Top critical review
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on May 19, 2013
The author appears to discuss much of the information by reflecting both sides of the story. So far so good. However in the critical section about the benefits of statins, he makes statements that are easily disproven. He states:" Statins are largely responsible for cutting American's death rate from heart disease by 50%....between 1980 and 2000..." Later he states that:" American's diet did not become more healthful during this time...." Later in the book he shows a graph which indicates that statin use was minuscule for the period 1988-1994 for men and women aged 45-64 with no data for older groups.
The facts do not support his claim at all. Cigarette smoking (a proven factor in heart disease) peaked in America around 1962 and heart disease dropped continuously as smoking was reduced, albeit with a time lag. So the trend of decreasing heart disease was in place long before statins became fashionable in the 1990's. Further he claims that the statins were responsible for the drop in the 1980's when, by his own figures, statins were not widely used. If you peruse the statistics of the Department for agriculture "Nutrient components of the US food supply, 1909-1999" (available from Amazon) you will notice that the diet of Americans became dramatically more healthful from 1970-79 to 1990-99. Food content of carbs and fiber increased, saturated fat and cholesterol decreased and large increases were noted for content of iron, vitamin E, carotenes, vitamins B2, B3 and B9. (B12 decreased). These figures understate the improvement as nutrient supplements became ubiquitous. Even though more calories were consumed, which may well become a problem in the future, the food quality has improved, partially due to food fortification. Further he gives no credit to many other factors such as ever improving emergency treatments of heart attacks.
On the end of the book you are no wiser about whether you personally should take statins, but the exaggerated claim above may convince you that statins are a miracle indeed.