February 12

First nominee for the Reckless Award

12  comments

A few years ago a British physician commented that statin drugs were so useful in preventing heart disease that they maybe should be put in the drinking water. I’m going to start an annual award named after the physician who made this preposterous statement, Dr. John Reckless, and award it to the person who should know better yet makes the most outrageous recommendations for statin drug use.
Here is Dr. John Reckless, chairman of Heart UK and a consultant endocrinologist at Bath University, making his vacuous statement to the BBC.

The whole point of the debate is to bring out the fact that we are under-treating and the fact that a lot more people could benefit.
The whole population should be following diet, lifestyle and weight loss measures. We shouldn’t have our high- fat meals and we shouldn’t lounge around, we should all be taking exercise and so on.
Of course we all need that. But on the other hand, rather more people do need statins than are currently getting them.
So maybe people should be able to have their statin, perhaps if not in their drinking water, with their drinking water.
The issue is how far we should be encouraging wider use. [my italics]

The first nominee for the Reckless Award is .
Before I get to Dr. Stuttaford’s lunacy, I’ve got to lay a bit of groundwork.
Dr. Malcolm Kendrick is a GP in the UK who writes extensively about health and diet and is a cholesterol-causes-heart disease skeptic, to say the least. He has recently published a book in the UK, soon to be available in the US, called The Great Cholesterol Con (not to be confused with Anthony Colpo’s book of the same title). To get the flavor of Dr. Kendrick’s thinking, here is an interview with him from a couple of weeks ago. (The Lancet article he refers to is the one I posted on a couple of days ago.)
Dr. Stuttaford is apoplectic over Dr. Kendrick’s book. Dr. Stuttaford is a statin worshiper, and he minces no words in letting us know how he feels.

As this is the season for strokes and heart attacks, as well as frosty mornings, all those who know they are at risk should consider, then reject, the opinions expressed recently by Dr Malcolm Kendrick on statins. If extracts from his book fairly reflect his beliefs, then he seeks to persuade people to abandon statins and have a high-fat diet. If followed, this advice could cause a public health disaster to make the damage done by the MMR vaccinations debate seem as nothing. Dr Kendrick’s book apparently rebuts internationally accepted teaching — and the sheaves of scientific papers to support it — that statins have revolutionised the life expectancy of people in danger of a coronary thrombosis or an ischaemic stroke. [My italics]

“…and the sheaves of scientific papers to support it.”? Where are those sheaves of supporting papers, Dr. Stuttaford? We would all like to see them.
There you have it. The first foaming at the mouth statin lunatic to get the honor. I’m sure many more will follow because, unfortunately, they are not in short supply.


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  1. just wanted to thank you. you and anthony colpo saved me from the dreaded statin. i’ve been on a nearly carnivore diet and my latest chol. reading was 311 (HDL 98, LDL 202, VLDL 11, TRI 53, CRP 1.08)so my doc hands me a script and says ‘i’m putting you a statin drug.’ a few months ago i would have been scared by my chol. readings and would have taken the script. instead i told him flat out NO WAY. he was a little stunned, but to my surprise he just said ‘okay.’ it’s so sad the public is misled by the doctors and authorities they trust.
    Hi Susan–
    I can never believe the level of ignorance of some physicians.  Total cholesterol is the sum of all the cholesterol fractions: LDL, HDL, and VLDL.  Even the most fervent believers in the lipid hypothesis believe that HDL is good and is protective against heart disease.  So why is it when patients come in with high total cholesterol levels, a huge portion of which is HDL, do they want to put these patients on statins?  In other words, if your cholesterol is high because you’ve got a lot of HDL contributing to its being high, what’s the problem.  That should be a good thing.  Yet I’ve heard from so many people in this same circumstance.  They have high cholesterol because they have a ton of HDL and their doctor, who can’t see beyond the high total cholesterol (which is meaningless), wants to put them on a statin.
    Were I a patient in this scenario I would ask if I was charged for the HDL test.  When the doctor says: Of course, ask why?  When he (or she) says, what do you mean why? say, we’ll you’re not using the results for anything, so why did you charge me for it? 
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  2. Greetings Dr. Mike,
    I think the Reckless Award may have to be given more often than annually!
    Thanks for your Protein Power books and many thanks for your blog. I appreciate and enjoy the insights immensely.
    Barbara
    Hi Barbara–
    Thanks for the kind words about the books and blog.
    Although the Reckless Award will be given annually, there will be many, many nominees. Dr. Stuttaford is just the first.
    Cheers–
    MRE

  3. Stuttaford earned your award. Most comments by non-medical people are simply anecdotal but that doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable and true. I talked four friends into abandoning their Lipitor after they all complained of severe muscle weakness. Voila! No more muscle weakness.
    On a different note, I just found out about oil pulling and I’ve spent an entire morning googling and reading about it. I believe it’s Ayurvedic in origin and one site claimed that the practice can cure, among other things, AIDS and cracked heels.
    Sounds better than Preparation H.
    Hi Marly–
    Muscle pain and weakness are the most common side effects of statins, so it’s no surprise that four of your friends experienced them.
    As far as oil pulling is concerned, I haven’t a clue as to what it is.  But if I ever develop AIDS and/or cracked heels, I’ll be sure to check it out.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  4. I also was on statins and had some serious side effects. My doc actually laughed at me when I mentioned depression and memory problems! When I refused to back on statins, (because I had a 10% “risk” even with NO family history) she tried to convince me to take them (not sure about numbers, but total over 300 and HDL 68, which had been 28 prior to low carb), saying the side effects weren’t as bad as dying from a heart attack!!! Mind you, I almost lost my job because of the side effects!
    But, I am one of the lucky ones. I am on a message board of people that have stopped their statins….and many have permanent damage, mainly nerve and muscle. A few of us on the board try to tell people to not worry about their numbers, especially when their HDLs are very high, but they insist on trying to lower them, only without statins.
    I follow ALL the news on statins. And I fear there will come a day when someone will seriously recommend putting them in the water! It truely does sound like a wonder drug!!!
    What is also horrible is that so many docs not only don’t tell their patients to take CoQ10 along with the statin, some even specifically tell patients to NOT take it!!
    Hi Cindy–
    Thanks for the report and thanks for reminding me of CoQ10.  Anyone who is or has been on statins needs CoQ10.  The enzymatic chain upon which statin drugs work is involved in the production of CoQ10.  As a consequence, taking statins reduces CoQ10 levels.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  5. cracked heals…i had that in Namibia and i read somewhere it was due in part to low levels of EPA/EFA’s and the epidermis.
    You out there found similar please ?
    Anyways upped my dosage and they stopped cracking..maybe coincidental but another 2.5 yrs in Africa they didn’t crack despite me still wearing flop-flips….
    Hey Simon–
    Thanks for the history.  I’ll pass it along.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  6. Just did my own Google search on “oil pulling/swishing”. The process involves placing a tablespoon of cold-pressed sunflower or sesame seed oil in the mouth and slowly swishing it around, being careful to “pull” it between the teeth, for 20 minutes, while thinking soothing and/or happy thoughts. After 20 minutes (!), you are to spit out the oil, which will now be white and thick. You must then carefully clean your mouth to remove all residue of the oil. The rationale for this is – because the oil has become thick and white, this is evidence that “toxins” have been removed from the body. The claim is made that you can verify the removal of these toxins by looking at the white stuff under a microscope, which will show “bacteria babies”. Anyone with basic chemistry experience or cooking knowledge, for that matter, knows that to produce an emulsified sauce (Hollandaise or mayonnaise) or lotion, you simply slowly add oil to a water based mixture (usually flavored with eggs or lemon or both) and mix for a while. It helps if you add an emulsifier (like mustard for oil and vinegar dressing, or egg yolk for mayo and hollandaise). Your solution will become much lighter in color and thicken. After 20 minutes of being mixed with saliva, I would expect to see cells from the inside of the mouth and partially digested oil under a microscope.
    People who try this eagerly report that after only a few “treatments” their teeth are whiter and their aches and pains are less. Of course they also report that it takes rinsing and gargleing with sea salt and baking soda, as well as thoroughly brushing their teeth to remove the residue. Somehow I think if they just spent those 20 minutes swishing water around (or not), while thinking peaceful, soothing, or happy thoughts they would see the same improvements.
    Hi Martha–
    Thanks for the research report.  I think I’ll stick to my regimen of low-carb eating and regular brushing.
    Cheers–
    MRE 

  7. I have a candidate for a Reckless Award – Texas Governor Rick Perry. (Or Mr. Goodhair, as those of us who voted against him, call him) Why is he a candidate? His latest “good idea” is to require all girls entering the sixth grade in 2008, to be vaccinated against HPV. He announced this as an executive order, which is not subject to debate in the state legisature. He originally signed the order with no provision for how to pay for this. The 3 injection vaccine costs $360 wholesale, not counting the cost of visits to the doctor and is estimated to have a final cost of $400 – $700 per child. In addition, there are no long term studies (can you say thalidomide or DES?) and many parents are concerned that their child will think that the shots will protect them from all STDs.
    Hi Martha–
    The Reckless Award is only for stupid actions concerning statin drugs.  We would have to come up with a whole new award for the Perry idiocy in Texas, which is stupidity of a whole different magnitude.

    Cheers–
    MRE 

  8. Hello Dr Eades:
    I found a prostate doctor for my husband who I thought was going to be good. The jury is still not totally in, but I believe now he is so-so, not good. On our first visit, he had a little poster drawn up showing treatments, and I was shocked to see statins listed as a treatment for prostate cancer. Subsequently, this man sent us a “Prostate Cancer Communication Newsletter”, and “Statins” was the front page article. Supposedly, at the 2005 American Assn for Cancer Research mtg, Dr. Elizabeth Platz reported that men taking statins “reduced their risk of developing advanced prostate cancer by about half, and this effect seems cumulative, so the longer men take statins, the lower the risk of advanced prostate cancer.” She reported that the use of statins reduced the risk of metastatic prostate cancer, or prostate cancer mortality, or both by more than 65%. In the pamphlet, the “by more than 65%” was in very large bold type. Why would this woman say this, when it seems so obvious to me that this is, like, a thing that you can’t prove or test for. Statins reduced the risk of something that you just might get? Does that seem a weird way of looking at it to anyone else? It stops something that you can’t predict reliably that you will get? This same pamphlet went on to talk about intimacy in a marriage when the man’s prostate has been carved up or nuked as “the loving pie”. This analogy dealt with eating a large pie in several slices, with various activities and emotions as the crust and filling and using this pie as a bizarre and scary metaphor for all the facets of married love.
    makes me think this particular doc is “out to lunch”.
    statins for prostate cancer seems to me like a way, way, WAY off label use of this stuff.
    thanks again for the low carb way of life. “Protein Power’s” spine is pretty rickety from much reading/studying, will have to get another copy. robyn tonkin
    Hi Robyn–
    As far as I can tell there is no medical literature showing that statins prevent any kind of cancer.  There is medical literature showing that statins appear to cause cancer, especially in elderly people.
    If I had prostate cancer I wouldn’t go near a statin.  I would ask to see the double-blind, placebo-controlled study showing that a statin would actually work to treat the cancer.  There is on such study.

    Cheers–
    MRE 

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