I put Middle Earth Journal in hiatus in May of 2008 and moved to Newshoggers.
I temporarily reopened Middle Earth Journal when Newshoggers shut it's doors but I was invited to Participate at The Moderate Voice so Middle Earth Journal is once again in hiatus.

Monday, February 05, 2007

The Cholesterol Myth

"If you take a male who is 50 years old, a smoker, with high blood pressure, who eats the worst diet in the world . . . then if I were an honest physician, I would tell him that maybe he should be taking a statin. And if he asked how much would that reduce his risk, I would have to tell him that it would only reduce his risk by 2% over the next five years. If he understood that information, he would say, You're expecting me to take a pill everyday for five years? And it's going to cost me two dollars a day? You're crazy! I'm not going to do it." If physicians were truly honest with their patients, the doctor says, "I think there probably would be very few people being treated for primary prevention with a statin drug."
~Dr. James M Wright
There of course been a great deal of debate in the United States about who should be paying for drugs. Perhaps it's time we should be actively debating if we should be taking the drugs in the first place. In spite of what they tell you big Pharma is in business for one reason, to make money. Like any other business they look at demographics and develop drugs that they can sell to the most people. A few years back the pharmaceutical industry saw that millions of female baby boomers were approaching menopause. The result was hormone replacement therapy. As it turned out the hormone replacement therapy did few of any of the things promised and actually made some of them worse. That brings us to the most expensive shame of them all, The Cholesterol Myth.

Who Will Tell the People? It Isn't Cholesterol!
Doctors are breaking ranks to tell a story to the world. You may stand in disbelief as you read it here.

The sudden disclosure by a Harvard Medical School doctor in the British journal Lancet (Jan 20, 2007), that cholesterol-lowering drugs are of no benefit for three-quarters of the people who take them, has been followed by an even more stunning revelation in the New York Times where Dr. Arthur Agatston MD, a Florida cardiologist who is better known as the author of a diet book (The South Beach Diet), stated that "my patients don’t have heart attacks any more." Dr. Agatston is not known as the cholesterol-lowering doctor, he is better known professionally for having developed the severity scoring sheet for calcification of the arteries, now known as the Agatston score. [New York Times, Jan. 24, 2007]

The skeptics of the cholesterol theory of heart disease are growing and Dr. Malcolm Kendrick of Aberdeen, Scotland, has just published a book, The Great Cholesterol Lie, wherein he calls the cholesterol theory "an amazing beast" and cites an investigation conducted by the US Surgeon General’s Office in 1988 that was launched to quiet the cholesterol nay-sayers. Dr. Kendrick says that investigation was cancelled 11 years later for lack of evidence. [Daily Mail UK, Jan 23, 2007].
While millions of Americans take anti-cholesterol drugs there is little evidence that they help anything but the bottom line of the drug companies.
According to Dr. John Abramson, of Harvard Medical School, in his article titled "Are Lipid-Lowering Guidelines Evidence-Based?" in Lancet, no studies have shown statin cholesterol-lowering drugs to be effective for women at any age, nor for men 69 years of age or older, who do not already have heart disease or diabetes. Better than 50 adults have to take a cholesterol-lowering drug for 1 patient to avoid a mortal heart attack, and that figure only applies to high-risk patients. There is a vanishing benefit to lowering cholesterol for healthy adults. Dr. Abramson calls for cholesterol treatment guidelines to be revised.
And this.
Dr. Harumi Okuyama of Nagoya City University in Japan, writing in the World Review of Nutrition and Dietetics, says the direction of modern medicine needs to move away from the cholesterol hypothesis of coronary heart disease. Once cases of genetic/familial high cholesterol are removed from population statistics, he claims that high cholesterol is not found to be a causal factor for coronary heart disease. High total cholesterol is not positively associated with high coronary heart disease mortality rates among general populations more than 40–50 years of age, says Dr. Okuyama.

Okuyama points out that higher total cholesterol levels are associated with lower cancer and all-cause mortality rates where the incidence of familial high cholesterol is low (~0.2%).

He notes that the rate of heart attacks differs by approximately 4 to 8-fold at the same total cholesterol level in some populations. Dr. Okuyama says while Western countries have accepted the cholesterol theory of heart disease and the use of statin drugs, "little benefit seems to result from efforts to limit dietary cholesterol intake or to total cholesterol values to less than approximately 260 mg/dL." Dr. Okuyama says there is an urgency to change the direction of current medical practice away from cholesterol-controlling medications. [World Review Nutrition Dietetics, Basel, Karger, 96: 1–17, 2007]
If it's not the cholesterol then what is it?
It was cardiologist Dr. Stephen Seely who in wrote, in his treatise entitled "Is calcium excess in western diet a major cause of arterial disease? published in the International Journal of Cardiology in 1991, that excess calcium intake is a major cause of atherosclerosis in Western countries.

He contended that young adults need only 300–400 mg of calcium daily, and older adults need even less. In countries where the daily calcium intake is 200–400 mg, arterial diseases are non-existent and blood pressure does not increase with age.

Dr. Seely said, in countries where the daily calcium intake is 800 milligrams (USA, New Zealand, Scandinavian countries, Ireland), arterial disease is the leading cause of mortality. Dr. Seely pointed out that cholesterol only represents 3% of arterial plaque, while calcium makes up 50%. [International Journal Cardiology 1991 Nov; 33 (2):191–8]
Yes, that's right, Big Pharma is pushing calcium.

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