Saturday, May 19, 2007

Are They Above Reproach?

USA Today reports the following
"By Rita Rubin, USA TODAY
Virtually all doctors in a national survey of six specialties reported some sort of relationship — from free lunches to payments for consulting and lecturing — with medically related industries such as those for drugs or medical devices, a report says today.
Researchers mailed surveys and a $20 check to a random sample of 3,167 practicing anesthesiologists, cardiologists, family practitioners, general surgeons, internists and pediatricians in late 2003 and early 2004. Slightly more than half responded. Among the findings, reported in The New England Journal of Medicine:
•Cardiologists were more than twice as likely as family practitioners to receive payments from industry.
•On average, family practitioners reported meeting 16 times a month with industry reps — the most of any specialty surveyed."
No real surprise there. This has been known for sometime. My question is "Can they make an unbiased and purely scientific or medical decision/recommendation under these circumstances?" Ask yourself that and ask your health professional that same question. See the full article in The New England Journal of Medicine at http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/356/17/1742 "A National Survey of Physician–Industry Relationships".

Thursday, May 10, 2007


UCSD is familiar to me because back in the 1970's they provided "UCSD Pascal" which I used in my Apple II Plus. WOW! Is that ancient or what.

Well anyway they are also now involved in studying statin side effects. See their site on the subject at http://medicine.ucsd.edu/ses/. The opening statement about their research says...

"The UCSD Statin Study group, headed by Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, has actively been researching statin medications and their risk-benefit balance, including possible side effects."

Also I posted a link to their STATIN SIDE EFFECTS INFORMATION links under Credible Evidence at the right.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Duane Graveline MD MPH strikes again!

If you are, or have been, a statin drug user (Zocor, Lipitor, Vytorin, Crestor, Mevacor, Baycol, etc.) or just want to be up to date on side effects of this ubiquitious medication some tout with evangelistic fervor as though it is the magic bullet to solve coronary artery disease, cardio vascular disease, atherosclerosis and the like, you'll be interested in what this former USAF Flight Surgeon and Former NASA Astronaut has to say. His "Statin Drugs Side Effects" book is on my shelf and has worn pages from re-reads. He hasn't stopped however with the publication of the book but continues to research this topic. Read his book and read the many articles available on his web site - http://www.spacedoc.net . I also added a link from his last newsletter to "Credible Evidence" about Rhabdomyolysis. Good heavens what is that? I can't even say it!

Well, Wikipedia explains it this way "Rhabdomyolysis is the rapid breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue due to traumatic injury, either mechanical, physical or chemical."

Of particular interest in that definition pertinent to this discussion is the word 'chemical' because I'm dealing here with "Statin Associated Rhabdomyolysis". Statins are a group of chemicals primarily used to reduce c... eh... cho.... oops! hard to say the word many near to me only refer to as the "C" word ... chol... er... - Oh well see the right side panel for many references to it.

Looking under 'causes of the "R" word' I find the following at http://members.tripod.com/~baggas/rhabdo.html#acquired.
Read the full article yourself if you dare.

"Drugs and Toxins A large range of drugs and toxins have been seen to cause rhabdomyolysis.... Some drugs appear to have a direct toxic action on skeletal muscle when given systemically. These include cholesterol lowering drugs (clofibrate, gemfibrozil, HMG CoA reductase inhibitors), emetine (ipecac), zidovudine (AZT), vincristine, and epsilon-aminocaproic acid."

Wow that is getting pretty technical and hard to understand ( for me at least ). I'll zero in a bit more with the following explanation of a cause of Rhab.... "A large range of drugs ... have been seen to cause rhabdomyolysis.... Some drugs appear to have a direct toxic action on skeletal muscle.... These include cholesterol lowering drugs (.... HMG CoA reductase inhibitors), ...."

Well the 'HMG CoA reductase inhibitor' is a technical way of saying STATINS! Statin drugs are a significant cause of rhabdomyolysis.

You might ask, "Why do I care enough about all of this to take the time to blog about it?" I dare you to ask, cuz I might just tell you. But I will say here that is more than just a intellectual curiosity. Being a twenty year or so user of HMG CoA reductase inhibitors (statin drugs), including Baycol which resulted in liver failure and death to around 100 people, and was taken off the market by the FDA in 2001 just after I began taking it, and putting up with drug induced side effect - myopathy (of which rhabdomyolysis is the most severe form) most of those 20 years, I ask you "Why shouldn't I be interested?"

Maybe in some small way this blog, which is mainly about the "C" word and related health stuff with an occasional 'out-of-the-ball-park' other topic thrown in for whatever reason, will be stumbled upon by someone and my hope is that they will be helped.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

"We been conned!"

Read in The Daily Mail about Dr. Malcolm Kendrick's new book. I've added a new link under Credible evidence to the full article. Again here's a small quote from the article

"...and what your doctor should be saying, is the following:

• A high diet, saturated or otherwise, does not affect blood cholesterol levels.

• High cholesterol levels don't cause heart disease.

• Statins do not protect against heart disease by lowering cholesterol - when they do work, they do so in another way.

• The protection provided by statins is so small as to be not worth bothering about for most people (and all women). The reality is that the benefits have been hyped beyond belief.

• Statins have many more unpleasant side effects than has been admitted, while experts in this area should be treated with healthy scepticism because they are almost universally paid large sums by statin manufacturers to sing loudly from their hymn sheet."