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82 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars M.D. critical of Statins !!!, May 19, 2012
This review is from: The Truth About Statins: Risks and Alternatives to Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs (Mass Market Paperback)
Barbara Roberts's book, The Truth About Statins makes a good contribution in that it bolsters the credibility of all the critics of Statins when a M.D., who is also a researcher and administrator is critical of existing medical dogma, at least as far as she goes. The main tenet of her book is that use of Statin drugs does little or nothing to extend longevity, Statins have serious side effects, that those using Statins do little to reduce their risk of coronary heart disease ( CHD ) and you can lower your risk more with weight loss, exercise, and the Mediterranean Diet. What she fails to do is to distance herself from the discredited medical dogma that dietary intake of saturated fats leads to hardening of the arteries that leads to CHD.

In chapter one page five she states the dogma that high levels of certain lipoproteins ..." increase the risk of developing plaque in the arteries .... " No where in this book (that I have found ) does she provide evidence for this. She ignores the many autopsy studies that have found no correlations between plaque, hardening of the arteries and levels of cholesterol in the deceased persons blood. She instead draws conclusions of Ansel Keys discredited pseudoscience, where he cherry picked data to try to epidemiological relate heart disease with diet.

In chapter 1 she gives some insight into official guidelines which more or less force doctors to suggest the use of statin drugs without offering alternatives, and tells us how statins lower cholesterol, defines atherosclerosis, angina, risk factors, and indicates people are at a high risk even when using statins for CHD, and lets women know that there is no evidence that taking a statin drug will lower their risk of a heart attack or dying from heart disease.

In chapter 2 she fails to reject the cholesterol hypothesis of CAD, and I would guess doing that would be professional suicide for her. She gives good background for understanding clinical trials and explores the difference between absolute and relative risk reductions and how the reporting of data is manipulated.

What she knows best is Statins serious side effects, or what I think of as the symptoms of the chronic poisoning caused by long term drug use, and these are well presented in chapter 3. She indicates that Statins also have the abilities to combat inflammation, improve the function of the inner lining of arteries, combat oxidation, and decrease the tendency of clots to form. HOWEVER, she gives no hint that there are safe and effective alternatives available to accomplish these functions.

Chapter 4 deals with how women's biology differs from men with regards to Statin use, which I have not read.

Chapter 5 reveals some fuzzy thinking that points out how flawed the clinical trials were to somehow support the hypothesis of a causal relationship among saturated fat ..... and the development of atherosclerosis CVD. Somehow she accepts the contention that saturated fats cause atherosclerosis ( never mentioning the autopsy studies that show no correlation between fat levels in blood and the degree of hardening of the arteries ). She then makes a good point that a healthy diet is the key and recommends the Mediterranean diet as the solution, which it might be for some people, but for the wrong reasons.

On page 119 to support her contention that the so call Mediterranean diet is superior, she sees fit to bash the late Dr. Atkins, and repeats the half truth that Atkins died of sudden cardiac arrest, never mentioning that Robert Atkins was at the time of this death in a coma caused by him falling on ice and hitting his head. What a cheap shot !

The rest of the book is devoted to the sleazy practices of the drug business, anatomy of the heart, and so called " Heart Healthy Foods and Recipes "

If you are not familiar with the controversy of Statins use, then this is a good book for you. If you want a more scholarly treatment of the controversy of whether cholesterol causes heart disease, I recommend The Great Cholesterol Con by Anthony Colpo. Colpo devotes a chapter to the iron hypothesis of heart disease which is worth the price of the whole book, IMO. For a shorter critique of the lipid theory and unique insights into the dangers of low cholesterol ( people with low cholesterol are more prone to cancer, dementia, and fatal infections ) by a qualified author see Ignore the Awkward.: How the Cholesterol Myths Are Kept Alive by Uffe Ravnskov
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 11 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 2, 2012 10:17:25 PM PDT
MS says:
If a book has falsities then obviously that book doesn't deserve 5 stars. This is not a fiction, supposedly a "truth' book..

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 3, 2012 8:58:18 AM PDT
I agree !! I gave it five stars so people would pay attention to it because I though the overall message of how bad statins are is important, and I was impressed that a doctor would take such a stand. However, I will edit my review.

Posted on Jul 13, 2012 9:48:37 PM PDT
budbill says:
Thanks, John for this very interesting and thorough review. I was wondering if you have any suggestions for sources on how to deal with familial hypercholesterolemia without the use of statins. Thank you.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 14, 2012 12:32:04 AM PDT
Hi. In Anthony Colpo's book The Great Cholesterol Con he has a four page appendix ( H) entitled Familial Hypercholesterolemia: No Indictment of Cholesterol. He is of the opinion that even in people with FH, heart disease and high cholesterol are not related. The real question is do you have a family history of heart disease? If you don't, relax and try to eat a healthy diet ( he has suggestions like eat more fresh vegetables, have a higher in take of antioxidants, east less sugars, avoid polyunsaturated vegetables oils, eat like the French. He cites a book by Frank Cooper (who is FM) called Cholesterol and the French Paradox. He has other suggestions that may help limit risk of heart disease, including a very interesting chapter of the dangers of excess iron. From my various readings it appears important to not tolerate poor dental health, as the infections of the teeth can spread to the vascular system. From my readings about vitamin K2, it appears that robust levels of Vitamin A, D, K2, potassium, and magnesium are extremely important for health living, and will improve bone and vascular health. I think you will get a lot out of Colpo's book. A good book on vitamin K2: Vitamin K2 and the Calcium Paradox: How a Little-Known Vitamin Could Save Your Life by Kate Rheaume-Bleue

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 29, 2012 1:58:47 PM PDT
Minnesota says:
My husband has genetically high cholesterol and had bad side effects with the statin drugs....muscle weakness in his shoulders...and a high CPK reading as well (over 600..normal is 30-200). I would suggest that anyone on a statin drug get his or her cpk levels checked. Any doctor prescribing a statin should take a CPK measurement before the statin is prescribed and after to see if there are negative effects of the drug on their patients. There is no excuse for them not to with all of the facts that are out there about statins. Anyway, because of the negative side effects of the statins we decided to give a supplement a try. Cholest-off (1800 mg of Natural Plant Sterols and Stenols). My husbands cholesterol #'s are exactly the same now as they were when he was on the statins without the side effects. They have not lowered his triglycerides at all..but have kept his total cholesterol and LDL #'s at a controlled level.

Posted on Oct 13, 2012 6:50:08 PM PDT
ReMark says:
Thanks for the review and the other title suggestions. Would like to know what chapter 4 says, but I'm taking this book off of my Wish List. I'd almost done that by looking at the appendix and seeing all of the recipes.

Posted on Dec 1, 2012 7:27:12 AM PST
You have clearly done meticulous work analyzing and critiquing this book, a valuable effort. But please, take this for positive input: do similarly careful work editing your writing!

The "main tenant" of this book? I think you mean "the main tenet." And Dr. Atkins was not "in a comma." It's "a coma." "Unique incites" needs to be "unique insights."

With these and other cringeworthy errors, you diminish the effect of your analysis and that is regrettable. Careless editing hurts credibility.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2012 11:01:44 AM PST
Thank You. I wrote the review in one sitting and obviously I could use an editor. Those changes have been made. John Wagoner

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2013 6:01:05 PM PDT
VickyNC says:
Excellent comments. Thanks!

Posted on Aug 13, 2014 8:10:52 PM PDT
Sunny says:

I am looking for a good book to follow and update Heart Frauds by Charles McGee, MD. - a very good book - probably before its time.

I notice the last post was more than a year ago, and there have been additional, relevant publications. Does The Great Cholesterol Con remain at the top of your list?

Your response would be appreciated. Thanks!
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