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It would seem likely that she is not the only researcher to have found negative effects of statins which have remained unpublished.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.

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.

May 182014
 
Justin Smith, producer/director of Statin Nation

In the ninth part of his interview for You must be nuts!, Justin Smith, the Producer/Director of the documentary Statin Nation, talks about the influence of pharmaceutical companies, the ‘trouble’ with medical journals, the impact of conflicts of interest on the information published about statins, and how both the medical community and the general public have insufficient information to judge whether or not the benefits of statins outweigh the risks.

He refers to the book The trouble with medical journals (2006) by Dr Richard Smith. Dr Smith worked for the British Medical Journal for 25 years (from 1979 to 2004) and was its editor for the last 13 years of this period. According to Wikipedia, in his book, ‘he contends [that] medical journals have become “creatures of the drug industry,” rife with fraudulent research and packed with articles ghost written by pharmaceutical companies. He has also written about the limitations and problems of the peer review process.’

An edited version of the book’s introduction was published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in March 2006.

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.

Mar 032014
 

From now on, we intend to publish an interview segment each day until they are all published – that should take us until early April.

As some leading doctors in the UK are demanding an end to the widespread prescription of statin drugs, we thought we would publish the segments of the interviews for You must be nuts! where our interviewees talked about statin drugs. In the fourth part of our interview with medical journalist, Jerome Burne, he draws attention to the increased risk of diabetes from taking statin drugs and the implications for dementia.