Mar 132016

The Health section of this morning’s Sunday Express in the UK carries an article with the headline: ‘We are very worried’ Former Royal doctor demands statins inquiry.

Statin drugs are prescribed to around 12 million people in the UK to lower cholesterol, according to doctors’ guidelines issued by NICE and reinforced by the NHS with targets for prescribing statins to older patients. Statin drugs are supposed to prevent heart disease but, as we highlighted in our film You must be nuts! – the business of dementia, they have many side effects, including possibly dementia.

However, as Dr Stephanie Seneff revealed in the interview above, she was unable to publish her 2009 analysis that statins could cause Alzheimer’s until all references to statins had been deleted from her paper. It would seem likely that she is not the only researcher to have found negative effects of statins which have remained unpublished.

Sir Richard Thompson, former president of the Royal College of Physicians and personal doctor to the Queen for 21 years, has called for an inquiry to scrutinise the data on which this mass prescription is based. His comments follow the publication of the paper Beyond Confusion and Controversy, Can We Evaluate the Real Efficacy and Safety of Cholesterol-Lowering with Statins? by Dr Michel de Lorgeril and Dr Mikael Rabaeus in the Journal of Controversies in Biomedical Research.

The paper begins by drawing attention to the “increasing signs of altered validity of numerous company-sponsored trials”. As an example, it cites the neuraminidase inhibitors for treating influenza.

“The 5-year battle needed to access the raw trial data led to a reversed picture of the drugs: benefits had been overestimated and harms under-reported in the company-sponsored trial reports. Ultimately, the benefit/harm balance was not in favor of the drugs; this is a critical issue for physicians, in particular when they are in charge of fragile patients. One probable cause of the failure is that none of the trials was independent of the drug’s manufacturers. Several experts conclude that the “Tamiflu story” may suggest that the entire ecosystem of drug evaluation and regulation could be flawed.”

The paper concludes that “contrary to what has been claimed for decades, statins do not have a significant effect in primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.” It also recommends that “medical doctors should not prescribe statins in diabetics and in patients with metabolic syndromes.”

In essence, the paper points out that the main studies on which the enthusiasm for statins has been based would have been disqualified under the 2005/2006 EC regulations in the conduct and publication of randomised controlled trials. Even so, it suggests that “investigators and industrials can still succeed in finding a way around them.”

“This has led to the dogmas about statin efficacy and safety, based on unrealistic clinical reports and flawed meta-analyses, resulting in biased recommendations about statin use and ultimately extravagant situations and claims.”

After the failure of the UK Parliament’s Commons Health Select Committee to even reply to Obhi’s call for a formal investigation into this area (let alone taking any action), we hope that Sir Richard Thompson’s call will lead to a change in the current policy of prescribing drugs based on dogma, rather than science.

Feb 282015
Alph, Beel & Chah-Lee at Beel's beach bar
YouTube: ¿Te has vuelto loc@? - El prequel (3 minutos)

¿Te has vuelto loc@? – El prequel con subtítulos en español (3 minutos)

Nuestra película ¿Te has vuelto loc@? – El negocio de la demencia tiene ahora los subtítulos en español.

Los tele-ñecos británicos Alph y Chah-Lee junto con su padre, el español Beel, aprenden sobre el Alzheimer, la nutrición sana y el negocio de la demencia a través de una serie de entrevistas con científicos internacionales publicadas on-line por Obhi Chatterjee.

Obhi ha estado investigando qué es lo que causa la demencia y la mejor forma de tratarla, de acuerdo con los últimos descubrimientos, desde que diagnosticaron a su padre con demencia fronto-temporal en 2012.

Este documental de investigación relata su experiencia y sus reveladoras conclusiones.

!No te la pierdas si no quieres volverte loc@!

YouTube: ¿Te has vuelto loc@? - La película con subtítulos en español (81 minutos)

¿Te has vuelto loc@? – La película con subtítulos en español (81 minutos)

Créditos para la película ¿Te has vuelto loc@? – El negocio de la demencia:

Una producción de Inner Eye, UK

Productores Ejecutivos:
Obhi Chatterjee & Kaberi Chatterjee

Productor Asociado:
Enrique Nicanor

Teleñecos creados por Enrique Nicanor

Por orden de aparición

Voz: Obhi Chatterjee
Actor: Enrique Nicanor

Voz: Elisabeth Cristo
Actores: Kaberi Chatterjee y Enrique Nicanor

Voz y actor: Enrique Nicanor

Los entrevistados – por orden de aparición

Patrick Holford
Justin Smith
Jerome Burne
Dr Stephanie Seneff
Paul Burstow MP

Extractos de cine:

“Fat Head” por Tom Naughton (con permiso de Tom Naughton)
incluyendo entrevistas con el profesor Eric Oliver, Michael R Eades MD, Mary Enig PhD & Mary Dan Eades MD (

“Hambre de cambio” por James Colquhoun y Laurentine ten Bosch (con permiso de Food Matters Films)
incluyendo entrevistas con el Dr. Christiane Northrup, el Dr. Joseph Mercola, David Wolfe y Jon Gabriel (http: // …)

Fotografía y cámara:
Obhi Chatterjee
Enrique Nicanor

Diseño de títulos
Kaberi Chatterjee

Guión, música, edición y dirección:
Obhi Chatterjee

Productor asociado:
Enrique Nicanor

Kaberi Chatterjee
Obhi Chatterjee

Material de vídeo adicional:

Cómo cepillarse los dientes con el capitán del cepillo de dientes – DeltaDentalofNJ en YouTube (

Islandia imágenes géiser cortesía de Justin Smith

Eco Orgánica Aceite Oliva Virgen Extra – PATIENTARHS en YouTube (

Imágenes adicionales:

Creta, visto desde el Envisat el 21 de octubre de 2011 – Agencia Espacial Europea

Corfú, visto desde la Estación Espacial Internacional el 17 de abril de 2001 – la NASA

Islandia, visto desde MODIS el 9 de septiembre de 2002 – NASA

La música de la biblioteca de audio de YouTube:

Humor de la mañana – Grieg (
Sinfonía No 5 – Beethoven (
Eine Kleine Nachtmusik – Mozart (
Danza de las hadas del ciruelo del azúcar – Tchaikovsky (
Sonata Claro de luna – Beethoven (
Habanera – de Carmen de Bizet (
En el hall de la Montaña Rey – Grieg (

Con nuestro agradecimiento especial a:

Jayanta Chatterjee, Enrique Nicanor, Elisabeth Christ

Jerome Burne, Paul Burstow MP, Patrick Holford, Dr. Stephanie Seneff, Justin Smith

Dr. John Briffa, el Dr. Bruce Fife, el Dr. Ben Goldacre, Zoe Harcombe, el Dr. Brendan Hudson, el Dr. Malcolm Kendrick, Julia Laal, el Dr. Aseem Malhotra, el Dr. Bish Naha, la doctora Mary Newport, el profesor Tim Noakes, el Dr. David Perlmutter, el Dr. Debbie Stinson, Nina Teicholz, el Dr. Murray Waldman, el Dr. Verner Wheelock

Aparna y Atul Agarwal, Charlotte Appelgren, Chhaya y Atul Biswas, Claire Blake-Bohm, Richard Campbell, Cherry Cumming, Farzeen Huq, Brenda & Richard Penfold, Lydia y Varinder Singh, Ajantha y Shiva Sundaram

Radio Salud Natural / UK

Todos los puntos de vista y las declaraciones expresadas en la película ¿Te has vuelto loc@?”, no reflejan necesariamente los puntos de vista de la Cia. de produccción, Inner Eye, ni de los autores /realizadores asociados.

Descargo de responsabilidad: Los contenidos de esta película son sólo para fines informativos. Antes de cambiar cualquier tratamiento que esté siguiendo, por favor consulte a su médico. Para asesoramiento dietético, por favor consulte con un nutricionista reconocido.

A todos nuestros amigos y familia (que debe pensar que estamos loc@s!)

Feb 182015

Sunday Express: Health chief slams statins (15 February 2015)

Two weeks ago, Obhi wrote to the Rt Hon Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, the Chair of the Commons Health Select Committee, to:

“… urge the Committee to investigate what I consider to be the chronic regulatory
failure which has led to the current dietary advice, the medical guidance to doctors and the
near-exclusive allocation of public research funding to commercial medical research,
without any obligation to publish the results.”

On Sunday, an article in the Sunday Express reported that Dr Wollaston had called for drug companies to release all their trial data on statin medications, saying “I’m concerned there may be side effects that have not been reported. Drug manufacturers should release all their trial data on statins so they are available for scrutiny.” Dr Fiona Godlee, the editor-in-chief of the BMJ, has to be commended for having led the calls for transparency of the research results.

As you may have seen from the You must be nuts! Twitter feed, there have been several other interesting developments over the past two weeks. Over in the US, the draft US Dietary Advice 2015 guidelines are poised to withdraw longstanding warnings about cholesterol. Meanwhile, researchers led by Zoë Harcombe concluded that “Evidence from randomised controlled trials did not support the introduction of dietary fat guidelines in 1977 and 1983“.

Unsurprisingly, NHS Choices, which continues to advise against eating cholesterol and saturated fat, quickly denied that this study was important, adding another web page to those recommended for deletion in Annex 1 of Obhi’s letter. Not even everyone at the NHS is convinced by the NHS Choices guidance, it seems. As part of its 100 days of change campaign, leading to NHS Change Day on 11 March 2015, story 32 revealed that:

“the Community Diabetes Team (Dietitians and Diabetes Specialist Nurses) launched a pilot programme of Low Carb Diet Groups, offering education and support for people with Type 2 Diabetes who wished to follow a healthy low carb diet and have the necessary support with their medication changes.”

Perhaps a clue to the reluctance to change the dietary advice comes from the news last week that researchers guiding the UK Government’s anti-obesity campaign had received hundreds of thousands of pounds of funding from the junk food industry. The BMJ published an editorial asking ‘Big food, big pharma: is science for sale?’. The editorial accompanied a 3-part investigation into Sugar’s web of influence (Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3).

It echoes a 2013 article by the previous editor of the BMJ, Dr Richard Smith: Is the pharmaceutical industry like the mafia? The article was based on his foreword to the book Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare by Peter Gøtzsche, the head of the Nordic Cochrane Centre.

The BMJ provided an interactive infographic to illustrate the connections between food industry companies/lobbies and members of the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition and the Medical Research Council’s Human Nutrition Research Unit.

This brings us back to the astonishing revelation from Sir Rory Collins that his team would [future tense!] ‘carry out a “challenging” reassessment of the evidence which will include studying all reported side effects. Although the original research looked at the effect of statins on the heart and considered cancer risks it did not examine other side effects.’ Dr Malcolm Kendrick has called for an apology from Sir Rory Collins, who had called on the BMJ to retract two articles critical of statins last year because he claimed they over-stated the adverse effects of statins.

Last year, NICE had recommended extending the scope of statin prescriptions apparently primarily on the basis of assurances from Sir Rory Collins’ team that statins were safe. As mentioned in Obhi’s letter, NICE’s methodology is to carry out a cost-benefit analysis (to “assess whether treatments and ways of managing a condition are good value for money for the NHS“). However, by relying on the recommendations from Sir Rory Collins’ team, NICE’s analysis could not have taken account of the adverse effects of statins.

A more transparent analysis is provided by the NNT (the number needed to treat before 1 patient benefits). Two recent articles in the New York Times highlighted its usefulness: Can this treatment help me? There’s a statistic for thatHow to measure a medical treatment’s potential for harm.

For statins, the NNT for patients who do not have heart disease suggests that the harms outweigh the benefits.

We believe the adverse effects of long-term statin medication contributed to the frontotemporal dementia, muscle pains and cataracts of Obhi’s father over at least the past six years. In the light of the news that Sir Rory Collins’ team has yet to explore the adverse effects of statins, it would seem appropriate for NICE to retract all its guidance to doctors recommending statins in primary prevention. Evidently, it has no data to support its positive analysis of statin use.

Thanks to the transparency spotlight of social media, we look forward to a time in the near future when the dietary and medical advice, as well as medical research funding, will be guided exclusively by scientific evidence, rather than by money from commercial interests. We hope You must be nuts! – the business of dementia and Obhi’s letter will contribute to this call.

Meanwhile, we look forward to the world premiere of Statin Nation II in London on 28 February 2015.

Jan 032015

Wishing all friends and fans of You must be nuts! a happy, healthy and prosperous 2015.

Talking of a healthy 2015, a couple of days ago, Chris Ham, Chief Executive of the UK-based King’s Fund, identified Three challenges and a big uncertainty for the NHS in 2015:

– preparing for a spending review after the UK General Election in May 2015;

– much closer integration of health and social care;

– ensuring that the NHS has the leadership in place to deliver the highest affordable standards of care; and

– which political parties will form the coalition UK Government after May 2015.

If you have watched the film, you will realise that the challenges (and the health of many in the UK) could be reduced even before the elections by addressing apparent ethical flaws and under-regulation in:

– the dietary advice published by the NHS;

– the treatment guidance given to NHS doctors (about which senior health professionals have already called for an independent investigation); and

– the allocation of public funding for medical research.

To help with the first of these, here is the list we compiled for the film of NHS web pages which continue to discourage people from eating saturated fat (in spite of the evidence that eating saturated fat has nothing to do with increased heart disease and that a low fat diet could cause dementia):

Meanwhile, the following NHS web pages are among those which advocate eating more carbohydrates (in spite of the evidence that a high carbohydrate diet increases the risk of dementia, diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer):

If you know of other official UK websites offering similar dietary advice, please post them in the comments below so that we can add them to these lists.

You are welcome to use the lists, for example, to encourage the UK Health Secretary to take these pages offline for revision in line with the latest scientific research, as most of those commenting on the pages had recommended long ago. The 1950s low-fat dogma (and not scientific evidence) on which all of the above NHS web pages are based has been widely discredited.

Yesterday, UK Prime Minister David Cameron fired the starting gun for the General Election. All the major UK political parties are looking for ways to reduce the country’s budget deficit. Fixing the above web pages and the guidance given to doctors could save the NHS billions in drug and healthcare costs while easing the pressure on health professionals.

Could 2015 be the year our health stopped being harmed by the national dietary guidance and the drugs cocktail prescribed routinely to older people?

The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government. – Thomas Jefferson (1809)

Dec 212014
Poster image for You must be nuts!

It has taken much longer to complete the film than we had intended when we published the 3-minute prequel on New Year’s Day 2014!

The prequel shows the puppets Alph and Chah-Lee in bed on a Saturday evening – the eve of the start of the film.

Now (at last!) everyone has the chance to see what Alph shows Chah-Lee ‘the next day’. After making a few technical adjustments following its unlisted test publication on Vimeo in November, the film is now on YouTube.

Many thanks to everyone for the very positive feedback so far. We have started to add closed captions to the film in English so that the film will be subtitled automatically in the 163 languages now supported by YouTube. If you want to help refine the subtitles in any language, please let us know via the comments to this post.

Even though it was unlisted on Vimeo, over 700 people have watched the film so far in 37 countries. Thanks particularly to Deborah Walker and the Natural Health Radio team for helping to promote the film to their listeners. Deborah interviewed Obhi about how he has been applying his research to treat his father’s dementia and about the film. You can catch up with the interview here.

If you are looking for more details about the treatment given to Obhi’s father, Obhi wrote a guest post on the HealthInsightUK blog about it in August. The film’s Twitter feed (@youmustbenuts) highlights the latest developments on dementia, and the food, drugs and chemicals which may cause it.

Jul 212014
The Trouble with Medical Journals by Dr Richard Smith
The Trouble with Medical Journals by Dr Richard Smith

The Trouble with Medical Journals by Dr Richard Smith

In recent posts, we have seen that Dr Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at MIT, was unable to get her paper published about whether the low fat diet and statins could cause Alzheimer’s until she deleted all references to statins. We have also seen that the financial reliance of medical journals on pharmaceutical companies exposes them to a potential conflict of interest – as revealed by Dr Richard Smith, former editor of the British Medical Journal, in his book The Trouble with Medical Journals.

On Saturday, Kailash Chand, the deputy chair of the British Medical Association, described the guidance from UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommending that doctors “offer atorvastatin 20 mg for the primary prevention of [cardiovascular disease] to people who have a 10% or greater 10‑year risk of developing [cardiovascular disease].” as “a victory for vested interests over evidence“. The consequence of the NICE guidance would be that “millions more” would be given statin drugs.

Back in February, Zoë Harcombe had identified the potential conflicts of interests of the members of the NICE panel. In June, a group of doctors and academics wrote an open letter to NICE and to the UK Health Secretary about their concerns about the latest NICE draft guidance on statins. The Department of Health thought it was up to NICE to manage any conflicts of interest and NICE saw no problems with conflicts of interest in the guidance.

No doubt it’s entirely coincidental that the patents for statin drugs were due to expire in 2013, when similar new guidance vastly expanding the number of candidates for statin drugs was issued by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. After all, as the graph below shows, by 2013 even though some 64 million prescriptions for statin drugs were issued by UK doctors, the cost to the NHS (and hence the revenue of pharmaceutical companies) had dropped to just £150 million, compared to the peak of £740 million in 2004.

Statin use and cost in England 2002-2013

A similar issue of conflicts of interest has emerged with the publication of draft guidance from NICE recommending free bariatric surgery for diabetes patients.

As Dr Malcom McKendrick found, the tool to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease recommends statins for extremely healthy men over 58 and extremely healthy women over 63. This morning, cardiologist Dr Aseem Malhotra pointed out that, in 2008, an analysis of published statin trials had identified an increased risk of cancer caused by statin drugs for certain populations.

“Close inspection of statin trials reveal the specific populations at risk for the development of incident cancer with statin treatment. These include the elderly and people with a history of breast or prostate cancer. Furthermore, statin-treated individuals undergoing immunotherapy for cancer may be at increased risk for worsening cancer.”

Even the patient information leaflet for Lipitor, the bestselling statin drug, suggests that it may not be suitable “if you are older than 70”.

Meanwhile, as revealed by investigative journalist Nina Teicholz in her excellent, bestselling book The Big Fat Surprise, the dietary advice recommending a low fat diet since 1961 has been based on faulty science. The book traces the disaster trail of evidence against saturated fat, which it summarises as follows: “the early trials condemning saturated fat were unsound; the epidemiological data showed no negative association; saturated fat’s effect on LDL-cholesterol (when properly measured in subfractions) is neutral; and a significant body of clinical trials over the past decade has demonstrated the absence of any negative effect of saturated fat on heart disease, obesity or diabetes. … It seems now that what sustains it is not so much science as generations of bias and habit … .”

The same appears to be true of the medical recommendations of statins, whose rationale is based on the same faulty hypothesis as the low fat diet. Should we, as Dr Seneff suggests, look forward to millions of people suffering disabilities through long-term statin use? Even before the latest NICE guidance, the OECD concluded in December that the UK had become the ‘statin capital of Europe‘.

Instead of spreading enthusiasm for mass bariatric surgery to deal with diabetes, perhaps NICE ought to read this paper in Nutrition advocating “Dietary Carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management“. That means recommending a low carbohydrate, high fat diet, which was also found to be the best for weight loss in one of the few clinical trials in this field. This is already the official dietary advice in Sweden.

More than ever before, public authorities offering medical and dietary guidance must be not only free of bias but also be seen to be free of bias. They must also base themselves on rigorous science, in full knowledge of any negative effects. At present, this does not seem to be the case. In particular, the data underpinning the NICE guidance is unavailable, due to an agreement with a manufacturer of statin drugs. A wider problem is that, according to Dr Ben Goldacre and All Trials, some 50% of trial results are never published.

In spite of the scientific evidence to the contrary, most official dietary advice continues to recommend avoiding saturated fats, pushing people towards genuinely unhealthy trans fats and their substitutes, and a high carbohydrate diet – all of which have negative effects on health. A similar approach for statins could turn out to be yet another “very large, human-scale, uncontrolled, unmonitored … experiment” on the entire population, with a similar negative, long-term impact on our health – particularly that of our older relatives. Some doctors even see a risk that people in Western nations are suffering from a culture of over-intervention and over-medication. But then, as we will see, statins are not the only medication prescribed routinely to older patients which have serious adverse effects, particularly on their brains.

Mar 262014
Interview with Dr Stephanie Seneff (Senior Research Associate, MIT)

In the ninth part of her interview for You must be nuts, Dr Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at MIT, reveals what happened when she tried to get a paper published which demonstrated a causal link between statins and Alzheimer’s.

In December 2009, Dr Seneff wrote a paper entitled APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s . A revised version of the paper, co-authored with Dr Glyn Wainwright and Dr Luca Masatelli, was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine in December 2010 with the title Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet.

Dr Richard Smith, a former editor of the British Medical Journal, highlighted the potential conflict of interest faced by medical journals and the problems of the peer review process in his book The trouble with medical journals. An edited version of its introduction was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2006.

Mar 152014
Justin Smith, producer/director of Statin Nation

Last week, the UK’s Daily Telegraph published the article Low fat foods stuffed with ‘harmful’ levels of sugar. It analysed the sugar content of a range of food and drinks marketed as ‘low fat’.

In the sixth part of his interview for You must be nuts!, Justin Smith, the Producer/Director of the documentary Statin Nation, considers whether a low fat diet could lead to a high carbohydrate diet. Apart from sugar, he talks about the effect on blood sugar levels of eating grains.

In September 2012, a study by the Mayo Clinic found that a high carbohydrate diet raised the risk of dementia in older people by a factor of almost 4, compared to a low carbohydrate, high fat diet. “When total fat and protein intake were taken into account, people with the highest carbohydrate intake were 3.6 times likelier to develop mild cognitive impairment.”

Neurologist Dr David Perlmutter’s bestselling book Grain Brain: the surprising truth about wheat, carbs and sugar – your brain’s silent killers highlights the connection between eating grains and dementia.

Mar 062014
Justin Smith, producer/director of Statin Nation

In the seventh part of his interview for You must be nuts!, Justin Smith, Producer/Director of the documentary Statin Nation considers whether a low fat diet and statin drugs could cause Alzheimer’s/dementia.

Mar 052014
Interview with Dr Stephanie Seneff (Senior Research Associate, MIT)

Dr Stephanie Seneff, Senior Research Scientist at MIT, talks about the connection between statin drugs and dementia.

In December 2009, Dr Seneff wrote a paper entitled APOE-4: The Clue to Why Low Fat Diet and Statins may Cause Alzheimer’s . A revised version of the paper, co-authored with Dr Glyn Wainwright and Dr Luca Masatelli, was published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine in December 2010 with the title Nutrition and Alzheimer’s disease: The detrimental role of a high carbohydrate diet.