Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Posted By Dr John Briffa On November 16, 2009
Previously, I have written about the drug combination of simvastatin and ezetimibe (sold as Vytorin in the US). Both of these drugs reduce cholesterol, but through different mechanisms. Taken together, these drugs do do a good job of reducing cholesterol levels And we all know that the lower we get the cholesterol levels down the better, right? Well, actually, results show that Vytorin  did not work to halt the progression of the ‘plaques’ that gum up arteries and can precipitate heart attacks and strokes.
And then another thing is that giving people simvastatin and ezetimibe is associated with an increased risk of  death due to cancer. This finding was inexplicably waved away by scientists as a  chance finding (even though the statistics showed that the finding was very unlikely to be due to chance).
Anyway, this week sees more bad news for the manufacturers of Vytorin and also those who take it. The New England Journal of Medicine has just published a study in which individuals on a statin were additionally treated with ezetimibe or niacin (vitamin B3) over 14 months . All of the individuals in the trial had either been diagnosed with heart disease or were deemed to be at high risk of this condition.
The researchers measured a number of parameters including:
LDL-cholesterol (a form of cholesterol said to be associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease)
HDL-cholesterol (a form of cholesterol said to be associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease)
Triglyceride levels (a form of blood fat said to be associated with higher risk of cardiovascular disease)
Carotid artery intima thickness (the thickness of the wall of the major blood vessel supplying blood to the head – increased thickness is generally taken as a sign of worsening cardiovascular disease risk)
In the group taking a statin and ezetimibe, LDL, HDL and triglyceride levels went down.
In the group taking a statin and niacin, LDL and triglyceride levels went down, and HDL levels went up.
On paper, at this point, the group taking the niacin and statin fared better. However, more important than these results were those relating to the carotid artery intima thickness. Guess what? The group taking the niacin did better than the group taking ezetimibe on this score too.
One other outcome the researchers kept tabs on was ‘major cardiovascular events’ such as heart attacks and strokes. Here again, the niacin group fared better – 1 per cent of them had such an event compared to 5 per cent in the group taking ezetimibe.
The New York Times reports  here that Dr Peter Kim, the president of Merck Research Laboratories (makers of ezetimibe) claimed that the study was limited because it did not compare the groups of patients taking a statin and a second drug to a placebo group. He also claims that a drug’s ability to improve artery-wall thickness has not been proved to automatically correlate with a reduction in heart attacks. Moreover he stated that ezetimibe lowers bad cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol is a “known good”.
Ezetimibe has been licenced on the basis of its ability to reduce LDL-cholesterol – something that is referred to as a ‘surrogate marker’. So, Merck it seems that Merck is happy for its drug to be sold and promoted on the basis of one surrogate marker (reduced cholesterol), but none-too-keen for its drug to be criticised on the basis of another surrogate measure (carotid artery intima thickness).
Dr Kim also describes a reduction in bad (LDL) cholesterol as a “known good”. However, the new England Journal of Medicine study found that lower levels of LDL cholesterol were actually associated with an increase in carotid artery intima thickness. And never mind this, do we really think that just because something reduces LDL cholesterol levels, that has to be a good thing. I mean, if arsenic and cyanide were found to reduce LDL cholesterol levels, would that mean we should all be taking arsenic and cyanide every day?
The New York Times article also quotes Dr James Stein, professor at the University of Wisconsin medical school, who points out that as far as ezetimibe is concerned, “there is not a shred of evidence that it does anything good for blood vessels or heart disease.”
1. Taylor AJ, et al. Extended-Release Niacin or Ezetimibe and Carotid Intima–Media Thickness NEJM 15th November 2009 [epub ahead of print]
Article printed from Dr Briffa’s Blog: http://www.drbriffa.com
URL to article: http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2009/11/16/more-bad-news-for-the-makers-and-takers-of-cholesterol-reducing-drug-ezetimibe-zetia/
URLs in this post:
 did not work: http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2008/01/28/trial-results-forced-out-of-drug-company-support-the-concept
 death due to cancer: http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2008/07/23/cholesterol-lowering-combination-found-to-have-limited-benef
 chance finding: http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2008/09/03/is-it-right-for-scientists-to-put-the-links-between-choleste
 here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/16/health/research/16heart.html
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Any of those sound familiar as symptoms you have seen or heard of in someone that you know who is on the statin drug or have you experienced them yourself as a user. I did for much too long. Yet the prescribed drugs did not do what they were touted to do - prevent cardiovascular disease or heart attack in my case. I will admit they did reduce my cholesterol. Enough so that my cardiologists were tickled pink. I felt I was doing more to prevent them from having a coronary than myself. With 'dumb, fat, and happy' low cholesterol I had five heart attacks and intestinal cancer (an increased risk side effect of statin usage). Don't know how the cardiologists and GPs who prescribed them, and were so entheusiastically promoting their benefits and likely taking the miracle drug themselves are doing. Hopefully they are faring better than I did.
Read Dr Gravline's full series of articles on Statin Drugs and Mitochondrial Damage here.
Monday, November 9, 2009
A previous post here from Dr Davis, "Another reason not to get sick in a hospital", also addresses vitamin D but with a different focus.
Vitamin D is so important for so many reasons that I recommend reading both of his articles in full. Please click on the links above.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
My son emailed me a link to Michael Paukner's flickr site that has a chart that helps put the magnitude of the threat in perspective.
Go to this link to see it with better detail.
Note the H1N1 entry in red near the middle of the chart. Kind of dwarfs other health risks such as cardiovascular disease and cancer - right? I wonder where deaths due to water born diseases would lie on the chart. That's one we could actually do something significant on and reduce mortality especially among the young and most vulnerable. I'm convinced that H1N1 is a scare of the affluent.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Why does that matter? Well because on the not-so-coincidental article by Dr. William Davis on his Heart Scan Blog that I am going to quote and link here on my health related blog. I find it contains some excellent information on Vitamin D and hospitals.
Hospitals are a hell of a place to get sick
via The Heart Scan Blog by Dr. William Davis on 10/28/09
I answered a page from a hospital nurse recently one evening while having dinner with the family.
RN: "This is Lonnie. I'm a nurse at _____ Hospital. I've got one of your patients here, Mrs. Carole Simpson. She's here for a knee replacement with Dr. Johnson. She says she's taking 12,000 units of vitamin D every day. That can't be right! So I'm calling to verify."
WD: "That's right. We gauge patients' vitamin D needs by blood levels of vitamin D. Carole has had perfect levels of vitamin D on that dose."
RN: "The pharmacist says he can replace it with a 50,000 unit tablet."
WD: "Well, go ahead while Carole's in the hospital. I'll just put her back on the real stuff when she leaves."
RN: "But the pharmacist says this is better and she won't have to take so many capsules. She takes six 2,000 unit capsules a day."
WD: "The 50,000 units you and the pharmacist are talking about is vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, a non-human form. Carole is taking vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol, the human form. The last time I checked, Carole was human."
RN: (Long pause.) Can we just give her the 50,000 unit tablet?
WD: "Yes, you can. But you actually don't need to. In fact, it probably won't hurt anything to just hold the vitamin D altogether for the 3 days she's in the hospital, since the half-life of vitamin D is about 8 weeks. Her blood level will barely change by just holding it for 3 days, then resuming when she's discharged."
RN: (Another long pause.) Uh, okay. Can we just give her the 50,000 units?"
WD: "Yes, you can. No harm will be done. It's simply a less effective form. To be honest, once Carole leaves the hospital, I will just put her back on the vitamin D that she was taking."
RN: "Dr. Johnson was worried that it might make her bleed during surgery. Shouldn't we just stop it?"
WD: "No. Vitamin D has no effect on blood coagulation. So there's no concern about perioperative bleeding."
RN: "The pharmacist said the 50,000 unit tablet was better, also, because it's the prescription form, not an over-the-counter form."
WD: "I can only tell you that Carole has had perfect blood levels on the over-the-counter preparation she was taking. It works just fine."
RN: "Okay. I guess we''ll just give her the 50,000 unit tablet."
From the alarm it raises trying to administer nutritional supplements in a hospital, you'd think that Osama Bin Laden had been spotted on the premises.
I laugh about this every time it happens: A patient gets hospitalized for whatever reason and the hospital staff see the supplement list with vitamin D, fish oil at high doses, iodine, etc. and they panic. They tell the patient about bleeding, cancer, and death, issue stern warnings about how unreliable and dangerous nutritional supplements can be.
My view is the exact opposite: Nutritional supplements are a wonderful, incredibly varied, and effective array of substances that, when used properly, can provide all manner of benefits. While there are selected instances in which nutritional supplements do, indeed, have interactions with treatments provided in hospitals (e.g., Valerian root and general anesthesia), the vast majority of supplements have none.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Dr Graveline's guest in this newsletter, Uffe Ravnskov MD, is not new to this topic by any stretch. He has numerous papers, books, and medical journal articles about cardiovascular issues- see links here. A book that helped me tremendously when I was struggling with the cholesterol/statin issues, "The Cholesterol Myths" is now unfortunately out of print though may still be available from some sources.
All that to say I heartily recommend "Saturated Fat is Good for You" at Spacedoc.net. Read it.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
His current blog entry (Tuesday, August 25, 2009) is titled Grasscutting, fertilizer, and healthcare sounds odd for a heart related blog but it caught my eye. I'll quote here his timely paragraph with "the healthcare model of the future." And I do recommend that you read his full blog entry.
You manage your own cholesterol issues, your own basic thyroid issues, supplement and monitor your vitamin D levels, use diet to suit your needs, order blood tests when necessary, even obtain basic imaging tests like heart scans, carotid ultrasound, bone density testing. Your doctor is a resource, near by when and if you need him or her: guidance when needed, an occasional review of what you are doing, someone to consult when you fracture an ankle.
What your doctor is NOT is a paternal, "do what I say, I'm the doctor," or a "You need these tests whether you like it or not" holder of your health fate.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
What You Need to Know About Cholesterol in Order to Understand the Dangers of Statins
Statin drugs work by preventing the formation of cholesterol, and reduce LDL cholesterol, which is considered the "bad" cholesterol.
There is no argument that these drugs do work very well at lowering your cholesterol levels. However, was has not been proven is that they significantly lower your risk of dying from heart disease. In no way, shape or form, do they treat the cause of your problem. They are nothing more than a toxic band-aid.
So justwhat makes statins so dangerous, and why are they not the answer for managing your cholesterol levels?
First you need to understand the biological workings of cholesterol.
there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” cholesterol. Both HDL and LDL
cholesterol perform vital functions in your body, which is why it’s actually dangerous to bring your LDL levels down too low.
HDL (high density lipoprotein) and LDL (low density lipoprotein) are actually proteins that transport the cholesterol to and from your tissues.
Cholesterol in turn is a precursor to steroid hormones. For example, you can’t make testosterone or estrogen, cortisol, DHEA or pregnenolone, or a multitude of other steroid hormones that are necessary for health, without cholesterol.
Even more importantly, your cells cannot regenerate their membranes without it. The reason you have LDL to begin with is to transport the cholesterol to the tissues in order to make new cells and repair damaged ones.
However, there are different sizes of LDL particles and it’s the LDL particle size that is relevant, and statins do not modulate the size of the particles. Unfortunately, most people don’t know about that part, and very rarely, if ever, get tested for particle size.
The particles are sticky, so very small LDL’s can easily get stuck in different areas, and the build-up eventually causes inflammation and damage.
The only way to make sure your LDL particles are large enough to not cause damage is through your diet. In fact, it’s one of the major functions of insulin.
Conveniently enough, a healthy diet is also the answer for type 2 diabetes, so by focusing on what you eat, you’re treating both your diabetes and your cholesterol levels, and reducing your associated risk of heart disease.
If you eat properly, which is really the only known good way to regulate LDL particle size, then it does the right thing; it takes the cholesterol to your tissues, the HDL takes it back to your liver, and no plaque is formed.
The second thing you need to know is that statins work by reducing the enzyme that causes your liver to make cholesterol when it is stimulated by high insulin levels.
Again, you can achieve the same, or better, result by simply reducing your insulin levels by eliminating sugar and most grains, which is also what you need to do to successfully address type 2 diabetes.
Read the complete article here. Thank you Dr Mercols for a clear, concise explanation.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
"A balanced appraisal of the diet–heart hypothesis must recognize the unintended and unanticipated role that the LF-HCarb diet may well have played in the current epidemic of obesity, abnormal lipid patterns, type II diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome. Defense of the LF-HCarb diet, because it conforms to current traditional dietary recommendations, by appealing to the authority of its prestigious medical and institutional sponsors or by ignoring an increasingly critical medical literature, is no longer tenable. The categoric rejection of experience and an increasingly favorable medical literature, though still not conclusive, which suggests that the much-maligned LCarb-HP diet may have a favorable impact on obesity, lipid patterns, type II diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, is also no longer tenable."
Friday, July 24, 2009
That being said, I came across the blog of Mark Sisson, which I'm still evaluating, and there it was again... "H1N1". And I like his catchy title "H1ow N1ot to Get Swine Flu". I think I'm on track with much of what he says but I'm reminded that there are definitely things I need to work on. Work on not just to avoid H1N1 but for healthy living. As I read Mark's article it is not so much steps to avoid Swine flu but rather a philosophy of health that provides among its benefits a strong immune system.
What led me to Mark's Daily Apple was not even related to the topic of this blog entry, rather his excellent, well researched article on saturated fats - the boogey man of modern heart health because of it's supposed artery clogging properties. I've linked to it in my Credible Evidence list on the right column.
Read both articles and much more here.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Please read his full article here.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Dr McCully has written a book titled "The Homocysteine Revolution", And one titled "The Heart Revolution".
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Quotes from "Dr. Malcolm Kendrick M.D. looks at Cholesterol".
re: Facts that are not true.
- So, the soon to be Professor, Hugh Tunstall-Pedoe looked at the French, and their diet, and came to the conclusion that the French were protected against heart disease by their high consumption of garlic, red-wine and lightly cooked vegetables (full of anti-oxidants, don't you know). Very soon after this, it became a ‘fact' that these three factors were protective against heart disease.
One slight problem is that there never was, and still is not, the slightest evidence that any of these three factors provides any protection. I write this in the certain knowledge that many of you are absolutely convinced that garlic, red-wine and anti-oxidants truly are protective, and that many studies have proved it. To which I would say..... ‘show me the studies'.
- I have since discovered that the entire field of heart disease research is packed full of facts that do not (when you start looking properly) exist. Female sex hormones protect against heart disease. For many years this 'fact' was just known to be true. One slight problem. There never was any evidence to support it. Unlike most ‘facts' in heart disease, it was spectacularly disproved.
- To give another example of facts that aren't true. Namely, that saturated fat intake raises cholesterol levels. The Framingham study, the longest lasting, most respected study into the causes of heart disease (started in 1948) reported that ‘In Framingham, Massachusetts, the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower people's serum cholesterol.' Dr William Castelli - director of the Framingham study at the time - 1992.
- a major eight year long interventional study on fifty thousand women (the Woman's Health Intervention) found that a 25% reduction in saturated fat intake had no effect on LDL ‘bad cholesterol' levels, or heart disease rates.
- The cholesterol hypothesis is, perhaps, the greatest ever example of a medical hypothesis that has become too powerful to die. Too many vested interests are intertwined with it. World famous experts would look incredibly stupid if the hypothesis were to be accepted to be wrong.
- here is another quote from the Framingham study on the impact of cholesterol levels themselves. There is a direct association between falling cholesterol levels over the first 14 years of the study and mortality over the following 18 years. 11% overall and 14% CVD death rate increase per 1mg/dl per year drop in cholesterol levels In short, once your cholesterol level starts to fall, you are much more likely to die from heart disease. A 150% increase in relative risk for every 10 % fall, approximately.
- Add this to another very big study of the elderly, published in the Lancet: Our data accord with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol levels, and show that long term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases the risk of death. Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations the greater the risk of death.
- Even though the ‘experts' have been made aware of it many times, they care not that this particular emperor has no clothes. Or, to be more accurate, they cannot and will not allow themselves to accept that it might be true. For to accept this would be far too humiliating for the great and the good.
Thank You Dr. Malcolm Kendrick
Saturday, May 2, 2009
"The great tragedy of Science-the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact." (Thomas Huxley, 1825-1895)
"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" (Karl R. Popper, 1902-1994)
For decades, enormous human and financial resources have been wasted on the cholesterol campaign, more promising research areas have been neglected, producers and manufacturers of animal food all over the world have suffered economically, and millions of healthy people have been frightened and badgered into eating a tedious and flavorless diet or into taking potentially dangerous drugs for the rest of their lives. As the scientific evidence in support of the cholesterol campaign is non-existent, we consider it important to stop it as soon as possible. The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics (THINCS) is a steadily growing group of scientists, physicians, other academicians and science writers from various countries. Members of this group represent different views about the causation of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease, some of them are in conflict with others, but this is a normal part of science. What we all oppose is that animal fat and high cholesterol play a role. The aim with this website is to inform our colleagues and the public that this idea is not supported by scientific evidence; in fact, for many years a huge number of scientific studies have directly contradicted it.
I appologize for stealing that text - but it is a good statement which I think is also applicable to other sciences, particularly the science (or whatever you call it) of anthropogenic climate change, that which is caused or produced by humans. I am still looking, open-mindedly I hope, for 'growth of knowledge' based on good honest disagreement, well thought out hypotheses and maybe 'ugly facts'.
Are some 'Ugly Facts' being swept under the rug? Here's one view and maybe Winston Churchill was correct when he said "that Americans always do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else,” and Arthur B. Robinson, president and professor of chemistry at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine speaking about consensus said “Maybe that’s what we’re going to do this time. But there will be a lot of suffering.” See article here.
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The article mainly deals with the results from an ongoing “Million Women Study” in the UK released this past winter and concluded this:
"The bottom line…Women who drank as little as one alcoholic beverage a day significantly increased their cancer risk"
If you are interested in more details I suggest you read the complete article written by Jan Sinatra, Cardiac Care Nurse, and Dr. Stephen Sinatra’s wife here.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Whats different about his web site? In his own words - "The work of Dr John Briffa cuts through the hype and fear, bringing you useful, intelligent and practical health information..."
One I that I found I'll post here because it is of particular interest to me (the reason I post anything to my blog), and does cut through the hype and fear we usually hear or read is titled "Does eating meat really increase our risk of colon cancer? follows. Thanks in advance Dr. Briffa. Full credit given.
- Dr Briffa’s Blog - http://www.drbriffa.com -
Does eating meat really increase our risk of colon cancer?
Posted By Dr John Briffa On March 18, 2009 @ 3:51 pm In Healthy Eating, Unhealthy Eating! 3 Comments
I generally rate meat (including red meat) as a food for those who choose to eat it. However, I appreciate that not all health professionals share my enthusiasm for this food: often, individuals will remind us to eat ‘lean’ meat to avoid consuming so-called saturated fat that ‘causes’ heart disease. Except, the evidence doesn’t really support this stance: most epidemiological studies do not support a link between saturated fat and heart disease, and there really is a distinct dearth of evidence suggesting that cutting back on saturated fat is beneficial to the heart (or has broad benefits for health for that matter).
The other common criticism levelled against meat is that it causes bowel cancer. Indeed there have been some studies that appear to show a link between meat-eating and an increased risk of this condition. However, such studies are epidemiological in nature, and therefore cannot be used to prove that it’s the meat that is a genuine problem in this regard.
Imagine for a moment that meat does NOT cause colon cancer. The any apparent association between meat and colon cancer might be down to, say, the fact that individuals who eat a lot of meat might also be more likely to exhibit more in the way of unhealthy behaviours such as cigarette smoking or a sedentary lifestyle. Also, focusing just on the diet for a moment, those eating more meat may end up eating less of other foods that might have a preventive role, such as fruits and vegetables. In other words, it may not be the presence of meat, but the absence of other foods, that causes the apparent link between meat and colon cancer.
Because of these factors, we need to be somewhat wary, I think, about concluding that meat causes colon cancer. And it should also be borne in mind that there is plenty of evidence that does not support an association. For example, a review of the available literature published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that of 44 relevant studies, most (31) found no apparent association between red meat intake and colon cancer risk .
All this might be worth bearing in mind when one considers the results of a study published on-line in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . This study looked at the risk of cancer in individuals categorised as meat eaters, fish eaters (those who don’t eat meat but do eat fish), vegetarians (no animal foods other than eggs and/or dairy products) and vegans (no animal products).
Compared to those eating meat, vegetarians and vegans turned out to have an increased risk of colorectal (cancer in the colon or rectum). Risk in these people was 39 per cent higher than in meat eaters. They also compared risk of colorectal cancer in individuals classed as vegetarian (vegetarian and vegans) with non-vegetarians (eaters of meat and/or fish). Here, vegetarians had a 49 per cent increased risk of colorectal cancer.
The authors describe these findings as ‘surprising’, and suggest that the explanation for them might be partly due to chance or other dietary differences between the groups. However, you want to explain it, the findings of this study most certainly do not support the notion that meat-eating puts people in mortal terror of cancers in the large bowel.
And neither do the results of a study, also published on-line recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition . This review of several studies found no statistically significant association between either animal fat or animal protein intake and risk of colorectal cancer. It should be pointed out that this study received funding from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and National Pork Board.
It seems from the science as it stands that there is good reason to challenge the commonly-held belief that eating meat increases the risk of bowel cancer.
1. Truswell AS. Meat consumption and cancer of the large bowel. Eur J Clin Nut 2002;(suppl 1):S19-S24
2. Key TJ, et al. Cancer incidence in vegetarians: results from the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition (EPIC-Oxford). 2009;89(suppl):1S-7S
3. Alexander DD, et al. Meta-analysis of animal fat or animal protein and colorectal cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;89:1-8
Article from Dr Briffa’s Blog: http://www.drbriffa.com
URL to article: http://www.drbriffa.com/blog/2009/03/18/does-eating-meat-really-increase-our-risk-of-colon-cancer/Copyright 2008 Dr John Briffa
By John NaishLast updated at 8:27 AM on 10th March 2009
Statins are the new NHS wonder drug for cutting cholesterol. But do they have sinister side-effects?
Could statins, the cholesterol-lowering drugs taken by more than three million Britons, be doing more harm than good to many thousands of patients? This is the rather alarming suggestion to emerge from two new studies.
The research challenges the medical convention that lowering your cholesterol is always a good thing - indeed, they suggest statins may affect intelligence, cause depression and even raise the risk of suicide.
The studies add to a growing body of evidence that having low cholesterol levels may prove as dangerous as having high readings."
The deaths from these other causes mount so quickly that the mortality rate for those with low cholesterol equals the rate for people with very high cholesterol, who are likely to die from heart disease."
Monday, March 30, 2009
Well, Who is Nina Planck? (per her website)
"NINA PLANCK is a food writer, an advocate for traditional foods, an entrepreneur, and the leading American expert on farmers' markets and local food. A champion of small farmers, she grew up on an ecological vegetable farm in Virginia and sold the family vegetables at farmers' markets from age nine. After leaving the farm, Nina was a congressional staffer, a reporter for TIME, and a speechwriter for President Clinton's ambassador to the UK."
I read the piece of hers, and believe there is reason to read more. So here's what she wrote that caught my eye. It's a little long but worth the read.
Date Added: Aug 22, 2007"
Saturday, March 28, 2009
I have added several 'NEW' items under Credible Evidence which I consider to be significantly helpful. One, related to women, "Evidence for Caution: Women and statin use" in the 'Background' paragraph states:
"Women are also more vulnerable to health risks from medications. A review conducted by the US General Accounting Office of 10 prescription drugs withdrawn from the market (January 1997 to December 2000) indicated that eight of these posed greater health risks for women than men, in four cases because they were prescribed more often to women, and in the other four for reasons unknown. Six of these eight drugs caused heart problems in women."
The complete paper is worth the read!
Also, available here, An article in the Quartely Journal of Medicine proposing 'High cholesterol may protect against infections and atherosclerosis' by Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD.
Soon I hope to get and read Justin Smith's book "$29 Billion Reasons to Lie about Cholesterol" which will add to my growing library.
Justin Smith also wrote a 'Dear Doctor' letter that can help address your concern about cholesterol lowering drugs with your doctor. It is available as a Word document file here and is also listed under Credible Evidence on the right. Here are exerpts from that letter:
"Dear Doctor ____________________
I wish to raise the following concerns with you regarding your advice that I should lower my cholesterol with the use of statins or other medications.
I am concerned about the definition of ‘high’ cholesterol, since most adults naturally have a cholesterol level that is above the suggested target. Furthermore, records show that cholesterol levels in industrialised countries are decreasing, not increasing. What is being suggested as ‘high’ is in fact just normal in many cases.
I am also concerned by the fact that most people who have a heart attack have an average cholesterol level, not a high cholesterol level: this has been found during studies completed on people in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and America.
Note that the full letter as downloaded contains "clinical data" footnotes. Very valuable when presenting to your doctor!
And to close this post with a humerous cartoon from Stopped_Our_Statins humor section.
Monday, March 16, 2009
To get back to my questions as to why I am so interested in vitamin D, one of the several pieces of information that keeps popping up in my research is the relationship of a deficiency of vitamin D and issues in my personal health. The two big ones that stand out are heart disease and cancer. At present I am a survivor of both and am attempting to continue that suvivorship by doing what I can to minimize reocurrence and prevent further complications.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Join this Yahoo Group and see how others handle it and read about their experiences.
Here's what they say:
Stopped Our Statins is for those experiencing AE's (adverse effects) to statins: Advicor(Niacin Extended-Release & Lovastatin), NEW ~ Caduet (Lipitor & Norvasc), Crestor(Rosuvastatin),Lipitor(Atorvastatin),Lescol(Fluvastatin), Mevacor(Lovastatin), Pravachol(Pravastatin), Zocor(Simvastatin),Vytorin(Ezetimibe-Simvastatin) & Baycol(Cerivastatin). Baycol, causing over 100 deaths & 11,000 cases of severe side effects, was removed from the market 8/01.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Provides evidence for reported side effects including muscle and cognitive problems
A paper co-authored by Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of UC San Diego's Statin Study group cites nearly 900 studies on the adverse effects of HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins), a class of drugs widely used to treat high cholesterol.
The result is a review paper, currently published in the on-line edition of American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, that provides the most complete picture to date of reported side effects of statins, showing the state of evidence for each. The paper also helps explain why certain individuals have an increased risk for such adverse effects.
"Muscle problems are the best known of statin drugs' adverse side effects," said Golomb. "But cognitive problems and peripheral neuropathy, or pain or numbness in the extremities like fingers and toes, are also widely reported." A spectrum of other problems, ranging from blood glucose elevations to tendon problems, can also occur as side effects from statins.
The paper cites clear evidence that higher statin doses or more powerful statins – those with a stronger ability to lower cholesterol – as well as certain genetic conditions, are linked to greater risk of developing side effects.
"Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low," Golomb said. "Being vigilant for adverse effects in their patients is necessary in order for doctors to provide informed treatment decisions and improved patient care."
The paper also summarizes powerful evidence that statin-induced injury to the function of the body's energy-producing cells, called mitochondria, underlies many of the adverse effects that occur to patients taking statin drugs.
Mitochondria produce most of the oxygen free radicals in the body, harmful compounds that "antioxidants" seek to protect against. When mitochondrial function is impaired, the body produces less energy and more "free radicals" are produced. Coenzyme Q10 ("Q10") is a compound central to the process of making energy within mitochondria and quenching free radicals. However, statins lower Q10 levels because they work by blocking the pathway involved in cholesterol production – the same pathway by which Q10 is produced. Statins also reduce the blood cholesterol that transports Q10 and other fat-soluble antioxidants.
"The loss of Q10 leads to loss of cell energy and increased free radicals which, in turn, can further damage mitochondrial DNA," said Golomb, who explained that loss of Q10 may lead to a greater likelihood of symptoms arising from statins in patients with existing mitochondrial damage – since these people especially rely on ample Q10 to help bypass this damage. Because statins may cause more mitochondrial problems over time – and as these energy powerhouses tend to weaken with age—new adverse effects can also develop the longer a patient takes statin drugs.
"The risk of adverse effects goes up as age goes up, and this helps explain why," said Golomb. "This also helps explain why statins' benefits have not been found to exceed their risks in those over 70 or 75 years old, even those with heart disease." High blood pressure and diabetes are linked to higher rates of mitochondrial problems, so these conditions are also clearly linked to a higher risk of statin complications, according to Golomb and co-author Marcella A. Evans, of UC San Diego and UC Irvine Schools of Medicine.
The connection between statins' antioxidant properties and mitochondrial risk helps explain a complicated finding that statins can protect against the very same problems, in some people, to which they may predispose others – problems such as muscle and kidney function or heart arrhythmia.
This paper was funded in part by a Robert Wood Johnson Generalist Physician Faculty Scholar award to Dr Golomb.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
What Rick Warren Prayed for a New President
The text of Rick Warren's invocation at the inauguration.
Almighty God, our Father:
Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone.
It all comes from you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory.
History is your story.
The Scripture tells us, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD is one.” And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.
Now today, we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States.
We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.
Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity.
Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.
Help us, O God, to remember that we are Americans—united not by race or religion or blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all.
When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you—forgive us.
When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone—forgive us.
When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve—forgive us.
And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.
Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all.
May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet.
And may we never forget that one day, all nations--and all people--will stand accountable before you.
We now commit our new president and his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.
I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, 'Isa, Jesus [Spanish pronunciation], Jesus—who taught us to pray:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
A new paper analyses the case for vitamin D’s cancer-fighting power by looking at the well-known Hill criteria for examining causality in a biological system. The Hill criteria look at:
Strength of association
Consistency (repeated observation)
Specificity (one agent, one result)
Temporality (exposure precedes effect)
Biological gradient (dose-response relation)
Plausibility (e.g., mechanisms)
Coherency (no serious conflict with the generally known facts of the natural history and biology of the disease)
The theory that solar ultraviolet radiation -- and by extension, vitamin D, which is produced when such radiation strikes your skin -- is a potent cancer fighter satisfies most, if not all, of the criteria. From a scientific point of view, therefore, vitamin D reduces the risk of many forms of cancer and increases survival rates once cancer reaches a detectable stage.
However, public policy often lags behind scientific research. It is to be hoped that the acceptance of the beneficial nature of vitamin D will not have too much longer to wait. It is encouraging that the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine is currently embarking on a two-year study of vitamin D, and is expected to issue a report in 2010.
Friday, January 2, 2009
The Last Soldier Killed in the Great War
The Sad Senseless End of Henry Gunther
On November 11, 1918, at exactly 10:59 AM, US soldier Henry Gunther was the last soldier to be killed in action in WWI. Gunther's death was unnecessary and tragic because the war ended one minute later. Above image courtesy wikimedia: WWI American Soldiers.
The War on Heart Disease is Over, We Won
Likewise today, to die from heart attack is both unnecessary and tragic. Information is now readily available explaining how heart disease can be prevented and reversed with simple inexpensive nutritional supplements at home. One need only read the information, and the evidence is overwhelming. There is no need for expensive drugs, cath labs or bypass operations. A simple combination of Vitamin C, Lysine, and the Tocotrienol Form of Vitamin E is sufficient to prevent and reverse heart disease. Don't be like Henry Gunther, the last casualty at the end of the war.
For Part One of this two part series, see Heart Disease, Ascorbate, Lysine and Linus Pauling by Jeffrey Dach MD.
Read the full very clear article on Vitamin E by Jeffrey Dach MD here.