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Letters to the Editor Issue 97

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listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 97 - March 2004

Cholesterol Skeptics: The Bad News About Statin Drugs

by Maryann Napoli
The cholesterol skeptics were there. So were the physicians who challenge the safety and necessity of cholesterol-lowering drugs. And then there were the lipid researchers whose findings totally contradict the prevailing dietary advice to the public: Avoid saturated fats, limit cholesterol, and use more polyunsaturated oils. Their presentations were met with enthusiastic approval at a conference held last spring in Arlington, Virginia. But then again, the attendees were not the usual people who show up at a conference billed as “Heart Disease in the 21st Century: Beyond the Lipid Hypothesis.” They were practising physicians, biochemists, farmers, greenmarket activists, researchers, cooks, parents of young children, and people who have been told their cholesterol is too high. The general message was: Fats are extremely important to good health …the right kinds of fat, that is.

Cholesterol was the dominant topic of the two-day event, as well as the subject of the opening lecture provocatively entitled, “High Cholesterol Protects Against Disease.” Uffe Ravnskov MD PhD a Danish physician who has published many critical papers about the purported association between cholesterol and cardiovascular disease, led off with a slide showing the results of all the major clinical trials that attempted to prove that lowering cholesterol in healthy but high-risk people would reduce their death rate from heart disease. “The reduced rates of cardiovascular mortality were small for men and non-existent for women,” said Dr Ravnskov, who is the author of The Cholesterol Myths, a paperback that refutes the theory that cholesterol in our food and in our blood causes heart disease.

These cholesterol trials also looked at total mortality, that is, the deaths from all causes, and found little difference between the study participants who tried to lower their cholesterol and those who did not. In other words, some clinical trials showed that the heart disease death rates were, in fact, lower among men who had reduced their cholesterol levels. But this benefit was offset by a higher rate of deaths from other causes.

Given these unimpressive research results, why is high cholesterol so firmly imbedded in our consciousness as a sure-fire sign of a future heart attack? Dr Ravnskov said that it all started with the landmark Framingham Heart Study, which began following healthy people in the early 1950s to see who had a heart attack and what distinguished them from the people who did not. High cholesterol was one risk factor – but it was only one of more than 240 others. “They [public health officials, cardiologists, etc.] have confused a statistical association with causation,” he observed. “It’s as if they saw a house burning and determined that the bigger the fire, the more fireman are present, and then concluded that firemen cause burning houses.”

When studies failed to prove that lowering cholesterol made any lifesaving difference, researchers forged ahead with more multi-million dollar clinical trials. Not until the statin drugs (Lipitor, Mevacor, Zocor, Lescol, Crestor, Advicor) came along did cholesterol-lowering finally prove to be lifesaving to high-risk but healthy people. Whether this benefit might actually be due to the anti-inflammatory effects of statins has been the topic of controversy ever since.

As with several of the speakers who would follow him, Dr Ravnskov is unimpressed with the reduction in heart disease mortality shown for the statin drugs “When you look at the CARE trial [Cholesterol And Recurrent Events], Pravachol did show a small benefit – after five years 5.7% had died from heart disease in the [untreated] control group, compared to only 4.6% in the treatment group, but [this benefit] was not dose related.” he said, referring to the expectation that the more a person lowers his or her* cholesterol, the less likely a heart-related death. Also, the people taking Pravachol had a few more deaths from other causes. Dr Ravnskov managed to push the envelope further by making a case for high cholesterol as a protective against cancer. He showed slides listing published studies that found higher rates of infectious disease among hospitalized people with low cholesterol levels. Also, several studies found higher cancer rates in people with low cholesterol levels.

Women told to take statin drugs should be aware of this risk found in the CARE trial: There were 12 cases of breast cancer in the women taking Pravachol, compared with only one case in the untreated (control) group. Statin drug proponents dismissed this worrisome finding as a fluke, said Dr Ravnskov, because the control group would be expected to have had more than one case of breast cancer.
“Anyone who questions cholesterol usually finds his funding cut off,” said Paul Rosch MD, who started his talk with a reminder that half of all heart attacks occur in people with normal cholesterol levels. “Stress has more deleterious effects on the heart than cholesterol,” said Dr Rosch, who is a clinical professor of medicine and psychiatry at New York Medical College and president of the American Institute of Stress. He put a different spin on the oft-quoted studies of immigrants with low rates of heart disease that change for the worse years after they emigrated to the US. The shift to a Western diet is usually identified as the culprit, but Dr Rosch suggests that the stress of adapting to a new culture is harder on the heart. For example, a study of Japanese male immigrants found a lower rate of heart attack among those who consumed a Western diet but retained a Japanese lifestyle, compared to those who continued to eat only traditional Japanese foods but lived a Western lifestyle.

Statin Drugs and Memory Loss
Duane Graveline MD MPH, a retired family doctor and former NASA scientist/astronaut, recounted his own hair-raising experience taking the popular statin drug Lipitor for only six weeks. Soon after he went for a walk, Dr Graveline was found wandering, confused, and reluctant to enter his own home because he didn’t recognize it or remember his wife’s name. Six hours later – after being examined by a neurologist and undergoing an MRI – he came to his senses. Transient global amnesia (TGA) was diagnosed. Neither he nor his physician suspected Lipitor, so Dr Graveline was restarted on one-half the previous dose. Again, at six weeks, the TGA returned. This time, he regressed to his teen-age years with no memory for his time in college, medical school, or the recent past. “Many decades of my life were obliterated,” he said. “The diagnosis was TGA: cause unknown.”

To verify his growing suspicion that Lipitor might be the cause, Dr Graveline wrote to Joe and Teresa Graedon, the husband and wife team that writes the syndicated column called The People’s Pharmacy, which specializes in warning the public about drug side effects. The Graedons asked for permission to print his letter in their column, and once it appeared, hundreds of people wrote in to say they, too, had experienced severe memory loss while on Lipitor. “Patients are reluctant to report amnesia, or they attribute the symptoms to old age or early Alzheimer’s,” explained Dr Graveline. “And doctors are reluctant to see that the drug they prescribed was the cause.” Still, the official word on Lipitor is that memory loss is not a statin side effect. “Thousands of cases of memory dysfunction have been reported to the FDA’s Medwatch program,” he said, “but after two years, the agency still hasn’t acted. And most practising physicians are unaware of the problem.” Lipitor is not the only statin linked to this side effect, observed Dr Graveline.

A reporter pointed out to that FDA-required trials do not report memory loss in people taking statins. An explanation was offered by Joel M Kauffman PhD, research professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia. “In drug trials, the pharmaceutical companies often divide similar adverse effects into six or seven different categories to keep the scarier side effects under 1%.” To
illustrate his point, Dr Kauffman said that amnesia could be divided into confusion, memory loss, senility, and cognitive impairment. There is general acknowledgment, however, that muscle pain, weakness, fatigue, peripheral neuropathy, and rhabdomyolysis, a potentially fatal muscle disease, are statin side effects, though they are thought to be rare.

With a little distance from his harrowing TGA experience, Dr Graveline said that he began to question why he took Lipitor in the first place. “I had come to think of cholesterol as my personal enemy – my cholesterol levels had climbed [over the years] despite a fat-restricted diet, but no one mentions the proper function of cholesterol in the body,” he continued. “We doctors march to the low-fat, low-cholesterol band.” He soon learned that cholesterol plays a critical role in the maintenance and healthy functioning of cell activity in the body.

Coenzyme Q10
Several speakers expressed the opinion that the statin drugs’ ability to reduce cardiovascular mortality has nothing to do with cholesterol reduction, but instead can be attributed to their anti-inflammatory effects. (A viewpoint that has been appearing in medical journals over the last few years.) Furthermore, the physicians who addressed the conference were united in their concern that the statin drugs deplete the body of an important anti-oxidant with muscle wasting and heart failure as a result. Peter Langsjoen MD of Tyler, Texas, said that he left his invasive cardiology practice at the University of Texas Health Center to specialize in “congestive heart failure, primary and statin-induced diastolic dysfunction and other diseases of the heart muscle.” For over 20 years, he has been using coenzyme Q10 to treat a broad range of cardiovascular diseases. Q10, as he called it, can be purchased over the counter as a dietary supplement in health food stores and pharmacies.

Dr Langsjoen said that the research on the importance of Q10 ties in nicely with the underlying philosophy of this conference because increased levels of this ‘vitamin-like’ substance can be found in traditional foods with high fat content like organ meats, seafood, and red meat. “I call Q10 vitamin-like because it has properties of a vitamin,” explained Dr Langsjoen, “but since we synthesize it, as well as get it in our diet, it’s not truly a vitamin.” All statin drugs decrease both the blood levels and cellular concentrations of Q10, observed Dr Langsjoen; the higher the dose, the greater the decrease in Q10. “As we get older, our Q10 levels fall, but we really don’t know why – could be the diet,” he said. “People who make it to 90 tend to have high Q10 levels, though. Most of the Q10 research has been focused on heart failure, said Dr Langsjoen because the heart uses a huge amount of Q10. “It has been pretty well documented from biopsies that the severity of heart failure correlates with the people who have the lowest levels of Q10.”

What’s more, there is a serious gap in information regarding the role of statins in treating heart failure. “All the major statin trials excluded patients with class III and IV [advanced] heart failure, so we have no safety data in these patients with heart failure, though statins are prescribed to them with reckless
abandon.” Dr Langsjoen is not alone in this concern which was expressed over a year ago by Australian physicians who asked, “Statins and Chronic Heart Failure: do we need a large-scale outcome trial?” in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Most medications destined to cause an adverse effect will do so early on, according to Dr Langsjoen, who found this not to be the case with statins. “You don’t realize you’re in trouble until two or three years later, and it’s hard to relate it to a drug you started a few years ago.

Dietary Fats and Oils
The story of how statin drugs became a multi-billion-dollar industry may have started with the identification of cholesterol as the chief culprit in heart disease, but in time the public learned that the low-fat diet would prevent heart attacks in people without symptoms of heart disease – an idea that the sponsors of
this conference believe has produced numerous health problems. Mary Enig PhD, an expert in lipid chemistry, spoke of the misinformation perpetuated upon the public by the government-sponsored ‘pyramid diet’, which was introduced over 20 years ago and marked the beginning of the promotion of the low-fat diet. Along with the ‘use sparingly’ advice, fats, oils, and sugar are at the very tip of the Food Guide Pyramid symbol that appears on food labels.

Dr Enig believes that the rise of obesity is related to type of foods Americans have been encouraged to eat by the US Department of Agriculture, the food industry, and consumer groups. “[People are eating] a diet high in grain and inappropriate fats, instead of the natural animal fats, such as lard, tallow, chicken fat, goose fat, and the natural vegetable fats, such as olive, palm, and coconut oils, that we used to have in our diets,” and contrary to the current “propaganda,” she explained that these fats and oils are essential components to a healthful diet. These so-called good fats provide the major fuel for the heart, kidneys, and skeletal muscles, said Dr Enig, who said the inappropriate fats are the highly processed polyunsaturated fats, such as soybean, canola, and corn oils, which are promoted [ironically] as heart protective.

“Before the advent of modern vegetable oils, mankind consumed small accounts of fresh, undamaged polyunsaturated fatty acids found naturally as a component of his food,” according to Dr Enig.
“Consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids is much higher today because vegetable oils are used widely as cooking oils and in salad dressings, baked goods, and snack foods. Polyunsaturated oils should never be heated – yet during the extraction process these oils are subjected to very high temperatures that encourage rancidity and the formation of many harmful breakdown products.” An example of the harmful breakdown product, she explained, is something called trans fatty acids, which are now generally recognized by mainstream medicine as harmful to the heart. Dr Enig said that trans fatty acids do not appear on the nutrition labelling of food products, but they should. Trans fatty acids are abundant in partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, which are usually listed in the ingredients section of the food label, and are found in only small amounts in animal fats.

Dr Enig is a leading spokesperson for the Weston A. Price Foundation, which sponsored this conference.

Further Information:

Traditional foods championed by the Weston A Price Foundation: Tapes of this and past conferences can be purchased via this Web site. Those without Internet access can call +001 202 333-HEAL to learn the cost of receiving printed material from the Foundation;
International Network of Cholesterol Skeptics: Most of the conference speakers belong to this Network. The 51 members are listed along with their publications;
Beyond the Lipid Hypothesis – Exposing the Fallacy that Cholesterol and Saturated Fat Cause Heart Disease:
*    A study of elderly French women living in a nursing home showed that those with the highest cholesterol levels lived the longest (The Lancet, 4/22/89). The death rate was more than five times higher for women with very low cholesterol. Several other studies have shown similar results. Ironically, Dr Ravnskov noted that in his practice it was usually the elderly women who were most worried about their cholesterol levels.
Maryann Napoli is the Associate Director of the Center for Medical Consumers in New York City.
Source: Chris Gupta

Chemtrails – Part I

People in the UK, and in many other countries, are getting dangerously sick because of the massive spraying in the sky and air of toxic chemicals such as barium stearate and aluminium oxide. This ‘Chemtrail Spraying’ started in West USA around 1991, and became severe over many countries in 1999 and 2000.
Over the past few years, millions of people will have died from, and are now sick with, these conditions and complications from the massive ‘Chemtrail’ spraying operation occurring over many countries.
Symptoms of Chemtrail exposure:
•    Allergies, sore and blocked sinuses
•    Dry, hacking, persistent cough
•    Nosebleeds, blood in mucous
•    Swollen, burning, teary eyes
•    Flu-like, fever, sore throat
•    Pneumonia, upper respiratory
•    Mycoplasma infections
•    Migraine or splitting headaches
•    Pain in back of neck
•    Disorientation, foggy brain, sudden dizziness
•    Fatigue, lethargy, inability to concentrate
•    Loud ringing in your ears
•    Depression, anxiety attacks
•    Gastrointestinal distress, bloating
•    Diarrhoea, bloody stools
•    Joint pain, Aching joints and muscles
•    Thirst or loss of appetite
•    Loss of bladder control, tics or spasms
•    Recurring fungal infections
•    Metallic, oily smell and taste.
I have been trying (along with many others) to coalesce action to stop this madness for 36 months, but now this spraying is becoming very severe – so, I am trying again. In a chemical-filled storm (caused by planes dropping their chemical loads into approaching weather fronts) here on the Isle of Man a few weeks ago, I heard first-hand of many babies being taken to hospital with breathing difficulties.
There are many health emergencies connected with this massive chemical pollution. A key recent connection may be the ‘Flu’ outbreak in central USA.
Doctors have been unable to identify what virus is causing this outbreak, however huge spraying of Chemtrails were reported across central US states in the week or so prior to class rooms being emptied and children dying because of this ‘outbreak’.
Further Information
Michael Irving:
World-Action and Stop-Chemtrails
Isle of Man, British Isles

Mercury Individual Vaccine Injuries

Boyd Haley PhD, Chairman of the Chemistry Department at the University of Kentucky has said, “Thimerosal is one of the most toxic compounds I know of, I can’t think of anything that I know of is more lethal.” The FDA itself in 1982 specifically found that thimerosal was significantly more toxic for living tissue than it was for the bacteria it was supposed to kill. For more than sixty years the medical community simply trusted the Eli Lilly Company’s assertion that thimerosal/merthiolate (fifty percent mercury by weight) had a low potential toxicity if injected into humans. Based on absurd unscientific and unethical studies done in the late nineteen twenties, several generations of public health care officials, doctors and medical educators were duped into injecting the most toxic and lethal chemical known to man into infants.
History will remember Lilly as the Company implicated in the deaths of babies. Many are the parents lining up with lawyers and so great is the danger to the company that the Bush administration tried to protect Lilly from all future lawsuits. The Homeland Security Bill was signed into law by President George W Bush removed pharmaceutical industry liability for mercury induced vaccine injuries and deaths caused by thimerosal (ethyl-mercury). It was a provision that was inserted at the 11th hour and for a while no one would come forward to take credit for the dirty deed. It was later repealed and the source of the special clauses was traced back to White House insistence.
In 1972, Lilly received an article that confirmed that its product, used as a preservative in vaccines, caused 6 deaths from mercury poisoning. In Exhibit ELI-392K of Waters & Kraus, LLP Plaintiffs’ response to Eli Lilly it is stated, “The symptoms and clinical course of the 6 patients suggests sub-acute mercury poisoning.” Eli Lilly and Co., the Indianapolis drug-maker faces at least 45 lawsuits over its role in developing and selling for more than 40 years a mercury-based preservative used in childhood vaccines and now suspected of causing autism. Autism affects 500,000 to 1.5 million Americans and has grown at an annual rate of 10 percent to 17 percent since the late 1980s.
Harold Buttram MD said, “Most infants have been receiving up to 15 doses of mercury-containing vaccines by the time they are 6 months old. It is almost inconceivable that these heavy burdens of foreign immunologic materials, introduced into the immature systems of children, could fail to bring about disruptions and adverse reactions in these in these systems.”
There are many people today working hard to confuse the issues and keep them away from the public eye. Even the CDC was caught trying to cover up the connection between autism and the mercury in vaccines. On October 31, 2003 medical doctor and congressmen Dave Weldon wrote to Dr Julie Gerberding the director of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) confronting deliberate data manipulates in the all important study of the role of mercury found in vaccines and the development of autism. A vitally important study, which originally showed a legally and scientifically significant causal connection between autism and mercury in vaccines, was deliberately subverted by officials of the CDC to show no causal connection. The American Pediatric Society admits to a “weak” connection.
There are powerful vested interests that dearly want to see the autism epidemic is forgotten and there are hundreds of thousands of outraged parents and caretakers who are hungry to identify and sue those responsible. The greatest medical scandal of the last century is almost ready for prime time. In what was perhaps the best kept secret of the 20th century, thimerosal was used without a care to its danger and the best the people in the know can say is ‘’My first reaction was simply disbelief, which was the reaction of almost everybody involved in vaccines,’’ said Dr Neal Halsey who heads the Hopkins Institute for Vaccine Safety. ‘’In most vaccine containers, thimerosal is listed as a mercury derivative, a hundredth of a percent. And what I believed, and what everybody else believed, was that it was truly a trace, a biologically insignificant amount. My honest belief is that if the labels had had the mercury content in micrograms, this would have been uncovered years ago.”
The Bush family and the administration have too many ties to Eli Lilly. There’s President Bush’s father, who after stepping aside as Director of Central Intelligence in 1977, was made director of the Eli Lilly Pharmaceutical Company by the family of Dan Quayle, who owned the controlling interest in the company. There was White House budget director Mitch Daniels, once an Eli Lilly executive; and Eli Lilly CEO Sidney Taurel, who serves on the president’s homeland security advisory council.
This scandal has no bottom. Instead of informing the public of real and present dangers to several generations of children, people like Dr Neal Halsey voted at the end of the eighties to vastly increase the number of vaccines received by infants and thus the mercury load was pushed way past earlier limits. And now after 1999 when recommendations went out in the US for ‘voluntary’ removal of mercury from vaccines there are still doubts about how much is still being used there. There have been no changes in the third world, for the World Health Organization simply took the position that it was impractical and too expensive to remove the mercury from third
world markets. The advice from the World Health Organization is this, “The risk from side effects of thimerosal is theoretical, uncertain and, at most, extremely small. The best advice to parents is to continue having their children vaccinated.” They also say, “Parents should be told as much as they want to know and are able to understand. The issues are very complex and most parents do not want to know all the science.” So much for the credibility of the World Health Organization if this is what they have to say about the most toxic and lethal chemical substance known to humankind. There is nothing theoretical or mystical about known poisons like mercury.
So great is the need to substantiate vaccines that people who believe in them justify an unlimited number of deaths and other serious damages like autism. Documents from the archives of Eli Lilly & Company clearly demonstrate that it was known as early as April 1930 that the thimerosal was dangerous yet they still have people swearing to its safety. It will be a great day for humanity when the first lawsuit is won and this pharmaceutical giant is whittled down through financial haemorrhage.
Source: Mark Sircus OMD:
Medical News Editorial


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