Tag: statins

The Movie “Cholesterol: The Great Bluff” Is an Exercise in Denialism

The movie "Cholesterol: The Great Bluff" claims that we have been lied to: cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease and statins are harmful. It is biased and misleading. The people interviewed in the movie are denialists who don't accept the clear evidence for the role of blood cholesterol levels and the benefits of statins.

/ September 12, 2017

Statins beat supplements

Red yeast rice supplements have poor quality control and there's no clear evidence they do anything beneficial. So why take it?

/ August 24, 2017

Most Patients Get No Benefit from Most Drugs

Some people are reluctant to take statins because they don't benefit the majority of patients who take them. Actually, most drugs don't benefit most of the patients who take them. Since we have no way of identifying those who will benefit, we are stuck treating the many to benefit the few.

/ July 18, 2017

Statistics Done Wrong, And How To Do Better

Statistics is hard, often counterintuitive, and burdened with esoteric mathematical equations. Statistics classes can be boring and demanding; students might be tempted to call it “Sadistics.” Good statistics are essential to good research; unfortunately many scientists and even some statisticians are doing statistics wrong. Statistician Alex Reinhart has written a helpful book, Statistics Done Wrong: The Woefully Complete Guide, that every researcher...

/ August 2, 2016

Statins for everyone? Not so fast.

People love the idea of preventive medicine. Preventing a disease, before it occurs, seems intuitively obvious. But when it comes to taking medicine to prevent a disease before it occurs, people tend to be much less comfortable. Not only are there the concerns about the “medicalization” of healthy people, there are good questions about benefits, risks, and costs. Cardiovascular disease will kill...

/ April 7, 2016

Statin Side Effects

How bad are the side effects of statin use? A recent article on the subject suggests that they are not bad, comparable to the base rate in the population.

/ March 8, 2016

Statins: The Impact of Negative Media Reports and the Risks of Discontinuing Treatment

The evidence is clear: statin drugs are effective in reducing the rate of heart attacks and death in people who have already had a heart attack as well as in people who are at high risk of having one. Some people refuse to believe that evidence; they are statin deniers, similar to the climate change deniers and AIDS deniers (and there are...

/ December 29, 2015

Information Literacy and the Number Needed to Treat

Increasingly people are accessing healthcare information in order to make decisions for their own health. A 2010 Pew poll found that 80% of internet users will do so for health care information. This presents a huge potential benefit, but also a significant risk. Information literacy Daniel Levitin talks about the need for public information literacy, something we also discuss frequently here on...

/ November 4, 2015

Update on Cholesterol and Statins

The consensus of mainstream medicine is that a high blood level of LDL cholesterol is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and that lowering high levels can help with prevention and treatment. Statins have been proven effective for lowering cholesterol levels and for decreasing cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. I recently wrote about the new guidelines for statin therapy. Currently half of...

/ July 7, 2015

An Apple a Day

We (the authors and editors) at SBM get accused of many nefarious things. Because we deliberately engage with the public over controversial medical questions, we expect nothing less. It goes with the territory. In fact, if there were a lack of critical pushback we would worry that we were not doing our job. Still, it is disconcerting to see the frequently-repeated ideological...

/ December 18, 2013