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The GREAT CHOLESTEROL MYTH

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Cholesterol guidelines have been created to increase pharmaceutical profits, not to improve peoples' health. I know from my experience as a pharmaceutical sales representative for a statin drug. We were trained to emphasize to physicians the new lower LDL guidelines that were ostensibly created by health experts. The truth is the majority of the experts who created the lower guidelines have multiple financial ties to pharmaceutical companies. One expert was found to have ties to ten drug firms. There is no research that supports the assumption that lower LDL cholesterol reduces cardiovascular events or death in people who have do not already have heart disease. Statins do not prevent heart disease, but that is the myth that the drug companies have made billions of dollars from for more than 20 years. The lower guidelines simply created a larger lasso to rope more people into buying statin drugs.

"The diet-heart idea the notion that saturated fats and cholesterol cause heart disease is the greatest scientific deception of our times"The public is being deceived by the greatest health scam of the century," states George V. Mann, ScD, MD, the co-director of the well-known Framingham Heart Study. In the study more than 240 risk factors for heart disease were uncovered.

The fact that statins, brand names Crestor, Lescol, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, Vytorin, and Zocor, are not the heart disease preventing wonder drugs that drug companies want physicians and the public to believe is not the worst of it.

Both men and women with the lowest cholesterol levels died earlier of all causes, including cardiovascular events.

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The death rate was 5 times higher for elderly women with very low cholesterol in a French study reported in the medical journal Lancet.

A 15-year study of several European countries included 149,000 men and women and found low cholesterol was significantly associated with increased all-cause deaths.

A University of Hawaii study conducted over 20 years and involved 3,500 Japanese-American men found men with the lowest cholesterol levels died at younger ages of all causes. Lead researcher of the Hawaiin study, Dr. Irwin Schatz, warns, "Prudence dictates that we be less aggressive in lowering cholesterol in the elderly." The research findings also state: "Our data accords with previous findings of increased mortality in elderly people with low serum cholesterol, and show that long-term persistence of low cholesterol concentration actually increases risk of death. Thus, the earlier that patients start to have lower cholesterol concentrations, the greater the risk of death."

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Marketing drowns out the truth of science. The number of young Americans taking statin drugs continues to climb. Now there are more than 5 million men and women aged 20 to 44 taking statin drugs.

Women of childbearing age are especially at risk. Cholesterol is extremely important to the development of the fetus and is naturally contained in breast milk. Pregnant women taking statins have a high rate of premature births and unhealthy babies.

"The same cholesterol that we have been led by the pharmaceutical industry to believe is public health enemy number one, is now proven to be absolutely vital in the formation and function of trillions of synapses in our brains," explains former NASA physician, scientist and astronaut, Dr. Duane Graveline. Dr. Graveline was found wandering in his neighborhood, unable to recognize his own home, only six weeks after he began taking the statin Lipitor. Fortunately he came to his senses later that day and began to suspect it was due to the Lipitor. His physician assured him that memory loss is not listed as a side effect of statins. But when Dr. Graveline suffered a second extreme memory lapse, he stopped taking the drug and wrote an article about his experience. Hundreds of people responded that they had also suffered memory loss from statin drugs. Dr. Graveline did more research and found, "Thousands of cases of memory dysfunction have been reported to the FDA's Medwatch program, but the agency still has not acted. And most practicing physicians are unaware of the problem."

Think of the forming brains of children. In July 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a report recommending that children as young as 2 years old have cholesterol levels tested and, based on the pharmaceutical industry's guidelines, be put on statin drugs. The AAP receives millions of dollars from drug companies every year and the Associated Press reported that Dr. Stephen Daniels, the lead author of the AAP report to test children's cholesterol and give children statin drugs, admits he has been a paid consultant for drug companies.

"Cholesterol is vital to proper neurological function. It plays a key role in the formation of memory and the uptake of hormones in the brain. Cholesterol is the main organic molecule in the brain, constituting over half the dry weight of the cerebral cortex," explains Mary Enig, Ph.D. and Sally Fallon in their report, "Dangers of Statin Drugs: What You Haven't Been Told About Cholesterol Lowering Medicines."

The most recent attempt to increase statin sales is the Jupiter study funded by statin maker AstraZeneca. Dr. Paul M. Ridker, in charge of the study, reports financial ties with more than ten pharmaceutical companies. Although 90,000 people were screened, less than 18,000 people were selected to participate in the Jupiter study that took place in 1315 sites in 26 countries. "If you extrapolate that, it means there are not all that many people exactly like those who were studied," said Dr. Nieca Goldberg, Director of the women's heart program at New York University Longone Medical Center.

As a former pharmaceutical rep. turned whistleblower, let me cut through the boloney and give you the actual facts that came from this study. All the people selected for the study were at a low risk of serious heart problems. The absolute difference in risk (the drug-company-paid researchers only talk in relative terms, not absolute) between the study's statin group and placebo group was actually less than one percent. The New England Journal of Medicine editorial about the Jupiter study concluded that treating 120 people who have the same health profile as the study participants for about 2 years would benefit only one person. In other words, 120 people with a specific health profile have to take the drug daily for about 2 years in order for one person to benefit. All 120 people would be susceptible to the multitude of the drug's side effects. The two lead selling statins, Lipitor and Zocor, are in the top fifteen drugs for severe side effects in the FDA reporting system.

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A serious fact of the Jupiter study that is not widely publicized is that the statin group developed diabetes at a higher rate than the placebo group. The development of diabetes in people taking statin drugs has also been reported in previous statin studies.

The Jupiter study was stopped early, less than two years, ostensibly so that the people in the placebo group could be offered statins. Since the negative outcome of the trial - the higher rate of diabetes, a disease that often leads to heart disease, in the statin group - was more significant than the positive outcome of one person out of 120 benefiting from the drug, I suspect the study was stopped early because the drug company was fearful of how high the diabetes numbers would climb if the study continued. Drug companies create studies to sell more drugs, not to disclose the truth.

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www.kcarlson.com
Former pharmaceutical rep. turned whistleblower, K.L. Carlson is author of the compelling expose, Diary of a Legal Drug Dealer - One Drug Rep. Dares to Tell You the Truth. Carlson was included in the documentary film, Making a Killing.

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