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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

The Doctor Game -- Stein's Law and cholesterol-lowering drugs

Stein’s Law says that if something can’t go on forever, it has to stop. It’s just a matter of when. Stein’s Law always wins. But when will this law stop the increasing number of North Americans taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLDs)? Surely enough is enough.

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new broader guidelines that in one fell swoop have added millions of healthy people to the list of those who will be prescribed CLDs.

Dr. John Abramson at The Harvard Medical School and Dr. Rita F. Redberg, cardiologist at the University of California, report these guidelines will benefit the pharmaceutical industry, not patients.

Abramson and Redberg state this decision would be good news for patients if CLDs offered meaningful protection from heart attack, and had few side-effects. But history shows this is not the case. In fact, the evidence is limited that CLDs prevent coronary attack or stroke in the majority of people. In addition, 50 per cent of those who have a heart attack have normal blood cholesterol.

I’ve warned for years about the folly of trying to change the physiology of cholesterol. It has taken eons for evolution to determine our need for cholesterol, which is a necessary part of every cell wall. Without cholesterol, we would all die. But now hundreds of millions of advertising dollars have turned it into the devil that’s causing coronary deaths.

Last year, just in Canada, doctors wrote 38 million prescriptions for CLDs. Surely doctors should be concerned about the long-term effects of placing millions of people on these powerful drugs when it has been known for years that they have unintended consequences.

There is no better example of what advertising can accomplish if pots of money are available to imprint "cholesterolphobia" into the minds of both doctors and patients. It’s a sad commentary on what has happened to medical practice.

Dr. James Wright of British Columbia’s Therapeutic Initiative always brings sanity to medical issues. He reports 140 people would have to take CLDs for five years to prevent one heart attack.

It’s important to save one life, but at what price? A recent study at the University of Texas showed that those using CLDs had a 27 per cent greater risk of developing cataracts.

Another study at the University of Waterloo found that these drugs increased the risk of cataracts by 50 per cent. The risk is even greater for those who have Type 2 diabetes.

Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning that CLDs could increase blood sugar, increase the risk of diabetes and cause memory loss. They should have added CLDs can also cause transient global amnesia. The prime example is Dr. Duane Graveline, a medical doctor and astronaut who, after being on a low dose of CLDs for three months, failed to recognize his wife or children.

Other studies reveal CLDs are associated with increased risk of muscle degeneration, violent deaths, liver and kidney problems and in some cases, death. I’m sure if any natural remedy was triggering these diverse complications authorities would immediately remove it from the market.

The question is, are CLDs needed? Following a severe coronary attack, cardiologists warned me I’d die without using CLDs. Rather, for the last 16 years I’ve relied on high doses of vitamin C and lysine as recommended by Dr. Linus Pauling. It was a risky decision at that time, as there was no evidence that this combination could reverse coronary blockage.

Now, photos of arteries show that combined vitamin C and lysine not only prevents but also reverses blocked arteries. This combination powder known as Medi-C Plus is available at health food stores. It’s a monumental discovery. But this research is collecting dust due to the closed minds of cardiologists who refuse to look at it.

I’m not your doctor and it’s not my intention for you to toss away your CLDs. Medication decisions can only be made by your own physician. But hopefully Stein’s Law will soon end this massive drugging of North Americans with CLDs.

» Dr. Gifford-Jones is a graduate of The University of Toronto and The Harvard Medical School. He took post-graduate training in surgery at the Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, McGill University in Montreal and Harvard. During his medical training he has been a family doctor, hotel doctor and ship’s surgeon. His medical column is published by 70 Canadian newspapers, several in the U.S. and the Epoch Times which has editions in a number of European countries.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 14, 2013

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Stein’s Law says that if something can’t go on forever, it has to stop. It’s just a matter of when. Stein’s Law always wins. But when will this law stop the increasing number of North Americans taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLDs)? Surely enough is enough.

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new broader guidelines that in one fell swoop have added millions of healthy people to the list of those who will be prescribed CLDs.

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Stein’s Law says that if something can’t go on forever, it has to stop. It’s just a matter of when. Stein’s Law always wins. But when will this law stop the increasing number of North Americans taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (CLDs)? Surely enough is enough.

Recently, the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology issued new broader guidelines that in one fell swoop have added millions of healthy people to the list of those who will be prescribed CLDs.

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