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The Ongoing Cholesterol/Statin Propaganda, Regurgitated by “Experts” and Doctors and Media

re: ethics in medicine

Don’t take your medical advice from a photographer and engineer (me). Trust your doctor. After all, the past few years have shown us the incredibly high ethical and intellectual standards of science and medicine, right?

I once asked a cardiologist friend what effect a statin had on athletes. His response captures it perfectly:

Hope that your competitors are taking them.

And that’s ignoring brain fog and diabetes and a host of other issues, all minimized and rationalized-away by mainstream medicine. If even WebMD (a mainstream sell-out) calls it out, you had better worry about it. Nasty side effects, some clinical and some subclinical with subtle and not so subtle loss of function*, all helpfully ignored by overworked practicing physicians, who must follow SOC or be fired/disciplined.

* See Lipitor® Thief of Memory, by MD Duane Graveline @AMAZON. And I assert that my brilliant PhD uncle had his brain massively degraded by a statin all too early in life—on the advice of his doctor. Living 15 years as an intellectual invalid is a huge loss, and there is zero evidence of any benefit that accrued.

Cholesterol and statin half-truths, lies, propaganda.

I cannot possibly call out all the misleading claims and outright lies about statins and cholesterol but here are some basics:

  • Cholesterol is one of the most critical substances in the body necessary for everything from cell structure/repair to sex hormones. Your body is not stupid; it regulates it according to its needs. Which includes more when under duress, adjusting for dietary intake, etc.
  • The cholesterol hypothesis of heart disease has no objective basis in scientific reality, being laughably wrong now for 80 years or so. No causal evidence has ever been shown. The hypothesis has been overhauled and changed so many times with so many ridiculous variations and diversification that no objective thinker could possibly buy into the shoddy premises behind it.
  • Just as many people with low cholesterol have heart attacks as those with high cholesterol!
  • No study has EVER shown that women benefit from statins.
  • No study has EVER shown that men benefit from statins, excepting the next point, which is exceptionally weak.
  • The ONLY group that ever has shown a (tiny) benefit from statins is men under 65 who have already had a heart attack. This “benefit” probably stems from a mild anti-inflammatory effect and has nothing to do with cholesterol. Moreover, what in hell happens after a heart attack (?)... all sorts of behaviors are altered. So even this claim is dubious at best.
  • Statins double and might triple the risk of diabetes, a far more serious issue than some non-existent theoretical “benefit” with a relative risk reduction of 25% based on tiny numbers and absurdly biased “science”.
  • The NTT (number to treat) is obscenely high, with no credible evidence of real benefit, and certainly not weight against the numerous harms.
  • If LDL cholesterol ("apo B") is causal, there must be a dose-response relationship. Yet there is no credible dose-response relationship. Someone with very high cholesterol for decades can have a zero coronary artery calcium score, zero ischemia, zero clinical anything... the idea that such people are “exceptions” to a dose-response relationship is a powerful counterfactual that just gets dismissed, a scientific having your cake and eating it too. Asshole doctors keep trying to force statins on my mother (80's, high 200's into 300's cholesterol and off-the-chart triglycerides for decades) in spite of zero calcium in her heart and zero clinical or subclinical evidence of anything.
  • When a doctor opining on heart health initiates a conversation on cholesterol with an analogy on smoking instead of logical and factual rigor around endpoints on heart disease, it shows self-deception that surely stems from cognitive comittments causing cognitive dissonance requiring rationalization. Or just lying and I see no evidence of that. And when such a high-end comprehensive lifestyle care doctor ($$$$$) touts statins as being great based on settled science (“the evidence is very clear”), studiously avoiding competing theories, not once discussing treatment outcomes from statins, ignoring elaphants in the room like "apo A", signs up for “saturated fat = BAD”), works around a high level of side effects while discounting all but common ones, etc... it sure looks like follow the money, a deeply intellectual blindness, probably not even a conscious awareness.
  • Higher cholesterol correlates increasingly strongly with increased longevity the older you get.
  • Studies on statins are invariably weak, cut short to hide issues, ignore and minimize serious side effects, never included groups they are used on, data is never made public, papers ghostwritten by the pharma companies, etc.
  • Low cholesterol might be associated with violent crime.

In that context, let’s take a look at how the statin propaganda has so thoroughly ingrained itself that non-facts and outright lies are taken implicitly as the basis for further discussion.

Medical persuasion in the media, example.

This example article is one of the more balanced ones!

The title uses the persuasion technique of “thinking past the sale”. That is, a statement is made that the reader is expected to accept without question as part of a following claim. It’s a trick that a debater/persuader might use, but it has no place in science.

The article title below is itself propaganda. That is, virtually no one can benefit from a statin, see above; it’s all downside for 99.9% of the people taking them. The “you may not need part” is a persuasion trick to have to accept as a fact that many people *do* need statins. Once accepted, your mind is predisposed to what follows, never questioning that claim. All the news uses this technique on every topic. In its simplest characterization, it is 'spin' eg propaganda.

Oddly, this article quickly proceeds to contradict its own title. A better title might have been “Benefits of Statins Unproven, Especially for Some”.

The Epoch Times: You May Not Need Statins, Even With Elevated ‘Bad’ Cholesterol

2022-03-06, by Allison DeMajistre BSN, RN, CCRN.

For decades, the answer to lowering cholesterol to prevent heart attack or stroke was a statin prescription. Unfortunately, many people prescribed statins stop taking them due to side effects, while others question their efficacy. One study even found that doctors have overprescribed statins worldwide, which can potentially be harmful.
[WIND: good, but why use a title that the first paragraph immediately undermines?]

Is statin therapy suitable for you? A simple test could give you a better idea of your risk for a heart attack or stroke by evaluating your coronary artery calcium (CAC) score.
[WIND: another 'sale' that statins are important and necessary, barring some exception]

...

The “bad” cholesterol is not necessarily bad. It is theorized that one of LDL-C’s primary jobs in the bloodstream is to help repair artery walls from the damage caused by inflammation and bacteria. But once the LDL-C builds up along artery walls over time, it can form hard calcium plaques that block blood flow to the heart, ultimately causing a heart attack.
[WIND: GOOD, some balance. But another false 'sale': no causal link between LDL and atherosclerosis has ever been shown. Thus the logical fallacy of correlation is not causation is another “fact” for you to accept.]

...

Agatston believes up to 50 percent of people who took a statin because of their high cholesterol level didn’t need them after finding their CAC score was zero.
[WIND: another 'sale': the idea that you *do* need a statin if your CAC is high. Yet there is no causal evidence, and no evidence that a statin depressing cholesterol will have any benefit, as noted above. But even if you accept the premise, 2X as many people are taking statins as should be!]

...

WIND: medical insights have gone downhill at The Epoch Times. I’ve observed a steady shift into mainstream medical misinformation, by which I mean the unproven false premises in areas like cholesterol and statins.

To be fair to this article, it does mention the side effects and disputes in solid detail. But by implicitly accepting the premise that statins have a role to play for most of us, it undermines its own credibility.

As for CAC, mine is high, which is very common among ultra endurance athletes. But it’s also true that mortality is unchanged by that high CAC score. My cholesterol is high too, but it’s plain as day that the post-COVID EBV and thyroid disease are responsible—my body is doing what it needs to do to cope.

My doctors all of course tell me I should take a statin (they are required to by SOC guidelines), which I have refused—crackpot medicine. My internist finally acknowledged that my spike in high cholesterol last year was almost certainly due to an active EBV infection—the body increases cholesterol under infective duress. And of course my HDL (the “good” kind though that is now disputed) has been extremely high all through this, which most doctors just ignore.

My wife’s doctor prescribed her a statin, but she has a CAC score of zero (no calcium at all!). I consider that statin recommendation medical malpractice (literally), since no benefit has ever been shown for women. But it is Standard of Care (meaning legalized harm/damage). I wish such doctors could be hounded out of practice.

My mother has had high cholesterol most of her life, and she is 81 and has never had a heart attack or stroke, and her CAC is near-zero. Similarly, my father is 83 and no heart attack or stroke, with low cholesterol.

The cholesterol and statin meme has run its course.

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