphteria, hepatitis, measles etc? Please don’t compare vaccines to statins!

      2. Frederica Huxley

        What I question is the emotional – not scientific – strawman argument that vaccines are the only way to prevent disease. Thanks to improved sanitation and hygiene, a number of the diseases you mentioned had already dramatically dropped before the advent of vaccines. Also,for my generation, and to a certain percent of my children’s, the childhood diseases of measles, mumps and chickenpox were minor irritations that actually strengthened our immune systems and prevented diseases in adults. For people with impaired immune systems, obviously these diseases can be dangerous. I am not against vaccination; I would like to be able to have a rational discussion about the pros and cons of the vaccines, and the actual ingredients therein, and the effects of giving a large number of them to children with immature immune systems. We have been learning so much about our microbiota in the past 20 years; articles this week about allowing children to practically eat dirt fly in the face of accepted wisdom of keeping children as sterile as possible from birth. It is the fact that one is not allowed to question any aspect of vaccination without being labelled an anti-vaxer and closed down that distresses me.

      3. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Frederica. I agree with your last point very strongly. Everyone should be allowed to air their views on a subject. Increasingly, however, in the medical world, if you hold certain views you will be viciously attacked. At present the Lancet is trying to close down any discussion on statins – claiming that they are so beneficial, to criticize them risks thousands of people dying. A few other areas where discussion gets very rapidly shut down are HIV/AIDS, Vaccinations, ME/CFS. The techniques are all the same. Those who are ‘anti-establishment’ are accused of being ‘deniers’ (in one form or another), they are accused of having some strange skeptic mindset, and placed in the same camp as flat-earthers. The personal attacks are pretty vicious and vindictive and usually pretty effective. If this blog has one over-arching theme, it is to allow people to speak their minds without fear of being attacked – personally. I have no objections to people having a rational scientific debate/argument. Nor getting a bit agitated at times, please do. This is how science progresses. But when things descend into name-calling, or subtle mockery (and I have very sensitive antennae for such things) I call a halt. [But of course I am not perfect, I miss things, I say stupid things at times, but I hope my general aim is good].

      4. Gary Ogden

        Gert C: Vaccines are both worthless and dangerous; neither safe nor efficacious. The acellular Pertussis vaccine creates asymptomatic carriers. Virtually all the recent outbreaks in both the U. S. and Australia have been among the fully-vaccinated, and mostly vaccinated. It doesn’t work. There is a false-claim lawsuit by two former Merck scientist in New York federal court; they allege that Merck violated multiple laws and laboratory procedures in claiming the mumps portion of the MMRII met federal standards (95% efficacy), when the true efficacy is much lower, and defrauded the government. The recent Harvard mumps outbreak affected 40 students, all of them fully vaccinated. Merck has a monopoly to protect. Lab-confirmed influenza virus is found in only 16%, on average, of those suffering flu-like illness. So how can a flu vaccine be justified? This is but a tiny bit of the powerful case against vaccines. Do some research before you think the pushing of statin drugs is different in any material way than the pushing of vaccines on innocent children. They get away with it because governments are very powerful and parents easily frightened. In my childhood we all got most of the things they vaccinate against today, and nearly all of us survived without any complications and a strengthened immune system as well. It is the same companies pushing both pharmaceuticals and biologicals (vaccines). While the former, before licensing must show safety and efficacy in randomized controlled trials, no vaccine has ever been put through a randomized controlled trial; they are not required to do this. Take a look at the confidential safety study for the GSK vaccine, Infanrix hex, available on line. It was published after it was discovered during discovery in an Italian autism trial. In it you will find that 5.4% of the children-more than one out of twenty- had a serious adverse reaction to the vaccine (requiring an ER visit or hospitalization), and 1.2-more than one out of a hundred- developed autism. Public record now. The child won damages from GSK.

      5. JDPatten

        A hair’s breadth of Death.
        That’s how close I came with measles in the early ’50s. I was a healthy active kid who almost became a statistic. I lost hearing in one ear as it was.
        Yes, that was one of the innumerable “generations” that had to make do without measles vaccination. You betcha I made sure both my kids didn’t risk my experience.
        That’s one story. It counts for something to me. Maybe not to you. What is the total of lives saved or eased versus lives lost or harmed because of the vaccine? That’s the number that counts. Look only at measles. Can it even be known??
        Vaccines are only as “good” as our immune reactions to them.
        There was a vaccine against Rickettsia prowazekii, the pathogen causing typhus, at one time. It was abandoned because the benefit wore off quickly. Well, it would anyway. Our native immune response is only as good as it is. My native response to having gotten (Near-death, again) typhus was a titer so high the CDC paid $250 for a pint of blood as their reference. Eleven short years later my titer diminished to the point that I got typhus all over again, from pathogens that came out of sporification.
        Don’t blame all the shortcomings of vaccination on the vaccine.

      6. thelastfurlong

        I lived in Africa. Measles is an absolute killer to black people there. Us whites seemed to be more immune to it. So we were “lucky” only by our immunity inheritance. I hope, that through vaccination programs, the situation might, by now, have improved. I don’t know. All our kids were vaccinated. It seemed sensible then – there weren’t that many vaccinations. But I’ve been reading some uncomfortable stuff about the huge amount that is given to babies and children nowadays. All my children have organised single dose Measles vaccinations for their children, because, however we’d like to disregard the autism/vaccination link, it is NOT going away. One of my adolescent grandchildren has had Gardasil (which I thought at the time was a good idea) but I see the first generation of Gardasil girls in OZ might be having fertility issues, so I really don’t know anymore. In those old days with Measles, the use of antibiotics wasn’t assisting kids to recovery either. In rural Africa the poor parents had to deal with it all, alone.

      7. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I agree with you, there is good and bad. I think we do need to move from a binary approach to vaccines. There seems no doubt that some vaccines have been very safe and effective. There seems no doubt that some vaccines are less safe and less effective. The problem, as always, is that to criticize even a single vaccine – or to suggest a single adverse reaction from vaccines – triggers an avalanche of vitriol. At some point the ‘you are killing thousands of people’ accusation will raise its ugly head. How primitive we remain.

  4. Diane

    I had terrible trouble on statins, brain fog, confusion, muscle weakness and pain to a point of falling over, fluid retention and fatigue. Never again will I ever take Lipitor or any statin.

    Reply
  5. Jean Humphreys

    In year 2000, when telling my GP that I would take no more statins, I asked if he was going to yellow card my muscle pains, and he said that they were so well known that it was hardly worth it. That was before I found out some of the other nasties that are, some of them, still with me.
    So they know, oh yes they do. They have known for a very long time that they were and are foisting a fraud upon us.
    It was interesting with this set of headlines that it took me quite a while to unpick the fact that it was that nice man mr (not sir) R C who was the fount of this set of wisdom. He must be ignoring his side effects like crazy.

    Reply
  6. mo79uk

    It’s sad that the statins debacle isn’t unique. Just the other day a film that presented ‘black swans’ to HIV/AIDS theory was banned from a British independent film festival because it might cause distress to the public. It was objections from, amongst others, a journalist from an LGBT background (I only bring that up because its emotional affection to the subject is relevant) that made the festival behave cowardly (the festival organiser himself saw nothing personally objectionable about the film and was likely worried about future funding).
    Now, if you believe that what was to be presented is nonsense it would be far better to have the film shown and torn apart intellectually. On the other hand if you worry about the import of these black swans (monetarily, intellectually, emotionally) then you want it buried.

    I’m not fishing for support for ‘AIDS denialism’ (which is actually HIV scepticism, just like cholesterol sceptics aren’t heart disease deniers) but there are many problems with that theory too. The fact it’s not a resolved topic means all avenues should remain open. A few teasers:

    The Penrose Inquiry (Scotland) and the Lindsay Tribunal (Rep. of Ireland) found that virtually all NHS ‘infections’ were to haemophiliacs even though their blood-product (Factor VIII) is dry (HIV alleged to die very quickly out of fluid), and immune abnormalities were found in almost all haemophiliacs before the discovery of HIV (which was not even found in most AIDS patients). Ozzy Osbourne tested HIV+ not long after quitting recreational drugs and then negative later when healthier; when you realise that a subset of gay men engage in highly risky chemsex (The film ‘Chemsex’ documents this) you begin to realise maybe it’s the drugs in that scene and not the sexuality of that scene, that AIDS causes HIV-positivity (though for some HIV-positivity is benign because the test is non-specific).

    Former S. African President Thabo Mbeki was thought to have been responsible for a holocaust-level of deaths for enacting ‘denialist’ policies. But under him the facts show that the population did not diminish, but an ‘estimate’ of deaths was used to vilify him. Peter Duesberg’s paper that correctly defended Mbeki was pulled without explanation and the journal it was in was closed and re-opened as a clockwork orange.

    Reply
    1. Dana

      I’ve heard it said that HIV may possibly be an endogenous retrovirus, in other words the human body produces this virus, and that possibly some health conditions result in the HIV count getting high enough to show up on tests and alarm people. I try to keep an open mind about the whole thing. At the same time, obviously, I’ll still take precautions against catching it in case it’s *not* endogenous.

      Reply
      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Questioning cholesterol and statins is tough enough. I have watched the HIV battle from afar. It is far, far, more vicious. I am tempted to join at times, but I know I would then be simply dismissed as a professional contrarian. Id did touch on this in my book ‘Doctoring Data’ if only to say that there has never been a randomised placebo controlled study done on the treatment of HIV [the only study done was so utterly flawed that it cannot be used to inform any evidence, of any sort]. Which, according to Rory Collins would render any information about HIV treatment worthless.

      2. Tom Welsh

        That’s an interesting thought, Dr Kendrick! If I understand you aright, you are saying that to dispute one tenet of mainstream medicine is risky but perhaps survivable; but to dispute two different tenets would result in being labelled mad and henceforth completely ignored.

        Good technique, isn’t it? Especially in view of the great rarity of sceptics, especially those brave and passionate enough to raise their heads above the parapet the way you do.

      3. Umberto Ucelli

        Dear Malcolm,
        You say :
        ” I have watched the HIV battle from afar. It is far, far, more vicious. I am tempted to join at times, but I know I would then be simply dismissed as a professional contrarian. Id did touch on this in my book ‘Doctoring Data’ if only to say that there has never been a randomised placebo controlled study done on the treatment of HIV [the only study done was so utterly flawed that it cannot be used to inform any evidence, of any sort]. Which, according to Rory Collins would render any information about HIV treatment worthless.”

        Not sure I understand what you mean.
        WHat I can tell is I used to work as an AIDS doc in the 80ies , before antivirals . I don’t anymore. But I see IV infected patients all the time and I know what’s going on in ID departments. They used to fall as in the Monte Cassino battle. Or rather the Verdun battle. Now they live. They do have complications from their treatment but the death sentence (with very few “slow progressors) is now a chronic disease, with much reduced longevity.
        Maybe ther is no properly done RCT (doubt it but so be it) but some evidence is as good as RCTs .
        Same as for the H. Influenza vaccine. Coincidence ? Pediatric emergency department don’ see any HI meningitides nor do they see epiglottitis anymore.

        Open to discussion .

    2. Soul

      I thought journalist Neville Hodgkinson gave an excellent discussion on what likely happened to bring about the immune deficiency disease that we call AIDS today.

      I have not read his articles or later book. In the interview Hodgkinson talks about a series of news paper articles he wrote for the UK Sunday Times on Peter Duesberg and the alternative theory for AIDs.

      I suspect that this video has influenced some in the health field.

      “Neville Hodgkinson’s Extended House of Numbers Interview”

      Reply
    3. Martin Back

      Thanks to Mbeki’s denialism, 25% of our population is now living with AIDS and needing medication. If the state had stepped in promptly with the therapies available at the time, the percentage affected today would be far lower.

      In the early days of AIDS, before effective antiretrovirals, those affected tried diet, exercise, lifestyle, shark cartilage, various witchdoctor potions here in South Africa, etc etc, and they all died. I only knew one person with AIDS. A young gay guy who was the picture of health, went to gym, fit and keen on life; last I saw of him he was like a shrunken old man, speaking with a trembling, reedy voice, going back to his parents to die. Terrible disease.

      You can deny HIV causes AIDS, but the fact remains that antiretrovirals are the best treatment we’ve got at the moment. And until an effective vaccine is developed, which may be never, they’ll probably continue to be the mainstay in the fight against AIDS.

      Reply
      1. paul

        If an effective vaccine was developed, how would you distinguish the diseased from the protected?
        There is not,as far as I am aware, a standardised diagnostic for the condition.
        The human race has flourished with decent public health and generally resisted the retroviral menace on its own.
        Crank therapies are not confined to third world countries,get on a plane and read the in-flight magazine,there are glossy ads for height enhancing shoes and male pattern baldness.
        I know a HIV diagnosed person as well,20 years and still going with a discordant partner who is far more sexually reckless than him.
        He’s doing fine.

      2. Soul

        I thought this an interesting interview of a Germany physician discussing his opinion and how he treats AIDS patients in his country. He ignores the HIV diagnosis. Instead he treats patients underlining disease. The results have been good, with having long term survivors, which he discusses in the interview. AIDS isn’t one disease, it is many diseases. In America 31 diseases are AIDS related. Other countries have different diseases that are classified as AIDS related.

        Dr. Claus Kohnlein’s Extended House of Numbers Interview

      3. Martin Back

        @Paul – There are several tests for HIV, mostly based on detecting the antibodies in the blood that the immune system has made to combat the virus.

        Of course there’s an HIV virus (or HI virus for the pedantic). What else does the body make antibodies against? What else could give AIDS to people who are not sexually active nor intravenous drug users but who get transfusions of infected blood?

        As far as I know, AIDS is something new in human history, starting maybe in the 1950s. But if humans experienced it before, isolation and sexual faithfulness probably kept it confined to limited locations. It is due to modern-day mass travel and sexual permissiveness that it spread so fast.

        I’m not a fan of Big Pharma, but I applaud them for developing antiretrovirals. As they say, AIDS used to be a death sentence, now it’s a life sentence. There are millions living a normal life today who would be dead without the medicines, not to mention bringing shame on their families because there’s still a huge stigma against getting AIDS.

        A friend of mine’s son was one of the first in South Africa to get AIDS. He lived for many years, and this was before antiretrovirals. Apparently the HIV virus wasn’t so virulent in the early days as it is now.

        A vaccine would work like a flu shot. Your own immune system would kill the virus if you happened to get infected, provided you were vaccinated. I know there is a pill they give sex workers these days that helps with immunity, but it’s a medication rather than a vaccine AFAIK, and still experimental.

        The moral of the story: AIDS is a disease you give yourself, to quote a slogan from the early days. Always use clean needles if you’re a drug user. Always use a condom. (The South African government is now distributing flavoured condoms to encourage condom use.)

      4. MalcolmS

        @Martin Back: “What else could give AIDS to people?”
        I’ve seen it argued that the true cause of AIDS is selenium deprivation. The prime quoted example is Senegal which arguably has the same amount of unprotected sex as any other part of Africa (presumably therefore the same amount of HIV) but only one tenth the level of AIDS. For geological reasons, Senegal has much higher concentrations of selenium in the soil and, so the argument goes, this protects against AIDS (but not HIV).
        http://www.i-sis.org.uk/AidsandSelenium.php
        So if the AIDS disease requires two necessary conditions: HIV AND Selenium deprivation, does that mean Mbeki was right all along and that HIV is not the real cause? (I don’t support the argument, I only pass it on by means of stimulating open discussion).
        If you want to get deeper into selenium and its protective qualities, try the free book:
        http://hdfoster.com/sites/hdfoster.com/files/users/user6/What%20Really%20Causes%20AIDS.pdf

      5. mo79uk

        Many of those allegedly with HIV in Africa were simply diagnosed by symptoms (Bangui definition), which are not AIDS-specific (but AIDS is so broad now).
        ‘False-positives’ in pregnancy are known, and in other conditions like multiple sclerosis. While
        antibodies can be cross-reactive, even Luc Montagnier admits he never purely isolated HIV – scandalous!

        The statins parallel with ARVs is quite striking. Statins can be modestly useful because they are anti-inflammatory, and ARVs are relablled chemotherapy – they are anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Because ARVs can be useful (and detrimental) for those with HIV/AIDS that doesn’t prove HIV is the cause. You need ARVs which are truly only antiretroviral to prove that. Given that early statins (I heard this but have no evidence) cut cholesterol but increased heart disease it’s obvious that the current drugs do something different.

        Paul’s reply is also correct: If a HIV vaccine were developed and given to all we’d be all HIV+ as the test is an antibody test. So then you’d have to diagnose by PCR (‘viral load’) but the inventor of it is an HIV sceptic and if you have to use PCR to find HIV you admit that it’s too small while somehow big enough to cause immunity devastation.

        If there is an AIDS cure and it’s an HIV vaccine/treatment that’s the time HIV sceptics are obliged to go away.

      6. Martin Back

        Okay, I was wrong about testing. I forgot that vaccination would leave HIV antibodies in the blood which would show up as false positives.

        In South Africa testing is by antibody detection, available free at any government clinic. Most pregnant women will visit clinics for antenatal care and are routinely tested for HIV. The prevalence in the population as a whole is extrapolated from these tests.

        I’m not going to deny that other factors besides HIV infection can depress the immune system and cause AIDS-like symptoms. But the probability that someone with AIDS got it as a result of HIV infection is 90% plus, IMO. As is the probability that someone infected with HIV will go on to develop full-blown AIDS if left untreated. (This is just my opinion. I’m no expert.)

        There are so many stories of people staging remarkable recoveries after going on ARVs and reducing their viral load to undetectable levels that I have to believe that ARVs work as advertised.

    4. Soul

      This is a short interview of Nobel prize winner Luc Montagnier. He won his nobel for discovering HIV. Professor Montagnier in the interview believes HIV is a harmless passenger virus. It is not hard for me to believe why the Professor would come to that opinion due to how AIDS is often diagnosed.

      Instead Luc Montagnier believes other causes could be responsible for weakening a persons immune system. In Africa poor nutrition and starvation is often sighted as a potential cause for weaker immune systems leading to increased infections.

      In Africa too, HIV testing is not necessary for their to be a diagnosis of AIDS. Many people in Africa and Asia are given a diagnosis for AIDS using what is referred to as the Bangui definition for AIDS. Vague symptoms of diarrhea and weight loss can cause someone to be given a diagnosis of AIDS using the Bangui definition. The Bangui definition of AIDS can be read about here ~

      1985 World Health Organization AIDS surveillance case definition Bangui definition

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1985_World_Health_Organization_AIDS_surveillance_case_definition

      In the west, the Bangui definition is sometimes used without HIV testing. From my understanding and mentioned in one of the videos HIV tests do not test for the virus. That is why AIDS “risk factors” are also assessed when giving a diagnosis of AIDS.

      recreational drugs and prescription are often mentioned as a potential cause for weaker immune systems. The first cure for AIDS was a toxic chemo therapy drug called AZT. With chemo therapy drugs one wants to be on them for the shortest period of time as possible. AZT was being prescribed for life. The recreational drug poppers, used widely in the gay community and in the news once again due to a British law maker found to be using them, Keith Vax, is believed by some to be an early culprit for weakening the immune system.

      The cancer researcher Peter Duesberg was the first to propose I believe that AZT, poppers and recreational drugs could be responsible for weakening immune systems leading to what we call AIDS. Peter’s ideas were not tested, other than in lab mice. It was found that poppers greatly weakened the immune system of mice.

      In my opinion the situation with AIDS is similar to what happened with the nutritional deficiency disease Pellagra. It is easier for many parties to blame a mysterious virus than to blame poverty, and drug use for health issues.

      Pellagra and the Four Ds

      http://blogs.creighton.edu/heaney/2013/11/18/pellagra-and-the-four-ds/

      Excerpts From Dr. Heaney’s sight:

      “2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the war on pellagra, a war that lasted nearly 25 of those years before victory could finally be declared. You have not heard of the war on pellagra? The celebration is not on your calendar? You’re not alone.

      Why did it take so long? Was the science so intractable, like the current “war” on cancer? No. It was politics and pigheadedness that were the obstacles….

      ….Goldberger, convinced that diet was the culprit, conducted an experiment in a Mississippi prison farm, exposing prisoners to a diet like those eaten by people manifesting pellagra and – no surprise – they developed pellagra within a few months. Medical experts claimed that it wasn’t real pellagra and found other imaginary flaws in the project. Goldberger then went on to inoculate himself, his wife, and his assistant with blood and throat scrapings from pellagra patients – a test of the infectious hypothesis. But to no effect. He transferred skin scrapings and even fecal samples to healthy volunteers. Sometimes the recipients got temporarily sick, but they did not get pellagra. It simply was impossible to “catch” the disease. Still no one paid attention.

      In fact southern politicians actively resisted the conclusion that diet was the culprit, fearing that the high prevalence in their states would cast their region in an unfavorable light if the disease was caused by poverty. They could accept infection (over which they had little control), but not poor diet due to socio-economic factors – for which they could be considered responsible. This was not the first time politics tried to discredit science – and certainly not the last….”

      Reply
    5. Soul

      mo79UK,

      If an HIV vaccine were created that would cure AIDS. What would happen at that point is the disease would be redefined. People would still be ill, for a variety of reasons, and need treatment. The treatment would be different from current HIV medications. I suspect more classical treatments would be used for the disease.

      i’m chuckling a bit mentioning this since people like their diseases. People want to believe their doctors and health care providers know the answers. Polio of the past is another disease that has similarities to AIDS of today. The alternative theory with polio goes like this. When a polio vaccine was created, around the same time a redefining of what polio is occurred. There are many diseases and substances that can cause paralysis. In the past these diseases and conditions would called polio. Today these paralysis diseases are given different names. The iron lung didn’t go away. It was replaced by the modern respirator.

      Dr. Kendrick touched on this, with disease redefining in his book on this web sight. He also had an interesting write up about potentially the biggest premature killer of heart disease patient. I believe I said that right. As mentioned in the book, at one time after a heart attack all patients were asked to rest in bed for weeks. No studies had been done to see if this was helpful for heart attack patients. It was simply excepted practice. Everyone knew bed rest was the best treatment for illness.

      As mentioned in the book, all that changed when NASA began conducting exercise experiments on Astronauts. What NASA found is that a lack of movement, or rest all the time, led to a considerable weakening of the body.

      After that bed rest for heart disease patients stopped being recommended.

      There was another event that occurred before the NASA rest and exercise experiments. This concerns curing polio. An Australian nurse, who became very popular in her day in America was curing polio patients with exercise. Her name was Sister Elizabeth Kenny. She was so popular that Hollywood made a movie about her life and work.

      Sister Elizabeth Kenny began challenging the medical establishments treatment for polio patients. She was accusing health officials of causing permeant paralysis in polio patients. At the time, polio doctors were following the old but untested treatment of having polio patients rest, along with placing limbs into casts and braces. Immobilizing a body for long periods of time causes muscle wasting.

      As can be imagined Sister Elizabeth Kenny was not popular with the medical establishment. She was not only accusing doctors of harming polio patients with their treatment, but was “curing” polio patients with exercise.

      Anyway, bit of a ramble with this. Some information on Sister Kenny can be seen here. She is credited today as being the founder of physical therapy.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Kenny

      here is another article on Polio and the alternative theory for it from Dr. Humphries:

      “Smoke, Mirrors, and the “Disappearance” Of Polio”

      http://drsuzanne.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Smoke-Mirrors-and-the-“Disappearance”-Of-Polio-_-International-Medical-Council.pdf

      Ironically, Jonah Salk, often credited for curing polio, in his later life was working to cure AIDS. I remember reading, it’s been awhile so hope I’m correct, Salk’s proposal for curing AIDS was similar to how polio was redefined and cured.

      Reply
  7. Essop Hajat

    I was prescribed Simvastatin by my (ex) GP because I my cholesterol was ‘slightly high’ at 5.2. I was told I would be better off with lowering it to below 5. I agreed to take them but because I was dubious about taking any drug for the rest of my life I went for blood test after 3 months to see if it was having any effect. A short time later I received a hand delivered letter instructing me to immediately stop all medication and see my GP asap. He told me I have developed rhabomylisis (forgive my spelling). He then offered to give me another brand of statin which I declined. I subsequently began to research the adverse effects of statins which led me to Dr Kendrick’s publications and I have been an ardent follower ever since. Thank you for having the guts to stand up to the bully boys doctor.

    Reply
    1. gardengnome

      But why is total cholesterol of 5.2 high? Last time mine was taken it was 6.6 although the hdl was 2.8 giving a ratio of 2.4. When the follow up GP apt arrived I was expecting pressure to take a statin but the GP [knowing I was anti the things in any case] said the cholesterol numbers were fine.

      Reply
  8. David Bailey

    ““Data shows that people on statins are more likely to become obese and more sedentary over time than non-statin users, likely because people mistakenly think they don’t need to eat a healthy diet and exercise as they can just take a pill to give them the same benefit (Sugiyama et al. JAMA IM 2014). ””

    I suspect this is wrong, or isn’t the full picture. The serious statin side effects took 3 years to come on for me, but now I am free of the things, I think I can feel a certain (very pleasing) rebound effect – it may be a sort of placebo effect, but I feel younger now than I did four or five years ago while taking statins. In other words people may indeed become more sedentary on statins because they feel older!

    Reply
    1. Tom Welsh

      Among other things, a beautiful example of the (increasingly common) use of “likely”, “probably” and other qualifiers in the context of what are meant to be precise, factual statements. Most of a scientific paper or government report is facts and figures – and then you see that “likely” surfacing, which to me at least has come to be like the sight of a black fin when swimming in the sea.

      Reply
      1. Mrs Sarah Chard

        Conjecture is a dangerous thing – and is all too often presented as fact, especially in the mainstream TV programmes that most people take as gospel. Archaeologists are among the worst perpetrators, along with paleontologists (who knows if a dinosaur had stripes, or what colour they were?). Likely and probably flag up that this is a guess, not a fact!

  9. Jane

    I was listening to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 when he interviewed Professor Rory Collins on Friday and the prof occasionally sounded confused.

    These statistics confuse me. As a result of this study the prof claims that 1 in 20 people avoid a first heart attack. Without the benefit of a crystal ball he’s talking about risk factors (cholesterol, age, high BP, blah blah, take away the number you first thought of). But they still don’t actually know who would have had a heart attack.

    JV asked the prof how they could know that a first MI had been avoided and the response was that their large scale randomised trial showed evidence that the people taking statins had a “lowered risk” of heart attack compared with those taking placebo – presumably based on the factors above – which isn’t the same thing.

    When JV tried to clarify that it was 1 person in 10 who’d avoid a second MI, the prof struggled with the maths and repeated it was 1000 in 10,000. If he’s going to make claims based on numbers I’d feel reassured if he could add up as well as repeat from a script.

    Then the prof said statins “defur arteries”. He went off then on how eating animal fat was the problem and said lowering fat intake reduced cholesterol – which I think the entire world now knows not to be the case. He went on to say that most cholesterol was made in our bodies. So which is it? He seemed terribly confused.

    I was pleased that the BBC then read out Richard Horton’s words to be read out about the unreliability of science and how it’s taken a turn towards darkness.

    As far as the reporting of “side effects” goes (no such thing as “side” – these are simply effects) of course they’re not reported. I’ve just had a similar experience with titanium clips left in the abdomen after gallbladder removal. I’m allergic to metal and I asked for dissolvable clips. I was told: “In 34 years NOBODY has ever had a problem with titanium.”

    Forums on the internet are heaving with reports of problems following the insertion of titanium (alloy) clips. Maybe NOBODY told their doctors – but I doubt that.

    Reply
    1. ellifeld

      From what I understand less than 10% of side effects of meds are reported by doctors, with many feeling it is closer to 1-2%. That’s with medications, with something like titanium clips I would imagine it has never been reported.

      Reply
    2. Tom Welsh

      “I was listening to the Jeremy Vine show on Radio 2 when he interviewed Professor Rory Collins on Friday and the prof occasionally sounded confused”.

      Oh, is HE on statins too?

      Reply
    3. Tom Welsh

      “Then the prof said statins “defur arteries”. He went off then on how eating animal fat was the problem and said lowering fat intake reduced cholesterol – which I think the entire world now knows not to be the case. He went on to say that most cholesterol was made in our bodies. So which is it? He seemed terribly confused”.

      I think that may be because the precise medical facts don’t really matter all that much to him. The only non-negotiable thing – set in concrete – is that statins must continue to be sold in vast numbers.

      Reply
  10. Mr Chris

    Am I right in understanding that the Cochrane Collaboration report where they apparently changed their minds on statins, did not get a look at the raw data either? If so, it does their reputation no good.

    Reply
  11. Stephen T

    I was disappointed with the media’s credulous and unquestioning reporting. The CTT marked their own work and found it was fine, exactly the result that best suited their pharma funders. Naturally, it’s all a complete coincidence.

    The public no longer trust the system. I can’t remember the last person who told me they were taking statins who didn’t suffer an adverse response. My brother was losing his memory until he finally gave us taking statins. His memory quickly returned. Just another anecodote to Sir Rory and his pharma friends, but important evidence to the rest of us. As I have said before, everyone who suffers side effects from statins must somehow live in my area.

    Reply
    1. amie

      There was clearly a massive PR campaign, resulting in simultaneous front page headlines in several tabloids, in Diana size font proclaiming At last! Statins finally and conclusively proved SAFE!! Even the Times in its editorial was deluded. This is straight out of the Tobacco, and as has just now been further revealed, the Sugar industry playbook.

      Reply
      1. Frederica Huxley

        At least The Times had the decency to publish a reply the next day from a doctor who noted that (he has) “a significant number of patients who tell me that they get severe muscle aches on them, which go away when they stop them, and restart when the statins are recommenced.
        Am I to tell these patients they are lying to me?”

      2. amie

        All the newspapers reported to the BMJ papers
        as having been later “retracted” which as we know, is a gross misrepresentation. I was waiting for anyone from the BMJ or the authors of those pieces, to call for corrections, but this has not happened.

      1. Joe

        Dr. Kendrick:

        If you will please publish those “10 or so things” we should all be doing to prevent/treat heart disease, like you promised to do way back in the Middle Ages (or in the early Roman Numeral Era, if you will), I (as a former Marine) promise to fly over there and provide you with round-the-clock security at no charge to you. Okay, maybe a little Lagavulin, but that’s negotiable. I’d probably settle for Laphroaig.

        I love all the other stuff on your blog and never miss an entry, but of those “10 or so things,” one or more of them may just save my life, and maybe the lives of others here as well. Thanks for your consideration. Sláinte!

      2. Errett

        Hey Joe—-I , as a former US Recon Marine, will also work for SMS—and will absorb all other costs to protect Dr. K

      3. Jillm

        Joe, Regarding heart disease, I have been reading recent articles about spikes in blood glucose and insulin. Fascinating.

      4. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

        Joe,

        You don’t need to go to Scotland for your “heart medicine”. Yesterday evening I had one shot of Laphroaig 10 Years here in the Mining Town Gällivare above the polar circle in Sweden. Why don’t we let Dr. Kendrick guide us here as well – it might be on his 10 point list.

      5. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Highland Park, Glenmorangie, Jura, Macallan, Glenlivet, Ardbeg, Yamazaki, Talisker, Glenturret (have to say this, knew the owner), Speyside.

        Sorry, not keen on Laphroaig, a bit to ‘heavy’ for my taste.

      6. JanB

        In the heady days when I used to have porridge/porage for my breakfast (before LCHF) I always included a splash of Glenmorangie. How I miss it. Sigh.

      7. Mr Chris

        Dear JanB
        I grew up on porridge, then dropped out until a friend served some at breakfast. I felt guilty eating it, LCHF mode, asked Zoë Harcomb if it was OK. She assured me it was, mops up cholesterol thus hedging my bets. Decided to hell with it, the taste is great, will try it with Aran 10 year old, Cu Bocan would be a bit dear.

      8. JanB

        Mmm, porridge, but unhappily for me it does dreadful things to my BG. I make do with sniffing my husband’s porridge. Even bigger sigh.

      9. Joe

        Errett:

        Thanks for the overwatch, brother! There may not be enough Lagavulin for the both of us, but I’m willing to share.

      10. Joe

        Dr. Göran Sjöberg:

        If the good doctor doesn’t come up with that list pretty soon, I’ve instructed my wife to spread my ashes over the island of Islay. Preferably atop the Lagavulin distillery itself. That’s probably as close to heaven as I’m ever going to get.

      11. Joe

        Dr. Kendrick:

        “Sorry, not keen on Laphroaig, a bit to ‘heavy’ for my taste.”

        I was hoping you’d say that, because that means more for me!

        And once my ashes are spread over the island of Islay, that taste is probably going to get a lot “heavier.” This event can perhaps be postponed, if you would just disclose that list. You know, while I’m still here.

      12. Joe

        Jillm:

        There can’t be many articles on heart disease that I haven’t already read. In fact, several medical school libraries now call me for information.

        But the critical information I’m still missing is Dr. Kendrick’s list. It’s the Holy Grail, as far as I’m concerned. Think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

  12. Sue Waddle

    Sadly this is not a unique evil of which we should be afraid and Richard Horton features again in another very worrying and equally life destroying “scientific trial” which has had huge negative impact on thousands of ME sufferers here and abroad.
    I am talking about The Pace Trial – a government funded study into the beneficial effects of CBT and Graded Exercise Therapy ( GET) on seriously ill ( with a neurological condition ) people. The study was deeply flawed ( you could have worse scores at the end than when you enetered the trial and yet still be deemed to have made some recovery – because the goalposts were changed in mid trial). The “researchers” make up a set of back slapping doctors/ researchers who have dictated NICE policy on ME/CFS for over a decade.
    Concerned scientists from across the globe demanded access to the raw data and after 2 appeals against “vexatious” FOI requests they were told to hand over said data. Richard Horton has steadfastly refused to publish the questions asked of these trialists ( I can’t bring myself to call them scientists) . So Dr Kendrick, if you ever become bored with statins (!!) I guarantee you won’t be bored if you look into the travesty that is ME policy!!
    Keep up the good work….

    Reply
  13. Sylvia

    Thank you Dr Kendrick for this information. We must challenge and question, always, and take responsibility for our own health. Some need life saving medication for serious illness and emergency situations, for them it is important, goes without saying. Statins, well it stinks.
    Countless people we know are on them, friends, family, they know my view. What you highlight is just outrageous. Transparency please, we have a right to know about all trial results and then decide for ourselves, after consultation and homework.

    Reply
    1. Nigella P

      I agree Sylvia, we should be responsible for our own health BUT we are not empowered to do so. I am hypothyroid & before treatment I had symptoms as long as my arm & back again. My quality of life was bad. NHS GP would only do Thyroid Stimulating Hormone test, which is woefully inadequate. Mine was never quite bad enough to warrant treatment under NICE guidelines. I did my own blood tests to include levels of T4 and the active T3 hormone & they were low but still not quite out of range. I took them to my GP & was told that I was just aging (I was 45!) & I should add some aerobic exercise to walking several miles each day & get 20 minutes of sunshine a day but not between 11am & 3pm & that was it. In desperation at not wanting to live the miserable existence I was living anymore, I self-treated. It is not my preferred option, as it has forced me outside of medical care in this country & I have to import medicines from abroad, which makes me feel vulnerable and as though I’m doing something a bit wrong. I regularly do my own blood tests to ensure I’m getting my medication at the right levels. Not everyone is going to be prepared to do that though. How can we be properly responsible for our health, when we are not permitted to do so? It is very frustrating.

      Reply
      1. Sylvia

        Nigella, even more so now with the demise of our NHS, we shall be a commodity. You should have the very best of care which includes tests and treatment, but, alas it will only get worse.
        All fine if your insurance masses muster. Yes, the NHS will be free at the point of delivery, for long term chronic sick, just wait in the queue though and don’t expect the best.
        My early days nursing in the 1970’s was a privilege, to be part of a fantastic team, whichever ward I was on, last 10 years as a district nurse, this service now also depleted, was amazingly efficient and caring. My very best wishes to you. Sorry Dr Kendrick to get political.

      2. Linda Colback

        Oh how I feel for you: hypothyroidism [indeed any thyroid issue] will surely go down as one of the most despicable, deliberate machinations (I credit them as being smart!) of medicine! ‘Their’ concerted efforts are continuing to grow… with other, previously understanding/sympathetic countries, beginning to follow suit. Disgusting… we need an advocate (hint, hint) with poor Gordon Skinner ‘hounded to death’. Take care and be well Nigella.

  14. Bryan Hemming

    During many visits to doctors surgeries and hospitals over the last three and a half years I have informed at least six doctors that I will not take statins due to the pains I got in the muscles to my legs after ten minutes or so of brisk walking. I love walking and walk a lot, as I don’t drive.

    As I am fast approaching seventy I have made my choice, and have tailored my life around that choice by following a Mediterranean diet – which isn’t difficult as I live in Spain – drinking very little alcohol, and exercising regularly. At 5′ 9″ I weigh around 10.5 stones and have weighed more or less the same for a little less than fifty years.

    What surprised me was that not one doctor appeared to take notes or question me about the leg pains; how severe they were or how long the episodes lasted, type of thing. Most of them spent a good deal of time trying to persuade me to continue to take statins, and one got angry lecturing me on them. Now, it seems that my heart condition may have more to do with low blood pressure, a condition associated with Bisoprolol – a beta blocker – than cholesterol.

    I am still waiting for the results of the last set of tests I undertook a couple of weeks ago, which I should’ve received on leaving hospital. It was missing from my other papers, which coincidentally, no longer prescribes beta blockers. Since not taking them my blood pressure seems to be adjusting to normal, after more than a week of unpleasant side-effects.

    My values in life may differ to other people’s but I would rather live life to the full, not one confined to a bed or to the house.

    Seems to be a lot of denial going on in the medical profession and it isn’t ust confined to the UK.

    Reply
    1. Dana Green

      Crikey bisprolol is a very powerful drug and should never be stopped cold
      : it always needs to be gradually reduced. It’s not surprising you had unpleasant side effects – lucky that’s all it was.

      Reply
      1. Bryan Hemming

        Thankyou for pointing that out. Bisoprolol is indeed a very powerful drug on which the body swiftly becomes dependent. Kicking the habit could even be compared with kicking heroin. I didn’t want to underestimate all the possible side-effects, as I unintentionally appear to have done.

        Nobody should stop taking Bisoprolol without informing themselves of the all possible side-effects and the ways of mitigating them. Some people have reported side-effects lasting for months. But then again the possible consequences of taking Bisoprolol, when you already have low blood pressure, can be fatal. The drug can actually cause angina, which it did in my case. I suffered seven attacks, all within one week, none of which led to the heart attack they easily could have.

        At the same time my suspicion is that the potential side-effects of Bisoprolol for some patients are being underestimated, and a one-size-fits-all policy regarding drugs to prevent CVD is being pursued by many doctors. Their careers could be ruined by admitting they have been prescribing drugs not fit for the purpose for far too long. Often, the doctors dictating overall treatment policy in hospitals are the specialists in charge, who are at the apex of their careers, having served their communities many years to achieve that aim. Imagine how you would feel to discover you had been doing everything wrong for decades and may have been prescribing medicines to your patients that had done them more harm than good. It would be extremely difficult to face up to that reality.

        It is well-worth repeating that nobody should stop taking Bisoprolol without learning of the all possible side-effects. I did reduce my dosage for the first week. Sadly, I am unable to recommend consulting your doctor on this, as hard experience has shown me that is not always the wisest path to take

    2. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

      17 years ago I dropped all the heart medicines I was prescribed after my serious MI and one of the first was the beta blocker. Instead I, or rather my wife, introduced my only “medicine” since then, a glass of red wine daily, Rioja being a favourite, and of course a whisky on occasions. At 70 my blood pressure is steadily at 110/60 at rest.

      Reply
  15. Tricia Oakes

    My mother in law had dreadful skin and muscle problems on this crap, my father in law refuses to take it. You will never get ut down my neck – I was poisioned’ by a nasty long-term antibiotic given for repeated uti’s which turned out to be a bladder prolapse! Good to know there are some Doctors who uphold the hypocratic oath – thank you Dr. K x

    Reply
  16. Agg

    I listened to Rory Collins on BBC Radio 4 on Friday morning, and wished there was someone to present the other side of the story at the same time ….

    Reply
  17. Gary P

    Thanks Dr. K. I figured you’d have the lowdown on this report. All the news outlets online have a knee-jerk response of reporting it as gospel. Hard to find any rebuttal.

    Reply
  18. Errett

    What an amazing photograph—-it always leaves me speechless—-with a feeling of darkness and evil—-the age old battle—-Keep the Faith Strong

    Reply
  19. Jillm

    Thank you Dr Kendrick. I am reading The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge MD. There is a shocking story about medical censorship in Chapter 2.

    Reply
  20. Dr John Patchett

    As you said Malcolm, the report says just what you would expect it to say. Anything to the contrary would have been like Turkeys voting for Christmas. What I do find even more shocking as a scientist, is the obvious censorship. It is almost Orwellian. Disgraceful.

    Reply
  21. Jackie Browne

    Thank you Dr Kendrick for shedding light on the links between the latest statin study and the drug companies. Information that was conveniently missing from the media coverage of the last few days!
    I have raised cholesterol (6.8) but no other major risk factors for heart disease so I politely declined my GP’s offer of a prescription for statins. Time will tell whether I made the right decision but I’d rather take my chances with a healthy diet and regular exercise than suffer the adverse effects of statins. I’m pretty sure that both of my grandmothers had high cholesterol, one died following a heart attack the other suffered a fatal stroke. They were both 95 years old!!

    Reply
    1. Stephen T

      Jackie, there’s a 299 out of 300 chance that you’ve made the right decision. And a 100% guarantee that you won’t suffer any adverse side effects. Those numbers should be given to everyone on statins – it’s called informed consent.

      Reply
    1. Mr Chris

      Brian
      Rory Collins sleeps well at night because he is convinced that he is right and that he is saving lives.my analysis of people with power is that they are driven by an absolute sense of doing their job better than anyone else could. In such a messianic context, why would they open up to contrary arguments?

      Reply
    2. Tom Welsh

      The small minority of people who do wicked things for gain are notable for their heartlessness. I do not compare Dr Collins to the great dictators, but I do note two famous remarks that seem a propos:

      “The great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil … therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds, they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big”.
      – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf (Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston, 1971; original version 1925), Vol. 1, chapter 10, p.231

      “One death is a tragedy. A million deaths are a statistic”.
      – Joseph Stalin (responsible for at least 30 statistics)

      Reply
  22. Dave Watson

    Malcolm thank you once again for your elegant skewering of the latest reworking statin trial data in order to prop up what, I hope, is slowly crumbling edifice. I work a lot with multivariate statistics there must be huge amount of unmined data in these large secret trials. However, they have sold their product so why would they apply more modern statistical methods.

    Reply
  23. Soul

    As someone with a life long chronic condition and having been forced to read and learn a good deal about the health care system, it’s a frightening system. There are positives with it, but in many ways I feel we’re in a dark age with our health care.

    Putting on a Nostradamus cap, if I were to guess where we will be heading in the future, it would not surprise me if a split developed in the medical system. It would have some similarities to what happened centuries ago with the Catholics and Protestants. The Protestants left the Catholic church due to their beliefs that Catholic leadership had become overly corrupt. The Catholic leadership with different governments help fought back with force. As a result the Protestants became decentralized in order to practice their religion. Followers were forced to learn scripture on their own or in small groups. Mass education became important. In an agrarian society education had not been terribly important to spend money on and know. Only the most devout and quickest learners remained Protestants, in general. I don’t know all that much about religion but I believe that is why protestants split from centralized Catholic church. That is my guess of potentially what could happen in the internet age with health care.

    Reply
    1. Tom Welsh

      A brilliant analogy! And most thought-provoking. Indeed, as I think it over, it seems to have applications far beyond health care.

      Reply
      1. Soul

        Ah thank you very much. Sometimes the analogy is used for the Jewish religion also, I believe.

        Well, I jokingly say, saw today the military gave an opinion. A former Pharmaceutical plant converted into chemical warfare facility in Iraq was demolished. In my opinion sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between the two.

        12 US aircraft flatten former Iraqi pharmaceutical complex

        http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/13/politics/isis-chemical-weapons-plant/index.html

  24. puddleg58

    The thing about vaccines is, even if they give one individual autism, and fail to give another protection, they still overall prevent a potentially lethal disease from spreading from one person to the next in a tightly packed urban warren, which is the reason Wakefield had to be burned at the stake.
    So is Horton saying that CVD is contagious, that statination provides herd immunity?
    I actually think that some of these chaps are coming to believe that it is and it does.

    Let’s not forget that stains are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, not ApoB or LDL inhibitors.
    HMG-CoA reductase activity is controlled by the insulin-glucagon axis. A low carb diet, a low calorie Mediterranean diet, fasting, will all inhibit HMG-CoA reductase – in a physiologically appropriate way, unlike a drug effect – via this mechanism.

    Reply
    1. Lucy Seton-Watson

      “Let’s not forget that stains are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, not ApoB or LDL inhibitors. HMG-CoA reductase activity is controlled by the insulin-glucagon axis. A low carb diet, a low calorie Mediterranean diet, fasting, will all inhibit HMG-CoA reductase – in a physiologically appropriate way, unlike a drug effect – via this mechanism.”

      There we have it, in a nutshell.

      Bravo.

      Reply
  25. JanB

    Well, don’t we live in a frightening world? I can’t thank you enough, Dr. K. for all the hard work you do on our behalf.

    Reply
  26. Lynda Cooper

    Thank you Dr Kendrick. A lot of the medical world seems to be a complete cesspit of people more interested in money than people. The same scenario applies to the tre\tment of hypothyroidism. So many people suffering for the want of T3 being denied and being lied to about why they can’t have it. Very sad.

    Reply
  27. Mike Bond

    in June 2015, Chief Medical Officer Dame Sally Davies, ordered a review to be carried out by the Academy of Medical sciences into the mass over-prescription of statins. Their report was promised for early 2016. Has anyone seen or heard of it yet?

    Reply
  28. Ray Davies

    Living in a seaside town and walking my two greyhounds on the seafront on most days, I get to meet, and talk, to a huge variety of people. Being a holiday resort, there’s a constantly changing temporary population.

    I am stunned by how many are diabetic (Type 2) and also take statins. I get to find out about this because of the huge proportion of them that are disabled in some way. A surprising number are frightened to stop taking them, not for fear of health problems, but because they’ve been instructed to take them by their doctor. It seems they dare not defy a person that seems to have become a deity to them.

    It really saddens me.

    In most cases it seems the statins came first! Can I publish a paper on this? Of course not but I am somewhat evangelistic about low carb/keto and try to point those with at least half a brain to this and other websites. Mind you, I am in the process of writing a book about my experiences with these destructive drugs and a few other health issues.

    Ray Davies

    Reply
    1. Stephen T

      Seven hundred people a day are diagnosed as type 2 diabetics in the UK. There were only a few thousand in the country in the 1950s. Could we be doing something wrong?

      Reply
  29. Kathy Sollien

    Thank goodness for your Blog. I saw online the Summary of this article and as I’m reading it I’m thinking of you, Dr. Kendrick. First in that I wanted to forward it to you and ask you to interpret it and second because of your two books, I found the complete article and have been trying to read it myself. Very difficult to get through and I would presume most people wouldn’t bother – they would just read the summary and accept it’s conclusions. Thanks again and please, keep up the good work and the fight.

    Reply
  30. Craig E

    My brother, who lives in Britain and knows of my disdain for statins sent me a link to the story as contained in the Daily Mail. On reading many of the 500 or so comments on that article the overwhelming majority were anti statin. There were plenty of personal horror stories. Perhaps the tide of opinion is turning? Maybe the little picks that the likes of Dr K have driven into the iceberg are having effect. When you think about it…the statin story is an almost perfect rouse…as most of the side effects can be explained away…for example those elderly folk that end up with memory impairment…”it’s old age”. When i tell family and friends about the dangers of statins and the fact that they do not increase longevity I am hit with “what would you know, you’re not a doctor”. I wonder how many doctors know of the mevalonate pathway and the important compounds that are being inhibited when taking statins. Most docs wouldn’t prescribe Co Q10 with a statin even though Merck filed a patent that had statin with Q10 back in (i think) the late 80s….ie they knew that statins also affect production of Q10. I will continue to ‘bang on’ to my friends/family until I gain traction.

    Reply
  31. Louise H

    I heard Rory Collins on radio 4. I’m not sure what planet he lives on but clearly not the same one as me. He said that ‘anyone suffering myopathy side effects could have a simple blood test which would show enzymes in their muscles’. Having suffered myopathy from taking levothyroxine for which my GP sent me to Kings for an MRI, a lumbar puncture and nerve tests but they discovered no cause and nobody suspected the levo even though it is on the leaflet as a possible side effect. It took my own deductions and two years of near death hell to stop taking it and find relief. Just seen the BBC programme advertised for later this week – ‘the doctor who gave up drugs’. Bring on the revolution – and thank you for your beautifully clear exposition.

    Reply
      1. Louise H

        I take liothyronine (T3) to keep me non-comatose plus natural supports (gluten free etc). I was scared of the T4 in the natural products having had no luck with the synthetic stuff.

  32. Gary Ogden

    Thank you for this, Dr. Kendrick. Richard Horton is a truly frightening man. This parallels what is going on here in California, and the U.S. in general. It is not allowed to question dogma.

    Reply
  33. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    What a sad criminal medical world!

    We are just now helping to put things in order in the house after an uncle who recently passed away. During his last years he was heavily medicated and was in a bad both mental and physical state. During the cleaning up in the house we happened to see the full medication list with the 15 different medicines he was given and for sure the statins was one item on the list.

    Well, the statins was not a surprise to us since we had in vain for several years tried to get him off since his muscle status was so weak that he had to be put in a wheel chair or laid down in bed but to our sorrow his closest surrounding did not allow him to get off the “statin hook”.

    Reply
  34. Christopher Palmer

    Some years ago and not quite a decade Mrs P and I tripped to a public house in Bollington, Ches., of an evening when the folk club would be running. They had a guest performer that night and it was Robin Laing. We had expected floor singers.

    Robin is a great singer and entertaining folk poet with a repertoire of songs given over to Scotland’s greatest export. In one song he managed to mention the names of many dozens of whiskey distilleries – the majority, in fact – and it was a treat to hear this lyrical and poetic feat.

    This folk club in Bollington was run by an energetic male of retirement age whose name was Arthur. He booked the guest artists and kept things running – a great and enthusiastic fixer who had the support of other regulars. He had a fine physique and was warm and empathetic. We were not regular visitors despite we would have liked to have been.

    Through membership of another club we knew another resident of Billington named David, and David was a regular at the folk club. Whenever we chanced to meet David we inquired after the club.

    It was not so long after this delightful evening hearing the songs of Robin Laing that we heard via David that the club was in decline. The reason he gave, not in these precise words, was that Arthur had become cantankerous and objectionable overnight . . . and those people who lent assistance before ceased to be so willing to help in the affairs of the folk club after witnessing and experiencing this change in Arthur. Arthur had alienated the clubs regulars from the club that was established around his energies. It was chalk and cheese.

    I recall being quite bold and inquired of David outright if Arthur had begun taking statins, and of course he did not know. Yet his description and account fitted with the analysis of statins side-effects illuminated by Dr Duane Graveline in The Satin Damage Crisis – which was a book I hadn’t long since read. In my own way I diagnosed statin side effects from afar although I will never know if such a diagnosis was warranted by the facts.

    I feel sure, Dr Kendrick, that you may know of Robin Laing and his work but if you didn’t then I would think you would appreciate his philosophy upon whiskey and upon bringing more balance to matter of inequality and social injustice in all its guises.

    I know that you spent many years in general practice in Bollington. (Does Bollington rank as a town or village?) And you will know how it has retained some sense of community spirit to which its several pubs, local sports, churches, and even it’s folk club(s) have contributed.

    It is unlikely that you were the GP that prescribed stains to Arthur (if statins be the cause of the change in his demeanour) but is quite likely that if the name of the GP were known it would be a name that you would know of.

    It is a crying shame, is it not, that dogma in medical prescription could be so corrosive to a persons energy and personality that it could undermine close personal relationships and even a source of community spirit? And isn’t it a shame worthy of tears that the pro-stain propaganda continues to stem forth from the CTT?

    I am sorry, Arthur. I can make a difference just by trying – but the difference will only become significant when more people like me do the same. I am no bigger than a mosquito before this great statin fraud and yet on the occasion a mosquito was present in my bedroom I got absolutely no rest until I squatted the darned thing. The more people make like mosquitoes and buzz about the fatheads the better it will be for others in the future.
    Before me is a measure of Dalwhinnie Winters Gold, with an equal measure of water, no ice, that is metaphorically tinged with salt, not from the sea air, but from the tears I shed in lament.

    For the record I haven’t found a single malt I dislike. Some I like more than others. I feel duty bound to sample and rank as many as I can. After all a study does require an inclusive set from which to extract the data.

    Reply
  35. Errett

    Stanton A. Glantz, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, and coauthors examined internal documents from the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF), which later evolved into the Sugar Association, historical reports and other material to create a chronological case study. The documents included correspondence between the SRF and a Harvard University professor of nutrition who was codirector of the SRF’s first coronary heart disease research program in the 1960s.

    The SRF initiated coronary heart disease research in 1965 and its first project was a literature review published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1967. The review focused on fat and cholesterol as the dietary causes of coronary heart disease and downplayed sugar consumption as also a risk factor. SRF set the review’s objective, contributed articles to be included and received drafts, while the SRF’s funding and role were not disclosed, according to the article.

    “This historical account of industry efforts demonstrates the importance of having reviews written by people without conflicts of interest and the need for financial disclosure,” note the authors, who point out the NEJM has required authors to disclose all conflicts of interest since 1984. There also is no direct evidence that the sugar industry wrote or changed the NEJM review manuscript and evidence that that the industry shaped its conclusions is circumstantial, the authors acknowledge.

    Limitations of the article include that the papers and documents used in the research provide only a small view into the activities of one sugar industry trade group. The authors did not analyze the role of other organizations, nutrition leaders or food industries. Key figures in the historical episode detailed in this article could not be interviewed because they have died.

    “This study suggests that the sugar industry sponsored its first CHD [coronary heart disease] research project in 1965 to downplay early warning signs that sucrose consumption was a risk factor in CHD. As of 2016, sugar control policies are being promulgated in international, federal, state and local venues. Yet CHD risk is inconsistently cited as a health consequence of added sugars consumption. Because CHD is the leading cause of death globally, the health community should ensure that CHD risk is evaluated in future risk assessments of added sugars. Policymaking committees should consider giving less weight to food industry-funded studies, and include mechanistic and animal studies as well as studies appraising the effect of added sugars on multiple CHD biomarkers and disease development,” the article concludes.

    Commentary: Food Industry Funding of Nutrition Research

    “This 50-year-old incident may seem like ancient history, but it is quite relevant, not least because it answers some questions germane to our current era. … The authors have done the nutrition science community a great public service by bringing this historical example to light. May it serve as a warning not only to policymakers, but also to researchers, clinicians, peer reviewers, journal editors, and journalists of the need to consider the harm to scientific credibility and public health when dealing with studies funded by food companies with vested interests in the results — and to find better ways to fund such studies and to prevent, disclose and manage potentially conflicted interests,” writes Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., of New York University, in a related commentary.

    Story Source:

    The above post is reprinted from materials provided by The JAMA Network Journals. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160912122356.htm

    Reply
    1. paul

      You will have to forgive me but anything to do with Mr glantz is not worth your trust.
      He has no medical qualifications I am aware of
      Service through self promotion is his game
      His tireless bullshiting against electronic cigarettes have convinced me he has no interest in the commonwealth

      Reply
      1. David

        I am not entirely sure what medical qualifications are required to read company documents and determine that they knew something was seriously wrong with their product? In any case, surely a PhD would be sufficient?

        Furthermore if we were all to defer to the medically qualified then surely this forum would have little point?

  36. Tony P

    I was a healthy 75 year old two years ago when I was invited (a propos of nothing but their policy to offer such to 75 year olds on their lists) by my GP’s practice to have a blood test. This revealed total cholesterol of 7.9 (HDL 2.0, LDL 5.4). The practice nurse suggested I should refer to the GP for treatment but I declined, being a ‘follower’ of cholesterol scepticism. No follow up!
    I went to the American Heart and Stroke Association’s website and obtained a “10-year heart Attack Risk Estimate” to be warned of a 16% risk of heart attack within 10 years. Now turn that around and say “you have an 84% risk of NOT having a heart attack in the next 10 years” – not bad for a 75 year old man. Are not statistics wonderful?

    Still healthy and eating cholesterol laden food (and enjoying it) – good fortune to you Dr Kendrick and keep battling on!

    Reply
  37. JDPatten

    This fine British fellow reviews medical journal articles, sometimes quite humorously calling out those that don’t measure up. . . As he sees them.
    This entry deals with statins. He’s really quite reasonable on many points, but he’s missing some fine points that would make a difference.
    He’s influential.
    If we, the followers of Dr Kendrick’s blog, flooded this guy’s page with comments, they would be seen.
    Shall we enlighten Dr Lehman?

    Reply
    1. Martin Back

      There are plenty of blogs and articles on how ineffective statins are and how bad their side effects are, but what would really turn the public against them are stories like “My Doctor Put Me On Statins But I Had A Heart Attack Anyway”.

      I don’t recall ever seeing such a story. I wonder why. Does it not happen, or is it not considered newsworthy, or is there deliberate suppression?

      Reply
    2. Robert Dyson

      From that Lehman blog, “The main adverse effect of statins is to induce arrogance in their proponents.” This analysis seems right.
      “The evidence for this class of drugs is massive and the areas of controversy are quite small.” This I have difficulty with.
      Occasionally when I have some muscular pain I take aspirin. I don’t have any side effects and it works every time. That’s what I call massive evidence for the efficacy of that drug. I have not looked at statins since the Cochrane review of 2012 and was not convinced the evidence was anywhere near big let alone massive.

      Reply
  38. Mark Corbett

    I think I can throw some light on the confusion about whether the safety data exist i.e.:
    “I put the word safety in bold in this copied e-mail. You will note that Professor Colin Baigent does not say that that the CTT do not have these data on safety. He just says that the CTT won’t let anyone else see any data.

    If they do have it, why have they not done this critically important review before, as they have had much of the data for over twenty years. If they don’t have it, how exactly is Rory Collins going to review it – as he states he is going to? Sorry to keep repeating this point, but I think it is absolutely critical.”

    This can be clarified by looking at the protocol which CTT published in 1995. This states the data which were sought:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0002914999807449

    If you cannot acces the paper via the link above, this is the text relating to which data were sought:
    “The main questions to be addressed will be the effects of lowering cholesterol on: (1) total mortality, (2) CAD mortality (ICD 410414 in the 9th revision of the International Classification of Disease), and (3) non-CAD mortality (all other causes). In addition, there will be separate analyses of specific non-CAD causes of death: hemorrhagic stroke (ICD 430- 432); other stroke (433438); other vascular (rest of 390-459); neoplastic (140- 239); respiratory (460-519); hepatic (570-576); renal (580-593); other medical causes; suicide (950-959); accidental death, homicide, and other non-medical causes. There will be an allowance for multiple hypothesis testing in the analyses of these non-CAD causes of death.”

    “Information sought for each randomized patient:

    Data recorded before randomization: Sex; race; age; history of hypertension, diabetes mellitus, or arterial disease; smoking; alcohol; lipid profile (total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol, apolipoprotein B and triglyceride); blood pressure; height; weight

    Follow-up information: Vital status; myocardial infarction; stroke; angina leading to hospitalization; vascular procedures; cancer; reasons for stopping study treatment.”

    So, there is a distinction between what data CTT currently have (which are the data collated many years ago, relating to the above outcomes as specified in their protocol) and what further data can be requested in the future. Such extra data have to be requested from each of the CTT investigators (who are spread across the world). The resulting individual patient data files would then need collating and analysing. This would all take time. Data relating to any adverse events are typically collected by trialists – this is often mandatory to comply with regulatory approval (e.g. by the FDA or EMA).

    Reply
      1. Mark Corbett

        Yes, the only data they have for all the trials – in one collated dataset – relate to the protocol outomes, so there is currently just data on really serious adverse events (cancer, mortality) as that’s what was sought initally. Sounds like they’re in the process of collating data on other adverse events. This is from their website:
        “A new programme of work is currently underway to collect and analyze individual participant data on all other types of adverse event that were recorded in large-scale statin trials, in order that comprehensive analyses of all possible effects (either adverse or beneficial) of statin therapy in these trials can be conducted.” See https://www.cttcollaboration.org/

  39. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    Here is another sad story about our criminal medical world.

    Cleaning up the house of our uncle at the countryside in northern Sweden we made a bonfire on a lot of old stuff to be disposed of and sitting by the fire an old neighbour villager stopped by to chat and to have a “shot” by the fireside.

    He told us that he was now on 5 medicines but that he was given those in spite of not having experienced any health problem. The story he told us was really amazing.

    He had been feeling very healthy at his present age of 76 but made the mistake to accept a “health check up”. Strolling “down town” Gällivare, feeling swell, he had a emergency phone call from his daughter who had been contacted by the hospital in order for them to get hold of her father. She told him that he had an ongoing “heart attack” and that he had to go to the hospital immediately and where they for sure got hold of him and from which hospital he left with several stents and with the five medicines one of which was the statins.

    Being a very intelligent and knowledgeable man he fully understood what I told him about cholesterol and the “insanity” of fighting one of the most necessary building blocks in our bodies he still doesn’t dare to give up the statin medication. What I fear now is that he in due time will meet the same sad fate as his previous neighbour, our uncle.

    Reply
  40. Anna

    Things are coming to a head and what will break it? My new job just started enforced vaccinations for employees. I believe that eventually everyone will be required to get multiple vaccinations every year. It might even get to the point that we are no longer given a choice about things like taking medicines, whether statins or others. Science is the new inquisition. Woe that it has come to this.

    Reply
    1. Gary Ogden

      Anna: How right you are. Here in the U. S.,The Department of “Health” and Human Services has a plan called “Healthy People 2020.” They’ve been working on it for more than two decades (while moving the target date forward). It calls for cradle-to-grave vaccination. Obamacare requires all medical records to be computerized, and vaccination status is one of the required boxes to be checked off. According to Forbes magazine, 2015 marked a turning point for Pharma, when revenues from biologicals (vaccines) exceeded those from pharmaceuticals for the first time. They publicly acknowledge that this is their growth industry. They’ve captured the children, but they’re going to find the adults not so compliant. The tragedy is in cases like yours, where you have no choice. Informed consent for medical treatment has gone the way of the dodo. Here in California they’re going after doctors who write medical exemptions for children, even prominent ones.

      Reply
  41. Ken mac

    Is this the same Richard Horton…?
    I suspect that sadly it is., it is Mr Horton right brain versus Mr Hortons left brain, sort of like the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing. perhaps he is missing the corpus?

    Reply
  42. Robert Dyson

    There could not be a more serious area of study than global warming – all the data, all the computer code used for analysis is available so that anyone can work through it; of course it needs very considerable expertise to do that but the stuff is all out there. It is the same with cryptography – the protocols are open for anyone to check and test – that way we find the weaknesses and fix them.
    As you have mentioned, and keep saying, the CTT under Rory Collins do not release the data. If statins are so wonderfully good that 1000s would die unless they are widely used what can be the problem with letting as many people as possible have a look at it? Of course there would be some silly analysis but health cranks promote their stuff anyway.
    Rory Collins is running a religion – “have faith in me, only I can read the arcane texts”. Two books that woke me up were Uffe Ravnskov’s “The Cholesterol Myths” (I believed the cholesterol thing till that book came out) and Marcia Angell’s “The Truth About the Drug Companies”. Both I read in the early 2000s and they changed my life.

    Reply
    1. David Bailey

      “There could not be a more serious area of study than global warming – all the data, all the computer code used for analysis is available so that anyone can work through it; of course it needs very considerable expertise to do that but the stuff is all out there. It is the same with cryptography – the protocols are open for anyone to check and test – that way we find the weaknesses and fix them.”

      Whether it is all publicly available now, I am not quite sure, but for a long time sceptical researchers were trying to prize this information out of the climate research community using FOI. Professor Jones of the CRU even claimed that the raw temperature data was commercial in confidence! I think there are enormous parallels between these two stories.

      Are you telling me that the source code for all the climate computer models is available online – if so I’d like to see a link.

      Reply
      1. David Bailey

        Robert,

        The really amazing (and terrifying!) thing is that any body of professional scientists or medics would allow their subject to descend into nonsense. When cholesterol or LDL are actually correlated slightly with longevity, for example, surely no professional would routinely prescribe drugs that lower cholesterol. Yet here are those studies:
        http://vernerwheelock.com/179-cholesterol-and-all-cause-mortality/
        Perhaps the best way to understand why ‘climate science’ is a sham, is to listen to a physics Nobel prizewinner:
        http://www.mediatheque.lindau-nobel.org/videos/34729/ivar-giaever-global-warming-revisited/laureate-giaever
        He is, of course retired, and so fairly invulnerable.

        However, let me try myself to sow a seed of doubt into your head. Think back to school science. Suppose you were asked to measure the melting point of a chemical – say neat acetic acid. Perhaps you would use a thermometer graduated in degrees C. Now imagine that you took hundreds of such measurements, averaged them, and claimed to know the melting point of acetic acid to one hundredth of a degree. Your teacher would not be pleased!

        The basic data for the the Global Warming scam comes from thermometers in weather stations, with similar accuracy. This data is supposed to track a warming at the ground of just 0.8 degrees since 1880! Furthermore, some of those weather stations have gone out of action over the years, and the measurements they would have produced are estimated by computer! Other weather stations are located in places that have become urbanised, and the the computer makes and adjustment for that!

        I am writing from the UKIP conference – the only UK political party to be sceptical of ‘climate change’. Yesterday I was amazed to go to a side meeting at the conference, run by a physicist who has made a study of the whole scam. I never thought I would see a partial differential equation displayed at a political conference – but there it was – the Navier–Stokes equation – and some in the audience discussed the problems involved in solving it numerically to an accuracy sufficient to model the climate!

        Of course, we are a party of stupid old people!

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        One of my greatest problems with climate change/global warming is when an ‘expert’ states that (sic) ‘the science is settled.’ Anyone who can make such a statement is clearly not a scientist and should be removed from any further discussions forthwith.

      3. Eric

        @ David Bailey

        Thermometers are calibrated by dipping them in ice water (triple point) and boiling water. The triple point is remarkably independent of barometric pressure, so all you need is to take reasonably clean water/ice and stir well. The boiling temperature is dependent on pressure, but pressure is easy to measure. Also, most readings to be taken are in the -20 to +30°C range, i.e. getting the 0° point on the scale right is more important. All of this was doable 100 years ago, and if you average many measurements and many weather stations, the error becomes very small, as there is no systematic error that can creep in.

        Giaever made a fool of himself. He professed in 2012 that he had spent a few hours googling climate science, without any prior knowledge, and admitted on the day prior to his Lindau lecture that he hadn’t spent any more time on the subject (source: http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/klimaskeptiker-ivar-giaever-nobelpreistraeger-auf-abwegen-a-1041706.html).

        Being a nobel prize winner means that you can talk utter nonsense and some people will take it for the Gospel.

        As for Navier-Stokes, that is not one equation, but a set of equations, similar to the Maxwell equations in electrodynamics. Of course, the full Navier-Stokes equations cannot be solved in full, not even for forecasting next day’s weather, as this would involve solving it for every single droplet of water in a cloud. Instead, empirical factors are introduced that account for the average behavior of something that is made up from different components that are distributed reasonably homogeneously.

        If the empirical equations work well for forecasting global weather, and the boundary conditions are changed slightly (1 or 2° change in average temperature is well within the extremes of weather today), there is no reason to expect why they should not work any longer when 30 year averages of forecasts under slightly changed boundary conditions are to be predicted, especially if previous climate changes can be retroactively simulated by appying inverse changes.

        This approach is very common in physics. Behavior of condensed matter cannot be numerically calculated from first priciples if more than a few dozen atoms are involved, as the number of possible interactions increases exponentially (just think of the proverbial wise man in India who demanded a payment of one grain of rice on the first field of the chessboard, two on the second, etc.).

        One introduces empirical factors, and limits for the validity of these approximations. Most of the time, these real world equations will be perfectly sufficient to predict any measurement. This approach is also used in engineering.

        Rest assured that a 14 nm transistor gate in your newest Intel processor was not designed solving the full Maxwell equations. Neither was it necessary to solve the full Navier-Stokes equations and go through the full Lorentzian mechanics to design and verify the Airbus A380.

      4. David Bailey

        Eric,

        If you want to measure a temperature to 1/100 degree, it would not even be enough to calibrate a thermometer graduated in 1/100 degree intervals and then put it in a weather station. These weather stations were never designed for measurements of that precision. Minor draughts and other effects that might not disturb a measurement with 1 Deg precision could really mess up a measurement at a much higher precision. For example, someone discovered that the type of paint used on some weather stations can age and roughen, causing a rise in recorded temperatures.

        Some weather stations have been encroached by urban development (some indeed are located on airfields). This is known to generate a high reading and needs correcting before the data can be used – but how do you program a computer to do that to high precision?

        Also, a large number of the recording stations are no longer in use – the data is estimated by computer. If these measurements really mattered, one would think a lot more care would have been taken to make them properly.

        There is only so much synthesising and correcting you can do to a data set before the data is meaningless. The cynic in me says that all the corrections (many greater than the entire supposed global temperature rise of 0.8 C) are convenient because it is always possible to fix the answer by adjusting a few obscure coefficients in a program.

        Furthermore, while sampling at 1 Deg intervals should in theory converge to a higher precision (assuming the temperatures are smoothly varying to some extent, this assumes mathematically perfect behaviour from those taking the measurements e.g. lining their eyes up with the meniscus correctly, taking plenty of time even if a storm is raging, etc. You wouldn’t want to bet much on this working in practice.

  43. Dr John Barr

    Interesting that both this report and the PACE trial have been reported in The Lancet, and both commented on by the same person. Dr Horton’s volte-face is rather suspicious. The PACE trial has been widely regarded as complete rubbish, described as doggie-poo by Dr Tuller in Virology blog. At the very least, the interminable comments from the CTT on the benefits of statins are open to doubt, given that no independent researcher/statistician has ever seen the data.

    Comments on this and other blogs from people who obviously do understand statistics certainly suggest that the CTT have rigorously avoided using stats correctly.

    Until such time as the fairytales from the CTT are proven or disproven, I will be one GP pointing my patients to blogs like this, and giving them references to look up, so they can make informed decisions about their own health

    The BMJ appears to be mainstream British journal which maintains objectivity and is prepared to take a stand against bullying.
    I wonder who the main corporate/advertising sponsors of the Lancet are?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Sollien

      It’s nice to know there are doctors like you and the others on this Blog that advice their patients to take charge of their own health and to make informed decisions. As I’ve mentioned before in this forum, I feel lucky that my own doctors at least do not give me a hard time for my decision not to take statins or beta blockers.

      Reply
      1. james

        Hi, do you have high BP if you were offered beta blockers. How are you managing to keep it stable. I would like to do the same.

      2. Kathy Sollien

        No, I do not have high BP which is one of the reasons I refused to take the beta blockers. I also question the ‘new’ BP numbers that are suggested. If I did have high BP, I would probably look for other means to lower it, if it needed lowering at all. Best of luck to you in your search….

  44. Dr Robin Willcourt

    I sent this in to reply to an article just published in the 6minutes Newsletter, an arm of the Medical Journal of Australia, showing that the USgovernment and the sugar industry were in cahoots to blame FAT as the culprit in heart disease.
    6minutes Newsletter has declined to print it, so far.

    “Finally, they are telling the truth. This just in JAMA: http://archinte.jamanetwork.co

    Shows the corruption by government and the food industry to demonize fat.
    and Food Industry Funding of Nutrition Research:
    The Relevance of History for Current Debates
    JAMA Intern Med. Published online September 12, 2016.;():. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.5400.

    CVD is NOT a result of fat intake but tied to sugar. We will not likely see this commented on by the Eminences or the press. The corruption of both is too great.
    AHPRA (The Medical Board of Australia) should have this shoved in front of them and then they should apologize to Gary Fettke publicly –but they won’t of course: because–see the above comment…

    It’s shameful but at last the truth is coming out. Australian cardiologists, endocrinologists and internal medicine Professors– take a long hard look at this and I dare you to say “Im sorry!”

    Reply
    1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

      Robin,

      To me this is so disgustingly corrupt!

      I am very happy today that I found this out on my own 17 years ago without any “deep digging”.

      I am, by the way, now reading a great book by an anthropologist, professor David Anthony, who has though been digging deep about how modern man came along when the ice cap melted away 10 000 years ago. Comparing skeletons from herders and agriculturalists on the eurasian steppes the much better health of the herders it is beyond any doubt.

      This makes me feel safe in my present LCHF-culture.

      Reply
      1. paul

        I’m not impressed with the conduit as a person, the source material is perfectly acceptable.
        Stopped clocks and all that.

  45. Randall

    I lowered by BP by using supplements as Pharma drugs for BP gave me side effects. Just google – lower BP using supplements.

    Reply
  46. brian griffin

    I forwarded this link to Dr. Kendrick but assume he may be aware of this site. I am a complete layman trying to make sense of statin therapy after surviving a fairly severe heart attack and receiving a diagnosis of T2diabetes at the same time. This site give highly detailed analysis of statin trials, their shortcomings and conclusions. http://jcbmr.com/index.php/jcbmr/article/view/11/26

    Reply
    1. Uricon

      Brian, whilst I can only speak for myself I would be surprised if most on here do not have some symphathy with you. I, at present am offically ‘at risk’ – mild BP, TC between 6&7, I have gout ( actually its high uric acid which is the CVD problem, lowers the Nitric Oxide), oh and age of course (this being the major factor by some huge margin). Two years ago I thought better start taking the statins but did my homework thanks to the greatest thing since the printing press – tinternet. My conclusion is that nobody knows anything to the accuracy they say they do/think or we would have a more definitive position which could stand up to proper strutiny and argument. Amongst that mix in financial gain, ego, fixed ideas and government which has no backbone to take on these issues you are left with a general populace open to media manipulation. (The latest Live, Die, Repeat of R. Collins is a good example). I don’t believe in conspiracy theory as I think that even when this is attempted said bodies eventually cockup anyway. So goodluck, btw no I don’t take them I will rely on good food, sleep, sun, exercise, and a positive disposition (otherwise known as believing in goodluck). Allipurinol on the other hand I bathe in.

      Reply
    2. John U

      Brian, I have read numerous reports by Michel de Lorgeril and I find his arguments, that the statin trials (to which he refers) are tainted and the conclusions drawn probably incorrect, to be very persuasive. I like what he writes, but his writings are discounted by the establishment because he is labelled a denier, or some equivalent term. So instead of refuting his arguments, the establishment just ignores him. This strategy of ignoring uncomfortable arguments has worked before and continues to be advantageous to the pharmaceutical collective. Of course eventually the chickens come home to roost. It just might take a little longer. I too see the existence of the internet as a massive factor which speeds up change that would have taken 10 times longer without it.

      Reply
    3. David Bailey

      Brian,

      I would just like to add this to Uricon’s comment. If there is one definite fact about statins, it is that they produce very unpleasant muscle/joint pain and weakness in a sizable proportion of those who take them. In my case the effect was rather insidious because it only came on after 3 years, and only affected a previously damaged leg. I was extremely lucky to discover what was wrong with me. My problem reversed when I stopped the statins, but a number of people have reported here that for them some of the damage was irreversible.

      Remember that exercise really does protect against CVD and a range of other problems, and those side effects can make exercise very difficult.

      Reply
      1. brian griffin

        David

        Thanks for your comments. I had a stent put in a couple of years ago as a result of chest pain (no heart attack) and an angiogram showing a 99% blockage in my LAD artery. Cardio put me on statins and within a short time my neck locked up and I had difficulty turning my head. I made an uninformed decision at the time to stop statins. Pain disappeared. Two years later (mid May this year) I suffered the heart attack that I referred to in my post that turned out to be a 90% blockage in my right coronary artery. That lead me off on my quest for answers that eventually lead to Dr. K. I also have PAD which is particularly bad in my left leg and inhibits exercise somewhat because of calf pain so it would appear that my body is very good at creating arterial blockages which is a tad worrisome! I’ll continue to watch with interest the unfolding statin story..

    4. Kathy Sollien

      This article could have been written by Dr. K. Thank you for the link! I have a few people I intend to forward this to including my cardiologist and primary care doctor – both of whom prescribe statins and both of whom respect my decision not to take them. This kind of information should be ‘out there’ in the media in a big way to try to circumvent the bombardment of advertising from the Big Pharma guys/gals. Thanks again – long and detailed article but the summary by itself says it all……….

      Reply
  47. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    The same corruption here!

    My BP is today at rest always 110/60 by avoiding carbs, which BigAgro is doing it’s best to make me eat, and by taking supplements (e.g. vitamin C, D end E) and supplements which BigPharma is doing it’s best to ban.

    There is a logic here!

    Reply
  48. David Watson

    How do you know what your BP is? This is a very murky area. I have a huge white coat hypertension effect. Even if I measure it myself there is an effect and I have to measure several times to get it to a reasonable level e.g.130/70. Even if one is moderately active carrying out everyday activities blood pressure rises. How much it would be expected to rise seems not to be clear. If I cycle work and measure it it is up at say 173/92 (I have read that a rise in systolic of about 60 might be expected for vigorous activity with less shift for diastolic) but falls substantially within 10 minutes. What is the correct reading? There seem to be a lot of unknowns about this simple measurement. An area ripe for research one would think.

    Reply
    1. Carol

      I was told you should not take your blood pressure straight after each other because you get a false reading. You should leave at least 10 mins between each one. Not sure how true this is. Do you take meds for high bp.

      Reply
      1. David Bailey

        I think the problem is that the cuff crushes you arteries to take the reading, and the artery won’t have sprung back fully if you take another reading straight after. I must give it a go and see how much difference it makes!

    2. Goutboy

      The indicator used by the Quality Outcome Framework (from NICE) is, I believe, 150/90. Not sure what this signifies. Seems to me, aged over 60 then all bets are off with just about everything. BP used to be 100 plus your age. On another related topic, don’t drink more than a bottle of wine per day and (you know you drink too much if you drink more than your doctor). Alas we are now fenced in by targets and pushing back death.

      Reply
    3. JDPatten

      David,

      I have problems with white coat myself. I find the only way around it is to take it myself, so often and so regularly that it becomes boring. No performance anxiety. But then it becomes so tedious that you want to quit and never look at the machine again.

      There’s another way. You could measure your central pressure.
      http://hyper.ahajournals.org/content/67/1/183.abstract?etoc
      There’s actually a convenient portable machine that you can use at home. It’s pricey, at more than $500. I haven’t sprung for it yet so I don’t really know how workable or useful it is, but it might just be the way to go in the future.
      http://www.healthstats.com/index3.php?page=product_apulsepal

      Reply
      1. Gary Ogden

        JDPatten: I’ve done a great deal of reading and thinking about BP over the past six months or so. I was once on three drugs: a beta blocker, and an ACE inhibitor combined with a diuretic; in recent years only the ACE inhibitor (the beta blocker gave me positional hypotension and interfered with competitive running). I decided to wean myself off of it, over a period of about six weeks. Result? After about five weeks without the drug I realized I was sleeping eight hours rather than the six or seven I had been, and half the time I can hold my pee all night. Perhaps improved kidney function? I have more energy, and am more active throughout the day. I feel better, and am content with a small glass of wine after my after-dinner puttering in the garden, rather than having two or three or four. My BP? I haven’t taken it, and I’m not going to. I don’t give a hoot. It is what it is. The Obamacare computer in my doctor’s office precludes taking it properly, as there now isn’t enough room, and I’m certain I have white-coat syndrome anyway. We do too much measuring and testing and not enough living. I have excellent health, no aches or pains or conditions (other than tinnitus), and I run, do pushups, pull-ups, and squats to build lean muscle mass, eat very well, and don’t worry about anything (although the lunatics running for President give me pause).

    4. David Bailey

      I too had a big white coat effect, and I now take a number of readings between doctor’s visits and average the results. The standard deviation of the two figures is also interesting, because even if you are careful to do the measurement after sitting for a bit (I typically take it after working at the computer for a bit), and with your arm at the correct height, there is still substantial variation – which means one reading taken at the surgery is nearly meaningless! A reading from the left arm is also slightly higher.

      Reply
      1. JDPatten

        Would you believe 320/250? Systolic/diastolic, that is. Blood pressure varies hugely to accommodate various situations. Weightlifting can get you that high. Momentarily. Moderate weight training over time can lower your resting BP, but you can have too much of a good thing. Moderate!
        http://www.livestrong.com/article/112465-weight-lifting-high-blood/
        It’s that emotional/psychological stress causing blood pressure spikes that I worry about.
        Too many spikes: good for coffins!?

      2. Carrie

        This is so true and I can never understand why it isn’t more widely discussed.. I’ve often thought that cholesterol levels (not that they matter to most of us here) must surely vary in the same way. Has anyone ever had theirs taken several times within a day/week?

    5. Stephen T

      David, an area ripe for scepticism for me. If your BP goes up when you’re active, that’s because it’s meant to. They keep bringing the ‘normal’ figure down to get more people onto drugs, which harm 1 in 12. From memory, three large scale reviews have found no benefit to taking BP drugs. Take a look at Dr Kendrick’s article on the spacedoc website. I was offered BP medication because of NICE guidelines and declined. My doctor seemed perfectly happy with my decision.

      Reply
      1. David Watson

        Yes it is a very interesting area. I have found there is a large hypotensive effect of exercise. I think my resting BP is around 130/70 but after exercise it can drop to 120/65. I am being pushed towards BP meds since during normal activity my systolic BP is in the range 140-160. The thing about opting for BP medication is that it deprives one of the opportunity to really see what happens to your BP in various situations. As a scientist I need to make sure of measurements and really understand what they mean. A couple of measurements at the GP is a bit random and even 24 hour monitoring is a bit big brother.

      2. David Bailey

        Stephen,

        I am bot sure which ‘David’ you were addressing! In my case, I do know that BP lowering is not supposed to be beneficial, butI have taken my current prescription of lisinopril+diuretic for very many years, and it has never caused me any problem, so I just feel happier to continue – not particularly logical, but there it is. I made a positive decision not to take statins because they caused me a lot of problems for a while!

        Also, lisinopril is an ACE inhibitor, and I seem to remember Dr K made some favourable comments about ACE inhibitors a while back. I’ll check with his article on Spacedoc, if I can find. it.

        I now measure my BP at home, and my impression is that it has dropped significantly since retiring.

      3. Gary Ogden

        David Bailey: Congratulations on retirement! It has been wonderful for me. You are correct, Dr. Kendrick indicated that there is some protective effect from ACE inhibitors. I believe he qualified that with something like, if we can trust pharma-funded trials. Dr. Kauffman agrees with this, though the effect is modest. In diabetics they slow the rate of kidney damage. I took them for 21 years, part of that time in combination with a diuretic, and, for a while, a beta blocker also. I decided to become drug-free after reading spacedoc, Dr. Kendrick, Dr. Kauffman, and others, and giving it a great deal of thought. Part of my thinking is that, whatever is causing my BP to rise in the doctor’s office, it certainly isn’t the lack of a drug. I’m very glad that I stopped. Doing this initiated a cascade of positive changes: -I sleep eight hours now, and can sleep through the night. -I have no desire for more than about four ounces of wine, sipped in the hour or two before sleep. -I am more active throughout the day. -My workouts are going better (I do strength training twice a week, and high-intensity interval training once a week). -I just feel calmer and unworried. We’re all different. My perspective is that my food is my medicine, I no longer believe anything that I haven’t properly researched, and I think we do way too much testing and measuring (and sometimes too much research). I have excellent health. Why should I be taking drugs?

  49. Charles Gale

    TV heads up:

    “The doctor who gave up drugs”

    I think this is on BBC1 tonight (Thursday) at 9pm and I’ve got the gist right…

    …The theme is over medication and Dr Chris Van Tullekan takes over part of a GPs surgery to see what’s going on with medication.

    Reply
    1. swampy

      Bet it won’t include statins or BP meds. Bet it won’t suggest women take up HRT when needed. If I am wrong then the BBC are doing what they should be.

      Reply
      1. Luana

        Are you suggesting HRT is a good thing? Someone else alluded to that earlier as well. I thought there was a strong association with breast cancer.

      2. Stephen T

        Swampy, you’re right that the BBC programme kept to the relatively safe areas of pain relief and psychotic drugs. I think statins and blood pressure medication are probably too controversial. As a low-carber I could help notice the doctor buying his patients pitza and giving honey to others. Regardless, his central point of too much medicine was spot on. Here’s an excellent 28 minute documentary from the Australian Catalyst series called ‘too much Medicine’.

        There was a good article in today’s Times contrasting the Lancet’s position on statins with the much more sceptical and questioning position of the BMJ. Fiona Godlee is the BMJ’s editor and I’d like to shake her hand.

    2. David Bailey

      I watched this program, and it covered pain killers, antibiotics and antidepressants. However, next weeks program promises to be about preventing heart disease – so this should be the one to watch!

      Reply
      1. Swampy

        On the basis that much of tv are children’s programmes made for adults, I wouldn’t bank on any in depth debate, it is needed but the bbc are part of the establishment.

      2. Stephen T

        David, you asked about my blood pressure. Last year it was 150 over something but was taken after a lively discussion on diet with the nurse. I later leant her Nina Teicholz’s book. The decision to measure my blood pressure at that point was ridiculous and sums the whole thing up. In short, I don’t know what my blood pressure is and I won’t be going to my annual check up again. I eat well and exercise and I’m not taking drugs unless there’s a clear benefit and that’s not the case for blood pressure. Here’s part of Dr Kendrick’s article on spacedoc.com

        “Nine thousand people were treated for raised blood pressure for five years. At the end of the study five more people were alive in the treatment arm than the placebo arm. A result so deeply unimpressive that it fitted comfortably within the possibility of it being purely a chance finding. Or, to put it another way, this study failed completely to reach the holy grail of medical studies – statistical significance.

        It seemed from this very large, long-term study, that lowering mild/moderately raised blood pressure was of no benefit. Certainly not when you set it against billions of dollars it costs, and years of potential side-effects. I do remember thinking at the time. Well, that should cause a massive re-think in the whole area. But it did not. Not even slightly. This result was basically swept aside and ignored.”

    1. John U

      JDPatten, yes I also think that there is more to stress. I am starting to believe that stress is indeed a major factor in lots of illnesses. I say this now because about a week ago I finished reading a book called “Power, Sex, Suicide, Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, by Nick Lane. I found this book to be fascinating, and by the end I did truly appreciate how complicated are the processes of cell and mitochondrial replication, the reasons for it (which are very diverse, not just replacement of damaged cells), and how stress is involved. Cells do commit suicide (apoptosis) which we know, but what I didn’t know is that the mitochondria can signal a cell which is danger of dying to merge with another cell to keep the mitochondria alive. Otherwise the mitochondria also die. The Mitochondria do this by zapping the cell membrane with a jolt of ROS (free radicals), which they of course produce, and they so act in their own interest. Cell which suffer stress which brings them to a tipping point ( do or die type of thing) become candidates for either merging or suicide. What causes this stress is multifactorial, and could be such obvious events such as infection, but also environmental toxicity, lack of essential nutrients, and bunch other factors which I can’t now recall. I now assume that diet must play a large role in stress endured by our cells, so, in fact, maybe stress IS the cause of CVD, and maybe diet is just one factor in causing stress to our cells. Of course cell replication is not always perfect (we replace 10 billion of our cells every day it is said) so the more stress, the more replications and the more potential for errors. Enough stress can cause the death of a lot of cells it seems, and this is certainly not good for us.
      I do recommend this book for anyone who is really interested in knowing how life evolved from about 4 billion years ago, how the evidence was derived, what theories were tested, and how it became what we are today. Nick Lane is a good writer.

      Reply
      1. goutboy

        Power, Sex, Suicide, Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life, sounds like the sixth book in Douglas Adam’s trilogy. Sounds like something I would read.

      1. Eric

        I wonder why his view that CHD is (or rather, was) an epidemic is not shared more widely. Malcolm has touched on this, but not as comprehensively. I must say I find David Grimes graph that shows CHD beginning in the 1920s, peaking at 550 / 100000 age adjusted deaths in 1970 (for the UK, 700 US, 960 Scotland) and decreasing to 20 in 2010, and some newer graphs that show it has decreased further since, very compelling. And to my knowledge, nobody has yet accused the Doctor of fudging his data. Most of the decrease had happened before statins and stents were in use. Also, number, type and severity of MI seems to have gone down, which cannot be attributed to treatment (except for primary prevention, whicha again didn’t take off until this century.

      2. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        I have been aware of David Grimes for a while. He has some interesting things today, but he makes the usual mistake of grabbing a hypothesis and bending reality to fit. He feels CVD is due to an infectious disease. He is not alone, Uffe Ravnskov also believes this. He also says ‘I have not indicated a specific micro-organism. The microbial causation of a disease is based on epidemiology and the recognition of a pattern of disease.’ The problem is that he simply ignores facts that would contradict the possibility of any form of epidemic of an infectious disease. First, of course, he cannot find any infectious agent. Second, he does not bother to explain whey younger men suffer around three times the rate of CVD. Is there a disease that affects men more than women? If so, what is it? There are populations living among st other populations e.g. Australian aboriginal, who suffer (up to) ten times the rate of CVD of the surrounding population. What agent picks out certain racial groups? Then again, CVD in some countries suddenly rose (e.g. Lithuania) whilst no effect was seen in nearby countries. Also, CVD is going up in India, so what infectious agent took a hundred years to get from the UK. As the flu of 1919 tells us, epidemics sweep round the world very rapidly, but an agent causing CVD can take a hundred years to reach a population? I could go on…and on… and on. If you are going to use epidemiology, use is properly. Don’t pick only the bits that support your argument.

      3. David Bailey

        Regarding your comments about CVD caused by a disease organism, I wonder if the discovery that H Pylori bacteria cause most cases of stomach ulcers might be relevant here. I mean, presumably these bacteria grow so slowly that there was no obvious evidence of transmission from person to person, and perhaps it is still not known how these bacteria are passed on?

        Also, I seem to remember the claim that people with gum disease were more likely to get CVD.

        As regards the Australian aboriginals – wouldn’t they on average have a vastly different lifestyle to the whites – even now – with different exposure to various bacteria?

        I am just probing here – not asserting one position or another.

      4. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

        Malcolm,

        Isn’t infection part of the CVD picture?

        If I increase the power of my immune system, by whatever means, I presently believe that I am less susceptible to infections, even in my arteries.

      5. Eric

        Thanks to Malcolm for your long reply, and all the others who have jumped in. While the term epidemic implies that an infections agent is involved, it could also be an epedemic that is caused by one ore more ubiquitous factors, such as trans-fats. Where does the quote from Grimes in your first reply come from? While I was vaguely aware of Grimes’ work before, it was only yesterday that I spent an hour or two reading most of his blog posts on the “epedemic”, and there was no reference at all to an infectious agent.

        I think medical researchers in general are stuck to the concept that cause and effect is linear. If they have progressed from monocausation (i.e. it is all cholesterol, all bugs, all food, all stress), they will apply multivariate analysis and consider this very advanced. However, even multivariate analysis assumes that the effect is a linear combination of factors, i.e. outcome = k1 * factor1 + k2 * factor2 + k3 * factor3.

        Consider rate laws or rate equations https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rate_equation which are very useful for modelling chemical reactions in situations where the supply of the reactants is limited, such as in diluted aqueous solutions.

        This is a whole science to itself, and outside of chemistry, it has its uses in physics, biology, materials science and possibly the stock market.

        A single step reaction of the type A + B -> AB will progress at the speed of k * [A]*[B]. A single step reaction of the type 2A + B -> A2B will progress at the speed of k2 * [A]²*[B]. If a back reaction is possible, the equilibrium concentration of the reaction product will be determined by the point where reaction and back reaction occur at the same speed.

        Multiple step reactions get infinitely more complex. You have to take into account the time it takes for one reactant to diffuse to the location of the reaction partner, there are competing processes.

        Saying that an epedemic pattern over time can only be explained by the diffusion of a single agent, maybe mulitplied by the individual’s or local population’s susceptibility and an incubation time is too simplistic, a point you made in your first reply.

        Still, major factors that changed over time or place should slew the curve. Looking at the beginning and end of the UKk curve, this could coincide with the introduction and elimination of trans fats. However, I would have expected the use of trans fats to have exploded during WWII, but the slope remained remarkably steady, and it started declining in the early 70s, long before trans fats were identified as villains and phased out.

        Similarly, I would expect stress to have peaked in WWII, but the curve is too straight throughoutand after the war years. May we assume that even stress limited to a few years has a 20 year incubation or maturing time? The US felt a lot less war stress, yet they had an even more pronounced peak.

        Nuclear fallout? Doesn’t begin to explain the prewar slope!

        There are lots of hypotheses to test, especially if you want to consider nonlinear interaction of individual factors. This is not something any of us could do as an after work project or even full time as an individual, but it could be a worthwhile subject for an interdisciplinary research group.

      6. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Thank you for that lucid post. My own belief [supported to an extent by the data] is that periods of high negative stress – leading to strain – can take some time to be reflected in CVD rates. Sorry, I need to expand this statement. Acute stressors e.g. getting up on a Monday morning to go to work, earthquakes, your football team losing in a penalty shootout, using cocaine, shoveling snow and suchlike are likely to precipitate a fatal blood clot. So the temporal association between acute stressors and CVD death is often close. However, the association between longer term ‘psychosocial’ stressors and the increase in CVD rate may have a long time lag. This is especially true if younger people are involved/included. A twenty year old may take thirty years, or so, to die from CVD caused by long term negative stressors. A sixty five year old may die of CVD very rapidly if exposed to less ‘acute’ psychosocial stressors.

      7. MalcolmS

        As we’ve seen, Dr.K seeks an understanding of the onset of cardiovascular disease at a cellular/chemical level. My own objective is more modest. I simply want to know the practical, non-pharmaceutical actions required to preserve my life and the lives of those around me, so a more basic understanding is appropriate.
        The mental picture which seems entirely adequate to me is to regard stress as an accelerant. When it comes to the diseases of age, whether cancer or cardiovascular deterioration, stress brings forward their onset in time. The stressed individual doesn’t get different diseases, he just gets them earlier. My own indicative assessment would be to suggest that a highly stressed 50 year old appears as disease prone as unstressed 80yo.
        Another way of quantifying the effect was given by Hans Eysenck in the summary of his Smoking, Personality & Stress where he concluded that a stress-prone personality is six times more powerful than smoking (or indeed any other contributory lifestyle factor) in causing cancer and CHD. The complication in working this out was that the stressed personality correlates quite significantly with smoking ie people often smoke to relieve the feelings of stress. Eysenck’s calculations take this into account.
        The figure currently bandied about by the media is that smoking shortens lives by 10 years. It was Eysenck’s opinion that this is wholly incorrect because of out of the claimed loss of life due to smoking the largest proportion was actually attributable to the stress which smokers suffered disproportionately. So if one was to pursue a position of “militant stressism” (seeking to make strong assertions about the effects of stress) one might use Eysenck’s figures to coin the adage “smoking shortens your life by 4 years but stress shortens it by 24”. As a scientist one would make this statement only if it was a reasonable interpretation of the evidence. Also, it would hopefully be recognised that the figure 4 years applies only to smokers, just as the figure 24 applies only to the small minority who are highly stressed.

    2. goutboy

      Don’t get me started on Uric acid levels, mind you MK has never really mentioned this. Has as much going for it as cholesterol levels and stress is after all not the actual mechanism needed to start the complex process at the cellular level.The killer for me is that UA can buggar up the mitachondria, bit like statins!

      Reply
  50. goutboy

    Well ok then, the United Nations against the the US and Europe govs.,sorry the pharmaceutical industry. Has Live, Die, Repeat Rory Collins signed up to the petition.

    Reply
  51. Leon

    The very disturbing factor is that a small group of people have managed to hijack the medical councils/ boards and implement fraudelent protocols. Even professors at medical universities are in on this scam. All because off money. What is just as disturbing is the fact that doctors blindly follow these fraudelent protocols without questioning. This could only have happened with the full co-operation of crooked politicians. Talk about conspiracies , it is very scary what was allowed to happen.

    Reply
  52. Randall

    Paddy – The supplement that worked the best was cocoa polyphenols, but Life Extension stop making it. I lowered my systolic by about 15 to 20 points by now taking many supplements for different reasons, but the supplements I believe that are lowering my BP are – D3 drops, K2mk4, complexed potassium, taurate magnesium, seal oil, black current seed oil, and Q10. Also my triglycerides have been as low as 1.18 as they were high enough before the supplements that my DR. wanted to put me on statins.

    Reply
  53. MalcolmS

    It’s natural to deal with the topic of disease and death using negative terminology most of the time. Also, since the severity of stress on health outcomes is accepted by few, the power of psychological interventions to create positive outcomes is accepted by virtually no-one. Hence the reaction on earlier blogs to my recount of Grossarth-Maticek’s experiment dispelling 10 cancers out of 11 was: “if it looks too good to be true, it isn’t true”. So, another black swan despatched to the cupboard! But do we ever look for positive outcomes in broader circumstances?
    I perceive the Buddha’s concept of Karma to be analogous to “the moving wake that follows the ship’s passing”. During their lifetime, every individual affects the lives of the people around them, their education, their happiness, their perception of control, hence their survival. The more powerful the ship the larger the wake and similarly, the more powerful the person, the larger the number of lives affected by their personality and motives.
    In “Part XX” Dr.K illustrated the spike in mortality that occurred in the Latvian men around 1993 which I too would trace back to the actions of the odious Boris Yeltsin. But what of people at the opposite end of the human spectrum, the Great Souls whose actions are premised on the adage “Love Thy Neighbour as Thyself”. When Mandela brought majority rule to South Africa, was there a corresponding but opposite increase in the length of black lives. Similarly Martin Luther King, did his positive karma increase the longevity of former American slaves and what of Mahatma Gandhi, did his beneficial wake produce a dip in the mortality of less fortunate Indians. Alas the health of these powerless peoples is rarely closely monitored and as we never even look for such positives, we will probably never know.
    Closer to home, you might ask: do Dr.K’s blogs save lives? Since their purpose is to educate and their effect is to enhance the perception of being in control of one’s own destiny, then I have not the slightest doubt that they do indeed reduce stress and thereby increase longevity. Whether that effect is any bigger than minuscule we’ll never know.

    Reply
  54. MalcolmS

    Applying the Grossarth-Maticek “autonomy” therapy to 50 year-olds proved it is possible to dramatically improve physical health outcomes using a purely psychological intervention. By age 60 the therapy group had proportionately suffered 1 cancer and 1 heart attack compared to the control group’s 11 cancers and 5 heart attacks.
    In an entirely different field, there was an educational experiment which produced equally mind-boggling results in response to a psychological intervention. Running from 1962 to 1967, the Perry Preschool project in Michigan preselected children from low income backgrounds who were expected to do badly at school. Half were given a structured play regime aged 3&4 which provided them with significant autonomy over their own activities, the other half constituted a control group who were given no preschooling.
    Compared with the control group, the autonomy preschool group produced better results throughout their academic careers, graduating at a more advanced level of education and were assessed as having an average IQ 27 points higher (sic). Moreover, when assessed again at age 40, this autonomy preschool group proved in adult life to experience better mental health, consume fewer drugs, commit fewer crimes, earn more money & have more stable relationships. Judged against the low achieving control group, it was assessed that every $1 invested in the preschool education of the child produced by age 40 a benefit to society of $13 in terms of less remedial schooling, savings in jail time, reduced health interventions, less social service contact and increased tax contributions etc.
    I interpret the autonomy play regime at the Perry Preschool as being the junior equivalent of the autonomy therapy given by Grossarth-Maticek to 50 year-olds, in that both were based on increasing self-esteem. I predict that, if somebody bothered to check, these Perry Preschool pupils, now aged 54-58, will soon demonstrate a significantly better survival record compared with their control group. Certainly not as dramatic as the Grossarth-Maticek intervention which was cleverly designed to produce a spectacular shift in mortality but what if it were possible to prove that early childhood experiences affect physical survivability aged 60 to, say, a five times greater extent than any available pharmaceutical prophylaxis such as BP medicine, statins, aspirin or any change in diet? It’s a unique opportunity and a free experiment (since all the work was done 50 years ago): so somebody please go collect the results! And while you’re at, it please assess the behaviour and intelligence of their children and their grandchildren in case there’s a multi-generational effect. If the children of the preschool group did less jail time than the children of the control group and the grandchildren proved to have an IQ 5 points higher, where does that put the benefit/cost ratio, $30:$1?
    Put the two experiments together and imagine how massively we could improve society in terms of both happiness and health, if the people in power (education chiefs, health chiefs) dropped their evidence free prejudices and invested relatively small amounts of money in providing psychological interventions which have been proven by experiment to work. For the minority who are disadvantaged most by society’s current failings, we’re talking 27 points higher IQ, 10 cancers out of 11 dispelled, less crime, increased prosperity and happier families. So why aren’t we doing it? Perhaps because corporate profits and low taxes override every other consideration?
    http://www.highscope.org/Content.asp?ContentId=219

    Reply
    1. sasha

      Stress is a funny thing. My grandfather fought in the Great War and my grandmother dug tranches for the Red Army and then spent 2 years in the concentration camp. She believed the only reason she survived was because the camp was run by the Romanians…
      Both my grandma and grandpa lived into their late 80’s.

      Reply
      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Stress is the force placed upon the material. Strain is how it reacts. Stress, up to a certain point, strengthens bones. Stress beyond that point, breaks them. Those with osteoporosis (thin and weak bones) have bones that will break very easily.

      2. Gary Ogden

        Dr. Kendrick: You’re talking about resilience here. Why do some have it, and some don’t? How can we develop it, or strengthen it? Food for thought.

  55. Steve

    Nothing new here, just more of the same money driven results such that trust in the Pharma industry is completely destroyed along with trust in the medical profession.

    Thanks again for your insight and careful reporting. A couple articles ago you showed the decade spike in Latvia heart issues. This Could this also align with Chernobyl?

    Reply
  56. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

    Again I met our “CVD”- neighbour here in northern Lapland and to me it is just crazy to hear him tell that he has never experienced any heart problems or angina before or after his stenting and medication.

    By the NHS fear-mongering he is hooked and last night he showed me the nitrospray he always carries along but has never used. Still it seems like my “lectures” about memory loss and muscle weakness has made an indent and now make him consider the statins.

    Reply
      1. Dr. Göran Sjöberg

        James,

        As far as I see the “health care” system today (NHS ?) we tend to think that it is here to bring health back to people. In my view this system is in the hands of BigPharma who wants to see as many sick people as possible and that they are very efficient in turning healthy people or rather people without ailment into consumers of pharmacological substances which will make them sick.

  57. Umberto Ucelli

    mo79uk, what are you smoking ?

    “even Luc Montagnier admits he never purely isolated HIV – scandalous!”
    Actually he didn’t those who did were Francoise Barre Sinoussi (and J-C Chermann).
    Montagnier gave them the task to isolate a virus from AiDS patients lymphnodes.
    The virus they Isolated was initially called LAV “Lyph Node associated Virus”
    When Gallo’s group later isolated the Virus they tagged it HTLV-III (Gallo had isolated 1 and II and he wanted to be the King.
    It was later proven HTLV III was an LAV that had “accidentally” (my foot ! ) containated cultures in Gallo’s lab.
    Gallo et al had’nt predicted the huge mutation capacity of HIV and you can almost trace any HIV to one patient. the HTLV III was exactlty the same as LAV islated beyond the Atantic: impossible without tcheating or accidentally containating cultures with the sample sent by Barré Sinoussi.
    So there is no “pure” HIV since all strains dverge by some mutations but they cause the same disease

    I fail to understand what “he never purely isolated HIV” means.

    I’m sad to read Duesbergism here.

    Reply
    1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

      Umberto. I am happy for people to discuss all sorts of things here, from Global Warming to AIDS and suchlike, but one of my rules is to keep things to the discussion, keep it factual if possible. Comments such as ‘what are you smoking’ can, I believe, only be seen as a form of mockery. Also, there is no such things as Duesbergism. However, the term again strongly suggests subtle mockery. This type of thing – I am afraid – is the number one way to shut people down, and stop discussion dead. I disagree with a number of the things that people say in their comments here, but I hope that I never allow myself to slide into personal criticism. You can believe that someone is completely wrong (fine). You can believe that they are talking nonsense (fine). But please counter their views with facts (as far as facts can ever be absolute). Perhaps I am overly sensitive to this, because I am mocked and attacked and accused of killing millions of people, by getting them to stop their statins, regularly. Now, it doesn’t bother me, as I use the Gandhi principle. ‘First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.’ At least when they are laughing/mocking, I know I am getting somewhere. However, there are not as many people as bloody minded as me.

      Reply
      1. David Bailey

        Malcolm,

        I agree with that 100%. Name calling (including the use of neologisms like ‘Duesbergism’) should have no place in science, and whenever I encounter it, I suspect it covers up yet another area of dodgy science.

        One of the great things about this blog is that it encourages genuine scientific and technical discussion, as well as letting the ‘end users’ report their side effects without eliciting scoffing comment about these being all in the mind.

        If people wish to (honestly) silence Peter Duesberg, and others who agree with him, they should invite all the dissenters to a conference to present their views for open discussion.

      2. Umberto Ucelli

        I apologise for the mockery. You’re right.
        And I should have writtent Duesberg ‘s theories, nor Duesbergism.
        ANd of course I wasn’t denying you the right to host whatever you host , you’re clearly the boss here and I read you a lot.

        I also understand it’s a problem to be tagged as a patient killer with fancy theories. There are other authors such as Philippe Even in France who are accused of having ACTUALLY killed thousands of patients because of his book debunking statins and the cholesterol theory. He also rose against big Pharma in general.

        I have read a lot on Duesberg and no I’m not convinced at all, to say the least. I have some virology and immunology training and have been caring for AIDS patients so I may be considered as establishment- biased.
        And I will not discuss it . Just a matter of time investment.
        Still I don’t understand what “(Montagnier) never purely isolated HIV” means. ”

        Whatever, I’ll behave from now on.

    2. Samuel

      Please, Umberto, read “Eristic Dialectic: The Art of Winning an Argument”, by A. Schopenhauer. Do not read the Wikipedia entry for this book before reading the book.
      http://coolhaus.de/art-of-controversy/

      Keep in mind this is a sarcastic book, but sarcasm is not something to be dismissed without examination.

      Reply
      1. Dr. Malcolm Kendrick Post author

        Indeed, and I love Schopenhauer on this matter, and I quote:

        ‘If you are confronted with an assertion, there is a short way of getting rid of it, or, at any rate, of throwing suspicion on it, by putting it into some odious category; even though the connection is only apparent, or else of a loose character. You can say, for instance, “That is Manichaeism” or “It is Arianism,” or “Pelagianism,” or “Idealism,” or “Spinozism,” or “Pantheism,” or “Brownianism,” or “Naturalism,” or “Atheism,” or “Rationalism,” “Spiritualism,” “Mysticism,” and so on. In making an objection of this kind, you take it for granted that the assertion in question is identical with, or is at least contained in, the category cited – that is to say, you cry out, “Oh, I have heard that before”; and that the system referred to has been entirely refuted, and does not contain a word of truth.’

      2. Mr Chris

        Dr K
        There is a lot to learn here. The other day someone made a wild assertion, so I said I did not agree. He said well I should justify my point of view. The I realised this was the straw man syndrome and shut up.
        Thank you, thus avoiding external stressors.

      3. Errett

        Samuel—Just wanted to express my love of Schopenhauer—I have been reading World as Will and Representation for 30 years—-still gaining insights—-a brilliant man—IMO

      4. Joe

        One day, “Duesbergism” will mean “courage in the face of fire,” after he wins a Nobel Prize posthumously. Not only for his work regarding HIV/AIDS, but also for his work on cancer and aneuploidy.

        Duesbergism and Kendrickism are similar “isms, and those of us who love science owe them both an enormous debt of gratitude.

      5. Gary Ogden

        Joe: I fully agree on all points. I would add Andrew Wakefield to this group. Guts, tenacity, and character seem to be rare attributes today, but all three of these scientists have them. I greatly admire them all.

    3. Soul

      Umberto,

      I’ve thought of Peter Duesberg as the cancer researcher with good credentials at the time that challenged the use of AZT for treating AIDS patients for life. AZT, the reported first AIDS cure, was originally designed as a chemo therapy drug. AZT reportedly is toxic particularly when taken for long periods of time. He was trying to put a stop to the use of AZT, saying the drugs side effects would mimic the reported effects of AIDS – that is the immune system would be weakened greatly resulting in the body being more susceptible to diseases.

      I believe Professor Peter Duesberg turned out to be correct on AZT. There are several articles that can be seen on this in main stream news paper articles by doing an internet search. At the least AZT did not turn out to be a cure. Some of course say AZT turned out to be a deadly treatment.

      Later Duesberg suggested possibly AIDS patients immune system were being weakened by recreational drugs such as poppers. He hoped that this idea would be tested. From my understanding that idea was not tested out, other than in mice studies. Poppers were found to hurt the immune system. Gay activists put out warnings on poppers.

      I personally do not find that it a wild theory to suggest that chemo therapy drugs or recreational can be responsible for hurting a persons immune system. Here in America we see advertised all the time prescription drugs that weaken the immune system leading to potentially the development of infectious diseases. Humira is one drug often seen mentioning this. Steroids, while not advertised, is often mentioned to weaken the immune system.

      On whether there is an HIV virus or not, in the alternative theory side, I’ve seen this mentioned both ways. Actually the alternative ideas run from no HIV virus found, to the HIV virus being a harmless passenger virus not responsible for hurting ones immune system.

      In his book Peter Duesberg discusses his talkes with Luc Montagnier. If I remember correctly Duesberg felt he had convinced Professor Montangier that HIV was not responsible for causing AIDS. Earlier I posted an interview of Luc Montagnier in which he discusses HIV being an easy to catch and defeat virus. He felt it possible to cure an HIV infection with improved nutrition and clean water. In light of the Bangui definition for AIDS I’m not surprised that he would say this.

      The famous scientist Kary Mullis came out in the past also saying that no one has proven that HIV causes AIDS. I posted earlier the interview of the former science and health writer for the UK Sunday Times. He mentions he does not believe there is an HIV virus at all. There are also interviews of former heads of the CDC mentioning HIV is the most difficult viruses to catch. That came as a surprise to me. When I was growing up HIV infection was a large fear, easy to catch.

      Regardless of what one believes, AIDS is a disease about a weakened immune system. The official and legal version is that a virus is responsible for the immune system being weakened. If a doctor says you have HIV then you need to take measures to protect your self and health. Some suggest other ideas such as drugs, medications, starvation and malnutrition could be responsible for ones immune system being weak. We know this to be the case also.

      Reply
  58. thelastfurlong

    I rarely comment, but I read here a lot. But what I do in my health-life, is similar to what others do who comment here. So, I’m sharing.

    I have entered the portals of old age now – 72 next week, so, because I might be a diabetic, or not, – I shuttle backwards and forwards on my hba1c’s, I now have an NHS “care plan”. I must say, its comprehensive. I like it. I enjoy being a diabetic, when I am one, because I get physical MOT’s that I wouldn’t if I wasn’t! My cholesterol has been the same since I came to this country nearly twenty years ago, even though I have always eaten a lot of fat, and been on a VERY high fat, low carb, mostly ketogenic diet, for ten years now. But I noticed next to the box about cholesterol on my new “care plan”, it says “Chlesterol and Blood Fats: Lowering cholesterol can reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Cholesterol lowering treatment for all those with diabetes aged over 40 is recommended. The safest level of cholesterol is less than 4”

    All my test results are EXACTLY the same as last year. That’s really reassuring if you take them as markers of entropy and decay. I take absolutely no medications for anything. I have severe osteoarthritis in the wrist of my one good hand (the other is semi-paralysed) and I’m a committed gardener so it’s used a lot. If I experience pain for any reason, I know I’ve been eating wrong things for me, and I urticate my wrist with nettles to control the inflamation. I follow your blog because there are others here, who follow the same path as I do. I thought they might be interested in what I do which, for me, is currently very successful. Oh – I stride a mile a day with our dog.

    So, to summarise – diet – HFLCKFD (high fat, low carb, ketogenic, fast from 6pm till 10am diet)
    NO medication – avoid like the plague.
    “A mile a day keeps the doctor away.”
    Nettle urtification for arthritic pain.
    Finding the good in every situation.
    Gratitude to the NHS – having come “home” from Africa, we realise the NHS is a MOST precious thing!

    Thanks you for an interesting blog, and fascinating comments from your readers. This might seem off the topic of “Medical censorship in the twenty first century” but there are millions of people like me who are doing our own thing despite all the “censorship”, despite the “experts”, despite “brainwashing”. WE are the scientists becoming the experts – and the Internet speads our knowledge. It will take a while for the others to catch up! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Nigella P

      Really interested in the nettle urtification, as I have arthritis in the metatarsals of one foot from repeated breaks & would really like to use something other than oral & topical ibuprofen. How do you urtify with nettles? (if that is the right way to say it)

      Reply
      1. thelastfurlong

        I pick a small branch of nettles leaves – usually from a nettle that I grow in a pot in my garden, or AWAY from the path on a walk (no dog wee on it). I use a glove of a folded paper towel so I’m not stung. I then plunge it in water to wash the leaves off. The branch stalk goes into a glass of water to keep it fresh so I can use it over several days. I try to choose a “good stinger” as some nettle plants have hardly any sting depending on where they grow and soil content. To urtify, simply take the cleaned nettle leaf stalk and smack the painful area with the leaves. In the beginning you will have two pains! The foot pain and the nettle sting. A good stinger will possibly cause little welts and angry marks on the skin. The body will send hormones to the area to deal with the inflammation from the nettle sting, and “accidently” reduce the inflamation in the Arthritus. The nettle sting will reduce over time and end up as a faint buzz. And the arthritic pain will reduce dramatically. I have told SO many people this, but they don’t want to “hurt” themselves with the nettles, so they don’t do it. I usually have a potted indoor “good stinger” – nettle plants grow indoors on windowsills too – and then I know its clean and I just stick my wrist in it when I need to. I find, if I can get the first inflammation down quickly, and watch what I eat too, I can go for months pain free. You should find more on my blog here https://thelastfurlong.wordpress.com/?s=nettles and links to medical trial on NSAIDS versus urtification.

      2. Sasha

        Reminds me of the old Russian folk remedy when people would go to a sauna and smack themselves with nettle branches to relieve pain in the joints.

        You can also make excellent soup with nettles.

      3. thelastfurlong

        Well exactly. The Romans here along Hadrians wall, used to urticate themselves to feel “warm” when they were on guard duty. I’m sure it kept them awake too! But in the UK, nettles die back in Winter, so maybe they had protected plants for using in the Winter? It’s a fun topic. Nettle is a most fascinating and useful plant used hugely in manufacturing! But for me, I collect and dry and use nettle tea because it lowers blood glucose. 🙂

      4. Louise H

        Interesting about the nettles. I was stung by a red ant whilst cleaning out a stopcock. It had a similar effect – stung like hell but the joint pain had diminished when it subsided.

      5. Martin Back

        I have started growing nettles in the garden. I steam them along with home-grown spinach as a vegetable. Since Big Ag hasn’t bothered to cross-breed them, they are presumably as full of vitamins and minerals as in prehistoric times.

        Recently I developed a mystery swelling on my ankle. Doctors don’t know what the cause is. My theory is it is somehow connected with ankylosing spondylitis. The swelling is painless and has happened before. It goes away by itself after a few months. This time I’m rubbing it with nettle leaves and stalks as a treatment. So far after three days, not much to report, it’s getting neither better nor worse. I’ll continue the urtification and see what happens.

  59. David Bailey

    Umberto,

    I have no medical training, but as I understand it the outline of Peter Duesberg’s theory goes something like this.

    1) The HIV test is very non-specific, for example it produces more false positives for people who are pregnant, or who have recently had flu. It also seems to come up positive more frequently for some racial types than others.

    2) The nature of the AIDS disease has changes a lot over the years.

    3) Anti-retrovirals work by killing of the fungal infections that are related to AIDS. These could be tackled by a far less toxic molecule if the drug was not believed to be required for attacking the HIV virus.

    4) Some measurements of the infectivity of HIV among sexually active couples shows amazingly low numbers.

    5) The HIV infection has not spread in the way that would be predicted for a transmissible virus. Indeed, when I first heard of a deadly sexually transmitted virus with an incubation period of about 10 years, I thought humankind would be decimated, or at least that most of us would catch the virus and need treatment!

    6) Because HIV is supposed to cause the immune system to weaken and admit other diseases, people in Africa dying of other diseases are often assumed to be dying of AIDS.

    7) People given an HIV positive diagnosis obviously suffer life changing consequences and are treated with really powerful and unpleasant drugs even if they have no symptoms at all. These drugs have side effects which somewhat mimic the (supposed) symptoms of HIV – so people diagnosed HIV positive gradually progress through an illness that is supposed to be HIV, when in reality it is simply poisoning!

    In a truly honest world, even if there was only one chance in one thousand that this theory might be sound, his theory would be tested to destruction – think of the huge harm that might be being inflicted on humanity if this theory is true.

    Peter Duesberg was a very well respected scientist before he came to doubt HIV, as indeed was Kary Mullis – the guy who invented the PCR reaction:

    http://www.duesberg.com/viewpoints/kintro.html

    Most people here are convinced that medical research in the area of CVD and diabetes has become detached from reality, and yet the establishment tries to carry on regardless. Shouldn’t that in itself make us aware of the possibilities of a similar scenario happening in other areas.

    Peter Duesberg certainly seems to have amassed a lot of evidence, and he has won over other people to his cause. I think it would be best to read all his evidence for yourself from his website and his books before coming to a conclusion. He is also more than willing to communicate with people.

    http://hivskeptic.wordpress.com/

    Reply
  60. leigh Gold

    A QUANDARY:-
    I am due my annual health check at the GP surgery which, no doubt, will show raised cholesterol, perhaps trigycerides. I am/will be classified as a non-compliant patient and computerised records will be similarly labeled, simply because I refuse to take statins. The quandary is this:- How do I get holiday insurance without being ‘ripped off’ by health insurance companies who, arguably, are cheerleading financial beneficiaries of the scam perpetrated by ‘big pharma’, their paid, servile lackys and the uninformed media? There must be other people like me out there in the Real World. Do we pay the exorbitant health insurance fees? Are we left with no alternative but to stay UK-based? Or do we take a chance and hope we don’t need medical treatment and travel ‘insuranceless’? Food for thought?

    Reply
    1. Kathy Sollien

      I’m always disturbed when I read about the problems of health care in the UK and how it sounds as if you, the client, are not allowed a choice in your own care. I am in the US and also refuse the statins along with beta blockers but have not been given a hard time by any of my doctors. They just simply say “it’s your body” and they are right. If I were in your shoes, I would accept the statin prescription and just not take them. Start yourself a little sculpture of pills and glue them together – one every day. Make a paperweight or door stop and paint it gold. In the mean time, take care of yourself, loose weight if you need to – that in itself will lower your cholesterol – eat quality, whole foods and keep reading this blog. Good luck…

      Reply
      1. Gay Corran

        In answer to Kathy Sollien’s suggestion to accept the statin prescription but not actually swallow them, the trouble then becomes a statistical one in favour of statins. The “experts” look at the number of people “taking” statins as prescribed and claim that huge numbers of people take statins with no ill effects whatever. Add this to the fact that, in the UK anyway, your GP is unlikely to report the large numbers of their patients who stopped taking statins because of adverse reactions, instead recording “non-compliance” and you begin to get a very distorted picture.

      2. Astrogeezer

        I have personal experience of enumerating a number of adverse reactions and a strongly held conviction that statins were directly responsible. What did my GP do? He changed my prescription from one statin brand to another. Job done. Bye bye!
        I can picture the follow up:- GP to me ”Oh, more adverse reactions? Well let’s try this other brand…Bye bye. See you soon. Then we can try another brand”. Ad infinitum (until no other brands are available to test out on us human laboratory rats).
        Think I will recommend to Big Pharma a new statin. It’s called Merry-go-round-astatin. Wow! riches beyond compare coming my way……

      3. Kathy Sollien

        I hear you, Gay, and you are right. But the fight will be in standing up for your rights as humans, patients and a free country to be able to choose how, when, where and why for your own healthcare. Pro choice. In the mean time, if your only choice is to give in ‘or else’, then I say make yourself a nice little door stop and paint it gold.

      4. Mr Chris

        Hello
        I thought the lesson of Dr K’s blog was to draw our attention to the fact that cholesterol levels and CVD are not related? So I don’t always understand the need to lower cholesterol by diet or other means except statins. Surely we produce the level of cholesterol we need, and the sweet spot for long life is about the average untreated level?
        Is there something I haven’t understood?

      5. Kathy Sollien

        I too don’t believe that cholesterol has anything to do with CVD but since so many doctors do and apparently refusing statins in the UK is problematic, then let them prescribe all they want but don’t take them. I understood from reading Dr. K’s book and others that a ‘high’ cholesterol number in our blood could just be an indicator and not a cause for something, same for a high white blood count indicates an infection but not a cause of that infection. Hope that makes some sense. In the mean time, just eating right and maintaining a good weight will naturally level out that cholesterol number and maybe satisfy the poor doctor. Fighting the right for choice in regards to ones own health is another fight and one that will not be easy, especially when fighting against the big pharma guys. Stay strong.

      6. Gay Corran

        Hello Mr Chris. Yes indeed, Dr K’s point is that lowering cholesterol by any means is irrelevant in connection with heart disease, strokes, etc, since “high” cholesterol has nothing to do with causation of those medical hazards. My point is that deceiving one’s GP for fear of being struck off the register is an understandable road to take, but a short one. You will be “found out” in the end, and in the meantime the battle rages about the safety and efficacy of statins on the unsafe basis of false statistics emanating from the “grass roots” of the health care system. There are many shills for the pharmaceutical companies, knowing and unknowing; I think most GPs are unknowing and acting in good faith, on the advice of NICE experts and drug sales reps. We should educate them: some will listen to their patients, some will not, but I still think we are doing us all a disservice by deliberately deceiving them about whether we are faithfully taking our prescribed drugs or not.

      7. JDPatten

        Would you ask to see the “scored” rotor that needs resurfacing, or just take the mechanic’s word for it? Your GPs, your specialists, your “Misters” are all just people, not dissimilar to your mechanic. Have a meaningful two-way conversation with them. Get to understand each other. If they refuse, they need to be fired. And if you don’t stand up to the fifteen minute consultation limit, it will continue to stand against you.
        The squeaky wheel gets the oil.
        My GP and my electrophysiologist have both expressed appreciation for “…keeping me on my toes.”

    2. JanB

      Hi Leigh – when I discovered, quite by accident and then later by experiment, that the nasty symptoms I was getting were in fact side effects of the statin I had been taking for years, I stopped taking taking it and at my next diabetic checkup told the nurse what I had discovered. She simply entered on my records ‘cannot tolerate statins’ and that was that, though she gives me rather old fashioned looks over my 7.3 TC but realises that I have a good understanding of ratios – which are excellent, by the way, thanks, I believe, to my LCHF diet.
      Not sure about travel insurance as I never venture out of the country.

      Reply
    3. thelastfurlong

      We just went to France. My husband refuses to take statins. He has a load of physical problems – heart – diabetes etc. But he got a very good travel insurance – he shopped around AND we got European Health Insurance Card (free) from the NHS. That (currently) gives you access to hospitals in Europe. I don’t know about after Brexit.

      Reply
      1. Astrogeezer

        Is It not all a lottery, dependant on the views of your GP? I would hazard a guess that if my surgery was in Macclesfield rather than Merseyside, and my GP just happened to be Dr K, I would not be classified as hypercholesterolaemic, nor would I be prescribed statins, so that the form filling for holiday insurance would be a breeze compared to the complexities encountered at present. How on Earth can you get ANY medical coverage if you state you have refused prescribed medication to reduce ALLEGED high cholesterol?

  61. mikecawdery

    Been on holiday so a bit late.

    Two things struck me.

    First it is reported in some newspapers that 80,000 lives will be saved. I assume that this refers to roughly a third of the population (the over 50s who should be taking statins – approx: 23,300,000). Dividing 80,000 by this number gives 0.0034 or 1 in 291 treated which is very similar to the i in 300 based on the HPS study and the Collins trumpeted claim of “treat 3 million and 10,000 lives will be saved annually. At least he is consistent but clearly he ignores the 299 that will not benefit. And the HPS study was a highly selected, statin tolerant post-MI/stroke group; such a study results can only be applied to that section of the general population that meet the inclusion criteria of the HPS study.

    Second, I have to repeat the WHO-BHF graph of best survival versus TC levels which was taken down from the website – it clearly gives the lie to “the lower the better” claim regarding the TC levels.
    Mean total cholesterol, men(mg/dl), 2005. Source: BHF-HEARTSTATS
    Estimated lowest mortality rates for TC blood levels
    All Cause mortality 222 mg/dl 5.75 mmol/L
    Non-communicable disease 210 mg/dl 5.49 mmol/L
    Cardiac Disease 208 mg/dl 5.44 mmol/L
    http://www.heartstats.org/documents/download.asp?nodeib=6797 This URL no longer exists? WHY?
    Now on https://renegadewellness.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/cholesterol-mortality-chart.pdf
    http://healthcorrelator.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/total-cholesterol-and-cardiovascular.html

    Add to that the >500 published refereed reports presented by David Evans in his book that show high cholesterol is benefits people.

    The only conclusion I can come to is that Collins and associated KOLs (key opinion leaders) are under pressure to defend their status, conflicts of interest and the astroturfing, infomercial character of their research. After all the CTT has received £100s from the drug companies

    Reply
  62. mikecawdery

    One very critical paper:
    Open Journal of Endocrine and Metabolic Diseases
    Vol. 3 No. 3 (2013) , Article ID: 34065 , 7 pages DOI:10.4236/ojemd.2013.33025
    The Ugly Side of Statins Systemic Appraisal of the Contemporary Un-Known Unknowns*
    Sherif Sultan1,2#, Niamh Hynes1,2
    was totally ignored in this Collins review along with others.

    Incidentally the medical authorities in the Republic of Ireland banned Professor Sultan from speaking on this subject in public media!

    Reply
  63. JDPatten

    Here’s an interesting examination of the Statin Wars through the lens of so-called Evidence Based Medicine. The writer is perceptive, using analogies to effect. The conclusion, however, seems to be that both sides are right and both sides are wrong, depending on . . . what? Perspective?
    Neglected is the concept of discernible fact.
    Another opportunity to comment to the impressionable world out there!
    http://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2016/09/20/statin-wars-less-is-more-versus-unlimited-medicine/

    Reply
    1. Sasha

      The last paragraph of the article touches on what I long suspected: One of the reasons no one in power wants to reform US health care is jobs. In the meantime, tens of thousands are harmed every year from over testing and over treating. But at least GDP is growing…

      Reply
  64. Martin Back

    Interesting article in The Atlantic: “A simulation shows how the incentives of modern academia naturally select for weaker and less reliable results.”

    A scientist’s career currently depends on publishing as many papers as possible in the most prestigious possible journals. More than any other metric, that’s what gets them prestige, grants, and jobs.

    Now, imagine you’re a researcher who wants to game this system. Here’s what you do. Run many small and statistically weak studies. Tweak your methods on the fly to ensure positive results. If you get negative results, sweep them under the rug. Never try to check old results; only pursue new and exciting ones. These are not just flights of fancy. We know that such practices abound. They’re great for getting publications, but they also pollute the scientific record with results that aren’t actually true. As Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet once wrote, “No one is incentivized to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivized to be productive.”http://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/the-inevitable-evolution-of-bad-science/500609/

    Reply
  65. thelastfurlong

    @Astrogeezer (can’t find the reply arrow on your comment.) About getting travel insurance even though you refuse Statins. You simply list all your medical conditions (tick boxes on the forms ) and list your medications by ticking boxes. You don’t record you “refuse ” to take Statins. Statins just don’t appear on your list of medications because you didn’t tick the box!

    Reply
    1. Astrogeezer

      I think the problem rests on the assumption that insurance companies are more likely than not to refer to your GP’s surgery in the event of an insurance claim for a medical condition which required treatment while abroad. THAT is when the non-compliance surfaces. Some GP’s would likely provide the answer the insurance company would relish hearing, which is that the patient refused statin medication for (alleged) hypercholesterlaemia. I would imagine that more enlightened GPs (presumably like Dr.K), might tell the insurance ‘to take a hike’? Additionally, patient confidentiality would seem to be non-existent when insurance companies are involved, but that is a whole different ball game………..

      Reply
  66. thelastfurlong

    @ Nigella P, I DID answer your question about Urtification with nettles, but it’s not been allowed here for some reason. I apologise for seeming rude – but it’s not me! There’s info on my wordpress blog – search “nettles”.

    Reply
  67. Gem

    thelastfurlong et al: nettles do indeed help reduce inflammation – they are full of natural antihistamines. I would have thought there was no need to strip the stem of leaves, but if it works for you, that’s great.

    I am a Medical Herbalist and nettles are fantastic for many things.

    Reply

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