The raison d'etre of this website is to provide you with hard scientific information which may help you make informed decisions in your quest for health (so far I have blogged concise summaries of over 1,500 scientific studies and have had three books published).

My research is mainly focused on the effects of cholesterol, saturated fat and statin drugs on health. If you know anyone who is worried about their cholesterol levels and heart disease, or has been told to take statin drugs you could send them a link to this website, and to my statin or cholesterol or heart disease books.

David Evans

Independent Health Researcher

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Review of my book Statins Toxic Side Effects by Dr Rajendra Sharma

I've had a positive review of my book Statins Toxic Side Effects by Dr Rajendra Sharma published in the Caduceus Journal

Below is the transcript of the review from the Caduceus Journal (Issue 93 Page 26).


Statins Toxic Side Effects - Evidence from 500 scientific papers by David Evans

Grosvenor House Publishing, Guildford, 2015. Pb, 504pp, £14.99 (Amazon). ISBN 978 1781483909

Reviewed by Rajendra Sharma

David Evans’ first two books on the hazards of low cholesterol and benefits of saturated fats (see article, issue 90) have yet to make the impact they should have. These reference books on the truth behind cholesterol and the risks of lowering it did more than enough to provide ample evidence to guide every prescribing doctor to think long and hard about their training in the treatment of arterial and cardiovascular disease.

As before, Evans’ clear and concise presentation of unequivocal facts highlights the enormous amount of evidence illustrating the failing of the world’s best-selling drugs, statins. Here, more so than in his previous two books, he emphasises the actual damage to our health that these cholesterol-lowering drugs do. His 21 chapters, all easy to read even by the non-scientifically trained, question the current modus operandi of statin prescribing in the face of the illness that these drugs are proven to cause.

Muscle disease, kidney and liver dysfunction, pancreatitis, neurological conditions, autoimmune disease, inflammatory problems along with the bowel, urinary tract, bone structure and fertility are all cited through published, peer-reviewed references. Evans has even highlighted that statins can be associated with depression, suicide, ‘foggy’ brain, reduced exercise performance and antisocial behaviour.

I have been confused over what to advise those with fears of dementia when asked about cholesterol-lowering drugs but Statin Toxic Side Effects records evidence of the production of abnormally phosphorylated Tau proteins, those associated with Alzheimer’s. Herein may lie why some studies suggest benefit while others increased incidence.

These diseases might all be acceptable if we were benefiting from lower cholesterol but unfortunately, normal or even high levels of cholesterol, increase life-span, avoid many lethal conditions and are even associated with lower cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths. The book reminds us of the importance of cholesterol for production of vitamin D, sex hormones, the stress-coping cortisol and other hormones and pathways.

Evans emphasises once again how statins reduce the availability of essential nutrients such as vitamins A and E, the minerals zinc and copper and interferes with selenium activity. I learned of statins’ effect on pathways influenced by dolichols, protein-binding molecules, and Heme A.

To me, as a front-line physician, to read of many under-publicised research papers suggesting that 17-63.5% of those taking statins suffer side-effects is a relief as it reflects my practice experience. Fortunately, working as I do in integrated medicine and within the private sector, I have the time to deal with the lifestyle, nutrition, exercise, psycho-spiritual and traditional health systems that make an appreciable and real difference to arterial and CV disease. My conventional colleagues are not afforded this time by current medical practice, nor are they or our medical students taught about the alternative options.

The 500 scientific papers indicate that statins do not save lives. Even when taken for years there is little appreciable difference in the CVD mortality. Chapters illustrate how high cholesterol reduces the risk of many other diseases and one worrying chapter specifically highlights how most of those who decide on what are considered to be healthy levels of cholesterol are directly or indirectly in the pay of the statin manufacturers. These Pharma giants also, it appears, fund the majority of the research in this field. Statin sales are now $34bn annually.

Evans cites how the regulators had systematically produced, or been provided with, evidence supporting why lower and lower levels of cholesterol need to be achieved. Those accepting these figures could justify drugging up 35% of an asymptomatic adult male population, most of whom have a low risk of CVD.

The concept of a ‘typical modern day drug trial’ is already itself questionable. Wikipedia currently lists 173 commonly prescribed drugs that have been withdrawn in the last 50 years - all of which had passed conventional efficacy and safety trails. The EU has passed and withdrawn 19 drugs between 2002 and 2011. The deaths attributed to these run into the hundreds of thousands. These are not unusual drugs used in rare diseases but include medication used by millions of people worldwide. Statin withdrawal has, suggests Evans, to follow surely.  

Present this book to your doctor. Truly, it will be a gift from the heart to the heart of others.
 
 
 
Dr Rajendra Sharma (MB BCh BAO LRCP&S (Ire) MFHom is a leading Integrated Medical Doctor utilizing conventional, Functional and complementary medicine. His special interest is working with chronic disease and its underlying causes particularly CFS/ME, cancer and other difficult conditions that respond poorly to conventional medicine.
 
He focuses on optimizing health through nutritional and non-drug medicine and as, until recently, the Secretary to the British Society for Ecological Medicine is involved in environmental health screening (metal toxicity, food allergy, pollution etc.)
 
Dr Sharma is considered by many as their family doctor and as a generalist works with all medical conditions. He is the author of The Family Encyclopedia of Health and has recently published the quintessential ‘all you need to know’ healthy ageing book, “Live Longer Live Younger”. He has particular links with the media and entertainment industry and over many years has not only provided content and support to the BBC, ITV , Channel 4 and others, but also provided and continues to provide care regularly to many globally acclaimed celebrities. Over his experienced career as Medical Director at the Hale Clinic and The Diagnostic Clinic he has forged new care initiatives. These include the impact of genomics and the environment in optimizing patient protocols, treatment and care plans.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Doctor says statins may be over prescribed five to six fold when using the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association faulty risk calculator

This study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2016 May 10;67(18):2118-30
 
Study title and authors:
Accuracy of the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Risk Equation in a Large Contemporary, Multiethnic Population.
Rana JS, Tabada GH, Solomon MD, Lo JC, Jaffe MG, Sung SH, Ballantyne CM, Go AS.
Division of Cardiology, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California; Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Oakland, California; Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27151343

The 2013 American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association (ACC/AHA) Pooled Cohort Equations calculator is used to estimate 10-year absolute risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in primary prevention (people who have not developed clinically manifest cardiovascular disease).

The goal of this study was to evaluate the accuracy of the 2013 ACC/AHA Pooled Cohort Risk Equation. The study included 307,591 ethnically diverse adults without diabetes and not taking statins (aged 40-75 years) who were assessed over five years for or a total of 1,515,142 person-years.

The study found:
(a) Those with a predicted risk of up to 2.49% of having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, only had an actual 0.20% risk.
(b) Those with a predicted risk between 2.50-3.74% of having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, only had an actual 0.65% risk.
(c) Those with a predicted risk between 3.75-4.99% of having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, only had an actual 0.90% risk.
(d) Those with a predicted risk of over 5.0% of having atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, only had an actual 1.85% risk.

Rana concluded: "In a large, contemporary "real-world" population, the ACC/AHA Pooled Cohort Risk Equation substantially overestimated actual 5-year risk in adults without diabetes, overall and across sociodemographic subgroups."

Senior author of the study, Dr Alan S. Go, chief of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Conditions Research at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research, commented: "The (ACC/AHA Pooled Cohort Risk Equation) overestimation is approximately five- to six-fold... Translating this, it would mean that we would be over-treating a good many people based on the risk calculator... Our study provides critical evidence to support recalibration of the risk equation in 'real world' populations, especially given the individual and public health implications of the widespread application of this risk calculator."

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Low cholesterol associated with a 320% increased risk of suicide

This study was published in the BMJ 1992 Aug 1;305(6848):277-9

Study title and authors:
Low serum cholesterol concentration and short term mortality from injuries in men and women.
Lindberg G, Råstam L, Gullberg B, Eklund GA.
Centre for Public Health Research, Karlstad, Sweden.

This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1392858

This study set out to investigate the relationship between cholesterol levels and death rates from injuries including suicide. The study included 26,693 men and 27,692 women, (aged 45-74 years), who were followed for 20.5 years.

The study found:
(a) Those in the lowest 25% of the cholesterol distribution had a 180% increased risk of death from injuries compared to those in the top 25% of the cholesterol distribution.
(b) Those in the lowest 25% of the cholesterol distribution had a 320% increased risk of death from suicide compared to those in the top 25% of the cholesterol distribution.

Lindberg concluded: "Together with observations from intervention trials the findings support the existence of a relation between (lower) serum cholesterol concentration and suicide."

Links to other studies:
Both low cholesterol levels and declining cholesterol levels are associated with increased risk of death from suicide in men
Low cholesterol levels are associated with higher rates of attempted suicide
The lower the cholesterol level - the higher the risk of suicide
 

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Low cholesterol is associated with an increased risk of depression and anxiety

This study was published in Psychosomatic Medicine 1999 May-Jun;61(3):273-9
 
Study title and authors:
Relations of trait depression and anxiety to low lipid and lipoprotein concentrations in healthy young adult women.
Suarez EC.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10367605
 
The NEO depression scale measures the tendency of individuals to experience depressive affect or mood. Scores range from 0 to 32. High scores are indicative of individuals who are prone to feelings of guilt, sadness, hopelessness, and loneliness.

The trait anxiety subscale of the STPI measures an individual’s enduring tendencies to experience anxious moods and anxiety states. STPI anxiety scores range from 10 to 40, with high scores indicating higher anxiety.

This study investigated the association of cholesterol levels with depression and anxiety. The study included 121 healthy adult women between the ages of 18 and 27 years. Depression was assessed using the NEO depression scale and anxiety was measured by the trait anxiety subscale of the STPI. The women were put into two groups:
(i) Those with cholesterol levels under 4.14 mmol/L (160 mg/dL). (Low cholesterol group)
(ii) Those with cholesterol levels over 4.14 mmol/L (160 mg/dL). (Moderate to high cholesterol group).

The study found:
(a) The women in the low cholesterol group had a 170% increased risk of depression compared with the women in the moderate to high cholesterol group.
(b) The women in the low cholesterol group had a 141% increased risk of anxiety compared with the women in the moderate to high cholesterol group.

Suarez concluded: "Findings from the current study support the general hypothesis that naturally occurring low lipid and lipoprotein concentrations are associated with trait measures of depression and anxiety. These findings are potentially relevant in relation to observations of increased Non Illness Mortality in persons with spontaneously occurring low cholesterol levels as well as to observations of the increased frequency of depression and anxiety in women."

Links to other studies:
Suicide attempters have low cholesterol levels
Low cholesterol associated with depression in elderly men
Low cholesterol levels associated with fatigue and depression

Friday, 13 May 2016

Statins associated with higher risk of death and heart failure in heart attack patients

This study was published in JRSM Cardiovascular Disease 2016 Apr 21;5:2048004016639442
 
Study title and authors:
Association of statin use and stress-induced hyperglycemia in patients with acute ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
Yan C, Qin M, Juan YS, Tao LY, Dong GM, Zechun Z, Chun YX, Liang CH, Yin L, Kang M.
Department of Cardiology, Tianjin Chest Hospital, Tianjin, China.
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27158481

Stress induced hyperglycemia is a medical term referring to transient elevation of blood glucose due to the stress of illness. Numerous studies have demonstrated a strong association between stress hyperglycemia and increased risk of poor clinical outcomes, including mortality, morbidity, length of hospital stay, infections and overall complications.

This study investigated the association of stress induced hyperglycemia following statin use in patients who had been hospitalized after a heart attack. The study included 476 patients who were divided into two groups based on the presence or absence of diabetes.

The study found:
(a) In patients without diabetes, statin users had a 98% increased risk of stress induced hyperglycemia compared to those not taking statins.
(b) In patients with diabetes, statin users had a 3% increased risk of stress induced hyperglycemia compared to those not taking statins.
(c) Patients with stress induced hyperglycemia had a 161% increased risk of heart failure compared to patients without stress induced hyperglycemia.
(d) Patients with stress induced hyperglycemia had a 253% increased risk of dying in hospital compared to patients without stress induced hyperglycemia.

Yan concluded: "Statins are related to higher stress hyperglycemia and cardiac incidences after acute myocardial infarction."

Links to other studies:
Review reveals statins only extend life by 3 or 4 days. Closer analysis finds they may actually shorten life.
Statins double the risk of death in patients with coronary artery disease
Statins increase the risk of death in four year trial
 

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Medical error is responsible for over a quarter of a million deaths and is the third most common cause of death in the US

This study was published in the BMJ 2016 May 3;353:i2139
 
Study title and authors:
Medical error-the third leading cause of death in the US.
Makary MA, Daniel M.
Department of Surgery, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27143499
 
This study analyzed the scientific literature on medical error to identify its contribution to US deaths. Four studies were found and comprised of the following:
(i) A 2004 report of inpatient deaths associated with the Agency for Healthcare Quality and Research Patient Safety Indicators in the Medicare population estimated that 575 000 deaths were caused by medical error between 2000 and 2002.
(ii) The US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General examining the health records of hospital inpatients in 2008, reported 180,000 deaths due to medical error a year among Medicare beneficiaries alone.
(iii) Classen (2004) et al estimated over 400,000 deaths a year.
(iv) Landrigan et al (2002) estimated 134,581 inpatient deaths a year from poor inpatient care.
 
Of note, none of the studies captured deaths outside inpatient care—those resulting from errors in care at home or in nursing homes and in outpatient care such as ambulatory surgery centres.
 
A literature review by James (2013) estimated preventable adverse events, described an incidence range of 210,000-400,000 deaths a year associated with medical errors among hospital patients.
 
This analysis found:
(a) In 2013 this study estimated the rate of death from medical error of 251,454 a year using the studies reported since 1999.
(b) The authors believe this understates the true incidence of death due to medical error because the studies cited rely on errors extractable in documented health records and include only inpatient deaths.
 
Makary concluded: "Medical error is the third most common cause of death in the US"

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Study stopped early because statins increased the risk of acute kidney injury in patients with kidney disease

This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association 2016 Mar 1;315(9):877-88
 
Study title and authors:
High-Dose Perioperative Atorvastatin and Acute Kidney Injury Following Cardiac Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Billings FT 4th, Hendricks PA, Schildcrout JS, Shi Y, Petracek MR, Byrne JG, Brown NJ.
Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee
 
This study can be accessed at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26906014

This study investigated the relationship between short-term high-dose perioperative atorvastatin and acute kidney injury following cardiac surgery. The study included 615 patients (199 statin-naïve and 416 statin-using) and 308 of these were randomized to atorvastatin and 307 to placebo. The average patient age was 67 years.
(i) Patients naive to statin treatment were randomly assigned 80 mg of atorvastatin the day before surgery, 40 mg of atorvastatin the morning of surgery, and 40 mg of atorvastatin daily following surgery or matching placebo.
(ii) Patients already taking a statin prior to study enrolment continued taking the preenrollment statin until the day of surgery, were randomly assigned 80 mg of atorvastatin the morning of surgery and 40 mg of atorvastatin the morning after or matching placebo, and resumed taking the previously prescribed statin on postoperative day 2.

The study found:
(a) After an interim review, the data and safety monitoring board recommended stopping the group naive to statin treatment due to a 235% increased risk of acute kidney injury among these participants with chronic kidney disease receiving atorvastatin.
(b) After a further review, the data and safety monitoring board later recommended stopping for futility, as the data revealed statins were increasing the risk of acute kidney injury by 6% overall and by 61% in statin naïve patients.
(c) Those who took statins had a 25% increased risk of the more serious stage 2 or stage 3 acute kidney injury compared to those who did not take statins.

The study also revealed:
(d) Those given the statins had a 20% increased risk of muscle pain compared to those taking placebo.
(e) Those given the statins had a 44% increased risk of stroke compared to those taking placebo.
(f) Those given the statins had a 11% increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared to those taking placebo.
(g) Those given the statins had a 202% increased risk of in hospital death compared to those taking placebo.

Links to other studies:
Statins increase the risk of diabetes in kidney transplant patients
Statin use is associated with a 30-36% increased incidence of acute and chronic kidney disease
Statin use associated with a 59% increased risk of kidney failure