25 YEARS OF EVIDENCE BASED MEDICINE PART II: WHAT WE CAN LEARN ABOUT EBM FROM THE CHOLESTEROL / STATIN DEBATE / DEBACLERead Now
25 YEARS OF EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE PART II
GROSS FINANCIAL CONFLICT OF INTEREST
MERCOLA INTERVIEWS DR GOLOMB
NEW STUDY ON THE DANGERS OF STATINS
THE MOST COMMON DRUGS TAKEN FOR HIGH CHOLESTEROL
CAUSE THE VERY PROBLEMS THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO PREVENT
Although mainstream medicine has been increasingly squawking about HIGH CHOLESTEROL LEVELS for decades, there is opposition --- a steadily growing group of renegades within the profession that thinks the hype over High Cholesterol is mostly a bunch of poppycock CREATED TO MAKE MONEY. This was brought to the forefront with Dr. Golomb's ground-breaking 2008 study (Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism). According to the University of California in San Diego, "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". After REVIEWING NEARLY 900 STUDIES on the topic, her group concluded that....
"Converging evidence supports a mitochondrial foundation for muscle adverse events associated with statins, and both theoretical and empirical considerations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may also underlie many non-muscle statin adverse events. Evidence from randomized controlled trials and studies of other designs indicates existence of additional statin-associated adverse events, such as cognitive loss, neuropathy, pancreatic and hepatic dysfunction, and sexual dysfunction. Physician awareness of statin adverse events is reportedly low even for the events most widely reported by patient. Statins are a linchpin of current approaches to cardiovascular protection: however, adverse events of statins are neither vanishingly rare nor of trivial impact."
Golomb's researchers are not a lone voice in the wilderness. If you have the academic credentials, you could join a group called THINCS (The International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics). Led by UFFE RAVNSKOV MD / Ph.D, the members of this organization believe that animal fats and cholesterol are not the primary culprits in heart disease and high cholesterol ---- something I myself have written about any number of times (HERE is one of them). Their website has a huge list of studies and articles to this effect. But there's more.
NEW STUDY SAYS STATINS CAUSE ATHEROSCLEROSIS AND HEART DISEASE
It might be easy to write me off, but it's much tougher to write off a study published by a group of seven cardiology researchers in the February, 2015 issue of Expert Review of Clinical Pharmacology (Statins Stimulate Atherosclerosis and Heart Failure: Pharmacological Mechanisms). Read the title of the study again, and pay attention to their conclusions.
"In contrast to the current belief that cholesterol reduction with statins decreases atherosclerosis, we present a perspective that statins may be causative in coronary artery calcification and can function as mitochondrial toxins that impair muscle function in the heart and blood vessels through the depletion of coenzyme Q10 and ‘heme A’, and thereby ATP generation. Statins inhibit the synthesis of vitamin K2, the cofactor for matrix Gla-protein activation, which in turn protects arteries from calcification.
Statins inhibit the biosynthesis of selenium containing proteins, one of which is glutathione peroxidase serving to suppress peroxidative stress. An impairment of selenoprotein biosynthesis may be a factor in congestive heart failure, reminiscent of the dilated cardiomyopathies seen with selenium deficiency. Thus, the epidemic of heart failure and atherosclerosis that plagues the modern world may paradoxically be aggravated by the pervasive use of statin drugs. We propose that current statin treatment guidelines be critically reevaluated."
Gulp! Although I have been beating this same drum for over two decades (HERE is the main reason why), I did not expect to see the day when doctors actually admitted that the drugs they are prescribing for high cholesterol and heart disease are causing the very problems they are prescribing them for in the first place --- an almost identical scenario to what we've seen with OSTEOPOROSIS DRUGS. And while a rapidly increasing number of researchers are coming to THE CONCLUSION that dietary cholesterol or saturated fat is not a health risk, our nation's treating physicians are slow to catch on. For instance, despite the recent revelation by our government that the cholesterol in your food has almost no bearing on the amount of cholesterol in your blood, we get a steady stream of this sort of thing from mainstream medicine --- and unfortunately, our government.
The government's new 'Dietary Guidelines' --- guidelines that still; despite the dietary debacle of the past three decades, continue to beat the drum for, "grains (at least half being whole grains), fat-free and low-fat dairy, soy...." On average we... are right on target for grains; and those under 13 years old consume only about 1/2 the amount of dairy recommended.... are very very low on fish-derived protein; and also high on solid fat consumption." The only fish that has any health benefit is wild, cold-water fish (HERE). And as to the solid fats (Saturated Fats), click on the previous link.
In the January 11th issue of the British Medical Journal's Evidence-Based Medicine Blog, Dr. Geoffrey Modest discussed these recommendations by saying, "Several very large observational studies have not found that eating foods high in cholesterol is much of a cardiovascular risk factor. Also, as a perspective, only a small minority of circulating cholesterol (about 20%) is from diet, most is from genes…." But are these two sentences really true?
The first sentence is completely true. However, the idea that we can blame our Cholesterol woes ON OUR GENES and not our diets is totally and ridiculously false. Wait a minute. How can this idea be false, when I agree with Dr. Modest's assertion that dietary cholesterol does not cause high blood levels of cholesterol? The problem is not the cholesterol we are consuming; it's our NATIONAL ADDICTION TO SUGAR AND JUNK CARBS! Although the government is telling us that our grain consumption is just about perfect, many of us know better (HERE is the ridiculous diet they continue to recommend). Grain is what you fatten farm animals with. And this doesn't even begin to touch on the issue of grains as they relate to FOOD SENSITIVITIES. It's no wonder that America is in the throes of an epidemic of Cardiometabolic Syndrome.
Although you may have never heard the term, Cardiometabolic Syndrome (sometimes referred to simply as Metabolic Syndrome or its old name, Syndrome X), it is yet another of the 'epidemics' currently raging in America. In order to be "officially" diagnosed with Cardiometabolic Syndrome, you must have three of the following.
- HYPERTENSION: Hypertension is another name for HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE. A study from the 2005 issue of Lancet (Global Burden of Hypertension....) said that over 26% of the world's adult population had Hypertension as of Y2K. The CDC puts the percentage of American adults currently dealing with Hypertension at almost 30% (70 million).
- HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES: This means you have too much fat in your blood. According to CDC statistics, somewhere between one in four and one in three Americans has High Triglycerides. What causes fat in the blood? I've shown you already that it is junk carbs and not dietary fat.
- CENTRAL OBESITY: In case you were not aware, BELLY FAT is a risk factor for every health problem you could name in the next five minutes. And on top of that, an estimated 7 to 10% of our population is MEDICALLY OBESE, NORMAL WEIGHT (MONW aka "Skinny Fat"). Likewise, if your BMI is over 30, or your waist is over 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men, you are OBESE. According to CDC statistics, nearly 7 out of 10 Americans are overweight or obese.
- HIGH FASTING BLOOD SUGAR OR ABNORMAL A1C TEST: This is largely due to LIVING THE HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Both are heavily associated with both early puberty and PCOS. However, it is critical to remember that DIABETES is not so much a blood sugar problem as it is a problem of unbridled Inflammation. The CDC says that nearly 10% of the American population (over 29 million) have Diabetes. The number with INSULIN RESISTANCE (pre-Diabetes) is thought to be nearly double this. My guess is that this last statistic is grossly underestimated. Interestingly enough, one of the main risk factors for developing Dysglycemia seems to taking medication --- virtually ANY OF THEM.
- CHOLESTEROL RATIO ISSUES: Although today's doctors are certainly concerned with Total Cholesterol levels over 200, you will earn a diagnosis of Cardiometabloic Syndrome if your HDL ("good" cholesterol) is too low, and your LDL ("bad" cholesterol) is too high. According to the CDC's 2015 article, High Cholesterol Facts, 73.5 million adults (31.7%) have this problem.
- PROTEIN (ALBUMIN) IN THE URINE: Your kidneys should be filtering protein out of the urine. Kidney damage is a hallmark of Diabetes. If you are not filtering protein, it's a good indication you have some sort of blood sugar dysregulation going on. In fact, WebMD's article on the subject states, "Albuminuria is most often caused by kidney damage from diabetes".
- INCREASED CRP (C-REACTIVE PROTEIN LEVELS: Although this test is fairly generalized, it is indicative of SYSTEMIC INFLAMMATION. Because Inflammation is the root of virtually every health problem under the sun, it would behoove you to click the link and spend three minutes to understand it.
When your doctor EXAMINES YOU and realizes that you have at least three of the above bullet points, you will be "officially" diagnosed with Metabolic Syndrome. Rest assured that you will be put on Statin Drugs. I won't lie to you; these drugs lower cholesterol like crazy. But interestingly enough, they only lower your chances of heart attacks, strokes, and death, slightly --- MANY STUDIES say not at all.
Back to the dead-animals-causing-maggots example from the beginning of this post. We all know the maggots came from flies, not from the decaying meat itself. We need to think of cholesterol in similar fashion. Unless you truly have a genetic cholesterol issue (relatively rare, although this is what EVERYONE IS TOLD), cholesterol is not your problem. Cholesterol just happens to be the material that your body uses to patch the damage to your blood vessels caused by INFLAMMATION. It's also why TOM BRADY is largely correct as to the diet eaten by he and his family.
A NEW WEAPON IN THE WAR ON CHOLESTEROL
PCSK9 is the common terminology used to describe the enzyme encoded by the Proprotein Convertase Subtilisin / Kexin type 9 gene. PCSK9 helps create the enzyme that binds to the receptor for the so-called "bad" Cholesterol ---- LDL (Low Density Lipoprotein). According to the government's National Institutes of Health (Genetics Home Reference' PCSK9)......
"The PCSK9 gene provides instructions for making a protein that helps regulate the amount of cholesterol in the bloodstream. The PCSK9 protein appears to control the number of low-density lipoprotein receptors, which are proteins on the surface of cells. These receptors play a critical role in regulating blood cholesterol levels. The receptors bind to particles called low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), which are the primary carriers of cholesterol in the blood."
If you can somehow "block" the PCSK9 gene, there will be more receptors --- mostly in the liver --- that bind to LDL, and remove it from the bloodstream, thus lowering blood levels of 'bad' Cholesterol. If you believe that Cholesterol is the root of all evil, this sounds fabulous. For those few who have "genetic" high cholesterol (Familial Hypercholesterolaemia), it might be fabulous. The problem is, advertisements for Statin Drugs have brainwashed the American people in two unique ways. Allow me to explain.
The highlighted paragraph above was cherry-picked, meaning I removed a couple of sentences for the sake of space and clarity. One of those sentences read thusly, "Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is produced in the body and obtained from foods that come from animals." This statement is patently untrue, as even the most current governmental guidelines on Cholesterol ("GUIDELINES" tend to run far behind current research) have abandoned this idea (HERE). Believing dietary Cholesterol has much of anything to do with blood levels of Cholesterol is a huge part of what leads doctors to ignore THIS, while promoting something more akin to THIS.
Secondly, very few people with high blood levels of Cholesterol or Triglycerides are that way because of "genetics" --- even though this is what large numbers of patients are being told. An acquaintance had a heart attack at age 30, discovering at that time he had a Triglyceride reading of 18,000 (under 150 is considered "normal," with anything over 500 being considered "high risk"). I once had a patient whose total cholesterol was something like 1,500 without meds, and 450 controlled. These are people who actually have a 'genetic' issue. The rest of you have an EPIGENETIC ISSUE.
Unfortunately, none of this has stopped drug companies from preying on those who have bought into these two misnomers. The company / drug that most readily comes to mind is Merck's VYTORIN, with their clever TV commercials a few years back. Vytorin is a Statin Drug (it contains another Cholesterol-lowering medication as well), about which their website states....
"Let's start with a fact that may surprise you. Did you know your cholesterol comes from two sources? That's right, not only does cholesterol come from food, but it also has a lot to do with your family history. This may explain why your LDL (bad) cholesterol could still be high, even though you're trying hard to lower it with diet and exercise. When diet and exercise aren't enough, adding VYTORIN can help. Ask your doctor if VYTORIN is right for you."
This new wave of drugs is about to make Statins passé. As the medical community moves forward in its never-ending war on Cholesterol (they are actually being 'pushed' forward by Big Pharma), it is PCSK9 Inhibitors that are proving themselves to be the gold mine du jour. As I showed you earlier, PCSK9 Inhibitors reduce Cholesterol levels via blocking the PCSK9 gene. For the most part, this is being done via introducing genetically modified "Monoclonal Antibodies" (most of these drugs end in the suffix "mab"), which are cultured in MICE, YEAST, or viruses. However, in similar fashion to WHAT'S BEING DONE WITH BLOOD PRESSURE, it's vaccines that are proving to be the delivery method of choice as far as the new anti-cholesterol drugs are concerned. How do these vaccines work?
Instead of introducing a "germ" so that one's Immune System can make antibodies against it, an AUTOIMMUNE REACTION is induced. Viruses that have had their DNA removed are used as the carrier to get the vaccine against the PCSK9 gene where it is wanted. According to that venerable wellspring of knowledge and truth, Wikipedia, the "vaccination was associated with significant reductions in total cholesterol, free cholesterol, phospholipids, and triglycerides." Not surprisingly, I.A. (Induced Autoimmunity) is the direction that any number of the NEARLY THREE HUNDRED VACCINES CURRENTLY IN DEVELOPMENT are headed. As a side note, the "mab" drugs (Monoclonal Antibodies) also happen to be used to treat various Autoimmune Diseases such as RA.
What are the side effects of these sorts of drugs? Who knows and who really cares --- just as long as they lower Cholesterol. According to the medical site Healthline.com (PCSK9: What You Need to Know; Side Effects and Risks), "Adverse events were reported in 69 percent of people taking evolocumab in the clinical trials. Injection-site swelling or rash, limb pain, and fatigue were some of the reported side effects. In the alirocumab trials, adverse events were reported in 81 percent of participants taking the drug. These included injection-site reactions, muscle pain, and eye-related events. Long-term side effects and risks are not yet known". According to Wikipedia, these effects were severe enough during the studies that, "Before the infusions, participants received oral corticosteroids, histamine receptor blockers, and acetaminophen to reduce the risk of infusion-related reactions, which by themselves will cause several side effects." The effects they are talking about can be seen HERE.
Thus far, the worst side effect of PCSK9 Inhibitors seems to be one of same side effects associated with Statin Drugs --- Neurocognitive Dysfunction (HERE). However, you should not be surprised to see a massive spike in side effects as these drugs begin to hit the market. Firstly, because we know that numerous meta-analysis show that only about 5% of any drug's side effects are actually reported to the proper authorities (HERE). Secondly, these drugs are lowering cholesterol levels to previously unheard of levels. What? I was under the assumption that you could never be too rich, too thin, or have Cholesterol levels that were too low.
Writing for the July 11, 2013 issue of CNN's website (New Drugs Could Drop Cholesterol to Extreme Lows) author Matt Sloane wrote, "With a statin medication, you can often get somebody's cholesterol between 70 and 100 mg/dL," said Dr. Elliott Antman, president-elect of the American Heart Association and a dean at Harvard Medical School. "If you use these monoclonal antibodies, you could see a number way less than 50." Once you understand why Cholesterol is necessary for good health (HERE is one reason) you'll begin to see the madness in this idea of pushing Cholesterol levels to, "way less than 50.". And what about the financial cost?
Suffice it to say that the cost of PCSK9 Inhibitors is through the roof. In a recent article for Formulary Journal called Move Over Sovaldi: Could PCSK9 Inhibitors be a Bigger Cost Challenge?, Tracey Walker wrote, "The cost of these drugs will add nearly $50 per month to the premium costs for every insured person in the United States,” said Don Hall, a former health plan CEO of Delta Sigma LLC, in Littleton, Colo. “If this was the last of the high-cost, high-use pharmaceuticals, the system could adjust and move forward. Unfortunately it's only the beginning as new drugs for a range of neuromuscular diseases and cancer are poised to hit the market in the next few years. We are quickly getting to the point where healthcare costs crush our economy."
It seems as though Hall may be underestimating these costs by a wide margin. I recently read a report saying that the 33% average cost increase for your Health Insurance for the upcoming year (2016) can be largely attributed to this new class of Cholesterol drug (along with the new Hep C drugs). But unlike the over-priced Hepatitis drugs, which have a cure rate of 90% (at a three month cost of almost $100,000) these drugs cure nothing. They only lower Cholesterol levels, and will need to be taken (according to most doctors) for the rest of your life. Although I have seen a wide array of cost estimates online, the most common seems to be in the $1,000 per month range --- or about $12,000 per year. This is on top of the cost for your Statins ($50 - $500 per month).
Here's the scoop folks, unless you have true "Familial Hypercholeterolemia" (genetic High Cholesterol), you don't need PCSK9 Inhibitors. Which begs the question of how common this particular disease really is. According to the July, 2014 issue of the European Heart Journal (Homozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia....), "Historically, the frequency of clinical HoFH has been estimated 1 in 500, although higher frequencies [can be seen] in specific populations." This mimics what Clinical Biochemist Reviews (Familial Hypercholesterolaemia) stated back in 2004. In other words, there are approximately 650,000 Americans who might benefit from these sorts of drugs. Bottom line; most of you do not need to be begging your doctor for a prescription.
STATINS AND THE GERIATRIC POPULATION
THE WAR ON CHOLESTEROL CONTINUES
The study, which was done at the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (a division of the Abbott Northwestern Hospital), said that while 100% of the men in the study of over 6,000 adults qualifies for a statin drug, only (emphasis in the word "only") 97% of the women did. I only tell you this so that you will know that when you go to your doctor, they will push statins on you. After all, it was only two short years ago that the medical community, in a study published in the Journal of Czech Physicians, was actually debating putting statins in the water supply (Addition of Statins Into the Public Water Supply? Risks of Side Effects and Low Cholesterol Levels) --- something that has long been debated for ANTI-DEPRESSANT DRUGS. What can I say? Studies like this are EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE at it's finest.
RESEARCHERS RETRACT STATEMENTS ON STATIN SAFETY UNDER PRESSURE FROM THE BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL
[Our goal with this editorial is to] "alert readers, the media, and the public to the withdrawal of these statements so that patients who could benefit from statins are not wrongly deterred from starting or continuing treatment because of exaggerated concerns over side effects." Dr. Fiona Goodlee of the British Medical Journal explaining why the public needs to be "warned" that Statin Drugs are much safer than some physicians and researchers have been telling the public. The statement comes from her editorial called "Adverse Effects of Statins: The BMJ and Authors Withdraw Statements that Adverse Events Occur in 18-20% of Patients".
Dr Fiona Goodlee, the editor-in-chief of the BMJ, recently withdrew two scientific papers from their
archives, denounced the results of the studies, and is in the process of forcing retractions from the study's authors. Trust me when I tell you that these studies were not done by Bevis and Butt Head. The first study, by Dr. John Abramson (MD) of Harvard Medical School was called Should People at Low Risk of Cardiovascular Disease Take a Statin? The study concluded that, "The evidence does not show that the benefits of statins in low risk patients outweigh the harms and that the advice for treatment of this group should not be changed." Later that same week, Aseem Malhotra, an interventional cardiology specialist registrar at Croydon University Hospital in London, England published an editorial in BMJ called Saturated Fat is not the Major Issue. The jist of the paper was that TRANS FATS and SUGAR / CARBS seem to be the driving force in Cardiovascular Disease and METABOLIC SYNDROME / DIABETES, not SATURATED FATS --- a fact I have belabored on this site.
Although Goodlee herself has been the hatchet-person for these studies, the actual act of retraction has been left up to others. She decided that, "the right thing to do is to pass this decision to an independent panel." In the immortal words of Dana Carvey, "Isn't that special". I'll not get into what "INDEPENDENT PANELS" tend to look like, but suffice it to say that they are rarely as "independent" as they claim to be. Folks; this is EVIDENCE-BASED MEDICINE at its finest. Sort of makes you wonder how much money / favor changed hands in this filthy little tryst.
THE TRUTH ABOUT
STATIN DRUGS AND ERECTIONS
"In the cases reported to the Netherlands Pharmacovigilance Centre, most men who had problems with sex drive began experiencing them the first week they started taking the statin drug." Robert Rister talking about a statin study in his article on Steady Health called, Statins, Cholesterol-Lowering Class of Drugs, Lower Male Sex Drive Too.
We know that Statins have plenty of side effects (take a look at the links above). Could one of their 'good' effects really be that they can help men who have PERFORMANCE ISSUES in the bedroom? If so, this would be news to me. I have been following the scientific literature pretaining to both SEXUAL DYSFUNCTION and Statins for many years, and have yet to see anything quite so optimistic as the spate of recent headlines promoting this latest study. In fact, over the course of the past decade, I have seen numerous doctors and studies touting the exact opposite.
A few years later came 2008's bombshell. Dr Beatrice Golomb (MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and director of the Statin Study Group at UC San Diego School of Medicine) published a freaky study citing nearly 900 peer-reviewed papers showing just how harmful Statin Drugs could really be. The meta-analysis (Statin Adverse Effects: A Review of the Literature and Evidence for a Mitochondrial Mechanism) was published in the American Journal of Cardiovascular Drugs, and listed absurd numbers of side effect directly attributable to Statins. Of course, plenty of air-time was given to the all-to-common MUSCULAR PAIN associated with these anti-cholesterol medications. But numerous other studies were touting other less well-known side effects, including ALZHEIMER'S, NEUROPATHY, INSULIN RESISTANCE, DIABETES, TENDINOPATHIES / FASCIAL WEAKNESS. Oh; and let's not forget "Sexual Dysfunction" made the list as well. Unfortunately, Dr. Golomb's teams concluded that when it comes to Statins, "Physician awareness of such side effects is reportedly low".
The hits kept coming in 2010 when the Journal of Sexual Medicine (The Effect of Statin Therapy on Testosterone Levels in Subjects Consulting for Erectile Dysfunction) looked at 3,500 men and then came to some ugly conclusions. Listen to these words taken straight from the study's abstract. "Both total and calculated free testosterone levels were significantly lower in subjects taking statins. Our data demonstrated that statin therapy might induce an overt primary hypogonadism [shriveled testicles] and should be considered as a possible confounding factor for the evaluation of testosterone levels in patients with ED." Gulp! Web MD dot com actually carries this headline on their website, "Statins May Lower Testosterone & Libido. Men With Erectile Dysfunction on Statin Therapy Are Twice as Likely to Have Low Testosterone." But in all honesty, none of this should come as a surprise.
Cholesterol is the precursor for all the sex hormones, including Testosterone. The thing is, never forget that Testosterone is the hormone that not only creates and maintains the male sex drive, but the female sex drive as well. When you start tinkering with Cholesterol levels in an unnatural method (i.e. drugs), you are going to get some crazy side effects, including the potential inability to get an erection sufficient for sex.
The March 10, 2012 issue of The Morning Call (newspaper) had an article on Statin Drugs written by a knee surgeon. The article started out saying, "What does a knee surgeon know about statins' side effects? Plenty, after seeing scores of patients improve their memory, strength, vigor and sex drive after stopping these popular drugs." The author, Dr. Thomas Meade of Allentown, Pennsylvania went on to say that, "A recent Cochrane Review of many studies confirmed 1,000 people without heart disease had to be treated with statins to prevent one death. Therefore 999 people, paying $5 per pill, are not going to live one day longer, but they will enrich the pharmaceutical industry's coffers and are at risk for the many real side effects of stopping production of cholesterol — a wonderful molecule responsible for healthy cell membranes, sex hormones, nerve conduction and brain function, all of which contribute to life as we know it today. Statins are simply the most prescribed drug in the history of medicine and the most profitable, with annual revenues of $26 billion. Profits are so lucrative to "big pharma" that drug manufacturers have influenced most medical organizations and respected high-profile physicians to continue to look for every opportunity to exaggerate any new study that validates prescribing the highest dose of statins to an increasing patient population under the false assumption that it will improve their quality of life." Hopefully you caught those parts about Cholesterol and sex hormones / sex drive.
But now --- all of a sudden --- we are supposed to believe numerous headlines from around the country touting this study and the benefits of Statin Drugs in the bedroom? If you did not know better, you would almost think Statins were an aphrodisiac after reading some of these articles. Commenting on the study, Dr. Jeffery Kuvin of Boston's Tufts Medical Center chimed in, "Over the years it's become apparent that erectile dysfunction is an indication of decreased vascular health in men, and it's considered by many to be a significant cardiovascular risk factor." It's true. There is an intimate relationship between cardiovascular health and the ability to get and maintain an erection. My only question is whether or not taking a drug is the best way to solve the underlying reasons men have this problem. For some potential solutions to this issue, you can look at the two previous links or go HERE or HERE.
MORE ON THE RECENT CHANGES TO
A few months ago, I shared a post on this subject (HERE), and revealed to you the phenomenal numbers of Financial Conflicts of Interest (COA's) among those creating these guidelines. In fact, it was so bad that after the guideline authors revealed their financial conflicts, they simply wrote, "The other members of the writing groups reported numerous relationships with industry," and left it at that. And although we knew that these new "EVIDENCE-BASED" guidelines would increase the number of Americans taking statins, we did not know how dramatic this increase would be until earlier this week. A study by Dr. Michael Pencina of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and published in the most recent issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (Application of New Cholesterol Guidelines to a Population-Based Sample) revealed the answer. And while shocking, the results were not surprising in the least. The study's conclusions are as follows.
"The new guidelines would increase the number of U.S. adults receiving or eligible for statin therapy from 43.2 million (37.5%) to 56.0 million (48.6%). Among adults between the ages of 60 and 75 years without cardiovascular disease who are not receiving statin therapy, the percentage who would be eligible for such therapy would increase from 30.4% to 87.4% among men and from 21.2% to 53.6% among women."
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
For the record, the COA's revealed by Dr. Pencina and his chief co-author included
- McGill University Health Center: McGill does a lot of research in the area of heart disease, cholesterol, and drugs to lower cholesterol (both statins and non-statins).
- AbbVie: AbbVie, a division of Abbott Laboratories, manufactures the non-statin cholesterol drug "Niaspan", which is commonly prescribed along with statins. Clinical trials have shown it provides no benefit in lowering cholesterol. They are also heavily involved with stents, vessel closure devices, endovascular and coronary technologies.
- Janssen: Janssen is the collective name of the Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. They recently came up with a new class of Type II Diabetes drug, and are involved with several dyslipidemia drugs.
- Eli Lilly: Eli Lilly makes the stain drug Livalo. They have also been working on a class of drug to increase HDL --- something which has proved elusive to the pharmaceutical industry. They have also been involved with the non-statin drug PCSK9 as well. As a side note, Eli Lilly has claimed that their drug Livalo has fewer side effects than other statins. Listen to what Dr. John Briffa has to say about the way that Eli Lilly is exploiting this fact on the July 13, 2012 issue of his blog. "It’s well known that about 75 per cent of people who start statins stop again within a year. Recently, the drug company Eli Lilly issued a press release regarding a survey called ‘Understanding Statin use in America and Gaps in Education’ (‘USAGE’). The USAGE survey was an attempt, on the face of it, to better understand the reasons for why so many individuals stop taking their statins. More than 10,000 people were polled, and the results are in. It turns out that off all of the reasons individuals might stop their statin medication, ‘side effects’ was the most commonly cited reason. According to the survey, a full 62 per cent of respondents cited side effects as the reason for stopping their medication." According to Eli Lilly, Livalo is the perfect solution for these folks.
- Boehringer Ingelheim: Boehringer Ingleheim makes about 30 different drugs, including many for the cardiovascular system.
To read more about the COA's in this area of industry guidelines within the field of cholesterol, you can go to the blog of Dr. Barbara Roberts --- a professor at Brown University (HERE) and read a short article she wrote on the subject. She says the conflicts in this area are over half a billion dollars.
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).
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