Thursday, January 31, 2008

Health Officials and News Media Complicit In Ongoing Lie That Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs Save Lives

20 Years After Introduction Of The First Statin Drug, Americans Achieve Ideal Cholesterol Number. But Mortality Rates Are About The Same

For the first time in 50 years, America has reached the ideal cholesterol number! Twenty years after introduction of the first statin cholesterol-lowering drug, Americans have reached the 199 figure. In 1960 the average circulating cholesterol number in Americans was 220. [Associated Press Dec. 13, 2007] A Centers of Disease Control report says use of cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins, particularly by older Americans, is thought to be the main reason for the improvement. But how could this be? Only about 6 million out of an adult population of 225 million actually take statin drugs, many of them inconsistently. Statin drug users represent just 2.6% of the adult population.

The effect of statin drugs in a minority of the population would have to be a whopper to affect the overall number in the population at large. In fact, the 6 million Americans on statin drugs would have to have such low cholesterol numbers to affect the aggregate number that they would likely be ill from liver disease. Very low total cholesterol (below 160) increases the risk for mental depression and cancer.

Dr. John Abramson, MD, of Harvard Medical School, says statin drug therapy for primary prevention of heart attacks in people over age 65, or women of an age, is not supported by the bulk of the evidence. Using statin drugs, the absolute risk reduction for adverse cardiac events (heart attacks, strokes) is small, only 1.5% (94.5 of users derive no benefit).

Of nine statin drug trials used to produce the current cholesterol-lowering guidelines relied upon by doctors, none provide evidence for use of statins. [Sources: Abramson J, Wright J. Are lipid-lowering guidelines evidence-based? Lancet 2007; 369:168-169; Lancet Comment Questions Benefit of Statins in Primary Prevention, from Heartwire, WebMD, Shelley Wood, 2007]

The assumption is that a low cholesterol number equates with heart health. But the number of sudden cardiac deaths remains about the same, about 50% of the annual deaths due to heart disease annually. There are about 325,000 sudden cardiac deaths annually in the U.S. out of 652,486 annual deaths due to heart disease. The incidence of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has declined modestly in the past 2 decades, but the proportion of sudden coronary artery disease deaths in the U.S. has not changed. [Source: Sudden Cardiac Death, Ali A Sovari, MD, July 17, 2006, EMedicine WebMD]

The release of this data by the Centers for Disease Control, and its widespread dissemination by the news media, shows that government health authorities and the news media are willingly participating in this long-standing ruse upon the American public. Not one news reporter dared to report whether cholesterol reduction actually saves lives.


Laugh at lard butts - but just remember Fatty Fritz lives longer

Some British satire with a serious point at the end

The government is considering a scheme to pay hideously obese people to lose weight, offering them "vouchers and rewards" for shedding enough pounds to enable them to see their own genitals for the first time in 30 years. This is part of a programme which will cost the rest of us, those of us who are merely "chubby" or "fat", some œ327m. If you take the health advice at face value, almost the entire nation is overweight, encased in blubber, our poor arteries clogged like the straws of a McDonald's vanilla milk shake when you get to the bottom of the carton. We are all afflicted and all to blame, etc.

For years we have been cautioned against stigmatising people for a whole array of unfortunate situations - teenage single mothers, divorcees, fat people. But, of course, stigma is the means by which society expresses its disapproval of people who choose lifestyles which, one way or another, cost the rest of society money. Remove the stigma and people think such behaviour is perfectly fine. As a result we have become a nation of obese, sexually incontinent lunatics.

Perhaps instead of offering fat people money, which they will only spend on pies, we should once again stigmatise them. School children could be encouraged to pelt fat classmates with cakes, exclude them from playground activities and subject them to cruel jibes. And pinch them on their horrible fleshy arms during assembly (if schools still have assemblies). Fat adults could be forced to pay for two seats on public transport, could be given the worst seats in restaurants and scolded over their choice of dessert. "Have the fruit salad, you fat pig," and so on. Most obesity is, after all, a consequence of stupidity and indolence and not of some genetic affliction. It is a lifestyle choice which people would be less inclined to adopt if they knew we all hated them for it.

There is another, better approach, of course, which is to leave people alone to live the lives they wish to lead. I was in Austria recently where everybody is truly, grotesquely fat. All of them are huge, flatulent, pasty-skinned spheres of compacted frankfurter sausage, fried potato, sour cream and stale beer, rolling around their pretty mountains belching and singing in a tuneless, guttural manner.

The average life expectancy in Austria is 79.21 years - one of the highest in the world and a good five or six months longer than we can expect to live - and increasing rapidly. In fact, much though the quacks and government ministers might hector us, there is very little correlation between obesity and early death, according to recent studies. So you might conclude that this is a sort of fashionable meddling for the sake of it by a government which is never happier than when telling us how to conduct our lives.



Just some problems with the "Obesity" war:

1). It tries to impose behavior change on everybody -- when most of those targeted are not obese and hence have no reason to change their behaviour. It is a form of punishing the innocent and the guilty alike. (It is also typical of Leftist thinking: Scorning the individual and capable of dealing with large groups only).

2). The longevity research all leads to the conclusion that it is people of MIDDLING weight who live longest -- not slim people. So the "epidemic" of obesity is in fact largely an "epidemic" of living longer.

3). It is total calorie intake that makes you fat -- not where you get your calories. Policies that attack only the source of the calories (e.g. "junk food") without addressing total calorie intake are hence pissing into the wind. People involuntarily deprived of their preferred calorie intake from one source are highly likely to seek and find their calories elsewhere.

4). So-called junk food is perfectly nutritious. A big Mac meal comprises meat, bread, salad and potatoes -- which is a mainstream Western diet. If that is bad then we are all in big trouble.

5). Food warriors demonize salt and fat. But we need a daily salt intake to counter salt-loss through perspiration and the research shows that people on salt-restricted diets die SOONER. And Eskimos eat huge amounts of fat with no apparent ill-effects. And the average home-cooked roast dinner has LOTS of fat. Will we ban roast dinners?

6). The foods restricted are often no more calorific than those permitted -- such as milk and fruit-juice drinks.

7). Tendency to weight is mostly genetic and is therefore not readily susceptible to voluntary behaviour change.

8). And when are we going to ban cheese? Cheese is a concentrated calorie bomb and has lots of that wicked animal fat in it too. Wouldn't we all be better off without it? And what about butter and margarine? They are just about pure fat. Surely they should be treated as contraband in kids' lunchboxes! [/sarcasm].

9). And how odd it is that we never hear of the huge American study which showed that women who eat lots of veggies have an INCREASED risk of stomach cancer? So the official recommendation to eat five lots of veggies every day might just be creating lots of cancer for the future! It's as plausible (i.e. not very) as all the other dietary "wisdom" we read about fat etc.

10). And will "this generation of Western children be the first in history to lead shorter lives than their parents did"? This is another anti-fat scare that emanates from a much-cited editorial in a prominent medical journal that said so. Yet this editorial offered no statistical basis for its opinion -- an opinion that flies directly in the face of the available evidence.

Even statistical correlations far stronger than anything found in medical research may disappear if more data is used. A remarkable example from Sociology:
"The modern literature on hate crimes began with a remarkable 1933 book by Arthur Raper titled The Tragedy of Lynching. Raper assembled data on the number of lynchings each year in the South and on the price of an acre's yield of cotton. He calculated the correlation coefficient between the two series at -0.532. In other words, when the economy was doing well, the number of lynchings was lower.... In 2001, Donald Green, Laurence McFalls, and Jennifer Smith published a paper that demolished the alleged connection between economic conditions and lynchings in Raper's data. Raper had the misfortune of stopping his analysis in 1929. After the Great Depression hit, the price of cotton plummeted and economic conditions deteriorated, yet lynchings continued to fall. The correlation disappeared altogether when more years of data were added."
So we must be sure to base our conclusions on ALL the data. But in medical research, data selectivity and the "overlooking" of discordant research findings is epidemic.

"What we should be doing is monitoring children from birth so we can detect any deviations from the norm at an early stage and action can be taken". Who said that? Joe Stalin? Adolf Hitler? Orwell's "Big Brother"? The Spanish Inquisition? Generalissimo Francisco Franco Bahamonde? None of those. It was Dr Colin Waine, chairman of Britain's National Obesity Forum. What a fine fellow!


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